Of Nature & Nature’s God.

From, An Essay on Man.

—Alexander Pope.

SEE the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow!

Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can know;

Yet poor with fortune and with learning blind,

The bad must miss, the good untaught will find;

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,

But looks through nature up to nature’s God;

Pursues that chain which links the immense design,

Joins heaven and earth, and mortal and divine;

Sees that no being any bliss can know,

But touches some above, and some below;

Learns from the union of the rising whole,

The first, last purpose of the human soul;

And knows where faith, law, morals, all began,

All end in love of God and love of man.

For him alone hope leads from goal to goal,

And opens still, and opens on his soul;

Till lengthened on to faith, and unconfined,

It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.

He sees why nature plants in man alone,

Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown;

(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind

Are given in vain, but what they seek they find:)

Wise is her present; she connects in this

His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss;

At once his own bright prospect to be bless’d;

And strongest motive to assist the rest.

Self-love thus push’d to social, to divine,

Gives thee to make thy neighbor’s blessing thine.

Is this too little for the boundless heart?

Extend it, let thy enemies have part;

Grasp the whole world of reason, life, and sense,

In one close system of benevolence;

Happier as kinder, in whate’er degree,

And height of bliss but height of charity.

God loves from whole to parts: but human soul

Must rise from individual to the whole.

Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,

As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;

The center moved, a circle straight succeeds,

Another still, and still another spreads;

Friend, parent, neighbor, first it will embrace;

His country next, and next all human race:

Wide and more wide, the o’erflowings of the mind

Take every creature in, of every kind;

Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty bless’d,

And Heaven beholds its image in its breast.

Come, then, my friend! my genius! come along;

O master of the poet and the song!


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