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When erimes, which erst in kindred darkness lay, Yet the bright flame from virtue ne'er had sprung' Rise frontless, and insult the eye of day;
And man was guilty ere the poet sung. Indignant Hymen veils his hallow'd fires, This Muse in silence joy'd each better age, And white-rob’d Chastity with tears retires; Till glowing crimes had wak'd her into rage. When rank Adultery on the genial bed
Truth saw her honest spleen with new delight, Hot from Cocytus rears her baleful bead; 300 And baile her wing her shafts, and urge their flight. When private Faith and public Trust are sold, First on the sons of Greece she prov'd her art, And traitors barter liberty for gold :
And Sparta felt the fierce lambic dart. When fell Corruption dark and deep, like Fate, To Latium next, avenging Satire few; Saps the foundation of a sinking state:
The flaming falchion rough Lucilius drew, When Giant-Vice and Irreligion rise,
With dauntless warmth in Virtue's cause engag'd, On mountain'd falsehoods to invade the skies : And conscious villains trumbled as he rag'd. Then warmer numbers glow through Satire's page, Then sportive Horace caught the generous firé ; And all her şniles are darken'd into rage :
For Satire's bow resign'u the sounding lyre; On eagle-wing she gains Parnassus' height, Each arrow polislı'd in his hand was seen, Not lofty Epic soars a nobler flight: 310 And, as it grew more polistid, grew more keen., Then keener indignation fires ber eye;
His art, conceal'd in study'd negligence, Then flash her lightnings, and her thunders fly; Politely sly, cajol'd the foes of sense ;
380 Wide and more wide her flaming bolts are hurld, He seem'd to sport and trifle with the dart, Till all 'ier wrath involves the guilty world, But, while he sported, drove it to the heart. Yet Satire oft assumes a gentler mien,
In graver strains majestic Persius wrote, And beams on Virtue's friends a smile serene! Big with a ripe exuberance of thought : She wounds reluctant; pours her balm with joy; Greatly sedate, contem'd a tyrant's reign, Glad to commend where worth attracts her eye. And lash'd Corruption with a calin disdain. But chief, when virtue, learning, arts decline, More ardent eloquence, and bounalloss rage, She joys to see unconquer'd Merit shine; 320 Inflam'd bold Juvenal's exalted page. Where bursting glorious, with departing ray, His mighty numbers aw'd corrupted Rome, Trụe genius gilds the close of Britain's day : And swept audacious Greatness to its doom; 390) With joys she sees the stream of Roman art The headlong torrent, thumering from on bigli, From Murray's tongue flow purer to the heart : Rent the proud rock that lately bravid tlie sky. Sees Yorke to Fame, ere yet to manhood known, But lo! the fatal victor of mankind, And just to every virtue, but his own ;
Swoln Luxury !--pale Ruin stalks behind ! Hears unstain's Cam with generous pride proclaim As countless insects from the north-east pour, A sage's, critic's, and a poet's name :
To blast the Spring, and ravage every flower ;
But tread with cautious step this dangerous No longer Genius uoo'd the Nine to love,
At length, again fair Science shot her ray, The poet can but set it in his line :
Dawn'd in the skies, and spoke returning day. And who unmov'd with laughter can behold
Now, Satire, triumph o'er thy flying foe, A sordid pebble meanly grac'd with gold ? 340 | Now load thy quiver, string thy slacken'd bow! Let real mexit then adorn your lays,
'Tis done--See great Erasmus breaks the spell, For shame attends on prostituted praise :
And wounds triumphant Folly in her cell! 410 And all your wit, your most distinguish'd art, (In vain the solemn cowl surrounds her face, But makes us grieve you want an honest heart. Vain all her bigot cant, her sour grimace)
Nor think the Muse by Satire's laws confin'd: With shame compelld her lia len throne to quit, She yields description of the noblest kind.
