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Had not the mind a power to will and chufe,
One object to embrace, and one refuse;
Could fhe not act, or not her act fufpend,
As it obftructed, or advanc'd her end;
Virtue and Vice were names without a cause,
This would not Hate deserve, nor that Applaufe; 490
Justice in vain has high tribunals rear'd,
Whom can her sentence punish, whom reward?
If impious children fhould their father kill,
Can they be wicked, when they cannot will
When only caufes foreign and unfeen
Strike with refiftlefs force the fprings within,
Whence in the engine man all motion must begin?
Are vapours guilty, which the vintage blast?
Are ftorms profcrib'd, which lay the forest waste ?
Why lies the wretch then tortur'd on the wheel,
If forc'd to treason, or compell'd to steal?
Why does the warrior, by aufpicious fate
With laurels crown'd, and clad in robes of state,
In triumph ride amidst the gazing throng
Deaf with applaufes, and the Poet's fong;
If the victorious, but the brute machine
Did only wreaths inevitable win,
And no wife choice or vigilance has shown,
Mov'd by a fatal impulfe, not his own?
Should trains of atoms human fenfe impel,
Though not fo fierce, fo ftrong, fo vifible,
As foldiers arin'd, and do not men arrest
With clubs upheld and daggers at their breast;
Yet means compulfive are not plainer shown,
When ruffians drive, or conquerors drag us on;
As much we 're forc'd, when by an atom 's fway
Control'd, as when a tyrant we obey;
And, by whatever cause constrain'd to act,
We merit no reward, no guilt contract.
Our mind of rulers feels a conscious awe,
Reveres their juftice, and regards their law.
She rectitude and deviation knows,
That vice from one, from one that virtue flows;
Of these fhe feels unlike effects within,
From virtue pleasure, and remorse from fin;
Hopes of a juft reward by that are fed,
By this of wrath vindictive fecret dread.
The mind, which thus can rules of duty learn,
Can right from wrong, and good from ill, discern,
Which, the sharp ftroke of juftice to prevent,
Can fhame exprefs, can grieve, reflect, repent;
From fate or chance her rife can never draw,
Thofe caufes know not virtue, vice, or law.
She can a life fucceeding this conceive,
Of blifs or woe an endlefs ftate believe.
Dreading the just and universal doom,
And aw'd by fears of punishment to come,
By hopes excited of a glorious crown,
And certain pleasures in a world unknown;
She can the fond defires of fense restrain,
Renounce delight, and chufe diftrefs and pain;
Can rush on danger, can deftruction face,
Joyful relinquith life, and death embrace;
She to afflicted virtue can adhere,
And chains and want to profperous guilt prefer;
Unmov'd, these wild tempeftuous feats furvey,
And view ferene this reftlefs rolling fea.
In vain the monfters, which the coaft infeft,
Spend all their rage to interrupt her reft;
Her charming fong the fyren fings in vain,
She can the tuneful hypocrite difdain;
Fix'd and unchang'd the faithlefs world behold,
Deaf to its threats, and to its favour cold.
Sages remark, we labour not to fhow
The will is free, but that the man is fo:
For what enlighten'd reafoner can declare
What human will and understanding are ?
What fcience from thofe objects can we frame
Of which we little know, befides the name?
The learned, who with anatomic art
Diffe&t the mind, and thinking substance part,
And various powers and faculties affert,
Perhaps by fuch abftraction of the mind
Divide the things, that are in nature join'd.
What mafters of the fchools can make it clear
Thofe faculties, which two to them appear,
Are not refiding in the foul the fame,
And not diftinct, but by a different name?
Thus has the Mufe purfued her hardy theme,
And fung the wonders of this artful frame.
Ere yet one fubterranean arch was made,
One cavern vaulted, or one girder laid;
Ere the high rocks did o'er the shores arife,
Or fnowy mountains tower'd amidst the skies
Before the watery troops fil'd off from land,
And lay amidst the rocks entrench'd in fand;
Before the air its bofom did unfold,
Or burnish'd orbs in blue expanfion roll'd;
She fung how Nature then in embryo lay,
And did the fecrets of her birth display.
When after, at th' Almighty's high command,
Obedient waves divided from the land;
And fhades and lazy mifts were chac d
While rofy light diffus'd the tender day;
When uproar ceas'd, and wild confufion fled,
And new-born Nature rais'd her beauteous head;
She fung the frame of this terreftrial pile,
The hills, the rocks, the rivers, and the foil;
She view'd the fandy frontiers, which restrain
The noify infults of th' imprifon'd main;
Rang'd o'er the wide diffufion of the waves,
The moift coerulean walks, and fearch'd the coral caves.
She then furvey'd the fluid fields of air,
And the crude feeds of meteors fashion'd there;
Then with continued flight the fped her way,
Mounted, and bold pursued the fource of day;
With wonder of celeftial motions fung,
How the pois'd orbs are in the vacant hung,
How the bright fluices of ætherial light,
Now fhut, defend the empire of the night,
And now, drawn up with wife alternate care,
Let floods of glory out, and spread with day the air.
Then with a daring wing the foar'd fublime,
From realm to realm, from orb to orb did climb:
Swift through the fpacious gulph fhe urg'd her way, 60g
At length emerg'd in empyrean day;
Where far, oh far, beyond what mortals fee,
In the void districts of immenfity,
The mind new funs, new planets, can explore,
And yet beyond can still imagine more.
Thus in bold numbers did th' adventurous Mufe
To fing the lifelefs parts of Nature chufe;
And then advanc'd to wonders yet behind,
Survey'd and fung the vegetable kind;
Did lofty woods, and humble brakes review,
Along the valley swept, and o'er the mountain flew.
Then left the Muse the field and waving grove,
And unfatigued with grateful labour firove
To climb th' amazing heights of fenfe, and fing
The power perceptive, and the inward spring
Which agitates and guides each living thing.
She next effay'd the embryo's rife to trace
From an unfashion'd, rude, unchannel'd mafs :`
Sung how the fpirits waken'd in the brain
Exert their force, and genial toil maintain ;
Erect the beating heart, the channels frame,
Unfold entangled limbs, and kindle vital flame;
How the small pipes are in meanders laid,
And bounding life is to and fro convey'd ;
How fpirits, which for sense and motion serve,
Unguided find the perforated nerve,
Through every dark recefs pursue their flight,
Unconscious of the road, and void of fight,
Yet, certain of the way, ftill guide their motions right.
From thence a nobler flight fhe did effay,
The mind's extended empire to furvey.