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In who obtain defence, or who defend,
In him who is, or him who finds a friend :
Heaven breathes through every member of the whole
One common blessing, as one common soul.
But fortune's gifts, if each alike possess’d,
And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call’d, unhappy those;
But Heaven's just balance equal will appear,
While those are placed in hope, and these in fear:
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
71 But future views of better or of worse.
O, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies?
Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
III. Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,'
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.
But health consists with temperance alone ;
And peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own
The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain ;
But these less taste them, as they worse obtain.
Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
Who risk the most, that take wrong means, or right?
Of vice or virtue, whether bless'd or cursed,
Which meets contempt, or which compassion first?
Count all the advantage prosperous vice attains,
'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains : 90 N
And grant the bad what happiness they would,
One they must want, which is, to pass for good.
Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below,
Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue wo!
Who sees and follows that great scheme the best,
Best knows the blessing, and will most be bless’d,
But fools the good alone unhappy call,
For ills or accidents that chance to all.
See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just !
See godlıke Turenne prostrate on the dust! 100
See Sidney bleeds amid the martial strife!
Was this their virtue, or contempt of life?
Say, was it virtue, more though Heaven ne’er gave,
Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave ?
Tell me, if virtue made the son expire,
Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire?
Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath,
When nature sick’ned, and each gale was death?
Or why so long (in life if long can be)
Lent Heaven a parent to the poor and me? 110.
What makes all physical or moral ill ?
There deviates nature, and here wanders will.
God sends not ill, if rightly understood,
Or partial ill is universal good,
Or change admits, or nature lets it fall,
Short, and but rare till man improved it all.
We just as wisely might of Heaven complain
That righteous Abel was destroy'd by Cain,
As that the virtuous son is ill at ease
When his lewd father gave the dire disease. 120
like some weak prince, the Eternal cause
Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws!
IV. Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires,
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires !
On air or sea new motions be impress’d,
Oh blameless Bethel ! to relieve thy breast ?
When the loose mountain trembles from on high,
Shall gravitation cease if you go by?
Or some old temple, nodding to its fall,
For Chartes' head reserve the hanging wall ? 130
V. But still this world (so fitted for the knave)"
Contents us not. A better shall we have ?
A kingdom of the just then let it be:
But first consider how those just agree
The good must merit God's peculiar care !
But who, but God, can tell us who they are ?
One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell :
Another deems him instrument of hell;
If Calvin feel Heaven's blessing, or its rod,
This cries, there is, and that, there is no God 140
What shocks one part will edify the rest,
Nor with one system can they all be bless'd.
• The very best will variously incline,
And what rewards your virtue, punish mine.
WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.—This world, 'tis true,
Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too :
And which more bless'd? who chain'd his country,
Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day?
VI. · But sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed.'
What then ? Is the reward of virtue bread ? 150
That, vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil;
The kpave deserves it, when he till's the soil ;
The knave deserves it when he tempts the main,
Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain
The good man may be weak, be indolent ;
Nor is his claim to plenty, but content.
But grant him riches, your demand is o'er; • No-shall the good want health, the good want
And health and power and every earthly thing, • Why bounded power? why private, why no king? Nay, why external for internal given ?
Why is not man a god, and earth a heaven?
Who ask and reason thus will scarce conceive
God gives enough, while he has more to give;
Immense the power, immense were the demand ;
Say, at what part of nature will they stand?
What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
The soul's calm sun-shine, and the heartfelt joy,
Is virtue's prize: a better would you fix?
Then give humility a coach and six,
Justice a conqueror's sword, or truth a gown,
Or public spirit its great cure—a crown.
Weak, foolish man! will Heaven reward us there
With the same trash mad mortals wish for here?
The boy and man an individual makes,
Yet sighost thou now for apples and for cakes?
Go, like the lodian, in another life
Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife:
As well as dream such trifles are assign'd,
As toys and empires, for a god-like mind.
180 Rewards, that either would to virtue bring No joy, or be destructive of the thing; How oft by these at sixty are undone, The virtues of a saint at twenty-one ! To whom can riches give repute or trust, Content or pleasure, but the good and just ! Judges and senates have been bought for gold; Esteem and love were never to be sold.
Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind,
The lover and the love of human-kind,
190 Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a-year.
Honour and shame from no condition rise;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
Fortune in men has some small difference made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade;
The cobbler apron'd, and the parson gown'd
The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd.
• What differ more, you cry, 'than crown and cowl?'
I'll tell you, friend! a wise man and a fool. 200
You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk,
Or, cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk,
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow,
The rest is all but leather or prunella.
Stuck o'er with titles and hung round with strings,
That thou may'st be by kings, or whores of kings.
Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race,
In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece:
But by your father's worth if yours you rate,
Count me those only who were good and great. 210
Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood
Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood,
Go! and pretend your family is young;
Nor own your fathers have been fools so long.
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards ?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness ; say where greatness lies;
Where, but among the heroes and the wise ?
Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia's madman to the Swede; 220
The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find,