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easily retained by him afterwards: The other may seem odd, but is true. I found I could express them more shortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain, than that much of the force as well as grace of arguments or instructions depends on their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part of my fubject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without facrificing perfpicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precifion, or breaking the chain of reasoning: If any man can unite all these without diminution of any of them, I freely confefs he will compass a thing above my capacity.

What is now published, is only to be confidered as a general Map of MAN, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are now to follow. Confequently these Epistles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to make any progrefs) will be lefs dry, and more fufceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the paffage. To deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to obferve their effects, may be a task more agreeable. POPE.


Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to the UNIVERSE.

OF Man in the abftract.-I. That we can judge only with regard to our own fyftem, being ignorant of the relations of fyftems and things, Ver. 17, &c. II. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a Being fuited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general Order of things, and conformable to Ends and Relations to him unknown, Ver. 35, &c. III. That it is partly upon his ignorance of future events, and partly upon the hope of a future ftate, that all his happiness in the prefent depends, Ver. 77, &c. IV. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the cause of Man's error and mifery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injuftice, of his difpenfations, Ver. 109, &c. V. The abfurdity of conceiting himself the final caufe of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world, which is not in the natural, Ver. 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the Perfections of the Angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the Brutes; though, to possess any of the fenfitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miferable, Ver. 173, &c. VII. That throughout the whole vifible world, an univerfal order and gradation in the fenfual and mental faculties is obferved, which caufes a fubordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reB 3 flection,

flection, reason: that Reafon alone countervails all the other faculties, Ver. 207. VIII. How much further this order and fubordination of living creatures may extend, above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be deftroyed, Ver. 233. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of fuch a defire, Ver. 250. X. The confequence of all the abfolute fubmiffion due to Providence, both as to our prefent and future ftate, Ver. 281, &c. to the end.

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POPE informs us, in his first preface to this Effay," that he chose this epiftolary way of writing, notwithstanding his fubject was high, and of dignity, because of its being mixed with argument which of its nature approacheth to profe." He has not wandered into any useless digreffions; has employed no fictions, no tale or story, and has relied chiefly on the poetry of his style for the purpose of interefting his readers, His ftyle is concife and figurative, forcible and elegant. He has many metaphors and images, artfully interfperfed in the drieft paffages, which flood moft in need of fuch ornaments. If any beauty in this Effay be uncommonly tranfcendent and peculiar, it is brevity of diction; which, in a few inftances, and thofe perhaps pardonable, has occa fioned obfcurity. On its first publication Pope did not own it, and it was given by the public to Lord Paget, Dr. Young, Dr. Defaguliers, and others. Even Swift feems to have been deceived. There is a remarkable paffage in one of his letters: "I confess I did never imagine you were fo deep in morals, or that fo many and excellent rules could be produced fo advantageoufly and agreeably in that science, from any one head. I confefs in fome places I was forced to read twice. I believe I told you before what the Duke of D faid to me on that occafion; how a judge here, who knows you, told him, that, on the first reading those Effays, he was much pleased, but found fome lines a little dark: On the second, most of them cleared up, and his pleasure increased: On the third, he had no doubt remaining, and then he admired the whole."

The subject of this Effay is a vindication of Providence; in which the poet proposes to prove, That, of all poffible fyftems, Infinite Wisdom has formed the beft: That in fuch a fyftem, coherence, union, fubordination, are neceffary; and if fo, that appearances of evil, both moral and natural, are also necessary and unavoidable: That the seeming defects and blemishes in the univerfe confpire to its general beauty: That as all parts in au animal are not eyes; and as in a city, comedy, or picture, all ranks, characters,

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racters, and colours are not equal or alike; even so exceffes and contrary qualities contribute to the proportion and harmony of the universal system: That it is not strange that we should not be able to discover perfection and order in every inftance; because, in an infinity of things mutually relative, a mind which fees not infinitely, can fee nothing fully. This doctrine was inculcated by Plato and the Stoics, but more amply and particularly by the later Platonifts, and by Antoninus and Simplicius.

In illuftrating his fubject, Pope has been much more deeply indebted to the Theodicée of Leibnitz, to Archbishop King's Origin of Evil, and to the Moralifts of Lord Shaftesbury, (particularly to the last,) than to the philofophers above mentioned. The late Lord Bathurst repeatedly affsured me, that he had read the whole scheme of the Effay of Man, in the hand-writing of Bolingbroke, and drawn up in a series of propofitions, which Pope was to amplify, verfify, and illuftrate. In doing which, our poet, it must be confeffed, left feveral paffages fo expressed, as to be favourable to fatalifm and neceffity, notwithstanding all the pains that can be taken, and the artful turns that can be given to those paffages, to place them on the fide of religion, and make them coincide with the fundamental doctrines of revelation.

The doctrine obviously intended to be inculcated in this Effay is, "That the difpenfations of Providence in the distribution of good and evil, in this life, ftand in no need of any hypothefis to justify them; all is adjusted in the most perfect order; whatever is, is right; and we have no occafion to call in the notion of a future life to vindicate the ways of God to man, because they are fully and fufficiently benevolent and just in the prefent." If we cannot fubfcribe, on one hand, to Dr. Warburton's opinion, "that these epiftles have a precifion, force, and clofenefs of connection rarely to be met with, even in the most formal treatises of philofophy :" yet neither can we affent to the fevere fentence that Dr. Johnson has paffed on the other hand; namely, "that penury of knowledge, and vulgarity of fentiment, were never fo happily disguised as in this Effay; the reader feels his mind full, though he learns nothing; and, when he meets it in its new array, no longer knows the talk of his mother and his nurse." WARTON.

The difference between Lord Bolingbroke's system and Pope's is very well stated by Ruffhead :


Pope's Effay on Man is a real vindication of Providence against libertines and atheists, who quarrel with the present confti


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