Perhaps best known as an author of satirical verses and a most engaging translation of the Iliad,(*) Pope also produced an edition of Shakespeare and venture Portrait of Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) by Jonathan Richardson, ca.
Perhaps best known as an author of satirical verses and a most engaging translation of the Iliad,(*) Pope also produced an edition of Shakespeare and ventured into philosophical waters, as did so many writers in the 18th century.
and confess, one comfort still must rise, ‘Tis this, - Though man’s a fool, yet God is wise.” “For forms of government let fools contest; Whate’er is best administered is best: For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right: In faith and hope the world will disagree, But all mankind’s concern is charity: All must be false that thwart this one great end; And all of God, that bless mankind or mend.” “The good must merit God’s peculiar care; But who, but God, can tell us who they are?
One thinks on Calvin Heaven’s own Spirit fell; Another deems him instrument of hell; If Calvin feel Heaven’s blessing, or its rod, This cries, There is, and that, There is no God.” “For wit’s false mirror held up Nature’s light; Showed erring pride, - Whatever is, is right; That reason, passion, answer one great aim; That true self-love and social are the same; That virtue only makes our bliss below; And all our knowledge is, - Ourselves to know.” Overall, I agree with Samuel Johnson’s view on Pope’s An Essay on Man: “The Essay on Man was a work of great labour and long consideration, but certainly not the happiest of Pope's performances.
For someone who thinks the proper focus of man is mankind, he’s throwing in a lot of external variables that can’t be determined through observation or deduction.
Added to the illogical statements is the form – heroic couplets.Thus beast and bird their common charge attend The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend; The young dismiss’d to wander earth or air, There stops the instinct, and there ends the care; The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, Another love succeeds, another race." “Together let us beat this ample field, Try what the open, what the covert yield; The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar; Eye Nature’s walks, shoot folly as it flies, And catch the manners living as they rise; Laugh where we must, be candid where we can; But vindicate the ways of God to man.” “Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar; Wait the great teacher death; and God adore.” “Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.” “Call imperfection what thou fanciest such, Say, here He gives too little, there too much: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, If man’s unhappy, God’s unjust.” “All Nature is but art, unknown to thee; All chance, direction, which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good: And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.” “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is man.” “See!Believe me: kings and lords don’t really have it any better then you – they can be quite sad at times!Rather than “vindicate the ways of God to Man,” Pope simply tries to excuse/whitewash the ways of God to Man through tautologies and wise-sounding contradictions. If man’s knowledge of the world is imperfect and incomplete, how does he know the world is complete and infinitely wise?In a note Voltaire did deign to exclude Confucius from this impur amas d'imposteurs odieux, since he s’en est tenu à la religion naturelle. Some of Greatest lines - -"Two principles in human nature reign; Self-love, to urge, andreason, to restrain; Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call, Eachworks its end, to move or govern all: And to their proper operati What an exquisite philosophical poetry ! Some of Greatest lines - -"Two principles in human nature reign; Self-love, to urge, andreason, to restrain; Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call, Eachworks its end, to move or govern all: And to their proper operationstill Ascribe all Good, to their imprope" "Oh fool!Elsewhere, Voltaire writes quite positively about Chinese culture (like many European free thinkers from the 16th through the 18th centuries such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Christian Wolff, he valued Chinese government and ethics above their European counterparts).(***) For other authors of the age, "reason" refers to this universal set of gifts. to think God hates the worthy mind, The lover and the love of human-kind, Whose life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a year.Portrait of Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744) by Jonathan Richardson, ca.1736Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of Mankind is Man. Lovejoy's very interesting Essays in the History of Ideas I finally understood the intellectual context of Alexander Pope's famous philosophical poem, An Essay On Man.There are further elements of the then contemporary intellectual atmosphere, such as the Great Chain of Being, which play important roles in this striking text, but my review is already long and I want Pope to come to word again in this passage on the peculiar position of Mankind in the order of things.Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of Mankind is Man.