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is to keep up the amazement; and if my friend that a man should be a doctor for the care of had only the skeleton and kit, he must have been | bursten children, by declaring that his father contented with a less payment. But the doctor and grandfather were born bursten? But Charles we were talking of adds to his long voyages the Ingoltson, next door to the Harp in Barbican has testimony of some people “that has been thirty made a pretty penny by that asseveration. The years lame.” When I received my paper, a saga- generality go upon their first conception, and cious fellow took one at the same time, and read think no further; all the rest is granted. They until he came to the thirty years' confinement of take it that there is something uncommon in you, his friends, and went off very well convinced of and give you credit for the rest. You may be the doctor's sufficiency. You have many of these sure it is upon that I go when, sometimes, let it prodigious persons, who have had some extra- be to the purpose or not, I keep a Latin sentence ordinary accident at their birth, or a great dis- in my front; and I was not a little pleased when aster in some part of their lives. Anything, I observed one of my readers say, casting his eye however foreign from the business the people on my twentieth paper, “More Latin still? want of you, will convince them of your ability What a prodigious scholar is this man !" But in that you profess. There is a doctor in Mouse as I have here taken much liberty with this Alley, near Wapping, who sets up for curing learned doctor, I must make up all I have said cataracts upon the credit of having, as his bill by repeating what he seems to be in earnest in, sets forth, lost an eye in the emperor's service, and honestly promise to those who will not His patients come in upon this, and he shows his receive him as a great man, to wit, “ That from muster-roll, which confirms that he was in his eight to twelve, and from two till six, he attends Imperial Majesty's troops; and he puts out their for the good of the public to bleed for three. eyes with great success. Who would believe pence.”
ALEXANDER POPE. BORN 1688: DIED 1744.
(From the Guardian and Poems.)
possibility of ever performing them; for the first RECEIPT TO MAKE AN EPIC POEM.
qualification they unanimously require in a “I will teach to write,
poet, is a genius. I shall here endeavour (for Tell what the duty of a poet is,
the benefit of my countrymen) to make it mani. Wherein his wealth and ornament consist,
fest, that epic poems may be made “without a And how he may be formed, and how improved."
genius," nay, without learning, or much read— Roscommon.
ing. This must necessarily be of great use to It is no small pleasure to me, who am zealous all those poets who confess they never read, and in the interests of learning, to think I may have of whom the world is convinced they never learn. the honour of leading the town into a very new What Molière observes of making a dinner, that and uncommon road of criticism. As that kind any man can do it with money and
any man can do it with money, and if a proof literature is at present carried on, it consists fessed cook cannot without, he has his art for noonly in a knowledge of mechanic rules which thing; the same may be said of making a poem, contribute to the structure of different sorts of it is easily brought about by him that has & poetry; as the receipts of good housewives genius, but the skill lies in doing it without one. do to the making puddings of flour, oranges, In pursuance of this end, I shall present the plums, or any other ingredients. It would, I reader with a plain and cer
reader with a plain and certain recipe, by which methinks, make these my instructions more even sonneteers and ladies may be qualified for easily intelligible to ordinary readers, if I dis- | this grand performance. coursed of these matters in the style in which I know it will be objected, that one of the ladies learned in economics, dictate to their chief qualifications of an epic poet, is to be pupils for the improvement of the kitchen and knowing in all arts and sciences. But this larder.
ought not to discourage those that have no I shall begin with epic poetry, because the learning, as long as indexes and dictionaries critics agree it is the greatest work human may be had, which are the compendium of all nature is capable of. I know the French have knowledge. Besides, since it is an established already laid down many mechanical rules for rule that none of the terms those arts and sciences compositions of this sort, but at the same time are to be made use of, one may venture to affirm, they cut off almost all undertakers from the our poet cannot impertinently offend in this
point. The learning which will be more par- exact quantity of these virtues, it not being ticularly necessary to him, is the ancient geo-determined, whether or no it be necessary for graphy of towns, mountains, and rivers : for the hero of a poem to be an honest man. For this let him take Claverius, value fourpence. the under characters, gather them from Homer
Another quality required is a complete skill and Virgil, and change the names as occasion in languages. To this I answer, that it is noto- serves." rious persons of no genius have been oftentimes great linguists. To instance in the Greek, of
FOR THE MACHINES. which there are two sorts; the original Greek, “Take of deities, male and female, as many and that from which our modern authors trans as you can use. Separate them into two equal late, I should be unwilling to promise impossi-parts, and keep Jupiter in the middle. Let bilities, but modestly speaking, this may be Juno put him in a ferment, and Venus mollify learned in about an hour's time with ease, I him. Remember on all occasions to make use have known one who became a sudden pro- of volatile Mercury. If you have need of fessor of Greek immediately upon application of devils, draw them out of Milton's Paradise, and the left-hand page of the Cambridge Homer to his extract your spirits from Tasso. The use of eye. It is in these days with authors as with these machines is evident ; for since no epic other men, the well-bred are familiarly ac- poem can possibly subsist without them, the quainted with them at first sight; and as it is wisest way is to reserve them for your greatest sufficient for a good general to have surveyed necessities. When you cannot extricate your the ground he is to conquer, so it is enough for hero by any human means, or yourself by your a good poet to have seen the author he is to be own wits, seek relief from heaven, and the gods master of. But to proceed to the purpose of will do your business very readily. This is this paper.
