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And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heaven In human works, though labour'd on with pain, Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain; Some happier island in the watery waste, In God's, one single can its end produce;
Where slaves once more their native land behold, Yet serves to second too some other use.
No tiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. So man, who here seems principal alone,
To be, contents his natural desire, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; 110 Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; But thinks admitted to that equal sky, *Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. 60 His faithful dog shall bear him company. When the proud stced shall know why man re- IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, strains
Weigh thy opinion against Providence; His fiery course, os drives him o'er the plains; Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Is now a victim, and now Ægypt's yod:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend Yet say, if man's unhapy, God's unjust; His actions', passions', being's, use and end; If man alone ingross not Heaven's high care, Why doing, suffering, eheck’d, impelld; and why Alone made perfect here, immortal there: 120 This hour a slave, the next a deity,
Snatch'd from his hand the balance and the rod, Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fąult ; Re-judge bis justice, be the god of God. Say rather, Man's as perfect as he ought: 70 In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our errour lies; His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies His time a moment, and a point bis space.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be godse
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
III Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Causo. 130 All but the page prescrib'd, their present state: V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Earth for whose use? Pride answers, “ Tis for mines Or who could suffer being here below?
80 For me kind Nature wakes her genial power; The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower; Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Annual for me, the grape, the rose, renew Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flowery food, The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; Ob blindness to the future! kindly given,
For me health gushes from a thousand springs; That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven : Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
My foot-stool Earth, my canopy the skies.” 140 A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. 90 When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep? Wait the great teacher, Death; and Gud adore. “No” ('tis reply'd) “ the first Almighty Cause What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, Acts not by partial, but by general laws; But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Th'exceptions few; some change since all begun : Hope springs eternal in the hunan breast :
And what created perfect ?” Why then man? Man never Is, but always To be blest :
If the great end be human happiness, The soul, uneasy, and confin'd from home, Then Nature deviates; and can man do less? 150 Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
As much that end a constant course requires Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind Of showers and sun-shine, as of man's desires; Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;. 100 As much eternal springs and cioudless skies,
As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design,
Why then a Borgia, or a Cataline; In the former editions, ver. 64.
Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Now wears a garland an Ægyptian god,
Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms; After ver. 68, the following lices in the first edition. Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind, (160 If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
Or turns young Immon loose to scourge inankind? What matter, soon or late, or here or there? From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs, The blest to day is as completely so,
Account for moral as for natural things :
After ver. 109, in the first cdition : That Virgil's gnat should die as C:esar bleed.
But does he say the Maker is not good, Ver. 93, in the first folio and quarto,
'Till he's exalted to what state he wou'd; What bliss above he gives not thee to know, Himself alone high Heaven's peculiar care, But gives that hope to be thy bliss below.
Aloue made bappy when he will, and where!
Why charge ve Heaven in those, in these acquit? VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this In both, to season right, is to submit.
earth, Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Were there all haệmony, all virtue here;
Above, how high, progressive life may go! That never air of ocean felt the wind,
Around, how wide! how deep extend below! That never passion discompos'd the mind.
Vast chain of being! which from God began, But all subsists by elemental strife;
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man, And passions are the elements of life. 170 Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, The general order, since the whole began,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee, 240 Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man. [soar, From thee to Nothing.On superior powers
VI. What would this man? Now upward will he Were we to press, inferior might on ours; And, little less than angel, would be more; Or in the full creation leave a void, Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd: To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chąin alike. Say what their use, had he the powers of all? And, if each system in gradation roll Nature to these without profusion, kind,
Alike essential to th' amazing whole, The proper organs, proper powers assign'd; 180 The least confusion but in one, not all Each seeming want compensated of course, That system only, but the whole must fall, 250 Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; Let Earth unbalanc'd from her. orbit fly, All in exact proportion to the state;
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd, Each beast, each insect, happy in its own; Being on being wreck'd, and world on world; Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone?
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod, Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God. Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all ? All this dread order break-for whom? for thee!
