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Analysis

Despite the important interpretative jobs of the first two epistles, the 4th epistle provides an appropriate decision to An Essay on Man, knitting the poem’s arguments together and apparently showing man’s relation to and aim in the existence. Harmonizing to Pope’s statement, felicity is man’s ultimate end and can merely be attained through virtuous behaviour. Of class, as he indicates earlier in the verse form, the lines between virtuousness and frailty are frequently blurred. It is hence of import to delegate an appropriate wages for virtuousness: “What nil earthly gives, or can destruct, / The soul’s composure sunlight, and the heart-felt joy, / Is virtue’s award: a better would you repair? / Then give humbleness a manager and six” ( 167-70 ) . Pope shows this wages to be a composed repose free of earthly desires. Indeed, such repose can non deduce from wealths or celebrity, material goods or currencies which normally serve as an hindrance to virtue anyhow.

The “soul’s composure sunshine” that Pope describes allows man to exceed his earthly prison and look “through nature up to nature’s God, ” leting man to prosecute “that concatenation which links th’immense design, / Joins heav’n and Earth, and mortal and divine” ( 332 ) . Serenity the therefore the natural terminal of wise amour propre: “God loves from whole to parts ; but human psyche / Must rise from single to the whole. / Self-love but serves the virtuous head to wake” ( 261-3 ) . This is non, of class, the fleeting pleasance that basic amour propre and the passions provide but instead the felicity that derives from cognizing one is portion of a Godhead program and accepting one’s topographic point and function in it. In other words, trust God and all will be good because “Whatever is, is right” ( I.294 ) .

Although the 4th epistle provides a successful decision to Pope’s ambitious philosophical undertaking, this subdivision is non without its jobs. Possibly most distressful is Pope’s statement in Section IV, which dismisses man’s concern that excessively frequently virtue appears to be punished while frailty is rewarded. While this is addressed to an extent in Pope’s treatment of stuff goods, Pope besides asserts that God acts by general and non specific Torahs which apply to the whole, non single parts. This suggests that all work forces are treated precisely every bit by God. Experience evidently contradicts this averment, but so does Pope himself. He declares that to fulfill God’s hierarchal order every bit good as man’s societal order, there must be differences of wealth and rank. He claims that equality of wealth is opposed to God’s ways because it would breed discontent among those who deserve greater wealth and position. Though Pope qualifies this by proposing damages in Heaven, this disparity of wealth and rank—a portion of reality—undermine Pope’s thesis.

