Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

IOI

There, where no Father's, Brother's Friend's disgrace
Once break their rest, or stir them from their Place:
But past the Sense of human Miseries,
All Tears are wip'd for ever from all eyes ;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
Save when they lose a Question, or a Job.
P. Good Heav'n forbid, that I should blaft their
glory,

105
Who know how like Whig Ministers to Tory,
And when three Sov'reigns dy'd, could scarce be vext,
Confid'ring what a gracious Prince was next.
Have I, in silent wonder feen such things
As Pride in Slaves, and Avarice in Kings;
And at a Peer or Peeress, shall I fret,
Who starves a Sister, or forswears a Debt?
Virtue, I grant you, is an empty boast ;
But shall the Dignity of Vice be lost?
Ye Gods! shall Cibber's Son, without rebuke, 115
Swear like a Lord, or Rich out-whore a Duke ;

II

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

VER. 108. gracious Prince] The style of Addresses on an accession.

Ver. 115. Cibber's Son, --- Rich] Two Players : look for them in the Dunciud. P.

[ocr errors]

A Fav'rite's Porter with his Master vie,
Be brib'd as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw Contracts with a Statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a Will ? 120
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things)
To pay their Debts, or keep their Faith, like Kings?
If Blount dispatch'd himself he play'd the man,
And so may'st thou, illustrious Passeran !
But shall a Printer, weary of his life,

125
Learn, from their Books, to hang himself and Wife?
This, this, my Friend, I cannot, must not bear;
Vice thus abus’d, demands a Nation's care :
This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,
And hurls the Thunder of the Laws on Gin.

130 Nores. Ver. 123. If Blount] Author of an impious and foolish book called the Oracles of Reason, who being in love with a near kinswoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a stab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the consequence of which he really died. P.

Ver. 124. Passeran!] Author of another book of the same stamp, called A philosophical discourse on death, being a defence of suicide.

VER. 125. But mall a Printer, etc.) A Fact that happened in London a few years past. The unhappy man left behind him a paper justifying his action by the reasonings of some of these authors. P.

VER. 129. This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,] Alluding to the forms of prayer, composed in the tinies of public calamity; where the fault is generally laid upon the People.

Ver. 130. Gin.) A spirituous liquor, the exorbitant

Let modest Foster, if he will, excell
Ten Metropolitans in preaching well;
A fimple Quaker, or a Quaker's Wife,
Out-do Landaffe in Doctrine,--yea in Life:
Let humble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame,
Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame.

135

Notes. use of which had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the People till it was restrained by an act of Parliainent in 1736. P.

VER. 135. Let modeft Foster,] This confirms an observation which Mr. Hobbes made long ago, That there be very few Bijbops that azt a sermon so well, as divers Presbyterians and fanatic Preachers can do. Hilt. of Civ, Wars. p. 62. SCRIBL.

VER. 134. Landaffe] A poor Bishoprick in Wales, as poorly supplied. P.

VER. 135. Let humble ALLEN with an aukward Shame, Do good by stealth, and blush to find i: Fame.] The true Character of our Author's moral pieces, coniidered as a Supplement to human laws (the force of which they have defurvedly obtained) is, that his praise is always delicate, and his reproof never misplaced : and therefore the first not reaching the head, and the latter too sensibly touching the heart of his vulgar readers, have made himn censured as a cold Panegyrist, and a caustic Satirist; whereas, indeed, he was the warmest friend, and the moit placable enemy.

The lines above have been commonly given as an inftance of this ungenerous backwardness in doing justice to merit. And, indeed, if fairly given, would bear hard upon the Author, who believed the person here celebrated to be one of the greatest characters in private life that ever was; and known by him to be, in fact, all, and

* R

}

1

Virtue may chuse the high or low Degree, 'Tis juft alike to Virtue, and to me;

Notes. much more than he had feigned in the imaginary virtaes of the man of Rofs. One, who, whether he be considered in his civil, social, domeftic, or religious character, is, in all these views, an ornament to human nature.

And, indeed, we shall fee, that what is here said of hin agrees only with such a Character. But as both the thought and the expression have been censured, we shall consider them in their order.

Let humble Allen, with an aukward Shame,

Do good by Realth -This encomium has been called obfcure (as well as penurious.) It may be so; not from any defect in the conception, but from the deepness of the sense ; and, what may seem more strange, (as we shall see afterwards) from the elegance of phrase, and exactness of expression. We are so absolutely governed by custom, that to act contrary to it, creates even in virtuous men, who are ever modest, a kind of diffidence, which is the parent of Shame. But when, to this, there is joined a consciousness that, in forsaking custom, you follow truth and reason, the indignation arising from such a conscious virtue, mixing with Mame, produces that amiable aukwardness, in going out of the fashion, which the Poet, here, celebrates.

and blush to find it Fame. i. e. He blushed at the degeneracy of his times, which, at best, gave his goodness its due commendation (the thing he never aimed at) instead of following and imitating his example, which was the reason why some acts of it were not done by stealth, but more openly. So far as to the thought: but it will be said,

tantamne rem tam negligenter? And this will lead us to say something concerning the ex

[ocr errors]

Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
She's still the same, belov’d, contented thing. 140
Vice is undone, if she forgets her Birth,
And stoops from Angels to the Dregs of Earth :
But 'tis the Fall degrades her to a Whore ;
Let Greatness own her, and she's mean no more, 144
Her Birth, her Beauty, Crowds and Courts confess,
Chafte Matrons praise her, and grave Bishops bless ;
In golden Chains the willing World she draws,
And hers the Gospel is, and hers the Laws,
Mounts the Tribunal, lifts her scarlet head,
And sees pale Virtue carted in her stead.

150
Lo! at the wheels of her Triumphal Car,
Old England's Genius, rough with many a Scar,
Dragg'd in the Duft! his arms hang idly round,
His Flag inverted trails along the ground !
Our Youth, all livery'd o'er with foreign Gold, 155
Before her dance : behind her, crawl the Old !
See thronging Millions to the Pagod run,
And offer Country, Parent, Wife, or Son!

Notes. prelion, which will clear up what remains of the difficulty. in these lines, and in chole which precede and follow them, are contained an ironical negleži of Virtue, and an ironical concern and care for Vice. So that the Poet's elegant correctness of composition required, that his language, in the first case should present foinething of negligence and censure ; which is admirably implied in the ex. presion of the thought.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »