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AWAKE, my St. John! leave all meaner thing3
To low ambition, and the pride of Kings.
VER. I. Awake, my. ST. JOHN!] Henry St. John, son of Sir Henry St. John, Baronet, of Lydiard Tregose in Wiltshire, by Mary, second daughter and heiress of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, was born in 1678.
VER. 6. A mighty maze! but not without a plan ;] In the first edition, it was w a mighty maze, without a plan."
I. Say first, of God above, or man below,
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? II. Preşumptuous man ! the reason would'st thou find,
35 Why form’d so weak, so little, and so blind? First, if thou can’st, the harder reason guess, Why form’d no weaker, blinder, and no less ? Ask of thy mother earth, why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? 40, Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove?
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest That wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must full or not coherent be,
45 And all that rises, rise in due degree; Then, in the scale of reas’ning life, 'tis plain, There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man: And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong? 50
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call, May, must be right, as relative to all. In human works, tho' labour'd on with pain, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain ; In God's, one single can its end produce ; 55 Yet serves to second too some other use. So man, who here seems principal alone, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal ; 'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.
бо When the proud steed shall know why man restrains His fiery' course, or drives him o'er the plains ; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god : Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend 65 His actions', passions', being's, use and end; Why doing, suff’ring ; check’d, impell’d.; and why This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Then Ver. 64.] In the former editions,
Now wears a garland an Egyptian God : altered as above for the reason given in the note.
Ver. 64. Egypt's god :] Called so, because the god Apis was worshipped universally over the whole land of Egypt.
Then say not man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault; Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought : 70 His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; His time a moment, and a point his space. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, soon or late, or here or there? The blest to-day is as completely so,
75 As who began a thousand years ago. III. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of
fate, All but the page prescrib'd, their present state : From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Or who could suffer being here below?
80 The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food, And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n, 85 That each may fill the circle mark’d by Heav'n: Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms After ver. 68. the following lines in the first edition :
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
As who began ten thousand years ago.
No great, no little; 'tis as much decreed,