according to the direct prescription of Horace
in his ‘Art of Poetry :'. FOR THE FABLE.
“Never presume to make a god appear, “Take out of any old poem, history book, But for a business worthy of a god.' romance, or legend (for instance, Geoffry of
That is to say, a poet should never call upon the Monmouth, or Don Belianis of Greece), those parts of story which afford most scope for long
gods for their assistance, but when he is in great descriptions. Put these pieces together, and
perplexity." throw all the adventures you fancy into one tale. Then take a hero whom you choose for the sound
FOR THE DESCRIPTIONS. of his name, and put him in the midst of these for a Tempest. - " Take Eurus, Zephyr. adventures. There let bim work for twelve Auster, and Boreas, and cast them together in books ; at the end of which you may take him one verse. Add to these of rain, lightning, and out ready prepared to conquer or to marry; it of thunder (the loudest you can) quantum sufficit. being necessary that the conclusion of an epic Mix your clouds and billows well together until poem may be fortunate.”
they foam, and thicken your description here To make an Episode.—“Take any remaining and there with a quicksand. Brew your temadventure of your former collection, in which you pest well in your head, before you set it a could no way involve your hero; or any unfor-blowing." tunate accident that was too good to be thrown For a Battle.—“Pick a large quantity of away; and it will be of use applied to any images and descriptions from Homer's Tiads, other person, who may be lost and evaporate in with a spice or two of Virgil, and if there the course of the work, without the least remain any overplus you may lay them by for a damage to the composition.”
skirmish. Season it well with similes, and it For the Moral and Allegory.--"'These you will make an excellent battle." may extract out of the fable afterwards, at your For Burning a Town.—“If such a descrip. leisure, Be sure you strain them sufficiently.” tion be necessary, because it is certain there is
one in Virgil, Old Troy is ready burned to your FOR THE MANNERS.
hands. But if you fear that would be thougnt “For those of the hero, take all the best borrowed, a chapter or two of the Theory of the qualities you can find in all the celebrated Conflagation, well circumstanced, and done into heroes of antiquity; if they will not be reduced verse, will be a good succedaneum." to a consistency, lay them all on a heap upon | As for Similes and Metaphors, they may be him. But be sure they are qualities which your found all over the creation; the most ignorant patron would be thought to have: and, to pre- | may gather them, but the danger is in applying vent any mistake which the world may be them. For this advise with your bookseller. subject to, select from the alphabet those eapital letters that compose his name, and set
FOR THE LANGUAGE. them at the head of a dedication before your (I mean the diction.) “Here it will do well poem. However, do not absolutely observe the to be an imitator of Milton, for you will find it easier to imitate him in this, than anything reader more strongly at first, and are more easily else. Hebraisms and Grecisms are to be found retained by him afterwards; the other may seem in him, without the trouble of learning the odd, but is true. I found I could express them languages. I knew a painter, who (like our more shortly this way than in prose itself; and poet) had no genius, make his daubings to be nothing is more certain, than that much of the thought originals by setting them in the smoke. force as well as grace of arguments or instrucYou may in the same manner give the venerable tions depends on their conciseness. I was unair of antiquity to your piece, by darkening it able to treat this part of my subject more in up and down with Old English. With this detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or, you may be easily furnished upon any occasion, more poetically, without sacrificing perspicuity by the dictionary commonly printed at the end to ornament, without wandering from the preciof Chaucer.”
sion, or breaking the chain of reasoning: if any I must not conclude without cautioning all man can unite all these without diminution of writers without genius in one material point, any of them, I freely confess he will compass à which is, never to be afraid of having too much thing above my capacity. fire in their works. I should advise rather to | What is now published is only to be considered take their warmest thoughts, and spread them as a general map of Man: marking out no more abroad upon paper; for they are observed to than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, cool before they are read.
and their connection ; but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which
are now to follow. Consequently these Epistles AN ESSAY ON MAN.
in their progress (if I have health and leisure to IN FOUR EPISTLES.
make any progress) will be less dry, and more
susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here The Design.
only opening the fountains, and clearing the Having proposed to write some pieces on passage. To deduce the rivers, to follow them Human Life and Manners, such as (to use my in their course, and to observe their effects, may Lord Bacon's expression) come home to men's be a task more agreeable. business and bosoms, I thought it more satisfactory to begin with considering Man in the
EPISTLE L abstract, his nature and his state; since, to prove any moral duty, to enforce any moral precept,
Argument.-Of the Nature and State of Man, or to examine the perfection or imperfection of
with respect to the universe. any creature whatsoever, it is necessary first to of Man in the abstract.-I. That we can judge only know what condition and relation it is placed in, with regard to our own system, being ignorant of and what is the proper end and purpose of its
the relations of systems and things. II. That Man being.
is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to
his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the The science of human nature is, like all other
general order of things, and comformable to ends sciences, reduced to a few clear points; there
and relations to him unknown. III. That it is are not many certain truths in this world. It is
partly upon his ignorance of future events, and therefore in the anatomy of the mind as in that partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his of the body: more good will accrue to mankind happiness in the present depends. IV. The pride by attending to the large, open, and perceptible of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to parts, than by studying too much such finer
more perfection, the cause of man's error and misery.
The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, nerves and vessels, the conformations and uses
and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or of which will for ever escape our observation.
imperfection, justice or injustice of His dispensations. The disputes are all upon these last, and, I will
V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final venture to say, they have less sharpened the wits cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in than the hearts of men against each other, and the moral world, which is not in the natural. VI. have diminished the practice, more than advanced The unreasonableness of his complaints against Prethe theory of morality. If I could flatter myself
vidence, while on the one hand he demands the per.
fections of the angels, and on the other the bodily that this essay has any merit, it is in steering
qualifications of the brutes; though to possess any betwixt the extremes of doctrines seemingly
of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree would opposite, in passing over terms utterly unin render him miserable. VII. That, throughout the telligible, and in forming a temperate, yet not whole visible world, a universal order and gradation inconsistent, and a short, yet not imperfect, in the sensual and mental faculties is observed. system of ethics.
which causes a subordination of creature to creature, This I might have done in prose, but I chose
and of all creatures to man. The gradations of sense,
instinct, thought, reflection, reason; that reason verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. The
alone countervails all the other faculties. VIII. one will appear obvious,-that principles, max.
How much further this order and subordination of ims, or precepts, so written, both strike the
living creatures may extend, above and below us;
were any part of which broken, not that part only, * Dedicated to H. St John, Lord Bolingbroke. but the whole connected creation must be destroyed.
IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a In God's, one single can its end produce; desire. X. The consequence of all the absolute sub- | Yet serves to second, too, some other use. mission due to Providence, both as to our present
So man, who here seems principal alone, and future state.
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Awake, my ST JOHN ! leave all meaner things Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; To low ambition, and the pride of kings. 'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. Let us (since life can little more supply
When the proud steed shall know why Man Than just to look about us and to die)
restrains Expatiate free o'er all this scene of Man; His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains; A mighty maze! but not without a plan; When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, A wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god : shoot,
Then shall Man's pride and dullness comprehend Or garden tempting with forbidden fruit. His action's, passion's, being's use and end : Together let us beat this ample field,
Why doing, suffering; checked, impelled; and why Try what the open, what the covert yield; This hour a slave, the next a deity. The latent tracks, the giddy heights, explore | Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar; Say rather Man's as perfect as he ought: Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies, His knowledge measured to his state and place; And catch the manners living as they rise ; His time a moment, and a point his space. Laugh where we must, be candid where we can ; If to be perfect in a certain sphere, But vindicate the ways of God to Man.
What matter, soon or late, or here or there?
The blest to-day is as completely so,
III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book From which to reason or to which refer?
of fate, Through worlds unnumbered though the God be All but the page prescribed, their present state : known,
From brutes what men, from men what spirits 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.
