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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.
O 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 blessed.
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 depths 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;
110 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; 115 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 ingross not heav'n's high care, 120 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 ! 125 Pride still is aiming at the bless'd 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 130 Of order, sins against th' Eternal Cause.
VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends:
Mark how it mounts to man's imperial race, 210 From the green myriads in the peopled grass;
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 blood,
To that which warbles through 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?
How instinct varies in the grov'ling swine,
Compared, 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 allied;
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?
The pow'rs of all subdued by thee alone,
Is not thy reason all these pow'rs in one?
VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this
All matter quick, 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 ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
240 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 destroyed : 245 From nature's chain whatever link you strike, Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And if each system in gradation roll Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
250 That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanced from her orbit ily,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurled,
Being on being wrecked, and world on world; 255 Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod,
And nature tremble to the throne of God!
All this dread order break — for whom? for thee?
Vile worm! - O madness! pride! impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordained the dust to tread, 260 Or hand, to toil, aspired to be the head ?
What if the head, the eye, or ear repined
To serve mere engines to the ruling mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame:
265 Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains
The great directing Mind of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the soul;
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
X. Cease then, nor order imperfection name:
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,
Secure to be as blessed 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;
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 right.