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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 ev'n virtue vain;
Or indolent: to each extreme they fall,
To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that Happiness is Happiness?
Take nature's path, and mad opinions 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.
Remember, man, "the Universal Cause
Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral 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,
Nu cavern'd hermit rests self-satisfy'd.
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.
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 bence
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 difference keeps all nature's peace.
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 every 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?
If then to all men Happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call’d, unhappy those;
But Heaven's just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in hope, and these in fear;
Not present good or ill the joy or curse,
But future views of better or of worse.
Oh sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies?
Heaven still with laughter thc vain toil surveys,
And buries inadinen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and nature meant to mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competence.
Of damask cheeks and radiant eyes,
Let other poets tell;
Within the bosom of the fair
Superior beauties dwell.
There all the sprightly powers of wit,
In blitbe assemblage play;
There every social virtue sheds
Its intellectual ray.
But as the sun's refulgent light
Heaven's wide expanse refines;
With sov'reigu lustre through the soul
Celestial Sweetness shines.
One glimpse can sooth the troubled breast,
The heaving sigh restrain;
Can make the bed of sickness please,
And stop the sense of pain.
Its power can charm the savage heart,
The tyrant's pity move:
To smiles convert the wildest rage,
And melt the soul to love.
When Sweetness beams upon the throne,
In majesty benign,
The awful splendors of a crown
With milder lustre shine.
In scenes of poverty and woe,
Where melancholy dwells, The influence of this living ray
The dreary gloom dispels.
Thus, when the blooming spring returns
To cheer the mournful plains, Through earth and air with genial warmth,
Ethercal mildness reigns.
Beneath its bright, auspicious beams
No boisterous passions rise; Moroseness quits the peaceful scene,
And baleful discord fies.
A thousand nameless beauties spring,
A thousand virtues glow;
A smiling train of joys appear,
And endless blessings flow,
Unbounded Charity displays
Her sympathizing charms;
And Friendship's pure seraphic flame
The generous bosom warms.
Almighty Love exerts his power,
And spreads with secret art
A soft sensation through the frame,
A transport through the heart.
Nor shall the storms of age, which cloud
Each gleam of sensual joy,
And blast the gaudy flower's pride,
These blest effects destroy.
When that fair form shall sink in years,
And all those graces fly;
The beauty of thy heavenly mind
Shall length of days defy.