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All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see I
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good.
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
Oue truth is clear, WHATEVER IS IS RIGHTARGUMENT OF EPISTLE II.
On the Nature and State of Man with respect to himself, as an Individual*
I. The business of man not to pry into God, but to stndy himself. His middle nature: his powers and frailties, ver. 1 to lu. The limits of his capa city, ver. lg, &c. II. The two principles of man , self-love, and reason, both necessary, ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, ver. 67, &c. Their end the same, ver. 81, &c. III. The passions, and their use, ver. g3 to 130. The predominant passion, and its force, ver. 132 to 160. Its necessity, in directing men to different purposes, ver. 165, &c. Its provide ntial^use, in fixing our principle, and ascertaining our virtue, ver. 177*
IV. Virtue and vice joined in our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident : what is the office of reason, ver. 202 to 2l6.
V. How odious vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ver. 217, VI. That, however, the ends of Providence and general good are answered in our passions and imperfections, ver. 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to alt orders of men, ver. 241. How useful they are to society, ver. 251. And to individuals, ver. 263. In every state, and every age of life, ver. 273, &c.
I. TT'NOW then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper stndy of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rndely great s
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a god or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,.
Whether he thinks too little or too much:
Chnos of thought and passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole jndge of truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world 1
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science
.Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Iustruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun;
Go, soar with Phtto to th' empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun.
Go teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule-
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
Superior beings, when of late they saw
A mortal man unfold all nature's law,
Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape,
And show'd a Newton as we show an ape.
Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind,
Describe or fix one movement of his mind?
Who saw its fires here rise and there descend,
Explain his own beginning or his end;
Alas, what wonder! Man's superior part
Uucheck'd may rise, and climb from art to art;
But when his own great work is but begun,
What reason weaves, by passion is undone.
Trace-science then, with modesty thy guida;
First strip off all her equipage of pride;
Deduct what is but vanity or dress,
Or learning's luxury, or idleness;
Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain,
Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
Expunge the whole, or lop th' excrescent parts
Of aM our vices have created arts;
Then see how little the remaining sum,
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;
"hot this a good, nor that a bad we call,
Each works its end, to move or govern all:
And to their proper operation still.
Ascribe all good, to their improper ill.
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Reason's comparing balance rules the whole.
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 through the void,
Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.
Most strength the moving principle requires: Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires. Sedate and quiet the comparing lies, Fonm'd but to check, deliberate, 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-; Keason, the future and the consequence. Thicker than arguments temptations throng, At best more watchful this, but that more strong. The action of the stronger to suspend, Keason still use, to reason still attend. Attention habit and experience gains; Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, More studious to divide than to unite;
Ami grace and virtue, sense and reason split.
With all tlio rash dexterity of wit.
Wit?, 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 flower;
Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,
Our greatest evil or our greatest good.
III. Modes of self-love the passious we may call;
Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all:
But since not every good we can divide,
And rc-ason bids us for our own provide,
Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,
List 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 tempost 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 storm, and walks upon the wind.
Passions, like elements, though 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.