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The good must merit God's peculiar care! "What differ more,' you cry, 'than crown and cowl?,
Or, cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk,
Stuck o'er with titles and hung round with strings, Nor with one system can they all be bless'd. That thou may'st be by kings, or whores of kings. The very best will variously incline,
Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race, And what rewards your virtue, punish mine. In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece: WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.-This world, 'tis true, But by your fathers'worth if yours you rate, Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too;
Count me those only who were good and great. 210 And which more bless'd ? who chain'd his country, Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood say,
Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood, Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day?
Go! and pretend your family is young; VI. “But sometimes virtue starves while vice is Nor own your fathers have been fools so long. fed.'
What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards ? What then? Is the reward of virtue bread ? 150 Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards. That, vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil;
Look next on greatness : say where greatness lies :
Or make, an enemy of all mankind !
No less alike the politic and wise ;
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains,
Like Socrates, that man is great indeed.
170 What's fame? a fancied life in others' breath, Justice a conqueror's sword, or truth a gown, A thing beyond us, e'en before our death. Or public spirit its great cure-a crown.
Just what you hear you have; and what's unknown,
In the small circle of our foes or friends ;
As Eugene living, as a Cæsar dead;
Alike or when or where they shone or shine, As well as dream such trifles are assign'd,
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine. As toys and empires, for a god-like mind. 180 A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod; Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
An honest man's the noblest work of God. No joy, or be destructive of the thing ;
Fame but from death a villain's name can save, How oft by these at sixty are undone
As justice tears his body from the grave; 250 The virtues of a saint at twenty-one !
When what to oblivion better were resign'd, To whom can riches give repute or trust,
Is hung on high, to poison half mankind. Content or pleasure, but the good and just ? All fame is foreign but of true desert, Judges and senates have been bought for gold; Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart: Esteemn and love were never to be sold.
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas; The lover and the love of human-kind, 190 And more true joy Marcellus exiled feels, Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels. clear,
In parts superior what advantage lies ? Because he wants a thousand pounds a year. Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise ? 260
Honour and shame from no condition rise; 'Tis but to know how little can be known, Act well your part, there all the honour lies. To see all others' faults, and feel our own; Fortune in men has some small difference made, Condemn'd in business or in arts to drudge, One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade; Without a second, or without a judge : The cobbler apron'd, and the parson gown'd, Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land! The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd. All fear, none aid you, and few understand.
Painful pre-en inence ! yourself to view
| Pursues that chain which links th' immense design, Above life's weakness, and its comforts too. Joins Heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine;
Bring then these blessings to a strict account: Sees that no being any bliss can know, Make fair deductions ; see to what they 'mount: 270 But touches some above, and some below: How much of other each is sure to cost;
Learns from the union of the rising whole How each for other oft is wholly lost ;
The first, last purpose of the human soul;
For him alone hope leads from goal to goal,
Till lengthen'd on to faith, and unconfined,
pours the bliss that fills up all the mind. Is yellow dirt the passion of thy life?
He sees why nature plants in man alone, Look but on Gripus, or on Gripus' wife. 280 Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown: If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined, (Nature, whose dictates to no other kind The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind; Are given in vain, but what they seek they find) Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name,
Wise is her present; she connects in this See Cromwell damn'd to everlasting fame! His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss; 350 If all, united, thy ambition call,
At once his own bright prospect to be bless'd ; From ancient story, learn to scorn them all. And strongest motive to assist the rest. There, in the rich, the honour'd, famed, and great, Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine, See the false scale of happiness complete ! Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine. In hearts of kings, or arms of queens who lay, Is this too little for the boundless heart? How happy! those to ruin, these betray. 290 Extend it, let thy enemies have part; Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows,
Grasp the whole world of reason, life, and sense, From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose; In one close system of benevolence; In each how guilt and greatness equal ran, Happier as kinder, in whate'er degree, And all that raised the hero sunk the man : And height of bliss but height of charity. 360 Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold, God loves from whole to parts : but human sou) But stain'd with blood, or ill exchanged for gold : Mast rise from individual to the whole. Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease, Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake, Or infamous for plunder'd provinces.
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake ; O wealth ill-fated! which no act of fame
The centre moved, a circle straight succeeds, E'er taught to shine, or sanctified from shame! 300 Another still, and still another spreads ; What greater bliss attends their close of life? Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace ; Some greedy minjon, or imperious wife,
His country next, and next all human race: The trophied arches, storied halls invade,
Wide and more wide, the o'erflowings of the mind And haunt their slumbers in the pompous shade. Take every creature in, of every kind;
370 Alas! not dazzled with their noon-tide ray, Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty bless'd, Compute the morn and evening to the day; And Heaven beholds its image in his breast. The whole amount of that enormous fame,
Come then, my friend ! my genius! come along; A tale that blends their glory with their shame! O master of the poet, and the song!
Know then this truth, (enough for man to know,) And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, "Virtue alone is happiness below.'
310 To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, The only point where human bliss stands still, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
To fall with dignity, with temper rise ; Where only merit constant pay receives,
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer, Is bless'd in what it takes, and what it gives ; From grave to gay, from lively to severe;
380 The joy unequallid, if its end it gain,
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Intent to reason, or polite to please.
O! while along the stream of time thy name
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy Never elated, while one man's oppress'd;
foes, Never dejected, while another 's bless'd :
Shall then this verse to future age pretend And where no wants, no wishes can remain, Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? 390 Since but to wish more virtue, is to gain.
That, urged by thee, I turn’d the tuneful art See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow! From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart; Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can For wit's false mirror held up nature's light, know;
Show'd erring pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT ; Yet poor with fortune and with learning blind, That reason, passion, answer one great aim ; The bad must miss, the good untaught will find; That true self-love and social are the same; Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, 330 That virtue only inakes our bliss below; Bat looks through nature up to nature's God; And all our knowledge, is ourselves to know.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
Mean though I am, not wholly sé),
Since quicken'd by thy breath ; O lead me, wheresoe'er I go,
Through this day's life or death. This day, be bread and peace my lot :
All else beneath the sun,
And let thy will be done.
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies !
All Nature's incense rise!
It may be proper to observe, that some passages in
the preceding Essay having been unjustly suspected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this prayer as the sum of all, to show that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: that the First Cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay) was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but a resting in a religious acquiescence, and confidence full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this paraphrase.
IN FOUR EPISTLES TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
Father of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Who all my sense confined
And that myself am blind;
To see the good from ill;
Left free the human will:
Or warns me not to do,
That, more than heaven pursue.
Let me not cast away ;
To enjoy is to obey.
Thy goodness let me bound,
When thousands worlds are round.
Presume thy bolts to throw,
On each I judge thy foe.
Still in the right to stay :
O teach my heart
Or impious discontent,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
To hide the fault I see : That mercy 1 to others show,
That mercy show to me.
ADVERTISEMENT. The Essay on Man was intended to have been comprised in four books :
The first of which the author has given us under that title, in four epistles.
The second was to have consisted of the same number: 1. Of the extent and limits of human rea. son. 2. Of those arts and sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are unuseful, and there. fore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application of the different capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning, of the science of the world, and of wit; concluding with a satire against a misapplication of them, illustrated by pictures, characters, and examples
The third book regarded civil regimen, or the science of politics, in which the several forms of a republic were to be examined and explained ; together with the several modes of religious worship, as far forth as they affect society: between which the author always supposed there was the most interesting relation and closest connexion; so that this
part would have treated of civil and religious society in their full extent.
The fourth and last book concerned private ethics, or practical morality, considered in all the circumstances, orders, professions, and stations of human life.
The scheme of all this had been maturely digested, and communicated to Lord Bolingbroke, Dr. Swift, and one or two more, and was intended for the only work of his riper years; but was, partly through ill. health, partly through discouragements from the de. pravity of the times, and partly on prudential and
other considerations, interrupted, postponed, and, lastly, in a manner laid aside.
