« PreviousContinue »
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. 205. Mixed government, ver. 288. Various forms of each and the true end of all, ver. 300, &c.
I. Look round our world; behold the chain of love
10 Attract, attracted to, the next in nlace 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. 20 Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole; One all-extending, all-preserving soul
Connects each being, greatest with the least;
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
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 : And just as short of reason he must fall, Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.
Grant that the powerful still the weak control : Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : 50 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: 60
And feed on one vain patron, and enjoy
II. Whether with reason or with instinct bless'd,
Who taught the nations of the field and wood To shun their poison, and to choose their food ? 100 Prescient, the tides or tempest to withstand, Build on the wave, or arch beneath the sand ? Who made the spider parallels design, Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line ? Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explo' ; Heavens not his own, and worlds unkn' wn before; Who culls the council, states the certain day; Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way ?
III. God, in the nature of each being, founds Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds : 110 But as he fram'd a whole the whole to bless, On mutual wants built mutual happiness; So from the first eternal order ran, And creature link'd to creature, man to man. Whate'er of life all-quickening ether keeps, Or breathes through air, or shoots beneath the deepe, Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds. Not man alone, but all that roam the wood, Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood,
120 Each loves itself, but not itself alone, Each sex desires alike, till two are one. Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace; They love themselves, a third time, in their race. Thus beast and bird their common charge attend, The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend : The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air, There stops the instinct, and there ends the care; The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, Another love succeeds, another race.
130 A longer care man's helpless kind demands; That longer care contracts more lasting bands; Reflection, reason, still the ties improve, At once extend the interest, and the love : With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn; Each virtue in each passion takes its turn;
And still new deeds, new helps, new habits rise,
IV. Nor think, in nature's state they blindly trod;
See him from nature rising slow to art : To copy instinct then was reason's part. 170 Thus then to man the voice of nature spake 'Go, from the creatures thy instructions take: Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield; Learn from the beasts the physic of the field ;