Abbildungen der Seite

Deduct what is but Vanity, or Dress,

45 Or Learning's Luxury, or Idleness; Or tricks to thew the stretch of human brain, Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain; Expunge the whole, or lop the excresceut parts Of all our Vices have created Arts;

50 Then fee how little the remaining fum, Which serv'd the past, and must the times to come!

II. Two principles in human nature reign; Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain; Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call,

55 Each works its end, to move or govern al}: And to their proper operation still, Afcribe all good to their improper, Ilk

Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the foul; Reason's comparing balance rules the whole.

бо Man, but for that, no action could attend, And, but for this, were active to no end : Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot, To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot; Or, meteor-like, flame lawless thro’the void,

65 Destroying others by himself destroy'd.

Moft strength the moving principle requires ;
Active its tašk, it prompts, impels, infpires :
Sedate and quiet, the comparing lies,
Form'd but to check, delib'rate and advise.

Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh;
Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie:
That sees immediate good by present sense;
Reason, the future and the consequence.
Thicker than arguments, temptations throng, 75
At best more watchful this, but that more strong,
The action of the stronger to suspend
Reason ftill use, to Reason ftill attend.
Attention, habit, and experience gains;
Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains 80
Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight,
More ftudious to divide than to unite;
And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split,
With all the ralh dexterity of wit.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Wits, just like fools, at war about a name,
Have full as oft no meaning, or the same.
Self-love and Reason to one end aspire,
Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire;
But greedy That its object would devour,

This taste the honey, and not wound the flow'r :
Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,
Our greast evil, or our greatest good.

III. Modes of Self-love the Passions we may call; 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all;

But since not ev'ry good, we can divide; i And Reason bids us for our own provide;

Paffions, tho' selfish, if their means be fair,
Lift under Reason, and deserve her care;
Those, that imparted court a nobler aim,
Exalt their kind, and take some Virtue's name.

In lazy Apathy let Stoics boast
Their Virtue fix'd; 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
But strength of mind is Exercise, not Rest:
The rising tempeft puts in act the soul,
Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole.
On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,
Reason the card, but passion is the gale;
Nor God alone in the still calm we find,
He mounts the storms, and walks upon the wind.

Passions, like elements, tho’ born to fight,
Yet, mix'd and soften’d, in his work unite:
These 'tis enough to temper and employ;
But what composes Man, can Man destroy?
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's road,
Subject, compound them, follow her and God.
Love, Hope, and Joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of pain ;
These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd,
Make and maintain the balance of the mind :
The lights and shades, whose well accorded strife
Gives all the strength and colour of our life.

Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes;
And when, in act, they cease, in prospect, risc:




I 20

[ocr errors]

Present to grasp, add future still to find,
The whole employ of body and of mind.
All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;
On diff'rent senses diff'rent objects strike;
Hence diff'rent passions more or less inflame,
As strong or weak, the organs of the frame; 130
And hence our MASTER PASSion in the breaft,
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.

As Man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,
Receives the lurking principle of death;
The young disease, that must fubdue at length, 135
Grows with his growth, and ftrengthens with his ftreng:1:
So, cast and mingled with his very frame,
The Mind's disease, its RULING Passion came;
Each vital humour which should feed the whole,
Soon flows to this, in body and in soul :

Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head,
As the mind opens, and its functions spread,
Imagination plies her dang’rous art,
And pours it all upon the peccant part.

Nature its mother, Habit is its nurse;
Wit, Spirit, Faculties but make it worse;
Reason itself but gives it edge and pow'r ;
As Heav’n’s bleft beam turns vinegar more sour,

We, wretched subjects tho' to lawful sway,
In this weak queen, some fav’rite ftill obey;

150 Ah! if shę lend not arms, as well as rules, What can she more than tell us we are fools ? Teach us to mourn our Nature, nor to mend, A sharp accufer, but a helpless friend! Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade

155 The choice we make, or justify it made; Proud of an easy conquest all along, She but removes weak passions for the strong: So, when small humours gather to a gout, The doctor fancies he has driv'n them out.

269 Yes, Nature's.road must ever be preferid; Reason is here no guide, but still a guard : 'Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow, And treat this paflion more as friend than foc:


[ocr errors]




A mightier Pow'r the strong direction fends,
And lev'ral Men impels to sev'ral ends :
Like varying winds, by other passions tost,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let pow'r or knowledge, gold or glory, please,
Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease;
Thro’life 'tis follow'd, ev'n at life's expence;
The merchant's toil, the fage's indolence,
The monk's humility, the hero's pride,
All, all alike, find Reason on their fide,

Th’Eternal Art educing good from ill,
Grafts on this passion our best Principle:
'Tis thus the Mercury of Man is fix'd,
Strong grow the Virtue with his nature mix’d;
The dross cements what else were too refin’d,
And in one int'reft body acts with mind.

As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care,
On favage stock inserted, learn to bear ;
The sureft Virtues thus from passions shoot,
Wild Nature's vigour working at the root.
What crops of wit and honesty appear
From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear!
See anger, zeal and fortitude supply;
Ev'n av'rice, prudence ; sloth, philofophy;
Luft, thro' some certain strainers well refin'd,
Is gentle love, and charms all womankind;
Envy, to which th' ignoble mind's a llave,
Is emulation in the learn'd or brave;
Nor Virtue, male or female, can we name,
But what will grow on Pride, or grow. on Shame.

Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride)
The virtue nearest to our vice ally'd :
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
The fiery foul abhorr'd in Catiline,
In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine :
The same ambition can destroy or save,
And make a patriot as it makes a knave.

This light and darkness in our chaos join'd,
What shall divideThe God within the mind.




[ocr errors]


200 210

Extremes in Nature equal ends produce,

205 In Man they join to some mysterious use; Tho' each by turns the other's bound invade, As, in some well-wrought pi&ture, light and shade, And oft so mix, the diff'rence is too nice Where ends the Virtue, or begins the Vice.

Fools ! who from hence into the notion fall, 'That Vice or Virtue there is none at all. If white and black blend, foften, and unite A thousand ways, is there no black or white? Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; 215 "Tis to mistake them costs the time and pain.

Vice is a monster of fo frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be feen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

But where th’ Extreme of Vice, was ne'er agreed :
Al where's the North ! at York, 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No Creature owns it in the first degree,

225. But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he; Ev’n those who dwell beneath its very zone, Or never feel the rage, or never own; What happier natures shrink at with affright, The hard inhabitant contends its right.

230 Virtuous and vicious ev'ry Man must be, Few in th' extreme, but all in the degree: The

rogue and fool, by fits is fair and wise ; And ev'n the best, by fits, what they despise. 'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill;

235. For, Vice or Virtue, Self directs it ftill ; Each individual feeks a fev'ral goal; But He Av’n’s great view is One, and that the Whole: That counterworks each folly and caprice; That disappoints th' effect of ev'ry vice;

240 That, happy frailties to all ranks apply'd; Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride, Fear to the státėsman, rafhness to the chief, To kings presumption, and to crowds belief :

« ZurückWeiter »