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Thy arts of building from the bee receive;
Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave;
Learn of the little Nautilus to sail,
Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.
Here too all forms of social union find,
And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind : 180
Here subterranean works and cities see;
There towns aërial on the waving tree.
Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ant's republic, and the realm of bees;
How those in common all their wealth bestow,
And anarchy without confusion know;
And these for ever, though a monarch reign,
Their separate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvaried laws preserve each state,
Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate. 190
In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law,
And right, too rigid, harden into wrong;
Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.
Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway,
Thus let the wiser make the rest obe;" :
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods adored.'
V. Great nature spoke: observant man obey'd; Cities were built, societies were made:
200 Here rose one little siate; another near Grew by like means, and join'd through love or fear. Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend, And there the streams in purer rills descend ? What war could ravish, commerce could bestow : And he return'd a friend, who came a foe. Converge and love mankind might justly draw, When love was liberty, and nature law. Thus states were form’d; the name of king unknown, Till common interest placed the sway in one. 210 'Twas virtue only (or in arts or arms, Diffusing blessings, or averting harms,)
The same which in a sire the sons obey'd,
A prince the father of a people made. [sato
VI. Till then, by nature crown'd each patriarch
King, priest, and parent, of his growing state:
On him, their second Providence, they hung,
Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue.
He from the wandering furrow call’d the food,
Taught to command the fire, control the flood, 220
Draw forth the monsters of the abyss profound,
Or fetch the aerial eagle to the ground.
Till drooping, sickening, dying, they began
Whom they revered as god to mourn as man:
Then looking up from sire to sire, explored
One great First Father, and that first adored.
On plain tradition, that this all begun,
Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son.
The worker from the work distinct was known,
And simple reason never sought but one: 230
Ere wit oblique had broke that steady light,
Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right:
To virtue, in the paths of pleasure trod,
And own'd a father when he own'd a God.
Love all the faith, and all the allegiance then
For nature knew no right divine in men.
No ill could fear in God, and understood
A sovereign being, but a sovereign good.
True faith, true policy, united ran;
That was but love of God, and this of man. 240
Who first taught souls enslaved, and realms unThe enormous faith of many made for one; (done, That proud exception to all nature's laws, To invert the world, and counterwork its cause. Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law; Till superstition taught the tyrant awe. Then shared the tyranny, then lent it aid, And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects made : She midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound, When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the ground,
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
To power unseen, and mightier far than they :
She, from the rending earth, and bursting skies,
Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise :
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes,
Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods ;
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. 260
Zeal, then, not charity, became the guide;
And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride.
'Then sacred seem'd the ethereal vault no more;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore
Then first the flamen tasted living food,
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood;
With Heaven's own thunders shook the world below,
And play'd the god an engine on his foe.
So drives self-love, through just and through unjust,
To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust; 270
The same self-love in all becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws.
For what one likes, if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel?
How shall he keep what, sleeping or awake.
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forced into virtue thus, by self-defence,
E'en kings learn'd justice and benevolence: 280
Self-love forsook the path it first pursued,
And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then the studious head or generous mind, Follower of God, or friend of human-kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore The faith and moral nature gave before; Resumed her ancient light, not kindled new; If not God's image, yet his shadow drew;
Taught power's due use to people and to kings,
Taught nor to slack, nor strain its tender strings, 290
The less or greater set so justly true,
That touching one must strike the other too,
Till jarring interests of themselves create
The according music of a well-mix'd state.
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things :
Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More powerful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, bless'd : 300
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best :
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right ;
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity;
All must be false, that thwarts this one great end ;
And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend. 310
Man, like the generous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from the embrace he gives On their own axis as the planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the sun; So two consistent motions act the soul; And one regards itself, and one the whole.
Thus God and Nature link'd the general frame, And bade self-love and social be the same.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE IV. Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to
Happiness. I. False notions of happiness, philosophical and porn
lar, answered, from ver. 19 to 77. II. It is the end
of all men, and attainable by all, ver. 30. God in tends happiness to be equal; and, to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws, ver. 37. As it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in those, ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequali.
y, the balance of happiness among inankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fear, ver. 70. III. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good man has here the advan. tage, ver. 77. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune, ver. 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars, ver. 121. V. That we are not judges who are good; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest, ver. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue, ver. 167. That even these can make no man happy without virtue; instanced in riches, ver. 185. Ho nours, ver. 193. Nobility, ver. 205. Greatness, ver, 217. Fame, ver. 237. Superior talents, ver. 257, &c With pictures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all, ver. 269, &c. VII. That virtue only con. stitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, ver. 307. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter, ver. 326, &c.
EPISTLE IV. Oh Happiness ! our being's end and aim! Good, pleasure, ease, content ! whate'er thy name : That something still which prompts the eternal sigh For which we bear to live, or dare to die. Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies, O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise, Plant of celestial seed! if dropp'd below Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow