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And to their proper operation still

Ascribe all good; to their improper, ill..
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Reason's comparing balance rules the whole.
Man, but for that, no action could attend,
And but for this, were active to no end:



Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,

To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot:

Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void,
Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.


Most strength the moving principle requires;
Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires.
Sedate and quiet the comparing lies,

Form'd but to check, deliberate, and advise.
Self-love, still stronger, as its object's nigh;
Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie;
That sees immediate good by present sense;
Reason, the future and the consequence.


Thicker than arguments, temptations throng; 75
At best more watchful this, but that more strong.
The action of the stronger to suspend,

Reason still use, to reason still attend.
Attention, habit, and experience gains;


58. To their improper operation ascribe all ill. 62. Were active-an elegant poetical usage for would be active.

67-69. It should be kept in mind that in all the fol lowing part of this work, the poet treats of self-love as the moving, and reason as the comparing principle.

72. Reason's objects are at a distance.

74. Reason sees the future, &c.

79. Attention gains habit and experience

Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains.

Let subtle school-men teach these friends to

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More studious to divide than to unite;

And grace and virtue, sense and reason split,
With all the rash dexterity of wit.

Wits, just like fools, at war about a name,
Have full as oft no meaning, or the same.
Self-love and reason to one end aspire,
Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire;
But greedy that, its object would devour,
This taste the honey, and not wound the flower:
Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,

Our greatest evil, or our greatest good.




III. Modes of self-love the passions we may call; 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all : But since not every good we can divide, And reason bids us for our own provide; Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair, List under reason, and deserve her care; Those, that imparted, court a nobler aim, Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name. In lazy apathy let stoics boast


81. Those skilled in the Divinity of the schools, or dealers in speculative Divinity.

83. Let them point out nice distinctions between grace and virtue, &c.

93. We call the passions modes of self-love.

99. Those that are imparted, court a nobler aim; or those, that being imparted, court, &c. cxait. nom. to exalt · -that in the nom. to court.

Those in the

101-6. Let stoics boast their virtue to be fixed; or, that

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Their virtue fix'd; 'tis fix'd as in a frost;
Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest:
The rising tempest puts in act the soul;

Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole.
On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,

Reason the card, but passion is the gale;
Nor God alone in the still calm we find,



He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind.
Passions, like elements, though born to fight,
Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite:
These 'tis enough to temper and employ ;
But what composes man, can man destroy?
Suffice that reason keep to nature's road,
Subject, compound them, follow her and God.


Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,

Hate, fear, and grief, the family of pain;

These, mixt with art, and to due bounds confin'd,
Make and maintain the balance of the mind; 120
The lights and shades whose well-accorded strife
Gives all the strength and color of our life.
Pleasures are ever in our hands and eyes;

And when in act they cease, in prospect rise:

their virtue is fixed. It (their virtue) is all contracted, retiring to the breast, i. e. consists in a criminal indifference to everything.

114. Can man destroy that, which composes man?

115. Let it suffice that reason keep. The verb is here put in the subj. mood after that.

121. These are the lights and shades-- or, these make the lights and shades.

Present to grasp, and future still to find,
The whole employ of body and of mind.


All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;
On diff'rent senses, diff'rent objects strike;
Hence diff'rent passions more or less inflame,
As strong or weak, the organs of the frame:
And hence one master passion in the breast,
Like Aaron's serpent, swallows up the rest.

As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,
Receives the lurking principle of death;



The young disease, which must subdue at length, Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength.

So, cast and mingled with his very frame,
The mind's disease, its ruling passion came;
Each vital humor which should feed the whole,
Soon flows to this, in body and in soul.
Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head,
As the mind opens, and its functions spread,
Imagination plies her dang'rous art,
And pours it all upon the peccant part.
Nature its mother, habit is its nurse;



125. To grasp prosent pleasures, and to find future pleasures, are the whole employ-ment of body and of mind.

131. One master passion, &c. This idea we believe is first to be found in the writings of Longinus, the celebrated critic of other times, who attests the sublimity of the Scriptures, in the passage, "God said, let there be light, and there was light."

138. The mind's disease came to be, i. e. became, &c. 141. To whatever warms the heart, &c. imagination plies her dangerous art.


12 Wit, spirit, faculties, but make it worse;
Reason itself but gives it edge and power;

As heaven's blest beam turns vinegar more sour.
We, wretched subjects though to lawful sway,

In this weak queen, some favorite still obey: 13 Ah! if she lend not arms, as well as rules,


What can she more than tell us we are fools?
Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend ;
A sharp accuser, but a helpless friend!
Or from a judge turn pleader, to persuade
The choice we make, or justify it made;

is Proud of an easy conquest all along,

She but removes weak passions for the strong.
So, when small humors gather to a gout,



The doctor fancies he has driven them out. 160
Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd;
Reason is here no guide, but still a guard;
'Tis hers to rectify, not overthrow,

And treat this passion more as friend than foe;
A mightier power the strong direction sends,
And sev'ral men impels to sev'ral ends :
Like varying winds, by other passions tost,
This drives them constant to a certain coast.
Let power or knowledge, gold or glory, please,

150. This weak queen. Habit.

152. What can she do, or what can she tell us, &c
153. She (habit) can teach us, &c.


163. To rectify, not overthrow, is her part. The infinitive is frequently put after the verb is, of which it is the subject, and whose representative is the pronoun it.

165. The strong direction-self-love,

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