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VI, 1 But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is
"What then? Is the reward of virtue bread?
That vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil;
The knave deserves it when he tills the soil;
The knave deserves it when he tempts the main,
Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain.
The good man may be weak, be indolent;
Nor is his claim to plenty, but content.
But grant him riches, your demand o'er?
* No—shall the good want health, the good want
Add health and power, and every earthly thing,
'Why bounded power ? why private? why no king'
Nay, why external for internal given?
Why is not man a god, and earth a heaven?'
Who ask and reason thus, will scarce conceive
God gives enough while he has more to give ; .
Immense the power, immense were the demand;
Say, at what part of nature will they stand?
What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
The soul's calm sun-shine and the heart-felt joy,
Is virtue's prize: a better would you fix?
Then give humility a coach and six,
Justice a conqueror's sword, or truth a gown,
Or public spirit its great cure, a crown.
Weak, foolish man! will Heaven reward us there-
with the same trash mad mortals wish for here?
The boy and man an individual makes,
Yet sigh'st thou now for apples and for cakes?
Go, like the Indian, in another life
Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife; .
As well as dream such trifles are assign'd,
As toys and empires, for a godlike mind.
Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
No joy, or be destructive of the thing;
How oft by these at sixty are undone
The virtues of a saint at twenty-one!
To whom can riches give repute or trust,
Content or pleasure, but the good and just?
Jndges and senates hare been bought for gold j
Esteem and love were never to be sold.
Oh fool! to think God hates the worth; mind,
The lover and the love of human kind,
Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear,
Becanse he wants a thousand pounds a year.
Honour and shame from no condition rise; Act well your part, there all the honour lies. Fortune in men has some small difference made, One flannts in rags, one flutters in brocade; The cobbler apron'd, and the parson gown'd, The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd. * What differ more,' you cry,' than crown and cowl 3* 1*11 tell you, friend! a wise man and a fool. Yon'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk, Or, cobbler-like, the parson will be drunk, Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow: Tin; rest is all but leather or prunella.
Stuck o'er with titles and hung round with strings, That thou mayst be by kings, or whores of kings. Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race, In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece: But by your fathers' worth if yours you rate, Count me those only who were good and great. Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood Has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood, Go! and pretend your family is young; Nor own your fathers have been fools so long. What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards? Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look next on greatness; say where greatness lies: * Where, but among the heroes and the wise? Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede; The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find, Or make, an enemy of all mankind! Not one looks backward, onward still he goes, Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose. No less alike the politic and wise: All sly slow things, with circumspective eyes i 1
Men in their loose unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat;
'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great:
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Or failing, smites in exile or in chains,
Like good Aurelins let him reign, or bleed
Like Socrates, that man is great indeed.
What's fame? a fancied life in others' breath,
A thing beyond us, ev'n before our death.
Just what you hear you have; and what's un-
The same (my lord) if Tally's, or your own.
All that we feel of it begins and ends
Iu the small circle of our foes or friends;
To all beside as much an empty shade
An Eugene living, as a Caesar dead;
Alike or when or where, they shone or shine,
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine.
A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod:
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
Fame but from death a villain's uame can'save,
As justice tears his body from the grave;
When what t' oblivion better were resign'd,
Is hung on high to poison half mankind.
All fame is foreign but of true desert,
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart I
One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of lond huzzas;
And more true joy Marcel 1 us exil'd feels.
Than Caesar with a senate at his heels.
In parts superior what advantage lies?
Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise?
'Tis but to know how little can be known,
To see all others fanlts, and feel our own;
Condemn'd in business or in arts to drndge,
Without a second, or without a jndge:
Did here the trees with rnddier 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 suns 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.
Tanght to command the fire, control the flood,
Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound.
Or fetch th' aerial 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:
lire 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, united ran;
That was but love of God, and thls of man.