In the larger scheme, the poem would have consisted of four books: the first as we now have it; a second book of epistles on human reason, human arts, and sciences, human talent, and the use of learning, science and wit "together with a satire against the misapplications of them"; a third book on the Science of Politics; and a fourth book concerning "private ethics" or "practical morality." The only part of the scheme, therefore, which was fully completed was the four epistles of the Essay on Man.
Parts of the fourth book of The Dunciad were composed using material for the second book of the original essay and the four moral epistles were originally conceived as parts of the fourth book (see below).
The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the cause of man's error and misery.
The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice of his dispensations. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfections of the angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though, to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sentual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and all creatures to man.
I was unable to treat this part of my subject in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sacrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, breaking the chain of reasoning: If any man unite all these without diminution of any of them freely confesshe will compass a thing above my capacity."What is now Published is only to be considered as a general Map of Man, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connection, and leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, refection, reason; that Reason alone countervails all the other faculties, ver.
Consequently, these Epistles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to make any progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfections of the angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though, to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable.
By doing this, one would justify the happenings of life, and the workings of God, for there is a reason behind all things that is beyond human understanding.
Pope’s endeavor to highlight the infallibility of nature is a key aspect of the Augustan period in literature; a poet’s goal was to convey truth by creating a mirror image of nature.
It is therefore in the anatomy of the mind as in that of the body; more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studying too much such finer nerves and vessels, the conformations and uses of which will for ever escape our observation. A freethinker and Deist, he may have provided Pope with the "philosophy" of the Essay, although there has been a continual controversy as to whether the poem's point of view is Christian or Deistic. XIV, 14) by aspiring to be like God in knowledge, man transgressed and fell (Gen., iii, 5)." Back to Line"[Pope] It is a certain axiom in the anatomy of creatures, that in proportion as they are formed for strength, their swiftness is lessened, or as they are formed for swiftness, their strength is abated." Back to Line[Pope] There is an universal ORDER and GRADATION through the whole visible world, of the sensible and mental faculties, which causes the subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to man, whose reason alone countervails all the other faculties....
The disputes are all upon these last, and, I will venture to say, they have less sharpened the wits than the hearts of men against each other, and have diminished the practice, more than advanced the theory, of morality. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state, ver. The extent, limits and use of human reason and science, the author designed as the subject of his next book of Ethic Epistles." Back to Line"[Pope] The manner of the Lions hunting their prey in the deserts of Africa is this: At their first going out in the nighttime they set up a loud roar, and then listen to the noise made by the beasts in their flight, pursuing them by the ear, and not by the nostril.