What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a God! Shakespeare.Hamlet, Act II. Scene 2. (Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.)
The man resolved and steady to his trust, Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just; May the rude rabbles insolence despise, Their senseless clamours, and tumultuous cries. Addison.Horace, Ode III. Book III.
Man doomd to care, to pain, disease, and strife, Walks his short journey through the vale of life, Watchful, attends the cradle and the grave, And passing generations longs to save: Last dies himself: yet wherefore should we mourn? For man must to his kindred dust return; Submit to the destroying hand of fate, As ripend ears the harvest-sickle wait. Euripides.Yonges Cicero, Tusculan Disp. Book III. Page 387.
Why has not man a microscopic eye? For this plain reason, man is not a fly. Say what the use, were finer optics given, T inspect a mite, not comprehend the heaven? Pope.Essay on Man, Epi. I. Line 193.
Go, wondrous 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, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule, Then drop into thyself, and be a fool! Pope.Essay on Man, Epi. II. Line 19.
One part, one little part, we dimly scan, Through the dark medium of lifes feverish dream, Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan, If but that little part incongruous seem, Nor is that part perhaps what mortals deem. Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise: O then renounce that impious self-esteem, That aims to trace the secrets of the skies: For thou art but of dust; be humble, and be wise. Beattie.The Minstrel, Book I. Stanza 50.
So man, the moth, is not afraid, it seems, To span omnipotence, and measure might That knows no measure, by the scanty rule And standard of his own, that is to day, And is not ere to-morrows sun go down. Cowper.The Task, Book VI. Line 211.
Trust not a man; we are by nature false, Dissembling, subtle, cruel, and unconstant: When a man talks of love, with caution trust him; But if he swears, hell certainly deceive thee. Otway.The Orphan, Act II. Scene 1.
[And see the same idea in Demosthenes and in Pindar, as given by Dr. Ramage in his Beautiful Thoughts from Greek Authors, Page 74, and these from Latin authors, Page 297; but the words of the wise king are superior to all:A mans heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps. Solomon.Proverbs, Chap. xvi. Ver. 9.]