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Where slaves once more their native land behold,
Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense
In pride, in reas’ning pride, our error lies ; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes, Men would be angels, angels would be gods. Aspiring to be gods if angels fell, Aspiring to be angels men rebel ; And who but wishes to invert the laws Of order, sins against th’ Eternal cause. 130
Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine, Earth for whose use ? Pride answers, • 'Tis for mine : • For me kind nature wakes her genial pow'r, • Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flower ; • Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew 135 • The juice nectareous and the balmy dew ; • For me the mine a thousand treasures brings ; • For me health gushes from a thousand springs ; • Seas roll to waft nie, suns to light me rise ; • My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.'
But errs not nature from this gracious end, From burning suns when livid deaths descend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep ;
140 « No ('tis reply'd) the first Almighty Cause 145 • Acts not by partial, but by gen’ral laws; • The exceptions few, some change, since all began, < And what created perfect ?'-Why then man. If the great end be human bappiness, Then nature deviates ; and can man do less ? 150 As much that end a constant course requires. Of show'rs and sun-shine, as of man's desires ; As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, As men for ever 'temp’rate, calm, and wise. If plagues or earthquakes break not heaven's design,
155 Why then a Borgia, or a Cataline ? Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms, Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms, Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind, Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge man. kind ?
160 From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs ; Account for moral, as for nat’ral things : Why charge we heav'n in those, in these acquit ? In both, to reason right is to submit.
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, 165 Were there all harmony, all virtue here; That never air or ocean felt the wind ; That never passion discompos'd the mind ; But all subsists by elemental strife; And passions are the elements of life. The gen’ral order, since the whole began, Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
What would this man: Now upward will he soar, And little less than angel, would be more ; Now looking downwards, 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, bad he the pow’rs of all : Nature to these, without profusion kind, The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign'd ; 180
Each seeming want compensated of course,
The bliss of man, (could pride that blessing find)
200 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 whispering zephyr, and the purling rill? Who finds not providence all good and wise, 205 Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
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 peopl'd grass : 210 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, 215 To that which warbles thro' the vernal wood : 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
240 From thee to nothing. On superior 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 symptom in gradation roll Alike essential to thamazing 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 fiy, 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'n's whole foundations to their centre nod, 255 And nature tremble to the throne of God.
All this dread order break for whom? for thee?
What if the foot, ordain’d the dust to tread,
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul ; That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same; Great in the earth, as in th'ethereal frame, 270 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, 275 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 bim no high, no low, no great, no small; He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. 280
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection pame : 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 Rigar.'