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Shall he alone, whom rational we call, Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all beautiful Alexander Pope (May 21, 1688 - May 30, 1744), was called "The Wicked Wasp of Twickenham" for his stinging literary satires of his fellow writers."It is too long but is extremely philosophical n interesting, can be simply called a masterpiece. He modelled himself after the great Classical poets, such as Homer and Virgil, and wrote in a highly polished verse, often in a didactic or satirical vein.The various components of An Essay On Man appeared scattered through the years 1732-1734.
Reason, however able, cool at best, Cares not for service, or but serves when pressed, Stays 'till we call, and then not often near; But honest Instinct comes a volunteer, Sure never to o’er-shoot, but just to hit; While still too wide or short is human Wit; Sure by quick Nature happiness to gain, Which heavier Reason labours at in vain, This too serves always, Reason never long; One must go right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing pow'rs One in their nature, which are two in ours; And Reason raise o’er Instinct as you can, In this ’tis God directs, in that ’tis Man.
There are further elements of the then contemporary intellectual atmosphere, such as the Great Chain of Being, which play important roles in this striking text, but my review is already long and I want Pope to come to word again in this passage on the peculiar position of Mankind in the order of things.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Two foundational aspects of this complex are the idea that human nature is independent of time and place and that the only matters of real importance are those that are understood (or at least are understandable) in exactly the same way by everyone.
This latter point bears some emphasis, since it directly contradicts the prevailing attitude here at the beginning of the 21st century: anything that requires recondite theory, anything that is not universally accessible to all human beings is either error or essentially irrelevant to anything of significance.
The greatest poet genius of his day, he perfected the heroic couplet, which is still in use today.
Because of a spinal deformity from childhood, he was only 4'6" tall.
I like how he ended this piece, tho, the overality of the piece, I tend not to contend with, or even somewhat agree with, it does hold an underlining truth.
That, as he says in the end, 'And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.' And he states 'Whatever' not 'One truth is clear, God is, is right.' he doesn't say that, but, it is in his soul.