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Of man, what fee we but his ftation here,
From which to reafon, or to which refer?
Thro' worlds unnumber'd tho' the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
He, who through vafl immenfity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compofe one univerfe,
Obferve how fyftem into fyftem runs,
What other planets circle other funs,
What vary'd Being peoples ev'ry flar,
May tell why heav'n has made us as we are.
But of this frame, the bearings and the ties,
The ftrong connections, nice dependencies,
Gradations juft, has thy pervading foul
Look'd thro'? or can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
And drawn fupports, upheld by God, or thee?
II. Prefumptous man! the reafon wouldst thou find,
Why form'd fo weak, fo little, and fo blind?
Firft, if thou canft, the harder reafon guefs.
Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less.
Afk of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made
Taller or ftronger than the weeds they fhade?
Or afk of yonder argent fields above,
Why Jove's Satellites are lefs than Jove?
Of fyftems pollible, if 'tis confeft
That wifdom infinite must form the best,
Where all muf full or not coherent be,
And all that rifes, rife in due degree;
Then, in the fcale of teas'ning life, 'tis plain,
There must be, fomewhere, fuch a rank as man:
And all the queftion (wrangle e'er fo long)
Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong?
Refpecting man, whatever wrong we call,
May, muft be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though labour'd on with pain,
A thousand movements fcarce one purpose gain ;
In God's, one fingle can its end produce ;
Yet ferves to fecond too fome other use.
See man, who here feems principal alone,
Perhaps acts fecond to fome fphere unknown,
Touches fome wheel, or verges to fome goal;
'Tis but a part we fee, and not a whole.
When the proud fteed fhall know why man refrains
His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains;
When the dull Ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's God:
'Then fhall man's pride and dullness comprehend
His actions, paffions, beings ufe and end;
Why doing, fuff'ring, check'd, impeli'd; and why
This hour a flave, the next a deity. .
Then fay not man's inperfect, heav'n in fault :
Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur'd to his flate and place ;
His time a moment, and a point his space.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
What matter, foon or late, or here or there?
The bleft to-day is as compleatly fo,
As who began a thousand years ago.
III. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate, All but the page prefcrib'd, their prefent ftate:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know;
Or who could fuffer Being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reafon, would he fkip and play?
Pleas'd to the laft, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand juft rais'd to fhed his blood.
Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
fill the circle mark'd by heav'n
Who fees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall
Atoms or fyflems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble.burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions foar
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy bleffing now.
Hope fprings eternal in the human breaft;
Man never is, but always to be bleft:
The foul, uneafy and confin'd from home,
Refts and expitiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian whofe untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His foul, proud fcience never taught to ftray
Far as the folar walk or milky way
Yet fimple nature to his kope has giv❜n
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n;
Some fafer world in depth of woods embrac'd,.
Some happier ifland in the wat'ry wafle,
Where flaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no chriflians thirft for gold..
To be, contents his natural defire,
He afks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal fky
His faithful dog.fhall bear him company.
IV. Go, wifer thou! and, in thy fcale of sense,
Weigh thy opinion against Providence ;
Call imperfection what thou fancy' fuch,
Say, Here he gives too little, there too much;
Deftroy all creatures for thy fport or guft,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjuft;
If man alone ingrofs not heav'n's high care.
Alone made perfect here, immortal there :
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,.
Re-judge his juftice, be the God of God.
In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;
All quit their fphere, and rufh into the skies.
Pride fill is aiming at the bleft abodes,
Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.
Afpiring to be Gods, if Angels fell,
Afpiring to be Angels, men rebel :
And who but wifhes to invert the laws
Of ORDER, fins againfl th' Eternal Caufe..
V. Ak for what end the heav'nly bodies fhine, Earth for whofe ufe? Pride anfwers,
'tis for mine, For me kind nature wakes her genial pow'r,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r;
Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew
The juice necarious, and the balmy dew;
For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings;
For me, health gufhes from a thousand fprings;
Seas roll to waft me, funs to light me rife ;
My footftool earth, my canopy the fkies.'
But errs not nature from this gracious end,
From burning funs when livid deaths defcend,
When earthquakes fwallow, or when tempefts sweep
Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
No ('tis reply'd), the firft Almighty Caufe
Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws;
Th' exceptions' few; fome change fince all began.
And what created perfect ?'-Why then man?
If the great end be human happiness,
Then nature deviates; and can man do lefs!
As much that end a conftant courfe requires
Of fhow'rs and funfhine, as of man's defires :
As much eternal fprings and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temp'rate, calm, and wife.
If plagues or earthquakes break not heav'ns defign,
Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline ?
Who knows but he, whofe hand the lightning form s,
Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms;