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That Virtue's ends from vanity can raise,
245 Which seeks no int’reft, no reward but praise; And build on wants, and on defects of mind, The joy, the peace, the glory of Mankind.
Heav'n forming each on other to depend, A master, or a fervant, or a friend,
250 Bids each on other for affiftance call, 'Till one Man's weakness grows the strength of all. Wants, frailties, pasions, closer still ally The common int’rest or endear the tie.
NOTE s. Ver. 249. Heav'n forming each on other to depend, ] His therto the Poet hath been employed in discoursing of the use of the Paffions, with regard to Society at large; and in freeing his doctrine from objections: This is the first general division of the subject of this epiftle.
He comes now to shew the use of these Passions, with regard to the more confined circle of our Friends, Relations, and Acquaintance: and this is the second general division.
VER. 253. Wants, frailties, passions, closer Bill ally, The common int'reft, &c.) As these lines have been mir. understood, I shall give the reader their plain and obvious meaning. “ To there frailties (says he) we owe all the endearments of private life; yet when we come to that age, which generally disposes Men to think more seriously of the true value of things, and consequently of their provision for a future ftate, the confideration, that the grounds of those joys, loves, and friendships, are wants, frailties, and passions, proves the best expedient ļo wean us from the world; a disengagement so friendly to that provifion we
fo are now making for another.” The observation is new
To these we owe true friendship, love sincere, 255
Those joys, those loves, those int’rests to resign;
Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf,'
and would in any place be extremely beautiful, but has here an infinite grace and propriety, as it so well confirms, by an instance of great moment, the general thesis, that God makes Ill, at every step, productive of Good.
Ver. 261. Whate'er the Pasions, &c.] The poet having thus shewn the use of the Passions in Society, and in Domestic life, he comes, in the last place, to thew their use to the Individual, even in their illusions; the imaginary happiness they present, helping to make the real miseries of life less insupportable. And this is his third general division :
Opinion gilds with varying rays
And not a vanity is giv’n in vain.
The learn'd is happy nature to explore,
NOTE s. into, and through their own fault; thereby depriving themselves of much happiness, and expofing themselves to equal misery: But that ftill God (according to his univerfal way of working) graciously turns these follies fo far to the advantage of his miserable creatures, as to be the preSent solace and support of their distresses:
Tbo' man's a fool, yet God is wise. VER. 270. — the poet in bis Muse.] The author having faid, that no one would change his profession or views for those of another, intended to carry his observation fill further, and shew that Men were unwilling to exchange their own acquirements even for those of the fame kind, confeffedly larger, and infinitely more eminent, in another. To this end he wrote,
What partly pleases, totally will shock:
I question much, if Toland would be Locke : but wanting another proper instance of this truth when he published his last Edition of the Essay, he reserved the lines above for some following one.
Behold the child, by nature's kindly law,' 275 Pleas'd with a rattle, tickled with a straw: Some livelier play-thing gives his youth delight, A little louder, but as empty quite : Scarfs, garters, gold, am use his riper stage, And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age : 280 Pleas’d with this bauble still; as that before; 'Till tir'd he sleeps, and Life's poor play is o'er, Mean-while Opinion gilds with varying rays Those painted clouds that beautify our days: Each want of happiness by Hope supply'd, And each vacuity of sense by Pride:
Ver. 280. And beads and pray’r-books are the toys of age:] A Satire on what is called in Popery the Opus operatum. As this is a description of the circle of human life returning into itself by a second childhood, the Poet has, with great elegance, concluded his description with the same image with which he set out.
VBR. 286. And each vacuity of sense by Pride :) An eminent Casuift, Father Francis Garaje, in his Somme Theologique, has drawn a very charitable conclusion from this principle. “Selon la justice (says this equitable Divine) « tout travail honnête doit être recompensé de louange ou “ de satisfaction. Quand les bons esprits font un ouvrage “excellent, ils sont justement recompensez par les fuf
frages du Public. Quand un pauvre esprit travaille “ beaucoup, pour fair un mauvais ouvrage, il n'est pas juste,
ni raisonable, qu'il attende des louanges publiques, car “ elles ne lui sont pas duës. Mais afin que les travaux ne
These build as fast as knowledge can destroy;
290 Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine, The scale to measure other wants by thine, See! and confess one comfort still must rise; 'Tis this, Tho' Man's a fool, yet, GOD IS WISE.
“ demeurent pas fans recompense, Dieu lui donne une sa“ tisfaction personelle, que personne ne lui peut envier “ fans un injustice plus que barbarę; tout ainsi que Dieu " qui est juste, donne de la satisfaction aux Grenouilles de “ leur chant. Autrement la blame public, joint à leur
mecontentement, seroit suffisant pour les réduire au de« sespoir."