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Or make, an enemy of all mankind !
Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose.
No less alike the politic and wise:
All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes ;
Men in their loose unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
grant that those
these can cheat; 'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great;
230 Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave. Who noble ends by noble means obtains, Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains, Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed Like Socrates, that man is great indeed.
What's fame? a fancied life in others' breath, A thing beyond us, e'en before our death. Just what you hear you have; and what's unknown. The same (my lord) if Tully's or your own. 240 All that we feel of it begins and ends In the small circle of our foes or friends ; To all beside as much an empty shade As Eugene living, as a Cæsar dead; Alike or when or where they shone or shine, Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine. A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod; An honest man's the noblest work of God.) Fame but from death a villain's name can save, As justice tears his body from the grave ;
250 When what to oblivion better were resign'd, Is hung on high, to poison half mankind. All fame is foreign but of true desert. Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart :
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud buzzas;
And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels,
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels.
In parts superior what advantages lies?
Tell (for you all) what is it to be wise ?
'Tis but to know how little can be known
To see all others' faults, and feel our own;
Condemn'd in business or in arts to drudge,
Without a second, or without a judge:
Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land:
All fear, none aid you, and few understand.
Painful pre-eminence! yourself to view
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.
Bring then these blessings to a strict account:
Make fair deductions; see to what they mount:
How much of other each is sure to cost :
How each for other oft is wholly lost;
How inconsistent greater goods with these :
How sometime 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 ribbands 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. 280
If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined,
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind
Or ravish'd with the whistling of ap 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.
Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows,
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose;
In each bow guilt and greatness equal ran,
And all that raised the hero sunk the man;
Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold,
But staind 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 fail to ill;
Where only merit constant pay receives,
Is bless'd in what it takes, and what it gives;
The joy unequall'd 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 ;
Good, from each object, from each place acquired,
For ever exercised, yet never tired :
Never elated, while one man's oppressid ;
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
Yet 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 the immense design,
Joins heaven and earth, and mortal and divine;
Sees that no being any bliss can know,
But touches some above, and some below;
Learns from this 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,
the bliss that fills
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,
350 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?