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Now looking downwards, juft as griev'd appears
To want the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.
Made for his ufe all creatures if he call,
Say what their use, had he the pow'rs of all?
Nature to these, without profufion, kind,

The proper organs, proper pow'rs affign'd; 189
Each seeming want compenfated of course,
Here with degrees of fwiftnefs, there of force;

COMMENTARY.

For now he

putation of certain fuppofed NATURAL EVILS. fhews (from y 172 to 207) that though the complaint of his adverfaries against Providence be on pretence of real moral evils; yet, at bottom, it all proceeds from their impatience under imaginary natural ones, the iffue of a depraved appetite for visionary advantages, which if Man had, they would be either useless or pernicious to him, as unfuitable to his ftate, or repugnant to his condition. Though God (fays he) hath so bountifully bestowed, on Man, Faculties little lefs than angelic, yet he ungratefully grafps at higher; and then, extravagant in another extreme, with a paffion as ridiculous as that is impious, envies even the peculiar accommodations of brutes. But here his own principles fhew his folly. He fuppofes them all made for his ufe: Now what use could he have of them, when he had robbed them of all their qualities? Qualities, diftributed with the highest wisdom, as they are divided at prefent; but which, if beftowed according to the froward humour of thefe childifh complainers, would be found to be, every where, either wanting or fuperfluous. But even with these brutal qualities, Man would not only be no gainer, but a confiderable lofer; as is fhewn, in NOTES.

VER. 182. Here with degrees of fwiftnefs, &c.] It is

a certain axiom in the anatomy of creatures, that in proportion as they are formed for

ftrength, their fwiftnefs is leffened; or as they are formed for swiftness, their strength is abated. P.

All in exact proportion to the state;

Nothing to add, and nothing to abatę.
Each beaft, each infect, happy in its own;
Is Heav'n unkind to Man, and Man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,

185

Be pleas'd with nothing, if not bless'd with all?
The blifs of Man (could Pride that bleffing find)
Is not to act or think beyond mankind;

No pow'rs of body or of foul to fhare,
But what his nature and his ftate can bear.
Why has not Man a microscopic eye ?
For this plain reafon, Man is not a Fly.
Say what the use, were finer optics giv'n,
T'infpect a mite, not comprehend the heav'n?
Or touch, if tremblingly alive all o'er,
To fmart and agonize at ev'ry pore?

Or quick effluvia darting thro' the brain,

!

Die of a rofe in aromatic pain?

If nature thunder'd in his op'ning ears,

199

195

200

And stunn'd him with the mufic of the fpheres,

COMMENTARY.

explaining the confequences that would follow from his having his fenfations in that exquifite degree, in which this or that animal is obferved to poffefs them.

NOTES.

VER. 202. Stunn'd him with the mufic of the fpheres,] This

inftance is poetical and even fublime, but mifplaced. He

How would he wish that Heav'n had left him still

The whifp'ring Zephyr, and the purling rill? Who finds not Providence all good and wife, 205 Alike in what it gives, and what denies?

VII. Far as Creation's ample range extends, The scale of fenfual, mental pow'rs ascends: Mark how it mounts, to Man's imperial race, From the green myriads in the peopled grass: 210 What modes of fight betwixt each wide extreme, The mole's dim curtain, and the lynx's beam: Of smell, the headlong lionefs between, And hound fagacious on the tainted green :

COMMENTARY.

VER. 207. Far as Creation's ample range extends,] He tells us next (from 206 to 233) that the complying with fsuch extravagant defires would not only be useless and pernicious to Man, but would be breaking into the Order, and deforming the Beauty of God's Creation, in which this animal is fubject to that, and every one to Man; who by his Reason enjoys the fum of all their powers.

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Of hearing, from the life that fills the flood, 215
To that which warbles thro' the vernal wood:
The spider's touch, how exquifitely 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?220
How Instinct varies in the grov'ling fwine,
Compar'd, half-reas'ning elephant, with thine!
'Twixt that, and Reason, what a nice barrier;
For ever fep'rate, yet for ever near!

;

225

Remembrance and Reflection how ally'd
What thin partitions Senfe from Thought divide:

NOTES.

Lions hunting their prey in the deserts of Africa is this: At their first going out in the night-time they fet up a loud roar, and then liften to the noife made by the beasts in their flight, pursuing them by the ear, and not by the noftril. It is probable the story of the jackal's hunting for the lion, was occafioned by obfervation of this defect of fcent in that terrible animal. P.

Atheistic philofophers, as Protagoras, held that thought was only fenfe; and from thence concluded, that every imagination or opinion of every manwas true: Πᾶσα φαντασία ἐςὶν dans. But the poet determines more philofophically; that they are really and effentially different, how thin foever the partition is by which they are divided. Thus (to illuftrate the truth of this obfervation) when a geometer confiders a triangle, in order to demonstrate the equality of its three angles to two right ones, he has the picture or VER. 226. What thin par- image of fome fenfible triantitions &c.] Sɔ thin, that thegle in his mind, which is sense;

VER. 224. For ever fep'rate, &c.] Near, by the fimilitude of the operations; Separate, by the immenfe difference in the nature of the powers.

And Middle natures, how they long to join,
Yet never pass th’infuperable line!
Without this juft gradation, could they be
Subjected, these to those, or all to thee?
The pow'rs of all fubdu'd by thee alone,

230

Is not thy Reason all these pow'rs in one?
VIII. See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
All matter quick, and bursting into birth.

COMMENTARY.

VER. 233 See, thro' this air, &c.] And farther (from ✯ 232 to 267) that this breaking the order of things, which, as a link or chain, connects all beings from the higheft to the lowest, would unavoidably be attended with the deftruction of the Univerfe: For that the feveral parts of it must at least compofe as entire and harmonious a whole, as the parts of a human body, can hardly be doubted: Yet we see what confufion it would make in our frame, if the members were fet upon invading each other's office:

What if the foot, &c.

$ 259, &c. Who will not acknowledge, therefore, that fo harmonious a

NOTES.

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