An Essay on Man/Chapter 7

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An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope
The Universal Prayer





FATHER of all! in ev'ry age,
In ev'ry clime ador'd,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou great first cause, least understood,
Who all my sense confin'd
To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding nature fast in fate,
Left free the human will.
What conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do.
This teach me more than hell to shun,
That more than heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round:

Let not this weak unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy foe:
If I am right, oh teach my heart
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, thy grace impart
To find the better way;
Save me alike from foolish pride,
Or impious discontent,
At ought thy wisdom has deny'd,
Or ought thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe;
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others shew,
That mercy shew to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so,
Since quick'ned by thy breath;
Oh lead me wheresoe'er I go,
Thro' this day's life or death.
This day be bread and peace my lot;
All else beneath the sun
Thou know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let thy will be done.
To thee, whose temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies,
One chorus let all being raise!
All nature's incense rise!