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Where only merit constant pay receives,
See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow !
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
370 Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty bless'd, And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend ! my genius! come along: O master of the poet, and the song! And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise ; Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer From grave to gay, from lively to severe
380 Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, Intent to reason, or polite to please. 0! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame, Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale ? When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose, Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes, Shall then this verse to future age pretend Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? 390 That, urged by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art From sou to things, from fancy to the heart; For wit's false mirror held up nature's light, Show'd erring pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT ;
That reason, passion, answer one great aim ;
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
It may be proper to observe, that some passages in the preceding Essay, having been unjustly suspected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this prayer as the sum of all, to shew that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: That the First Cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay) was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but the resting in a religious acquies. cence and confidence, full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this paraphrase.
FATHER of all! in every age,
In every clime adored,
Jehovah, Jove, our Lord !
Who all my sense confined
And that myself am blind ;
To see the good from ill;
Left free the human will:
Or warns me not to do,
That, more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Thy goodness let me bound,
When thousand worlds are round: Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
On each I judge thy foe.
Still in the right to stay;
To find that better way.
Or impious discontent,
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy shew to me.
Since quickened by thy breath;
Through this day's life or death. This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
And let thy will be done.
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies !
All Nature's incense rise !
ADVERTISEMENT. THE Essay on Man was intended to have been comprised in four books:
The first of which, the author has given us under that title, in four epistles.
The second was to have consisted of the same number : 1. Of the extent and limits of human reason. 2. Of those arts and sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are unuseful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application of the different capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning, of the science of the world, and of wit; concluding with a satire against a misapplication of them, illustrated by pictures, characters, and examples.
The third book regarded civil regimen, or the science of politics, in which the several forms of a republic were to be examined and explained; together with the several modes of religious worship, as far forth as they affect society ; between which the author always supposed there was the most interesting relation and closest connexion ; so that this part would have treated of civil and religious society in their full extent.
The fourth and last book concerned private ethics, or practical morality, considered in all the circumstances, or, ders, professions, and stations of human life.
The scheme of all this had been maturely digested, and communicated to Lord Bolingbroke, Dr. Swift, and one or two more, and was intended for the only work of his riper years; but was, partly through ill health, partly through discouragements from the depravity of the times, and partly on prudential and other considerations, interrupted, postponed, and, lastly, in a manner laid aside.
But as this was the author's favourite work, which more