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

François Voltaire

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Alexander Pope

Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void,. Most strength the moving principle requires;. Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires. Form'd but to check, delib'rate, and advise. Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh;.

At best more watchful this, but that more strong. Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight,. And grace and virtue, sense and reason split,. This taste the honey, and not wound the flow'r: Modes of self-love the passions we may call: Passions, though selfish, if their means be fair,. Exalt their kind, and take some virtue's name. Their virtue fix'd, 'tis fix'd as in a frost;. Parts it may ravage, but preserves the whole.

He mounts the storm, and walks upon the wind. Passions, like elements, though born to fight,. Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,. These mix'd with art, and to due bounds confin'd,. The lights and shades, whose well accorded strife.

Gives all the strength and colour of our life. Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes,. And when in act they cease, in prospect, rise: All spread their charms, but charm not all alike;.

On diff'rent senses diff'rent objects strike;. Hence diff'rent passions more or less inflame,. As man, perhaps, the moment of his breath,. The young disease, that must subdue at length,. Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his strength: The mind's disease, its ruling passion came;. Each vital humour which should feed the whole,.

Whatever warms the heart, or fills the head,. As the mind opens, and its functions spread,. As Heav'n's blest beam turns vinegar more sour. We, wretched subjects, though to lawful sway,.

In this weak queen some fav'rite still obey: What can she more than tell us we are fools? She but removes weak passions for the strong: Yes, nature's road must ever be preferr'd;. And treat this passion more as friend than foe: A mightier pow'r the strong direction sends,. Like varying winds, by other passions toss'd,.

This drives them constant to a certain coast. Let pow'r or knowledge, gold or glory, please,. Or oft more strong than all the love of ease;. Through life 'tis followed, ev'n at life's expense;. Strong grows the virtue with his nature mix'd;. The dross cements what else were too refin'd,. As fruits, ungrateful to the planter's care,.

The surest virtues thus from passions shoot,. Lust, through some certain strainers well refin'd,. But what will grow on pride, or grow on shame. Thus nature gives us let it check our pride. This light and darkness in our chaos join'd,. Though each by turns the other's bound invade,.

As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade,. A thousand ways, is there no black or white? Ask your own heart, and nothing is so plain;. Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,. But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed: Ask where's the North? All but the page prescrib'd, their present state: From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food,. And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n: Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;.

Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore! What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,. Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;. His soul, proud science never taught to stray. Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n;.

Some safer world in depth of woods embrac'd,. Where slaves once more their native land behold,. No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. Say, here he gives too little, there too much: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,. If man alone engross not Heav'n's high care,.

Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,. In pride, in reas'ning pride, our error lies;. All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine,.

Earth for whose use? Pride answers, " 'Tis for mine: Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r;. For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings;. For me, health gushes from a thousand springs;. Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise;.

But errs not Nature from this gracious end,. From burning suns when livid deaths descend,. When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep. Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep? Th' exceptions few; some change since all began: Of show'rs and sunshine, as of man's desires;.

As much eternal springs and cloudless skies,. If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav'n's design,. Who knows but he, whose hand the lightning forms,. Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms,. Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind? From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs;. Why charge we Heav'n in those, in these acquit? Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,.

What would this man? Now upward will he soar,. Now looking downwards, just as griev'd appears. To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all? Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force;. Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all? The bliss of man could pride that blessing find. T' inspect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n? Or quick effluvia darting through the brain,.

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? The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends: From the green myriads in the peopled grass: What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme,. The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam: Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood,.

To that which warbles through the vernal wood: Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew: How instinct varies in the grov'lling swine,. Compar'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine: What thin partitions sense from thought divide:

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An Essay on Man: Epistle I By Alexander Pope About this Poet The acknowledged master of the heroic couplet and one of the primary tastemakers of the Augustan age, Alexander Pope was a central figure in the Neoclassical movement of the early 18th century. He was known for having perfected the rhymed couplet form of his idol.

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Pope's Poems and Prose Summary and Analysis of An Essay on Man: Epistle I. Buy Study Guide. Pope's Poems and Prose study guide contains a biography of Alexander Pope, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About Pope's Poems and Prose;.

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1] Although Pope worked on this poem from and had finished the first three epistles by , they did not appear until between February and May , and the fourth epistle was published in January The first collected edition was published in April 1. Although Pope worked on this poem from and had finished the first three epistles by , they did not appear until between February and May

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The work that more than any other popularized the optimistic philosophy, not only in England but throughout Europe, was Alexander Pope's Essay on Man. This lesson will look at Alexander Pope's 'An Essay on Man.' We will consider its context, form, meaning, and the ways in which it reflects the.