"Better for Us, perhaps, it might appear, / Were there all harmony, all virtue here; / That never air or ocean felt the wind; /That never passion discompos'd the mind: / But All subsists by elemental strife; / And Passions are the Elements of life. "
— Pope, Alexander (1688-1744)
Were there all harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discompos'd the mind:
But All subsists by elemental strife;
And Passions are the Elements of life.
The gen'ral Order, since the whole began
Is kept in Nature, and is kept in Man.
What would this man? now upward will he soar,
And little less than Angel, would be more;
Now looking downward, just as griev'd 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 pow'rs of all?
Nature to these, without profusion kind,
The proper organs, proper pow'rs assign'd;
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,
Is heav'n unkind to man, and man alone?
Shall he alone whom rational we call,
Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all?
(Epistle I, ll. 165-88)
See An Essay on Man, Being the First Book of Ethic epistles. To Henry St. John, L. Bolingbroke. (London: Printed by John Wright, for Lawton Gilliver, 1734). <Link to ESTC><Link to ESTC><Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO-TCP>
See also An Essay on Man: In Epistles to a Friend. (Dublin: Printed by S. Powell, for George Risk, George Ewing, and William Smith, 1734). <Link to ECCO-TCP>
Reading The Poems of Alexander Pope. A One-Volume Edition of the Twickenham Text with Selected Annotations, ed. John Butt. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1963).