Alexander pope essay on man voltaire

The second epistle abruptly turns to focus on the principles that guide human action. The rest of this section focuses largely on “self-love,” an eighteenth-century term for self-maintenance and fulfillment. It was common during Pope’s lifetime to view the passions as the force determining human action. Typically instinctual, the immediate object of the passions was seen as pleasure. According to Pope’s philosophy, each man has a “ruling passion” that subordinates the others. In contrast with the accepted eighteenth-century views of the passions, Pope’s doctrine of the “ruling passion” is quite original. It seems clear that with this idea, Pope tries to explain why certain individual behave in distinct ways, seemingly governed by a particular desire. He does not, however, make this explicit in the poem.

   Ye Sylphs and Sylphids , to your Chief give Ear,
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves , and Daemons hear!

Ye know the Spheres and various Tasks assign'd,

By Laws Eternal, to th' Aerial Kind.

Some in the Fields of purest AEther play,

And bask and whiten in the Blaze of Day.

Some guide the Course of wandring Orbs on high,

Or roll the Planets thro' the boundless Sky.

Some less refin'd, beneath the Moon's pale Light

Hover, and catch the shooting stars by Night;

Or suck the Mists in grosser Air below,

Or dip their Pinions in the painted Bow,

Or brew fierce Tempests on the wintry Main,

Or o'er the Glebe distill the kindly Rain.

Others on Earth o'er human Race preside,

Watch all their Ways, and all their Actions guide:

Of these the Chief the Care of Nations own,

And guard with Arms Divine the British Throne .

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Although not himself of the 'beau-monde' Pope was part of the same era. The finesse and delicacy of 'beau-monde' manners is matched by Pope's style, and the good humour, wit, and charm which characterises Pope's manner must represent an expression of the same ideals pursued by the Baron and other courtly men of the age. An affinity between them is revealed by Pope's empathy, fine judgements, and carefully aimed criticisms, and Pope must have been at least a little fascinated by the 'beau-monde' to apply his talents to this poem which, in an ironic way, celebrates Belinda and her world and, as Pope himself suggests in the final couplet of the poem, has preserved them for posterity.

Alexander pope essay on man voltaire

alexander pope essay on man voltaire

Although not himself of the 'beau-monde' Pope was part of the same era. The finesse and delicacy of 'beau-monde' manners is matched by Pope's style, and the good humour, wit, and charm which characterises Pope's manner must represent an expression of the same ideals pursued by the Baron and other courtly men of the age. An affinity between them is revealed by Pope's empathy, fine judgements, and carefully aimed criticisms, and Pope must have been at least a little fascinated by the 'beau-monde' to apply his talents to this poem which, in an ironic way, celebrates Belinda and her world and, as Pope himself suggests in the final couplet of the poem, has preserved them for posterity.

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