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There various news I heard of love and strife, Of peace and war, health, sickness, death, and life, Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, Of storms at sea, and travels on the shore, Of prodigies, and portents seen in air, Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair, Of turns of fortune, changes in the state, The falls of favourites, projects of the great, Of old mismanagements, taxations new : All neither wholly false, nor wholly true. Above, below, without, within, around, Confus'd, unnumber'd multitudes are found, Who pass, repass, advance, and glide away; Hosts rais'd by fear, and phantoms of a day: Astrologers, that future fates foreshow, Projectors, quacks, and lawyers not a few ; And priests, and party zealots, numerous bands With home-born lies, or tales from foreign lands; Each talk’d aloud, or in some secret place, And wild impatience star'd in every face. The flying rumours gather'd as they roll'd, Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told; And all who told it added something new, And all who heard it made enlargements too, In every ear it spread, on every tongue it grew. Thus flying east and west, and north and south, News travell'd with increase from mouth to mouth. So from a spark, that kindled first by chance, With gathering force the quickening flames advance; Till to the clouds their curling heads aspire, And towers and temples sink in floods of fire. When thus ripe lies are to perfection sprung, Full grown, and fit to grace a mortal tongue, Through thousand vents, impatient, forth they flow, And rush in millions on the world below; Fame sits aloft, and points them out their course, Their date determines, and prescribes their force : Some to remain, and some to perish soon ; Or wane and wax alternate like the Moon. Around a thousand winged wonders fly, [the sky. Borne by the trumpet's blast, and scatter'd through There, at one passage, oft you might survey A lie and truth contending for the way; And long 'twas doubtful, though so closely pent, Which first should issue through the narrow vent: At last agreed, together out they fly, Inseparable now the truth and lie; The strict companions are for ever join'd, And this or that unmix'd, no mortal e'er shall find. While thus I stood, intent to see and hear, One came, methought, and whisper'd in my ear: * What could thus high thy rash ambition raise? Art thou, fond youth, a candidate for praise?” “'Tis true,” said I, “not void of hopes I came, For who so fond as youthful bards of Fame? But few, alas! the casual blessing boast, So hard to gain, so easy to be lost. How vain that second life in others breath, Th' estate which wits inherit after death ! Esse, health, and life, for this they must resign, Unsure the tenure, but how vast the fine!) The great man's curse, without the gains, endure, Be envy'd, wretched, and be flatter'd, poor; All luckless wits their enemies profest, And all successful, jealous friends at best. Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favours call; She comes unlook'd for, if she comes at all. But if the purchase costs so dear a price As soothing Folly, or exalting Vice:
Oh! if the Muse must flatter lawless sway,
THE FABLE OF DRYOPE. whost ovid's METAMoRPHosks, Book 1x.
She said, and for her lost Galanthis sighs,
| And stood the helpless witness of thy fate,
Embrac'd thy boughs, thy rising bark delay'd,
VERTUMNUS AND POMONA.
rhom ovip's METAMoRPHOSEs, Book IV.
The fair Pomona flourish'd in his reign:
Now sliding streams the thirsty plants renew.
To distant lands Vertumnus never roves; Like you, contented with his native groves; Nor at first sight, like most, admires the fair; For you he lives; and you alone shall share His last affection, as his early care. Besides, he's lovely far above the rest, With youth immortal, and with beauty blest. Add, that he varies every shape with ease, And tries all forms that may Pomona please. But what should most excite a mutual flame, Your rural cares and pleasures are the same. To him your orchard's early fruit are due, (A pleasing offering when 'tis made by you,) He values these; but yet (alas)! complains, That still the best and dearest gift remains. Notthe fair fruit that on yon branches glows With that ripe red th’ autumnal sun bestows; Nortasteful herbs that in these gardens rise, Which the kind soil with milky sap supplies; You, only you, can move the god's desire: Oh, crown so constant and so pure a fire! Let soft compassion touch your gentle mind; Think, 'tis Vertumnus begs you to be kind; Somay no frost, when early buds appear, Destroy the promise of the youthful year; Nor winds, when first your florid orchard blows, Shake the light blossoms from their blasted boughs!" This when the various god had urg'd in vain, He straight assum'd his native form again; Such, and so bright an aspect now he bears, As when through clouds th' emerging Sun appears, And, thence exerting his refulgent ray, Dispels the darkness, and reveals the day. Force he prepard, but check'd the rash design : For when, appearing in a form divine, The nymph surveys him, and beholds the grace Of charming features, and a youthful face; In her soft breast consenting passions move, And the warm maid confess'd a mutual love.
AN ESSAY ON MAN,
In Fourt Epist LEs,
ros. sr. John, Lond poli worror B.
or THE NATuRE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT To the universe.
