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VI. What would this Man? Now upward
will he soar,
COMMENTARY. Ver. 173. What would this Man? &c.] Having thus juftified Providence in its per milion of partial MORAL EVIL, our Author employs the remaining part of his Epistle in vindicat. ing it from the imputation of certain supposed NATURAL EVILS. For now he shews (from Ver. 172 to 207.) that though the complaint of his adversaries against Providence be on pretence of real moral evils; yet, at bortom, it all proceeds from their impatience under imaginary natural ones, the issue of a depraved appetite for visionary advantages, which if Man had, they would be either useless or pernicicus to him, as repugnant to his state, or unsuitable to his condition. Though God (says he) hath so bountifully bestowed, on Man, Faculties little less than angelic, yet he ungratefully grasps at higher; and then, extravagant in another extreme, with a paso sion as ridiculous as that is impious, envies as advantages, even the peculiar accommodations of brutes. But here his own principles New his folly. He fupposes them all made
NOT E s. Ver. 174. And little less than Angels, &c.] Thiu haft made him a little lower than the Angels, and haft crowned him uitb glory and honour, Psalm viü. 9.
Each seeming want compensated of course,
COMMENTARY. for his use: Now what use could he have of them, when he had robbed them of all their qualities? Qualities distributed with the highest wisdom, as they are divided at present ; buc which, if bestowed according to the froward humour of these childish complainers, would be found to be, every where, either wanting or superfluous. But even with these brutal qualities, Man would not only be no gainer, but a considerable loser; as the Poet fhews, in explaining the consequences which would follow from his having his sensations in that exquisite degree, in which this or the other animal is observed to possess them.
NO'T E s. VER. 182. Hire with degrees of swiftness, &c.] It is a certain axiom in the anatomy of creatures, that in proportion as they are formed for strength, their swiftness is lesened; or as they are formed for swiftness, their strength is abated. P.
Why has not Man a microscopic eye?
200 If nature thunder'd in his op’ning ears,.. And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still The whisp’ring Zephyr, and the purling rill? Who finds not Providence all good and wise, Alike in what it gives, and what denies ? 206
VII. Far as Creation's ample range extends, The scale of fensual, mental pow’rs ascends : . .. COMMENTARY.
VER. 207. Far as Creation's ample range extends,) He tells us next (from Ver. 206 to 233) that the complying with such extravagant desires would not only be useless and pernicious to Man, but would be breaking into the order, and deforming the beauty of God's Creation, in which this animal is subject to that, and every one to Man; who by his Reason enjoys the sum of all their powers.
NOT E si VER. 202. Stunn'd him with the music of the spheres,] This instance is poetical and even sublime, but misplaced. He is arguing philosophically in a case that required him to employ the real objects of sense only: and, what is worse, he speaks
Mark how it mounts, to Man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopled grass: 210 What modes of fight betwixt each wide extreme, The mole’s dim curtain, and the lynx’s beam :
NOT E s. of this as a real object-f Nature thunder'd, &c. The case is different where (in Ver. 253) he speaks of the motion of the heavenly bodies, under the sublime conception of ruling Angels : For whether there be ruling Angels or no, there is real motion, which was all his argument wanted; but if there be no music of the spheres, there was no real found, which his argument was obliged to find.
VER. 209. Mark how it mounts to Man's imperial race,] M. Du Resnel has turned the latter part of the line thus,
his argu. 209. Mas turned
“ Jusqu'à l'Homme, ce chef, ce Roy de l'Univers.
“ Even to man, this Head, this King of the Universe,” which is so fad a blunder that it contradicts the Poet's peculiar Syftem ; who, although he allows Man to be King of this inferior world, yet he thinks it madness to make him King of the Universe. If the philosophy of the Poem could not teach him this, yet methinks the Poet's own words, in this very Epistle, might have prevented his mistake.
" So man, who here seems Principal alone,
If the Translator imagined that Mr. Pope was speaking ironically where he talks of Man's imperial race, and so would heighten the ridicule of the original by ce Roy de l'Univers, the mistake is still worse ; for the force of the argument depends upon its being said seriously; the Poet being here speaking of a scale from the highest to the lowest in the muadane System,
Of smell, the headlong lioness between,
NOT E s. VER. 213. The headlong lioness.] The manner of the lions hunting their prey in the desarts of Africa is this : At their first going out in the night-time they set up a loud roar, and then listen to the noise made by the beasts in their fight, parsuing them by the ear, and not by the noftril. It is probable the story of the jackal's hunting for the lion, was occafioned by the observation of this defect of scent in that terrible animal. P.
VER. 224. For ever sep'rate, &c.1 Near, by the simili. tude of the operations ; separa:e by the immense difference in the nature of the powers.
VER. 226. What thin partitions, &c.] So thin, that the Atheistic Philosophers, as Protagoras, held that thought was only fenje; and from thence concluded, that every imagination er opinion of every man was true: IIão a parlaria ésiv annons. But the Poet' determines more philosophically; that they are