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In all the madness of fuperfluous health,
COMMENTARY. But to prevent our resting there, God hath made each need the assistance of another; and so
“ On mutual wants built mutual happiness.” It was necessary to explain the two first lines, the better to fee the pertinency and force of what followeth (from Ver. 2 to 7.) where the Poet warns such to take notice of this truth, whose circumstances placing them in an imaginary station of Independance, and a real state of insensibility to mutual wants (from whence general Happiness results) make them but too apt to overlook the true system of things; viz. men in full health and opulence. This caution was necessary with regard to Society; but still more necessary with regard to Religion : Therefore he especially recommends the memory of it as well to Clergy as Laity, when they preach or pray; becaufe the preacher, who doth not consider the first Cause under this view, as a Being consulting the good of the whole, must needs give a very unworthy idea of him; and the supplicant, who prayech as one not related to a whole, or as disregarding the happiness of it, will not only pray in vain, but offend his Maker by an impious attempt to counter-work his dispensation.
NOT E s. VER. 3.- fuperfluous health,] Immoderate labour and immoderate study are equally the great impairers of health : They, whose station sets them above both, must needs have an abundance of health, which not being employed in the common service, but wasted in Luxury, the Poet properly calls a fuperfluity.
• Ver. 4.- impudence of wealth,] Because wealth pretends to be wisdom, wit, learning, honesty, and, in short, all the virtues in their turns.
Let this great truth be present night and day; 5
COMMENTAR Y. Ver. 7. Look round our World, &c.] Next he introduceth his system of human Sociability (Ver. 7, 8.) by shewing it to be the dictate of the Creator ; and that Man, in this, did but follow the example of general Nature, which is united in one €lose system of benevolence.
Ver.). See plastic Nature working to this end,] This he proveth, forf (from Ver. 8 10 13) on the noble theory of At
NOTE s. VÆR. 3, 4, 5, 6. M. Du Resnel not seeing into the admirable parpose of the caution, contained in these four lines, hath quite dropt the most material circumstances contained in the last of them; and, what is worse, for the sake of a foolish antithesis, hath destroyed the whole propriety of the thought in the two first: and so between both, hath left his Author neither sense nor fyftem.
« Dans le sein du bonheur, ou de l'adversité." Now of all men, those in adversity have least need of this caution, as being least apt to forget, That God confults the good of the whole, and provides for it by pricuring mutual happiness by means of mutual warts; because those who yet retain the smart of any fresh calamity, are most compallionate to others fabouring under distresses, and most prompt and ready to relieve thein. :
Ver. 9. See plastic Nadure, &c.] M. Du Resnel mif
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
COMMENTARY. traction, from the æconomy of the material world; where there is a general conspiracy in all the particles of Matter to work for one end; the use, beauty, and harmony of the whole mass.
Ver. 13. See Matter next, &c.] The second argument (from Ver. 12 to 27) is taken from the vegetable and animal world; whose Beings serve mutually for the production, support, and fuftentation of each other.
But this part of the argument, in which the Poet tells us, that God
“ Connects each being, greatest with the least;
“ All serv'd, all serving”awaking again the old pride of his adversaries, who cannot bear that man should be thought to be serving as well as
NOT E s. took this description of the preservation of the material Universe, by the equality of attraction, for a description of its creation; and so translates it
« Voi du sein du Chaos eclater la lumiere,
“ Chaque atome ebranlé courir pour s'embrasser," &c. This destroys the Poet's fine analogical argument, by which he proves from the circumstance of mutual attraction in matter, that man, while he seeks Society, and thereby promotes the good of his species, co-operates with God's general dispensa- . tion; whereas the circumstance of a creation proves nothing but a Creator.
Ver. 12. Form’d and impelld, &c.] To make Matter so cohere as to fit it for the uses intended by its Creator, a proper configuration of its insensible parts, is as necessary as that
12TON MAN. Ep. II. ist.
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After Ver. 45.
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CON XEST.IT. V** *. Giront that the poet mi sie pest contrcal :] pilte han adiersaries, loth to give the goeition, will Hodina Huphe matter; and we are co to jespoke them ob
Pin all Muvidence in this manner. - Fe grant, jay int, i ont fational, as in the basisate creation, all
Hobi AH A Brenng : But, with regard to Man, the
NOT E s. dil.., far my use!) On the contrary, the Üldised in Bodinda Lord bath made all things for bimjeito
* Mu l as pels and Tyrant of the whole:] Al
In vi fortsmus ex that Philosopher, which made * Hvir l' deudible of pain or pleasure; and .. llla
t ervie of that Tyranny over the in derde van h u l ou lach a principle. .
Nature that Tyrant checks; He only knows, And helps, another creature's wants and woes. Say, will the falcon, stooping from above, Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove?
cafe is different; he standeth single. For his reason hath endowed him both with power and address sufficient to make all things serve him; and his Self-love, of which you have so largely provided for him, will indifpose him, in his turn, to serve any: Therefore your theory is imperfect.-Not fo, replies the Poet (from Ver. 48 to 79.) I grant that Man, indeed, affects to be the Wit and Tyrant of the whole, and would fain shake off
" that chain of love, « Combining all below and all above."
But Nature, even by the very gift of Reason, checks this ty. rant. For Reafon endowing Man with the ability of setting together the memory of the past with his conjectures about the future ; and past misfortunes making him apprehensive of more to come, this disposeth him to pity and relieve others in a state of suffering. And the passion growing habitual, naturally extendeth its effects to all that have a sense of suffer. ing. Now as brutes have neither Man's Reason, nor his inordinate Self-love, to draw them from the system of beneficence ; so they wanted not, and therefore have not, this human sympathy of another's misery : By which passion, we see, those qualities, in Man, balance one another; and so retain him in that orderly connexion, in which Providence hath placed its whole creation. But this is not all; Man's interest, amusement, vanity, and luxury, tie him still closer to the system of beneficence, by obliging him to provide for the support of other animals; and though it be, for the most part, only to devour them with the greater guft, yet this does not abate the proper happiness of the animals so preserved. 'n