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But greedy that, its object would devour,
III. Modes of self-love the passions we may call;
101 Their virtue fix'd; 'tis fix'd as in a frost; Contracted all, retiring to the breast ; But strength of mind is exercise, not rest: The rising tempest puts in act the soul; Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole. On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail, Reason the card, but passion is the gale; Nor God alone in the still calm we find, 109 He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind.
102 Their virtue fix'd; 'tis fix'd as in a frost. Warton contends that the stoics affected only a freedom from strong perturbation ; but he omits their leading doctrine, the denial of the existence of pain. He quotes Epictetus, but forgets the stoic story of the philosopher's suffering his leg to be broken without remonstrance ; the doctrine of the lawfulness of suicide ; and the example of Zeno, trained in the school of the cynics, and strangling himself at ninety-eight. Swift sarcastically remarks, that' the stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our passions, was like cutting off our legs for want of shoes. But the lazy apathy' of the text is not the true designation : the supreme attainment of the stoic was systematic and resolute insensibility.
Passions, like elements, though born to fight, Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite: These, 'tis enough to temper and employ ; But what composes man, can man destroy ? Suffice that reason keep to nature's road, 115' Subject, compound them, follow her and God. Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling
train, Hate, fear, and grief, the family of pain, These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confined, Make and maintain the balance of the mind; 120 The lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife Gives all the strength and color of our life. Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes ; And when in act they cease, in prospect rise: . Present to grasp, and future still to find, 125 The whole employ of body and of mind. All spread their charms, but charm not all alike; On different senses different objects strike; Hence different passions more or less inflame, As strong or weak, the organs of the frame; 130 And hence once master passion in the breast, Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.
As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Receives the lurking principle of death ; The young disease, that must subdue at length, Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength;
136 So, cast and mingled with his very frame, The mind's disease, its ruling passion, came;
138 The mind's disease, its ruling passion, came. A theory which has been strongly denied, but which is as strongly substantiated
Each vital humor which should feed the whole,
Nature its mother, habit is its nurse ;
We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway, In this weak queen, some favorite still obey 150 Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules, What can she more than tell us we are fools ? Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend, A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend ? Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade 155 The choice we make, or justify it made ; Proud of an easy conquest all along, She but removes weak passions for the strong : So, when small humors gather to a gout, The doctor fancies he has driven them out. 160
Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd; Reason is here no guide, but still a guard : 'Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow, And treat this passion more as friend than foe : by experience. If individuals frequently exhibit the most marked tastes, talents, and passions from their birth, why not exhibit the most marked direction of them all combined ? This is the master passion, the great impulse in which all the powers share : but it should be termed rather the stimulant, than the obstacle, to human progress ; rather the prime mover, than the disease, of the mind.
A mightier Power the strong direction sends, 165
The Eternal Art, educing good from ill, 175
As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care, On savage stocks inserted, learn to bear; The surest virtues thus from passions shoot, Wild nature's vigor working at the root. What crops of wit and honesty appear 185 From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! See anger, zeal and fortitude supply ; Ev'n avarice, prudence; sloth, philosophy ; Lust, through some certain strainers well refined, Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; 190 Envy, to which the ignoble mind 's a slave, Is emulation in the learn’d or brave; Nor virtue, male or female, can we name, But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame.
Thus nature gives us (let it check our pride) The virtue nearest to our vice allied :
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
This light and darkness in our chaos join'd,
Extremes in nature equal ends produce; 205 In man they join to some mysterious use; Though each by turns the other's bound invade, As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade, And oft so mix, the difference is too nice, Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice. 210
Fools ! who from hence into the notion fall, That vice or virtue there is none at all. If white and black blend, soften, and unite A thousand ways, is there no black or white ? Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; 215 'Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. 220 But where the extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed : Ask where's the north? at York, 'tis on the
Tweed; In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there, At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where. No creature owns it in the first degree, 225 But thinks his neighbor farther gone than he; Ev'n those who dwell beneath its very zone, Or never feel the rage, or never own;