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Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade
The choice we make, or justify it made;
Proud of an easy conquest all along,
She but removes weak passions for the strong:
So, when small humours gather to a gout,
The doctor fancies he has driven them out.
Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd;
Reason is here no guide, but still a guard;
"Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow,
And treat this passion more as friend than foe:
A mightier power the strong direction sends,
And several men impels to several ends :
Like varying winds by other passions toss'd,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please,
Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease;
Through life 'tis follow'd e'en at life's expense;
The merchant's toil, the sage's indolence,
The monk's humility, the hero's pride,
All, all alike, find reason on their side.
The Eternal Art, educing good from ill,
Grafts on this passion our best principle:
'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix'd,
Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd:
The dross cements what else were too refined,
And in one interest body acts with mind.
As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care,
On savage stocks inserted learn to bear;
The surest virtues thus from passions shoot,
Wild nature's vigour working at the root.
What crops of wit and honesty appear
From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear!
See anger, zeal and fortitude supply;
E'en avarice, prudence; sloth, philosophy;
Lust, through some certain strainers well refined,
Is gentle love, and charms all womankind;
Envy, to which the ignoble mind's a slave,
Is emulation in the learn'd or brave;
Nor virtue, male or female, can we name,
But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame.
Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride)
The virtue nearest to our vice allied:
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
The fiery soul abhorr'd in Catiline,
In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine:
The same ambition can destroy or save,
And makes a patriot as it makes a knavc.
IV. 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; Though each by turns the other's bounds invade, As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade, And oft so mix, the difference is too nice Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice. Fools! who from hence into the notion fall, That vice and 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; 'Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain. V. Vice is a monster of so frightful mein, As, to be hated, 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,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he:
E'en those who dwell beneath its very zone,
Or never feel the rage, or never own;
What happier nature shrink at with affright,
The hard inhabitant contends is right.
Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
Few in the extreme, but all in the degree;
The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise;
And e'en the best, by fits, what they despise.
'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill;
For, vice or virtue, self directs it still;
Each individual seeks a several goal;
But Heaven's great view, is one, and that the whole.
That counterworks each folly and caprice;
That disappoints the effects of every vice;
That, happy frailties to all ranks applied,
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,
Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
Heaven forming each on other to depend
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
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 interest, or endear the tie.
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Each home-felt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign.
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself. The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more;
The rich is happy in the plenty given;
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely bless'd; the poet in his muse..
See some strange comfort every state attend
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend :
See some fit passion every age supply;
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite :
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age: 280
Pleased with this bauble still, as that before;
"Till tired, 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 supplied,
And each vacuity of sense by pride:
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy;
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy;
One prospect lost, another still we gain;
And not a vanity is given in vain;
E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others' wants by thine.
See! and confess, one comfort still must rise;
'Tis this, Though man's a fool, yet Gop is wISE.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE III.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to
I. The whole universe one system of society, ver. 7, &c Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, ver. 27. The happiness of animals mutual ver. 49. II. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, ver. 79. Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals, ver. 109. III.
How far society carried by instinct, ver. 115. How much farther by reason, ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called
the state of nature, ver. 144. Reason instructed by in stinct in the invention uf arts, ver. 166, and in the forms of society, ver. 176. V. Origin of political societies, ver. 196. Origin of monarchy, ver. 207. Patriarchal government, ver. 212. VI. Origin of true religion and govern. ment, from the same principle of love, ver. 231, &c. Origin of superstition and tyranny, froin the same principle of fear, ver. 237, &c. The influence of self-love opera ting to the social and public good, ver. 266. Restoration of true religion and government, on their first principle, ver. 295. Mixed government, ver. 288. Various forms of each, and the true end of all, ver. 300, &c.
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
But most be present, if we preach or pray.
I. 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,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form'd and impell'd its neighbour to embrace.
See matter next, with various life endued,
Press to one centre still, the general 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.
Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole;
One all-extending, all-preserving soul