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If all, united, thy ambition call,
From ancient story, learn to scorn them all.
There, in the rich, the honour'd, fam’d, and great,
See the false scale of Happiness complete !
In hearts of Kings, or arms of Queens who lay,
How happy! those to ruin, these betray.
Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows,
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose;
In each how guilt and greatness equal ran,
And all that rais'd the Hero, sunk the Man :
Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold,
But stain'd with blood, or ill exchang’d for gold :
Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease,
Or infamous for plunder'd provinces.
O! wealth ill-fated ! which no act of fame
E’er taught to shine, or fanctify'd from shame! 300
What greater bliss attends their close of life?
Some greedy minion, or imperious wife,
The trophy'd arches, story'd halls invade,
And haunt their slumbers in the pompous Thade.
Alas! not dazzled with their noon-tide ray, 305
Compute the morn and evening to the day;
The whole amount of that enormous fame,
A Tale, that blends their glory with their shame!
Know then this truth (enough for Man to know)
rtue alone is happiness below.”
The only point where human bliss stands still,
And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
Where only Merit constant pay receives,
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
The joy unequalid, if its end it gain,
And if it lose, attended with no pain :
Without fatiety, though e'er so bless’d,
And but more relish'd as the more distress'd :
The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly wears,
Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears:
Good, from each object, from each place acquir'd,
For ever exercis'd, yet never tir’d;
Never elated, while one man 's oppress’d;
Never dejected, while another's blest;
And where no wants, no wishes can remain,
325 Since but to wish more Virtue, is to gain.
See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow!
Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know :
Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind,
The bad must miss, the good, untaught, will find: 330
Slave to no feet, who takes no private road,
But looks through Nature, up to Nature's God:
Pursues that Chain which links th' immense design,
Joins heaven and earth, and mortal and divine;
After ver. 316. in the MS.
Ev’n while it seems unequal to dispose,
And chequers all the good Man's joys with woes,
'Tis but to teach him to support each state.
With patience this, with moderation that; ;
And raise his base on that one solid joy,
Which conscience gives, and nothing can destroy.
Sees, that no Being any bliss can know,
335 But touches fome 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. 340 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
345 Hope of known bliss, and Faith in bliss unknown: (Nature, whofe dictates to no other kind Are given in vain, but what they seek they find) Wise is her present; she connects in this His greatest Virtue with his greatest Bliss ;
350 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 worlds of Reason, Life, and Sense,
In one clofe fystem 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
Mult rife 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 strait fucceeds, 365
Another still, and still anotlier spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next; and next all human race;
Wide and more wide, th' o'erflowings of the mind
Take every creature in, of every kind ;
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest,
And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my Friend ! my Genius! come along;
Oh master of the poet, and the song!
And while the Mufe now stoops, or now ascends, 375
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 lively to severe ;
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,
Intent to reason, or polite to please.
Oh! while along the stream of Time thy name
Expanded fies, and gathers all its fame;
Say, shall my little bark attendant fail,
385 Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale ?
Ver. 373. Come then, my Friend ! &c.] In the MS. thus,
And now transported o’er so vast a plain,
While the wing'd courser flies with all her rein,
While heaven-ward now her mounting wing she feels,
Now scatter'd fools fly trembling from her heels,
Wilt thou, my St. John! keep her course in light,
Confine her fury, and assisther flight?
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in duft repose,
Whose fons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,
Shall then this verse to future age pretend
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? 390
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;
Shew'd erring Pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT;
That REASON, Passion, answer one great aim; 395
That true Self-Love and SOCIAL are the fame;
That VIRTUE only makes our Bliss below;
And all our knowledge isy. OURSELVES TO KNOW.
Ver. 397. That Virtue only, &c.] In the MS. thus,
That just to find a God is all we can,
And all the Study of Mankind is Man.