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"Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
Impediat verbis lassas onerantibus aures:

Et sermone opus est modò tristi, sæpe jocoso,
Defendente vicem modò Rhetoris atque Poetæ,
Interdum urbani, parcentis viribus, atque
Extenuantis eas consultò."-HOR.

["Close be your language; let your sense be clear,
Nor with a weight of words fatigue the ear;
From grave to jovial you must change with art,
Now play the critic's, now the poet's part;

In raillery assume a graver air,

Discreetly hide your strength, your vigour spare;

For ridicule shall frequently prevail,

And cut the knot when graver reasons fail."-FRANCIS.]

[To the Moral Essays Warburton, in his complete edition of the poet's works, prefixed an advertisement, containing the following explanation :— "The Essay on Man was intended to have been comprised in four books: "The first of which, the author has given us under that title, in four epistles.

"The second was to have consisted of the same number: 1. Of the extent and limits of human reason. 2. Of those arts and sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are unuseful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application of the different capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning, of the science of the world, and of wit; concluding with a satire against a misapplication of them, illustrated by pictures, characters, and examples.

"The third book regarded civil regimen, or the science of politics, in which the several forms of a republic were to be examined and explained; together with the several modes of religious worship, as far forth as they affect society; between which the author always supposed there was the most

interesting relation and closest connexion; so that this part would have treated of civil and religious society in their full extent.

"The fourth and last book concerned private ethics, or practical morality, considered in all the circumstances, orders, professions, and stations of human life.

"The scheme of all this had been maturely digested, and communicated to Lord Bolingbroke, Dr. Swift, and one or two more, and was intended for the only work of his riper years; but was, partly through ill-health, partly through discouragements from the depravity of the times, and partly on prudential and other considerations, interrupted, postponed, and, lastly, in a manner, laid aside."

Warburton also states that this first epistle, as published in the previous editions, was "without order, connexion, or dependence;" but that, if put into a different form, on an idea he had conceived, it would have "all the clearness of method and force of connected reasoning." The introduction to the Epistle on Riches he says, was in the same condition, and underwent the same reform by Pope. Mr. Bowles appears to attribute some importance to these alterations; but, if he had compared the early editions with that of Warburton, he would have seen that the whole of this boasted emendation is not of the slightest value. The transpositions made by the commentator do not affect the poem in any material point; and it is to be regretted that Pope yielded such implicit submission to the pedantic suggestions of his friend. In their original state, as epistles, the essays had more of the Horatian ease and spirit than when invested with a philosophical robe, and covered with metaphysical annotations. The philosophy of the poems might be comprised in very small space; their real value consists in their poetical beauties, their finely-drawn characters, rich imagery, taste, and moral reflection.]

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I. That it is not sufficient for this knowledge to consider man in the abstract: books will not serve the purpose, nor yet our own experience singly, ver. 1. General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, ver. 10. Some peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own passions, fancies, faculties, &c., ver. 31. The shortness of life to observe in, and the uncertainty of the principles of action in men to observe by, ver. 37, &c. Our own principle of action often hid from ourselves, ver. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, ver. 51. The same man utterly different in different places and seasons, ver. 71. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greatest, ver. 70, &c. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, ver. 95. No judging of the motives from the actions; the same actions proceeding from contrary motives, and the same motives influencing contrary actions, ver. 100. II. Yet to form characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree: the utter uncertainty of this, from nature itself, and from policy, ver. 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, ver. 135. And some reason for it, ver. 140. Education alters the nature, or at least character, of many, ver. 149. Actions, passions, opinions, manners, humours, or principles, all subject to change. No judging by nature, from ver. 158 to ver. 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his ruling passion: that will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, ver. 175. Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind, ver. 210. Examples of the strength of the ruling passion, and its continuation to the last breath, ver. 222, &c.

YES, you despise the man to books confined,

Who from his study rails at human kind;

Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance
Some general maxims, or be right by chance.
The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,

That from his cage cries cuckold, whore, and knave,
Though many a passenger he rightly call,
You hold him no philosopher at all.


And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
Men may be read, as well as books, too much.
To observations which ourselves we make,
We grow more partial for the observer's sake;
To written wisdom, as another's, less:


Maxims are drawn from notions, those from guess.
There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein :
Shall only man be taken in the gross?
Grant but as many sorts of mind as moss.1

That each from other differs, first confess ;
Next, that he varies from himself no less;
Add nature's, custom's, reason's, passion's strife,
And all opinion's colours cast on life.

Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds,
Quick whirls, and shifting eddies, of our minds ?
On human actions reason though you can,
It may be reason, but it is not man:
His principle of action once explore,
That instant 'tis his principle no more.

Like following life through creatures you dissect,
You lose it in the moment you detect.

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Yet more; the difference is as great between

The optics seeing, as the objects seen.
All manners take a tincture from our own;
Or come discolour'd through our passions shown.
Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will life's stream, for observation stay,


It hurries all too fast to mark their way:

In vain sedate reflections we would make,

When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take.


Oft in the passions' wild rotation toss'd,

Our spring of action to ourselves is lost:

1 There are above three hundred sorts of moss observed by naturalists.

Tired, not determined, to the last we yield,
And what comes then is master of the field.
As the last image of that troubled heap,
When sense subsides, and fancy sports in sleep
(Though past the recollection of the thought),
Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought;
Something as dim to our internal view,
Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.

True, some are open, and to all men known;
Others so very close, they're hid from none
(So darkness strikes the sense no less than light):
Thus gracious Chandos2 is beloved at sight;
And every child hates Shylock, though his soul
Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole,
At half mankind when generous Manly3 raves,
All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves:
When universal homage Umbra1 pays,
All see 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise.
When flattery glares, all hate it in a queen,

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While one there is who charms us with his spleen.5
But these plain characters we rarely find;

Though strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind:
Or puzzling contraries confound the whole;


Or affectations quite reverse the soul.
The dull, flat falsehood serves for policy;
And, in the cunning, truth itself's a lie:
Unthought-of frailties cheat us in the wise;
The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.


See the same man, in vigour, in the gout;

Alone, in company; in place, or out;
Early at business, and at hazard late;
Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate;
Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball;
Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.


2 [James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos. See Additional Notes at the end of the Epistle.]

3 [Manly is one of the characters-the principal one-in Wycherley's comedy the Plain Dealer.]

4 [Umbra probably means James Moore Smythe, who is elsewhere satirized by Pope under this name. An account of him is given in the Notes to the Dunciad.]

5 [A compliment to Swift, whose "spleen" was the fire of his genius.]

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