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more Perfection, the cause of Man's error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensations, ver. 109, &c. V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world, which is not in the natural, ver. 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the Perfection of the Angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the Brutes; though, to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable, ver. 173, &c. VII. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason; that Reason alone countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. VilI. How much farther this order and subordination of living creatures may extend, above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed, ver. 233. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire, ver. 250.
X. The consequence of all the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state, ver. 281, &c. to the end.
EPIS T L E I.
things To low ambition, and the pride of Kings, Let us (since Life can little more supply Than just to look about us, and to die) Expatiate free o'er all this scene of Man;
5 A mighty maze! but not without a plan; A Wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous Moot : Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit. Together let us beat this ample field, Try what the open, what the covert yield ! The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore Of all who blindly creep, or fightless foar; Eye Nature's walks, shoot Folly as it flies, And catch the Manners living as they rise : Laugh where we must, be candid where we can ; But vindicate the ways of God to man.
I. Say first, of God above, or Man below, What can we reason, but from what we know? Of Man, what fee we but his station here, From which to reason, or to which refer? Through worlds unnumber'd tho' the God be known, 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own. He, who through vast immensity can pierce, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, Observe how system into system runs,
25 What other planets circle other suns,
What vary'd Being peoples every star,
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
II. Presumptuous Man! the reason wouldlt thou find, Why form’d so weak, so little, and so blind ? First, if thou canít, the harder reason guess, Why form’d no weaker, blinder, and no less ? Ask of thy mother earth, why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade ; 40 Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove ?
Of Systems poffible, if 'tis confeft,
Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call
55 Yet serves to second too some other use.
So Man, who here seems principal alone,
Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Say rather, Man's as perfect as he ought:
70 His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; His time a moment, and a point his space. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, foon or late, or here, or there? The bleft to-day is as completely fo,
75 As who began a thousand years ago.
III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Fate, All but the page prescrib?d, their present state :
From VARIATIONS, In the former Editions, ver. 64.
Now wears a garland an Ægyptian God.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Or who could suffer Being here below;
80 The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy Reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flowery food, And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future ! kindly given, That each
fill the circle mark'd by Heaven: Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurld, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. 90
Hope humbly then ; with trembling pinions soar; Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore. What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breaft:
95 Man never Is, but always To be blest : The soul, uneasy, and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
VARIATIONS. After ver. 88. in the MS.
No great, no little ; 'tis as much decreed
That Virgil's Gnat should die as Cæfar bleed. Ver. 93
in the first Folio and Quarto, What bliss above he gives not thee to know, But gives that Hope to be thy bliss below.