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29 Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things:
Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More powerful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest.
30 For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
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 thwarts this one great end,
And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend.
31 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;
So two consistent motions acts the soul;
And one regards itself, and one the whole.
Thus God and nature link'd the general frame,
And bade self-love and social be the same.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to
1 O HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim;
Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy name:
That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die,
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise.
Plant of celestial seed; if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow?
2 Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shrine, Or deep with di’monds in the flaming mine? Twin’d with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field? Where grows?-Where grows it not?-if vain our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil: Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere, 'Tis no where to be found, or evry where: 'Tis never to be bought, but always free, And, fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with thee.
3 Ask of the learn'd the way? The learn’d are blind: This hids to serve, and that to shun mankind;
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease,
Those call it pleasure, and contentment these;
Some, sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain;
Some, swell’d to gods, confess e'en virtue vain;
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in every thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, That happiness is happiness?
4 Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well; And, mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense, and common ease. 5 Remember, man,
- the Universal Cause
« Acts not by partial, but by general laws;"
And makes what happiness we justly call,
Subsist not in the good of one, but all.
There's not a blessing individuals find,
B'it some way leans and hearkens to the kind:
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No cavern’d hermit, rests self-satisfied:
6 Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend:
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink:
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find, the pleasure pays not half the pain.
7 ORDER is Heaven's first law; and this confest,
Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
Thai such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness;
But mutual wants this happiness increase;
All nature's diff'rence keeps all nature's peace.
8 Condition, circumstance is not the thing; Bliss is the same in subject or in king. In who obtain defence, or who defend, In him who is, or him who finds a friend: Heaven breathes through ev'ry member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul. But fortune's gifts, if each alike possest, And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place content,
9 Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call’d, unhappy those;
But Heav'n's just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in hope, and these in fear:
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
But future views of better, or of worse.
10 O sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies?
Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
11 Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.
But health consists with temperance alone;
peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own.
The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain;
But these less taste them, as they worse obtain.
12 Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
Who risk the most, that take wrong means or right?
Of vice or virtue, whether blest or curst,
Which meets contempt, or which compassion first?
Count all th' advantage prosp'rous vice attains,
'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains:
And grant the bad what happiness they would,
One they must want, which is, to pass
for good. 13 O blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below, Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue wo! Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest, But fools, the good alone, unhappy call, For ills or accidents that chance to all,
14 See Falkland dies, the virtuous and the just!
See godlike Turenne prostrate on the dust!
See Sidney bleeds amid the martial strife!
Was this their virtue, or contempt of life?
Say, was it virtue, more though Heav'n ne'er gave,
Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave?
15 Tell me, if virtue made the son expire,
Why, full of days and honor, lives the sire?
Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath,
When nature sicken'd, and each gale was death?
Or why so long in life if long can be)
Lent Heaven a parent to the poor and me?
16 What makes all physical or moral ill?
There deviates nature, and here wanders will.
God sends not ill, if rightly understood,
Or partial ill is universal good,
Or change admits, or nature lets it fall,
Short, and but rare, till man improv'd it all.
Think we, like some weak prince, th' Eternal Cause
Prone for his fav’rites to reverse his laws ?
17 Shall burning Etna, if a sage requires, *
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires?
On air or sea new motions be imprest,
O blameless Bethel! to relieve thy breast?
When the loose mountain trembles from on high,
Shall gravitation cease, if you go by?
Or some old temple, nodding to its fall,
For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall?
18 But still this world (so fitted for the knave)
Contents us not. A better shall we have?
A kingdom of the just then let it be:
But first consider how those just agree.
The good must merit God's peculiar care;
But who, but God, can tell us who they are?
One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell,
Another deems him instrument of hell;
If Calvin feel Heaven's blessing, or its rod,
This cries, there is, and that, there is no God.
19 What shocks one part will edify the rest,
Nor with one system can they all be blest;
The very best will variously incline,
And what rewards your virtue, punish mine.
"Whatever is, is right.”—This world, 'tis true,
Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too:
And which more blest? Who chain'd his country, say,
Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day?
20 “But sometimes virtue starves, while vice is fed.'
What then? Is the reward of virtue bread?
That, vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil;
The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil.
* Alluding to the fate of those two great naturalists, Empedocles and Pliny, who both perished by too near an approach to Etna and Vesuvius, while they were exploring the cause of their eruptions
The knave deserves it, when he tempts the main,
Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain.
The good man may be weak, be indolent;
Nor is his claim to plenty, but content.
21 But grant him riches, your demand is o'er? “ No: shall the good want health, the good want power?" Add health and power, and ev'ry earthly thing; “ Why bounded pow'r? why private? why no king? “ Nay, why external for internal giv'n? " Why is not man God and earth a heav'n?" Who ask and reason thus, will scarce conceive God gives enough, while he has more to give; Immense the pow'r, immense were the demand; Say, at what part of nature will they stand?
22 What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
The soul's calm sun-shine, and the heart-felt joy,
Is virtue's prize: a better would you fix?
Then give humility a coach and six,
Justice a conqu’ror's sword, or truth a gown,
Or public spirit, its great cure, a crown.
Weak, foolish man! will Heav'n reward us there
With the same trash mad mortals wish for here?
The boy and man an individual makes,
Yet sigh’st thou now for apples and for cakes?
23 Go, like the Indian, in another life,
Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife;
As well as dream such trifles are assign’d,
As toys and empires for a godlike mind.
Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
No joy, or be destructive of the thing;
How oft by these at sixty are undone
The virtues of a saint at twenty-one!
24 To whom can riches give repute, or trust,
Content or pleasure, but the good and just?
Judges and senates have been bought for gold;
Esteem and love were never to be sold.
O fool! to think God hates the worthy mind,
The lover and the love of human-kind,
Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear,
Because he wants a thousand pounds a year.
25 Honor and shame from no condition rise;
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.
Fortune in men has some small difference made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade;