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EPISTLE IV.

OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAX WITH RESPECT TO

HAPPINESS.

THE ARGUMENT.

Flappiness' ill defined by the philosopher, ver. 19. That it is the end of all

men, and attainable by all, 28. God governs by general not particular laws ; intends happiness to be equal; and to be so it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general 35. As it is necessary

for order and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these. 47. But, notwith standing that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by providence, by the two passions of hope and fear, 66.What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world : and that the good man has her the advantage, 76. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature or of forture, 92. The folly of expecling God should alter his general laws in favor of particulars, 118. That we are not judges who are good: but that, whocver they are, they must be hap piest, 130, &c. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but of ten inconsistent with, or destructive of virtue, 166. That even these can make no man happy withoul virtue: instanced in riches, 176. Honors 184. Birth, 203, Greatness, 213. Fame, 233. Superior talents, 257, With pictures of human infelicity in men pussest of them all, 275, ÓC.That virtue only constitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, 304, Oc. That the perfection of virtue and hap. piness consists in a conformity to the order of providence here, and are signation to it here and hereafter, 326.0°.

Oh happiness ! our being's end and aim ! Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy name; That something still which prompts the eternal sigh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die; Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,

5 O'er-look'd, seen double, by the fool and wise. Plant of celestial seed ! if drop'd below, Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow? Fair opening to some court's propitious shine, Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine ? 10 Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field ? Where grows ?—Where grows it not ?- If vain our toil, We ought to blame the culture not the soil ; Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere,

15 'Tis no where to be found, or every where. 'Tis never to be bought, but always free, And, fled from monarchs, St. John, dwells with thee.

Ask of the learn'd the way, the learn'd are blind; This bids to serve and that to shun mankind. 20 Some place the bliss in action, some in ease : Those call it pleasure, and contentment these; Somė, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain : Some, swelld to gods, confess e'en virtue vain; Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,

25 To trust in every thing, or doubt of all.

Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness?

30

Take nature's path, and mad opinions leave ;
All states can reach it, and all heads conceive,
Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell;
There needs but thinking right, and meaning well ;
And mourn our various portions as we please,
Equal is common sense, and common ease.

35

Remember, man, “ The Universal Cause
“ Acts not by partial, but by general laws :"
And makes what happiness we justly call
Subsist, not in the good of one, but all.

There's not a blessing individuals find,
But some way leans and hearkens to the kind :
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No cavern'd hermit rests self-satisfied.
Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend.
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasure sicken, and all glories sink :
Each has his share, and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.

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50

ORDER is Heaven's first law; and this confest, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest More rich, more wise—but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common sense.

55

Heaven to mankind's impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness ;
But mutual wants this happiness increase ;
All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace:
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing :
Bliss is the same in subject or in king :
In who obtain defence or who defend ;
In him who is, or him who finds a friend.
Heaven breathes thro' every member of the whole,
One common blessing, as one common soul.
But fortune's gifts, if each alike possest,
And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men happiness was meant
God in externals could not place content.

60

65

Fortune her gifts may variously dispose, And these be happy call’d, unhappy those ; But Heaven's just balance equal will appear, Whilst those are plac'd in hope, and these in fear : 70 Not present good or ill, the joy or curse, But future views of better, or of worse.

Oh sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pild on mountains, to the skies?
Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.

75

Know, all the good that individuals find, Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,

Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence :
But health consists with temperance alone;

81
And peace, Oh virtue! peace is all thy own.
The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain,
But these less taste them, as they worse obtain.
Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,

85 Who risk the most, that take wrong means or right? Of vice or virtue, whether blest or curst, Which meets contempt, or which compassion, first? Count all th' advantage prosperous vice attains, 'Tis but what virtue flies from, and disdains; 90 And grant the bad what happiness they would, One they must want, which is, to pass for good. Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below, Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue woe! Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, 95 Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest. But fools, the good alone unhappy call, For ills or accidents that chance to all. See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just ! See god-like Turenne prostrate on the dust! 100 See Sidney bleeds amid the martial strife! Was this their virtue or contempt of life? Say, was it virtue, more tho’ heaven ne'er gave? Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave ? Tell me, if virtue made the son expire,

105 Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire? Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath, When nature sicken'd, and each gale was death ?

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