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“ Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures fway, 195 * Thus let the wiser make the rest obey ; “ And for those Arts mere Instinct could afford, “ Be crown'das Monarchs, or as God ador'd.”
V. Great Nature spoke ; observant Man obey'd ; Cities were built, Societies were made : Here rose one little state ; another near Grew by like means, and join'd, thro’ love or fear. Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend, And there the streams in purer rills descend ? What War could ravish, Commerce could bestow, And he return'd a friend who came a foe, 206 Converse and Love mankind might strongly draw, When Love was Liberty, and Nature Law.
VER. 208. When Love was Liberty,) i. e. When Men had no need to guard their native liberty from their governors by
VARIATIONS. VER. 197. in the first Editions.
Who for those Arts they learn'd of brutes before,
As Kings shall crown them, or as God adore.
The Neighbours leagu'd to guard the common spot :
Thus States were form’d; the name of King unknown, 'Till common int'rest plac'd the sway in one. 210 'Twas VIRTUE ONLY (or in arts or arms, Diffusing blessings, or averting harms) The same which in a Sire the Sons obey'd, A Prince the Father of a People made. VI. 'Till then, by Nature crown'd, each Patriarch fate,
215 King, priest, and parent, of his growing state; On him, their second Providence, they hung, Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue. He from the wond'ring furrow call'd the food, Taught to command the fire, controul the flood, 220 Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound, Or fetch th' aërial eagle to the ground. ”Till drooping, fick’ning, dying they began Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as Man: Then, looking up from fire to fire, explor'd 225 One great
first father, and that first ador'd. Or plain tradition that this All begun, Convey'd unbroken faith from fire to son ; The worker from the work distinct was known, And simple Reason never fought but one : 230 Ere Wit oblique had broke that fteddy light, Man, like his Maker, faw that all was right;
civil pactions; the love which each master of a family had for those under his care being their beit security.
Ver. 231. Ere Wit oblique, etc.] A beautiful allusion to the effe&s of the prismatic glass on the rays of light,
To Virtue, in the paths of Pleasure trod,
Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undones
250 She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To pow'r unseen, and mightier far than they : She, from the rending earth, and bursting skies, Saw Gods descend, and fiends infernal rise : Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes; 255 Fear made her Devils, and weak Hope her Gods; Gods partial, changeful, paflionate, unjust, Whose attributes were Rage, Revenge, or Luft; Such as the souls of cowards might conceive, And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. 269
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide;
marble then, and reek'd with gore: Then first the Flamen tasted living food;
265 Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood ! With heav'n's own thunders shook the world below, And play'd the God an engine on his foe.
So drives Self-love, thro' juft and thro' unjust, To one Man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, luft:
270 The fame Self-love, in all, becomes the cause Of what restrains him, Government and Laws. For, what one likes, if others like as well, What serves one will, when many
wills rebel? How shall he keep, what, sleeping or awake, 275. A weaker may surprise, a stronger take? His safety must his liberty restrain : All join to guard, what each defires to gain. Forc'd into virtue thas, by Self-defence, Ev'n Kings learn’d justice and benevolence : 280 Self-love forsook the path it first pursu’d, And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then the studious head or gen’rous mind, Follow'r of God, or friend of human-kind,
VER. 283. 'Twas then, etc.) The poet feemeth here to mean the polite and flourishing age of Greece: and those be nefactors to Mankind, which he had principally in view, were Socrates and Aristotle ;, who, of all the pagan world, spoke best of God, and wrote best of Government.
Poet or Patriot, rose but to restore
285 The Faith and Moral, Nature gave Re-lum'd her ancient light, not kindled new ; If not God's image, yet his shadow drew : Taught Pow'r, due use to People and to Kings, Taught ncr to slack, nor strain its tender strings, 290 The less, or greater, set fo justly true, That touching one must strike the other too; 'Till jarring int’rests, of themselves create Th'according music of a well-mix'd State. Such is the World's great harmony, that springs 295 From Order, Union, full Consent of things : Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade ; More pow’rful each as needful to the rest, And, in proportion as it blesses, bleft; Draw to one point, and to one centre bring Beast, Man, or Angel, Servant, Lord, or King.
For Forms of Government, let fools contest; Whate'er is best admini.ter'd is best :
VER. 303. For Forms of Government let fools contest ;] The author of these lines was far from meaning that no one form of Government is, in itself, better than another (as, that mixed or limited Monarchy, for example, is not preferable to absolute) but that no form of Government, however excellent or preserable, in itself, can be sufficient to make a people happy, unless it be administered with integrity. On the contrary, the best sort of Government, when the form of it is pri lerved, and the adminiftration corrupt, is most dangerous,