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A tale, that blends their glory with their shame!
Know then this truth (enough for man to know) 66 Virtue alone is happiness below.”
310 The only point where human bliss stands still, And tastes the good without the fall to ill; Where only merit constant pay receives, Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives; The joy unequall’d, if its end it gain,
315 And if it lose, attended with no pain : Without satiety, though e'er so bless'd, And but more relish'd as the more distress'd : The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly wears, Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears :
320 Good, from each object, from each place acquir'd, For ever exercis’d, yet never tir'd ; Never elatod, while one man's oppress'd; Never dejecteł, while another's bless'd, And where no wants, no wishes can remain,
325 Since but to wish more virtue is to gain.
See the sole bliss IIcav'n could on all bestow! Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know: Yet
poor with fortune, and with learning blind, The bad must miss, the good untaught will find; 330 Blave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks through nature up to nature's God: Pursues that chain which links th’immense design, Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine; Sees, that no being any bliss can know,
335 But touches some above, and some below; Learns, from this union of the rising whole, f'he first, last purpose of the human soul;
And knows where faith, law, morals, all began,
All end, in Love of God, and Love of Man.
For him alone, hope leads from goal to goal,
And opens still, and opens on his soul ;
Till lengthen'd on to faith, and unconfin’d,
It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.
He sees, why nature plants in man alone
Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown:
(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind
Are giv’n in vain, but what they seek they find)
Wise is her present; she connects in this
His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss ;
At once his own bright prospect to be blest,
And strongest motives to assist the rest.
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine.
Is this too little for thy boundless heart?
Extend it, let thy enemies have part;
Grasp the whole worlds of reason, life, and sense,
In one close system of benevolence :
Happier as kinder, in whate'er degree,
And height of bliss but height of charity.
God loves from whole to parts; but human soul
Must rise from individual to the whole.
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;
The centre mov’d, a circle straight succeeds,
Another still, and still another spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace,
His country next, and next all human race;
Wide and more wide, the o’erflowings of the mind
Take every creature in, of every kind ;
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest,
And Heav'n beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend, my genius, come along,
O master of the poet, and the song!
And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends,
To man's low passions, or their glorious ends,
Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise,
To fall with dignity, with temper rise;
Form’d by thy converse, happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe;
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,
Intent to reason, or polite to please.
0! while along the stream of time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame;
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,
Shall then this verse to future age pretend
Thou wert my guide, philosopher and friend!
That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art,
From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart;
For wit's false mirror held up nature's light;
Show'd erring pride, whatever is, is right;
That reason, passion, answer one great aim ;
That true self-love and social are the same;
That virtue only makes our bliss below;
And all our knowledge is, ourselves to know?
Thou Great First Cause, least understood :
Who all my sense confin'd
To know but this, that Thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than hell to shun,
That, more than heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away ;
For God is paid when man receives,
Tenjoy, is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span,
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think Thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe:
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay ;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has deny'd,
Or taught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's wo;
To hide the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy breath ;
O lead me, wheresoe'er I go,
Through this day's life or death.
This day be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy will be done.