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Perhaps yet vibrates on his Sov'reign's ear-
Welcome for thee, fair Virtue, all the past !
For thee, fair Virtue, welcome e'en the last !
A. But why insult the poor, affront the great?
P. A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state:
Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail;
Sporus at Court, or Japhet in a jail;
A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer,
Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire;
365 If on a pillory, or near a throne, He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet, soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit; This dreaded satirist Dennis will confess
370 Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress; So humble he has knocked at Tibbald's door, Has drunk with Cibber, nay has rhymed for Moore. Full ten years slandered, did he once reply? Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.
375 To please a mistress one aspersed his life; He lashed him not, but let her be his wife: Let Budgell charge low Grub Street on his quill, And write whate'er he pleased, except his will. Let the two Curlls, of town and court, abuse His father, mother, body, soul, and MuseYet why? that father held it for a rule, It was a sin to call our neighbour fool; ... Hear this, and spare his family, James Moore !
385 Unspotted names and memorable long, If there be force in virtue or in song. Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause, While yet in Britain honour had applause) Each parent sprung—A. What fortune, pray? P. Their own,
390 And better got than Bestia's from the throne. Born to no pride, inheriting no strife, Nor marrying discord in a noble wife, Stranger to civil and religious rage, The good man walked innoxious through his age. 395 No courts he saw, no suits would ever try, Nor dared an oath, nor hazarded a lie.
Unlearn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art,
No language but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temp’rance and by exercise;
His life, though long, to sickness passed unknown;
His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me thus to live and thus to die;
Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
O friend, may each domestic bliss be thine !
Be no unpleasing melancholy mine:
Me let the tender office long engage,
To rock the cradle of reposing age,
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep awhile one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend;
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he served a queen!
A. Whether that blessing be denied or giv'n, Thus far was right; the rest belongs to Heav'n. 1715-34
Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition and the pride of kings.
Let us, since life can little more supply
Than just to look about us and to die,
Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man:
A mighty maze, but not without a plan,
A wild where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot,
Or garden tempting with forbidden fruit.
Together let us beat this ample field,
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore
Of all who blindly creep or sightless soar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise;
Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
15 But vindicate the ways of God to man.
I. Say first, of God above or man below
What can we reason but from what we know?
Of man what see we but his station here
From which to reason or to which refer?
Through worlds unnumbered though the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace Him only in our own.
He who through vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
What varied being peoples every star,
May tell why Heav'n has made us as we are.
But of this frame the bearings and the ties,
The strong connections, nice dependencies,
30 Gradations just, has thy pervading soul Looked through? or can a part contain the whole ? Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, And drawn supports, upheld by God or thee?
II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou find 35 Why formed so weak, so little, and so blind? First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess, Why formed no weaker, blinder, and no less ? Ask of thy mother earth why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? Or ask of yonder argent fields above Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove.
Of systems possible if 't is confessed That Wisdom Infinite must form the best, Where all must full or not coherent be,
45 And all that rises, rise in due degree, Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 't is plain There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man; And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Is only this—if God has placed him wrong?
5C Respecting man whatever wrong we call, May, must be right as relative to all. In human works, though laboured on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God's one single can its end produce,
55 Yet serves to second too some other use: So man, who here seems principal alone, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; 'T is but a part we see, and not a whole.
When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
His fiery course or drives him o'er the plains;
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god;
Then shall man's pride and dullness comprehend
His actions', passions', being's use and end;
Why doing, suff'ring, checked, impelled; and why
This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Then say not man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault;
Say rather man's as perfect as he ought;
His knowledge measured to his state and place;
His time a moment, and a point his space.
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
What matter soon or late, or here or there?
The blest to-day is as completely so
75 As who began a thousand years ago.
III. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of Fate; All but the page prescribed, their present state: From brutes what men, from men what spirits know; Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleased to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood.
Oh, blindness to the future! kindly giv’n,
That each may fill the circle marked by Heav'n,
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst and now a world.
Hope humbly, then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
What future bliss, He gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is but always to be blest;
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds or hears Him in the wind !
His soul proud science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk or milky way;
Yet simple Nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud-topped hill, an humbler Heav'n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embraced,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste,
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,
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
IV. Go, wiser thou! and, in thy scale of sense,
Weigh thy opinion against Providence.
Call imperfection what thou fanci'st such;
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,
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;
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.
V. Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine,
Earth for whose use, Pride answers, “T is for mine:
For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow'r,
Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r;