Слике страница

So Man, who here seems principal alone,

Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Touches fome wheel, or verges to fome goal; 'Tis but a part we fee, 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 Ægypt's God :
Then fhall Man's pride and dulnefs comprehend
His actions, paffions', being's, use and end;
Why doing, fuffering, check'd, impell'd; and why
This hour a flave, 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, foon or late, or here, or there?

The bleft to-day is as completely fo,


As who began a thousand years ago.

III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Fate, All but the page prefcrib'd, their present state:



In the former Editions, ver. 64.

Now wears a garland an Ægyptian God.

After ver. 68. the following lines in the first Edition.

If to be perfect in a certain fphere,

What matter, foon or late, or here, or there?

The bleft to-day is as completely, fo,.

As who began ten thousand years ago.


From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could fuffer Being here below;

The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy Reafon, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the laft, he crops the flowery food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to fhed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,

That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven :
Who fees with equal eye, as God of all,

A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,

Atoms or fyftems into ruin hurl'd,

And now a bubble burft, and now a world.




Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions foar;

Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future blifs, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that Hope to be thy bleffing now.
Hope fprings eternal in the human breast:
Man never Is, but always To be bleft:
The foul, uneafy, and confin'd from home,
Refts and expatiates in a life to come.

Lo, the poor Indian! whofe untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;





After ver. 88. in the MS.

No great, no little; 'tis as much decreed
That Virgil's Gnat fhould die as Cæfar bleed.
Ver. 93. in the first Folio and Quarto,

What blifs above he gives not thee to know,
But gives that Hope to be thy blifs below.

His foul proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the folar walk, or milky way;

Yet fimple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heaven;
Some fafer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the watery waste,

Where flaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Chriftians thirst for gold.
To Be, contents his natural defire,

He afks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,

His faithful dog shall bear him


IV. Go, wifer thou! and in thy fcale of fenfe,
Weigh thy Opinion against Providence;
Call imperfection what thou fancy'ft fuch,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much:
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, If Man's unhappy, God's unjuft;
If Man alone ingrofs 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 reafoning Pride, our error lies;
All quit their sphere, and rufh into the skies.


After ver. 108. in the first Edition;

But does he fay the Maker is not good,
Till he 's exalted to what ftate he wou'd;
Himself alone high Heaven's peculiar care,
Alone made happy when he will, and where?

[blocks in formation]






Pride ftill is aiming at the bleft abodes,


Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.
Afpiring to be Gods, if Angels fell,
Afpiring to be Angels, Men rebel :
And who but wishes to invert the laws

Of Order, fins against th' Eternal Cause.



V. Afk for what end the heavenly bodies fhine, Earth for whofe ufe? Pride anfwers, " '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, funs to light me rise; "My foot-ftool earth, my canopy the skies.”


But errs not Nature from this gracious end, From burning funs when livid deaths defcend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempefts 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; fome change fince all began: "And what created perfect?"-Why then Man? If the great end be human Happiness,


Then Nature deviates; and can Man do lefs?
As much that end a constant courfe requires


Of fhowers and fun-fhine, as of Man's defires;

As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,

As men for ever temperate, calm, and wife.


If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's defign, Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline?

Who knows, but he whofe hand the lightning forms, Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the ftorms; Pours fierce Ambition in a Cæfar's mind,

Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind? 160
From pride, from pride, our very reafoning fprings;
Account for moral as for natural things:

Why charge we Heaven in thofe, in these acquit?
In both, to reason right, is to fubmit.

Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind,
That never paffion difcompos'd the mind.
But all fubfifts by elemental ftrife;
And paffions are the elements of Life.
The general Order, fince the whole began,
Is kept in Nature, and is kept in Man.



VI. What would this Man? Now upward will he foar, And, little lefs than Angel, would be more;

Now looking downwards, juft as griev'd appears 175
To want the ftrength of bulls, the fur of bears,
Made for his ufe all creatures if he call,

of all?

Say what their use, had he the powers
Nature to thefe, without profufion, kind,
The proper organs, proper powers affign'd;
Each feeming want compenfated of course,
Here with degrees of fwiftnefs, there of force;
All in exact proportion to the state;

Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
D 2



« ПретходнаНастави »