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Observe how prudent Nature's icy hoard,
With all her nitrous stores, would be devour'd;
Then would unbalanc'd heat licentious reign,
Crack the dry hill, and chap the ruffet plain ;
Her moisture all exhald, the cleaving earth
Would yield no fruit, and bear no verdant birth.
You of the pools and spacious lakes complain,
And of the liquid deserts of the main,
As hurtful these, or useless, you arraign.
Besides the pleasure, which the lakes afford,
Are not their waves with fish delicious stor'd ?
Does not the wide capacious deep the sky
With dewy clouds, the earth with rain, supply:
Do not the rivers, which the valley lave,
Creep through the secret subterranean cave,
And to the hills convey the refluent wave ? 50
You then must own, the earth the ocean needs,
Which thus the lake recruits, the fountain feeds.
The noxious plant and savage animal,
Which you the earth's reproach and blemish call,
Are oftful various ways; if not for food,
For manufactures or for medicine good.
Thus we repel with reason, not evade,
The bold objections by Lucretius made.
Pyrrhonians next, of like ambitious aim,
Wanton of wit, and panting after fame,
Who strove to Gok the fects of chief renown,
And on their ruin'd schools to raise their own,
Boldly presum'd, with rhetorician pride,
To hold of any question either side.
They thought, in every subject of debate,
515 In ei her scale the proof of equal weight.
Aík, if a God existent they allow ?
The vain declaimers will attempt to show,
That, whether you renounce him, or affert,
There's no superior proof on either part.
Suppose a God, we must, say they, conclude
He lives ; if so, he is with sense endued;
And, if with sense endued, may pain perceive,
And what can suffer pain-may cease to live.
Pyrrhonians, we a living God adore,
-525 An unexhausted spring of vital power ; But his immortal, uncreated life No torment feels, and no destructive grief. Does he by different organs taste or hear? Or by an eye do things to him appear ?
S30 Has he a muscle, or extended nerve, Which to impart or pain or pleasure ferve ? Of all perfeétion possible pofleft, He finds no want, nor is with woe opprest. Though we can ne'er explore the life divine, And found the blest abyss by reason's line, Yet 'tis not, mortal man, a transient life, like thine.
Others, to whom the whole mechanic tribe With an harmonious sympathy subscribe, Nature with empire universal crown, And this high queen the world's Creator own. If you what builder rear’d the world demand, They say 'twas done by Nature's powerful hand; If whence its order and its beauty rose, Nature, they say, did so the frame dispose ; 545
"If what its steady motions does maintain,
And holds of causes and effects the chain,
O'er all her works this Sovereign Cause presides,
Uplrolds the orbs, and all their motions guides.
Since to her bounty we such blessings owe,
Our generous Benefactor let us know.
When the word Nature you express, declare,
Form'd in your minds what image does appear?
Can you that term of doubtful sound explain?
Show it no idle off-spring of the brain?
Sometimes by Nature your enlighten'd school
Intends of things the universal whole;
Sometimes it is the order, that connects,
And holds the chain of causes and effects;
Sometimes it is the manner, and the way,
In which those causes do their force convey,
And in effects their energy display.
That she's the work itself, you oft' assert,
As oft'th' artificer, as oft' the art ;
Tirt is, that we may Nature clearly trace, 565
And by your marks distinctly know her face ;
She's now the building, now the architect,
And now the rule which does his hand direct.
But, let this empress be whate'er you please;
Let her be all, or any one of these ;
She is with reason, or she's not, endued :
you the first affirm, we thence conclude
A God, whose Being you oppose, you grant:
But, if this mighty queen does reason want,
How could this noble fabric be design’d,
575 And fashion'd by a Maker brute and blind ?
Could it of art such miracles invent,
And raise a beauteous world of such extent?
Still at the helm does this dark pilot stand,
And with a steady, never-erring hand,
Steer all the floating worlds, and their fet course
That clearer strokes of masterly design,
Of wise contrivance, and of judgement, shine
In all the parts of Nature, we affert,
Than in the brightest works of human art : 585.
And Mall not those be judg'd th' effect of thought,
As well as these with skill inferior wrought?
Let such a sphere to India be convey’d,
As Archimede or modern Hugens made ;
Will not the Indian, though untaught and rude, 590
This work th' effect of wise design conclude ?
Is there such skill in imitation shown ?
And in the things, we imitate, is none ?
Are not our arts, by artful nature taught,
With pain and careful observation fought? 595
Behold the painter, who with Nature vies:
See his whole foul exerted in his eyes !
He views her various scenes, intent to trace
The master lines, that form her finishid face :
Are thought and conduct in the copy clear, 600
While none in all th' original appear?
Tell us, what master, for mech icks fam'd,
Has one machine fo admirably fram’d,
Where you will art in such perfection grant,
As in a living creature, or a plant ?
Declare, what curious workmanship can vie
Or with a hand or foot, an ear, or eye?
That can for skill as much applause deferve,
As the fine texture of the fibrous nerve ;
Or the stupendous system, which contains
610 Th’ arterial channels, or the winding veins ? What artificial frame, what instrument, Did one superior genius yet invent, Which to the bones or muscles is preferr'd, If you
their order, form, or use, regard ? Why then to works of nature is aflignd An Author uninteiligent and blind, When ours proceed from choice and Conscious Mind?
To this you say, that Nature's are indeed
Most artful works, but then they ne'er proceed 620
From Nature acting with delign and art,
Who void of choice her vigour docs exert,
And by unguided motion ihings produce,
Regardless of their order, end, or ufe.
By Tully's mouth thus Cotta does dispute;
But thus, with ease, the Roman we confute :
Say, if in artful things no art is shown,
What are the certain marks, that make it known ?
How will cou artful from unartful bound,
And not th’ ideas in our mind confound?
Than this no truth displays before our fight
A brighter beam, or more convincing light,
That skilful works suppose a skilful Cause,
Which acts by choice, and moves by prudent laws.
Where you, unless you are as matter blind,
Conduct and beauteous difpofition find,