Had be thy reason, would he skip and play? What other planets circle other suns,
Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food, What varied Being peoples every star,
And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood. May tell why Heaven has made us as we are. O blindness to the future! kindly given, But of this frame, the bearings and the ties, That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven. The strong connections, nice dependencies, Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, Gradations just, has thy pervading soul
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Looked through? or can a part contain the whole? Atoms or systems into ruin hurled, Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee? | Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions
soar; II. Presumptuous Man! the reason wouldst Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore. thou find,
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, Why formed so weak, so little, and so blind ? But gives that hope to be thy blessing now. First, if thou canst, the hårder reason guess, Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Why formed no weaker, blinder, and no less ? Man never is, but always to be blessed. Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made The soul, uneasy and confined, from home, Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? Rests and expatiates in a life to come. Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutored mind Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove? Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; Of systems possible, if 'tis confessed
His soul, proud science never taught to stray That Wisdom infinite must form the best, | Far as the solar walk, or milky way; Where all must full or not coherent be,
Yet simple nature to his hope has given, And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Behind the cloud-topped hill, an humbler heaven; Then, in the scale of reasoning life, 'tis plain, Some safer world, in depth of woods embraced, There must be, somewhere, such a rank as Man Some happier island in the watery waste, And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Where slaves once more their native land behold, Is only this, if God has placed him wrong? No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold:
Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call, | To be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
IV. Go, wiser thou ! and, in thy scale of sense, But ALL subsists by elemental strila;
And passions are the elements of life.
VI. What would this Man! Now upward will
To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. In pride, in reasoning pride, our error lies ; Made for his use all creatures if he call, All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Say, what their use, had he the powers of all; Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,
Nature to these, without profusion, kind, Men would be angels, angels would be gods. The proper organs, proper powers assigned ; Aspiring to be gods, if angels fell,
Each seeming want compensated of course, Aspiring to be angels, men rebel !
Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force ; And who but wishes to invert the laws
All in exact proportion to the state; Of ORDER, sins against the eternal Cause. | Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
| Each beast, each insect, happy in its own : V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies Is Heaven unkind to Man, and Man alone ? shine,
Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Earth for whose use ? Pride answers, “ 'Tis for Be pleased with nothing, if not blessed with all ? mine :
. The bliss of Man (could pride that blessing find) For me kind Nature wakes her genial power, Is not to act or think beyond mankind; Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower; | No powers of body or of soul to share, Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew
But what his nature and his state can bear. The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; Why has not Man a microscopic eye? For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings; For this plain reason, Man is not a fly. For me, health gushes from a thousand springs ; Say what the use, were finer optics given, Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise ; To inspect a mite, not comprehend the hearer : My footstool earth, my canopy the skies." Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
But errs not Nature from this gracious end, To smart and agonise at every pore? From burning suns when livid deaths descend, Or quick effluvia darting through the brain, When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests Die of a rose in aromatic pain? sweep
If Nature thundered in his opening ears, Towus to one grave, whole nations to the deep? | And stunned him with the music of the spheres, "No," 'tis replied, “the first almighty cause | How would he wish that Heaven had left him still, Acts not by partial, but by general laws; The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill ? The exceptions few; some change since all began: Who finds not Providence all good and wise, And what created perfect?”_Why then Man? Alike in what it gives, and what denies ? If the great end be buman happiness, Then Nature deviates; and can Man do less ? VII. Far as creation's ample range extends, As much that end a constant course requires | The scale of sensual, mental powers ascends : Of showers and sunshine, as of Man's desires; Mark how it mounts, to Man's imperial race As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, From the green myriads in the peopled grass ; As men for ever temperate, calm, and wise What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, If plagues or earthquakes break not Heaven's The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam; design,
Of smell, the headlong lioness between, Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline ?
And hound sagacious on the tainted green ; Who knows but He, whose hand the lightning Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, forms,
To that which warbles through the vernal wood ! Who heaves old ocean, and who wings the storms: The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine ! Pours fierce ambition in a Cæsar's mind,
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge man. In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true kind ?
From poisonous herbs extracts the healing dew? From pride, from pride, our very reasoning springs; How instinct varies in the grovelling swine, Account for moral, as for natural things : Compared, half-reasoning elephant, with thine ! Why charge we Heaven in those, in these acquit ? "Twixt that and reason, what a nice barrier ! In both, to reason right, is to submit.
For ever separate, yet for ever near! Better for us, perhaps it might appear, Remembrance and reflection, how allied ; Were there all harmony, all virtue here:
What thin partitions sense from thought divide 1 That never air or ocean felt the wind;
| And middle natures, how they long to join, That never passion discomposed the mind. Yet never pass the insuperable line !