And own the force of Reason urg'd by Wit. Inferior art the landscape may design,
'Twas then plain Donne in honest vengeance rose, And paint the purple evening in the line ;
His wit harmonious, though his rhyme was prose: Her daring thought essays a higher plan;
He 'midst an age of puns and pedants wrote Her hand delineates passion, pictures man. 350 With genuine sense, and Roman strength of thought. And great the toil, the latent soul to trace,
Yet scarce had Satire well relum'd her tiame, To paint the heart, and catch internal grace ; (With grief the Muse records her country's shanne) By turns bid vice or virtne strike our eyes,
Ere Britain saw the foul revolt commence, 421 Now bid a Wolsey or a Cromwell rise ;
And treacherous W'it began her war with Sense,
Dry morals the court-poet blush'd to sing;
'Twas all his praise to say “the oddest thing." 130 Trough ages thus has Satire keenly shind:
Proud for a jest obscene, a patron's pod, The friend to trath, to virtue, and mankind : To martyr Virtue, or blaspheme his Goda
Ill-fated Dryden! who, unmov'd, can see Did friendship e'er mislead thy wandering Muse ! Th’ extremes of wit and meanness join'd in thee? That friendship sure may plead the great excuse : Flames that could mount, and gain their kindred That sacred friendship which inspir'd thy song, Low creeping in the putrid sink of Vice: [skies Fair in defect, and amiably wrong. A Muse whom Wisdom woo'd, but woo'd in vain, Errour like this ev'n Truth cau scarce reprove; The pimp of Power, the prostitute to Gain: 'Tis aļmost virtue when it flows from love. Wreaths, that should deck fair Virtuels form alone, Ye deathless names, ye sons of endless praise, To strumpets, traitors, tyrants, vịlely thrown : 440 By virtue crowu'd with never-fading bays ! Unrival's parts, the scorn of honest fame; Say, shall an artless Muse, if you inspire, And genius rise, a monument of shame!
Light her pale lamp at your immortal fire? More happy France : immortal Boileau there Or if, O Warburton, inspir'd by you, Supported Genius with a sage's care :
The daring Muse a nobler path pursue, Hm with her love propitious Satire blest, By you inspir’d, on trembling pinions soar, And breath'd her airs divine into his breast : The sacred founts of social bliss explore, Fancy and Sense to form his line conspire,
In her bold numbers chain the tyrant's rage, And faultless Judgment guides the purest fire. And bid her country's glory fire her page;
But see, at length, the British genius smile, If such her fate, do thou, fair Truth, descend, And shower her bounties o'er her favour'd isle : 450 | And watchful guard her in an honest end :
520 Behold for Pope she twines the lanrel crown, Kindly severe, instruct her equal line And centers every poet's power in one :
To court no friend, nor own a foe but thine.
To offer incense at Corruption's shrine ;
Urge, urge thy power, the black attempt confound, Each image justly fine, and boldly true:
And dash the sinoaking censer to the ground. Here Vice, dragg'd forth by Truth's supreme decree, Thus aw'd to fear, instructed bards may see Beholds and hates her own deformity; 460 That guilt iş doom'd to sink in infainy.
ESSAY ON MAN:
TO H. ST. JOHN, LORD BOLINGBROKE
HẠving proposed to write some pieces on human Attun'd thy voice, and form'd thy infant tongue.
life and manners, such as (to use my lord Bacon's Next, to her band majestic Wisdom came; expression) " come home to men's business and The bard enraptur'd caught the heavenly flame :
bosoms," I thought it more satisfactory to begin With taste superior scorn'd the venal tribe,
with considering man in the abstract, his nature, Whom fear can sway, or guilty greatness bribe ;
and his state ; since, to prove any moral duty, to At Fancy's call who rear the wanton sail,
enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perSport with the stream, and trife in the gale: 480 fection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, Sublimer views thy daring spirit bound;
it is necessary first to know what condition and re. Thy mighty voyage was Creation's round; lation it is placed in, and what is the proper end Intent new worlds wisdom to explore,
and purpose of its being. And bless mankind with Virtue's sacred store :
The science of human nature is, like all other A nobler joy than wit can give, impart ;
sciences, reduced to a few clear ppints: there are And pour a moral transport o'er the heart.
not many certain truths in this world. It is thereFantastic wit shoots momentary fires,
fore in the anatomy of the mind as in that of the And, like a meteor, while we gaze, expires :
body; more good will accrue to mankind by atWit, kindled by the sulphurous breath of Vice, tending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, Like the blue lightning, while it shines, destroys :
thay by studying too much such finer nerves and But genius, fir'd by Truth's eternal ray,
490 vessels, the conformations and uses of which will Burns clear and constant, like the source of day:
for ever escape our observation. The disputes are Like this its beam, prolific and refin'd,
all upon these last; and I will venture to say, they Feeds. warms, inspirits, and exalts the mind; have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of Mildly dispels each wintery passion's gloom,
men against each other, and have diminished And opens all the virtues into blooni.
the practice, more than advanced the theory of This praise, immortal Pope, to thee be given.
morality. If I could fatter myself that this Essay Thy genius was indeed a gift from Heaven. has any merit, it is in steering betwixt the exHail, bard unequal'el, in whose deathless line
tremes of doctrines seemingly opposite, in passing Reason and wit with strength collected shine; 500
over terms utterly unintelligible, and in forming a W'bere matchless wit but wins the second praise,
temperate yet not inconsistent, and a short, yet Lost, nobly lost, in truth's superior blaze, not imperfect, system of ethics,
This I might have done in prose; but I chose throughout the whole visible world, an universal verse, and even thyme, for two reasons. The one order and gradation in the sensual and mental will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or faculties is observed, which causes a subordinaprecepts so written, both strike the reader more tion of creature to creature, and of all creatures strongly at first, and are more easily retained by
The gradations of sense, instinct, him afterwards : the other may seem odd, but it thought, reflection, reason; that reason alono is true; I found I could express them more shortly countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more
VIII. How much farther this order and subore certain, than that much of the force as well as dination of living creatures may extend above grace of arguments or instructions depends on and below us; were any part of which broken, their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part pot that part only, but the whole connected of my subject more in detail, without becoming creation must be destroyed, ver. 233. IX. The dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sa- extravagance, madness, and pride of such a decrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wander- sire, ver. 250. X. The conseqnence of all the ing from the precision, or breaking the chain of
absolute submission due to Providence, both as reasoning: if any man can unite all these without to our present and future state, yer. 281, to the diminution of any of them, I freely confess he will compass a thing above my capacity. What is now published is only to be considered
EPISTLE I. as a general map of man, marking ont no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, Awake, my St, John! leave all meaner things and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are
To low ambition and the pride of Kings. to follow. Consequently, these. Epistles in their
Let us (since life can little more supply progress (if I have health and leisure to make any Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;
Than just to look about us, and to die) progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the
A mighty maze! but not without a plan: fountains, and clearing the passage. To deluce A wild, where weeds and fiowers promiscuous shoot; the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit. observe their effects, may be a task more agree- Try what the open, what the covert yield;
Together let us beat this ample field, able.
The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore
Qf all who lilily creep, or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's waiks, shoot Folly as it fies,
And catch the manners living as they rise: IN FOUR EPISTLES, TO H. ST. JONN, laugh where we must, be candid where we can; LORD BOLINGBROKE.
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
1. Say first, of God above, or man below, ARGUMENT OF'EPISTLE I.
What can we reason, but froin what we know? PI THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO Of inan,
what see we but his station here, THE UNIVERSE.
Froin which to reason, or to which refer? 20
Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be OF De man in the abstract.-—I, That we can judge 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own. [known only with regard to our own system, being igno- He, who through vast immensity can pierce, rant of the relations of systems and things, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, ver. 17, &c.
II; That man is not to be deemed Observe how system into system runas, imperfect, but a being suited to his place and What other planets circle other suns, rank in the creation, agreeable to the general What vary'd being peoples erery star, order of things, and conformable to ends and May tell why Heaven has made us as we are. relations to him unknown, ver. 35, &c.
But of this frame the bearings and the ties, That it is partly upon his ignorance of future The strong connections, nice dependencies, 30 events, and partly upon the hope of a future Gradations just, has thy pervading soul state, that all his happineșs in the present de Lyok'd through? or can a part contain the whole pends, ver. 77, &c. IV. The pride of aiming at. Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, more knowledge, and pretending to more per- And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? fection, the cause of man's errour and misery. II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thong The impiety of putting himself in the place of find, God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, per- Why form’d so weak, so little, and so blind! fection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess, his dispensations, ver. 109, &c. V. The ab. Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less? surdity of concejting himself the final cause of Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made the creation, or expecting that perfection in the Taller or weaker than the weeds they shade; 40 moral world, which is not in the natural, yer. Or ask of yonder argent fields above, 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove? complaints against Providence, while on the Of systems possible, if 'tis confest, one hand he demands the perfection of the an- That Wisdom infinite must form the best, gels, and on the other the bodily qualifications where all must full or not coherent be, of the brutes; though, to possess any of the And all that rises, rise in due degree; sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would | Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain, repder bim miserable, ver. 173, &c. VII. That | There must be, somewhere, sach a rank as mans
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler Heaven
Where slaves once more their native land behold, Yet serves to second too some other use,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. So man, who here seems principal alone,
To be, contents his natural desire, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire; 110 Touches, some wheel, or verges to some goal; But thinks adınitted to that equal sky, "Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. 60 His faithful dog shall bear him company. When the proud steed shall know why man re- IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense, strains
Weigh thy opinion against Providence; His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains; Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Is now a victim, and now Ægypt's god :
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend Yet say, if man's unhappy, God's unjust; His actions', passions', being's, use and end; If man alone ingross not Heaven's high care, Why doing, suffering, check d, impelld; and why Alone made perfect here, immortal there: 120 This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Snatch'd from his hand the balance and the rod, Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Re-judge bis justice, be the god of God. Say rather, Man's as perfect as he qught: 70 ) In Pride, in reasoning Pride, gur errour lies; His knowledge measur'd to his state and place; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies, His time a moment, and a point his space.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Aspiring to be angels, men rebel :
III Heaven from all creatures hides the book of Of order, sins against th’ Eternal Cause, 1.30
Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower;
For me health gushes from a thousand springs; That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven : Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
My foot-stool Earth, my canopy the skies." · 140 A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, Atoms or systems into ruin burl d,
From burning suns when livid deaths descend,
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
And what created perfect ?” Why then man? Man never Is, but always To be blest :
If the great end be human happiness, The soul, uneasy, and confin'd from home, Then Nature deviates; and can man do less ? 150 Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
As much that end a constant course requires Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutor'd mind Of showers and sun-shine, as of man's desires ; Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; 100 As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,
As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise.
If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design,
Why then a Borgia, or a Cataline; In the former editions, ver. 64.
Who knows, but he whose hand the lightning forms, Now wears a garland an Ægyptian god,
Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storins ; After ver. 68, the following lines in the first edition. Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
1160 If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind? What matter, soon or late, or here or there? From pride, from pride our very reasoning springs; The blest to day is as completely so,
Account for maral as for natural things :
After ver. 108, in the fire edition : That Virgil's gnat should die as Cæsar bleed,
But does he say the Maker is not good, Ver. 93, in the first folio and quarto,
Till he's exalted to what state he wou'd; What bliss above he gives not thee to know, Hinself alone high Heaven's peculiar care, But gives that hope to be thy bliss below,
Alone made happy when he will, and where
Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit? VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this In both, to reason right, is to submit
earth, Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, All matter quick, and bursting into birth. Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
Above, how high, progressive life may go! That never air or ocean felt the wind,
Around, how wide! how deep extend below! That never passion discompos'd the mind.
Vast chain of being! which from God began, But all subsists by elemental strife;
Natures ethereal, hurpan, angel, man, And passions are the elements of life.
170 Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see, The general order, since the whole began,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee, 240 Is kept in Nature, and is kept in man. [soar, From thee to Nothing.-On superior powers
VI. What would this man? Now upward will he Were we to press, inferior might on qurs; And, little less than angel, would be more; Or in the full creation leave a void, Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears Where, one step broken, the great scale's destroy'd: To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Made for his use all creatures if he call,
Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike, Say what their use, had be the powers of all? And, if each system in gradation roll Nature to these without profusion, kind,
Alike essential to th’ amazing whole, The proper organs, proper powers assign'd; 160 The least confusion but in one, not all Each seeming want compensated of course, That system only, but the whole must fall. 2,50 Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fiy, All in exact proportion to the state;
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd, Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: Being on being wreck'd, and world on world; Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone?
Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod, Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
And Nature trembles to the throne of God. Be pleas'd with nothing, if not blest with all ? All this dread order break--for whom? for thee?
The bliss of man (could Pride that blessing find) Vile worm !oh madness! pride! impiety! Is not to act or think beyond mankind; 190 IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, No powers of body or of soul to share,
Or hand, to toil, aspir'd to be the head? 260 But what his nature and his state can bear, What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd Why has not man a microscopic eye?
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind? For this plain reason, man is not a fly.
Just as absurd for any part to claim Say what the use, were finer optics given,
'To be another in this general frame: T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the Heaven? Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
The great directing mind of all ordains. To smart and agonize at every pore?
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Or quick effluvia darting through the brain, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul; Die of a rose in aromatic pain?
200 | That chang'd through all, and yet in all the same If Nature thunder'd in bis opening -ars,
Great in the Earth, as in th' ethereal frame; 270 And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the breeze, How would he wish that Heaven had left him still Glows, in the stars, and blossoms in the trees; The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill! Lives through all life, extends through all extent; Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Spreads undivided, operates unspent; Alike in what it gives, and what denies?
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, VII. Par as creation's ample range extends, As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart, The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends : As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns, Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns: From the green myriads in the peopled grass : 210 To him no high, no low, no great, no small; What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, He fills, he bounds, connects, and cquals all. 280 The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam; X. Cease then, nor order imperfection name: Of smell, the hea-llong lioness between,
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. And bound sagacjous on the tainted green; Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee, To that which warbles through the vernal wood! Submit.-In this, or any other sphere, The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear: Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, in the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see ;
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, Remembrance and Reflection how allied ;
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT,
Ver. 236, Ed. 1st.
Ethereal essence, spirit, substance, man.
Reason, to think of God, when she pretends, I not thy Reason all these powers in one ?
Begins a censor, an adorer ends.