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Mark how it mounts, to Man's imperial race,
From the green myriads in the peopled grass : 210
What modes of fight betwixt each wide extreme,
The mole’s dim curtain, and the lynx's beam:
Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
And hound sagacious on the tainted green:
Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,
To that which warbles thro' the vernal wood ?
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine !
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew? 220
How Instinct varies in the grov'ling swine,
Compar'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine !
'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier ?
For ever sep’rate, yet for ever near!
Remembrance and Reflection how ally'd ; 225
What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide ?
And Middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th' insuperable line !
Without this just gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
Ver. 213. The headlong lioness] The manner of the lions hunting their prey in the deserts of Africa is this: At their first going out in the night-time they set up a loud roar, and then listen to the noise made by the beasts in their fight, pursuing them by the ear, and not by the noftril. It is probable the story of the jackal's hunting for the lion, was occafioned by observation of this defeet of scent in that terrible animal,
The pow'rs of all suhdu'd by thee alone,
Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one ?
VIII. See, thro’ this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high, progressive life may go! 235
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of Being ! which from God began,
Natures æthereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach ; from Infinite to thee, 240
From thee to Nothing.-On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours :
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd:
From Nature's chain whatever link
245 Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing Whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole muft fall.
Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and Suns run lawless thro’ the sky;
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurl d,
Being on Being wreck’d, and world on world;
VER. 253. Let ruling Angels, etc.] The poet, throughout
VARIATIONS. VER. 238. Ed. jft.
Ethereal essence, spirit, substance, man.
Heav'ns whole foundations to their centre nod, 255
. And Nature trembles to the throne of God.
All this dread Order break-for whom? for thee?
Vile worm !-oh Madness! Pride! Impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head ? 260
What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd
To ferve mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame :
Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains, 265
The great directing Mind of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul ;
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the same;
Great in the earth, as in th' æthereal frame; 270
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
this poem, with great art uses an advantage, which his em. ploying a Platonic principle for the foundation of his Effay had afforded him; and that is the expressing himself (as here) in Platonic notions ; which, luckily for his purpose, are highly poetical, at the same time that they add a grace to the uniformity of his reasoning.
Ver. 265. Just as absurd, etc.] See the prosecution and application of this in Ep. iv.
Ver. 266. The great direeting Mind, etc.] “ Veneramur « autem et colimus ob dominium. Deus enim fine dominio, “ providentia, et causis finalibus, nihil aliud est quam FATUM “ et Natura.” Newtoni Princip. Schol. gener, fub finem,
Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unfpent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, 275
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart ;
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
As the rapt Seraph that adores and burns :
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. 280
X. Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name :
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit.--In this, or any other sphere, 285
Secure to be as bleit as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see ;
All Discord, Harmony not understood; 291
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER is, is RIGHT.
After x 282. in the MS.
Reason, to think of God when the pretends,
Begins a Censor, an Adorer ends,
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to
Himself, as an Individual.
I. THE business of Man not to pry into God, but to study
himself. His Middle Nature; his Powers and Frailties, ♡ I to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, $ 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary, x 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, x 67, &c. Their end the same, 81, &c.
III. The Passions, and their use, x 93 to 130. The Predominant Passion, and its force, Ý 132 to 160. Its Necessity, in directing Men to different purposes, x 165, &c. Its providential Use, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, * 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident : What is the Office of Reason, ¥ 202 to 216. V.Hory odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, $ 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfections, x 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, x 241. How useful they are to Society, y 251. And to the Individuals, x 263. In every state, and every age of life, y 273, &c.