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5 Learn each small people's genius, policies, “ The ants' republic, and the realm of bees; “ How those in common all their wealth bestow, 185 “ And 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 6 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."
V. Great Nature spoke; observant men obey'd ; Cities were built, societies were made : Here rose one little state ; another near Grew by like means, and join'd thro' love or fear.
Did Ver. 197. In the first Editions,
Who for those arts they learn'd of Brutes before,
As Kings shall crown them, or as Gods adore.
The neighbours leagu'd to guard their common spot;
Did here the trees with ruddier burthens bend,
great first father, and that first ador'd. Or plain tradition that this all begun, Contey'd unbroken faith from sire to son ; The worker from the work distinct was known, And simple reason never sought but one : 236
Ere wit oblique had broke that steddy light,
Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone, Th' enormous faith of many made for one ; That proud exception to all nature's laws, T' invert the work, and counter-work its cause ? Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law; Till superstition taught the tyrant awe,
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,
So drives self-love, through just and through unjust, To one man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, lust : 270 The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause Of what restrains him, government and laws. For, what one likes if others like as well, What serves one will, when many
wills rebel? How shall we keep, what, sleeping or awake, 275 A weaker may surprize, a stronger take? His safety must his liberty restrain : All join to guard what each desires to gain. Forc'd into virtue thus by self-defence, Ev'n kings learn'd justice and benevolence: 280 Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd, And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then, the studious head, or gen'rous mind, Follow'r of God, or friend of human-kind, Poet or PATRIOT, rose but to restore
285 The faith and moral, nature gave before ; VOL. III.
Re-lum'd her ancient light, not kindled new;
300 Draw to one point, and to one centre bring Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king. For forms of government let fools contest; Whate'er is best administer'd is best : For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight ; 305 His can't be wrong whose life is in the right : In faith and hope the world will disagree, But all mankind's concern is charity : All must be false that thwart this one great end; And all of God, that bless mankind or mend. 310
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives ; The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives. On their own axis as the planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the sun ;