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With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
guides, Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; Instruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old time, and regulate the sun; Go, soar with Plato to th’empyreal sphere, To the first good, first perfect, and first fair; Or tread the niazy round his followers trod, And quitting sense call imitating God; As eastern priests in giddy circles run, And turn their heads to imitate the sun. Go teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule.. Then drop into thyself, and be a fool !
Superior beings, when of late they saw
Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind,
Trace seience then, with modesty thy guide;
II. Two principles in human nature reign ;
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Most strength the moving principle requires :
And grace and virtue, sense and reason split,
III. Modes of self-love the passious we may call;
In lazy apathy let Stoics boast
Passions, like elements, though born to fight,
Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes ; And when in act they cease, in prospect rise : Present to grasp, and future still to find, The whole employ of body and of mind. All spread their charms, but charm vot all alike; On different senses, different objects strike: Hence different passions more or less inflame, As strong or weak, the organs of the frame; And hence one master passion in the breast, Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest. As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Receives the lurking principle of death ; The young disease, which must subdue at length, Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his
strength: So, cast and mingled with his very frame, The mind's disease, its ruling passion came; Each vital humour which should feed the whole, Soon flows to this, in body and in soul : Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head, As the mind opens, and its functions spread, Imagination plies her dangerous art, And pours it all upon the peccant part.
Nature its mother, habit is its nurse; Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse ; Reason itself but gives it edge power; As Heaven's blest beam turns vinegar more sour.
We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway, In this weak queen some favourite still obey: Ah! if she lend not arnis, as well as rules, What can she more than tell us we are fools? Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend; A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend! Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade The choice we make, or justify it made; Proud of an easy conquest all along, She but removes weak passions for the strong: So, when small humours gather to a gout, The doctor fancies he has driven her out.
Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd; Reason is here no guide, but still a guard : "Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow, And treat this passion more as friend than foe: A mightier power the strong direction sends, And several men impels to several ends : Like varying winds, by other passions tost, This drives them constant to a certain coast. Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please, Or (oft more strong than all the love of ease; Through life 'tis follow'd ev'n at life's expense; The merchant's toil, the sage's indolence, The monk's humility, the hero's pride, All, all alike, find reason on their side.
Th' Eternal Art, educing good from ill, Grafts on this passion our best principle: "Tis thus the mercury of man is fix'd, Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd; The dross cements what else were too refin'd, And in one interest body acts with mind.
As fruits ungrateful to the planter's care, On savage stocks inserted learn to bear; The surest virtues thus from passions shoot, Wild nature's vigour working at the root. What crops of wit and honesty appear From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! See anger zeal and fortitude supply; Ev'n avarice prudence, sloth philosophy; Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; Envy, to which th' ignoble mind's a slave, Is emulation in the learp'd or brave; Nor virtue, male or female, cao 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 soul abhorr'd in Catiline, * Decius charms, in Curtius is divine: