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Who, foe to Nature, hears the gen'ral groan,
Murders their species, and betrays

his

own. But just disease to luxury succeeds,

165
And ev'ry death it's own avenger breeds ;
The Fury-passions from that blood began,
And turn’d on Man a fiercer savage, Man.

See him from Nature rising flow to Art !
To copy Instinct then was Reason's part; 170

COMMENTARY, VER. 169. See him from Nature rising flow to Art!) Strict method (in which, by this time, the reader finds the poet more conversant than some were aware of) leads him next to speak of that Society, which succeeded the Natural, namely the Civil. He first explains (from * 169 to 199) the intermediate means which led Mankind from natural to civil Society.

These were the invention and improvement of Arts. For while Mankind lived in a mere state of Nature, there was no need of any other government than the Paternal; but when Arts were found out and improved, then that more perfect form, under the direction of a Magistrate, became necessary. And for these rea

NOTES.
of one ; he took those freedoms cruelty, he endeavoured to phi-
with all, that are consequent lofophize himself into an opini-
on such a principle. He soon on that animals were mere ma-
began to consider the whole chines, insensible of pain or
animal creation as his slaves ra- pleasure. Thus Man affected
ther than his subjects; as be- to be the Wit as well as Ty-
ing created for no use of their rant of the Whole : and it be-
own, but for his only; and came one who adhered to the
therefore treated them with the Scripture account of Man's do-
utmost barbarity: And not so minion, to reprove this abuse
content, to add insult to his I of it, and to thew that

Heav'n's attribute was Universal Care,
And Man's prerogative to rule, but spare.

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; 175 “ Learn of the mole to plow, the worm to weave; « Learn of the little Nautilus to fail,

Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.

3

CC

COMMENTARY. fons; first, to bring those arts, already found, to perfection : And, secondly, to secure the product of them to their rightful proprietors. The poet, therefore, comes now, as we say, to the invention of Arts ; but being always intent on the great end for which he wrote his Essay, namely to mortify that Pride which occasions the impious complaints against Providence ; he speaks of these inventions as only lessons learnt of mere animals guided by instinct; and thus, at the same time, gives a new instance of the wonderful Providence of God, who has contrived to teach mankind in a way, not only proper to humble human arrogance, but to raise our idea of infinite Wisdom to the greatest pitch. This he does in a profopopoeia the most sublime that ever entered into the human imagination:

VER

NOTES. Ver. 173. Learn from the beasts &c.] See Pliny's Nat. birds, &c.] It is a common Hift. 1. viii. c. 27. where se practice amongst Navigators, veral instances are given of when thrown upon a desert Animals discovering the medicoast, - and in want of re- cinal efficacy of herbs, by their freshments, to observe what own use of them; and pointing fruits have been touched by out to some operations in the the Birds : and to venture on art of healing, by their own these without further hesita- practice. tion.

Ver. 177. Learn of the litVER. 174. Learn from the tle Nautilus] Oppian. Halieut. “ Here too all forms of social union find, “ And hence let Reason, late, instruct Mankind : « Here subterranean works and cities see ; 181 “ There towns aerial on the waving tree. “ Learn each small People's genius, policies, « The Ant's republic, and the realm of Bees; “ How those in common all their wealth bestow, “ And Anarchy without confusion know;

186 “ And these for ever, tho' a Monarch reign, “ Their sep'rate cells and properties maintain.

COMMENTARY.
Thus then to Man the voice of Nature spake :
Go, from the Creatures thy instructions take, &c.
And for those Arts mere Inftinet could afford,

6 Be crown'd as Monarchs, or as Gods ador'd.' The delicacy of the poet's address in the first part of the last line, is very remarkable. In this paragraph he has given an account of those intermediate means, that led Mankind from natural to civil Society, namely, the invention and improvement of Arts. Now here, on his conclusion of this account, and his entry upon the description of civil Society itself, he connects the two parts the most gracefully that can be conceived, by this true historical circumstance, that it was the invention of those Arts which raised to the Magistracy in this new Society formed for the perfecting them.

NOTES. lib. i. describes this fish in the 6 and extend a membrane befollowing manner :

“ They

“ tween, which serves as a « swim on the surface of the « fail; the other two feet they « fea, on the back of their “ employ as oars at the side. “ shells, which exactly resem- " They are usually seen in the “ ble the hulk of a ship; they 66 Mediterranean." P. < raise two feet like maits,

2

“Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,

Laws wise as Nature, and as fix'd as Fate. 190 " In vain thy Reason finer webs shall draw,

Entangle Justice in her net of Law, " And right, too rigid, harden into wrong; “ Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.

Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway, 195 « Thus let the wiser make the rest obey ;

And for those Arts mere Instinct could afford, “ Be crown'd as Monarchs, or as Gods ador’d.”

V. Great Nature spoke ; obfervant Men obey'd;
Cities were built, Societies were made:
Here rose one little state; another near
Grew by like means, and join'd, thro’ love or fear.

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 197. in the first Editions,

Who for those Arts they learn'd of Brutes before,

As Kings shall crown them, or as Gods adore.
Ver. 201. Here rofe one little ftate, &c.] In the MS. thus,

The Neighbours leagu'd to guard their common spot:
And Love was Nature's dictate, Murder, not.

200

COMMENTARY.
Ver. 199. Great Nature spoke;} After all this necessary pre-

NOTES. VER. 199. obfervant Men ence to the voice of Nature, obey'd ;] The epithet is beauti- and attention to the lefsons of ful, as fignifying both obedi. I the animal creation,

Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend,
And there the streams in

purer

rills descend ? What War could ravish, Commerce could bestow, And he return'd a friend, who came a foe. 206 Converse and Love mankind'might strongly draw, When Love was Liberty, and Nature Law. Thus States were form’d; the name of King un

known, 'Till common int'rest plac'd the sway in one. 210

VARIATIONS.
For want alone each animal contends;
Tygers with Tygers, that remov'd, are friends.
Plain Nature's wants the common mother crown'd,
She pour'd her acorns, herbs, and streams around.
No Treasure then for rapine to invade,
What need to fight for fun-fhine or for shade?
And half the cause of contest was remov’d,
When beauty could be kind to all who lov'd.

COMMENTARY. paration, the poet shews (from 198 to 209) how civil Society followed, and the advantages it produced.

Ver. 209. Thus States were form'd ;] Having thus explained the original of Civil Society, he shews us next (from ® 208 to 215) that to this Society a civil magistrate, properly so called, did belong : And this in confutation of that idle hypothesis which pretends that God conferred the regal title on the Fathers of fa

NOTES. Ver. 208. When Love was civil pactions; the love which Liberty,] i.e. When men had each master of a family had for no need to guard their native those under his care being their liberty from their governors by best security.

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