Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here too all forms of social union find,
And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind :
Here subterranean works and cities see;
There towns aërial on the waving tree.
Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ants' republic, and the realm of bees;
How those in common all their wealth bestow,
And anarchy without confusion kuow;
And these for ever, though a monarch reign,
Their separate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvaried laws preserve each state,
Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate.
In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law,
And right, too rigid, hardea into wrong,
Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.
Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway,
Tbus let the wiser make the rest obey ;
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods ador'd."

5. Great Nature spoke ; observaut mau obey'd;
Cities were built, societies were made:
Here rose one little state ; another near
Grew by like means, and join'd through love or fear,
Did here the trees with ruddier burdeas 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.
Converse and love mankind might strongly draw,
When love was liberty, and nature law.
Thus states were form'd, the name of king unknown
Till common interest plac'd the sway in one.
'Twas virtúe 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.

6. Till then, by Nature crown'd, each patriarch sate 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 wondering furrow call'd the food,
Taught to command the fire, control the flood,
Draw forth the monsters of the abyss profound,
Or fetch the aèrial eagle to the ground;
Till drooping, sickening, dying, they began
Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as man:
Then, looking up from sire to sire, explor'd
One great first father, and that first ador'd:
Or plain tradition that this all begun,
Convey'd unbroken faith from sire to son ;.
The worker from the work distinct was known,
And simple reason never sought but one.
Ere wit oblique had broke that steady light,
Man, like his Maker, saw that all was right;
To virtue in the paths of pleasure trod,
And own'd a father when he own'd a God.
Love all the faith, and all the allegiance then,
For nature knew no right divine in men;
No ill could fear in God, and understood
A sovereign being but a sovereign good.
True faith, true policy, united ran;
That was but love of God, and this of man.

Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone,
The' enormous faith of many made for one;
That proud exeeption to all Nature's laws,
To' iuvert the world, and counterwork its cause?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest law;
Till superstition taught the tyrant awe,
Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects, made :
She, midst the lightning's blaze and thunder's sound,
When'rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the

ground, She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To powest 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 bless'd abodes; Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods;

Gods partial, ehangeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust :
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide,
And hell was built on spite, and heav'n on pride :
Then sacred seem'd the etherial vault no more ;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore :
Then first the flamen tasted living food,
Next his grim idol smear'd with humau blood ;
With heaven's own thunders shook the world below,
And play'd the god an engine on his foe.

So drives self-love through just and through unjust,
To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust:
The same self-love in all becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, goveroment 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,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Fore'd into virtue thus by self-defence,
Ev'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursued,
And found the private in the public good.

'Twas then the studious head, or generous mind, Follower of God, or friend of man-kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore The faith and moral Nature gave before; Relum'd her ancient light, not kindled new; If not God's image, yet his shadow drew; Taught power's due use to people and to kings, Taught nor to slack nor strain its tender strings, The less or greater set so justly true, That touching ope must strike the other too, Till jarring interests of themselves create The' according music of a well-mix'd state. Such is the world's great harmony, that springs From order, union, full consent of things ;

Where small and great, where weak and mighty,made
To serve, not suffer; strengthen, not invade;
More powerful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest;
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 administer'd is best :
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right.
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity:
All must be false that thwart this one great end;
And all of God that bless mankind or mend.

Man, like the generous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains is from the embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the planets run,
Yet make at once their circle round the sun;
So two consistent motions act the soul,
And one regards itself, and one the whole.

Thus God and nature link'd the general frame, And bade self-love and social be the same.

of the Nature and State of Man, with respect

to Happiness.

ARGUMENT. 1. False notions of happiness, philosophical and popular, answered.---2. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all.--God intends happiness to be equal ; and, to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws.---As it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these. --But, notwithstanding that inequality, the baJance of happiness among mankind is kept even by providence, by the two passions of hope and fenr.--3. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world, and that the good man has here the advantage.--The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune..-4. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars.--5. That we are not judges who are good; but that whoever they are, they must be happiest..-6. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue.--That even these can make no man happy without virtue: instanced in riches ---Honours---Nobility--Greatness--Fame Superior talents, with pictures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all.-7. That virtue only constitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal.That the perfection of virtue and hape piness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter. O Happiness! our being's end and aim!

Good,pleasure,ease,content! whate'er thy name: That something still which prompts the' eternal sigh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die; Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies, O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool and wise. Plant of celestial seed ! if dropp'd below, Say in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow ? Fair opening to some court's propitious shine, Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine?

« PreviousContinue »