The bliss of man (could Pride that blessing find) Vile worm !oh madness! pride! impiety! Is not'to act or think beyond mankind; 190 IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, No powers of body or of soul to share,
Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head? 260 But what his nature and his state can bear, What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd Why has not man a microscopic eye?
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind? For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another in this general frame :
The great directing mind of all ordains.
Ali are but parts of one stupendous whole, Or quick effluvia darting through the brain, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul; Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
200 That chang'd through all, and yet in all the same; If Nature thunder'd in his opening ears,
Gșeat in the Earth, as in th' ethereal frame; 270 And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the breeze, How would he wish that Heaven had left him still Glows, in the stars, and blossoms in the trees; The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill! Lives through all life, extends through all extent; Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Spreads undivided, operates unspent ; Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends : As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns : From the green myriads in the peopled grass: 210 To him no high, no low, no great, no small; What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. 280 The mole's dim curtain, and the lyny's beam; X. Cease then, nor order imperfection name: Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. And hound sagacious on the tainted green; Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on theca To that which warbles through the vernal wood! Submit.-In this, or any other sphere, The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear: Feels at eack thread, and lives along the line: Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
Or in the natal, or the mortal bour. From poisonous herbs extracts the healing dew! All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; How Instinct varies in the grovelling swine, 220 | All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see; Compar'd half-reasoning elephant with thine! All Discord, Harmony not understood; 290 "Twixt that, and Reasan, what a nice barrier ! All partial Evil, universal Good. For ever separate, yet for ever near!
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, Remembrance and Reflection how allied ;
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
Ver. 238, Ed. 1st.
Ethereal essence, spirit, substance, man.
Reason, to think of God, when she pretends, not thy Reason all these powers in one ?
Begins a censor, an adorer ends.
Go wondrous creature! mount where Science ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE II.
guides, OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO
Go, measure Earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, 20 HIMSELF, AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun, 1. The business of man not to pry into God, but to
Go, soar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere, study himself. His middle nature: his powers to the first good, first perfect, and first fair; and frailties, ver. 1 to 19. The limits of his or tread the mazy round his followers trod, capacity, ver. 19, &c. II. The two principles and quitting sense call imitating God; of man, self-love and reason, both necessary, As eastern priests in giddy circles run, ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, And turn their heads to imitate the Sun, ver. 67, &c. Their end the same, ver. 81, &c.
Go teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule III. The passions, and their use, ver. 93 to 130.
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool! The predominant passion, and its force, ver. 132
Superior beings, when of late they saw to 160. Its necessity, in directing men to diffe- A mortal man unfold all Nature's law, rent purposes, ver. 165, &c. Its providential Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape, use, in tixing our principle, and ascertaining our And show'd a Newton as we shew an ape. virtue, ver. 177. IV. Virtue and vice joined in
Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind, our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the Describe or fix one movement of his mind! things separate and evident: what is the office Who saw its fires here rise and there descend, of reason, ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious Explain his own beginning of his end? vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into Alas, what wonder! Man's superior part it, ver. 214. VI: That, however, the ends of Uncheck'd may rise, and climb from art to art ; 40 Providence and general good are answered in But when his own great work is but begun, our passions and imperfections, ver. 238, &c. What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone. How usefully these are distributed to all orders
Trace Science then, with Modesty thy guide; of men, ver. 241. How useful they are to so.
First strip off all her equipage of Pride; ciety, ver. 251. And to individuals, ver. 263. Deduct wbat is but Vanity or dress, In every state, and every age of life, ver. 273, Or Learning's luxury, or Idleness; &c.
Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain,
Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pam;
Expunge the whole, op lop th' excrescent parts 1. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
Of all our vices have created arts;
Then see how little the remaining sum,
Which serv'd the past, and must the times to come! A being darkly wise, and rudely great :
II. Two principles in human nature reign; With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain; With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
Nor 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.
66 Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Reason's comparing balance rules the whole.
Man, but for that, no action could attend, Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
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, Sole judge of truth, in endless errour hurl'd:
Destroying others, by himself destroy'd. The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Most strength the moving principle requires : Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires.
Sedate and quiet the comparing lies, · VARIATIONS. Ver. 2. Ed. 1st.
Form'd but to check, deliberate, and advise.
Self-love, still stronger, as its objects nigh;
Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie:
Go, reasoning thing! assume the doctor's chair, As wisely sure a modest ape might aim
As Plato deep, as Seneca severe: To be like man, whose faculties and frame
Fix moral fitness, and to God give rule,
Then drop into thyself, &c.
Ver. 21, Edit. 4th and 5th.
Show by what rules the wandering planets stray, It must be so-why else have I the sense
Correct old Time, and teach the Sun his way. Of more than monkey charms and excellence ! Ver. 35, Edit. 1st. Why else to walk on two so oft essay'd ?
Could he, who taught each planet where to roll, And why this ardent longing for a maid ?
Describe or fix one movement of the soul? So pug might plead, and call his gods unkind Who mark'd their points, to rise or to descend, Till set on end, and married to his mind,
Explain his ową beginning, or his end?
That sees immediate good by present sense; Hence different passions more or less inflarne, Reason, the future and the consequence.
As strong or weak, the organs of the frame; 130 Thicker than arguments, temptations throng, And hence one miaster passion in the breast, At best more watchful this, but that more strong. Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest. The action of the stronger to suspend,
As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Reason still use, to Reason still attend.
Receives the lurking principle of Death; Attention, habit, and experience gains;
The young disease, which must subdue at length, Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains. 80 Grows with his growth, and strengthens with bis Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, So, cast and mingled with his very frame, (strength: More studious to divide than to unite;
The mind's disease, its Ruling Passion came; And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split, Each vital humour which should feed the whole, With all the rash dexterity of Wit.
Soon flows to this, in body and in soul : 140 Wits, just like fools, at war about a name, Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head, Have full as oft no meaning, or the same.
As the mind opens, and its functions spread, Self-love and Reason to one end aspire,
Imagination plies lter dangerous art, Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire;
And pours it all upon the percant part. But greedy that is object would devour,
Nature its mother, Habit is its nurse; This taste the honey, and not wound the flower: 90 Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse; Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,
Reason itself but gives it edge and power; Our greatest evil, or our greatest good.
As Heaven's blest beam turns vinegar more sour. III. Modes of Self-love the passions we may call; We, wretched subjects though to lawful sway, 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all : In this weak queen, some favourite still obey : 150 But since not every good we can divide,
Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules, And Reason bids us for our own provide;
What can she more than tell us we are fools ? Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair, Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend; List under Reason, and deserve her care;
A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend! Those, that imparted, court a nobler aim,
Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name. 100 The choice we make, or justify it made; In lazy apathy let Stoics boast
Proud of an easy conquest all along, Their virtue fix'd ; 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
She but removes weak passions for the strong : Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
So, when small humours gather to a gout, But strength of mind is exercise not rest:
The doctor fancies he has driv'n them out. 160 The rising tempest puts in act the soul;
Yes, Nature's road must ever be preferr'd; Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole. Reason is here no guide, but still a guard : On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,
'Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow, Reason the card, but Passion is the gale;
And treat this passion more as friend than foe; Nor God alone in the still calm we find,
A mightier power the strong direction sends, He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind. 110 | And several men impels to several ends : Passions, like elements, though born to fight,
Like varying winds, by other passions tost, Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite:
This drives them constant to a certain coast. These 'tis enough to temper and employ;
Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please, But what composes man, can man destroy
y? Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease; 170 Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's road,
Through life 'tis follow'd ev'n at life's expense; Subject, compound them, follow her and God. The merchant's toil, the sage's indolence, Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train; The monk's hunnility, the hero's pride, Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain; All, all alike, find Reason on their side. These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd, Th' Eternal Art, educing good from ill, Make and maintain the balance of the mind; 120 Grafts on this passion our best principle: The lights and shades whose well-accorded strife 'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix'd, Gives all the strength and colour of our life. Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd; Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes;
The dross cements what else were too refin'd, And when in act they cease, in prospect rise:
And in one interest body acts with mind.
