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Alas what wonder! Man's superior part
rise, and climb 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 Modefty thy guide ;
highest appearance of truth, that Comets revolve perpetually sound the Sun, in ellipfes vaftly eccentrical, and very nearly approaching to parabolas." In which he was greatly confirmed, in obferving 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 himself, to thew the fruitfulness of his fancy or invention. By dress, is to be understood a lower degree of that practice, in amplification of thought and ornamental expression, to give force to what the writer would convey : but even this, the poet, in a revere search after truth, condemns! and with great judgment. Conciseness of thought and fimplicity of expression, being as well the best instruments, as the best vehicles of Truth.
VER. 46, Or Learning's Luxury, or Idleness ;] The Luxury of Learning confifts in dressing up and disguising old notions in a new way, so as to make them more fashionable and раlateable ; instead of examining and scrutinizing their truth. As this is often done for pomp and thew, it is called luxury ; as it is often done too to save pains and labour, it is called idleness.
VER. 47. Or tricks to flw :be Strength of buman brain, ] Such all :
Expunge the whole, or lop th' excrescent parts
50 Then see how little the remaining fum, Which serv'd the past, and must the times to come!
II. Two Principles in human nature reign; Self-love, to urge, and Reafon, to refrain ; Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call,
55 Each works its end, to move or govern And to their proper operation still, Ascribe all Good, to their improper, III.
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the foul; Reason's comparing balance rules the whole. 60 Man, but for that, no action could attend, And, but for this, were active to no end : Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot, To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot : Or, meteor-like, flame lawlefs thro' the void,
65 Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.
Most strength the moving principle requires ;
as the mathematical demonstrations concerning the small quantity of matter, the endless divisibility of it, etc.
Ver. 48. Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;] That is, when Admiration sets the mind on the rack.
VER. 49. Expunge the wbole, or lop th excrescent parts - Of all our vices have created Arts;] i. e. Those parts of natural Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric, Poetry, etc. that administer to Tuxury, deceit, ambition, effeminaey, etco
Self-love, still stronger, as its objects nigh ;
VER. 74. Reason, the future and the consequence.] i, e. By experience Reason collects the future; and by argumentation, the consequence.
Of good and evil Gods what frighted Fools,
III. Modes of Self-love the Paffions
call : 'Tis real good, or seeming, moves them all : But since not ev'ry good we can divide,
In lazy Apathy let Stoics boaft
Paffions, like elements, tho' born to fight, Yet, mix'd and soften'd, in his work unite : These 'tis enough to temper and employ; But what composes Man, can Man destroy !
VARIATION S. After ver, 108. in the MS.
A tedious Voyage! where how useless lies
The compass, if no pow'rful gufts arise ?
The soft reward the virtuous, or invite ;
Suffice that Reason keep to Nature's road, 115
Pleasures are ever in our hands or eyes ;
As Man, perhaps, the moment of his breath, Receives the lurking principle of death ; The young disease, that must subdue at length, 135 Grows with his growth, and strengthens with his
VER. 133. As man perhaps, etc.]“ Antipater Sidonius Poeta “omnibus annis uno die natali tantum corripiebatur febre,
et eo consumptus est satis longa senecta.” Plin. lib. vii. Nat. Hift. This Antipater was in the times of Crassus, and is celebrated for the quickness of his parts by Cicero,