« PreviousContinue »
HOPE humbly then with trembling Pinions soar,
Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore.
Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prefcrib'd, their present state,
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know, 75
Or who could fuffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reafon, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the laft, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to fhed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by heav'n,
Who fees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a fparrow fall,
Atoms, or fyftems, into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world!
Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions foar;
Wait the great teacher, Death, and God adore !
What future blifs he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy bleffing now.
Hope fprings eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest;
The foul uneafy, and confin'd at home,
Refts, and expatiates, in a life to come.
Lo! the poor Indian, whofe untutor❜d mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His foul, proud fcience never taught to ftray
Far as the folar walk, or milky way;
Yet fimple nature to his hope has giv'n
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n,
Some fafer world, in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier ifsland in the wat❜ry waste,
Where flaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Chriftians thirst for gold.
To be contents his natural defire,
He afks no angel's wing, or feraph's fire,
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog fhall bear him company.
Go, wifer thou.! and in thy fcale of fense
Weigh thy opinion against providence :
Call imperfection what thou fancy'ft fuch,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much ;
Deftroy all creatures for thy fport or guft,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust,
If man, alone, engross not heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there;
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
R-judge his juftice, by the God of God!
In reas'ning Pride (my friend) our error lies;
All quit their fphere, and rufh into the skies.
Pride ftill is aiming at the bleft abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Afpiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Afpiring to be angels, men rebel;
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of Order, fins against th' eternal cause.
Afk for what end the heav'nly bodies shine? Earth for whose use? Pride anfwers, "'Tis for mine : "For me kind nature wakes her genial pow'r, "Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flow'r ; 130 "Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew "The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; "For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; "For me, health gushes from a thousand springs ; "Seas roll to waft me, funs to light me rife; "My footftool earth, my canopy the skies."
But errs not nature from this gracious end,
From burning funs when livid deaths defcend,
When earthquakes swallow, or when tempefts sweep
Towns to one grave, or nations to the deep?
"No, ('tis reply'd) the first almighty cause
"Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;
"Th' exceptions few; fome change fince all began,
"And what created, perfect?" Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then nature deviates, and can man do lefs?
As much that end a conftant course requires
Of fhow'rs and funfhine, as of man's defires,
As much eternal fprings and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temp'rate, calm, and wife.
If plagues or earthquakes break not heav'n's defign,
Why then a Borgia or a Catiline?
From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning fprings;
Account for moral, as for natʼral things:
Why charge we heav'n in those, in these acquit?
In both, to reafon right, is to fubmit.
Better for us, perhaps it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air nor dcean felt the wind;
That never paffion discompos'd the mind :
But all fubfifts by elemental ftrife ;
And paffions are the elements of life.
The gen'ral order, fince the whole began
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
What would this man? now upward will he föar, 165
And little less than angel, would be more;
Now looking downward, just as griev'd appears
To want the ftrength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Say what their ufe, had he the pow'rs of all?
Nature to thefe, without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper pow'rs affign'd;
Each feeming want compenfated of courfe
Here, with degrees of fwiftnefs, there, of force;
All in exact proportion to the ftate,
Nothing to add, and nothing to abatë.
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 blefs'd with all?
The blifs of man (could pride that bleffing find)
Is, not to act, or think, beyond mankind;
No pow'rs of body or of foul to fhare,
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' infpet a mite, not comprehend the heav'n?
The 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 rose in aromatic pain?
If nature thunder'd in his opening ears,
And ftunn'd him with the mufic of the fpheres,
How would he wifh, that heav'n had left him ftill
The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill?
Who finds not providence all- good and wife,
Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
Far as creation's ample rage extends,
The scale of fenfual, mental pow'rs afcends:
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 smell, the headlong lionefs 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 fpider's touch, how exquifitely fine,
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what fense so subtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew.
How inftinct varies, in the groveling 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 fenfe from thought divide:
And middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' infuperable line!
Without this juft gradation could they be
Subjected these to thofe, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy reason all those pow'rs in one?