An Essay on Man is a poem written by Alexander Pope in 1733–1734
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Kenneth Silverman connected the use of December with the death of Edgars mother (Silverman, 1992:241), who died in that month; whether this is true or not is, however, not significant to its meaning in the poem.
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It cannot be expected that one part of existence (man) should understand all the other parts, he then continues:
As of thy mother Earth, why oaks are madePope continues with this theme into his third stanza, in saying "Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate," and continues:
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade.
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the sale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain
There must be, somewhere, such a rank as Man.
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's god, -
Then say not Man's imperfect, Heav'n in fault, -
Say rather Man's as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur'd to his state and place,
His time a moment, and a point his space.
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,Then giving way to his religious bent, makes reference to the "great teacher Death" and continues with his most famous lines:
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas'd to the last he crops the flow'ry food,
And licks the hand just rais'd to shed his blood.
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;Next, Pope deals with native people of the uncivilized territories of the world, and how they do not get hung up on such large questions as are expressed in Pope's essay:
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rest and expatiates in a life to come.
Lo, the poor Indian!