Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And to their proper operation still,
Ascribe all good; to their improper, ill.

Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Reason's comparing balance rules the whole. бо
Man, but for that, no action could attend,
And, but for this, were active to no end :
Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,
To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot;
Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void, 65
Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.

Most strength the moving principle requires :
Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires.
Sedate and quiet, the comparing lies,
Form'd but to check, delib'rate, and advise.

70 Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh; Reason's at distance, and in prospect

lie : That sees immediate good by present sense ; Reason, the future and the consequence. Thicker than arguments, temptations throng, 75 At best more watchful this, but that more strong. The action of the stronger to suspend Reason still use, to reason still attend. Attention, habit and experience gains ; Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. 80

Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, More studious to divide than to unite; And grace

and virtue, sense and reason split, With all the rash dexterity of wit.

Wits,

Wits, just like fools, at war about a name, 85
Have full as oft no meaning, or the same.
Self-love and reason to one end aspire,
Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire ;
But greedy That, its object would devour,
This taste the honey, and not wound the flow'r :

90 Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood, Our greatest evil, or our greatest good.

III. Modes of self-love the passions we may call : 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all : But since not ev'ry good we can divide,

95
And reason bids us for our own provide ;
Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,
List under reason, and deserve her care ;
Those, that imparted, court a nobler aim,
Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name.

In lazy apathy let stoics boast
Their virtue fix'd ; 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
Contracted all, retiring to the breast ;
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest :
The rising tempest puts in act the soul,

105 Parts it may ravage,

but
preserves

the whole.
On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,
Reason the card, but passion is the gale ;

Nor After ver. 86. in the MS.

Of good and evil Gods what frighted fools,
Of good and evil reason puzzled schools,

Deceiv'd, deceiving, taught
After ver. 108 in the MS.

A tedious voyage! where how useless lies
The compass, if no pow'rful gust arise ?

IO I 20

Nor God alone in the still calm we find,
He mounts the storm, and walks

upon

the wind. Fjo Passions, like elements, tho' born to fight, Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite : These, 'tis enough to temper and employ; But what composes man, can man destroy? Suffice that reason keep to nature's road, 115 Subject, compound them, follow her and God. Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train, Hate, fear, and grief, the family of pain, These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd, Make and maintain the balance of the mind : The lights and shades, whose well accorded strife Gives all the strength and colour of our life. Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes ; And when, in act, they cease, in prospect, rise : Present to grasp, and future still to find, 125 The whole employ of body and of mind. All spread their charms, but charm not all alike; On diff'rent senses diff'rent objects strike; Hence diff'rent passions more or less inflame, As strong or weak, the

organs

of the frame; 130 And hence one MASTER PASSION in the breast, Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.

As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Receives the lurking principle of death ;

The After ver. 112 in the MS.

The soft reward the virtuous, or invite;
The fierce, the vicious punish or affright.

The young disease, that must subdue at length, 135
Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his

strength:
So, cast and mingl'd with his very frame,
The mind's disease, its RULING Passion, came;
Each vital humour which should feed the whole,
Soon flows to this, in body and in soul :

140 Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head, As the mind opens, and its functions spread, Imagination plies her dang'rous art, And pours it all upon

the

peccant part. Nature its mother, habit is its nurse ;

145 Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse ; Reason itself but gives it edge and pow'r; As heav'n's blest beam turns vinegar more sour.

We, wretched subjects, tho' to lawful sway, In this weak queen, some fav’rite still obey : 150 Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules, What can she more than tell us we are fools ? Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend, A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend ! Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade 155 The choice we make, or justify it made ; Proud of an easy conquest all along, She but removes weak passions for the strong : So, when small humours gather to a gout, The doctor fancies he has driv’n them out. 160

Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd ; Reason is here no guide, but still a guard :

'Tis her's to rectify, not overthrow,
And treat this passion more as friend than foe :
A mightier pow'r the strong direction sends, 165
And sev'ral men impels to sev'ral ends :
Like varying winds, by other passions tost,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let pow'r or knowledge, gold or glory, please ;
Or (oft more strong than all) the love of ease ; 170
Through life 'tis follow'd, even at life's expence ;
The merchant's toil, the sage's indolence,
The monk's humility, the hero's pride,
All, all alike, find reason on their side.

Th'Eternal Art educing good from ill, 175
Grafts on this passion our best principle :
'Tis thus the mercury of man is fix’d,
Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd;
The dross cements what else were too refin'd,
And in one int'rest body acts with mind. 180

As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care, On savage

stocks inserted, learn to bear ; The surest virtues thus from passions shoot, Wild nature's vigour working at the root. What crops of wit and honesty appear

185 From spleen, from obstinacy, hate, or fear! See anger, zeal and fortitude supply; Ev’n avarice, prudence ; sloth, philosophy ; Lụst, through some certain strainers well refin'd, Is gentle love, and charms all womankind; 190

Envy,

« AnteriorContinuar »