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Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind, The bad must miss, the good untaught will find; Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through nature up to nature's God;
Pursues that chain which links the' immense design,
Joins Heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine;
Sees that no being any bliss can know,
But touches some above and some below;
Learns from this union of the rising whole,
The first, last purpose of the human soul;
And knows where faith, law, morals, all began,
All end, in love of God and love of man.
For him alone hope leads from goal to goal,
And opens still and opens on his soul,
Till lengthen'd on to faith, and unconfin'd,
It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.
He sees why nature plants in man alone
Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown:
(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind
Are giv'n in vain, but what they seek they find)
Wise is her present; she connects in this
His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss;
At once his own bright prospect to be blest,
And strongest motive to assist the rest.
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine.
Is this too little for the boundless heart?
Extend it, let thy enemies have part:
Grasp the whole world of reason, life, and sense,
In one close system of benevolence:
Happier as kinder, in whate'er degree,
And height of bliss but height of charity.
God loves from whole to parts: but human soul
Must rise from individual to the whole.
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;
The centre mov'd, a circle straight succeeds,
Another still, and still another spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next, and next all human race;
Wide and more wide, the' o'erflowings of the mind Take every creature in of every kind :
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And Heav'n behold its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend! my genius! come along ; O master of the poet and the song!
And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends,
To man's low passions, or their glorious ends,
Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise,
To fall with dignity, with temper rise;
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe;
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,
Intent to reason, or polite to please.
O! while along the stream of time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,
Shall then this verse to future age pretend
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend?
That, urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art
From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart;
For wit's false mirror held up nature's light,
Show'd erring pride-whatever is is right;
That reason, passion, answer one great aim;
That true self-love and social are the same;
That virtue only makes our bliss below,
And all our knowledge is ourselves to know.
FATHER of all! in every age,
In every clime, ador'd,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood;
Who all my sense confin'd
To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind:
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do;
This teach me more than hell to shun,
That more than Heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives:
To' enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride
Or impious discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see.
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
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
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar earth, sea, skies!
One chorus let all being raise !
All nature's incense rise!
To the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady.
WHAT beck'ning ghost along the moon-light shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade? 'Tis she!--but why that bleeding bosom gor'd? Why dimly gleams the visionary sword? Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Is it, in Heav'n, a crime to love too well? To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, To act a lover's or a Roman's part? Is there no bright reversion in the sky For those who greatly think, or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes,
The glorious fault of angels and of gods;
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen prisoners in the body's cage:
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confin'd to their own palace, sleep.
From these, perhaps (ere nature bade her die,)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And separate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent herses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say
(While the long funerals blacken all the way,)
Lo! these were they whose souls the furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone (oh, ever-injured shade!)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear,
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier.