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Some safer world in depth of woods embracid,
ESSAY ON MAN, V. 2. p. 43.
THE PROGRESSION OF ANIMAL LIFE. WHAT would this Man Now upward wilt
he soar, And, little less than Angel, would be more ; Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. Made for his use all creatures if he call, Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all? Nature to these, without profusion, kind, The proper organs, proper pow'rs affign'd; Each seeming want compensated of course, Here with degrees of fwiftness, there of force ; All in exact proportion to the state ; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate. Each beast, each insect, happy in its own : Is Heav'n unkind to Man, and Man alone? Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bleft with all ?
The bliss of Man (could Pride that blessing find) Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No pow’rs of body, or of soul to share,
Far as Creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental pow’rs afcends: Mark how it mounts to Man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopled grass; What modes of fight betwixt each wide extreme, The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam : Of smell, the headlong lioness between, And hound sagacious on the tainted green: Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, To that which warbles through the vernal wood! The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine ! Feels at each thread, and lives along the line : In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true From pois’nous herbs extracts the healing dew!
How Instinct varies in the grov'ling swine,
See, thro' this air, this occan, and this earth, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high, progressive life may go! Around, how wide! how deep extend below! Vaft chain of being ! which from God began, Natures æthereal, human, angel, man, Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee, From thee to Nothing.-On superior pow'rs Were we to press, inferior might on ours ; Or in the full Creation leave a void, Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd: From Nature's chain whatever link
strike, Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
IBID. V. 2, p. 47•
UNIVERSAL ORDER. ALL are but parts of one ftupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul; That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same, Great in the earth, as in th'etherial frame Warms in the fun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ; Lives through all life, extends through all extent; Spreads undivided, operates unspent; Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart; As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns, As the wrapt Seraph that adores and burns : To him no high, no low, no great, no small; He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
Cease then, nor ORDER imperfection name : Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree Of blinduess, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee. Submit.-In this, or any other sphere, Secure to be as bleft as thou canst bear : Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r, Or in the natal, or the mortal hour. All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not fee; All Discord, Harmony not underftood; All partial Evil, universal Good : And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's fpite, One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
IBID. P. 52. K
SELF-KNOWLEDGE. KNOW then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is Man. Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the Sceptic fide, With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or reft; In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast; In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer ; Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reason such, Whether he thinks too little, or too much : Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd; Still by himself abus'd or disabus’d; Created half 'to rife, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of Trath, in endless Error hurl'd: The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wond'rous creature ! mount where Science
guides; Go, measure earth, weigh air, and ftate the tides; Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun; Go, foar with Plato to th'empyreal sphere, To the first good, first perfect, and firft fair ; Or tread the mazy round his follow'rs trod, And, quitting sense, call imitating God; As Eastern priests in giddy circles run, And turn their heads to imitate the Sun.