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Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms un.
done, Th' enormous faith of many made for one ; That proud exception to all nature's laws, T' invert the world and counterwork its cause? Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law; Till superstition taught the tyrant awe, Then shar'd 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 couceive, And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. Zeal then, not charity, became the guide ; And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride. Then sacred seem'd th' 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 be.
low, And play'd the god an engine on his foe. So drives self-love, through just and through un.
How shall he keep' what, sleeping or awake,
'Twas then the studious head or generous mind,
For forms of government let fools contest;
Man, like the generous vine, supported lives: The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives
On their own axis as the planets run,
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
1. False notions of happiness, philosophical and po
pular, answered from ver. 19 to 77. II. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all, ver. 30. God intends 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, pot particular laws, ver. 37. As it is neces. sary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these, ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind 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 advantage, ver. 77. The error of imputing to vir. tue 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 exter. nal goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue, 167. That even these can make no man happy without virtue : instanced in riches, ver. 185. Honours, ver. 197. Nobility, ver. 205. Greatness, ver. 217. Fame, ver. 237. Superior talents, ver. 257, &c.
With pictures of human iufelicity in men, possessed of them all, ver. 269, &c. VII. That virtue only constitutes 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. 09 H Happiness! our being's end and aim!
Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy
That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
Ask of the learn'd the way? The learn'd are blind:
Who thus define it, say they more or less, Than this, that happiness is happiness ?