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Atque ipsa Utilitas, justi prope mater et aequi. Hor.

THOU, whom nor honors, wealth, nor youth can spoil
With the least vice of each luxuriant soil,
Say, YORKE (for sure, if any, you can tell),
What Virtue is, who practise it so well;
Say, where inhabits this Sultana queen;
Prais'd and ador'd by all, but rarely seen ?
By what sure marks her essence can we trace,
When each religion, faction, age, and place,
Sets up some fancy'd idol of its own ;
A vain pretender to her sacred throne?
In man, too oft a well-dissembled part,
A self-denying pride in woman's heart,
In synods faith, and in the fields of fame
Valor usurps her honors, and her name.
Whoe'er their sense of Virtue would express,

'Tis still by something they themselves possess.
Hence youth good-humor, frugal craft old-age,
Warm politicians term it party-rage;

True churchmen zeal right orthodox; and hence
Fools think it gravity, and wits pretence;
To constancy alone fond lovers join it,
And maids unask'd to chastity confine it.

But have we then no law besides our will? No just criterion fix'd to good and ill ? As well at noon we may obstruct our sight, Then doubt if such a thing exists as light; For no less plain would nature's law appear, As the meridian sun unchang'd, and clear. Would we but search for what we were design'd, And for what end th' Almighty form'd mankind, A rule of life we then should plainly see,

For to pursue that end must Virtue be.

Then what is that? not want of power, or fame,
Or worlds unnumber'd to applaud his name,
But a desire his blessings to diffuse,

And fear lest millions should existence lose;
His goodness only could his pow'r employ,
And an eternal warmth to propagate his joy.

Hence soul and sense diffus'd through every place, Make happiness as infinite as space;

Thousands of suns beyond each other blaze,
Orbs roll o'er orbs, and glow with mutual rays;

Each is a world, where form'd with wond'rous art,
Unnumber'd species live through every part:

In every tract of ocean, earth, and skies
Myriads of creatures still successive rise;
Scarce buds a leaf, or springs the vilest weed.
But little flocks upon its verdure feed;

No fruit our palate courts, or flow'r our smell,
But on its fragrant bosom nations dwell,
All form'd with proper faculties to share
The daily bounties of their Maker's care:
The great Creator from his heav'nly throne,
Pleas'd, on the wide-expanded joy looks down,
And his eternal law is only this,

That all contribute to the general bliss.

Nature so plain this primal law displays, Each living creature sees it, and obeys; Each, form'd for all, promotes through private care The public good, and justly tastes its share. All understand their great Creator's will, Strive to be happy, and in that fulfill; Mankind excepted; lord of all beside, But only slave to folly, vice, and pride; 'Tis he that's deaf to this command alone, Delights in others' woe, and courts his own; Racks and destroys with tort'ring steel and flame, For lux'ry brutes, and man himself for fame : Sets Superstition high on Virtue's throne, Then thinks his Maker's temper like his own: Hence are his altars stain'd with reeking gore,

As if he could atone for crimes by more :
Hence whilst offended Heav'n he strives in vain
T'appease by fasts, and voluntary pain,
Ev'n in repenting he provokes again.

How easy is our yoke! how light our load!
Did we not strive to mend the laws of God:
For his own sake no duty he can ask,
The common welfare is our only task;
For this sole end his precepts, kind as just,
Forbid intemp❜rance, murder, theft, and lust,
With every act injurious to our own

Or others' good, for such are crimes alone :
For this are peace, love, charity, enjoin'd,
With all that can secure and bless mankind.
Thus is the public safety Virtue's cause,
And happiness the end of all her laws;
For such by nature is the human frame,
Our duty, and our intʼrest are the same.

But hold, cries out some Puritan divine,
Whose well-stuff'd cheeks with ease and plenty shine,
Is this to fast, to mortify, refrain,

And work salvation out with fear and pain ?
We own, the rigid lessons of their schools
Are widely diff'rent from these easy rules:
Virtue, with them, is only to abstain
From all that nature asks, and covet pain;
Pleasure and vice are ever near akin,
And, if we thirst, cold water is a sin :

Heav'n's path is rough and intricate, they say,
Yet all are damn'd that trip, or miss their way;
God is a being cruel and severe,

And man a wretch by his command plac'd here,
In sun-shine for awhile to take a turn,
Only to dry and make him fit to burn.


Mistaken men, too piously severe ! Through craft misleading, or misled by fear How little they God's counsels comprehend, Our universal parent, guardian, friend! Who, forming by degrees to bliss mankind, This globe our sportive nursery assign'd, Where for awhile his fond paternal care Feasts us with every joy our state can bear: Each sense, touch, taste, and smell dispense delight, Music our hearing, beauty charms our sight; Trees, herbs, and flow'rs to us their spoils resign, Its pearl the rock presents, its gold the mine; Beasts, fowl, and fish their daily tribute give Of food and cloaths, and die that we may live : Seasons but change, new pleasures to produce, And elements contend to serve our use: Love's gentle shafts, ambition's tow'ring wings, The pomps of senates, churches, courts, and kings, All that our rev'rence, joy, or hope create, Are the gay play-things of this infant state. Scarcely an ill to human life belongs,

But what our follies cause, or mutual wrongs;

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