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> AN ESSAY ON MAN, by Alexander Pope, Part III. The Proper Study
Psyche
post Jul 11 08, 10:19
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I'm posting snippets of humanity's poetic heritage here, since I believe it's a shame that poetry readings seldom include the great, wondrous classics. I suggest reading at least the first stanza! Impressive.

AN ESSAY ON MAN

III. The Proper Study


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac’d on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus’d;
Still by himself abus’d, or disabus’d;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl’d:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!

Alexander Pope


(cont.)


Go, wond'rous creature! mount where Science guides,
Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Correct old Time, and regulate the Sun;
Go, soar with Plato to th'empyreal sphere,
To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;
Or tread the mazy round his follow'rs trod,
And quitting sense call imitating God;
As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,
And turn their heads to imitate the Sun.
Go, teach the Eternal Wisdom how to rule -
Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!
A mortal Man unfold all Nature's law,
Admir'd such wisdom in an earthly shape,
And show'd a NEWTON as we show an ape.
Could he, whose rules the rapid Comet bind,
Describe or fix one movement of his Mind?
Who saw its fires here rise, and there descend,
Explain his own beginning, or his end?
Alas, what wonder! Man's superior part
Uncheck'd may rise, and climb from art to art;
But when his own great work is but begun,
What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.
Trace Science, then, with Modesty thy guide;
First strip off all her equipage of Pride;
Deduct what is but Vanity, or Dress,
Or Learning's Luxury, or Idleness;
Or tricks to show the stretch of human brain,
Mere curious pleasure, or ingenious pain;
Expunge the whole, or lop th'excrescent parts
Of all our Vices have created Arts;
Then see how little the remaining sum,
Which serv'd the past, and must the times to come!


Alexander Pope


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jgdittier
post Jul 14 08, 11:07
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Dear Psyche/Sylvia,
You've done it again. Here is another piece of brilliant poetic heritage I'd completely missed until
you posted it and lead me to it!
I smile as it starts with an inversion, the very bane of all professors who have opted for modern methods over those of the golden age. Another anathma of the current crop of poets is the couplet rhyme scheme. "Too simplistic" they say and of course, restrictive in allowing the modern poet maximum freedom to express his message.
No piece of poetry can be percieved as perfect and so I consider Pope probably lazy in accepting rest/beast and sphere/fair as acceptable rhymes and for unrhymed "law".
I must now research Mr. Pope to see if I can decipher his thoughts about the nature of theuniverse, that is, why man cannot contemplate how we all got here and if we have a mission.
"A mortal man unfold all Nature's law,
Admir'd such wisdom in an earthy shape,
And showed a NEWTON as we show an ape".
I wonder how long it will be until music catches up with poetry and all the brilliance of the golden age of the 3-Bs is ignored just as poetry has been?
Thanks for adding a new aspect to my enjoyment!
Cheers, Ron jgd


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Psyche
post Jul 17 08, 12:23
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From: Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia
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Real Name: Sylvia Evelyn
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Grace Galton & David Ting



Dear Ron!
We seem to be the only poets in MM enjoying these L.L.'s!!!

I smile as it starts with an inversion, the very bane of all professors who have opted for modern methods over those of the golden age.

Quite so! The modern idea is that an inversion is used to force a rhyme. Well, that may be so, but what masterly works the golden age produced with that recourse. It seems to me that the result & content are what count. You can easily write stupid stuff with or without inversions.

I didn't know that the couplet scheme is now considered too simplistic. I don't care, anyway!

As to imperfect rhymes, which you mention, I've noticed that many of the great poets used them. Perfection, I think, can also be forced, so why not break a few rules and produce a masterpiece?
I don't know whether Pope was lazy, leaving 'law' all by itself, I never met him! Perhaps he missed some of his errors because his Odes were so long...LOL...He dozed off while re-reading them!

I think I have a tendency to enjoy philosophical and/or metaphysical poetry because I got my degree in Philosophy, not Literature. William Blake also delves into the mysteries of our existence, tho' I still owe him proper attention.

Speaking of whether we have a mission on earth, do you read some books by astrophysicists or other scientists who've crossed the border into metaphysics? They're the bane of their peers, but oh my, what works these 'mavericks' have written....wow....

Fred Hoyle, Frank Tipler, Paul Davies et al. Paul Davies received the Templeton Prize recently, and this disgusted the 'pure' scientists, who said he'd won it for theological reasons. But he's a self-confessed agnostic!! I've all his books. I really enjoyed the last one: "The Fifth Miracle", which happens to be 'life' in all its aspects. You know, from primitive bacteria to complex living beings. A fascinating read!

I really delight in authors who don't pretend to have the 'last word' on everything, from seemingly indifferent Nature to a God who loves us all, and so on.

Well, I'll stop here because I'm beginning to warble on erratically.

But I do believe it's YOUR turn to add some L.L. to this forum! I await your input...LOL....

Cheers, Syl ***


·······IPB·······

Mis temas favoritos



"There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction."

Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water, Wuthering Heights.



Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

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jgdittier
post Aug 5 08, 16:37
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Dear Syl,
I hope to get to the library on Thur. Will look for the books you mentioned.
I'm open minded re our existance, I can declare for a God that made the universe, but not that He pays attention to earthly happenings. Why otherwise, the universe?
I must read.
Cheers, ron jgdittier


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Psyche
post Aug 22 08, 22:15
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From: Bariloche, Argentine Patagonia
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Real Name: Sylvia Evelyn
Writer of: Poetry & Prose
Referred By:Grace Galton & David Ting



Dear Ron,

Did you have any luck with the books I mentioned? Personally, I enjoy reading authors with opposing theories. Perhaps they help me, with their confrontations, to form some sort of ideas of my own. I even read guys I dislike, such as the fanatically atheist Richard Dawkins -a Brit scientist. This author, in particular, makes me rush off to find some spiritual stuff...

I think that if we live in an Intelligent Universe, as the famous Sir Fred Hoyle claims in his books, then it would work more like a fantastic computer, that would indeed store ALL data (even count the hairs on our heads...LOL...), but that doesn't 'click' with our idea of a loving God who allows us free-will to mess-up things and then forgives us.

Yes, I'm open minded, but lean towards spirituality in a wider sense...we're here for a reason! And maybe for a mission....but let the L.L. poets say it!!!

Cheers, Syl***


·······IPB·······

Mis temas favoritos



"There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction."

Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water, Wuthering Heights.



Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

MM Award Winner
 
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jgdittier
post Dec 12 08, 19:17
Post #6


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From: Connecticut
Member No.: 58
Real Name: Ron Jones
Writer of: Poetry



Dear Sylvia,
We have a local retired prof is going to recite the entite Milton's "Paradise Lost", over three days.
God be with him!
Cheers, Ro jgdittier


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Ron Jones

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