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Ask of the learn'd the way? The learn'd are blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these ; Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain ; Sume swell’d to gods confess, ev'n virtue vain ! Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
25 To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness?
Take nature's path, and mad opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; 30 Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell ; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well ; And mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense, and common ease.
Remember, Man, “ the universal cause 35 “ Acts not by partial, but by gen'ral laws :" And makes what happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find,
leans and hearkens to the kind; No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd hermit, rests self-satisfy'd : Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend : Abstract what others feel, what others think, 45 All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink :
But some way
Each has his share ; and who would more obtain,
ORDER is Heav'n's first law; and this confest,
65 God in externals could not place content.
Fortune After ver. 52 in the MS.
Say not, “ Heav'n's here profuse, there poorly saves, “ And for one monarch makes a thousand slaves." You'll find, when causes and their ends are known,
'Twas for the thousand Heav'n has made that one. After ver. 66 in the MS.
"Tis peace of mind alone is at a stay:
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
Oh sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
Know, all the good that individuals find,
is all thy own.
85 Who risk the most, that take wrong means, or right? Of vice or virtue, whether blest or curst, Which meets contempt, or which compassion first ? Count all th' advantage prosp'rous vice attains, 'Tis but what virtue flies from and disdains :
90 And grant the bad what happiness they wou'd, One they must want, which is, to pass for good.
Oh After ver. 92 in the MS.
Let sober moralists correct their speech,
Oh blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below, Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue woe! Who sees and follows that great scheme the best, 95 Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest. But fools, the good alone unhappy call, For ills or accidents that chance to all. See FALKLAND dies, the virtuous and the just ! See god-like TURENNE prostrate on the dust ! 100 See SIDNEY bleeds amid the martial strife! Was this their virtuė, or contempt of life? Say, was it virtue, more tho' Heav'n ne'er gave, Lamented Digby! sunk thee to the grave ? Tell me, if virtue made the son expire,
105 Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire ? Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath, When nature sicken'd, and each gale was death? Or why so long (in life if long can be) Lent Heav'n a parent to the poor and me?
VER. 99. See FALKLAND] His genius, his learning, his integrity, his patriotism, are eloquently displayed by Cowley, as well as by Clarendon.
Ver. 100. See god-like TURENNE] This great general was killed July 27,1675, by a cannon-shot, near the village of Saltyback, in going to choose a place whereon to erect a battery.
VER. 104. Lumented Digby!] The Honourable Robert Digby. See Epitaphs.
Ver. 107. Why drew] M. de Belsance, Bishop of Marseilles, This illustrious prelate was of a noble family in Guienne. in early life he took the vows, and belonged to a convent of Jesuits. He was made Bishop of Marseilles in 1709. In the Plague of that city, in the year 1720, he distinguished himself ny his zeal and activity, being the pastor, the physician, and the magistrale of his flock, whilst that horrid calamity prevailed.
What makes all physical or moral ill ?
we, like some weak prince, th’ Eternal Cause, Prone for his fav’rites to reverse his laws ?
Shall burning Etna, if a sage requires, Forget to thunder, and recall her fires ? On air or sea new motions be imprest,
125 Oh blameless Bethel ! to relieve thy breast ? When the loose mountain trembles from on high, Shall gravitation cease, if you go by ? Or some old temple, nodding to its fall, For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall ?
130 But still this world (so fitted for the knave) Contents us not. A better shall we have ?
After ver. 116 in the MS.
Of ev'ry evil, since the world began,
The real source is not in God, but man. VIR. 123. Shall burning Etna, &c.] Alluding to the fate of those two great naturalists, Empedocles and Pliny, who both perished by too near an approach to Etna and Vesuvius, while they were exploring the cause of their eruptions.