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\ Learn each small people's genius, policies, • The ants' republic, and the realm of bees ; “ How those in common all their wealth bestow, 185 “ And anarchy without confusion know; . « And these for ever, tho' a monarch reign, « Their sep’rate cells and properties maintain. : “ Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state, “ Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate. 190 “ In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law, “ And right, too rigid, harden into wrong, “ Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong. “ Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway, 195 “ Thus let the wiser make the rest obey; “ And for those arts mere instinct could afford, “ Be crown'd as monarchs, or as Gods ador'd."
V. Great Nature spoke; observant men obey'd; Cities were built, societies were made : - 200 Here rose one little state ; another near Grew by like means, and join'd thro’ love or fear.
Did Ver. 197. In the first Editions,
Who for those arts they learn’d of Brutes before,
As Kings shall crown them, or as Gods adore.
Ver. 201. Here rose one little state, &c.] In the MS. thus :
The neighbours leagu'd to guard their common spot;
And love was nature's dictate; murder, not.
For want alone each animal contends;
Tigers with tigers, that remov’d, are friends.
Plain nature's wants the common mother crown'd,
She pour'd her acorns, herbs, and streams around.
No treasure then for rapine to invade;
What need to fight for sun-shine, or for shade ?
And half the cause of contest was remov'd,
When beauty could be kind to all who lov'd.
Did here the trees with ruddier burthens bend,
And there the streams in purer rills descend ?
What war could ravish, commerce could bestow,
And he return'd a friend, who came a foe. 206
Converse and love mankind may strongly draw,
When love was liberty, and nature law.
Thus states were form’d; the name of king unknown,
Till common int’rest plac'd the sway in one. 210
'Twas Virtue ONLY (or in arts or arms,
Diffusing blessings, or averting harms)
The same which in a sire the sons obey'd,
A prince the father of a people made.
VI. Till then, by nature crown'd, each patriarch
King, priest, and parent of his growing state ;
On him, their second Providence, they hung,
Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue.
He from the wond'ring furrow call’d the food,
Taught to command the fire, controul the flood, 220
Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound,
Or fetch the aërial eagle to the ground.
Till drooping, sick’ning, dying, they began
Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as man:
Then, looking up from sire to sire, explord 225
One great first father, and that first ador'd.
Or plain tradition that this all begun,..
Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son; .
The worker from the work distinct was known,
And simple reason never sought but one : . 230
Ere wit oblique had broke that steddy light,
Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right;
To virtue, in the paths of pleasure trod,
And own'd a father when he own'd a God.
Love all the faith, and all th' allegiance then; 235
For nature knew no right divine in men,
No ill could fear in God; and understood
A sov'reign being but a sov'reign good.
True faith, true policy, united ran,
That was but love of God, and this of man. 240
Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone,
Th' enormous faith of many made for one ;
That proud exception to all nature's laws,
T'invert the work, and counter-work its cause ?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law;
Till superstition taught the tyrant awe, 246
Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made :
She 'midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the
250 She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To pow'r unseen, and mightier far than they : She, from the rending earth and bursting skies, Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise: Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes ; 255 Fear made her Devils, and weak hope her Gods ; Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust, Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust ;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. 260
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide ;
And hell was built on spite, and heav'n on pride.
Then sacred seem'd th’ ethereal vault no more ;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore :
Then first the Flamen tasted living food; 265
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood;
With Heav'n's own thunders shook the world below,
And play'd the god an engine on his foe.
So drives self-love, through just and through unjust,
To one man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, lust : 270
The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws.
For, what one likes if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel ?
How shall we keep, what, sleeping or awake, 275
A weaker may surprize, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus by self-defence,
Ev'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence: 280
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd,
And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then, the studious head, or gen'rous mind, Follow'r of God, or friend of human-kind, Poet or Patriot, rose but to restore 1 285 The faith and moral, nature gave before ; VOL. III.
Re-lum'd her ancient light, not kindled new; .
If not God's image, yet his shadow drew :
Taught pow'r's due use to people and to kings, .
Taught not to slack, nor strain its tender strings,
The less, or greater, set so justly true,
That touching one must strike the other too ;
Till jarring int'rests, of themselves create
Th' according music of a well-mix'd state.
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things : 296
Where small and great, where weak and mighty made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade ;
More pow'rful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest ;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best :
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; 305
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right:
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity :
All must be false that thwart this one great end ;
And all of God, that bless mankind or mend. · 310
Man, like the gen’rous vine, supported lives ; The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives. On their own axis as the planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the sun ; .