An Essay On Man In Four Epistles: Epistle 1 - Poem by Alexander Pope

To Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things To low aspiration, and the pride of male monarchs. Let us ( since life can little more supply Than merely to look about us and to decease ) Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man ; A mighty maze! but non without a program ; A natural state, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot ; Or garden, alluring with out fruit. Together allow us crush this ample field, Try what the unfastened, what the covert output ; The latent piece of lands, the dizzy highs explore Of all who blindly creep, or eyeless zoom ; Eye Nature 's walks, shoot folly as it flies, And catch the manners populating as they rise ; Laugh where we must, be candid where we can ; But vindicate the ways of God to man.I. Say foremost, of God above, or man below, What can we ground, but from what we know? Of man what see we, but his station here, From which to ground, or to which refer? Through universes unnumber 'd though the God be known, 'T is ours to follow him merely in our ain. He, who through huge enormousness can pierce, See worlds on universes compose one existence, Observe how system into system runs, What other planets circle other Suns, What varied being peoples ev'ry star, May state why Heav'n has made us as we are. But of this frame the bearings, and the ties, The strong connexions, nice dependences, Gradations merely, has thy permeating psyche Look 'd through? or can a portion contain the whole? Is the great concatenation, that draws all to hold, And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? II. Assumptive man! the ground wouldst 1000 discovery, Why signifier 'd so weak, so small, and so blind? First, if thou canst, the harder ground conjecture, Why signifier 'd no weaker, winker, and no less? Ask of thy female parent Earth, why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? Or ask of yonder argent Fieldss above, Why Jove 's orbiters are less than Jove? Of systems possible, if 't is confest That Wisdom infinite must organize the best, Where all must full or non consistent be, And all that rises, rise in due grade ; Then, in the graduated table of reas'ning life, 't is field There must be someplace, such a rank as man: And all the inquiry ( wrangle e'er so long ) Is merely this, if God has plac 'd him wrong? Respecting man, whatever incorrect we call, May, must be right, as comparative to all. In human plants, though labour 'd on with hurting, A thousand motions scarce one purpose addition ; In God 's, one individual can its terminal green goods ; Yet serves to back excessively some other usage. So man, who here seems chief entirely, Possibly acts 2nd to some sphere unknown, Touches some wheel, or brinks to some end ; 'T is but a portion we see, and non a whole. When the proud steed shall cognize why man restrains His ardent class, or drives him o'er the fields: When the dull ox, why now he breaks the ball, Is now a victim, and now Egypt 's God: Then shall man 's pride and dulness comprehend His actions ' , passions ' , being 's, usage and terminal ; Why making, suff'ring, cheque 'd, impell 'd ; and why This hr a slave, the following a divinity. Then say non man 's progressive, Heav'n in mistake ; Say instead, man 's every bit perfect as he ought: His cognition measur 'd to his province and topographic point ; His clip a minute, and a point his infinite. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What affair, shortly or late, or here or at that place? The blest today is every bit wholly so, As who began a thousand old ages ago.III. Heav'n from all animals hides the book of destiny, All but the page prescrib 'd, their present province: From brutes what work forces, from work forces what liquors know: Or who could endure being here below? The lamb thy public violence day of reckonings to shed blood today, Had he thy ground, would he jump and play? Pleas 'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry nutrient, And licks the manus merely rais 'd to cast his blood. Oh sightlessness to the hereafter! kindly giv'n, That each may make full the circle grade 'd by Heav'n: Who sees with equal oculus, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow autumn, Atoms or systems into ruin cast 'd, And now a bubble explosion, and now a universe. Hope meekly so ; with trembling pinions soar ; Wait the great teacher Death ; and God adore. What future cloud nine, he gives non thee to cognize, But gives that hope to be thy approval now. Hope springs ageless in the human chest: Man ne'er is, but ever to be blest: The psyche, uneasy and confin 'd from place, Rests and expatiates in a life to come. Lo! the hapless Indian, whose untutor 'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the air current ; His psyche, proud scientific discipline ne'er taught to roll Far as the solar walk, or milklike manner ; Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n, Behind the cloud topp 'd hill, an humbler heav'n ; Some safer universe in deepness of forests embrac 'd, Some happier island in the wat'ry waste, Where slaves one time more their native land behold, No fiends torture, no Christians thirst for gold. To be, contents his natural desire, He asks no angel 's wing, no seraph 's fire ; But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, His faithful Canis familiaris shall bear him company.IV. Go, wiser 1000! and, in thy graduated table of sense Weigh thy sentiment against Providence ; Call imperfectness what thou fanciest such, Say, here he gives excessively small, there excessively much: Destroy all animals for thy athletics or blast, Yet call, if man 's unhappy, God 's unfair ; If man entirely engross non Heav'n 's high attention, Entirely made perfect here, immortal at that place: Snatch from his manus the balance and the rod, Rejudge his justness, be the God of God. In pride, in reas'ning pride, our mistake lies ; All quit their domain, and haste into the skies. Pride still is taking at the blest residences, Men would be angels, angels would be Gods. Draw a bead oning to be Gods, if angels fell, Draw a bead oning to be angels, work forces rebel: And who but wishes to invert the Torahs Of order, wickednesss against Thursday ' Ageless Cause.V. Ask for what end the heav'nly organic structures shine, Earth for whose usage? Pride replies, `` 'T is for mine: For me sort Nature wakes her affable pow'r, Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r ; Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew, The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew ; For me, the mine a thousand hoarded wealths brings ; For me, wellness flushs from a 1000 springs ; Seas roll to waft me, suns to illume me rise ; My foot-stool Earth, my canopy the skies. '' But errs non Nature from this gracious terminal, From firing Suns when ashen deceases descend, When temblors swallow, or when storms sweep Towns to one grave, whole states to the deep? `` No, ( 't is replied ) the first Almighty Cause Acts non by partial, but by gen'ral Torahs ; Th ' exclusions few ; some alteration since all began: And what created perfect? '' -- Why so man? If the great terminal be human felicity, Then Nature deviates ; and can man make less? As much that end a changeless class requires Of show'rs and sunlight, as of man 's desires ; As much ageless springs and cloudless skies, As work forces for of all time temp'rate, composure, and wise. If pestilences or temblors break non Heav'n 's design, Why so a Borgia, or a Catiline? Who knows but he, whose manus the lightning signifiers, Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms ; Pours fierce aspiration in a Cæsar 's head, Or turns immature Ammon loose to scourge mankind? From pride, from pride, our really reas'ning springs ; Account for moral, as for nat'ral things: Why charge we Heav'n in those, in these acquit? In both, to ground right is to subject. Better for us, possibly, it might look, Were at that place all harmoniousness, all virtuousness here ; That ne'er air or ocean felt the air current ; That ne'er passion discompos 'd the head. But ALL subsists by elemental discord ; And passions are the elements of life. The gen'ral order, since the whole began, Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.VI. What would this man? Now upward will he surge, And little less than angel, would be more ; Now looking downwards, merely as griev 'd appears To desire the strength of bulls, the pelt of bears. Made for his usage all animals if he name, State what their usage, had he the pow'rs of all? Nature to these, without profuseness, sort, The proper variety meats, proper pow'rs assign 'd ; Each looking want compensated of class, Here with grades of speed, there of force ; All in exact proportion to the province ; Nothing to add, and nil to abate. Each animal, each insect, happy in its ain: Is Heav'n unkind to man, and man entirely? Shall he entirely, whom rational we call, Be pleas 'd with nil, if non bless 'd with all? The cloud nine of man ( could plume that blessing discovery ) Is non to move or believe beyond world ; No pow'rs of organic structure or of psyche to portion, But what his nature and his province can bear. Why has non man a microscopic oculus? For this field ground, man is non a fly. State what the usage, were finer optics giv'n, T ' inspect a touch, non grok the heav'n? Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er, To ache and agonise at ev'ry pore? Or speedy effluvia fliting through the encephalon, Die of a rose in aromatic hurting? If nature boom 'd in his op'ning ears, And stunn 'd him with the music of the domains, How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still The whisp'ring breeze, and the purling rivulet? Who finds non Providence wholly good and wise, Alike in what it gives, and what denies? VII. Far as creative activity 's ample scope extends, The graduated table of animal, mental pow'rs ascends: Mark how it mounts, to man 's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopled grass: What modes of sight betwixt each broad extreme, The mole 's dim drape, and the lynx 's beam: Of odor, the hasty lioness between, And hound perspicacious on the corrupt green: Of hearing, from the life that fills the inundation, To that which warbles through the youthful wood: The spider 's touch, how finely all right! Feels at each yarn, and lives along the line: In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true From pois'nous herbs extracts the mending dew? How replete varies in the grov'lling swine, Compar 'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine! 'Twixt that, and ground, what a nice barrier ; For of all time sep'rate, yet for of all time near! Remembrance and contemplation how allied ; What thin dividers sense from thought divide: And in-between natures, how they long to fall in, Yet ne'er base on balls Thursday ' insurmountable line! Without this merely step, could they be Subjected, these to those, or all to thee? The pow'rs of all subdu 'd by thee entirely, Is non thy ground all these pow'rs in one? VIII. See, through this air, this ocean, and this Earth, All affair quick, and spliting into birth. Above, how high, progressive life may travel! About, how broad! how deep extend below! Vast concatenation of being, which from God began, Natures ethereal, human, angel, man, Beast, bird, fish, insect! what no oculus can see, No glass can make! from infinite to thee, From thee to nil! -- On superior pow'rs Were we to press, inferior might on ours: Or in the full creative activity leave a nothingness, Where, one measure broken, the great graduated table 's destroy 'd: From nature 's concatenation whatever link you work stoppage, Tenth or ten 1000th, breaks the concatenation likewise. And, if each system in step axial rotation Alike necessity to th ' astonishing whole, The least confusion but in one, non all That system merely, but the whole must fall. Let earth unbalanc 'd from her orbit fly, Planets and Suns run lawless through the sky ; Let governing angels from their domains be hurl 'd, Bing on being wreck 'd, and universe on universe ; Heav'n 's whole foundations to their Centre nod, And nature milk sicknesss to the throne of God. All this awful order interruption -- for whom? for thee? Vile worm! -- Oh lunacy, pride, impiousness! IX. What if the pes ordain 'd the dust to step, Or manus, to labor, aspir 'd to be the caput? What if the caput, the oculus, or ear repin 'd To function mere engines to the opinion head? Merely as absurd for any portion to claim To be another, in this gen'ral frame: Merely as absurd, to mourn the undertakings or strivings, The great directing Mind of All ordains. All are but parts of one colossal whole, Whose organic structure Nature is, and God the psyche ; That, Chang Jiang 'd through all, and yet in all the same, Great in the Earth, as in Thursday ' ethereal frame, Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the zephyr, Glows in the stars, and flowers in the trees, Lives through all life, extends through all extent, Spreads undivided, operates unspent, Breathes in our psyche, informs our mortal portion, As full, as perfect, in a hair as bosom ; As full, as perfect, in despicable man that mourns, As the rapt seraph that adores and Burnss ; To him no high, no low, no great, no little ; He fills, he bounds, connects, and peers all.X. Cease so, nor order imperfectness name: Our proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy ain point: This sort, this due grade Of sightlessness, failing, Heav'n bestows on thee. Submit. -- In this, or any other domain, Secure to be every bit blessed as 1000 canst bear: Safe in the manus of one disposing pow'r, Or in the natal, or the mortal hr. All nature is but art, unknown to thee ; All opportunity, way, which thou canst non see ; All strife, harmoniousness, non understood ; All partial immorality, cosmopolitan good: And, malice of pride, in mistaking ground 's malice, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

