Page images
PDF
EPUB

If white and black blend, soften, and unite
A thousand ways, is there no black or white ?
Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain;
'Tis to mistake them costs the time and pain.

5. Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
But where th’ extreme of vice was ne'er agreed :
Ask where's the north ?-at York 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland at the Orcades; and there
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour further gone than he;
E'en those who dwell beneath its very zone,
Or never feel the rage or never own;
What happier natures shrink at with affright,
The hard inhabitant contends is right.

Virtuous and vicious every man must be, Few in th' extreme, but all in the degree: The

rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise, And e'en the best by fits what they despise. 'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill; For vice or virtue self directs it still; Each individual seeks a several goal; But Heaven's great view is one, and that the whole : That counterworks each folly and caprice; That disappoints th' effect of every vice; That happy frailties to all ranks applied, Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,

Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief, To kings presumption, and to crowds belief: That virtue's ends from vanity can raise, Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise And build on wants, and on defects of mind, The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind !

Heaven forming each on other to depend, A master, or a servant, or a friend, Bids each on other for assistance call, Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all. Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally The common interest, or endear the tie. To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, Each home-felt joy, that life inherits here; Yet from the same we learn, in its decline, Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign ; Taught, half by reason, half by mere decay, To welcome death, and calmly pass away.

Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself. The learn’d is happy nature to explore, The fool is happy that he knows no more; The rich is happy in the plenty given, The poor contents him with the care of Heaven. See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing, The sot a hero, lunatic a king; The starving chymist in his golden views Supremely bless'd, the poet in his muse.

See some strange comfort every state attend, And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend :

See some fit passion every age supply;
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite:
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and

prayer
books are the toys

of

age : Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before, Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.

Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays Those painted clouds that beautify our days; Each want of happiness by hope supplied, And each vacuity of sense by pride: 'These build as fast as knowledge can destroy; In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy; One prospect lost, another still we gain, And not a vanity is given in vain : E’en mean self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure others' wants by thine. See! and confess one comfort still must rise ; 'Tis this - Though man's a fool, yet God is wise.

AN ESSAY ON MAN.

EPISTLE III.

OF TIIE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITII RESPECT

TO SOCIETY.

ARGUMENT.

1. The whole universe one system of society. Nothing made

wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another. The happiness of animals mutual. 2. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual. Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals. 3. How far society carried by instinct ;-how much farther by reason. 4. Of that which is called the state of nature. Reason instructed by instinct in the invention of arts ;-and in the forms of society. 5. Origin of political societies ;-origin of monarchy ;-patriarchal government. 6. Origin of true religion and government, from the same principle of love ; -origin of superstition and tyranny, from the same principle of fear. The influence of self-love operating to the social and public good. Restoration of true religion and government on their first principle. Mixed government. Various forms of each, and the true end of all.

Here then we rest :-" the Universal Cause
Acts to one end, but acts by various laws."
In all the madness of superfluous health,
The trim of pride, the impudence of wealth,

Let this great truth be present night and day,
But most be present, if we preach or pray.

1. Look round our world; behold the chain o.
Combining all below and all above. [love
See plastic nature working to this end,
The single atoms each to other tend,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form'd and impell’d its neighbour to embrace
See matter next, with various life endued,
Press to one centre still, the general good :
See dying vegetables life sustain,
See life dissolving vegetate again:
All forms that perish other forms supply,
(By turns we catch the vital breath, and die)
Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
Nothing is foreign ; parts relate to whole;
One all-extending, all-preserving, soul
Connects each being, greatest with the least,
Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast;
All serv'd, all serving; nothing stands alone;
The chain holds on, and where it ends unknown.

Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good, Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food? Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn, For him as kindly spreads the flowery lawn: Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings ? Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings. Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat ? Loves of his own and raptures swell the note.

« EelmineJätka »