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Sce dying vegetables life sustain,
Pope has again copied Shaftesbury so closely in this passage, as to use almost his
« Thus in the several orders of terrestrial forms, a resignation is required, a sacrifice and mutual yielding of natures one to another. The vegetables by their death, sustain the animals; and the animal bodies diffolved, enrich the earth, and raise again the vegetable world. The numerous insects are reduced by the superior kinds of birds and beasts : And these again are checked by man; who in his turn submits to other natures, and resigns his form a sacrifice in common to the rest of things. And if in natures fo little exalted or pre-eminent above each other, the facrifice of interest can appear so just; how much more reasonably may all inferior na
tures be subjected to the superior nature of the world * !"
35. Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
The poetry of these lines is as beautiful, as the philosophy is solid.
They who imagine that all things in this world were made for the immediate use of man alone, run themselves into inextricable difficulties. Man indeed is the head of this lower part of the creation, and perhaps it was designed to be absolutely under his command. But that all things here tend directly to his own use, is, I think, neither easy nor necessary to be proved. Some manifestly serve for
• The Moralists, pag. 130. After borrowing fo largely from this treatise, our author should not methioks have ri. diculed it, as he does, in the Fourth Book of the Dunciad; rer. 417:
Or that bright image to our fancy draw,
Which Theocles in raptur'd vifion faw. + Ver. 27
the food and support of others, whose souls may be necessary to prepare and preserve their bodies for that purpose, and may at the fame time be happy in a consciousness of their own existence. 'Tis probable they are intended to promote each others good reciprocally: Nay, man himself contributes to the happiness *, and betters the condition of the brutes in several respects, by cultivating and improving the ground, by watching the seasops, by protecting and providing for them, when they are unable to protect and provide for themselves.” These are the words of Dr. Law, in his learned Commentary on King's Origin of Evil, first published in Latin, 1701, a work of penetration and close reasoning; which, it is remarkable, Bayle had never read, but only some extracts from it, when he first wrote his famous article of the Paulicians, in his
• That very life his learned hunger craves,
He faves from famine, from the savage faves ;
Ep. iii. v. 63.
Dictionary, Dictionary, where he has artfully employed all that force and acuteness of argument, which he certainly poffefsed, in promoting the gloomy and uncomfortable scheme of Scepticism or Manicheism.
36. And reason raise o'er inftin& as you can,
In this 'tis God directs, in that 'tis man
THERE is a fine observation of Montesquieu to concerning the condition of brutes. They are deprived of the high advantages we enjoy; but they have some which we want. They have not our hopes, but then they are without our fears; they are subject like us to death, but it is without knowing it; most of them are even more attentive than we are to felf-preseryation; and they do not make so bad a use of their passions. B. i. c. I.
* Ep. ü. 97
+ We ought not to be blind to the faults of this fine writer, whatever applause he deserves in general. But it must be confessed, that his style is too short, abropt, and epigrammatic; he tells us himself, he was fond of Lucius Florus ; and he believed too credulousy, and laid too great a fress upon, the relations of voyage-writers and travellers; as indeed did Locke, for which he is ridiculed by Shaftesbury, vol. i. p. 344, of the Characteristics. If Shaftefury, said the great Bishop Butler, had lived to see the candor and moderation of the present times, in disculing religious subjects, he would have been a good chriftian.
37. Who taught the nations of the field and wood
To thun their poison, and to chuse their food ?
This paffage is highly finished; such objects are more suited to the nature of poetry than abstract ideas. Every verb and epithet has here a descriptive force. We find inore imagery from these lines to the crid of the epistle, than in any of this Etay. The origin of the connexions in social life, the account of the state of nature, the rise and effects of superftition and tyranny, and the restoration of true religion and just government, all these ought to be mentioned as passages that deserve high applause, nay as some of the most exalted pieces of English poetry.
38. Man walkid with beast, joint tenant of the lade t.
• Ver. 99.
+ Ver. 152.