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Yet not to Earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
When thousand worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
On each I judge thy foe.
had been excluded with it. And if this had been the case, the world could have had no charms, no beauties sufficient to recommend it to him who made it. In short, all other powers and perfections would have been very defective without this, which is truly the life and spirit of the whole crea
-Warton. Ver. 27. And deal damnation round the land, &c.] There was no opinion
Pope held in greater abhorrence than the uncharitable doctrine, that the goodness of God was limited to any one sect; insomuch that
it had been his practice from his early years to mark it with his reprobation, whenever an opportunity occurred. “ There may be errors,” says he, “I grant, but I cannot think them of such consequence as to destroy utterly the charity of mankind ; the very greatest bond by which we are engaged by God to one another ; therefore, I own to you I was glad of any oppor
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken’d by thy breath;.
This day, be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun,
And let thy will be done.
To thee, whose Temple is all space,
Whose altar, earth, sea, skies,
All Nature's incense rise!
tunity to express my dislike of so shocking a sentiment, as those of the religion I profess are commonly charged with.” This was written when he was about his twenty-third year, and the same sentiment is repeated in various parts of his works.
Ver. 39. That mercy] It has been said that our Poet, in this Prayer, chose the Lord's Prayer for his model ; but there is no resemblance but in this passage, and in the last stanza but one.
M. Le Franc de Pompignan, a celebrated avocat at Montauban, author of Dido, a tragedy, was severely censured in France for translating this Universal Prayer, as a piece of Deism ; which, having been printed in London, in 4to. by Vaillant, was conveyed to the Chancellor Aguesseau, who immediately sent a strong reprimand to M. Le Franc, and he vindicated his orthodoxy in a laboured letter to that learned Chancellor. Voltaire reproached Le Franc with making this translation. His brother, Bishop of Puy au Velei, has called Locke an atheist.—Warton.
IN FOUR EPISTLES:
TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, ncu se
The Essay on Man was intended to be 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 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 the 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, so far forth as they affect society ; between which the author always supposed there was the closest connexion and the most interesting relation. 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.
But as this was the author's favourite work, which more exactly reflected the image of his own strong and capacious mind, and as we can have but a very imperfect idea of it from the disjecta membra Poeta, which now remain ; it may not be amiss to be a little more particular concerning each of these projected books.
The First, as it treats of man in the abstract, and considers him in general, under every one of his relations, becomes the foundation, and furnishes out the subjects, of the three following ; so that
The second Book was to take up again the first and second Epistles of the first book ; and to treat of man in his intellectual capacity at large, as has been explained above. Of this, only a small part of the conclusion (which, as we said, was to have contained a satire against the misapplication of wit and learning) may be found in the fourth book of the Dunciad ; and up and down, occasionally, in the other three.
The Third Book, in like manner, was to re-assume the subject of the third Epistle of the first, which treats of man in his social, political, and religious capacity. But this part the Poet afterwards conceived might be best executed in an Epic Poem; as the Action would make it more animated, and the Fable less invidious ; in which all the great principles of