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Connects each being, greatest with the least;
Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast;
All served, all serving : nothing stands alone;
The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown.
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn
For him has kindly spread the flowery lawn: 30
Is it for thee the lark ascends and sings?
Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings.
Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat ?
Loves of his own, and raptures, swell the note.
The bounding steed you pompously bestride,
Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride.
Is thine alone the seed that strews the plain ?
The birds of heaven shall vindicate their grain.
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer: 40
The hog, that ploughs not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labours of this lord of all.
Know, Nature's children all divide her care; The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear. While man exclaims, 'See all things for my use !
See man for mine! replies a pamper'd goose :
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all.
Grant that the powerful still the weak control :
Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : 50
Nature that tyrant checks: he only knows,
And helps another creature's wants and woes.
Say, will the falcon, stooping from above
Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove ?
Admires the jay the insect's gilded wings?
Or hears the hawk when Philomela sings ?
Man cares for all : to birds he gives his woods,
To beasts his pastures, and to fish his floods :
For some his interest prompts him to provide,
For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride: 60
And feed on one vain patron, and enjoy
The extensive blessing of his luxury.
That very life his learned hunger craves,
He saves from famine, from the savage saves ;
Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast,
And, till he ends the being, makes it bless'd:
Which sees no more the stroke, or feels the pain,
Than favour'd man by touch ethereal slain.
The creature had his feast of life before;
Thou too must perish, when thy feast is o'er ! 70
To each unthinking being, Heaven a friend,
Gives not the useless knowledge of its end :
To man imparts it; but with such a view,
As, while he dreads it, makes him hope it too :
The hour conceal'd, and so remote the fear,
Death still draws nearer, never seeming near.
Great standing miracle! that Heaven assign'd
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind.
II. Whether with reason or with instinct bless'd,
Know, all enjoy that power which suits them best; 80
To bļiss alike by that direction tend,
And find the means proportion'd to their end.
Say, where full instinct is the unerring guide,
What pope or council can they need beside ?
Reason, however able, cool at best,
Cares not for service, or but serves when press'd,
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 right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing powers,
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 choose 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 rule or line ? Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explore Heavens not his own, and worlds unknown before; Who culls the council, states the certain day; Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way?
III. God, in the nature of each being, founds Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds : 110 But as he fram'd a whole the whole to bless, On mutual wants built mutual happiness; So from the first eternal order ran, And creature link'd to creature, man to man. Whate'er of life all-quickening ether keeps, Or breathes through air, or shoots beneath the deeps Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds. Not man alone, but all tha: roam the wood, Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood,
120 Each loves itself, but not itself alone, Each sex desires alike, till two are one. Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace; They love themselves, a third time, in their race. Thus beast and bird their common charge attend, The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend : The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air, There stops the instinct, and there ends the care; The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, Another love succeeds, another race.
130 A longer care man's helpless kind demands; That longer care contracts more lasting bands; Reflection, reason, still the ties improve, At once extend the interest, and the love : With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn; Each vir we in each passion takes its turn;
And still new deeds, new helps, new habits rise,
That graft benevolence on charities.
Still as one brood, and as another rose,
These natural love maintain’d, habitual those: 140
The last, scarce ripen'd into perfect man,
Saw helpless him from whom their life began :
Memory and forecast just returns engage;
That pointed back to youth, this on to age;
While pleasure, gratitude, and hope combined,
Still spread the interest, and preserve the kind.
IV. 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,
Union the bond of all things, and of man. 150
Pride then was not; nor arts, that pride to aid ;
Man walk'd with beast, joint tenant of the shade:
The same his table, and the same his bed ;
No murder clothed him, and no murder fed.
In the same temple, the resounding wood,
All vocal beings hymn'd their equal God:
The shrine with gore unstain'd, with gold undress'd,
Unbribed, unbloody, stood the blameless priest :
Heaven's attribute was universal care,
And man's prerogative, to rule, but spare. 160
Ah ! how unlike the man of times to come!
Of half that live the butcher and the tomb;
Who, foe to nature, hears the general groan,
Murders their species, and betrays his own.
But just disease to luxury succeeds,
And every 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 spakeGo, from the creatures thy instrætions take : Learn from the birds what food thic thickets yield; Learn from the beasts the physic of the field ;
Thy arts of building from the bee receive;
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
Here subterranean works and cities see;
There towns aërial on the waving tree.
Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ani's republic, and the realm of bees;
How those in common all their wealth bestow,
And anarchy without confusion know;
And these for ever, though a monarch reign,
Their separate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvaried 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,
Thus let the wiser make the rest obey :
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown'd as monarchs, or as gods adored.'
V. 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 through 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 : And he return'd a friend, who came a foe. Converse and love mankind might justly draw, When love was liberty, and nature law. Thus states were form'd; the name of king unknown, Till common interest placed the sway in one. 210 'Twas virtue only (or in arts or arms Diffusing blessings, or averting harms,)