« AnteriorContinuar »
To man imparts it ; but with such a view,
Whether with reason, or with instinct blest,
85 Cares not for service, or but serves when prest; Stays till we call, and then not often near, But honest instinct comes a volunteer ; Sure never to o’ershoot, but just to hit, While still too wide or short is human wit ; 90 Sure by quick nature happiness to gain, Which heavier reason labours at in vain. This too serves always, reason never long ; One must go rigbt, the other may go wrong. See then the acting and comparing pow’rs,
95 One in their nature, which are two in ours ; And reason raise o'er instinct as you can, In this 'tis God directs, in that 'tis man.
Who taught the nations of the field and wood, To shun their poison, and to chuse their food? 100 Prescient, the tides or tempest to withstand, Build on the wave, or arch beneath the sand ? Who made the spider parallels design, Sure as De Moivre, without role or line ? Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explore
105 Heav'ns not his own, and worlds unknown before ? Who calls the council, states the certain day, Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way? God, in the nature of each being, founds Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds : 110
But as be fram'd a whole, the whole to bless,
135 Each virtue in each passion takes its turn ; And still new needs, new helps, new habits rise, That graft benevolence on charities. Still as one brood, and as another rose, These natral love maintain'd, habitual those : 140 The last, scarce ripen’d into perfect man, Saw helpless him from whom their life began : Mem’ry and fore-cast just returns engage, That pointed back to youth, this on to age ; While pleasure, gratitude, and hope combind, 145 Sull spread the int'rest and preserv'd the kind.
Nor think, in nature's state they blindly trod ; The state of nature was the reign of God :
Self-love and social at her birth began,
The shrine with gore unstain’d, with gold undrest,
165 And ev'ry death its own avenger breeds ; The fury-passions from that blood began, And turn'd on man a fiercer savage man.
See him from nature rising slow to art ! To copy instinct then was reason's part ;
170 Thus then to man the voice of nature spake
Go, from the creatures thy instructions take : ? Learn from the birds whať food the thickets yield : • Learn from the beasts the physic of the field ; • Thy arts of building from the bee receive ; 175 • Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave ; • Learn of the little nautilus to sail,
Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale. • Here too all forms of social union find, • And hence let reason, late, instruct mankind : 180 6 Here subterranean works and cities see ; • Their towns aerial on the waving tree. • Learn each small people's genius, policies, • The ants' republic, and the realın of bees ; • How those in common all their wealth bestow, 185 Apd anarchy without confusion know ;
• And these for ever, tho' a monarch reign, • Their sep'rate cells and properties maintain. • Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state, • Laws wise as nature, and as fix'd as fate. 190 • In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw,
Entangle justice in her net of law, • And right, too rigid, harden into wrong ; • Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong. * Yet, go! and thus o'er all the creatures sway, 195 « Thus let the wiser make the rest obey, • And for those arts mere instinct could afford, • Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods ador’d.'
Great Nature spoke, observant man obey'd ; Cities were built, societies were made;
200 Here rose one little state ; another near Grew by like means, and join'd, thro’ love or fear. Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend, And there the streams in purer rills descend ? What war could ravish, commerce could bestow, 205 And he return'd a friend, who came a foe : Converse and love mankind might strongly draw, When love was liberty, and nature law. Thus states were form'd ; the name of king unknown, Till common int’rest plac’d the sway in one.
210 'Twas virtue only (or in arts or arms) Diffusing blessings, or averting harms, The same which in a sire the sons obey’d, A prince the father of a people made.
Till then, by nature crown'd, each patriarch sate, King, priest, and parent of his growing state ; 216 On him, their second providence, they hung, Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue. He from the wand'ring furrow call’d their food, Taught to command the fire, control the flood, 220 Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound, Or fetch th' aerial eagle to the ground, Till strooping, sick’ning, dying, they began Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as man :
Then, looking up from sire to sire, explor'd 225
246 Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid, And gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made : She midst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound, When rock'd the mountains, and when groan’d the ground,
250 She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To pow'r unseen, 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 ; 255 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. 260