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Attention habit and experience gains;
Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. 80
And grace and virtue, sense and reason split,
Wits, just like fools, at war about a name,
Our greatest evil, or our greatest good.
III. Modes of self-love the passions we may call · 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all :
But since not every good we can divide,
And reason bids us for our own provide:
Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,
List under reason, and deserve her care;
Those, that imparted, court a nobler aim,
Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name. 100
Their virtue's fix'd: 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest:
He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind. 110
Yet mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite:
Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train; Hate, fear, and grief, the family of pain; These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd, Make and maintain the balance of the mind: The lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife Gives all the strength and colour of our life. Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes; And when in act they cease, in prospect rise: Present to grasp, and future still to find, The whole employ of body and of mind, All spread their charms, but charm not all alike On different senses, different objects strike: Hence different passions more or less inflame, As strong or weak, the organs of the frame; And hence one master passion in the breast. Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest. As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Receives the lurking principle of death; The young disease, which must subdue at length, Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his So, cast and mingled with his very frame, [strength: The mind's disease, its ruling passion came; Each vital humour, which should feed the whole, Soon flows to this, in body and in soul: Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head, As the mind opens, and its functions spread. Imagination plies her dangerous art, And pours it all upon the peccant part. Nature its mother, habit is its nurse; Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse; Reason itself but gives it edge and power; As Heaven's blest beam turns vinegar more sour. We wretched subjects, though no lawful sway, In this weak queen some favourite still obey; Ah! if she lent not arms, as well as rules, What can she more than tell us we are fools'? Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend : A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!
Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade
The Eternal Art, educing good from ill,
As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care,
Nor virtue, male or female, can we name,
But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame.
Thus Nature gives us (let it check our pride)
The virtue nearest to our vice allied:
Reason the bias turns to good from ill,
In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine:
The same ambition can destroy or save,
And makes a patriot as it makes a knave.
IV. This light and darkness in our chaos join'd, What shall divide? The God within the mind. Extremes in nature equal ends produce,
In man they join to some mysterious use;
But where the extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed; Ask where's the north? at York, 'tis on the Tweed: In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he:
Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
For, vice or virtue, self directs it still;
But Heaven's great view, is one, and that the whole
Heaven forming each on other to depend
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all. Wants, frailties, passions, closer still ally
The common interest, or endear the tie.
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere,
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those interests, to resign.
The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more;
The rich is happy in the plenty given;
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven.