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O’erlook'd, seen double, by the fool, and wise.
toil, We ought to blame the culture , not the soil : Fix'd to no spot is Happiness sincere; 'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where; Tis never to be bought, but always free, And, fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with
thee. Ask of the learn’d the way? The learn'd are blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these ;' Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain; Some swelld to gods, confess ev'n Virtue vain ; Or indolent, to each extreme they fall, To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that Happiness is Happiness?
Take Nature's path, and mad opinions leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive Obvious her goods , in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well; And mourn our various portions as we please , Equal is Common Sense, and Common Ease.
Remember, Man, «the Universal Cause
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
Order is Heaven's first law, and this confest,
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose , And these be happy cail'd, unhappy those ; But Heav'n's just balance equal will appear , While those are plac'd in Hope , and these in Fear; Not present good or ill, the joy or curse, But future views of better, or of worse. Oh sons of earth ; attempt ye still to rise, By mountains pild
on mountains, to the skies? Heav'n still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find , Or God and Nature meant to mere mankind, Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of Sense, Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competence.
CHA P. X V I.
On Virtue. Krowthou this truth (enongh for man to know) « Virtue alone is happiness below. The only point where human bliss stands still, And tastes the good without the fall to ill; Where only Merit constant pay receives , Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives; The joy unequallid if it's end it gain, And if it lose, attended with no pain : Without satiety, tho' e'er so bless'd , And but more relish'd as the more distress'd; The broadest mirth unfeeling folly wears Less pleasing far than Virtue's
tears : Good, from each object, from each place acquir'd, For ever exercis'd, yet never tir'd; Never elated, while one man's oppres'd; Never dejected while another's bless’d; And where no wants, no wishes can remain , Since but to wish more Virtue, is to gain.
See the sole bliss Heav'n could on all bestow! Which who but feels can taste ,
but thinks can know: Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind, The bad must miss; the good , untaught, will find; Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks thro' Nature, up to Nature's God: Pursues that Chain which links th’immense design, Joins hear'n and earth, and mortal and divine; Sees, that no Being any bliss can know , But touches some above, and some below; Learns, from this union of the rising whole, The first, last purpose of the human soul; And knows where Faith, Law, Morals, all began, All end, in Love of God, and Love of Man.
For him alone, Hope leads from goal to goal, And opens and
opens on his soul; 'Till lengthen’d on to Faith, and unconfin'd,
pours the bliss that fills up all the mind. He sees why Nature plants in man alone Hope of known bliss, and Faith in bliss unknown: (Nature, whose dictates to no other kind Are given in vain, but what they seek they find) Wise is her present; she connects in this His greatest Virtue with his greatest bliss; At once his own bright prospect to be blest, And strongest motive to assist the rest.
Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine , Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine. Is this too little for the boundless heart? Extend it, let thy enemies have part: Grasp the whole worlds of Reason, Life, and Sense, In one close system of benevolence: Happier as kinder , in whate'er degree, And height of Bliss but height of Charity.
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 strait 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' o'erflowings of the mind Take every creature in , of ev'ry kind; Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And Heav'n beholds it's image in his breast. Pore.
CHA P. X V I I.
On Versification. Many by Numbers judge a Poet's song; And smooth
or rough, with them is right or wrong; In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their
ear Not mend their minds; as some to church repair Not for the doctrine, but the music thore. These equal syllables alone require,
Tho oft the ear the open vowels tire ;