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of piety to a parent is paid in a return of thanks to, and made subservient to his vindication of, the great Giver and Father of all things. The mother of the author, a
person of great piety and charity, died the year this poem Eer, as finished, viz. 1733.
Ver. 123. Shall burning Etna, &c.] Alluding to the fate of those two great naturalists, Empedocles and Pliny, who both perished by too near an approach to Etna and Vesuvius, while they were exploring the cause of their eruptions.
Ver. 193. Honour and shame from no condition riseAct well your part, there all the honour lies.] What power then has fortune over the man? None at all ; for as her favours can confer neither worth nor wisdom; so neither can her displeasure cure him of any of his follies. On his Garb indeed she hath some little influence; but his heart still remains the same.
Fortune in men has some small différence made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade. But this difference extends no further than to the habit; the pride of heart is the same, both in the flaunter and futterer, as it is the poet's intention to insinuate by the use of those terms.
Ver. 281, 283. If parts allure thee Or ravish'd with the whistling of a name.
re.] These two instances are chosen with great judgment; the world, perhaps, doth not afford two other such. Bacon discovered and laid down those principles, by whose assistance Newton was enabled to unfold the whole law of naiure. He was no less eminent for the creative power of his imagination, the brightness of his conceptions, and the force of his expression: yet be
ing legally convicted for bribery and corruption in th administration of justice, while he presided in the suprem court of equity, he endeavoured to repair his ruined for, tunes by the most profligate flattery to the court: which me from his very first entrance into it, he had accustomed himself to practise with a prostitution that disgraceth thy very profession of letters.
Cromwell seemeth to be distinguished in the most emi nent manner,
with regard to his abilities, from al other great and wicked men, who have overturned the liberties of their country. The times, in which others succeeded in this attempt, were such as saw the spirit of liberty suppressed and stifled, by a general luxury and venality ; but Cromwell subdued his country, when this spirit was at its height, by a successful struggle against court oppression ; and while it was conducted and supported by a set of the greatest geniuses for government the world ever saw embarked together in one common cause.
(As some passages in the Essay on Man have been sus
pected of favouring the schemes of Leibnits and Spinosd, or, as Mr. Warburton says, in his note on the Universal Prayer, of a tendency towards Fate and Naturalism ; it is thought proper here to insert the two following Letters, to show how ill-grounded such a suspicion is.--These letters are not in any London edition.]
Mr. Pope to the younger Racine, a celebrated French wri
ter, occasioned by his animadversions on his Essay on Man, in a poem called Religion.
London, Sept. 1, 1742. Sir, THE expectation in which I have been for some time past, of receiving the present you have honoured me with, was the occasion of my delaying so long to answer your letter. I am at length favoured with your poem upon Religion ; and should have received from the perusal of it, a pleasure unmixed with pain, had I not the mortification to find, that you impute several principles to me,*
*.The following lines, cant. 2. 1. 92–97, are probably alluded to.
" Sans doute pu'a ces mots, des bords de la Tamise
which I abhor and detest. My uneasiness met some alleviation from a passage in your preface, where you declare your inability, from a want of knowledge of the English language, to give your own judgment on the Essay on Man.t You add, that you do not controvert my tenets, but the evil consequences deducible from them, and the maxims which some persons of notable sagacity have imagined that they have discovered in my poem. This declaration is a shining proof of your candour, your discretion, and your charity. I must take leave to assure you, Sir, that your acquaintance with the original has not proved more fatal to me, than the imperfect conceptions of my translators, who have not sufficiently informed themselves of my real sentiments. The many additional embellishments, which my piece has received from the version of M. D. R-, have not done an honour to the Essay on Man equal to the prejudice it has suffered from his frequent misapprehension of the principles it inculcates. These mistakes, you will perceive, are totally refuted in the English piece, which I have transmitted to you. It is a
# M. Racine, in an advertisement perfixed to his answer to M. Rousseau's letter against the Free-thinkers, speaks thus : “N'ayant pas le bonheur de pouvoir lire dans l'original les ouvagres de M. Pope, le plus celebre poete que l'Angleterre ait aujourd'hui, je ne pretens pas attaquer ici ses veritables sentimens, dont je ne puis etre certain. Je ne pretens attaquer que ceux qui sont de. venus si communs parmi nous depuis la lecture de son Essai sur l'Homme, dont les principes n'etant pas assez developes pour nous, sont cause que pluiseurs personnes croyent y turouver un system, qui n'est peut-etre pas elui de l'auteur."
critical and philosophic commentary, written by the learned author of the Divine Legation of Moses. I flatter myself that the Chevalier Ramsay will, from his zeal for truth, take the trouble to explain the contents of it. I hall then persuade myself, that your suspicions will be effaced, and I shall have no appeal from your candour and justice.
In the mean time, I shall not hesitate to declare myself very cordially, in regard to some particulars about which you have desired an answer.
I must avow then openly and sincerely, that my principles are diametrically opposite to the sentiments of Spinoza and Leibnitz; they are perfectly coincident with the tenets of M. Paschal, and the Archbishop of Cambray ; and I shall always esteem it an honour to me, to imitate the moderation with which the latter submitted his private opinions to the decisions of the church of which he professed himself a member. I have the honour to be,
Mr. Racine's Answer to Mr. Pope.
Paris, Oct. 25, 1742. Sir, THE mildness and humility with which you justify yourself is a convincing proof of your religion; the more 80, as you have done it to one on whom it is incumbent to make his own apology for his rash attack upon your cha