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10. Cease, then, nor order imperfection name : Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Hearen bestows on thee. Submit-In this or any other sphere, Secure to be as bless'd as thou canst bear; Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, Or in the natal or the mortal hour. All nature is but art unknown to thee; All chance direction, which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood ; All partial evil, universal good : And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is is right.

AN ESSAY ON MAN.

EPISTLE II.

OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT

TO HIMSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

ARGUMENT.

1. THE business of man not to pry into God, but to study

himself. His middle nature; his powers and frailties. The limits of his capacity. 2. The two principles of man, self-love and reason, both necessary. Self-love the stronger, and why. Their end the same. 3. The passions, and their use. The predominant passion, and its force. Its necessity, in directing men to different purposes. Its providential use, in fixing our principle, and ascertaining our virtue. Virtue and vice joined in our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: what is the office of reason. 5. How odious vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it. 6. That, however, the ends of Providence, and general good, are answered in our passions and imperfections. How usefully these are distributed to all orders of men: how useful they are to society; and to the individuals, in every state, and every age of life.

1. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great;

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With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the stoic's pride,
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a god or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little or too much ;
Chaos of thought and passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd or disabus'd ;
Created half to rise, and half to fall ;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all ;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurld;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where science

guides;
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides ;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old time, and regulate the sun ;
Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the sun,
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule-
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!

Superior beings, when of late they saw
A mortal man unfold all Nature's law,
Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape,
And show'd a Newton as we show an ape.

Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind,
Describe or fix one movement of his mind ?
Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend,
Explain his own beginning or his end?
Alas! what wonder! man's superior part
Uncbeck'd may rise, and climb from art to art;
But when his own great work is but begun,
What reason weaves, by passion is undone.

Trace science then, with modesty thy guide;
First strip off all her equipage of pride ;
Deduct what is but vanity or dress,
Or learning's luxury, or idleness;
Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain,
Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
Expunge the whole, or lop th' excrescent parts
Of all our vices have created arts;
Then see how little the remaining sum,
Which serv’d the past, and must the times to come!

2. Two principles in human nature reign,
Self-love to urge, and reason to restrain ;
Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call;
Each works its end, to move or govern all;
And to their proper operation still
Ascribe all good, to their improperill.

Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Reason's comparing balance rules the whole.
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;

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VOL. II.

Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void, 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, deliberate, and advise. 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; 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. 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, just like fools, at war about a name, 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 flower: Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood, Our greatest evil or our greatest good.

3. Modes of self-love the passions we may call ; 'Tis real good or seeming moves them all.

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