Epistle 4.

I. False impressions of felicity, philosophical and popular, answered from ver. 19 to ver. 27. II. It is the terminal of all work forces, and come-at-able by all, ver. 29. God intends felicity to be equal ; and to be so, it must be societal, since all peculiar felicity depends on general, and since he governs by general, non peculiar Torahs, ver. 35. As it is necessary for order, and the peace and public assistance of society, that external goods should be unequal, felicity is non made to dwell in these, ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of felicity among world is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fright, ver. 70. III. What the felicity of persons is, every bit far as is consistent with the fundamental law of this universe ; and that the good man has here the advantage, ver. 77. The mistake of imputing to virtue what are merely the catastrophes of nature, or of luck, ver. 94. IV. The foolishness of anticipating that God should change his general Torahs in favor of specifics, ver. 121. V. That we are non Judgess who are good ; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest, ver. 131, & c. VI. That external goods are non the proper wagess, but frequently inconsistent with, or destructive of virtuousness, ver. 167. That even these can do no man happy without virtuousness: instanced in wealths ver. 185 ; honours, ver. 193 ; aristocracy, ver. 205 ; illustriousness, ver. 217 ; celebrity, ver. 237 ; superior endowments, ver. 259, & c. With images of human infelicity in work forces possessed of them all, ver. 269, & c. VII. That virtue merely constitutes a felicity, whose object is cosmopolitan, and whose prospect ageless, ver. 309, & c. That the flawlessness of virtuousness and felicity consists in a conformance to the order of Providence here, and a surrender to it here and hereafter, ver. 326, & degree Celsius.

Biography

The acknowledged maestro of the epic pair and one of the primary tastemakers of the Augustan age, Alexander Pope was a cardinal figure in the Neoclassical motion of the early eighteenth century. He was known for holding perfected the rhyming pair signifier of his graven image, John Dryden, and turned it to satiric and philosophical intents. His mock epic The Rape of the Lock ( 1714 ) derides elect society, while An Essay on Criticism ( 1711 ) and An Essay on Man ( 1733-34 ) articulate many of the cardinal dogmas of 18th-century aesthetic and moral doctrine. Pope was noted for his engagement in public feuds with the authors and publishing houses of low-end Grub Street, which led him to compose The Dunciad ( 1728 ) , a scathing history of England’s cultural diminution, and, at the terminal of his life, a series of related poetry essays and Horatian sarcasms that articulated and protested this diminution. Pope is besides remembered.

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