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An Essay on Man, Epistle I

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❶Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove?

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Or who could suffer Being here below? The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy Reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food, And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future! Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar; Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore! What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come. To Be, contents his natural desire, He asks no Angel's wing, no Seraph's 8 fire; But thinks, admitted to that equal sky, His faithful dog shall bear him company.

In Pride, in reas'ning Pride, our error lies; All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies. Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes, Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods. Ask for what end the heav'nly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? Pride answers, "Tis for mine: For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow'r, Suckles each herb, and spreads out ev'ry flow'r; Annual for me, the grape, the rose renew The juice nectareous, and the balmy dew; For me, 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 foot-stool earth, my canopy the skies.

If the great end be human Happiness, Then Nature deviates; and can Man do less? As much that end a constant course requires Of show'rs and sun-shine, as of Man's desires; As much eternal springs and cloudless skies, As Men for ever temp'rate, calm, and wise. If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav'n's design, Why then a Borgia, 11 or a Catiline? From pride, from pride, our very reas'ning springs; Account for moral as for nat'ral things: Why charge we Heav'n in those, in these acquit?

In both, to reason right is to submit. 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: What would this Man?

Now upward will he soar, And little less than Angel, 15 would be more; Now looking downwards, 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? The bliss of Man could Pride that blessing find Is not to act or think beyond mankind; No pow'rs of body or of soul to share, But what his nature and his state can bear.

Why has not Man a microscopic eye? For this plain reason, Man is not a Fly. Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n, T' inspect a mite, 16 not comprehend the heav'n?

Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er, To smart and agonize at ev'ry pore? Or quick effluvia 17 darting thro' the brain, Die of a rose in aromatic pain? If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears, And stunn'd him with the music of the spheres, How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still The whisp'ring Zephyr, 18 and the purling rill?

Far as Creation's ample range extends, The scale of sensual, mental pow'rs ascends: Mark how it mounts, to Man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the people grass: What modes of sight betwixt each wide extreme, The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam: Of smell, the headlong lioness between, And hound sagacious 20 on the tainted 21 green: Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, 22 To that which warbles thro' the vernal 23 wood: The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!

Feels at each thread, and lives along the line: In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true From pois'nous herbs extracts the healing dew: Remembrance and Reflection how ally'd; What thin partitions Sense from Thought divide: And Middle natures, 25 how they long to join, Yet never pass th' insuperable line!

Without this just gradation, could they be Subjected these to those, or all to thee? The pow'rs of all subdu'd by thee alone, Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one?

The poem is extremely long and is broken into four epistles - letters - each of which is intended to explore a different aspect of human nature. Within each epistle the structure is simple; it is written in couplets, where every group of two lines rhyme and have the same meter. Rhyme and meter frequently change quite a lot between successive line pairs, however.

The overarching theme of the poem is human nature, but this is broken down into many smaller themes. In fact each epistle is prefaced by a summary, around words log, of the themes it covers. It is quite impossible to examine each theme individually without writing a fairly long book; for an essay it's best to stick with the group of themes represented by each epistle.

These are as follows:. With each epistle running to around lines and 3, words, these themes are obviously explored in some detail. Pope was quite religious, and the poem uses arguments from classical and Enlightenment philosophy to argue that the existence of God can be deduced from reason.

To be technical he uses the teleological argument and the argument from necessary being. The poem also uses philosophical ideas to discuss the nature of man himself. The main thrust of Pope's argument is that happiness is based on moral virtue rather than worldly gains. Likely influences are the Roman thinkers Seneca and Horace.

This really is a huge poem and it's very difficult to do much more than skim the surface in a general analysis essay. If you can it's best to focus on one aspect of the work. This will let you go into much more detail and demonstrate your knowledge of it, which generally means a better grade.

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Complete summary of Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of An Essay on Man.

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An Essay on Man consists of four epistles, which is a term that is historically used to describe formal letters directed to a specific person. The first epistle looks at man's relation to the.

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Critical Essays Alexander Pope's Essay on Man Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List The work that more than any other popularized the optimistic philosophy, not only in England but throughout Europe, was Alexander Pope's Essay on Man (), a rationalistic effort to justify the ways of God to man philosophically. Summary. The subtitle of the first epistle is “Of the Nature and State of Man, with Respect to the Universe,” and this section deals with man’s place in the cosmos.

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These later poems are more severe in their moral judgments and more acid in their satire: Pope’s Essay on Man is a philosophical poem on metaphysics, ethics, and The Rape of the Lock Study Guide - Context. Essay on man sparknotes Best powerpoint presentations on early man Between the man s to the epistle s there was a utterance of education of rights in the permission review brought on by a sensation of first hunter-gatherers.