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I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing termagant; it outherods Herod.--Pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; wliose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come tardy of, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve : the censure of one of which must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O! there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, (not to speak it profanely,) that, neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have 30 strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made them, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably..
And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered :—that's villanous : and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.
THE PRESENT CONDITION OF MAN VINDICATED,
Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of Fate,
All but the page prescrib'd, their present state ;
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know,
Or who could suffer being here below?
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow’ry food,
And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood.
O blindness to the future ! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n;
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall;
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher, Death ; and God adore.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always TO BE blest :
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutor'd nind
Sees God in clouds, and hears him in the wind;
His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple Nature to his hope has giv'n,
Behind the cloud-topp'd hill, a humbler heav'n ;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the waťry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, nor Christians thirst for gold.
To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire :
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Go, wiser thou ! and in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against Providence ;
Call imperfection what thou fanciest such,
Say, here he gives too little, there too much :
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if Man's unhappy, God's unjust ;
If Man alone engross not Heav'n's high care,
Alone made perfect here, immortal there :
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge bis justice, be the God of God.
In Pride, in reas'ning Pride, our errour lies ;
All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.
Aspiring to be Gods, if Angels fell,
Aspiring to be Angels, Men rebel
And who but wishes to invert the laws
Of Order sins against th’ Eternal Cause.
See through this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.
Above, how high progressive life may go!
Around, how wide! how deep extend below!
Vast chain of Being! which from God began,
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach; from Infinite to thee,
From thee to Nothing --On superior pow'rs
Were we to press, inferior might on ours ;
Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where one step broken the great scale's destroy'd :
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll
Alike essential to th' amazing whole,
The least confusion but in one, not all
That system only, but the whole must fall.
Let earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly,
Planets and suns run lawless through the sky;
Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurid,
Being on being wreck'd, and world on world,
Heav'n's whole foundations to the centre pod,
And Nature tremble to the throne of God:
All this dread Order break-for whom? for thee?
Vile worm !-Oh madness! pride ! impiety!
What is the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread,
Or hand to toil, aspir’d to be the head?
What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd
To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind?
Just as absurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame :
Just as absurd to mourn the tasks or pains,
The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the Soul :
That chiang'd through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th' 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 urspent ;
Breathes in our soul, informis 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 eqnals all.
Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name :
Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Know thy own point : This kiad, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit.—In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear :
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r,
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, Harinony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
THE ORIGIN OF SUPERSTITION AND TYRANNY
W110 first taught souls enslav'd and realms undone,
Th’ enormous faith of many made for one;
That proud exception to all Nature's laws,
T' invert the world, and counterwork it's cause?
Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law;
Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe,
Then shar'd the tyranny, then lent it aid,
And Gods of conqu’rors, slaves of subjects made.
She ʼmidst the lightning's blaze, and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the ground
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
To pow'rs unseen, and mightier far than they :
She, from the rending earth and bursting skies,
Saw Gods descend, and fiends infernal rise:
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes ;
Fear made her Devils, and weak Hope her Gods;
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were Rage, Revenge, or Lust;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
Zeal, then, not Charity, became the guide;
And Hell was built on spite, and Heav'n on pride.
Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore:
Then first the flamen tasted living food;
Next his grim idol smear'd 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, through just and through unjust,
To one Man's pow'r, ambition, lucre, lust :
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
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 :
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu'd,
And found the private in the public good.