Essay on Man

Essay on Man.—A poem by Alexander Pope, in four epistles: Of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to the Universe ;Of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to Himself as an Individual Of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to Society ; and Of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to Happiness. Its fundamental idea is to the effect that the system of the universe is a “benevolent system, in which every virtue, as well as every passion, has its object and end.”

“If,” says Professor Ward, “the Essay on Man  were shivered into fragments, it would not lose its value; for it is precisely its details which constitute its moral as well as literary beauties. Nowhere has Pope so abundantly displayed his incomparable talent of elevating truisms into proverbs, in his mastery over language and poetic form.”