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Through worlds unnumbered though the God be known,
'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
He, who through vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
What varied being peoples every star,
May tell why Heaven has made us as we are.
But of this frame, the bearings and the ties,
The strong connexions, nice dependencies,
Gradations just, has thy pervading soul
Looked through? or can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain that draws all to agree,
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee?
Presumptuous Man! the reason wouldst thou find,
Why formed so weak, so little, and so blind?
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,
Why formed no weaker, blinder, and no less.
Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made
Taller and stronger than the weeds they shade;
Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove?
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest
That wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must fall, or not coherent be,
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain,
There must be somewhere such a rank as man:
And all the question (wrangle e'er so long)
Is only this, if God has placed him wrong?
Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though laboured on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain.
In God's, one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.
When the proud steed shall know why Man restrains His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains;
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's God:
Then shall Man's pride and dulness comprehend
His actions', passions', being's use and end;
Why doing, suffering, checked, impelled; and why
This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault;
Say rather, Man's as perfect as he ought;
His knowledge measured to his state and place;
His time a moment, and a point his space.
ALL are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in the ethereal frame;
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees;
Lives through all life, extends through all extent;
Spreads undivided, operates unspent ;
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
As the rapt seraph that adores and burns ;
To him no high, no low, no great, no small;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all.
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, Heaven bestows on thee.
Submit. In this or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blessed 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.
KNOW thou thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great;
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 confused ;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
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 hurled ;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Go, wonderous 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 the 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!
45.-VICE ANd virtue.
FOOLS but too oft into the notion fall,
That Vice or Virtue there is none at all.
If white and black blend, soften, and unite
A thousand ways, is there no black or white?
Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain;
'Tis to mistake them, costs the time and pain.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As, to be hated, needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
But where the extreme of Vice, was ne'er agreed:
Ask where's the north? at York, 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or I know not where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he;
E'en those who dwell beneath its very zone,
Or never feel the rage or never own:
What happier natures shrink at with affright,
The hard inhabitant contends is right.
Virtuous and vicious every man must be,
Few in the extreme, but all in the degree;
The rogue and fool by fits are fair and wise;
And e'en the best, by fits, what they despise.
'Tis but by parts we follow good or ill;
For, Vice or Virtue, self directs it still;
Each individual seeks a several goal;
But Heaven's great view is one, and that the whole.
46.-ON THE PLAIN OF MARATHON.
WHERE'ER we tread 'tis haunted, holy ground,
No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould !
But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,
And all the Muse's tales seem truly told,
Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon :
Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold,
Defies the power which crushed thy temples gone:
Age shakes Athena's tower, but spares grey Marathon.
The sun―the soil-but not the slave the same,
Unchanged in all except its foreign lord,
Preserves alike its bounds and boundless fame,
The battle-field-where Persia's victim horde
First bowed beneath the brunt of Hellas' sword,
As on the morn to distant Glory dear,
When Marathon became a magic word-
Which uttered-to the hearer's eye appear
The camp-the host-the fight-the conqueror's career!
The flying Mede-his shaftless broken bow,
The fiery Greek-his red pursuing spear,
Mountains above-Earth's-Ocean's plain below,
Death in the front-destruction in the rear!
Such was the scene-what now remaineth here ?
What sacred trophy marks the hallowed ground,
Recording Freedom's smile and Asia's tear?-
The rifled urn-the violated mound-
The dust-thy courser's hoof, rude stranger! spurns around.
Yet to the remnants of thy splendour past,
Shall pilgrims, pensive, but unwearied, throng;
Long shall the voyager, with the Ionian blast,
Hail the bright clime of battle and of song;
Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore;
Boast of the aged! lesson of the young!
Which sages-venerate and bards adore,
As Pallas and the Muse unveil their awful lore.
The parted bosom clings to wonted home,
If aught that's kindred cheer the welcome hearth;
He that is lonely hither let him roam,
And gaze complacent on congenial earth.
Greece is no lightsome land of social mirth;
But he whom sadness sootheth may abide,
And scarce regret the region of his birth,
When wandering slow by Delphi's sacred side,
Or gazing o'er the plains where Greek and Persian died.
47.-ON THE PRESENT STATE OF ATHENS. ANCIENT of days! august Athena! where, Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul? Gone-glimmering through the dream of things that were, First in the race that led to Glory's goal, They won, and passed away-is this the whole?
A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower, Dim with the mist of years, grey flits the shade of power.
Son of the morning, rise! approach you here!
Come-but molest not yon defenceless urn:
Look on this spot-a nation's sepulchre !
Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even gods must yield—religions take their turn :