Of man in the abstract.— I. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things. II. That man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown. III. That it is partly upon his ignorance of future events, and partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends. IV. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the
of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensations. V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world, which is not in the natural. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfection of the angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though, to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable. VII. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason; that reason alone countervails all the other faculties. VIII. How much farther this order and subordination of living creatures may extend above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire. X. The consequence of all the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state.
Awakr, my St. John' leave all meaner things
cause of man's errour and misery. The impiety
Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove? Of systems possible, if 'tis confest, That Wisdom infinite must form the best, Where all must full or not coherent be, And all that rises, rise in due degree; Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain, There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man : And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong? Respecting man, whatever wrong we call May, must be right, as relative to all. In human works, though labour'd on with pain, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain: In God's, one single can its end produce; Yet serves to second too some other use. So man, who here seems principal alone, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; 'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. When the proud steed shall know why man restrains His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god : Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend His actions', passions', being's, use and end; Why doing, suffering, check'd, impell'd ; and why This hour a slave, the next a deity. Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Say, rather, Man's as perfect as he ought: His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; His time a moment, and a point his space. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, soon or late, or here, or there 2 The blest to day is as completely so, As who began a thousand years ago. [Fate, III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of All but the page prescrib'd, their present state: From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Or who could suffer being here below 2 The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flowery food, And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future kindly given, That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven: Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar, Wait the great teacher, Death; and God adore. What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy, and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come. Lo, the poor Indian whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul proud Science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk, or milky way; Yet simple Nature to his hope has given, Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heaven; Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd, Some happier island in the watery waste, Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire, He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, His faithful dog shall bear him company. IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, Weigh thy opinion against Providence; Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such; Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet say, if man's unhappy, God's unjust; If man alone ingross not Heaven's high care, Alone made perfect here, immortal there : Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, Re-judge his justice, be the god of God. In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our errour lies; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes, Men would be angels, angels would be gods. Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell, Aspiring to be angels, men rebel: And who but wishes to invert the laws Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause. V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? Pride answers, “Tis for mine: For me kind Nature wakes her genial power; Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower; Annual for me, the grape, the rose, renew The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; For me, health gushes from a thousand springs; Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise; My foot-stool Earth, my canopy the skies.” But errs not Nature from this gracious end, From burning suns when livid deaths descend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep? “No,” 'tis reply'd, “the first Almighty Cause Acts not by partial, but by general laws; Th’ exceptions few ; some change since all begun: And what created perfect?” Why then man 2 If the great end be human happiness, Then Nature deviates; and can man do less? As much that end a constant course requires Of showers and sun-shine, as of man's desires; As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise. If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design, Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline; Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms; Pours fierce ambition in a Caesar's mind, Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind? From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs: Account for moral as for natural things: Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit? In both, to reason right, is to submit. Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, Were there all harmony, all virtue here; That never air or ocean felt the wind, That never passion discompos'd the mind. But all subsists by elemental strife; And passions are the elements of life. The general order, since the whole began, Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man. VI. What would this man? Now upward will be soar, And, little less than angel, would be more; Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his use all creatures if he call, Say what their use, had he the powers of all? Nature to these without profusion, kind, The proper organs, proper powers assign'd; Each seeming want compensated of course, Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; All in exact proportion to the state; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate. Each beast, each insect, happy in its own : Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone? Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all? The bliss of man (could Pride that blessing find) Is not to act or think beyond mankind; No powers of body or of soul to share, But what his nature and his state can bear. Why has not man a microscopic eye? For this plain reason, man is not a fly. Say what the use, were finer optics given, T'inspect a mite, not comprehend the Heaven? Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er, To smart and agonize at every pore? Or quick effluvia darting through the brain, Die of a rose in aromatic pain 2 If Nature thunder'd in his opening ears, And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, How would he wish that Heaven had left him still The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill ! Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Alike in what it gives, and what denies? VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends: Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopled grass: What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam; Of smell, the headlong lioness between, And hound sagacious on the tainted green; Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, To that which warbles through the vernal wood' The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine! Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true From poisonous herbs extracts the healing dew How Instinct varies in the grovelling swine, Compar'd, half-reasoning elephant, with thine! "Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier! For ever separate, yet for ever near ! Remembrance and Reflection how allied' What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide! And middle natures, how they long to join, Yet never pass th' insuperable line ! Without this just gradation, could they be Subjected, these to those, or all to thee? The powers of all subdued by thee alone, is not thy Reason all these powers in one? VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this earth, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high progressive life may go! Around, how wide, how deep extend below ! Vast chain of being ! which from God began, Natures ethereal, human, angel, man, Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee, From thee to Nothing. — On superior powers Were we to press, inferior might on ours; Or in the full creation leave a void, Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd :
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,