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Annual for me the
grape, the rose, renew
The juice nectareous and the balmy dew;
For me the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me health gushes from a thousand springs;
Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.'
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, From burning suns when livid deaths descend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep? No, ('tis replied) the first Almighty Cause
Acts not by partial but by general laws;
The' exceptions few; some change since all began ;
And what created perfect?-Why then man?'
If the great end be human happiness,
Then Nature deviates; and can man do less?
As much that end a constant course requires
Of showers and sunshine, as of man's desires;
As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's de-
Why then a Borgia or a Catiline? [sign,
Who knows but He, whose hand the lightning
Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms, Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind?
From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs;
Account for moral as for natural things:
Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit?
In both, to reason right, is to submit.
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind:
That never passion discomposed the mind:
But all subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The general order, since the whole began,
Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man.
6. What would this man? Now upward will he
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downwards, just as grieved 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 powers of all?
Nature to these without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper powers assign'd;
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, 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 Heaven unkind to man, and man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleased with nothing, if not bless'd with all?
The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No powers of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Why has not man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics given,
To' inspect a mite, not comprehend the Heaven?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at every pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
If Nature thunder'd in his opening ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,
How would he wish that Heaven had left him still
The whispering zephyr and the purling rill!
Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
7. Far as creation's ample range extends,
The scale of sensual, mental,
Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race
From the green myriads in the peopled grass:
What modes of sight 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 poisonous herbs extracts the healing dew!
How Instinct varies in the grovelling swine,
Compared, half reasoning elephant, with thine!
"Twixt that and Reason what a nice barrier!
For ever separate, yet for ever near!
Remembrance and Reflection how allied!
What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide!
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass the' insuperable line!
Without this just gradation could they be
Subjected these to those, or all to thee?
The powers of all subdued by thee alone,
Is not thy Reason all these powers in one?
8. See through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick and bursting into birth.
Above, how high progressive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of being! which from God began;
Natures etherial, 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 powers
Were we to press, inferior might on ours;
Or in the full creation leave a void, [stroy'd:
Where, one step broken, the great scale's de-
From Nature's chain whatever link
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And if each system in gradation roll,
Alike essential to the' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanced from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And Nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread order break-for whom? for thee,
Vile worm?-O madness! pride! impiety!
9. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, Or hand to toil, aspired to be the head? What if the head, the eye, or ear, repined To serve mere engines to the ruling mind? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another in this general frame; Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul:
That changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth as in the' etherial frame,
Warms in the sun, 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 rapt seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all!
10. Cease then, nor order imperfection name;
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee.
Submit-In this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as bless'd as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Or in the natal or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.