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And putrefy the breath of blooming Health.
He calls for Famine, and the meagre fiend
Blows mildew from between his shrivelld lips,
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines,
And desolates a nation at a blast.
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and discordant springs
And principles; of causes how they work
By necessary laws their sure effects;
Of action and reaction: he has found
The source of the disease that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart and banish fear.
Thou fool! will thy discov'ry of the cause
Suspend the effect, or heal it? Has not God
Still wrought by means since first he made the
And did he not of old employ his means,
To drown it? What is his creation less
Than a capacious reservoir of means
Form'd for his use, and ready at his will ?
Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve; ask of him,
Or ask of whomsoever he has taught,
And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all.
THE PRESENT STATE OF MAN VINDICATED. HEAVEN 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
Or who could suffer being here below ?
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 flowery food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
O blindness to the future ! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven;
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then ; with trembling pinions soar ;
Wait the great teacher Death ; and God adore.
What future bliss he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast :
Man never is but always to be bless'd.
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk or milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud-top'd hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embraced,
Some happier island in the watery waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
To be content 's his natural desire;
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such;
Say here he gives too little, there too much;
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust;
If man alone engross not Heaven's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there;
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge his justice, be the god of God.
In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes :
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Cause,
WISDOM PROCLAIMING A PROVIDENCE TO MAN.' Lo! now the ways of Heaven's eternal King, To man are open! Review them and adore! Hear the loud voice Of Wisdom sounding in her works !- Attend, Ye sons of men ! ye children of the dust, Be wise ! Lo! I was present, when the Sire Of Heav'n pronounc'd his fiat; when his eye Glanc'd through the gulf of darkness, and his hand Fashion'd the rising universe :- I saw, O'er the fair lawns, the heaving mountains raise Their pine-clad spires; and down the shaggy clif I gave the rill to murmur. The rough mounds That bound the madd’ning deep; the storm that Along the desert; the volcano fraught [roars With burning brimstone ;--I prescribe their ends. I rule the rushing winds, and, on their wings
Triumphant, walk the tempest.--To my call
Obsequious bellows the red bolt, that tears
The cloud's thin mantle, when the gushing show'r
Descending copious bids the desert bloom.
I gave to man's dark search superior light;
And cleard dim Reason's misty view, to mark
His pow'rs, as through revolving ages tried,
They rose not to his Maker. Thus prepar'd
To know how distant from his narrow ken
The truths by Heav’n reveald, my hand display'd
The plan fair-opening, where each nobler view,
That swells th’ expanding heart; each glorious
That points ambition to its goal; each aim,
That stirs, exalts, and animates desire;
Pours on the mind's rapt sight a noon-tide ray.
Nor less in life employ'd, 'tis mine to raise
The desolate of heart; to bend the brow
Of stubborn pride, to bid reluctant ire
Subside ; to tame rude nature to the rein
Of virtue.. What though, screen'd from mortal
view, I walk the deep'ning gloom? What though my ways, Remote from thought's bewilder'd search are wrapt In triple darkness ?-Yet I work the springs Of life, and to the general good direct Th' obsequious means to move.-0 ye, who, toss'd On life's tumultuous ocean, eye the shore, Yet far remov'd ; and with the happy hour, When slumber on her downy couch shall lull Your cares to sweet repose; yet bear awhile, And I will guide you to the balmy climes Of rest; will lay you by the silver stream Crown'd with elysian bow'rs, where peace extends
Her blooming olive, and the tempest pours
Its killing blasts no more. Thus Wisdom speaks
To man; thus calls him through the external form
Of nature, through Religion's fuller noon,
Through life's bewild'ring mazes; to observe
A PROVIDENCE IN ALL.
THE PROSPERITY OF VICE NO JUST OBJECTION TO
THE WISDOM OF PROVIDENCE. An! why, thy thought demands, when Virtue feels Thy yoke, severe Adversity! why reigns Triumphant Vice, nor dreads th' avenging doom Of Heav'n; but, wanton in the spoils of pow'r, Sports in gay frolic down the tide of time, Nor dreams of future wo?- Is he then bless'd Alone, who riots in the feast; who sails Loose in the robe of luxury, and bears His front to Heav'n, as if his mind defied (thought Its frown ?Ah blind to reason! whose weak Sees not, the just severity that saves The good, reclaims not error. To persist Firm in the path of right, when all within Is calm; or wand'ring from its side, to start, Alarm'd in time by some awak’ning voice, And turn, is easy :-but the man whose step Far through the devious waste has wander'd wild, Regains not, seeks not to regain the path Long lost; his course by perseverance form'd, His doubts by habit reconcil'd. What once He wish'd, now self-deceived, his willing mind Receives as substance, and the phantom mocks With empty smiles his void embrace no more.