1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Pope

Anonymous, "Verses occasion'd by reading the Essay on Man, first Part" Grub-Street Journal (22 March 1733).



Go on, great genius, with thy bold design,
And Prose's strength, with verse's softness join:
Teach us the wise, the necessary skill,
To search the heart, and curb the headstrong will.
No more let pride's delusive arts prevail,
And prejudice decide where reas'nings fail.
Of reason's self assign the just extent;
Nor let her aim beyond what nature meant:
Eternal laws have fix'd her bounded sway,
Nor can she from her stated limits stray.
Shall mortals strive to know what heav'n denies?
Or view immensity with purblind eyes?
Instruct eternal wisdom how to reign,
And count each link of the almighty chain?
Vain creatures, own your weak, dependant state,
Nor hope to pry into th' abyss of fate:
Content with the small share of good possest,
Act well your parts, and leave to heav'n the rest.