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"A GOOD MAN AND AN ANGEL! THESE BETWEEN, HOW THIN THE BARRIER ! WHAT DIVIDES THEIR FATE PERHAPS A MOMENT."
was in 1729 that Pope tried his powers on a moral and philosophical subject. At the suggestion of Lord Bolingbroke, whom he styled his " 'guide, philosopher, and friend," he composed his "ESSAY ON MAN," which is the most remarkable metaphysical poem in the English language; and, as Dr. Aiken has remarked, "gave an example of the poet's extraordinary powers of managing_argumentations in verse, and of compressing his thoughts into clauses of the most energetic brevity, as well as of expanding them into passages distinguished by every poetic ornament." There can be no doubt that this masterly composition has attracted general admiration, from the exquisite charm of its poetry. Whatever objections may be urged against its philosophical character, there can be no difference of opinion as to its richness of illustration, its polished style, and its rare harmony of versification.
"THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER," which is appended, writes its own eulogy, from its beautiful simplicity and its piety of thought and expression..
An Essay on Man.
IN FOUR EPISTLES.
ON THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO THE UNIVERSE.
OF MAN IN THE ABSTRACT-I. That we can judge only with regard to our own system.-II. That man is not to be deemed imperfect. -III. That his happiness depends on his ignorance of future events, and on his hope of a future state.-IV. The pride of knowledge, the cause of man's error and misery. The impiety of arraigning God's dispensations.-V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of creation.-VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence.-VII. That a universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of all creatures to man.-VIII. That, were any part of this order and subordination broken, the whole connected creation must be destroyed.-IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire.-X. The consequence of all the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state.
WAKE, my St. John! leave all meaner things