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The only point where human bliss stands still,
See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow! Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know: 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 through Nature up to Nature's God; Pursues that chain which links the' immense design, Joins Heaven 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, And opens still and opens on his soul, Till lengthen'd on to Faith, and unconfined, 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)
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 world 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 moved, a circle straight 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, the' o'erflowings of the mind Take every creature in of every kind: Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty bless'd, And Heaven beholds its image in his breast.
Come then, my friend! my genius! come along; O master of the poet and the song! And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends, To man's low passions, or their glorious ends, Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, To fall with dignity, with temper rise;
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer
DEO OPT. MAX.
FATHER of all! in every age,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Thou great First Cause, least understood;
To know but this, that thou art good,
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
What conscience dictates to be done,
This teach me more than Hell to shun,
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
For God is paid when man receives;
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Let not this weak unknowing hand
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Teach me to feel another's woe,
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Through this day's life or death!
This day be bread and peace my lot: All else beneath the sun
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not, And let thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is all space,