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Nor virtue, male or female, can we name,
But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame.
Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride)
The virtue nearest to our vice allied:
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
And Nero reigns a Titus, if he will.
The fiery foul abhorr'd in Catiline,
In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine:
The same ambition can destroy or save,
And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.
IV. This light and darkness in our chaos join'd, What shall divide? The God within the mind. Extremes in nature equal ends produce,
In man they join to some mysterious use;
Though each by turns the other's bounds invade,
As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade,
And oft so mix, the difference is too nice
Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice.
Fools! who from hence into the notion fali, That vice and virtue there is none at all. If white and black blend, soften, and unite A thousand ways, is there no black or white? Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain; 'Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain. V. Vice is a monster of so frightful mein, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace. But where the extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed; Ask where's the north? at York, 'tis on the Tweed: In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he :
E'en those who dwell beneath its very zone,
Or never feel the rage, or never own;
What happier nature shrink at with affright
The hard inhabitant contends is right.
Virtuous and vicious every man must be, Few in the extreme, but all in the degree; The rogue and fool by fits is fair and wise; And e'en the best, by fits, what they despise. 'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill;
For, vice or virtue, self directs it still;
Fach individual seeks a several goal;
But Heaven's great view, is one, and that the whole.
That counterworks each folly and caprice;
That disappoints the effects of every vice;
That, happy frailties to all ranks applied,
Shame to the virgin, to the matron pride;
Fear to the statesman, rashness to the chief;
To kings presumption, and to crowds belief:
That, virtue's ends from vanity can raise,
Which seeks no interest, no reward but praise;
And build on wants, and on defects of mind,
The joy, the peace, the glory of mankind.
Heaven forming each on other to depend
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common interest, or endear the tie.
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Each home-felt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline
Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign.
Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself. The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more;
The rich is happy in the plenty given;
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely bless'd; the poet in his muse.
See some strange comfort every state attend
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend :
See some fit passion every age supply;
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite :
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age:
Pleased with this bauble still, as that before;
"Till tired, he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.
Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays,
Those painted clouds that beautify our days:
Each want of happiness by hope supplied,
And each vacuity of sense by pride:
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy,
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy;
One prospect lost, another still we gain;
And not a vanity is given in vain ;
E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others' wants by thine.
See! and confess, one comfort still must rise;
"Tis this, Though man's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE III.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to
1. The whole universe one system of society, ver. 7, &c Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, ver. 27. The happiness of animals mutual ver. 49. II. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, ver. 79. Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals, ver. 109. III
How far society carried by instinct, ver. 115. How much farther by reason, ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called the state of nature, ver. 144. Reason instructed by instinct in the invention uf arts, ver. 166, and in the forms of society, ver. 176. V. Origin of political societies, ver. 196. Origin of monarchy, ver. 207. Patriarchal govern. ment, ver. 212. VI. Origin of true religion and govern. ment, from the same principle of love, ver. 231, &c. Ori. gin of superstition and tyranny, from the same principle of fear, ver. 237, &c. The influence of self-love opera. ting to the social and public good, ver. 266. Restoration of true religion and government, on their first principle, ver. 225. Mixed government, ver. 288. Various forms of each, and the true end of all, ver. 300, &c.
HERE then we rest: The universal cause
Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.
In all the madness of superfluous health,
The train of pride, the impudence of wealth,
Let this great truth be present night and day
But most be present, if we preach or pray.
I. Look round our world; behold the chain of love
Combining all below and all above.
See plastic Nature working to this end,
The single atoms each to other tend,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form'd and impell'd its neighbour to embrace.
See matter next, with various life endued,
Press to one centre still, the general good.
See dying vegetables life sustain,
See life dissolving vegetate again :
All forms that perish other forms supply,
(By turns we catch the vital breath and die,)
Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole;
One all-extending, all-preserving soul
Connects each being, greatest with the least;
Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast;
All served, all serving: nothing stands alone;
The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown.
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn
For him has kindly spread the flowery lawn:
Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings?
Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings.
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat?
Loves of his own, and raptures, swell the note
The bounding steed you pompously bestride,
Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride.
Is thine alone the seed that strews the plain?
The birds of heaven shall vindicate their grain.
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer:
The hog, that ploughs not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labours of this lord of all.
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.
Know, Nature's children all divide her care; The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear. While man exclaims, ' See all things for my use!'
See man for mine!' replies a pamper'd goose:
Grant that the powerful still the weak control: Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : Nature that tyrant checks: he only knows, And helps another creature's wants and woes. Say, will the falcon, stooping from above Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove? Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings? Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings? Man cares for all: to birds he gives his woods, To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods : For some his interest prompts him to provide, For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride.