Abbildungen der Seite

consists in a conformity to the order 330 of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter

Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind,
The bad must miss; the good,' untaught, will find;
Slave to no sect,” who takes no private road,
But looks through nature up to nature's God;’
Pursues that chain which links th’ immense design,

Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine;
Sees, that no being any bliss can know, 335
But touches some above and some below;
Learns from this union of the rising whole,
The first, last purpose of the human soul;
And knows where faith, law, morals, all began,
All end, in love of God, and love of man." 840
For him alone hope leads from goal to goal,
And opens still, and opens on his soul;
Till lengthened on to faith, and unconfined,
It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.”
He sees why nature plants in man alone $45
Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown:
(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind .
Are giv'n in vain," but what they seek they find;)”

* “The good " is singular, and stands for “the good man,” as is required by the verbs “takes,” “looks,” “pursues,” etc., up to the end of the paragraph. * Creech's Horace, Epist. i. 1, ver. 23: But if you ask me now what sect I own, I swear a blind obedience unto none.— WAKEFIELD. * Bolingbroke's Letters to Pope : “The modest enquirer follows nature, and nature's God.”—WAKEFIELD, 4 MS. : Let us, my St. John], this plain truth confess, Good nature makes, and keeps our happiness; And faith and morals end as they began, All in the love of God, and love of man.

In his second epistle Pope maintains that we are born with the germ of an unalterable ruling passion which grows with our growth, and

swallows up every other passion.
Among these ruling passions he
specifies spleen, hate, fear, anger,
etc., which are dispensed by fate,
absorb the entire man, and of ne-
cessity exclude love. Here, on the
contrary, we are told, ver. 327–340,
that “the sole bliss heaven could
on all bestow,” is the virtue which
“ends in love of God and love of
* He hopes, indeed, for another
life, but he does not from hence infer
the absolute necessity of it, in order
to vindicate the justice and goodness
of God.—WARTON.
* The “other kind'' is the animal
creation, which, says Pope, has not
been given any abortive instinct.
Nature, which furnishes the impulse,
never fails to provide appropriate
objects for its gratification.
7 The meaning of this couplet

Wise is her present: she connects in this
His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss;' 350
At once his own bright prospect to be blessed,
And strongest motive to assist the rest.
Self-love thus pushed to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine.
Is this too little for the boundless heart? 355
Extend it, let thy enemies have part:
Grasp the whole worlds of reason, life, and sense,
In one close system of benevolence:”
Happier as kinder, in whate'er degree,
And height of bliss but height of charity. 360
God loves from whole to parts: but human soul
Must rise from individual to the whole.
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;’
The centre moved, a circle straight succeeds, 365
Another still, and still another spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next; and next all human race;"
Wide and more wide th' o'erflowings of the mind
Take ev'ry creature in, of ev'ry kind; 370

comes out clearer in the prose expla-
nation which Pope has written on
his MS. : “God implants a desire of
immortality, which at least proves
he would have us think of, and
expect it, and he gives no appetite
in vain to any creature. As God
plainly gave this hope, or instinct, it
is plain man should entertain it.
Hence flows his greatest hope, and
greatest incentive to virtue.”
* “His greatest virtue” is bene-
volence; “his greatest bliss" the
hope of a happy eternity. Nature
connects the two, for the bliss depends
on the virtue.
* Pope exalts the duty of “bene-
volence,” which, ver. 371, causes

“earth to smile with boundless
bounty blessed.” But bounty cannot
benefit the recipients, if the poet is
right in maintaining that happiness
is independent of externals.
* Warton remarks that this simile,
which is copied from Chaucer, was
used by Pope in two other places,
The Temple of Fame, ver, 436, and
the Dunciad, ii. ver. 407.
* Waller, Divine Love, Canto v. :

A love so unconfined
With arms extended would embrace man-
Self-love would cease, or be dilated, when
We should behold as many selfs as men.—

Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blessed,
And heav'n beholds its image in his breast."
Come then, my friend l’ my genius ! come along,
O master of the poet and the song !
And while the muse now stoops, or now ascends, 375
To man's low passions, or their glorious ends,”
Teach me, like thee in various nature wise,
To fall with dignity, with temper rise;"
Formed by thy converse, happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe:* 380
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,
Intent to reason, or polite to please."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

* “Stoops to man's low passions or ascends to the glorious ends” for which those passions have been given.

* “Did he rise with temper,” asks the writer of A Letter to Mr. Pope, 1735, “when he drove furiously out of the kingdom the Duke of Marlborough or did he fall with dignity when he fled from justice, and joined the Pretender?” Lord Hervey asserts, and many circumstances confirm his testimony, that Bolingbroke “was elate and insolent in power, dejected and servile in disgrace.”

* Boileau's Art of Poetry, translated by Soame and Dryden, Canto i. :

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Soars to the sky, or stoops among mankind,

Teach her like thee, through various fortune

wise, With dignity to sink, with temper rise; Formed by thy converse, steer an equal

flight From grave to gay, from profit to delight Artful with grace, and natural to please, Intent in business, elegant in ease.

Oh! while along the stream of time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame;
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail, 385
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale P'
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,”
Shall then this verse to future age pretend’
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend? 390
That, urged by thee, I turned the tuneful art
From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart;"
For wit’s false mirror held up nature's light;
Showed erring pride, whatever is, is right;
That reason, passion, answer one great aim; 395
That true self-love and social are the same;
That virtue only makes our bliss below;
And all our knowledge is, ourselves to know.”

* From Statius, Silv, Lib. i. Carm. iv. 120 : immensae veluti connexa carinae Cymba minor, cum saevit hyems, pro parte, furentes

Parva receptat aquas, et eodem volvitur austro.—HURD.

Mr. Pope forgot while he wrote ver, 383–6, the censures he had so justly cast, ver. 237, upon that vain desire of an useless immortality.— CROUsAz.

* Pope professes to believe that all his poetry up to the Essay on Man was made up of “sounds " to the exclusion of “things,” and was addressed as little “to the heart” as to the understanding. His change of subject, and his panegyrics on virtue, had at least not taught him that the manly simplicity of truth was to be preferred to insincere hyperboles.

* An unfortunate prophecy. Posterity has more than confirmed the contempt in which Bolingbroke's character was held by his contemporaries.

* “Pretend” is used in the old and literal sense “to stretch out before any one.” Its exact synonym in Pope's line is “proclaim.”

* In the MS, thus :

That just to find a God is all we can,
And all the study of mankind is man.—

The MS. has another version of the
couplet in the text:

And all our knowledge, all our bliss below, To love our neighbour, and ourselves to know.




« ZurückWeiter »