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When what t'oblivion better were resign'd
In parts superior what advantage lies?
Bring then these blessings to a strict account; Make fair deductions; see to what they ’mount; How much of other each is sure to cost; How each for other oft is wholly lost; How inconsistent greater goods with these ; How sometimes life is risk'd, and always ease : Think, and if still the things thy envy call, Say, wouldst thou be the man to whom they fall? To sigh for ribands if thou art so silly, Mark how they grace Lord Umbra or Sir Billy. Is yellow dirt the passion of thy life? Look but on Gripus or on Gripus' wife.
If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shin'd,
shade. Alas! not dazzled with their noontide ray, Compute the morn and evening to the day; The whole amount of that enormous fame, A tale that blends their glory with their shame!
1 An allusion to the great Duke of Marlborough.
Know then 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 constant pay receives, Is bless'd 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, 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 : Good from each object, from each place acquir’d, For ever exercis’d, yet never tird; 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 heaven 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; Slave 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 heaven and earth, and mortal and divine ; Sees that no being any bliss can know, But touches some above and some below; Learns from this union of the rising whole The 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 given 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 motive 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 the boundless heart? Extend it, let thy enemies have part: Grasp the whole world 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, th' o'erflowings of the mind Take every creature in of every
kind : Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend ! my genius! come along;
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer
grave gay, from lively to severe;