This Iron Age (so fraudulent and bold!)
Touch’d with this love, would be an Age of Gold;
Not, as they feign’d, that oaks should honey drop,
Or land neglected bear an unsown crop; 200
Love would make all things easy, safe, and cheap;
None for himself would either sow or reap;
Our ready help, and mutual love, would yield
A nobler harvest than the richest field.
Famine and death, confined to certain parts,
Extended are by barrenness of hearts.
Some pine for want where others surfeit now;
But then we should the use of plenty know.
Love would betwixt the rich and needy stand,
And spread heaven’s bounty with an equal hand; 210
At once the givers and receivers bless,
Increase their joy, and make their suff’ring less.
Who for Himself no miracle would make,
Dispensed with sev’ral for the people’s sake;
He that, long fasting, would no wonder show,
Made loaves and fishes, as they ate them, grow.
Of all His power, which boundless was above,
Here He used none but to express His love;
And such a love would make our joy exceed, 219
Not when our own, but other mouths we feed.
Laws would be useless which rude nature awe;
Love, changing nature, would prevent the law;
Tigers and lions into dens we thrust,
But milder creatures with their freedom trust.
Devils are chain’d, and tremble; but the Spouse
No force but love, nor bond but bounty, knows.
Men (whom we now so fierce and dangerous see)
Would guardian angels to each other be;
Such wonders can this mighty love perform,
Vultures to doves, wolves into lambs transform! 230
Love what Isaiah prophesied can do,
Exalt the valleys, lay the mountains low,
Humble the lofty, the dejected raise,
Smooth and make straight our rough and crooked ways.
Love, strong as death, and like it, levels all;
With that possess’d, the great in title fall;
Themselves esteem but equal to the least,
Whom Heaven with that high character has bless’d.
This love, the centre of our union, can
Alone bestow complete repose on man; 240
Tame his wild appetite, make inward peace,
And foreign strife among the nations cease.
No martial trumpet should disturb our rest,
Nor princes arm, though to subdue the East,
Where for the tomb so many heroes (taught
By those that guided their devotion) fought.
Thrice happy we, could we like ardour have
To gain His love, as they to win His grave!
Love as He loved! A love so unconfined,
With arms extended, would embrace mankind. 250
Self-love would cease, or be dilated, when
We should behold as many selfs as men;
All of one family, in blood allied,
His precious blood, that for our ransom died.