But as this was the author's favourite work, which more exactly reflected the image of his strong capa. cious mind, and as we can have but a very imporfect
to ver. 108.
idea of it from the disjecta membra poetæ that now re
III. It only remains to find (if we can) main, it may not be amiss to be a little more particu- his ruling passion : That will certainly influence all
the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real incon. lar concerning each of these projected books.
sistency of all his actions, ver. 175. Instanced in the The first, as it creats of man in the abstract, and
extraordinary character of Clodio, ver. 179. A cau. considers him in general under every of his relations,
tion against mistaking second qualities for first, becomes the foundation, and furnishes out the sub
which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of jects, of the three following ; so that
mankind, ver. 210. Examples of the strength of the The second book was to take up again the first ruling passion, and its continuation to the last breath, and second epistles of the first book, and treat of ver. 22, &c. man in his intellectual capacity at large, as has been explained above. Of this, only a small part of the conclusion (which, as we said, was to have contain
EPISTLE L. ed a satire against the misapplication of wit and I. Yes, you despise the man to books confined, learning) may be found in the fourth book of the Who from his study rails at human kind, Lanciad, and
up and down, occasionally, in the other Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance three.
Some general maxims, or be right by chance. The third book, in like manner, was to re-assume The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave, tre subject of the third epistle of the first, which That from his cage cries cuckold, whore, and knave, trats of man in his social, political, and religious ca- Though many a passenger he rightly call, picity. But this part the poet afterwards conceived You hold him no philosopher at all. might be best executed in an epic poem; as the ac And yet the fate of all extremes is such, ton would make it more animated, and the fable less Men may be read, as well as books, too much. 10 in vidious : in which all the great principles of true To observations which ourselves we make, and false governments and religions should be chiefly We grow more partial for the observer's sake: delivered in feigned examples.
To written wisdom, as another's, less; The fourth and last book was to pursue the sub- Maxims are drawn from notions, these from guess. ject of the fourth epistle of the first, and to treat of There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain, ethics, or practical morality; and would have con- Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein: sisted of many members ; of which the four follow. Shall only man' be taken in the gross ? ing epistles were detached portions; the first two, Grant but as many sorts of minds as moss. on the characters of men and women, being the in That each from others differs, first confess; troductory part of this concluding book.
Next, that he varies from himself no less; 20
And all opinion's colours cast on life.
Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds,
Quick whirls, and shifting eddies of our minds? EPISTLE I.
On human actions reason though you can, TO SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.
It may be reason, but it is not man:
His principle of action once explore,
That instant 'tis his principle no more.
Like following life through creatures you dissect, Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. You lose it in the moment you detect.
30 I That it is not sufficient for this knowledge to con. Yet more; the difference is as great between sider man in the abstract: books will not serve the The optics seeing, as the objects seen. purpose, nor yet our own experience singly, ver. 1. All manners take a tincture from our own; General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, Or some discolour'd through our passions shown; will be but notional, ver. 10. Some peculiarity in Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies, every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes. passions, fancies, faculties, &c. ver. 31. The short
Nor will life's stream for observation stay ; ness of life to observe in, and the uncertainty of the It hurries all too fast to mark their way: principles of action in men to observe by, ver. 37, &c. In vain sedate reflections we would make, Our own principle of action often hid from ourselves, When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take; ver. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general Oft, in the passions' wild rotation toss'd, 41 confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, ver. 51. Barne man utterly different in different places and Tired, not determined, to the last we yield,
The Our spring of action to ourselves is lost : Bensonsver. 62. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greatest, ver. 70, &c. Nothing constant and certain
And what comes then is master of the field. but God and nature, ver. 95. No judging of the mo. As the last image of that troubled heap, tives from the actions: the same actions proceeding When sense subsides and fancy sports in sleep, from contrary motives, and the same motives in-|(Though past the recollection of the thought,) fluencing contrary actions, ver. 100. II. Yet, to form Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought : characters, we can only take the strongest actions of Something as dim to our internal view, a man's life, and try to make them agree. The utter Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.
