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Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discomposed the mind :
But all subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The gen’ral Order, since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
6. What would this man? Now upward will
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downwards just as griev'd appears,
To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use, all creatures if we call,
Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all?
Nature to these, without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign'd;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force:
All in exact proportion to their state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect happy in its own;
Is heav'n unkind to man, and man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all?
The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find) Is not to act or think beyond mankind; No pow’rs of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear,
Why has not man a microscopic eye ?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say, what the use, were finer optics giv'n?
T' inspect a mite! not comprehend the heav'n.
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting thro' the brain?
Die of a rose in aromatic pain!
If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,
Ilow would he wish that heav'n had left him still
The whisp’ring zephyr and the purling rill!
Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
7. Far as creation's ample range extends,
The scale of sensual, mental pow’rs ascends :
Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grass:
What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole’s dim curtain, and the lynx's beam :
Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
And hound sagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles thro' the vernal wood?
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line :
In the nice bee---what sense so subtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew? How instinct varies in the grov'ling swine, Compar’d, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine ! 'Twixt that and reason, what a nice barrier!
For ever sep'rate, yet for ever near !
Remembrance and reflection, how ally'd !
What thin partitions sense from thought divide !
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' insuperable line!
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
The pow’rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy reason all these pow’rs in one?
8. See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high progressive life may go! Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of being! which from God began;
Natures æthereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach; from infinite to thee,
From thee to nothing.---On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours;