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For me kind nature wakes her genial power;
But errs not nature from this gracious end,
The exceptions few; some change since all began; And what created perfect ?-Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then nature deviates; and can man do less? 150 As much that end a constant course requires
Of showers and sun-shine, as of man's desires?
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design,
Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms, Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Or turns youngAmmon loose to scourge mankind? 160 From pride, from pride, our very reasoning springs; Account for moral as for natural things:
Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit ?
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
The general order since the whole began,
Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
VI. What would this man? Now upward will he soar And, little less than angel, would be more; Now looking downwards, just as grieved appears To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. Made for his use all creatures if he call, Say what their use, had he the powers of all? Nature to these, without profusion, kind, The proper organs, proper powers assign'd; Each seeming want compensated; of course, Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; All in exact proportion to the state; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate. Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone? Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Be pleased with nothing, if not bless'd with all? The blissfman (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at every pore?
Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
If Nature thunder'd in his opening ears,
VII. Far as creation's ample range extends,
Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race,
VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, which no eye can see,
enth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll Alike essential to the amazing whole, The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the whole must fall. Let earth unbalanced from her orbit fly, Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd, Being on being wreck'd, and world on world; Heaven'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 madness! pride! impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, Or hand, to toil, aspired to be the head? What if the head, the eye, or ear, repined To serve mere engines to the ruling mind? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another in this general frame; Just as absurd, to mourn the task or pains The great directing Mind of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
X. Cease then, nor order imperfection name:
Submit. In this, or any other sphere,
All nature is but art, unknown to thee
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good.
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE II.
On the Nature and State of Man with respect to himself, as an Individual.
The business of man not to pry into God, but to study himself. His middle nature; his powers and frailties, ver. 1 to 19. The limits of his capacity, ver. 19, &c. II. The two principles of man, self-love and reason, both ne. cessary, ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, ver. 67, &c. Their end the same, ver. 81, &c. III. The pas sions, and their use, ver. 93 to 130. The predominant passion, and its force, ver. 132 to 160. Its necessity, in directing men to different purposes, ver. 165, &c. Its providential use, in fixing our principle, and ascertaining our virtue, ver. 177. IV. Virtue and vice joined in our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident what is the office of reason, ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ver. 217. VI. That, however, the ends of Providence and general good are answered in our passions and imperfections, ver. 231, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all orders of men, ver. 241. How useful they are to society, ver. 251. And to individuals, ver. 263. In every state, and every age of life, ver. 273, &c.
I. KNOW then thyself, presume not God to scan' The proper study of mankind is man.