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DEO OPT. MAX.
In ev'ry Clime ador'd,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord !
UNIVERSAL PRAYER.] “ Some paffages in the Essay on Man having been unjustly suspected of a tendency toward Fate and Naturalism, the Author composed a Prayer, as the sum of all, which was intended to shew that his system was founded in Freewill, and terminated in Piety.”
RUFFHEAD. Warton thinks, for “ closeness and comprehension of thought, and for brevity and energy of expression, there are few pieces of poetry in our language that can be compared with this.” How extraordinary is it, that Warton should be ever accused, as if he wished to decry Pope! No one has borne such willing and ample testimony to his excellence as a Poet, when he truly deserves it ; but will any one compare him to Milton?
In this place, Warton gives the Poetry more praise than it appears entitled to; though this composition is beautiful, and in some passages sublime.
VER.4. Fehovah, Fove, or Lord!] “ It is of very little consequence," says Seneca, De Beneficiis, “ by what name you call the first Nature, and the divine Reason, that presides over the universe, and fills all the parts of it. He is still the same God. You may give Him as many names as you please, provided you allow but one Sole Principle every-where present.”
Thou Great First Cause, least understood,
Who all my Sense confin'd
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark Estate,
To see the Good from Ill; And binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the Human Will.
“ Notwithstanding all the extravagancies and miscarriages of the Poets,” says Cudworth, chap. 4., we shall now make it plainly appear, that they really asserted, not a multitude of selfexistent and independent Deities, but one, only, unmade Deity; and all the other, generated or created gods. This hath been already proved concerning Orpheus, from such fragments of the Orphic Poems as have been owned and attested by Pagan writers.” Cudworth proceeds to confirm this opinion by many strong and uncontested passages from Homer, Hefiod, Pindar, Sophocles, and especially Euripides, Book i. chap. iv. sect. 19. ; and Aristoplanes, in the first line of Plutus, distinguishes betwixt Jupiter and the gods : Ω Ζεύ και θεοι.
WARTON. Ver. 6. my Sense confin’d] It ought to be confinedit, or didit confine ; and afterwards, gaveft, or didft give, in the second per. son. See Lowth's Grammar.
WARTON. Ver. 9. Tet gave me,] Originally Pope had written another stanza, immediately after this: “ Can fins of moments claim the rod
Of everlasting fires ?
Which Nature's self inspires ?” The licentious sentiment it contains, evidently borrowed from a well-known passage of Guarini in the Paftor Fido, induced him to strike it out. And perhaps also the absurd metaphor of a rod of fires, on examination, displeased him.
WARTON. VER. 12. Left free] An absurd and impossible exemption, exclaims the Fatalist; “ comparing together the moral and the naWhat Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do,
That, more than Heav'n pursue.
What Blessings thy free Bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
T' enjoy is to obey.
tural world, every thing is as much the result of established laws in the one as in the other. There is nothing in the whole universe that can properly be called contingent: nothing loose or fluctuating in any part of Nature ; but every motion in the natural, and every determination and action in the moral world, are directed by immutable laws ; so that, whilst these laws remain in their force, not the smallest link of the universal chain of causes and effects can be broken, nor any one thing be otherwise than it is.” All the most fubtile and refined arguments that can be urged in a dispute on Fate and Free-will, are introduced, in a conversation on this subject, betwixt the angels Gabriel and Raphael, and Adam, in the fourth act of Dryden's State of Innocence, and stated with a wonderful precision and perspicuity. Reasoning, in verse, was one of Dryden's molt fingular and predominant excellencies; not. withstanding which, he must rank as a poet for his Music-ode, not for his Religio Laici.
WARTON. Ver. 12. the Human Will.] The result of what Locke advances on this, the most difficult of all subjects, is, that we have a power of doing what we will. If it be the occasion of disorder, it is the cause of order ; of all the moral order that appears in the world. Had Liberty been excluded, Virtue had been excluded with it. And if this had been the case, the world could have had no charms, no beauties, sufficient to recommend it to Him who made it. In short, all other powers and perfections would have been very defective without this, which is truly the life and spirit of the whole creation."
Yet not to Earth's contracted Span
Thy Goodness let me bound, Or think Thee Lord alone of Man,
When thousand Worlds are round:
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw, And deal damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy Foe.
Ver. 27. deal damnation] There is something elevated in the idea and expression,
66 Or think Thee LORD ALONE of Man,
When thousand Worlds are round;" but the conclusion is a contrast of littleness,
“ And deal damnation round the land !”