페이지 이미지

Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no christians thirst for gold !
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire, 110
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.

Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against providence ;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such, 115
Say, here he gives too little, there too much ;
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust ;
If man alone engross not heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there ; 120
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Re-judge his justice, be the God of God.

In pride, in reas’ning pride, our error lies ; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,

125 Men would be angels, angels would be gods. Aspiring to be gods if angels fell, Aspiring to be angels men rebel And who but wishes to invert the laws Of order, sins against th’Eternal cause. 130

Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine, Earth for whose use ? Pride answers, “ 'Tis for mine : • For me kind nature wakes her genial pow'r, • Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flower ; • Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew

135 • The juice nectareous and the balmy dew; • For me the mine a thousand treasures brings ; • For me health gushes from a thousand springs ; • Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; • My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.” 140

But errs not nature from this gracious end, From burning suns when livid deaths descend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep :


[ocr errors]

« No ('tis reply'd) the first Almighty Cause 145 • Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws ; • The exceptions few, some change, since all began, • And what created perfect ?'-Why then man. If the great end be human bappiness, Then nature deviates ; and can man do less ? 150 As much that end a constant course requires Of show'rs and sun-shine, as of man's desires As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, As men fo ever'temp’rate, calm, and wise. If plagues or earthquakes break not heaven's design,

155 Why then a Borgia, or a Cataline ? Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms, Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms, Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind, Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind ?

160 From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs ; Account for moral, as for nat'ral things : Why charge we heav’n in those, in these acquit ? In both, to reason right is to submit. Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,

165 Were there all harmony, all virtue here ; That never air or ocean felt the wind ; That never passion discompos’d the mind ; But all subsists by elemental strife And passions are the elements of life.

170 The gen’ral order, since the whole began, Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.

What would this man? Now upward will he soar, And little less than angel, would be more ; Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears 175 To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. Made for his use all creatures if he call, Say what their use, bad he the pow’rs of all ? Nature to these, without profusion kind, The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign’d; 180

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Each seeming want compensated of course,
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force ;
All in exact proportion to the state ;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect, happy in its own ; 185
Is heaven unkind to man, and man alone ?
Shall he alone whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless’d with all ?

The bliss of man, (could pride that blessing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind : , 190
No pow'rs of body or of soul to share,
But what his nature and his state can bear.
Why has not man a microscopic eye ?
For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n, 195
T'inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n ?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore?
Or quick effluvia darting thro’ the brain,
Die of a rose in aromatic pain ?

200 If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears, And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, How would he wish that heav'n had left him still The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill ? Who finds not providence all good and wise, 205 Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?

Far as creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental pow’rs ascends : Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopld grass : 210 What modes of sight 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, 215 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 ? 230
The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone,
'Is not thy reason all these pow'rs in one ?
See thro’this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quicķ, 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 ethereal, 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 you strike, 245
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.

And, if each symptom in gradation roll
Alike essential to th’ amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall. 250
Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless thro’ the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be huri'd :
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world ;
Heav'n's whole foundations tô their centre nod, 255
And nature tremble to the throne of God.

All this dread order break for whom ? for thee ?
Vile worm ! oh madness ! pride ! impiety!

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 serve 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' ethereal frame, 270 Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ; Lives thro' all life, extends thro' all extent, Spreads undivided, operates unspent ; 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 pt Seraph that adores and burns : To bim no high, no low, no great, no small ; He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all. 280

Cease then, nor Order Imperfection pame : 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 blest 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 ; 290 All discord, harmony, not understood ; All partial evil universal good : And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear, - Whatever is is Rigat,'

« 이전계속 »