The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) and Two Rambler papers (1750) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 33 pages of information about The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) and Two Rambler papers (1750).
grave, compacted statement as will hardly be surpassed.  The assuaging, marmoreal majesty of the concluding lines of the poem are a final demonstration of the virtue of this formal dignity in poetry.  If it did not appear invidious, one would like to quote by way of contrast some lines oddly parallel, but on a pitch deliberately subdued to a less rhetorical level, from what is indubitably one of the very greatest poems written in our own century, Mr. Eliot’s Four Quartets

  I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
  For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
  For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
  But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. 
  Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: 
  So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

From The Vanity of Human Wishes

  Still raise for good the supplicating voice,
  But leave to heav’n the measure and the choice,
  Safe in his pow’r, whose eyes discern afar
  The secret ambush of a specious pray’r. 
  Implore his aid, in his decisions rest,
  Secure whate’er he gives, he gives the best.... 
  Pour forth thy fervours for a healthful mind,
  Obedient passions, and a will resign’d;
  For love, which scarce collective man can fill;
  For patience sov’reign o’er transmuted ill;
  For faith, that panting for a happier seat,
  Counts death kind Nature’s signal of retreat: 
  These goods for man the laws of heav’n ordain,
  These goods he grants, who grants the pow’r to gain;
  With these celestial wisdom calms the mind,
  And makes the happiness she does not find.

The Vanity of Human Wishes is reproduced from a copy in the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library; the Rambler papers from copies in possession of Professor E.N.  Hooker.  The lines from T.S.  Eliot’s Four Quartets are quoted with the permission of Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Bertrand H. Bronson University of California Berkeley


Tenth Satire of Juvenal,


Printed for R. DODSLEY at Tully’s Head in Pall-Mall,
and Sold by M. COOPER in Pater-noster Row.



Let[a] Observation with extensive View,
Survey Mankind, from China to Peru;
Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife,
And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life;
Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate,
O’erspread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate,
Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by venturous Pride,
To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide;
As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude,

Project Gutenberg
The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749) and Two Rambler papers (1750) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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