Page images

These build as fast as knowledge can destroy ;
In folly's cup still laughs the bubble, joy;
One prospect lost, another still we gain,
And not a vanity is giv'n in vain;

290 Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure others' wants by thine. See! and confess, one comfort still must rise; 'Tis this, Though Man's a fool, yet GOD IS WISE.


hath well illustrated : “Selon la Justice (says this equitable Divine), "tout travail honnête doit être recompensé de louange ou de satisfaction. Quand les bons esprits font un ouvrage excellent, ils sont justement recompensés par les suffrages du public. Quand un pauvre esprit travaille beaucoup, pour faire un mauvais ouvrage, il n'est pas juste ni raisonable, qu'il attende des loüanges publiques ; car elles ne lui sont pas dues. Mais afin que ses travaux ne demeurent pas sans recompense, Dieu lui donne une satisfaction personelle, que personne ne lui peut envier sans une injustice plus que barbare; tout ainsi que Dieu, qui est juste, donne de la satisfaction aux grenouilles de leur chant. Autrement la blame public, joint à leur mécontentement, seroit suffisant pour les réduire au désespoir.”

Warburton. The good father has charitably omitted to take into account the annoyance produced by the croaking of the frogs, as well as the irritation produced by the works of bad authors; to each of whom the hearers and the readers might retort the ancient saying, “ It may be sport to you, but it is death to us.”


Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Society.

I. THE whole Universe one system of Society, Ver. 7, &c. Nothing

made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, Ver. 27. The happiness of Animals mutual, Ver. 49. II. Reason or Instinct operate alike to the good of each Individual, Ver. 79. Reason

or Instinct operate also to Society, in all animals, Ver. 109. III. How far Society carried by Instinct, Ver. 115. How much

farther by Reason, Ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called the State of Nature, Ver. 144. Reason instructed by Instinct in the Invention of Arts, Ver. 166; and in the Forms of Society, Ver. 176. V. Origin of Political Societies, Ver. 196. Origin of Monarchy, Ver. 207. Patriarchal Government, Ver. 212. VI. Origin of true Religion and Government, from the same principle, of Love, Ver. 231, &c. Origin of Superstition and Tyranny, from the same principle, of Fear, Ver. 237, &c. The Influence of Self-love operating to the social and public Good, Ver. 266. Restoration of true Religion and Government on their first principle, Ver. 285. Mixed Government, Ver. 288. Various Forms of each, and the true end of all, Ver. 300, &c.


Here then we rest: “The Universal Cause
Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.”
In all the madness of superfluous health,
The trim of pride, the impudence of wealth,


We are now come to the third Epistle of the Essay on Man. It having been shewn, in explaining the origin, use, and end of the Passions, in the second Epistle, that Man hath social as well as selfish Passions, that doctrine naturally introduceth the third, which treats of Man as a social animal; and connects it with the second, which considered him as an INDIVIDUAL. And as the conclusion from the subject of the first Epistle made the introduction to the second, so here again, the conclusion of the second

“ Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine,

The scale to measure others' wants by thine," maketh the introduction to the third :

6. Here then we rest: The Universal Cause

Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.” The reason of variety in those laws, which tend to one and the same end, the good of the Whole generally, is, because the good of the Individual is likewise to be provided for; both which together



Ver. 3. superfluous health,] Immoderate labour and immoderate study are equally the impairers of health. They whose station sets them above both, must needs have an abundance of it, which not being employed in the common service, but wasted in luxury and folly, the Poet properly calls a superfluity. Warburton.

Ver. 4. impudence of wealth,] Because wealth pretends to be wisdom, wit, learning, honesty, and, in short, all the virtues in their turns.



Ver. 1.] In several Edit. in 4to.
Learn, Dulness, learn! “ The Universal Cause," &c.


« PreviousContinue »