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Admir'd such Wisdom in an earthly Shape,
Could he who taught each Planet where to roll,
The Poet goes on to discover his own Mind, and begins to point out to us the Principles of Reafón and Self-love :
Two Principles in human Nature reign;
This Observation, says the Commentator, is made with great Judgment, as well as where he proceeds more minutely to mark out the distinct Offices of these two Principles, which he had before affign'd only in general,
The Reader will please to observe, that Mr. Pope's Opinion was, that all the Passions were SelfLove : Modes of Self-Love the Passions we may call, 'Tis rcal Good, or seeming moves them all, And after speaking further of the Passions, their Use and Government, he comes to his darling Argument of a ruling Paffion :
Pleasures are ever
Hands or Eyes,
e diff'rent Passions more or less in flame,
As Man perhaps, the Moment of his Breath,
Nature its Mother, Habit is its Nnrse;
Proud of an eafy Conquest all along,
Yes : Nature's Road must ever be prefer'd;
Of this Argument the Commentator is particularly fond, adopting it wholly, and Reasons thus about it:
The Poet, says he, shews, that tho' all the Pass Fions have their Turn in swaying the Determinations of the Mind, yet every Man has one Master Paffion that at length ftifles or absorbs all the rest. Here [from l. 116 to 132] he gives us the Cause of it: 6. Those Pleasures or Goods, which are the Objects " of the Passions, affect the Mind, by striking on 6. the Senses; but, as thro? the Formation of the “ Organs of the human Frame, every Man has « fome Sense stronger and more acute than others, " the Object, which strikes that stronger and acuter " Sense, whatever it be, will be the Object most i defired; and, consequently, the Pursuit of that 56 will be the ruling Pallion.”—That the Difference of Force in this ruling Pasion shall at first, perhaps, be very small or even iinperceptible ; but Nature,
Habit, Imagination, Wit, nay even Reason itself fhall affiftits Growth, 'till it hath at length drawn and converted every other into itself.
All this is delivered in a Strain of Poetry fo.wonderfully fublime, as suspends for a while the ruling Paffion in every Reader, and engrosses his whole Admiration.
This naturally leads the Poet to lament the Weak. ness and Insufficiency of human Reason [from l. 138 to 151] and the honest Purpose he had in so doing, was, plainly to intimate the Neceflity of a more sublime Dispensation to Mankind : St. Paul himself did not chufe to employ, other Arguments, when dispos’d to give us the highest Idea of the Usefulness of Chriftianity.* But it may be, the Poet finds a Remedy in natural Religion : Far from it. He here leave's Reason unrelieved. What is this then but an Inti, mation that we ought to seek for a Cure in that Religion which only dares profess to give it ?
To proceed, as it appears from the Account here giyen of the ruling Pasion, and its Cause, which results from the Structure of the Orgáns, that it is the Road of Nature, the Poet thews (from l. 150 to 157] that this Road is to be followed. So that the Office of Reason is not to direct us what Paffion to exercise, but to affft us in rettifying, and keeping within due Bounds, that which Nature hath so strongly impressed: The Poet's Precept can have no other Meaning than this, " That as the ruling Passion is “ planted by Nature, it is Reason's Office to regu56 late, direct, and 'restrain, but not to overthrow (it. To regulate the Passion of Avarice, for in5 stance, into a parsimonious Dispensation of the
* See his Epifle to the Romans, c. viis
“. publick Revenues; to direct the Passion of Loves “ whose Object is Worth and Beauty, “ Tothe first Good, first Perfect, and first Fair, 56 as his Master, Plato advises ; and to restrain Spleen, « to a Contempt and Hatred of Vice.” This is what the Poet meant, and what every unprejudiced Man could not but fee he must needs mean, by rectifying the Mafter Pafion, tho' he had not confind us to this Sense, in the Reafan he gives of his Precept, in these Words: A mightier Pow'r the strong Direction fends, And fev'ral Men impels to sev'ral Ends.
The Poet having proved that the ruling Pasion (since Nature hath given it us) is not to be overthrown but rectified, the next Inquiry will be of what Use the ruling Passion is ; for an Ufe of it must have been if Reason be to treat it thus mildly? This Use he shews us is twofold, Natural and Moral.
1. It's natural Use is to conduct Men fteddily to one certain End, who would otherwise be eternally fluctuating between the equal Violence of various and difcordant Paffions, driving them up and down at Random; Like varying Winds, by other Passions toft, This drives them constant to a certain Coast; and by that Means enables them to promote the Good of Society by making each a Contributor to the comanon Stock: Let Poro'r or Knowledge, Gold or Glory please, Or (oft more strong than all) the Love of Ease: Thro' Life 'tis follow'd. 2. Its moral Use is to engraft our ruling Virtue up