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The fundamental rule for writing with accuracy, and into which all others might be resolved, undoubtedly is, to communicate, in correct language, and in the cleaest and most natural order, the ideas which we mean to transfuse into the minds of others. Such a selection and arrangement of words, as do most justice to the sense, and express it to most advantage, make an agreeable and strong impression. To these points have tended all the rules which have been given. For a further elucidation of the subject, the student is referred to Blair's, or Holmes' Rhetoric, Booth's Principles of English Composition, Walker's Teacher's Assistant, and Jardine's Outlines of a Philosophical Education.
ESSAY ON MAN.
BY ALEXANDER POPE.
AWAKE! my St. John! leave all meaner things To low ambition and the pride of kings. Let us (since life can little more supply Than 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 flowers 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 explore Of 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.
I. Say 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, Obserye how system into system runs, What other planets circle other suns, What varied being peoples every star, May tell, why Heaven has made us as we are. But of this frame, the bearings and the ties, The strong connexions, nice dependencies, Gradations just, has thy pervading soul Look'd through? Or, can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
II. Presumptuous man; the reason wouldst thou find,
Of systems possible, if 't is confest
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
Then say not, man's imperfect, Heaven in fault;
The blest o-day, is as completely so,
III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate, All but the page prescribid, their
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar:
Lo! the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind
IV. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense
Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust;
In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies;
V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? Pride answers, . 'Tis for mine: • For me kind Nature wakes her genial power, « Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower: " Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew " The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; “For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; “For me, health gushes from a thousand springs; 66 Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;
footstool earth, my canopy the skies.” 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? "No ('tis replied) the first Almighty, Cause " Acts not by partial, but by general laws;
Th'exceptions few; some change since all begans " And what created persect?* Why then man? If the great end be human happiness, Then nature deviates; and can man do less? As much that end a constant course requires Of showers and sunshine, as of man's desires ; As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, As men forever temperate, calm and wise. If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's design, Why then a Borgia or a Cataline?