Page images

The fame felf-love, in all, becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws.
For, what one likes, if others like as well,
What ferves one will, when many wills rebel?
How shall he keep, what, fleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His fafety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each defires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus, by felf-defence,
Even kings learn'd juftice and benevolence:
Self-love forfook the path it first purfu'd,
And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then the ftudious head or generous mind
Follower of God, or friend of human-kind,
Poet, or patriot, rofe but to restore
The faith and moral, nature gave before;
Refum'd her ancient light, not kindled new;
If not God's image, yet his fhadow drew:
Taught power's due use to people and to kings,
Taught not to flack, nor strain its tender ftrings
The lefs, the greater, fet fo juftly true,
That touching one,
muft ftrike the other too;
'Till jarring interefts, of themselves create
Th' according mufic of a well-mix'd ftate.

Such is the world's great harmony, that fprings

From order, union, full confent of things:

Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made

To ferve, not fuffer, ftrengthen, not invade;

More powerful each as needful to the reft,

And, in proportion as it bleffes, bleft;

Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beaft, man, or angel, fervant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is beft adminifter'd is beft:
For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong, whofe life is in the right:
In faith and hope the world will difagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity :

All must be falfe that thwart this one great end;
And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend.
Man, like the generous vine, fupported lives;
The ftrength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the planets run,

Yet make at once their circle round the fun;
So two confiftent motions act the foul;
And one regards itself, and one the whole.

Thus GoD and Nature link'd the general frame, And bade felf-love and focial be the fame.


Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to HAPPINESS.


I. FALSE notions of happiness, philofophical and popular, anfwered from v. 19 to 77. II. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all, v. 30. GOD intends happiness to be equal; and to be fo, it must be focial, fince all particular happiness depends on general, and fince he governs by general, not particular laws, v. 37. As it is neceffary for order, and the peace and welfare of fociety, that external goods fhould be unequal, happiness is not made to confist in these, v. 51. But notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two paffions of hope and fear, v. 70. III. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is confiftent with the conftitution of this world; and that the good man has here the advantage, ver. 77. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune, v. 94. IV. The folly of expecting that GOD fhould alter his general laws, in favour of particulars, v. 121, V. That we are not judges who are good; but that whoever they are, they must be happiest, v. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with,

or deftructive of virtue, v. 167. That even thefe can make no man happy without virtue: Instanced in riches, ver. 185. Honours. v. 193. Nobility, v. 205. Greatness, v. 217. Fame, ver. 237. Superior talents, v. 259. &c. With pictures of human infelicity in men poffeffed of them all, ver. 269, &c. VII. That virtue only conftitutes a happiness, whofe object is univerfal, and whofe profpect is eternal, v. 309, &c. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the ORDER of PROVIDENCE here, and a refignation to it here and hereafter, v. 326, &c.

OH HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim!

Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy name: That fomething still which prompts th' eternal figh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die, Which still fo near us, yet beyond us lies,

O'er-look'd, feen double, by the fool, and wife.
Plant of celeftial feed! if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal foil thou deign'ft to grow?
Fair opening to fome court's propitious shine,
Or deep with di'monds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnaffian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvefts of the field?

Where grows where grows it not? If vain our toil,
We ought to blame the culture, not the foil:
Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere,

'Tis no where to be found, or every where:
'Tis never to be bought, but always free,
And fled from monarchs, ST. JOHN ! dwells with thee.

Afk of the Learn'd the way? The Learn'd are blind; This bids to ferve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the blefs in action, fome in cafe, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these; Some funk to beafts, find pleasure end in pain ; Some fwell'd to gods, confefs even virtue vain; Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,

To truft in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.

Who thus define it, fay they more or lefs Than this, That happiness is happiness ?

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 fenfe, and common cafe.

Remember, man, 6. the Univerfal Caufe
"Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;"
And makes what happiness we justly call
Subfift not in the good of one, but all.
Tere's not a bleffing individuals find,
But fome way leans and hearkens to the kind:
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No cavern'd hermit, refts felf-fatisfy'd :
Who moft to fhun or hate mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend :
Abstract what others feel, what others think,.
All pleasures ficken, and all glories fink:
Each has his fhare; and who would more obtain,
Shall find, the pleafure pays not half the pain.

« PreviousContinue »