« PreviousContinue »
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Indian! whose untutor'd mind
Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense ,
if man's unhappy God's unjņst;
C Η Α Ρ. ΧΙΙ Ι.
On the Order of Nature. See, thro? this air, this ocean , and this earth , All matter qnick, and bursting into birth. Above, how high , progressive life may go! Around how wide! how deep extend below! Vast chain of Being! which from God began, Natures æthereal, human; angel, man! Beast, bird, fish , insect, what no eye can see, No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee , 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, Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll A like essential to th' amazing Whole, The least confusion but in
What is the foot ordain'd the dust to tread,
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,
Cease then! nor Order Imperfection name:
CHA P. X I V. The Origin of Superstition and Tyranny. W do ,
first taught souls enslav'd, and roalms un
done Th' enormous faith of many made for one! That proud exception to ali nature's laws, T'invert the world, and counter-work its Cause? Force first made Conquest, and that couquest, Law; Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe; Then shar'd the Tyranny , then lent it aid, And Gods of Conqu’ros, Slaves of Subjects made: She’midstthe lightning's blaze,and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the inountains, and when groan'd
the gronnd, She, taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To Pow'r
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; 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.. Zeal then, not Charity, became the guide ; And hell was built on Spite, and heav'n on Pride; Then sacred seem'd th'ethereal vault no more; Altars grew marble then , and reek'd with gore: Then first the Flamen tasted living food ; Next his grim idol, smeard with human blood; With Heav'n's own thunders shook the world
below, And play'd the God an engine on his foe.
So drives Self-love, thro' just and thro unjust, To one man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, lust! The same Self-love, in all, becomes the cause Of what restrains him , Government 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 iuto virtue thus by Self-defence, Ęv'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence: Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd , And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then, the studious head or gen'rous mind, Follow'r of God, or friend of human-kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restoreThe Faith and Moral, Nature gave before ; Re-lum'd her ancient light,
kindled new If not God's image, yet his shadow drew.:
Taught Pow'r's due use to People and to Kings ,
For forms of Government let fools contest;
Man , like the gen'rous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from th'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 gen'ral frame, And bade Self-love and Social be the Pope,
CHA P. X V.
On Happiness. O. Happiness! our being's end and aim! Good, Pleasure, Ease ,/Content! whate'er thy name; That something still which prompts the eternalsigh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die; Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies;