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Chaos of Thought and Paffion, all confus'd;
Stil! by himself abus’d, or disabus’d;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;

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Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurld:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!

VARIATION S.

After ver. 18. in the MS.

For more perfection than this state can bear
In vain we figh, Heav'n made us as we are.
As wisely sure a modest Ape might aim
To be like Man, whose faculties and frame
He fees, he feels, as you or I to be
An Angel thing we neither know nor fee.
Observe how near he edges on our race:
What human tricks! how risible of face!
It must be so -- why else have I the sense
Of more than monkey charms and excellence?
Why else to walk on two so oft effay’d?
And why this ardent longing for a maid?
So Pug might plead, and call his Gods unkind,
Till fet on end and married to his mind.
Go, reas'ning thing! affume the Doctor's chair,
As Plato deep, as Seneca fevere.

NOTES.

be the arbitrary decree of infinite wisdom and goodness, which imposed a barrier to the extravagances of its giddy lawless creature, always inclined to pursue truths of less importance too far, to the neglect of those more necessary for his improvement in his station here.

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Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science

guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides; 20
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun:
Go, foar with Plato, to th' empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his follow'rs trod,

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And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the fun.

VARIATIONS.
Fix moral fitness, and to God give rule,

Then drop into thyself, &c.
Ver. 31. Ed. 4th and sth.

Shew by what rules the wand'ring planets stray,
Correct old Time, and teach the Sun his way.

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Ver. 20. Go measure earth, &c.] Alluding to the noble and useful project of our modern Mathematicians, to measure a degree at the equator and polar circle, in order to determine the true figure of the earth ; of great importance to astronomy and navigation.

Ver. 22. Correct old Time,] This alludes to Sir Isaac Newton's Grecian Chronology, which he reformed on those two sublime conceptions, the difference between the reigns of kings, and the generations of men ; and the position of the colures of the equinoxes and solstices at the time of the Argonautic expedition.

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Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!

Superior bcings, when of late they faw
A mortal Man unfold all Nature's law,
Admir’d such wisdom in an earthly shape,
And thew'd a NEWTON as we shew an Ape.

NOTES.

folly.

Ver. 29, 30. Go; teach Eternal Wisdom, &c.] These two lines are a conclusion from all that had been said from ver. 18, to this effect: Go now, vain Man, elated with thy acquirements in real science, and imaginary intimacy with God; go, and run into all the extravagancies I have exploded in the first epistle, where thou pretendest to teach Providence how to govern; then drop into the obscurities of thy own nature, and thereby manifest thy ignorance and

VER. 31. Superior beings, &c.] In these lines he speaks to this effect: But to make you fully sensible of the difficulty of this study, I shall instance in the great Newton himself; whom, when superior beings, not long since, faw capable of unfolding the whole law of Nature, they were in doubt whether the owner of such prodigious fagacity should not be reckoned of their own order; juft as men, when they see the surprizing marks of Reason in an Ape, are almost tempted to rank him with their own kind. And yet this wondrous Man could go no further in the knowledge of himself than the generality of his species. In which we see it was not Mr. Pope's intention to bring any of the Ape's qualities, but its sagacity, into the comparison. But why the Ape's, it may be said, rather than the fagacity of some more decent animal, parti-. cularly the half-reasoning elephant, as the poet calls it; which, as well on account of this its fuperiority, as for its having no ridiculous fide, like the Ape, on which it could

Could he, whose rules the rapid Comet bind, 35 Describe or fix one moveinent of his mind ?

VARIATION S.

Ver. 35. Ed. ift.

Could he, who taught each Planet where to roll,
Describe or fix one movement of the Soul?
Who mark'd their points to rise or to descend,
Explain his own beginning or his end?

NOTES

be viewed, seems better to have deserved this honour ? I reply, Because, as none but a shape resembling human, accompanied with great fagacity, could occafion the doubt of that animal's relation to Man, the Ape only having that resemblance, no other animal was fitted for the comparison. And on this ground of relation the whole beauty of the thought depends; Newton and those superior spirits being equally framed for immortality, though of different orders. And here let me take notice of a new species of the Sublime, of which our poet máy be justly said to be the maker;

fo new, that we have yet no name for it, though of a nature distinct from every other poetical excellence. The two great perfections of works of genius are Wit and SUBLIMITY. Many writers have been witty, several have been sublime, and some few have even possessed both these qualities separately; but none that I know of, besides our Poet, hath had the art to incorporate them; of which he hath given many examples, both in this Essay and his other poems, one of the noblest being the passage in question. This seems to be the last effort of the imagination, to poetical perfection; and in this compounded exellence the Wit receives a dignity from the Sublime, and the Sublime a Splendor from the Wit; which, in their state of separate existence, they both wanted.

Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend,
Explain his own beginning, or his end?
Alas what wonder! Man's superior part
Uncheck'd may rise, and cliinb from art to art: 40
But when his own great work is but begun,
What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.

Trace Science then, with Modesty thy guide;
First strip off all her equipage of pride;
Deduct what is but Vanity, or Dress,

45 Or Learning's Luxury, or Idleness;

NOTE S.

VER. 37. Who saw its fires here rile, &c.] Sir Isaac Newton, in calculating the velocity of a comet's motion, and the course it describes, when it becomes visible in its descent to, and ascent from, the Sun, conjectured, with the highest appearance of truth, that comcts revolve perpequally round the Sun, in ellipses vally eccentrical, and very nearly approaching to parabolas. In which he was greatly confirmed, in observing, between two Comets, a coincidence in their perihelions, and a perfect agreement in their velocities.

Ver. 45. – Vanity, or Dress,} These are the first parts of what the Poet, in the preceding line, calls the scholar's equipage of pride. By Vanity, is meant that luxuriancy of thought and expression in which a writer indulges him. felf, to thew the fruitfulness of his fancy of invention. By dress is to be understood a lower degree of that practice, in amplification of thought and ornamental expreslion, to give force to what the writer would convey : but even this, the poer, in a severe search after truth, condemns; and with great judgment. Conciseness of thought and simplicity of exprellion, being as well 'the best inftru

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