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Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting thro’ the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain ?
If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,
How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still
The whisp'ring Zephyr , and the purling rill?
Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
VII. Far as Creation's ample range extends,
The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends :
Mark how it mounts , to Man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grass :
What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam :
Of smell, the headlong lioness between , ;
And hound fagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles thro’ the vernal wood?
The fpider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so fubtly true
From pois’nous herbs extracts the healing dew?
How Instinct varies in the grov'ling swine,
Compar'd, half-reas’ning elephant, with thine!
'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier ?
For ever sep’rate, yet for ever near!
Remembrance and Reflection how ally'd;
What thin partitions Senfe from Thought divide ?
And Middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' insuperable line!
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one?
VIII. See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go !
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vaft chain of Being! which from God began ,
Natures æthereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, infect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee,
From thee to Nothing. --- On fuperior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours :
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd:
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
245 Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th'anazing Whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That fyftem only, but the Whole must fall.
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and Suns run lawless thro' the sky;
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurld,
Being on Being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heav'ns whole foundations to their centre nod, 255
And Nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread ORDER break for whom? for thee?
Vile worni! --- oh Madness! Pride! Impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand, to toil, afpir'd to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame:
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains,
The great directing MIND of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the foul;
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same;
Great in the earth, as in th’ æthereal frame;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent ,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
X. Cease then, nor ORDER Imperfection name:
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit, -. In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear:
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee ;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not fee;
All Discord , Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good :
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
ARGU M E N T
OF EPISTLE II. . Of the Nature and itate of Man with respect
to Himself, as an Individual. I. THE business of Man not to pry into God, but to study himself. His Middle Nature ; his Powers and Frailties, ver. 1. to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, ver. 19. &c.
II. The two Principles of Man, Self-Love and Reason, both necesary, ver. 53. &c. Self-Love the stronger, and why, ver. 67. &c. Their end the same, ver. 81. &c.
III. The PASSIONS and their use, ver. 93. to 130. The predominant Passion, and its force, ver. 132. to 160. Its Necesity, in directing Men to different purposes, ver. 165. &c. Its providential Use, in fixing our Principle , and ascertaining our Virtue, ver. 177:
IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near , yet the things separate and evident: What is the Office of Reason, ver. 202. to 216.
V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive our felves into it, ver. 217.
VI. That , however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfections, ver. 238. &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, ver. 241. How useful they are to Society, ver. 257. And to the Individuals, ver. 263. In every state, and every age of life, ver. 273. &c.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this Isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great :
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic fide,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between ; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer ;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much :
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
15 Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd: The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides, Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; 20 Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun; Go, foar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere, To the first good, first perfect, and first fair ; Or tread the mazy round his follow'rs trod, And quitting sense call imitating God; a