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Heaven may not grant thee all thy mind;
Yet say not thou, that Heaven's unkind.
God is alike both good and wise,
In what he grants and what denies:
Perhaps what Goodness gives to-day,
To-morrow Goodness takes away.
“You say that troubles intervene,
That sorrows darken half the scene.
True—and this consequence you see,
The world was ne'er design'd for thee:
You're like a passenger below,
That stays perhaps a night or so;
But still his native country lies
Beyond the boundaries of the skies.
“Of heaven ask virtue, wisdom, health,
But never let thy prayer be wealth.
If food be thine (though little gold),
And raiment to repel the cold,
Such as may nature's wants suffice,
Not what from pride and folly rise;
If soft the motions of thy soul,
And a calm conscience crowns the whole;
Add but a friend to all this store,
You can’t, in reason, wish for more :
And if kind Heaven this comfort brings,
'Tis more than Heaven bestows on kings.”
He spake—The airy spectre flies,
And straight the sweet illusion dies.
The vision at the early dawn,
Consign'd me to the thoughtful morn;
To all the cares of waking clay.
And inconsistent dreams of day.
Oil Happiness! our being's end and aim!
Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content! whate'er thy name;
That something still which prompts the eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die;
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise;
Plant of celestial seed if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow?
Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shine,
Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field?
Where grows—where grows it not? If vain our toil;
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil.
Fix'd to no spot is Happiness sincere,
'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where;
'Tis never to be bought, but always free,
And fled from monarchs, St. John, dwells with thee,
Ask of the learn'd the way: the learn'd are blind;
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind.
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease;
Those call it pleasure, and contentment these:
Some, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain;
Some swell'd to gods, confess ev'n virtue vain;
Or indolent: to each extreme they fall,
To trust in ev'rything, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that Happiness is Happiness?
Take nature's path, and mad opinions leave;
All states can reach it, and all heads conceive;
Obvious her goods in no extreme they dwell;
There needs but thinking right and meaning well;
And, mourn our various portions as we please,
Equal is common sense and common ease.
Remember, man, “the Universal Cause
Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws.”
And makes what Happiness we justly call,
Subsist not in the good of one, but all.
There's not a blessing individuals find,
But some way leans and hearkens to the kind;
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No cavern'd hermit rests self-satisfy'd.
Who most to shum or hate mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend:
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink:
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.
Order is Heaven's first law; and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest; More rich, more wise: but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common sense. Heaven to mankind impartial we confess, If all are equal in their happiness: But mutual wants this happiness increase, All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace. Condition, circumstance, is not the thing; Bliss is the same in subject or in king; In who obtain defence, or who defend, In him who is, or him who finds a friend: Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One common blessing as one common soul. But fortune's gifts, if each alike possest, And each were equal, must not all contest? If them to all men Happiness was meant, God in externals could not place content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose, And these be happy call'd, unhappy those; But Heaven's just balance equal will appear, While those are plac'd in hope, and these in fear; Not present good or ill the joy or curse, But future views of better or of worse. Oh sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise, By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madınen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competence.
Of damask cheeks and radiant eyes,
Let other poets tell;
Within the bosom of the fair
Superior beauties dwell.
There all the sprightly powers of wit,
In blithe assemblage play;
There every social virtue sheds
Its intellectual ray.
But as the sun's refulgent light
Heaven's wide expanse refines;
With sov’reign lustre through the soul
Celestial Sweetness shines.
This mental beam dilates the heart,
And sparkles in the face;
It harmonizes every thought,
And heightens every grace.