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I. Now then thyself, presume not to God to
scan, The proper study of Mankind is Man. Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state, A Being darkly wife, and rudely great : With too much knowledge for the Sceptic fide, 5 With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act, or reft; In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast; In doubt his Mind or Body to preser ; Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reason fuch, Whether he thinks too little, or too much : Chaos of Thought and Paffion, all confus'd; Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd; Created half to rise, and half to fall;
15 Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all ;
Ver. 2. The proper fludy, etc.] The poet having shewn, in the first epistle, that the ways of God are too high for our comprehension, rightly draws this conclusion : and methodically makes it the subject of his Introduction to the second, which treats of the Naiure of Man.
The only science of Mankind is Man.
Fey Love still stronger, as its Objects nigh, Reasons at distance, and in prospect lie; That sees immediate Good by present dense, a Reason the future, and the Consequences
Eps:on Man Ep. II.
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd :
VER. 22. Correct old Time,] This alludes to Sir Isaac News
For more perfection than this state can bear
Then drop into thyself, etc.
Show by what rules the wand'ring planets stray,
Correct old Time, and teach the Sun his Way.
Go, foar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere,
Could he, whose rules the rapid Comet bind, 35 Describe or fix one movement of his Mind? Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend, Explain his own beginning, or his end?
ton's Grecian Chronology, which he reformed on those two sublime conceptions, the difference between the reigns of kings, and the generations of men; and the position of the colures of the equinoxes and folstices at the time of the Argonautic expedition.
Ver. 37. Who saw its fires here rise, etc.] Sir Isaac Newton, in calculating the velocity of a Comet’s motion, and the course
Could he, who taught each Planet where to roll,