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To bliss alike by that direction tend,
And find the means proportion's to their end.
Say, where full instinct is th' unerring guide,
What pope or council can they need beside?
13 Reason, however able, cool at best,
Cares not for service, or but serves when prest,
Stays till we call, and then not often near!
But honest instinct comes a volunteer;
Sure never to o’ershoot, but just to hit,
While still too wide or short is human wit;
Sure by quick nature happiness to gain,
Which heavier reason labors at in vain.
14 This too serves always, Reason never long;
One must go right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing pow'rs,
One in their nature, which are two in ours;
And reason raise o'er instinct as you can,
In this 'tis God directs, and that 'tis man.
15 Who taught the nations of the field and wood
To shun their poison, and to choose their food?
Prescient, the tides or tempests to withstand,
Build on the wave, or arch beneath the sand?
Who made the spider parallels design,
Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line?
Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explore
Heav'ns not his own, and worlds unknown before?
Who calls the council, states the certain day,
Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way?
16 God, in the nature of each being, founds
Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds:
But, as he fram’d the whole, the whole to bless,
On mutual wants built mutual happiness:
So from the first, eternal order ran,
And creature link'd to creature, man to man.
Whate'er of life all-quick’ning ether keeps,
Or breathes through air, or shoots beneath the deeps,
Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds
The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds.
17 Not man alone, but all that roam the wood,
Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood,
Each loves itself, but not itself alone,
Each sex desires alike, till two are one.
Thus beast and bird their common charge attend,
The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend;
dismiss'd to wander earth or air, There stops the instinct, and there ends the care.
18 A longer care man's helpless kind demands;
That longer care contracts more lasting bands:
Reflection, reason, still the ties improve,
At once extend the int’rest and the love;
With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn;
Each virtue in each passion takes its turn;
And still new needs, new helps, new habits rise,
That graft benevolence on charities.
19 Still as one brood, and as another rose,
These nat'ral love maintain'd, habitual those:
The last, scarce ripen'd into perfect man,
Saw helpless him from whom their life began:
Mem’ry and forecast just returns engage,
That pointed back to youth, this on to age;
While pleasure, gratitude, and hope combin'd,
Still spread the int’rest, and preserv'd the kind.
20 Nor think, in nature's state they blindly trod;
The state of nature was the reign of God:
Self-love and social at her birth began,
Union the bond of all things, and of man.
Pride then was not; nor arts, that pride to aid:
Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the shade;
The same his table, and the same his bed;
No murder cloth’d him, and no murder fed.
21 In the same temple, the resounding wood,
All vocal beings hymn'd their equal God:
The shrine with gore unstain'd, with gold undrest,
Unbrib’d, unbloody, stood the blameless priest:
Heav'n's attribute was universal care,
And man's prerogative, to rule, but spare.
Ah! how unlike the man of times to come!
Of half that live, the butcher, and the tomb;
Who, foe to nature, hears the gen’ral groan,
Murders their species, and betrays his own.
22 But just disease to luxury succeeds,
And every death its own avenger breeds;
The fury passions from that blood began,
And turn'd on man a fiercer savage, man.
23 Converse and love, mankind might strongly draw, When love was liberty, and nature law. Love all the faith, and all th' allegiance then; For nature knew no right divine in men:
No ill could fear in God; and understood
A sovereign being, but a sovereign good.
'True faith, true policy, united ran,
That was but love of God, and this of man.
24 Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone,
Th' enormous faith of many made for one;
That proud exception to all nature's laws,
T' invert the world, and counterwork its cause?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law;
Till superstition taught the tyrant awe.
Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made:
She, 'midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the ground,
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
To power unseen, and mightier far than they:
25 She, from the rending earth, and bursting skies,
Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise:
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes;
Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods;
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge or lust;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
26 Zeal then, not charity, became the guide,
And hell was built on spite, and heay'n on pride.
Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore:
Then first the Flamen tasted living food;
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood.
27 So drives self-love, through just, and through unjust,
To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust:
The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws.
28 For, what one likes, if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel,
How shall he keep, what, sleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain:
All join' to guard what each desires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus, by, self-defence,
E'en kings learn'd justice and benevolence:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu’d,
And found the private in the public good.
29 Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things:
Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More powerful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest.
30 For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right:
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity:
All must be false that thwarts this one great end,
And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend.
31 Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the planets run,
Yet make at once their circle round the sun;
So two consistent motions acts the soul;
And one regards itself, and one the whole.
Thus God and nature link'd the general frame,
And bade self-love and social be the same.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to
1 O HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim;
Good, pleasure, ease, content! whate'er thy name:
That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die,
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise.
Plant of celestial seed; if dropt below,
Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow?
2 Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shrine, Or deep with di’monds in the flaming mine? Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field? Where grows?-Where grows it not?-if vain our 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.
3 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, swell’d to gods, confess e’en virtue vain;
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in every thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, That happiness is happiness?
4 Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's 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.
5 Remember, man, “the Universal Cause
“Acts not by partial, but by general laws;"
And makes what happiness we justly call,
Subsist not in the good of one, but all.
There's not a blessing individuals find,
But some way leans and hearkens to the kind:
No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride,
No cavern'd hermit, rests self-satisfied:
6 Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend:
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink:
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find, the pleasure pays not half the pain.
7 ORDER is Heaven's first law; and this confest,
Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heaven to mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their happiness;
But mutual wants this happiness increase;
All nature's diff'rence keeps all nature's peace.
8 Condition, circumstance is not the thing; Bliss is the same in subject or in king. In who obtain defence, or who defend, In him who is, or him who finds a friend: Heaven breathes through ev'ry member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul. But fortune's gifts, if each alike possest, And each were equal, must not all contest?