Imatges de pÓgina

Book iij. O'erlook'd, seen double, by the fool, and wise. Plant of celestial seed! if dropt below,

Say in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow?
Fair op'ning to some courts propitious shine,
Or deep with di'monds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field?

Where grows?where grows it not? If vain our


We ought to blame the culture, not the soil:
Fix'd to no spot is Happiness sincere;
'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where;
Tis never to be bought, but always free,

And, fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with thee.

Ask of the learn'd the way? The learn'd are blind;
This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind;
Some place the bliss in action, some in ease,
Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these ;'
Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain;
Some swell'd to gods, confess ev'n Virtue vain
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.

Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that Happiness is Happiness?

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Take Nature's path, and mad opinions leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well; And mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is Common Sense, and Common Ease. Remember, Man, « the Universal Cause Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws! » And makes what happiness we justly call, Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find, But some way leans and hearkens to the kind: No Bandit fierce, no Tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd Hermit, rests self-satisfy'd: Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend :

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Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasures sicken and all glories sink :
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find, the pleasure pays not half the pain.
Order is Heaven's first law, and this confest,
Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heav'n to mankind impartial we confess
If all are equal in their Happiness:
But mutual wants this Happiness increase;
All Nature's diff'rence keeps all Nature's peace.
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
Bliss is the same in subject or in king;
In who obtain defence, or who defend,
In him who is, or him who finds a friend :
Heav'n breathes thro' every member of the whole
One common blessing, as one common soul.
But Fortune's gifts if each alike possest,
And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men Happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place Content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call'd, unhappy those;
But Heav'n's just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in Hope, and these in Fear;
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
But future views of better, or of worse.
Oh sons of earth; attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies?
Heav'n still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and Nature meant to mere mankind,
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of Sense,
Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Compe-



On Virtue.

Know thou this truth (enough for man to know)


« Virtue alone is happiness below.

The only point where human bliss stands still,
And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
Where only Merit constant pay receives,
Is blest in what it takes, and what it gives;
The joy unequall'd if it's end it gain,
And if it lose, attended with no pain:
Without satiety, tho' e'er so bless'd,
And but more relish'd as the more distress'd;
The broadest mirth unfeeling folly wears,
Less pleasing far than Virtue's tears:
Good, from each object, from each place acquir'd,
For ever exercis'd, yet never tir'd;

Never elated, while one man's oppres'd;
Never dejected while another's bless'd;
And where no wants, no wishes

can remain,

Since but to wish more Virtue, is to gain.

See the sole bliss Heav'n could on all bestow! Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can


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Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind, The bad must miss; the good, untaught, will find; Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, But looks thro' Nature, up to Nature's God: Pursues that Chain which links th' immense design, Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine; Sees, that no Being any bliss can know But touches some above, and some below; Learns, from this union of the rising whole, The first, last purpose of the human soul; And knows where Faith, Law, Morals, all began, All end, in Love of God, and Love of Man. For him alone, Hope leads from goal to goal, opens still, and opens on his soul;


'Till lengthen'd on to Faith, and unconfin'd,

It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.
He sees why Nature plants in man alone]
Hope of known bliss, and Faith in bliss unknown:
(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind
Are given in vain, but what they seek they find)
Wise is her present; she connects in this
His greatest Virtue with his greatest bliss;
At once his own bright prospect to be blest,
And strongest motive to assist the rest.

Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine.
Is this too little for the boundless heart?
Extend it, let thy enemies have part:

Grasp the whole worlds of Reason, Life, and Sense,
In one close system of benevolence:
Happier as kinder, in whate'er degree,
And height of Bliss but height of Charity.

God loves from Whole to Parts: But human soul
Must rise from Individual to the Whole.
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;
The centre mov'd a circle strait succeeds,
Another, still, and still another spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next; and next all human race;
Wide and more wide, th' o'erflowings of the mind
Take every creature in, of ev'ry kind;

Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest, And Heav'n beholds it's image in his breast. Pore. CHA P. XVII


On Versification.

ANY by Numbers judge a Poet's song; And smooth or rough, with them is right or wrong; In the bright Muse tho' thousand charms conspire, Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire; Who haunt Parnassus but to please their ear Not mend their minds ; as some to church repair Not for the doctrine, but the music there. These equal syllables alone require,

Tho' oft the ear the open vowels tire;

While expletives their feeble aid do join,
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line:
While they ring round the same unvary'd chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhimes;
Where'er you find « the cooling western breeze, »
In the next line, it « whispers thro' the trees : »
If crystal streams « with pleasing murmurs creep,
The reader's threaten'd (not in vain, with «sleep:
Then at the last and only couplet fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrine ends the song

That, like a wounded snake, draws its slow length


Leave such to tune their own dull rhimes, and know. What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow; And praise the easy vigour of a line,

Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness join.

True ease in writing comes from art not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
'Tis not enough, no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense;
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrentroar:
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to

The line too labours, and the words move slow; when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the

Not so,


Hear how Timotheus' vary?d lays surprise,
And bid alternate passions fall and rise!
While at each change, the son of Libyan Jove
Now burns with glory, and then melts with love;
Now his fierce eyes with sparkling fury glow,
Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow!
Persians and Greeks like turns of nature found,
And the world's victor stood subdu'd by sound! POPE.

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