« ZurückWeiter »
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,
The whole employ of body and of mind.
All spread their charms, but charm not all alike ;
On diff'rent senses, diff'rent objects strike;
Hence diff'rent passions more or less inflame,
As strong or weak, the organs of the frame :
And hence one MAstER PAssio N in the breast,
Like Jilaron’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:
So, cast and mingled with his very frame,
The mind's disease, its RULING PAssion came—
Each vital humour which should feed the whole,
Soon flows to this in body and in soul :
Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head,
As the mind opens, and its functions spread,
Imagination plies her dangerous art,
And pours it all upon the peccant part.
Nature its mother, habit is its nurse—
Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse—
Reason itself but gives it edge and power—
As heaven’s blest beam turns vinegar more sour:
We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway,
In this weak queen, some fav’rite still obey.
Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules,
What can she more than tell us we are fools 2
Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend;
A sharp accuser but a helpless friend'
Or from a judge turn pleader, to pursuade
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 humours gather to a gout,
The doctor fancies he has driv'n them out.
Yes, nature’s road must ever be preferr'd;
Reason is here no guide, but still a guard;
'Tis her’s to rectify, not overthrow,
And treat this passion more as friend than foe:
A mightier power the strong direction sends,
And several men impels to several ends :
Like varying winds, by other passions tost,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please,
Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease;
Through life’tis follow'd, ev’n at life's expense;
The merchant’s toil, the sage’s indolence,
The monk’s humility, the hero's pride,
All, all alike, find reason on their side.
Th’ eternal art, educing good from ill,
Grafts on this passion our best principle;
'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix’d,
itrong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd;
The dross cements what else were too refin'd,
And in one interest body acts with mind.
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
From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear!
See anger, zeal and fortitude supply—
Ev’n avarice, prudence—sloth, philosophy:
Lust, through some certain strainers were refin’d
Is gentle love, and charms all womankind;
Envy, to which th' 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 ally’d:
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
The fiery soul abhor’d in Cataline,
In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine:
The same ambition can destroy or save,
And makes a patriot, as it makes a knave.
This light and darknessin our chaos join'd, What shall divide The God within the mind.
Extremes in nature equal ends produce, 205 In man they join to some mysterious use; Tho' each by turns the other's bounds invade, As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade, And oft so mix, the diff'rence 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 mein, 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’s th’ 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 neighbour further gone than he: Ev’n those who dwell beneath its very zone, Or never feel the rage, or never own; What happier natures shrink at with affright, The hard inhabitant contends is right. 230
Virtuous and vicious ev'ry man must be,
. Few in th’ extreme, but all in the degree;
The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise ;
And ev’n the best, by fits, what they despise.
'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill; 235
For, vice or virtue, self directs it still:
Each individual seeks a several goal;
But Heav'n's great view is one, and that the whole;
That counter-works each folly and caprice;
That disappoints th’ effect of ev'ry vice; 240
That, happy frailties to all ranks apply'd,
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride,
Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief,
To kings presumption, and to crowds belief:
That, virtue’s ends from vanity can raise, 245
Which seeks no int’rest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
Heav’n forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend, 250
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man’s weakness grows the strength of all.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common int’rest, or endear the tie.
To these we own true friendship, love sincere, 255
Each home felt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those int’rests to resign:
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away. 260