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He sees, why nature plants in man alone
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
God loves from whole to parts: but human soul Must rise from individual to the whole. Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake, As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake; The centre mov'd, a circle straight succeeds, Another still, and still another spreads; Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace ; His country next, and next all human race ; Wide and more wide, th' overflowings of the mind Take every creature in, of every kind; Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend ! my genius! come along ; O master of the poet, and the song! And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise; Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer, From grave to gay, from lively to severe; Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, Intent to reason, or polite to please. 0! while along the stream of time thy name Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend?
It may be proper to observe, that some passages,
in the preceding Essay, having been unjustly sus pected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this Prayer as the sum of all, to show that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: That the First Cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay, was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but the resting in a religious acquiescence, and confidence full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this paraphrase.
FATHER of alll in every age,
In every clime ador'd,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Who all my sense confin'd
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill; And, binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will ;
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do, This, teach me more than hell to shun,
That, more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me pot cast away;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound, Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presunie thy bolts to throw,
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay :
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To hide the fault I see, That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy breath ; O lead me, wheresoe'er I go,
Through this day's life or death.
This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun, Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy will be done.
To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies ! One chorus let all being raise !
All pature's incense rise !