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Fair op’ning to fome Court's propitious shine, Or deep with di'monds in the flaming mine? 10 Twin’d with the wreaths Parnaslian lawrels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field? Where grows?---where grows it not? Ifvain our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil: Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere, 'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where : "Tis never to be bought, but always free, '

, And fled from monarchs,St.John!dwells with thee. Ask of the Learn’d the way? The Learn'd are

blind; This bids to serve, and that to fhun mankind; 20


COMMENTARY. The fix remaining lines deliver the true notion of Happiness to be in Virtue. Which is summed up in these two:

Fix'd to no spot is Happiness fincere,

'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where. The Poet having thus defined his terms, and laid down his proposition, proceeds to the support of his Thesis; the various are guments of which make up the body of the Epistle.

Ver. 19. Ask of the Learn'd, &c.] He begins (from x 18 to 29) with detecting the false notions of Happiness. These are of two kinds, the Philosophical and Popular : The latter he had re-capitulated in the invocation, when happiness was called upon at her several supposed places of abode; the Philosophic only remained to be delivered:

Ask of the Learn'd the way, the Learn'd are blind;
This bids to serve, and that to fhun Mankind ;


Some place the bliss in action, some in ease,
Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these;

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Some place the bliss in action, fome in ease;

Those call it Pleasure, and Contentment these.
They differed as well in the means, as in the nature of the
end. Some plac'd Happiness in Action, some in Contempla-
tion; the first called it Pleasure, the second Ease. Of those
who placed it in Action and called it Pleasure, the moral rout
they pursued either sunk them into sensual pleasures, which ended
in Pain, or led them in search of imaginary perfections, unsuit-
able to their nature and station (see Ep. i.) which ended in Va-
nity. Of those who placed it in Ease, the contemplative fta-
tion they were fixed in made fome, for their quiet, find truth
in every thing, others in nothing.

Who thus define it, say they more or less

Than this, that Happiness is Happiness? The confutation of these Philosophic errors he shews to be very easy, one common fallacy running through them all; namely this, that instead of telling us in what the Happiness of human nature consists, which was what was asked of them, each busies himself in explaining in what he placed his own.

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NOTES. Ver. 21. Some place the bliss in action, -Some funk to beasts, &c.] 1. Those who place Happiness, or the summum bonum, in Pleasure, 'H dove, such as the Cyrenaic sect, called on that account the Hedonic. 2. Those who place it in a certain tranquillity or calmness of Mind, which they call Eulupia, such as the Democritic sect. 3. The Epicurean. 4. The Stoic. 5. The The Protagorean, which held that Man was πάνων χρημάτων μέτρων, the mea/ure of all things ; for that all things which appear to him are, and those things which appear not to any Man are not; so that every imagination or opinion of every man was true. 6. The Sceptic: Whose absolute Doubt is with great judgment said to be the effect of In

Some sunk to Beasts, find pleasure end in pain ;
Some swell’d to Gods, confess ev'n Virtue vain;
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall, 25
To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.

Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that Happiness is Happiness ?

Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's leave;
All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; 30
Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell;
There needs but thinking right, and meaning well;
And mourn our various portions as we please,
Equal is Common Sense, and Common Ease.

Ver. 29.


Take Nature's path, &c.] The Poet then proceeds (from x 28 to 35) to reform their mistakes; and fhews them that, if they will but take the road of Nature and leave that of mad Opinion, they will soon find Happiness to be a good of the Sp.cies, and, like Common Sense, equally distributed to all Mankind.

NOTES. dolence, as well as the absolute Trust of the Protagorean : For the same dread of labour attending the search of truth, which makes the Protagorean presume it to be always at hand, makes the Sceptic conclude it is never to be found. The only difference is, that the laziness of the one is defponding, and the laziness of the other fanguine; yet buth can give it a good name, and call it Happiness.

Ver. 23. Some Junk to Beasts, &c.] These four lines added in the last Edition, as neceffary to complete the sunmary of the false pursuits after happiness amonth the Greck philosophers.

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Remember, Man, “ the Universal Cause 35 “ Aes not by partial, but by gen’ral laws ;" And makes what Happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing Individuals find, But some way leans and hearkens to the kind: 40 No Bandit fierce, no Tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd Hermit, rests self-fatisfy’d: Who most to fhun or hate Mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend: Abstract what others feel, what others think, 45 All pleasures ficken, and all glories fink: Each has his share; and who would more obtain, Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain. ORDER is Heav'n's first law; and this confeft,

; Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, 50

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COMMENTARY. VER. 35, Remember, Man, &c.] Having exposed the two false species of Happiness, the Philosophical and Popular, and denounced the true, in order to establish the laft, he goes on to a confutation of the two former.

I. He first (from x 34 to 49) confutes the Philosophical, which, as we said, makes Happiness a particular, not a general good: And this two ways; 1, From his grand principle, that God acts by general laws; the consequence of which is, that Happiness, which supports the well being of every system, must needs be universal, and not partial, as the Philosophers conceived. 2. From fact, that Man instinctively concurs with this defigna. tion of Providence, to make Happiness univerfal, by his having no delight in any thing unccinmunicated or uncommunicable,

More rich, more wife; but who infers from hence
That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heav'n to Mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their Happiness:

VARIATIONS. After VER. 52. in the MS.

Say not, “ Heav'n's here profuse, there poorly faves, " And for one Monarch makes a thousand Naves." You'll find, when Causes and their Ends are known, 'Twas for the thousand Heav'n has made that one.

COMMENTARY. Ver. 49. Order is Heav'n's first law;] II. In the second place (from x 48 to 67) he confutes the popular error concerning Happiness, namely, that it consists in Externals : Which he does, first, by inquiring into the reasons of the present providential disposition of external goods : A topic of confutation chosen with the greatest accuracy and penetration : For, if it appears they were distributed in the manner we see them, for reasons different from the Happiness of Individuals, it is abfurd to think that they should make part of that Happiness.

He thews therefore, that disparity of external possessions among Men was for the sake of Society: 1. To promote the Harmony and Happiness of a system; because the want of external goods in fome, and the abundance in others, increase general Harmony in the obliger and obliged.

Yet here (says he) mark the impartial wisdom of Heaven ; this very Inequality of Externals, by contributing to general Harmony and Order, produceth an Equality of Happiness amongst Individuals.


NOTES VER. 49. Order is Heav'n's first law ;] i.e. The first law made by God relates to Order ; which is a beautiful allusion to the Scripture history of the Creation, when God first appeased the disorders of Chaos, and separated the light from the darkness.


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