Poetic Devices In Essay On Man
One science only will one genius fit; So vast is art, so narrow human wit: Not only bounded to peculiar arts, But oft in those, confin'd to single parts.Like kings we lose the conquests gain'd before, By vain ambition still to make them more; Each might his sev'ral province well command, Would all but stoop to what they understand.First follow NATURE, and your judgment frame By her just standard, which is still the same: Unerring Nature, still divinely bright, One clear, unchang'd, and universal light, Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart, At once the source, and end, and test of art.Art from that fund each just supply provides, Works without show, and without pomp presides: In some fair body thus th' informing soul With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole, Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains; Itself unseen, but in th' effects, remains.Authors are partial to their wit, 'tis true, But are not critics to their judgment too?
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites, When to repress, and when indulge our flights: High on Parnassus' top her sons she show'd, And pointed out those arduous paths they trod; Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize, And urg'd the rest by equal steps to rise.It is a discussion of what good critics should do; however, in reading it one gleans much wisdom on the qualities poets should strive for in their own work.In Part I of “An Essay on Criticism,” Pope notes the lack of “true taste” in critics, stating: “’Tis with our judgments as our watches, none / Go just alike, yet each believes his own.” Pope advocates knowing one’s own artistic limits: “Launch not beyond your depth, but be discreet, / And mark that point where sense and dullness meet.” He stresses the order in nature and the value of the work of the “Ancients” of Greece, but also states that not all good work can be explained by rules: “Some beauties yet, no precepts can declare, / For there’s a happiness as well as care.” In Part II, Pope lists the mistakes that critics make, as well as the defects in poems that some critics short-sightedly praise.Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse, Want as much more, to turn it to its use; For wit and judgment often are at strife, Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife.'Tis more to guide, than spur the Muse's steed; Restrain his fury, than provoke his speed; The winged courser, like a gen'rous horse, Shows most true mettle when you check his course.As a Catholic at that time in Britain, he was ineligible for patronage, public office, or a position at a university. Pope primarily used the heroic couplet, and his lines are immensely quotable; from “An Essay on Criticism” come famous phrases such as “To err is human; to forgive, divine,” “A little learning is a dang’rous thing,” and “For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” After 1718 Pope lived on his five-acre property at Twickenham by the Thames.A sharp-penned satirist of public figures and their behavior, Pope had his supporters and detractors. He cultivated a much-visited garden that contained a grotto, and featured the formal characteristics of a French garden and the newer more natural “English” landscape style.Pope wrote “An Essay on Criticism” when he was 23; he was influenced by Quintillian, Aristotle, Horace’s .Written in heroic couplets, the tone is straight-forward and conversational.Pope grew up on his father’s property at Binfield in Windsor Forest, where he read avidly and gained an appreciation for the natural world.Though he remained in ill health throughout his life, he was able to support himself as a translator and writer. Arbuthnot” and the mock epic “The Rape of the Lock.” To read his work is to be exposed to the order and wit of the 18th century poetry that preceded the Romantic poets.