N°. 024


All nature is but art,
unknown to thee.

— Alexander Pope


Definition: /Noun/ & /Adjective/

for un :: Old English un-, Old Norse ú-, ó- corresponding to
Old Irish in-, an-, Latin in-, Greek an-, a- meaning not,
plus for known ::
Old English cnāwan, earlier gecnāwan, corresponding to
Old High German -cnāen, -cnāhen, and Old Norse kná, knegum

 not known, not generally recognized, unfamiliar.

2) ignorant (of); unskilled.

3) (followed by to) without the knowledge of, unbeknown to

4) of the wind, the sea, the weahter; to be tempestuous or stormy rage.

5) an unknown person or thing.

6) that which is unknown.

Extra Elements of Interest ::

This line is from An Essay on Man, I, line 289 written by Alexander Pope.  He wrote An Essay on Man during the years 1733-1734

The full quote is ::

“All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good;
And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.”


This poem is written in heroic couplets and set forth a moral perspective.  The first epistle address the nature of humans and our place in the universe (not the center).

He translated both The Illiad and The Odyssey both of which proved popular and made him rich.

More on Alexander Pope can be found here from The Poetry Foundation.

His work was admired by Voltaire and Rousseau.  Voltaire may have helped to get An Essay on Man translated into French, which he praised in his Lettres philosophiques, published in 1756. The destructive earthquake that hit Lisbon, Portugal in 1755 challenged Voltaire’s optimism. Thereafter, he satirized Pope’s vision of the world as ordered and planed and mocked Pope’s recurring line, “Whatever is, is right,”  in his novella Candide by declaring, with irony, “Tout est bien” (“all is well”).

My favorite tidbit about Pope is this: apparently he replied, “Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms,” when his doctor told him one morning that he was better.  He died later that night.  Sometimes I want to say to my doctors – “Here am I, suffering from a hundred good symptoms!” when they tell me all is fine.

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