« PreviousContinue »
Each feeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of fwiftnefs, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beaft, each infect. happy in its own:
Is Heav'n unkind to Man, and Man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bleft with all?
The blifs of Man (could Pride that blefling find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
No pow'rs of body, or of foul to share,
But what his nature and his ftate can bear.
Why has not Man a microscopic eye?
For this plain reafon. Man is not a Fly.
Say what the ufe, were finer optics giv❜n,
T' infpect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To fmart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting thro' the brain,
Die of a rofe in aromatic pain!
If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,
And stunn'd him with the music of the fpheres,
How would he wish that Heav'n had left him ftill
The whifp'ring Zephyr, and the purling rill?
Who finds not Providence all good and wife,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
VII. Far as Creation's ample range extends,
The fcale of fenfual, mental pow'rs atcends:
Mark how it mounts to Man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grafs :
What modes of fight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam:
Of fmell, the headlong lioness between,
And hound fagacious on the tainted green :
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles through the vernal wood?
The spider's touch, how exquifitely fine?
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what fenfe fo fubtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew:
How Inftinct varies in the grov'ling fwine,
Compar'd, half reas'ning elephant, with thine!
"Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier?
For ever fep'rate, yet for ever near !
Remembrance and reflection how ally'd;
What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide ?
And Middle natures how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' infuperable line!
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, thefe to thofe, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all fubdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one?
VIII. See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progreffive life may go !
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vaft chain of being! which from God began,
Natures aethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, infect, what no eye can fee,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee,
From thee to Nothing.-On fuperior pow'rs
Were we to prefs, inferior might on ours;
Or in the full Creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great fcale's destroy'd:
From Nature's chain whatever link you ftrike,
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And if each fystem in gradation roll
Alike effential to th' amazing Whole,
The leaft confufion but in one, not all
That fyftem only, but the Whole must fall.
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and Suns run lawless through the fky;
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
Being on Being wreck'd, and world on world;
Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God.
All this dread ORDER break-for whom? for thee?
Vile worm!-oh Madnefs! Pride! Impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the duft to tread,
Or hand, to toil, afpir'd to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To ferve mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as abfurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame;
Just as ab urd, to mourn the tasks or pains
The great directing MIND of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the foul;
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the fame;
Great in the earth, as in th' aetherial frame;
Warm in the fun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the ftars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unfpent;
Breathes in our foul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no finall;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
X. Cease then, nor ORDER Imperfection name:
Our proper blifs depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n beftows on thee.
Submit. In this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as bleft as thou canst bear :
Safe in the hand of one difpofing Pow'r,
Cr in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not fee;
All Difcord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, univerfal Good.
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to HIMSELF, as an Individual.
I. THE business of Man not to pry into GoD, but to study himself. His Middle Nature: his Powers and Frailties, ver. I to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, ver. 19, etc. II. The two Principles of Man, Selflove and Reafon, both neceffary, ver. 53, etc. Selflove the stronger, and why, ver. 67, etc. Their end the fame, ver. 81, etc. III. The PASSIONS, and their ufe, ver. 93 to 130. The Predominant Paffion, and its force, ver. 132 to 160. Its Necef fity, in directing men to different purposes, ver. 165, etc. Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Prin ciple, and afcertaining our Virtue, ver. 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things jeparate and evident : What is the Office of Reafon, ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourfelves into it, ver. 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are anfwered in our Påffions and Imperfections, ver. 238, etc. How usefully these are diftributed to all Orders of Men, ver. 241. How useful they are to Society, ver. 251. And to Individuals, ver. 263. la every state, and every age of life, ver. 273, etc.