Essay on Man, Part 1
An Essay on Man: Epistle OneTo Henry St. John, Lord BolingbrokeAwake, my St. John! leave all meaner thingsTo low ambition, and the pride of kings.Let us (since life can little more supplyThan just to look about us and to die)Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;A mighty maze! but not without a plan;A wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot;Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.Together let us beat this ample field,Try what the open, what the covert yield;The latent tracts, the giddy heights exploreOf all who blindly creep, or sightless soar;Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,And catch the manners living as they rise;Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;But vindicate the ways of God to man.ISay first, of God above, or man below,What can we reason, but from what we know?Of man what see we, but his station here,From which to reason, or to which refer?Through worlds unnumber'd though the God be known,'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.He, who through vast immensity can pierce,See worlds on worlds compose one universe,Observe how system into system runs,What other planets circle other suns,What varied being peoples ev'ry star,May tell why Heav'n has made us as we are.But of this frame the bearings, and the ties,The strong connections, nice dependencies,Gradations just, has thy pervading soulLook'd through? or can a part contain the whole?Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee?