Page images
PDF
EPUB

Reflection, Rcafon, still the ties improve,
At once extend the interest, and the love :
With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn; 135
Each Virtue in each Passion takes its turn;
And still new needs, new helps, new habits rise,
That graft benevolence on charities.
Still as one brood, and as another rose,
Th se natural love maintain’d, habitual those :

140
The last, scarce ripen'd into perfect Man,
Saw helpless him from whom their life began :
Memory and forecast just returns engage,
That pointed back to youth, this on to age;
While pleasure, gratitude, and hope, combin'd,

145 Still spread the interest, and preserve the kind.

IV. Nor think, in NATURE'S STÁT E they blindly trod; The State of Nature was the reign of God: Self-love and Social at her birth began, Union the bond of all things, and of Man. 150 Pride then was not ; nor Arts, that Pride to aid Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the Made; The same his table, and the same his bed; No murder cloath'd him, and no murder fed. In the same temple, the resounding wood, 155 All vocal beings hymn'd their equal God: The shrine with gore unstain'd, with gold undress’d, Unbrib’d, unbloody, stood the blameless priest : Heaven's Attribute was Universal Care, And man's prerogative, to rule, but spare.

160 Ah! how unlike the man of times to come! Of half that live the butcher and the tomb;

Who,

[ocr errors]

Who, foe to Nature, hears the general groan,
Murders their species, and betrays his own.
But just disease to luxury succeeds,

165
And every death its own avenger breeds;
The Fury-passions from that blood began,
And turn'd on Man, a fiercer savage, Man.

See him from Nature rising now to Art!
To copy instinct then was reason's part;

170
Thus then to Man the voice of Nature fpake
“ Go, from the Creatures thy instructions take:
« Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield;
« Learn from the beasts the physic of the field;
" Thy arts of building from the bee receive; 175
« Learn of the mole to plow, the worm to weave;
• Learn of the little Nautilus to fail,
“ Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.
• Here too all forms of social union find,
“ And hence let Reason, late, instruct Mankind : 180
• Here subterranean works and cities fee;
“ There towns aërial on the waving tree.
• Learn each small People's genius, policies,

The Ant's republic, and the realm of Bees
" How those in common all their wealth bestow,

185
6 And Anarchy without confusion know;
" And these for ever, though a Monarch reign,
“ Their separate cells and properties maintain.
“ Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,
« Laws wise as Nature, and as fix'd as Fate.

190 " In vain thy Reason finer webs shall draw, " Entangle Justice in her net of Law,

« And

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ And right, too rigid, harden into wrong ; “ Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong, * Yet go! and thus o'er all the creatures fway, 195 “ Thus let the wiser make the rest obey : « And for those Arts mere Inftin&t could afford, “ Be crown'd as Monarchs, or as Gods ador'd."

V. Great Nature spoke; observant Man obeyed; Cities were built, Societies were made : Here rose one little státe; another near Grew by like means, and join'd, through 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; 205 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

200

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 197. in the first Editions,

Who for those Arts they learn'd of brutes before,

As Kings Thall crown them, or as Gods adore. Ver. 201. Here rofe one little state, &c.] In the MS.

thus, The neighbours leagu'd to guard their common spot; And Love was Nature's dictate ; Murder, not. For want alone each animal contends; Tigers with Tigers, that remov'd are friends. Plain Nature's wants the common mother crown'd, She pour'd her acorns, herbs, and streams around. No Treasure then for rapine to invade, What need to fight for lun-line or for shade? And half the cause of contest was remov'd, When beauty could be kind to all who lov'd.

210

Thus States were formd; the name of King unknown,
Till common interest plac'd the sway in one.
Twas VIRTUE ONLY (or in arts or arms,
Diffusing blessings, or averting harms)
The fame which in a fire the Sons obey'd,
A Prince the Father of a People made.

VI. Till then, by Nature crown'd, each Patriarch fate,
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 th' abyss profound,
Or fetch th' aërial eagle to the ground.
Till drooping, fickening, dying, they began
Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as Mán:
Then, looking up from fire to fire, explor'd zas
One great First Father, and that first ador'd.
Or plain tradition that this All begun,
Convey'd unbroken faith from fire to son 3
The worker from the work distinct was known,
And simple Reason never fought but one : 230
Ere Wit oblique had broke that steddy 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 th' allegiance then; 235
For Nature knew no right divine in Men,
No ill could fear in God; and understood
A sovereign being, but a sovereign good.

True

True faith, true policy, united ran,
That was but love of God, and this of Man.

240 Who first taught souls enllav'd, and realms un

done. Th’enormous faith of many

made for one ; That proud exception to all Nature's laws, T'invert the world, and counter-work 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 ʼmiềst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's found, When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the ground,

250 She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To Power unfeen, 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, 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. 260 Zeal then, not charity, became the guide; And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride, Then facred feem'd th' ethereal vault no more ; Altars

grew

Marble then, and reek'd with gore: Then first the Flamen tasted living food;

265 Next his grim idol imeard with human blood ;

« PreviousContinue »