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You'll find, if once the monarch acts the monk,
Stuck o'er with titles and hung round with ftrings, That thou may'st be by kings, or whores of kings. blood of an illuftrious race,
Boaft the pure
In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece:
But by your father's worth if your's you rate, Count me those only who were good and great. 210 Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood
crept thro' fcroundels ever fince the flood, Go! and pretend your family is young;
Nor own, your fathers have been fools fo long.
VER. 207. Boaft the pure blood &c.] in the MS. thus,
Down from Lucretia to Lucretia roll'd,
VER. 205. Stuck o'er with titles,&c.] II. Then as toNOBILITY, by creation or birth; this too the poet fhews (from 204 to 217) is in itself as devoid of all real worth as the reft; because, in the first cafe, the Title is generally gain'd by no merit at all; in the fecond, by the merit of the firft Founder of the family; which will generally, when reflected on, be rather the subject of Mortification than Glory.
What can ennoble fots, or flaves, or cowards? 215 Alas! not all the blood of all the HowARDS.
Look next on Greatnefs; fay where Greatness lies? "Where, but among the Heroes and the Wife?" Heroes are much the fame, the point's agreed, From Macedonia's madman to the Swede; The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find Or make, an enemy of all mankind!
VER. 217. Look next on Greatness; &c.] III. The poet in the next place (from 216 to 237) unmasks the falfe pretences of GREATNESS; whereby it is feen that the Hero and Politician (the two characters that would monopolize that quality) after all their buftle effect only this, if they want Virtue, that the one
VER. 219. Heroes are much the fame, &c.] This character might have been drawn with much more force; and de
ferved the poet's care. But Milton fupplies what is here wanting.
They err who count it glorious to fubdue
Not one looks backward, onward ftill he
Yet ne'er looks forward farther than his nose.
Who wickedly is wife, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
Like Socrates, that Man is great indeed.
What's Fame? a fancy'd life in others breath, A thing beyond us, ev'n before our death.
proves himself a Fool, and the other a Knave: And Virtue they but too generally want; the art of Heroifm being underftood to confift in Ravage and Defolation, and the art of Politics in Circumvention.
It is not fuccefs, therefore, that conftitutes true Greatness; but the end aimed at, and the means which are employed: And if these be right, Glory will be the reward, whatever be the iffue:
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
VER. 237. What's Fame?] IV. With regard to FAME,
Juft what you hear, you have, and what's unknown
To all befide as much an empty shade
Alike or when, or where, they fhone, or fhine, 245 Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine.
A Wit's a feather, and a Chief a rod;
An honeft Man's the noble work of God.
Fame but from death a villain's name can fave,
As Justice tears his body from the grave;
When what t'oblivion better were refign'd,
Is hung on high, to poison half mankind.
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart:
that ftill more fantastic bleffing, he fheweth (from 236 to 259) that all of it, befides what we hear ourselves, is merely nothing; and that even of this fmall portion, no more of it giveth the poffeffor a real fatisfaction, than what is the fruit of Virtue. Thus he fhews, that Honour, Nobility, Greatness, Glory, fo far as they have any thing real and substantial, that is, fo far as they contribute to the Happiness of the poffeffor, are the fole iffue of Virtue; and that neither Riches, Courts, Armies, nor the Populace, are capable of conferring them.
And more true joy Marcellus exil'd feels,
VER. 267. Painful preheminence! &c.] This to his friend :-nor does it at all con
VER. 259. In Parts superior what advantage lies ?] V. But laftly, the poet proves (from 258 to 269) that as no external goods can make man happy, fo neither is it in the power of all internal. For that even SUPERIOR PARTS bring no more real Happiness to the poffeffor than the reft; nay, that they put him into a worse condition; for that the quickness of apprehenfion and depth of penetration do but sharpen the miseries of life.
'Tis never to be bought, but always free,
For he is now proving that nothing either external to Man, or what is not in his own power and of his own ac
tradict what he had said to him concerning Happiness in the beginning of the epiftle:
quirement, can make him happy here. The most plaufible rival of Virtue is Knowledge: yet even this is fo far from