180 Present to grasp, and future still to find,
As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care, The whole employ of body and of mind.
On savage stocks inserted learn to bear; All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;
The surest virtues thus from passions shoot,
Wild Nature's vigour working at the root.
Prom spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear!
See anger, zeal and fortitude supply;
Ev'n avarice, prudence; sloth, philosophy; After ver. 86, in the MS.
Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Of good and evil gods what frighted fools,
Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; 190 Of good and evil reason puzzled schools,
Envy, to which th' ignoble mind's a slave, Deceiv'd, deceiving, taught
Is emulation in the learn'd or brave ;
Nor virtue, male or female, can we name,
The compass, if no powerful gusts arise !
After ver. 194, in the MS. The soft reward the virtuous, or invite ;
How oft with passion, Virtue points her charms! The fierce the vicious punish or affright.
Then shines the hero, then the patriot warms.
Thus Nature gives us (let it check out pride) 'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill; The virtue nearest to our vice ally'd :
For, vice or virtue, Self directs it still, Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
Each individual seeks a several goal; [whole. And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
But Eearen's great view, is one, and that the The fiery soul abhor'd in Cataline,
That counter-works each folly and caprice; In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine: 200 | That disappoints th' effect of every vice:
240 The same ambition can destroy or save,
That, happy frailties to all ranks apply'd; And inakes a patriot as it makes a knave.
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride; This light and darkness in our chaos join'd, Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief; What shall divide? The God within the mind. To kings presumption, and to crowds belief : Extremes in Nature equal ends produce,
That, Virtue's ends from vanity can raise, In man they join to some mysterious use;
Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise ; Though each by turns the other's bound invade, And build on wants, and on defects of mind, As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade, The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind. And oft so mix, the difference is too nice
Heaven forining each on other to depend, Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice. 210 A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Fools! who from hence into the notion fall, Bids each on other for assistance call, That vice or virtue there is none at all.
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all If white and black blend, soften, and unite
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resigns Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
Taught half by Reason, half by mere decay, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. 220 To weicome death, and calmly pass away. But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed : Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Ask where's the north? at York, 'tis on the Tweed; Not one will change his neighbour with himself. In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
The learn'd is happy Nature to explore, At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where. The fool is happy that he knows no more; No creature owns it in the first degree,
The rich is happy in the plenty given, But thinks his neighbour further gone than he: The poor contents him with the care of Heaven. Ev'n those who dwell beneath its very zone,
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
270 Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
See some strange comfort every state attend, Few in th' extreme, but all in the degree;
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend : The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise; See some fit passion every age supply; And ev'n the best, by fits, what they despise. Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die
Behold the child, by Nature's kindly law,
Pleas’d with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight,
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage, But virtues opposite to make agree,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age : 280 That, Reason! is thy task, and worthy thee. Pleas'd with this bauble still, as that before; Hard task, cries Bibulus, and Reason weak. 'Till tir'd be sleeps, and Life's poor play is o'er. -Make it a point, dear marquess, or a pique Meanwhile Opinion gilds with varying rays Once, for a whim, persuade yourself to pay Those painted clouds that beautify our days : A debt to Reason, like a debt at play.
Fach want of happiness by Hope supply'd, For right or wrong, have mortals suffer'd more? And each vacuity of sense by Pride: B- for his prince, or ** for his whore? These build as fast as Knowledge can destroy; Whose self-denials Nature most control?
In Folly's cup still laughs the bubble, Joy; His, who would save a sixpence, or his soul? One prospect lost, another still we gain; Web for his health, a Chartreux for his sin, And not a vanity is gir'n in vain ;
230 Contend they not which soonest shall grow thin? Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine, What we resolve, we can: but here 's the fault: The scale to measure others' wants by thine.
We ne'er resolve to do the thing we ought. See! and confess, one comfort still must rise; After ver. 220, in the first edition followed these : 'Tis this, Though man's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE
A cheat! a whore! who starts not at the name,
In all the Inns of Court or Drury-lane?
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE III.