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And makes what happiness we juftly call
Subfifts not in the good of one, but all.
There's not a blessing individuals find,
But some way leans and hearkens to the kind.
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find, the pleasure pays not half the pain,
He observes that as it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these: for notwithstanding that in inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fear.
If then to all men happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy callid, unhappy those;
But Heav'ns just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in hope, and these in fear :
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
But future views of better, or of worfe.
He tells us what the happiness of individuals is, as far as is confiftent with the constitution of this world ; and here it appears that the good man has evidently the advantage.
Know, all the good that individuals find,
Or God and nature meant to mere mankind
Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence.
But health consists with temperance alone,
And peace, oh virtue! peace is all thy own. .
The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain,
But these less taste them, as they worse obtain.
After this he points out the error of impating to virtae what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune, and also the folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars. He proves that we are unable to judge who are good, but concludes that whoever they are they must be happy. He observes that
external goods are so far from being the proper rewards
of virtue, that they are very often inconsistent with,
and destructive to it.
What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
The soul's calm sun-ihine, and the heart-felt joy,
Is virtue's prize: a better would you
Then give humility a coach and lix,
Justice a conqueror's sword, or truth a gown,
Or public spirit, its great care, a crown.
Weak, foolish man! will Heav'n reward us there
With the same trailh mad mortals with for here?
The boy and man an individual makes,
Yet figh’st thou now for apples and for cakes ?
Go, like the Indian, in another life
Expect thy dog, thy bottle and thy wife ;
As well as dream such are assign'd,
As toys and empires, for a god-like mind.
Rewards, that either would to virtue bring
Nojoy, or be destructive of the thing:
How oft by these at fixty are undone
The virtues of a faint at twenty-one!
prove that these can make no man happy without virtue, he has considered the effect of riches, honours, nobility, greatness, fame, superior talents, &c. and given pictures of human infelicity in men poffefs'd of them all; whence he concludes, that virtue only constitutes happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal; and that the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a due conformity to the order of providence here, and a refignation to it here and hereafter.
We have dwelt long enough, perhaps too long, on this poem; but it was necessary to give the whole scope and design of the poet ; that the reader might see what art was required to make a subject so diy and metaphysical, instructive and pleasing : and that it is so will appear by the extracts we have taken, which we hope will induce our readers to peruse attentively the poem itself. From the nature of his plan, the reader will see that the poet was deprived of many embellishments which other subjects will admit of, and tied down as it were to a chain of
argument, which would allow of no digressions, ftudied
fimiles and descriptions, or allusions to ancient fables ;
the want of which he has supplied, however, with fea-
sonable remarks, and moral reflections; all of them juft,
and many of them truly sublime.
A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
Honour and fame from no condition rise ;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
The learned editor of the author's works informs us
that this poem is only a part of what the poet intended
on the subject, and that the whole would have made four
books, of which this was to have been the first; but the
author's bad ftate of health, and some other confidera-
tions induced him to lay the plan aside: a remnant, how-
ever, of what he intended as a subsequent part of this
was published under the title of Moral Epiftles, which
are in number four. The first treats of the knowledge
and charaēlers of men ; the second, of the characters of
women ; and the two laft, of the use of riches; and from
the masterly manner in which these are executed the world
has great reason to lament the loss of the rest.
We come now to speak of those preceptive poems that concern our philosophical speculations, and these, tho the subject is to pregnant with matter, affords such a field for fancy, and is so capable of every decoration, are but few. Lucretius is the most considerable among the ancients who has written in this manner ; ;
the derns I know of none but small detached pieces, except the poem called tinii-Lucretius, which, has not yet received an English dress, and Dr. Akende's Pleasures of the Imagination ; both which are worthy of our admiration. Some of the small pieces are also well executed ; and there is one entitled the Universe, written by Mr, Laker, from which I shall borrow an example.
The author's scheme is in some measure coincident with Mr. Pope's, fo far especially as it tends to restrain the pride of man, with which design it was professedly written. It may be objected, perhaps, that this poem is rot preceptive, and therefore not suitable to our purpose;
but it is to be.considered, that if it is not preceptive, it is didactic ; if it does not teach by precept, it does by description ; and therefore we hope to be allowed the liberty we are about to take.
The passage we have selected is that respecting the planetary fyftem, which is, in our opinion very beau. tiful.
Unwise! and thoughtless ! impotent! and blind !
Can wealth, or grandeur, satisfy the mind ?
Of all those pleasures mortals most admire,
Is there one joy fincere, that will not tire ?
Can love itself endure ? or beauty's charms
Afford that bliss we fancy in its arms ?.
Then, let thy soul, more glorious aims pursue:
Have thy Creator and his works in view :
Be these thy study: hence thy pleasures bring :
And drink large draughts of wisdom from its spring :
That spring, whence perfect joy and calm repose,
And bleft content, and peace eternal flows.
Observe how regular the PLANET s run,
In stated times, their courses round the Sun.
Diff'rent their bulk, their distance, their career,
And diff'rent much the compass of their year :
Yet, all the same eternal laws obey,
While God's unerring finger points the way.
First MERCURY, amidit full tides of light,
Rolls next the sun, through his small circle bright.
All that dwell here must be refin’d and pure :
Bodies like ours such ardour can't endure :
Our Earth would blaze beneath fo fierce a ray,
And all its marble mountains melt away.
Fair Venus, next, fulfils her larger round,
With softer beams, and milder glory crown'd.
Friend to mankind, the glitters from afar,
Now the bright ev’ning, now the morning star.
More distant ftill, our EARTH comes rolling on,
And forms a wider circle round the sun :
With her the Moon, companion ever dear!
Her course attending through the shining year.
See, MARS, alone, runs his appointed race,
And measures out, exact the destin'd space :
Nor nearer does he wind, nor farther stray,
But finds the point whence first he roll'd away.
More yet remote from day's all-cheering fource,
Vaft Jupiter performs his conftant course:
Four friendly Moons, with borrow'd luftre, rise.
Bestow their Beams, benign, and light his kies.
Farthest and last, scarce warm'd by Phæbus' ray,
Through his vast orbit SATURN wheels away.
great the change could we be wafted there ! How flow the seasons ! and how long the year! One Moon, on us, reflects its cheerful light: There, five attendants brighten up the night. Here, the blue firmament bedeck d with Itars, There, over-head, a lucid Arch
From hence how large, how strong, the sun's bright ba!!!
But seen from thence, how languid and how small!
When the keen north with all its fury blows,
Congeals the floods, and forms the fleecy snows,
'Tis heat intense to what can there be known:
Warmer our poles than is its burning zone.
Who there inhabit must have other pow'rs,
Juices, and veins, and sense, and life than ours.
One moment's cold, like theirs, would pierce the bone,
Freeze the heart-blood, and turn us all to stone.
Strange and amazing must the différence be,
"Twixt this dall Planet and bright Mercuryl:
Yet reason fays, nor can we doubt at all,
Millions of Beings dwell on either ball,
With constitutions fitted for that spot,
Where Providence, all-wise, has fix'd their lot.
Wond'rous art thou, O God, in all thy ways!
Their eyes to thee let all thy creatures raise ;
Adore thy grandeur, and thy goodness praise.
Ye sons of men ! with satisfaction know,
God's own right hand dispenses all below :
Nor good nor evil does by chance befall;
He reigns supreme, and he directs it all.
At his command, affrighting human-kind,
COMets drag on their blazing lengths behind :
Nor, as we think, do they at random rove,
But, in determin'd times, through long ellipses move,