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What shocks one part will edify the rest;
“ But sometimes virtue Itarves while vice is fed." What then? is the reward of virtue bread ?
That vice may merit; 'tis the price of toil;
What nothing earthly gives or can destroy,
Rewards that either would to virtue bring
Honour and shame from no condition rise ;
Stuck o'er with titles, and hung round with strings, That thou mayít be by kings, or whores of kings, 206 Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race, In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece: But by your father's worth if your's you rate; Count me those only who were good and great. Go! if your ancient but ignoble blood Has crept thro' scoundrels ever since the flood, Go! and pretend your family is young, Nor own your fathers have been fools to long. What can ennoble sots, or slaves, or cowards? Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards.
Look 'next on Greatness; fay where greatness lies? " Where, but among the heroes and the wile ?" Heroes are much the lane, the point's agreed, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede; VOL. I.
The whole strange purpose of their lives to find
225 All fy flow things with circumspective eyes : Men in their loole unguarded hours they take; Not that themselves are wise, but others weak. But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat, 'Tis phrale absurd to call a villain great :
230 Who wickedly is wide, or madly brave, Is but the more a fool, the more a knave. Who noble ends by noble means obtains, Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains, Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed 235 Like Socrates ; that man is great indeed.
What's Fame? a fancy'd life in others' breath; . A thing beyond us e’en before our death : Just what you hear you have ; and what's unknown, The same (my Lord) if Tully's or your own. 240 All that we feel of it begins and ends In the small circle of our foes or friends : To all beside as much an empty shade An Eugene living as a Cæsar dead : Alike, or when, or where they shone or shine, 245 Or on the Rubicon or on the Rhine. A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod; An honest Man's the noblest work of God. Fame but from death a villain's name can save, As Justice tears his body from the grave; 250 When what t'oblivion better were resign'd Is hung on high to poison half mankind. All fame is foreign but of true desert; Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart : One self-approving hour whole years outweighs 255 Of stupid ftarers and of loud huzzas; And more true joy Marcellus exiļd feels Than Caesar with a senate at his heels.
In parts superior what advantage lies? Tell (for you can) what is it to be wise? 260
Tis but to know how little can be known,
Bring then these blessings to a strict account;
285 From ancient story learn to fcorn them all; There in the rich, the honour’d, fam’d, and great, See the false scale of happineis complete! In hearts of kings or arms of queens who lay, How happy! those to ruin, thele betray.
290 Mark by what wretched iteps their glory grows, From dirt and seaweed, as proud Venus rose ; In each how guilt and greatneís equal ran, And all that raise the hero funk the Man; Now Europe's laurels on their brows behold, 295 But stain’d with blood, or ill exchang’d for gold; Then see them broke with toils, or sunk in ease, Or infamous for plunder'd provinces. Oh, wealth ill fated! which no act of fame E'er taught to shine, or fanctify'd from shame! 300
What greater bliss attends their close of life?
Know then this truth, (enough for man to know,) « Virtue alone is happiness below :"
310 The only point where human bliss stands still, And tastes the good without the fall to ill; Where only Merit constant pay receives, Is bless'd in what it takes and what it gives; The joy unequallid if its end it gain,
315 And if it lose attended with no pain : Without satiety, tho' e'er fo bleis’d, And but more relish'd as the more distressd : The broadest mirth unfeeling Folly-wears, Less pleasing far than Virtue's very tears : Good from each object, from each place, acquir’d, For ever exercis’d, yet never tir’d; Never elated while one man's oppress'd ; Never dejected while another's bless'd; And where no wants no wishes can remain,
325 Since but to wish more virtue is to gain.
See the fole 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 ; 330 Slave to no fect, who takes no private road, But looks thro’ Nature up to Nature's God; Pursues that chain which links th' immense design, Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine; Sees that no being any bliss can know,
335 But touches some above and some below; Learns from the 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.