50 uncertainty of this, from nature itself, and from policy, ver. 120. Character given according to the
True, some are open, and to all men known; rank of men of the world, ver. 135. And some reason
Others, so very close, they 're hid from none; for it, ver. 140. Education alters the nature, or at (So darkness strikes the sense no less than light :) least character, of many, ver. 149. Actions, passions, Thus gracious Chandos is beloved at sight; opinions, manners, humours, or principles, all sub And every child hates Shylock, though his soul, ject to change. No indging by nature, from ver. 158. Süll sits at gqnat, and peeps not from its hole.
At half mankind when generous Manly raves, Must then at once (the character to save)
Alas! in truth the man but changed his mind,
But these plain characters we rarely find ; Why risk the world's great empire for a punk?
One action, conduct; one, heroic love.
"Tis from high life high characters are drawn, And in the cunning, truth itself 's a lie :
A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn; Unthought-of frailties cheat us in the wise ; A judge is just, a chancellor juster still; The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.
70 A gownman learn'd, a bishop what you will ; See the same man, in vigour, in the gout; Wise, if a minister ; but, if a king, Alone, in company; in place, or out ;
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more every Early at business, and at hazard late ;
140 Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate;
Court virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate, Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball;
Born where Heaven's influence scarce can penetrate. Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall. In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like; Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
There please as beauties, here as wonders strike. Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave, Though the same sun with all-diffusive rays Save just at dinner-then prefers, no doubt, Blush in the rose, and in the diamond blaze, A rogue with venison to a saint without. 80 We prize the stronger effort of his power,
Who would not praise Patricio's high desert, And justly set the gem above the flower. His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
'Tis education forms the common mind : His comprehensive head, all interests weigh'd, Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined. 150 All Europe saved, yet Britain not betray'd ? Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'squire ; He thanks you not, his pride is in piquet,
The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar: Newmarket-fame, and judgment at a bet.
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave : What made (say, Montagne, or more sage Charron.) Will sneaks a scrivener, an exceeding knave. Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon?
Is he a churchman ? then he's fond of power: A perjured prince a leaden saint revere,
A quaker ? sly: a presbyterian ? sour : A godless regent tremble at a star ?
90 A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour. The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit,
Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell Faithless through piety, and duped through wit? How trade increases, and the world goes well : Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule,
Serike off his pension, by the setting sun, And just her wisest monarch made a fool ? And Britain, if not Europe, is undone. Know, God and nature only are the same;
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once, In man, the judgment shoots at flying game: What turns him now a stupid silent dunce ? A bird of passage! gone as soon as found, Some good, or spirit, he has lately found; Now in the moon, perhaps now under ground. Or chanced to meet a minister that frown'd.
II. In vain the sage, with retrospective eye, Judge we by nature ? habit can efface, Would from the apparent what, conclude the why; 100 Interest o’ercome, or policy take place : Infer the motive from the deed, and show,
By actions ? those uncertainty divides : That what we chanced, was what we meant to do. By passions ? these dissimulation hides : Behold, if fortune or a mistress frowns,
Opinions ? they still take a wider range : 170 Some plunge in business, others shave their crowns: Find, if you can, in what you cannot change. To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, This quits an empire, that embroils a state : Tenets with books, and principles with times. The same adust complexion has impellid
III. Search then the ruling passion : There, alone, Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.
The wild are constant, and the cunning known; Not always actions show the man; we find |The fool consistent, and the false sincere; Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind : 110 Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here. Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast,
This clew once found unravels all the rest,
The club must hail him master of the joke.
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores ; What will you do with such as disagree?
Enough if all around him but admire,
190 Suppress them, or miscall them policy?
TAnd now the punk applaud, and now the friar.