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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 shined,
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind;
Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
See Cromwell damn'd to everlasting fame !
If all united, thy ambition call,
From ancient story learn to scorn them all.
There, in the rich, the honour'd, famed, and great,
See the false scale of happiness complete!
In hearts of kings, or arms of queens who lay,
How happy! those to ruin, these betray. 290
Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows;
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose ;
In each how guilt and greatness equal ran,
And all that raised the hero sunk the man:
Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold,
But stain'd with blood, or ill exchanged for gold :
Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease,
Or infamous for plunder'd provinces.
O wealth ill-fated! which no act of fame
E'er taught to shine, or sanctified from shame! 300
What greater bliss attends their close of life?
Some greedy minion, or imperious wife,
The trophied arches, storied halls invade,
And haunt their slumbers in the pompous shade.
Alas! not dazzled with their noon-tide 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!
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 unequallid, 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 : 320
Good, from each object, from each place acquired,
for ever exercised, yet never tired;
Vever 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
Pet 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, 330
But looks through nature up to nature's God;
Pursues that chain which links th’immense design
Toins Heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine
Sees that no being any bliss can know,
But touches some above, and some below;
wearns from the 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. 340
For him alone hope leads from goal to goal, And opens still, and opens on his soul; Till lengthen'd on to faith, and unconfined, At 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 bless'd;
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. 360
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 moved, 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, the o'erflowings of the mind Take every creature in, of every kind:
370 Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty bless'd, And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend! my genius! come along; O master of the poet, and the song! And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise; Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer From grave to gay, from lively to severe; 380 Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, Intent to reason, or polite to please. 0! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame, Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,
Shall then this verse to future age pretend
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? 390
That, urged by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art
From sound to things, from fancy to the heart;
For wit's false mirror held up nature's light,
Show'd erring pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT;
That reason, passion, answer one great aim;
That true self-love and social are the same;
That virtue only makes our bliss below;
And all our knowledge, is ourselves to know.
It may be proper to observe, that some passages in the pre. ceding Essay having been unjustly suspected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this pray. er as the sum of all, to show that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: that the First Cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the universe as the Crea. tor of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay) was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determin. ation, but a resting in a religious acquiescence, and confi. dence full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this paraphrase.
FATHER of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord !
Thou Great First Cause, least understood
Wno all my sense confined
To know but this, 'That thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave mc, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left sree the human will:
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than hell to shun,
That, more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives :
To enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay :
If I am wrong, O teach
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denier,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's wo,
To hide the fault I see: That merey I to others show
That merey show to me