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The gen'ral on pen since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
VI. What would this man now upward will he soar,
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downward, just as griev'd appears 175
To want the strength of bulls the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Say what their use, had he the powers of all P
Nature to these, without profusion, kind,
The proper organs, proper powers assign'd : 180
Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect, happy in its own : 185
Is heav'n unkind to man, and man alone *
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all
The bliss of man (could pride that blessing find) Is not to act or think beyond mankind; 190 No pow'rs of body or of soul to share, But what his nature and his state can bear. Why has not man a microscopic eye * For this plain reason, man is not a fly. Say what the use, were finer optics given, 195 T” inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er, To smart and agonize at every pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose, in aromatic pain
If Nature thunder'd in his opening 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 2
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 sagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles through the vernal wood 2
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine !
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true,
From poisonous 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 *
Forever sep’rate, yet forever near !
Remembrance and reflection, how ally’d
What thin partitions sense from thought divide
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass the insuperable line !
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, and all to thee 230
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 235 Around, how wide how deep extend below ! Vast chain of being ! which from God began, Nature’s ethereal, human, angel, man, Beast, bird, fish, insect; what no eye can see, No glass can reach; from infinite to thee, . 240 From thee to nothing—On superior pow’rs Were we to press, inferior might on ours : Or in the full creation leave avoid, 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’ amazing whole; The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the whole must fall. 250 Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl’d, Being on Being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heaven’s whole foundations to their centre nod
And natures trembles to the throne of God;
All this dread on Den break—for whom 2 for thee
Vile worm 'Oh madness! pride impiety
IX. What if the foot, ordain’d the dust to tread,
Or hand to toil, aspir'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 soul;
That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same;
Greatin the earth, as in th’ etherial frame ;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through 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.
Cease, then, nor onden 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, 285
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 see; 290
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.