Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, 255
Each home felt joy that life inherits here;
Yet from the same we learn, in its decline,
Those joys, those loves, those int’rests to resign;
Taught half by Reason, half by mere decay,
To welcome death, and calmly pass away.

260 Whate'er the Passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf, Not one will change his neighbour with himself.

COMMENTARY. VER. 261. Whate'er the Pasron, &c.] III. The Poet having thus thewn the use of the Passions in Society, and in Domestic life; comes, in the last place (from 260 to the end) to Mew their use to the Individual, even in their illufions; the imaginary happiness they present, helping to make the real miseries of life less insupportable. And this is his third general division:

-Opinion gilds with varying rays “ Those painted clouds that beautify our days, &c. “ One prospect loit, another itill we gain; And not a vanity is giv'n in vain.

Notes. ties (says he) we owe all the endearments of private life; yet, when we come to that age, which generally disposes men to think more seriously of the true value of things, and consequently of their provision for a future state, the consideration, that the grounds of those joys, loves, and friendships, are wants, frailties, and passions, proves the best expedient to wean us from the world ; a disengagement só friendly to that provision we are now making for another State. The observation is new, and would in any place be extremely beautiful, but has here an infinite grace and propriety, as it so well confirms, by an instance of great moment, the general thesis, That God makes Il, at every fep, productive of Good.

The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more ;
The rich is happy in the plenty giv’n, 265
The poor contents him with the care of Heav'n,
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple fing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely blest, the poet in his Muse.

270 Сомм;

MMENTARY. Which must needs vastly raise our idea of God's goodness; who hath not only provided more than a counterbalance of real happiness to human miseries, but hath even, in his infinite compasiion, bestowed on those, who were so foolish as not to have made this provision, an imaginary happiness; that they may not be quite over-borne with the load of human miseries. This is the Poet's great and noble thought; as strong and solid as it is new and ingenious: It teaches, that these illusions are the faults and follies of Men, which they willfully fall into ; and thereby deprive themselves of much happiness, and expose themselves to equal misery: but that still, God (according to his universal way of working) graciously turns these faults and follies so far to the advantage of his miferable creatures, as to become the present folace and support of their distresses: “ – Tho' Man's a fool, yet God is wise.

NOTES. VER. 270. the poet in his Mufe.] The Author having said, that no one would change his profeflion or views for those of another, intended to carry his observation still further, and few that men were unwilling to exchange their own acquirements even for those of the same kind, confeffedly larger, and infinitely more eminent, in another.

See some strange comfort ev'ry state attend,
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend :
See some fit passion ev'ry age supply,
Hope travels thro', nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, 275
Pleas’d with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite :
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age: 289
Pleas'd with this bauble ftill, as that before,
'Till tir’d he sleeps, and Life's poor play is o'er.
Mean-while Opinion gilds with varying rays
Those painted clouds that beautify our days;
Each want of happiness by Hope supply'd,

285 And each vacuity of sense by Pride:

Notes. To this end he wrote,

“ What partiy pleases, totally will shock:

“ I question much, if Toland would be Locke. But wanting another proper instance of this truth, he reserved the lines above for some following Edition of this Essay.

Ver. 280. And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age:] A Satire on what is called in Popery the Opus operatum. As this is a description of the circle of human life returning into itself by a second child-hood, the Poet has with great elegance concluded his description with the same image with which he fet out— And life's poor piay is o'er.

VER. 286. And each vacuity of senje by Pride :] An eminent Casuist, Father Francis Garaje, in his Somime Theologique, has drawn a very charitable conclufion from this principle.

These build as fast as knowledge can destroy;
In folly's cup ftill laughs the bubble, joy;
One prospect loft, another still we gain;
And not a vanity is giv’n in vain;

290 Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure others wants by thine. See! and confess, one comfort ftill must rise; 'Tis this, Tho' Man's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE,

NOTE s. " Selon la Justice (says this equitable Divine) tout travail “ honnête doit être recompensé de louange ou de satisfac* tion. Quand les bons esprits font un ouvrage excellent, “ ils sont justement recompensez par les fuffrages du Pub“ lic. Quand un pauvre esprit travaille beaucoup, pour “ fair un mauvais ouvrage, il n'est pas juste ni raisonable, « qui'l attende des louanges publiques ; car elles ne lui " sont pas duës. Mais afin que les travaux ne demeurent

pas fans recompense, Dieu lui donne une fatisfaction personelle, qui personne ne lui peut envier fans une in

justice plus que barbare; tout ainsi que Dieu, qui eft “ jufte, donne de la satisfaction aux Grenouilles de leur “ chant. Autrement la blâme public, joint à leur mécon

tentement, seroit suffisant pour les réduire au desespoir." ARGUMENT OF



Of the Nature and State of Man with respect

to Society.

[ocr errors]

1. THE whole Universe one system of Society, x 7,

&c. Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, x 27. The happiness of Animals mutual, x 49. II. Reason or Instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, x 79. Reason or Instinct operate also to Society, in all animals, ý 109. III. How far Society carried by Instinct, x 115. How much farther by Reafon, 128. IV. Of that which is called the State of Nature, x 144. Reafon instructed by Instinet in the Invention of Arts, 166; and in the Forms of Society, y 176. V. Origin of Political Societies, Ý 196. Origin of Monarchy,

207. Patriarchal Government, x 212. VI. Origin of true Religion and Government, from the fame principle, of Love, v 231, &c. Origin of Superfiition and Tyrann, from the same principle, of Fear, x 237, &c. The Influence of Self-love operating to the social and public Good, x 266. Restoration of true Religion and Government on their first principle, Ÿ 285. Mixt Government, y 288. Various Forms of each, and the true end of all, ý 300, &c.

« ZurückWeiter »