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“ And right, too rigid, harden into wrong; “ Still for the strong too weak, the weak tog strong. “ Yet go! and thus o’er all the creatures sway, 195 “ 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 :
200 Here rofe one little state; another near Grew by like means, and join'd, thro' love or fear. Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend, And there the streams in purer rills descend ? What War could ravish, Commerce could bestow, And he return'd a friend, who came a foe.
VARIATION S. VER. 197. in the first Editions.
Who for those Arts they learn'd of Brutes before,
As Kings Thall crown them, or as God adore,
The Neighbours leagu'd to guard their common spot :
Converse and Love mankind might ftrongly draw,
known, 'Till common int'reft plac'd the fway in one. 'Twas VIRTUE ONLY (or in aits or arms, Diffusing bleflings, or averting harms) The same which in a Sire the Sons obey'd, A Prince the Father of a People made. VI. 'Till then, by Nature crown'd, each Patriarch sate,
215 King, priest, and parent of his growing state; On him, their second Providence, they hung, Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue. He from the wond'ring furrow call'd the food, Taught to command the fire, controul the flood, 220 Draw forth the monsters of th' abyss profound, Or fetch th' aerial eagle to the ground. 'Till drooping, fick’ning, dying they began Whom they rever'd as God to mourn as Man: Then, looking up from fire to fire, explor'd
great first father, and that first ador'd. Or plain tradition that this All begun, Convey'd unbroken faith from fire to fon;
VER. 208. When Love was Liberty,] i. e. When men had no need to guard their native liberty from their governors by civil pactions; the love which each master of a family had for those under his care being their best security.
The worker from the work distinct was known,
240 Who first taught souls enslav'd, and realms un
done, Th'enormous faith of many made for one ; That proud exception to all Nature's laws, T'invert the world, and counter-work its Cause ? Force first made Conquest, and that conqueft, Law; Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe, 246 Then Mar'd the Tyranny, then lent it aid, And Gods of Conqu'rors, Slaves of Subjects made : She 'midst the light’ning's blaze, and thunder's found, 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:
Ver. 231. Ere Wit oblique, etc.] A beautiful allusion to the effects of the prismatic glass on the rays of light.
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 Luft; Such as the souls of cowards might conceive, And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. 260 Zeal then, not charity, became the guide; And hell was built on spite, and heav'n on pride. Then sacred seem'd th' etherial vault no more;
marble then, and reek'd with gore: Then first the Flamen tasted living food; 265 Next his grim idol smeard with human blood; With heav'n's own thunders shook the world below, And play'd the God an engine on his foe.
So drives Self-love, thro juft and thro' unjust, To one Man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, luft: 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 he keep, what, sleeping or awake,
275 A weaker may surprise, 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,
'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
300 Draw to one point, and to one centre bring Reaft, Man, or Angel, Servant, Lord, or King.
VER. 283. 'Twas then, etc.] The poet seemeth here to mean the polite and flourishing age of Greece ; and those benefactors to Mankind, which he had principally in view, were Socrates and Aristotle ; who, of all the pagan world, spoke best of God, and wrote belt of Government,