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The joy unequall'd, if its end it gain ;
See the sole bliss Heaven could on all bestow ! Which who but feels can taste, but thinks can
know: 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, 331 But looks through nature up to nature's God; Pursues that chain which links the immense design, Joins heaven 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. 340
For him alone hope leads from goal to goal, And opens still, and opens on his soul ;
319 The broadest mirth unfeeling folly wears. Origen uses the same epithet: he has the gérara amaruv: but the image is natural, and belongs to all times.
341 Hope leads from goal to goal. Plato finely pronounces
Till lengthen’d on to faith, and unconfined,
known: (Nature, whose dictates to no other kind Are given in vain, but what they seek they find) Wise is her present; she connects in this His greatest virtue with his greatest bliss; 350 At once his own bright prospect to be bless’d, And strongest motive to assist the rest.
Self-love, thus push'd to social, to divine, Gives thee to make thy neighbor'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:
hope, the most powerful of the divinities in governing the ever-changing temper of men. Hope is so universal, and so congenial to the human heart, that its influence chiefly escapes the eye : but it would be a striking speculation to conceive a world in which hope existed no longer : probably the whole existing system of human impulses must be changed. No known principle could supply the present activity of hope, as both a stimulant and a guide.
364 As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake. Warton, who loves to trace out the borrowings of Pope, follows this simile to Silius Italicus, l. xiii. v. 24, to Du Bartas, to Shakspeare's * Henry VI.,'to Feltham's. Resolves,' and to Pope himself in
The centre moved, a circle straight succeeds; 365
Come then, my friend! my genius! come along;'
the Temple of Fame' and the second book of the Dunciad.' Bowles hunts it more directly to Chaucer's · House of Fame:'
Takith hede nowe
A lytil roundil as a circle, &c. But this long-descended simile was scarcely worth the seizure after all; for it is both imperfect and inapplicable. The water, instead of reflecting heaven's image in its breast by the widening of the circles,' becomes only the more ruffled : and self-love is not the awakener of the virtuous mind to universal philanthropy, but the reverse. Man's love of his species may begin with the love of his family, as the objects most constantly in his view, and most requiring his affection; but this bas nothing in common with self-love.
378 To fall with dignity, with temper rise. This was the panegyric of friendship; but to no man was it less applicable than to Bolingbroke. Without steadiness in his principles or decision in his views, prosperity and adversity were equally wasted on him; and as the one could not teach him magnanimity, the other could not teach him wisdom. With vanity for his ruling impulse, fickleness for his principle, and treason for his means, he was successively secretary of state to the English government and to the pretender; was alike charged with treachery by each, and was forced alike to seek safety from each in flight. Soliciting a pardon from the cabinet in 1723, his first use of it was to attack the minister: taking refuge with opposition, he insulted its leaders; at length, rejected by all parties, extinguished as a politician, and contemptible as a man, he gave up his declining years to the support of infidelity; finishing bis career by the mingled criminality and cowardice of leaving a legacy to Mallet to publish libels on religion, of which, though he had the malignity to concoct the venom, he had not the hardihood to meet the consequences. He died in 1751, at the age of seventy-nine.
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer
398 And all our knowlege is, ourselves to know. In his last six lines Pope sums up his system. One of its most curious
results is the difference of opinion among the commentators, as to its tendency: all zealous for the honor of Pope, and each discovering a various shape of error in his system. Roscoe eonceives that it fetters the human understanding by 'too implicita submission to pre-examined truths:' Dugald Stewart, that it does not exhibit a due veneration for the glory of the species.' Marmontel laments its want of method :-C'est dommage que ce poëte n'ait pas eu autant de méthode que de profondeur '-Poëtique. Johnson laments its want of meaning; and Warton, in grieving over its didactic form, laments that it should have been written at all.
Yet the world would not willingly or wisely have wanted the finest moral poem in existence; and the cavils of the commentators are lost, and deserve to be lost in the amplitude of its views, the vividness of its illustrations, and the polished elegance of its language. Johnson, as the most elaborate of its assailants, is the most unhappy: he asks what shall we discover in the poem? • That we are, in comparison with the Creator, weak and ignorant; that we do not uphold the chain of existence; and that we could not make one another with more skill than we are made. It will be acknowleged that those truths are not new, but they are not the less solid, the less forgotten, or the less necessary to be impressed on the mind of man. The pulpit does not find them too obsolete to be worth reviving, or too common-place to be used for instruction. He proceeds, with equal ill-fortune :-To those profound principles of natural knowlege, are added some moral instructions equally new; that self-interest well understood will produce social concord ; that men are mutual gainers by mutual benefits ; that evil is sometimes balanced by good ; that human advantages are unstable; that our true honor is, not to have a great part, but to act it well; that virtue only is our own; and that bappiness is always in our power. Yet the great critic palpably forgets, that, morality being formed on human experience, there can be nothing new in morals; that tbose maxims are the substance of human wisdom; that however familiar they may be to the philosopher, they often evade the eye of the multitude; and that the writer who brings their latent force before the general mind, and fixes their merits in the general heart, renders one of the highest services that can be offered by genius to public happiness. But the chief disquali. fication of the poem is, that in stating the motives to virtue, it omits the purest and the most permanent. Its references to re