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The bounding steed you pompously bestride
Know Nature's children all divide her care;
Grant that the powerful still the weak control; Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : Nature that tyrant checks; he only knows, And helps another creature's wants and woes. Say will the falcon, stooping from above, Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove ? Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings? Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings ?Man cares for all : to birds he gives his woods, To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods; For some his interest prompts him to provide, For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride: All feed on one vain patron, and enjoy Th'extensive blessing of his luxury. That very
life his learned hunger craves, He saves from famine, from the savage saves ;
Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast,
To each unthinking being, Heaven, a friend,
2. Whether with reason or with instinct blest, Know all enjoy that power which suits them best; To bliss alike by that direction tend, And find the means proportion'd to their end. Say, where full instinct is th' unerring guide, What pope or council can they need beside ? Reason, however able, cool at best, Cares not for service, or but serves when prest, Stays till we call, and then not often near; But honest instinct comes a volunteer, Sure never to o'ershoot, but just to hit, While still too wide or short is human wit ; Sure by quick nature happiness to gain, Which heavier reason labours at in vain. This, too, serves always; reason, never long; One must go right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing powers
Who taught the nations of the field and wood To shun their poison and to choose their food ? Prescient, the tides or tempests to withstand, Build on
wave, or arch beneath the sand ? Who made the spider parallels design, Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line ? Who bade the stork, Columbus like, explore Heavens not his own, and worlds unknown before? Who calls the council, states the certain day, Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way
3. God in the nature of each being founds Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds ; But as he fram'd the whole the whole to bless, On mutual wants built mutual happiness : So from the first eternal order ran, And creature link'd to creature, man to man. Whate'er of life all-quickening ether keeps, Or breathes thro' air, or shoots beneath the deep Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds. Not man alone, but all that roam the wood, Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood, Each loves itself, but not itself alone, Each sex desires alike, till two are one. Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace : They love themselves a third time in their race.
Thus beast and bird their common charge attend,
dismiss'd to wander earth or air,
4. Nor think in Nature's state they blindly trod; The state of Nature was the reign of God: Self-love and social at her birth began, Union the bond of all things, and of man. Pride then was not, nor arts that pride to aid; Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the shade; The same his table, and the same his bed ; No murder cloth'd him, and no murder fed":
In the same temple, the resounding wood,
breeds; The fury passions from that blood began, And turn'd on man a fiercer savage, man.
See him from nature rising slow to art! To copy
instinct then was reason's part: Thus then to man the voice of nature spake“ Go, from the creatures thy instructions take; Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield; Learn from the beasts the physic of the field; Thy arts of building from the bee receive; Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave; Learn of the little nautilus to sail, Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale. Here too all forms of social union find, And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind : Here subterranean works and cities see ; There towns aërial on the waving tree. Learn each small people's genius, policies, The ants' republic, and the realm of bees;