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Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? Pride answers, “ 'Tis for
mine; “For me, kind nature wakes her genial power, “ Suckles each herb and spreads out ev'ry flow'r . - Annual for me,
rose, renew 135 “The juice nectarius, and the balmy dew;
the mine a thousand treasures brings ; “For me, health gushes from a thousand springs ; “ Seas roll to waft me, suns to light me rise; • My footstool earth, my canopy the skies.” 140
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? “No, 'tis replied, the first Almighty Cause 145 “ Acts not by partial, but by general laws; “ The exceptions few; some change since all
begun : 129. He who, &c. sins. When but can be changed into only, without injuring the sense, it is an adverb.
141. But does not nature err from this gracious end? viz: the blessings enumerated above.
Better for us, perhaps, it might appear, 165
That never passion discompos'd the mind.
151–153. That end as much requires eternal springs, &c., as it requires that men should be forever temperate, &c.
156. Catiline and Borgia were two of the most abandoned and bloody demagogues, that ever lived.
158. Who knows but he, whose hand, &c., pours?
159--160. Julius Cæsar is here meant. Alexander the Great was vainly styled the son of Jupiter Ammon : hence he is called
young Ammon. 166. If all were harmony there, (i. e. in the operations of nature,) and all virtue here, (i. e. in the actions of men.)
But all subsists by elemental strife;
170 The general order, since the world began, Is kept in nature, and is kept in man.
VI. What would this man? Now upward will
And, little less than angel, would be more ?
174 Now looking downward, just as grieved appears To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears. Made for his use all creatures, if he call, Say what their use, had he the powers of all ? Nature to these without profusion, kind, The proper organs, proper powers assigned; 180 Each seeming want compensated of course ; Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force; All in exact proportion to the state; Nothing to add, and nothing to abate. Each beast, each insect, happy in its own: 185 Is Heaven unkind to man, and man alone ? Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all ? The bliss of man could pride that blessing find)
173. What would this man do or have; or what wishes this man. When the interrogative is not directly the nom. to the verb, there being no other nom. case, it is either the nom. after the verb, governed by it, or by a prep. expressed or understood.
179—181. Nature, being kind without profusion, assigned the proper organs, &c., and compensated each seeming want.
184. To add and to abate seem to imply a passive signification — Nothing to be added and nothing to be abated.
Is not to act or think beyond mankind; 190
200 1f nature thundered in his opening ears, And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, How would he wish that heav'n had left him still The whispering zephyr, and the purling rill! Who finds not Providence all good and wise, 205
190, Not to act or think beyond mankind is a substantive phrase used as a nom. after is, and to share no powers, is connected with it.
193—204. These lines have very often been misunderstood, and turned uut of their true meaning. The poet adverts to the five senses, in order; asking first, Why man has not a microscopic eye, i.e. an eye formed to see the smallest objects, as are those of flies? and then answers, because man is not a fly. On the principle of optics, if we could see much more minutely, we could not take in so large a space of the heavens at one view; as a fly cannot see the whole of one side of a building upon which he may light. What would be the use, if finer touch were given, if this keener sensation cause or make us smart and agonize at every pore. Smell is supposed to be occasioned by some effluvia passing through the brain ; and what the use, were this sense so quick, or the effect of these passir.g effluvia so powerful, as to make us die of the smell of a rost in aromatic pain?
Alike in what it gives, and what denies ?
VII. Far as creation's ample range extends,
211. How many modes or degrees of sight are there be. tween the dimness of the mole's, and the sharpness of the lynx's? What may be made a com. rel. or a demonstrative pronoun.
213. The lion is said to be defective in the sense of smell, so much so as not to pursue his prey by scent, as di the hounds.
215. The life that fills the flood - fishes, which are in a degree destitute of hearing.
217. It (i. e, the spider's touch) feels.
222. The elephant is here addressed, and called halfreasoning, on account of his superior sagacity, compared with other animals.
223. 'Twixt that and reason, i. e. 'twixt the instinct of the elephant and reason