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ARGUMENT OF

EPISTLE

II.

Of the Nature and State of Man with refpect to Himself, as an Individual.

I. THE bufinefs of Man not to pry into God, but to ftudy himfelf. His Middle Nature: his Powers and Frailties, ver. 1 to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, ver. 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both neceffary, ver. 53, &c. Self-love the ftronger, and why, ver. 67, &c. Their end the fame, ver. 81, &c. III. The Paffions, and their ufe, ver. 93 to 130. The Predominant Passion, and its force, ver. 132 to 160. Its Neceffity, in directing Men to different purposes, ver. 165, &c. Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, ver. 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things feparate and evident: What is the Office of Reafon, ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ver. 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Paffions and Imperfections, ver. 238, &c. How usefully these are diftributed to all Orders of Men, ver., 241. How ufeful they are to Society, ver. 251. And to Individuals, ver. 263. In every ftate, and every age of life, ver. 273, &c.

EPISTLE

EPISTLE

II.

K

I. NOW then thyfelf, prefume not God to fcan,
The proper ftudy of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this ifthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wife, and rudely great:

With too much knowledge for the Sceptic fide,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or reft;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reafon fuch,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Paffion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rife, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd:
The glory, jeft, and riddle of the world!

Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides, Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;

20

Inftruct

Ver. 2. Ed. ft.

VARIATIONS.

The only fcience of Mankind is Man.

After ver. 18, in the MS.

For more perfection than this ftate can bear
In vain we figh, Heaven made us as we are.
As wifely fure a modest Ape might aim
To be like Man, whofe faculties and frame

5

10

15

He

Inftruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun;
Go, foar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,
And quitting fense call imitating God;
As Eaftern priefts in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the Sun.
Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule-
Then drop into thyfelf, and be a fool!

Superior beings, when of late they faw
A mortal Man unfold all Nature's Law,
Admir'd fuch wisdom in an earthly shape,
And fhew'd a Newton as we fhew an Ape.

VARIATIONS.

He fees, he feels, as you or I to be

An Angel thing we neither knew nor fee.
Obferve how near he edges on our race;
What human tricks! how risible of face!
It must be fo-why elfe have I the fenfe
Of more than monkey charms and excellence?
Why elfe to walk on two so oft essay'd?
And why this ardent longing for a maid?
So Pug might plead, and call his Gods unkind

Till fet on end, and married to his mind.

Go, reafoning Thing! affume the Doctor's chair,
As Plato deep, as Seneca fevere:

Fix moral fitness, and to God give rule,
Then drop into thyself, &c.

Ver. 21, Edit. 4th and 5th.

Shew by what rules the wandering planets ftray,
Correct old Time, and teach the Sun his Way.

25

30

Could

Could he, whofe rules the rapid Comet bind, 35
Defcribe or fix one movement of his Mind?
Who faw its fires here rife, and there defcend,
Explain his own beginning or his end?
Alas, what wonder! Man's fuperior part
Uncheck'd may rife, and climb from art to art;
But when his own great work is but begun,
What Reason weaves, by Paffion is undone.

Trace Science then, with Modefty thy guide;
Firft ftrip off all her equipage of Pride;
Deduct what is but Vanity or Drefs,
Or Learning's Luxury, or Idlenefs;
Or tricks to fhew the ftretch of human brain,
Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
Expunge the whole, or lop th' excrefcent parts
Of all our Vices have created Arts;
Then fee how little the remaining fum,

Which ferv'd the paft, and must the times to come!
II. Two Principles in human nature reign;
Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain;
Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call,
Each works its end, to move or govern all :
And to their proper operation ftill,
Afcribe all Good, to their improper, Ill.

Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the foul; Reafon's comparing balance rules the whole.

VARIATION.

Ver. 35, Ed. Ift.

Could he, who taught each Planet where to roll,
Defcribe or fix one movement of the Soul?
Who mark'd their points, to rife or to descend,
Explain his own beginning, or his end?

40

45

50

55

60

Man,

Man, but for that, no action could attend,
And, but for this, were active to no end:
Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,
To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot;
Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void,
Detroying others, by himself deftroy'd.

Most strength the moving principle requires;
Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires.
Sedate and quiet the comparing lies,
Form'd but to check, deliberate, and advise.
Self-love, ftill stronger, as its objects nigh;
Reafon's at diftance, and in profpect lie:
'That fees immediate good by present sense;
Reason, the future and the consequence.
Thicker than arguments, temptations throng,
At best more watchful this, but that more strong.
The Action of the ftronger to fufpend,
Reafon ftill ufe, to Reason still attend.
Attention, habit, and experience gains;
Each ftrengthens Reason, and Self-love refirains.
Let fubtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight,
More ftudious to divide than to unite;

And Grace and Virtue, Sense and Reason split,
With all the rafh dexterity of wit.

Wits, juft like Fools, at war about a name,
Have full as oft no meaning, or the fame.

VARIATION.

After ver 86, in the MS.

Of good and evil Gods what frighted Fools,
Of good and evil Reafon puzzled Schools,
Deceiv'd, deceiving, taught-

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