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What crops of wit and honesty appear
Thus nature gives us (let it check our pride) 195
200 The same ambition can destroy or save,' And makes a patriot, as it makes a knave.
This light and darkness in our chaos join'd, What shall divide ? the God within the mind.
Extremes in Nature equal ends produce, 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 mien, As, to be bated, needs but to be seen ; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. But where the 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,
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 builds 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 owe 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 bý mere decay, To welcome death, and calmly pass away. 260
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself. The learn’d is' bappy nature to explore, The fool is happy that he knows no more ; The rich is happy in the plenty giv'n,
265 The poor contents him with the care of Heav’n. See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing, The sot a hero, lunatic a king ; The starving chymist in his golden views Supremely blest, the poet in his muse. See some strange comfort ev'ry state attend, And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend ; See some fit passion ev'ry age supply, Hope travels thro', nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, 275 Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw : Some livelier plaything gives bis youth delight, A little louder, but as enipty quite : Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse bis riper stage; And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age : 280 Pleas’d with this bauble still, as that before ; Till tir'd he sleeps, and life's poor play is o’er!
Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays Those painted clouds that beautify our days ; Each want of happiness by hope supply'd 283 And each vacuity of sense by pride : These build as fast as knowledge can destroy; lo folly's cup still laughs the bubble, joy ; One prospect lost, another still we gain ; And not a vanity is giv'n in vain ;
290 Ev'n mean self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure other's wants by thine. See ! and confess, one comfort still must rise, "Tis this, Tho'man's a fool, yet God is wise,
· EPISTLE III.
HERE then we rest : « The Universal Cause'
• Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.' ' In all the madness of superfluous health, The train of pride, the impudence of wealth, Let this great truth be present night and day ; 5 But most be present, if we preach or pray.
Look round our world ; behold the chain of love Combining all below and all above. See plastic nature working to this end, The single atoms each to other tend,
10 Attract, attracted to, the next in place Form'd and impell’d its neighbour to embrace. See matter next, with various life endu'd, Press to one centre still, the gen’ral good. See dying vegetables life sustain, '. See life dissolving vegetate again : All forms that perish other forms supply, (By turns we catch the vital breath and die) Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne, They rise, they break, and to that sea return. 20 Nothing is foreign : parts relate to whole ; One all-extending, all-preserving soul Connects each being, greatest with the least ; Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast ; All sery'd, all serving ; nothing stands alone : 25 The chain holds on, and, where it ends, unknown.
Has God, thou fool ! work'd solely for thy good, Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food ? Who for thy table feeds the 'wanton fawn, For him as kindly spreads the flow'ry lawn. Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings ? Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings. Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat ? Loves of his own and raptures swell the note.
The bounding steed, you pompously bestride, 35
Know, nature's children shall divide her care ;
Grant that the pow'rful still the weak control ; Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole :
50 Nature that tyrant checks ; he only knows, And helps another creature's, wants and woes. Say, will the falcon, stooping from above, Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove ? Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings? 55 Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings? Man cares for all : to birds he gives his woods, To beasts his pastures, and to fish bis floods, For some his int’rest prompts him to provide, For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride ; 60 All feed on one vain patron, and enjoy Th' extensive blessing of his luxury. That very life his learned hunger craves, He saves from famine, from the savage saves ; Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast, 65 And, till he ends its being, makes it blest; Which sees no more the stroke, or feels the pain, Than favour'd man by touch ethereal slain. The creature had his feast of life before ; Thou too must perish, when thy feast is o'er! 70
To each unthinking being, Heav'n a friend, Gives not the useless knowledge of its end;