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The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely bless'd; the poet in his muse.
See some strange comfort every state attend
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend:
See some fit passion every age supply;
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite :
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age: 280
Pleased with this bauble still, as that before;
"Till tired, he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er.
Meanwhile opinion gilds with varying rays,
Those painted clouds that beautify our days:
Each want of happiness by hope supplied,
And cach vacuity of sense by pride:
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy,
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble joy;
One prospect lost, another still we gain;
And not a vanity is given in vain ;
E'en mean self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others' wants by thine.
See! and confess, one comfort still must rise;
"Tis this, Though man's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE III.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Society.
1. The whole universe one system of society, ver. 7, &c Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, ver. 27. The happiness of animals mutual ver. 49. II. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, ver. 79. Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals, ver. 109. III
How far society carried by instinct, ver. 115. How much farther by reason, ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called the state of nature, ver. 144. Reason instructed by in stinct in the invention uf arts, ver. 166, and in the forms of society, ver. 176. V. Origin of political societies, ver. 196. Origin of monarchy, ver. 207. Patriarchal govern. ment, ver. 212. VI. Origin of true religion and govern. ment, from the same principle of love, ver. 231, &c. Origin of superstition and tyranny, from the same principle of fear, ver. 237, &c. The influence of self-love opera ting to the social and public good, ver. 266. Restoration o true religion and government, on their first principle, ver. 285. Mixed government, ver. 288. Various forms of each, and the true end of all, ver. 300, &c.
HERE then we rest: 'The universal cause
Acts to one end, but acts by various laws."
In all the madness of superfluous health,
The train of pride, the impudence of wealth,
Let this great truth be present night and day
But most be present, if we preach or pray.
I. Look round our world; behold the chain of love Combining all below and all above.
See plastic Nature working to this end,
The single atoms each to other tend,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form'd and impell'd its neighbour to embrace.
See matter next, with various life endued,
Press to one centre still, the general good.
See dying vegetables life sustain,
See life dissolving vegetate again :
All forms that perish other forms supply,
(By turns we catch the vital breath and die,)
Like bubbles on the sea of matter borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return.
Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole;
One all-extending, all-preserving soul
Connects each being, greatest with the least;
Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast;
All served, all serving: nothing stands alone;
The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown.
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn
For him has kindly spread the flowery lawn:
Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings?
Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings.
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat?
Loves of his own, and raptures, swell the note
The bounding steed you pompously bestride,
Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride.
Is thine alone the seed that strews the plain?
The birds of heaven shall vindicate their grain.
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer:
The hog, that ploughs not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labours of this lord of all.
Know, Nature's children all divide her care;
The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
While man exclaims, ' See all things for my use!'
'See man for mine!' replies a pamper'd goose:
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.
Grant that the powerful still the weak control:
Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole :
Nature that tyrant checks: he only knows,
And helps another creature's wants and woes.
Say, will the falcon, stooping from above
Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove?
Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings?
Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings?
Man cares for all: to birds he gives his woods,
To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods :
For some his interest prompts him to provide,
For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride. 60
And feed on one vain patron, and enjoy
The extensive blessing of his luxury.
That very life his learned hunger craves,
He saves from famine, from the savage saves;
Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast,
And, till he ends the being, makes it bless'd:
Which sees no more the stroke, or feels the pain,
Than favour'd man by touch ethereal slain.
The creature had his feast of life before;
Thou too must perish, when thy feast is o'er!
To each unthinking being, Heaven a friend,
Gives not the useless knowledge of its end:
To man imparts it; but with such a view,
As, while he dreads it, makes him hope it too:
The hour conceal'd, and so remote the fear,
Death still draws nearer, never seeming near.
Great standing miracle! that Heaven assign'd
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind.
II. Whether with reason or with instinct bless'd, Know, all enjoy that power which suits them best; 80 To bliss alike by that direction tend,
And find the means proportion'd to their end.
Say, where full instinct is the unerring guide,
What pope or council can they need beside?
Reason, however able, cool at best,
Cares not for service, or but serves when press'd,
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 labours at in vain.
This too serves always, reason never long:
One must go right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing powers,
One in their nature, which are two in ours!
And reason raise o'er instinct as you can,
In this 'tis God directs, in that 'tis man
Who taught the nations of the field and wood
To shun their poison, and to choose their food? 100
Prescient, the tides or tempest 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, explo;
Heavens not his own, and worlds unkn wn before;
Who culls the council, states the certain day;
Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way?
III. God, in the nature of each being, founds
Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds:
But as he fram'd a 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-quickening 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.
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.
Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace;
They love themselves, a third time, in their race.
Thus beast and bird their common charge attend,
The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend:
The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air,
There stops the instinct, and there ends the care;
The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace,
Another love succeeds, another race.
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 interest, and the love:
With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn;
Each virtue in each passion takes its turn;