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Thus beast and bird their common charge attend,
The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend;
The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air,
There stops the instinct, and there ends the care ;
The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, . Another love succeeds, another race.
A longer care man's helpless kind demands;
That longer care contracts more lasting bands:
Reflection, reason, still the ties improve,
At once extend the interest and the love :
With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn;
Each virtue in each passion takes its turn;
And still new needs, new helps, new habits rise,
That graft benevolence on charities,
Still as one brood, and as another rose,
These natural love maintain'd, habitual those:
The last, scarce ripen'd into perfect man,
Saw helpless him from whom their life began :
Memory and forecast just returns engage,
That pointed back to youth, this on to age;
While pleasure, gratitude, and hope combin'd,
Still spread the interest, and preserve the kind.
IV. Nor think, in nature's state they blindly trod;
The state of nature was the reign of God:
Self-love and social at her birth began,
Union the bond of all things, and of man.
Pride then was not ; nor arts that pride to aid;
Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the sbade;
The same his table, and the same his bed ;
No murder cloth'd him, and no murder fed.
In the same temple, the resounding wood,
All vocal beings hymo'd their equal God:
The shrine with gore unstain'd, with gold uudress'd,
Unbrib’d, unbloody, stood the blameless priest :
Heaven's attribute was universal care,
And man's prerogative, to rule, but spare.
Ab! how unlike the man of times to come!
Of half that live the butcher and the tomb;
Who, foe to nature, hears the general groan,
Murders their species, and betrays his own.
But just disease to luxury succeeds,
And every death its own avenger breeds ;
The fury-passions from that blood began,
And turn'd on man a fiercer savage, man.
See him from nature rising slow to art !
To copy instinct then was reason's part:
Thus then to man the voice of nature spake..
• Go, from the creatures thy instructions take:
Learn from the birds what food the thickets yielá;
Learn from the beasts the physic of the field;
Thy arts of building from the bee receive :
Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave;
Learn of the little Nautilus to sail,
Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.
Here too all forms of social union find,
And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind :
Here subterranean works and cities see ;
There towns aëreal on the waving tree.
Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ants' republic, and the realms of bees;
How those in common all their wealth bestow,
And anarchy without confusion know :
And these for ever, though a monarch reign,
Their separate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,
Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate.
In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law,
And right, too rigid, harden into wrong;
Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.
Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway,
Thus let the wiser make the rest obey:
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown'd as inonarchs, or as gods ador'd.'
V. Great nature spoke; observant man obey'd ; Cities were built, societies were made: Here rose one little state; another near Grew by like means, and join'd through love or
Did here the trees with ruddier burthens bend,
And there the streams in purer rills descend?
What war could ravish, commerce could bestow:
And he return'd a friend, who came a foe.
Converse and love mankind might strongly draw,
When love was liberty, and nature law.
Thus states were form'd; the name of king un.
Till common interest plac'd the sway in one.
'Twas virtue only (or in arts or arms,
Diffusing blessings, or averting harms),
The same which in a sire the sons obey'd,
A prince the father of a people made.
(sate, VI. Till then, by nature crown'd, each patriarch King, priest, and parent, of his growing state: On him, their second Providence, they hung, Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue. He from the wondering furrow call'd the food, Taught to command the fire, control the flood, Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound, Or fetch th' aërial eagle to the ground. Till drooping, sickening, dying, they began Whom they rever'd as god to mourn as man: Then, looking up from sire to sire, explor'd One great First Father, and that first ador'd. Or plain tradition, that this all begun, Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son ; The worker from the work distinct was known, And simple reason never sought but one: Ere wit oblique had broke that steady light, Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right: To virtue, in the paths of pleasure trod, And own'd a father when he own'd a God. Love all the faith, and all th' allegiance then, For nature knew no right divine in men; No ill could fear in God, and understood A sovereign being, but a sovereign good. True faith, true policy, upited ran; That was but love of God, and this of man.
Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms un.
done, Th' enormous faith of many made for one; That proud exception to all nature's laws, T invert the world and counterwork its cause ? Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law; Till superstition taught the tyrant awe, Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid, And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects made : She 'midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's
sound, When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the
ground, She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To power unseen, and mightier far than they: She from the rending earth, and bursting skies, Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise : Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes : Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods; Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust, Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust; Such as the souls of cowards might conceive, And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. Zeal then, not charity, became the guide ; And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride. Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more ; Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore: Then first the flamen tasted living food, Next his grimn idol, smear'd with human blood; With Heaven's own thunders shook the world be
low, And play'd the god an engine on his foe. So drives self-love, through just and through un.
To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust:
The same self-love in all becomes the cause
Of what restraids him, government and laws.
For, what one likes, if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel?
How shall he keep' what, sleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus, by self-defence,
Ex'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd,
And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then the studious head or generous mind,
Follower of God, or friend of human kind,
Poet or patriot, rose but to restore
The faith and moral nature gave before ;
Relum'd her ancient light, not kindled new;
If not God's image, yet his shadow drew:
Taught power's due use to people and to kings,
Taught nor to slack nor strain its tender strings,
The less or greater set so justly true,
That touching one must strike the other too ;
Till jarring interests of themselves create
Th' according music of a well-mix'd state.
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things :
Where small and great, where weak and mighty
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More powerful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best :
For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right;
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all maskind's concern is charity:
All must be false that thwarts this one great end;
And all of God, that bless mankind or mend.
Man, like the generous vine, supported lives: The strength he gains is from th’ embrace he gives.