This paper examines the parallels between the natural, psychological, and social harmony in Alexander Pope’s philosophical poem An Essay on Man (1733-34) and various Confucian texts. Both Pope and Confucians base psychological and social harmony on a cosmos that brings apparently contending movements towards higher uniformity, and both Pope and Confucius identify an ethical mean as the ideal of life. Popean harmony, compared with Confucian harmony, remains mechanical and isolated because Pope fails to address the possible interactions between inner and outer harmony. The similarities between Popean and Confucian harmony may be traced to the influences of Leibniz and Bolingbroke who studied Confucianism with great interest, and more probably, to the general enthusiasm for sinology in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
KEY WORDS: Alexander Pope, Confucianism, harmony, mean