« PreviousContinue »
Heav'n breathes thro' every member of the whole
One common blefling, as one common soul,
But Fortune's gifts if each alike poffeít,
And each were equal, must not all contest ?
If then to all men Happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place Content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy callid, unhappy those ;
But Heav'n's juft balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in Hope, and these in Fear :
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
But future views of better, or of worse,
Oh fons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies?
Heav'n still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and Nature meant to mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of Senfe,
Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competence,
VI R T U E. Know
thou this truth (enough for man to know) “ Virtue alone is Happiness below.” The only point where human bliss stands still, And tastes the good without the fall to ill; Where only Merit conftant pay receives, Iš blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
The joy unequall?d if its end it gain,
And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Without satiety, tho' e'er so bless’d,
And but more relish'd as.the more distress'di:
The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly wears,
Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears:
Good, from each object, from each place acquir'd.
For ever exercis'd, yet never tir’d;
Never elated, while one man's oppress'd;
Never dejected, while another's bless'd;
And where no wants, no wishes can remain,
Since but to wish more Virtue, is to gain.
See the sole bliss Heav'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, antaught, will find;
Slave to no fect, who takes no private road,
But looks thro' Nature, up to Nature's God :
Pursues that chain which links the immense design,
Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine ;
Sees, that no being any bliss can know,
But touches fome above, and some below ;
Learns, from this union of the rising Whole,
The first, last purpose of the human foul;
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 open on his soul;
Till lengthen’d on to Faith, and unconfin’d,
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 given in vain, bet what they seek they find)
Wise is her present; the connects in this
His greatest Virtue with his greatest Bliss;
At once his own bright prospect to be blest,
And strongest motive to aslist the rest.
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's bleffing thine.
Is this too little for the 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
Maft 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, th’o’erflowings of the mind - Take ev'ry creature in of ev'ry kind;
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest,
And Heav'n beholds its image in his breast.
ON VERSIFICATION. MANY
ANY by Numbers judge a Poet's song; And smooth or rough, with them is right or wrong:: In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear, Not mend their minds; as, fome to Church repair Not for the doctrine, but the music there. These equal syllables alone require, Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire; While expletives their feeble aid do join, And ten low words oft creep in one dull·line: While they ring round the fame unvary'd chinies, With sure returns of still expected rhimes; Where'er you find " the cooling western breeze." In the next line, it « whispers thro' the trees :" If crystal streams “ with pleasing murmurs creep,” The reader's threaten’d (not in vain) with“ sleep:" Then at the last and only couplet fraught With some unmeaning thing they call a thought, A needless Alexandrian ends the song, That, like a wounded snake, drags it flow length along. Leave such to tune their own dull rhimes, and know What's roundly smooth, or languishingly flow; And praise the casy vigour of a line, Where Denham's strength, and Waller's sweetness join.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, o As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough, no harshness gives offence,
"The sound muft fcem an echo to the ferse;
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud furges lash the founding shore,
The hoarse, rough verfe should like the torrent roar:
When Ajax strives fome rock's valt height to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move flow;
Not so, when swift Camilla fcours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Hear how Timotheus' vary'd lays surprife,
And bid alternate paffions fall and rife!
While at each change, the son of Libyan Jove
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Now fighs steal out, and tears begin to flow :
Perfians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the World's victor stood subdu'd by Sound !
LESSONS of WISDOM.
How to live happiest : how avoid the pains,
The disappointments and disgusts of those
Who would in pleasure all their hours employ;
The precepts here of a divine old man
I could recite. Tho' old, he still retain'd
His manly sense, and energy of mind.
Virtuous and wife he was, but not severe;
He still remember'd that he once was young;
His easy presence check'd no decent joy.