This description has clear reminiscences of the scholastic vision of cosmos: One of the recurrent ideas all along the poem is that of the harmony of opposites or a piece of philosophical thought whose roots are in classic philosophy (Heraclitus and other members of Ephesus School).
Different examples of this idea can be pointed out in Pope’s poem: This harmony of opposites is the paradoxical idea that Pope uses to describe his conception of order. The explanation for these paradoxical integrated opposites is that in lines 1-2 Epistle III quoted above.
To deduce the rivers, to follow them in the course, and to observe their effects, may be a task more agreeable”.
is, in short, the clearest and more sustained expression that Pope made of his philosophical and ethical beliefs.
But is also a forceful and concise introduction to ideas widely prevalent in early 18th-century England.
To point out some of those ideas is the main aim of this paper.
This long and complex poem has received extensive scholarly and critical attention concentrated on the ideas exposed in its lines, but if those ideas are going to be studied, we have to take into account one important thing: Pope was not a professionally trainer philosopher.
He was widely read in philosophy and he had a deep intellectual interest in the ordering of the universe, and a profound concern for the behaviour of man and his wishes of happiness.