« PreviousContinue »
Why doing, fuff'ring, check’d, impellid; and why
I hen say not Man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault;
70 His knowledge' measur’d to his state and place; His time a moment, and a point his space, If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, foon or late, or here or there; The blest to day is as completely so,
75 As who began a thousand years ago.
III. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of Fate, All but the page prescib'd, their present state : From brutes what men, from men what spirits know: Or who could suffer Being here below?
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
90 Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar ; Wait the great teacher Death ; and God adore,
After ver. 88. in the MS.
VER. 87. Who fees with equal eye, &c.) Matth. X. 29.
Ver.gi. Hope humbly then;] The Hope of a happy futurity was implanted in the humau breast by God himself for this very purpose, as an earnest of that Bliss, which always flying from us here, is reserved for the good Man hereafter. The reason why the poet chuses to infift on this proof of a future state, in preference to others, is in order to give his system (which is founded in a sublime and improved Platonism) the greater grace of uniformity. For hope was Plato's peculiar argument for a future ftate; and the words here employed the foul uneasy, &c. his peculiar expresion. The poet in this place, therefore, lays in express terms, that God gave us hope to supply that future bliss, which be at present keeps hid from us.
In his fecond epifle, ver. 274, he goes ftill further, and says, this HOPE quits us not even at Death, when every thing mortal drops from us :
Hope travels thro', nor quits us when we die. And, in the fourth epifle he shews how the fame HOPE is a proof of a future ftate, from the confideration of God's
What future bliss he gives not thee to know,
In the first Fol. and Quarto,
What bliss above he gives not thee to know,
giving man no appetite in vain, or what he did not intend Thould be satisfied ;
He sees why Nature plants in Man alone
Are giv'nin vain, but what they seek they find.) It is only for the good man, he tell us, that Hope leads from goal to goal, &c. It would be strange indeed then, if it should prove a delusion.
Ver. 93. What future blifs, &c.] It hath been objected, that the System of the best weakens the other natural arguments for a future state; because, if the evils which good Men fuffer promote the benefit of the whole, then every thing is here in order ; and nothing amiss that wants to be fet right: Nor has the good man any reason to expect amends, when the evils he suffered had such a tendency. To this it may be replied, 1. Thatthe poet tells us, (Ep. iv. ver. 361.) That God loves from whole to parts. 2. That the Syftem of the beft is so far from weakening those natural arguments, that it strengthens and supports them. For if those evils, to which good men are subject, be mere Disorders, without tendency to the greater good of the whole; then, though we muft indeed conclude that they will hereafter be set right, yet this view of things, repre. senting God as suffering disorders for no other end than to fet them right, gives us a very low idea of the divine wif
Hope springs eternal in the human breast :
dom. But if those evils (according to the System of the
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
Ep. iii. ver. 295. Which coincidence can never be, without a retribution to good men for the evils they suffered here below.
VER. 97. -- from home.] The construction is, “The " soul being from home (confined and uneasy) expa“ tiates," &c. by which words it was the Poet's purpose to teach, that the present life is only a state of probation for another, more suitable to the effence of the soul, and to the free exercise of its qualities.
Ν. Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutor's mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; 100 His soul, proud science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk, or milky way; Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n Behind the cloud-topt hill, an humbler heav'n, Some safer world in depth of woods embraced, 105 Some happier island in the watry waste, Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold, To Be, contents his natural desire, He asks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's fire;
After ver, 108. in the first Ed.
But does he say the Maker is not good,
NOT E S. Ver. 99. Lo, the poor Indian! &c.] The poet, as we faid, having bid' Man comfort himself with expectation of future happiness, having shewn him that this HOPE is an earnest of it, and put in one very necessary caution,
Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions soar ; provoked at those miscreants whom he afterwards (Ep.ii ver. 263.) describes as building Hell on spite, and Heaven on pride, he upbraids them (fromver. 99 to 112.) with the example of the poor Indian, to whom also nature hath given