A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,"
These lines form Pope’s Essay On Man (Epistle - II), his most didactic poem written in the antithetical mode, and presenting man’s position in the universal scheme of things, distils the essence of Pope’s belief that man is a mingled creation comprising the poles opposites.
The entire poem is in effect a description of these opposite qualities which render man a paradoxical existence, liable to follies, vices and disasters. Although he possesses knowledge and even wisdom, as the adjective “darkly” points out, he is often beset with ignorance and folly. Although man possesses greatness and nobility, he often loses his humanity and behaves rudely acrimoniously and even violently. Although man possesses far too much knowledge for him to be a Skeptic, although he possesses knowledge about the origin of the universe and about Gods benevolence and mans latent goodness, he is often tempted to feel like a Skeptic.Skeptic is one who not only believes that man’s knowledge is necessarily incomplete and flawed, but also that God is merciless and man virtue less.