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Here too all forms of social union find,
And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind;
Here subterranean works and cities see;
There towns aerial on the waving tree.
Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ant's republic, and the realm of bees;
How those in common all their wealth bestow,
And anarchy without confusion know;
And these forever, though a monarch reign,
Their sep’rate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,
Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate.
In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law,
And right, too rigid, harden into wrong:
Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.
Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway,
Thus let the wiser make the rest obey;
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods ador’d.”
V. Great Nature spoke: observant man obey'd;
Cities were built, societies were made:
Here rose one little state; another near
Grew by like means, and join'd through love or fear.
Did here the trees with ruddier burthens bend,
And there the streams in purer rills descend!
What war could ravish, commerce could bestow,
And he return'd a friend, who came a foe.
Converse and love, mankind might strongly draw,
When love was liberty, and nature law.
Thus states were form’d; the name of king unknown,
Till common int'rest plac'd the sway in one.
'Twas virtue only (or in arts or arms,
Diffusing blessings, or averting harms)
The same, which in a sire the sons obey'd,
A prince the father of a people made.
VI. Till then, by nature crown'd, each patriarch
King, priest, and parent, of his growing state;
On him, their second providence, they hung,
Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue.
He from the wond'ring furrow call'd the food,
Taught to command the fire, control the flood,
Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound,
Or fetch th' aerial eagle to the ground;
Till drooping, sick’ning, dying, they began,
Whom they rever'd as God, to mourn as man:
Then, looking up from sire to sire, explor'd
One great first Father, and that first ador'd.
Or plain tradition, that this All begun,
Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son:
The worker from the work distinct was known,
And simple reason never sought but one:
Ere wit oblique had broke that steady light,
Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right:
To virtue, in the paths of pleasure trod,
And own'd a father, when he own'd a God.
Love, all the faith and all th' allegiance then;
For nature knew no right divine in men:
No ill could fear in God; and understood
A sovereign being, but a sovereign good.
True faith, true policy, united ran,
That was but love of God, and this of man.
Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone,
Th' enormous faith of many made for one;
That proud exception to all nature's laws,
T' invert the world, and counter-work its cause?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest law,
Till superstition taught the tyrant awe,
Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made:
She, 'midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray
To power unseen, and mightier far than they:
She, from the rending earth, and bursting skies,
Saw gods descend and fiends infernal rise:
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes;
Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods;
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge or lust;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide,
And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride.
Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more;
Altars grew marble then, and reek’d with gore:
Then first the Flamen tasted living food;
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood;
With heaven's own thunder shook the world below,
And play'd the god an engine on his foe.
So drives self-love through just, and through unjust,
To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust:
The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws.
For, what one likes, if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel,
How shall he keep? what, sleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain:
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus, by self-defence,
E’en kings learn'd justice and benevolence:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd,
And found the private, in the public good.
'Twas then the studious head, or gen'rous mind, Follower of God, or friend of human kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore The faith and moral Nature gave before; Relum'd her ancient light, not kindled new; If not God's image, yet his shadow drew: Taught power's due use to people and to kings, Tanght not to slack, nor strain its tender strings, The less, or greater, set so justly true, That touching one must strike the other too; Till jarring int’rests, of themselves, create Th' according music of a well-mix'd state. Such is the world's great harmony, that springs From order, union, full consent of things: Where small and great, where weak and mighty made To serve, not suffer; strengthen, not invade; More powerful each, as needful to the rest, And, in proportion as it blesses, blest;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd, is best:
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right:
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity:
All must be false, that thwarts this one great end,
And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend.
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the planets run,
Yet make, at once, their circle round the sun:
So two consistent motions act the soul:
And one regards itself, and one the whole.
Thus God and nature link'd the general frame,
And bade self-love and social be the same.
O Happiness! our being's end and aim;
Good, pleasure, ease, content! what'er thy name;
That something still, which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die,
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O’erlook’d, seen double, by the fool and wise,
Plant of celestial seed; if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow?
Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shine,
Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine?
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, 'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry 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; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these; Some, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain; Some, swell’d to gods, confess e'en virtue vain: Or indolent, to each extreme they fall, To trust in every thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, That happiness is happiness?
Take Nature's path, and mad opinions leave ; All states can reach it, and all heads con
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.
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 pleasures sicken, and all glories sink:
Each has his share, and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.
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.
Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness;
But mutual wants this happiness increase ;
All nature's diff'rence 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 through ev'ry member of the whole