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The foul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Indian! whofe untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; 100
COMMENTARY. VER 99. Lo, the poor Indian! &c.] The poet, as we said, having bid Man comfort himself with expectation of future happiness, shewn him that this HOPE is an earnest of it, and put in one very necessary caution,
Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions foar ; provoked at those miscreants whom he afterwards (Ep. iii. * 263) describes as building Hell on Spite, and Heaven on Pride,
NOTES. our idea of divine wisdom to fully compensated by the good the highest religious purposes. they produce to the whole, yet Then, as to the good man's this is so far from fuppofing hopes of a retribution, those ftill that particulars shall suffer for remain in their original force : a general good, that it is efFor our idea of God's justice, sential to this system to conand how far that justice is en clude, that, at the completion gaged to a retribution, is ex of things when the whole is actly and invariably the same on arrived to the state of utmost either hypothesis. For though perfection, particular and unithe system of the best supposes verfal good shall coincide. that the evils themselves will be
Such is the World's great harmony, that springs
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade, &c. Ep. iii. R 295. Which coincidence can never purpose to teach, that the prebe, without a retribution to sent life is only a state of probagood men for the evils suffered tion for another, more suitable here below.
to the essence of the foul, and VER. 97.-from home, ] By to the free exercise of its quathese words, it was the poet's lities.
His soul, proud Science never taught to stray
To Be, contents his natural desire,
IV. Go, wiser thou ! and, in thy scale of sense, Weigh thy Opinion against Providence;
COMMENTARY. be upbraids them ( from » 99 to 112) with the example of the poor Indian, to whom alfo Nature hath given this common HOPE of Mankind : But, tho' his untutored mind had betrayed him into many childifh fancies concerning the nature of that future ftate, yet he is so far from excluding any part of his own species (a vice which could proceed only from vain science, which puffeth up) that he humanely admits even his faithful dog to bear him company. VER. 113. Go, wiser thou ! &c.] He goes on with these ac
Call imperfection what thou fancy'st such,
115 Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, If Man's unhappy, God's unjust; If Man alone ingross not Heav’n’s high care, Alone made perfect here, immortal there: Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod, Re-judge his justice, be the God of God. In Pride, in reas'ning Pride, our error lies; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.
COMMENTARY. cusers of providence (from > 112 to 122) and shews them, that complaints against the established order of things begin in the highest absurdity, from mifapplied reason and power, and end in the highest impiety, in an attempt to degrade the God of heaven, and assume his place:
Alone made perfect here, immortal there : That is, be made God, who only is perfect and hath immortality: To which sense the lines immediately following confine us ;
Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,
Re-judge his justice, be the God of God. Ver. 123. In.Pride, in reas’ning Pride, our error lies ; &C.]
NOTES. Ver.123. InPride, &c.] Ar- | immoderata sui opinione fublatis) nobius has passed the same cen- animas immortales effe, Deó, fure on these very follies, which rerum ac principi, gradu proxihe supposes to arise from the mas dignitatis, genitore illo ac cause here assigned.-Nihil eft patre prolatas divinas, fapientes, quod nos fallat, nihil quod nobis doctas, neque ulla corporis atpolliceatur spes cassas (id quod trectatione contiguas. Adversus nobis a quibufdam dicitur viris gentes.
Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
V. Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine,
123 to 130) remarks, that the ground of all this extravagance is Pride; which, more or less, infects the whole Species; Thews the ill effects of it, in the case of the fallen Angels; and observes, that even wishing to invert the laws of Order, is a lower species of their crime: Then brings an instance of one of the effects of Pride, which is the folly of thinking every thing made solely for the use of Man; without the least regard to any other of God's creatures :
Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies fine, &c.
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
his canopy the Skies, and the in these lines, it is not in the ge- heavenly bodies lighted up prinneral sentiment, but a want of cipally for his use; yet not so, exactness in expressing it. It to fuppofe fruits and minerals is the highest absurdity to think given for this end.
“ For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow'r,
135 “ The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; “ For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; " For me, health gushes from a thousand springs; “ Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise; “ My foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies.” 140
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, From burning suns when livid deaths descend, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
For him as kindly spreads the flow'ry lawn. Ep. iii. Ý 27. VER. 141. But errs not Nature from this gracious end,] The author comes next to the confirmation of his Thesis, That partial moral Evil is universal Good; but introduceth it with a proper argument to abate our wonder at the phænomenon of moral Evil, which argument he builds on a concession of his adversaries: If we ask you, says he (from y 140 to 150) whether Nature doth not err from the gracious purpose of its creator, when plagues, earthquakes, and tempests unpeople whole regions at a time; you readily answer No. For that God acts by general, and not by particular laws, and that the course of matter and motion must be necessarily subject to some irregularities, because nothing is created perfect. I then ask why you should expect this perfection in Man? If you own that the great end of God (notwithstanding all this deviation) be general happiness, then 'tis Nature, and not God, that deviates; and do you expect greater constancy in Man?
Then Nature deviates; and can Man do less?