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'Tis from high Life high Characters are drawn; A Saint in Crape is twice a Saint in Lawn; 136 A Judge is just, a Chanc'lor juster still ; A Gownman, learn’d; a Bishop, what you will ; Wise, if a Minister ; but, if a King, More wise, more learn’d, more just, more ev'ry thing. Court-virtues bear, like Gems, the highest rate, 141 Born where Heav'n's influence scarce can penetrate: In life's low vale, the soil the Virtues like, They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
VER. 135. 'Tis from high Life, &c.] The poet having done with the Philosopher, now turns to the Man of the world; whose first mistake is in fuppofing men's true Characters may be known by their station. This, tho' a mere mob-opinion, is the opinion in fashion, and cherished by the Mob of all ranks; therefore, tho’ beneath the poet's reasoning, he thought it deserving of his ridicule ; and the strongest was what he gives (from ø 134 to 141) a naked exposition of the fact; to which he has subjoined (from x 140 to 149 ) an ironical apology, that, as Virtue is cultivated with infinitely more labour in Courts than in
NOTE s. VER. 141. Court - virtues Gem is for its durability. But bear, like Gems, &c.] This does he not see it is equally for whole reflexion, and the fimi- its rarity ; and that when once litude brought to support it, a Court-virtue rises and comes have a great delicacy of ridi in the way of such a lover of cule.-—A man dispos’d to cavil it as our poet, it seldom sets would fancy the fimilitude not again, but bids fair for being exact; for that the principal immortal? reason of our preferring the
Tho' the fame Sun with all-diffusive
rays 145 Blush in the Rose, and in the Di'mond blaze, We prize the stronger effort of his pow'r, And juftly set the Gem above the Flow'r.
'Tis Education forms the common mind, Just as the Twig is bent, the Tree's inclin'd. 150 Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'Squire ; The next a Tradesman, meek, and much a lyar ;
COMMENTARY. Cottages, it is but just to set an infinitely higher value on it; which, says he with much pleasantry, is most agreeable to all the fashionable ways of estimation. For why do the connoifseurs prefer the lively colour in a Gem before that in a Flower, but for its extreme rarity and difficulty of production ?
VER. 149. 'Tis Education forms, &c.] This second mistake of the Man of the world is more serious; it is, that Characters are best judged of by the general Manners. This the poet canfutes in a lively enumeration of examples (from y 148 to 158) which shew, that how fimilar or different foever the Manner's be by Nature, yet they are all new modeld by Education and Profesion; where each man invariably receives that exotic form which the mould he falls into, is fitted to imprint. The natural Character therefore can never be judged of by these fictitious Manners,
NOTES VER, 152,
The next a Tradef be given to lying, it is certainly man, meek, and much a lyar';] on a more substantial motive, “ The only glory of a Tradef and will therefore rather deserve “ man (says Hobbes) is to the name, which this philofo. “ grow excessively rich by the pher gives it, of wisdom; it “ wisdom of buying and sell-being indeed the wisdom of this
ing." A pursuit very wide world, by which all things in of all vain-glory; so that if he it are governed. SCRIBL.
Tom struts a Soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Aik men's Opinions : Scoto now shall tell
Free-thinker, a fine talker once,
Judge we by Nature ? Habit can efface,
COMMENTARY. VER. 158. Ask mens Opinion's : &c.] The third mistake is in judging of mens characters by their Opinions and turn of thinking. But these, the poet shews by two examples (from * 157 to 166.) are generally swayed by Interest, both in the affairs of Life and Speculation. VER. 166. Judge we by Nature ? &c.] The poet having
NOTES. VER. 164, 165. Some God, lations and Practice were prinor Spirit he has lately found, Orcipally directed to avoid. The chanc'd to meet a Minister that poet here alludes to the ancient frown'd.] Disasters the most classical opinion, that the fudunlooked for, as they were den vision of a God was supwhat the Free-thinker's Specu- posed to Atrike the irreverend
By Actions ? those Uncertainty divides :
170 Find, if you can, in what you cannot change. Manners with Fortunes, Humours turn with
Climes, Tenets with Books, and Principles with Times.
COMMENTARY. gone through the mistakes both of the Philosopher and Man of the world, separately, turns now to both; and (from y 165 to 174) jointly addrefius thein in a recapitulation of his reasoning against both : He facws, that if we pretend to develope the Character by the natural disposition in general, we shall find it extremely difficult, because this is often effaced by Habii, overswayed by Interest, and fufpendid by Policy. If by Aations, their contrariety will leave us in utter doubt and uncertainty.-- If by Paffions, we fall be perpetually misled by the mask of Disimulati0:2. --- If by Opinions, all these concur together to perplex the enquiry. Shew us, then, says he, in the whole range of your Philosophy and Experience, the thing we can be certain of : For (to sum up all in a word)
Manners with Fortunes, Humours turn with Climes,
Tenets with Books, and Principles with Times. We must seek therefore some other road to the point we aim at.
NOTES. obferver speechless. He has on The poet had hitherto reckono ly a little extended the con ed up the several simple causes ceit, and supposed, that the that hinder our knowledge of terrors of a Court-God might the natural characters of men, have the like effect on a very In these two fine lines he dedevoted worshipper. SCRIBL. scribes the complicated causes.
Ver. 172, 173: Manners Humours bear the same relawith Fortunes, Humours turn tion to Manners, that Princiwith Climes, Tenets with Books, ples do to Tenets ; that is, the and Principles with Times.] former are modes of the latter;
Search then the RULING PASSION: There, alone, The Wild are constant, and the Cunning known; The Fool consistent, and the False sincere ; 176 Priests, Princes, Women, no difsemblers here. This clue once found, unravels all the rest, The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confest. Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days, 180 Whose ruling Passion was the Lust of Praise: Born with whate'er could win it from the Wise, Women and Fools must like him or he dies;
COMMENTARY. Ver. 174. Search then the Ruling Pasion : &c.] And now we enter on the third and last part; which treats of the right means of furmounting the difficulties in coming to the Knowledge and Chara&ters of Men : This the poet fhews, is by investigating the RULING PASSION ; of whose origin and nature we may find an exact account in the second Ep. of the Ejay on Man. This Principle he rightly observes (from ø 173 to 180) is the clue that must guide us thro' all the intricacies in the ways of men: To convince us of which, he applies it (from 179 to 210) to the most wild and inconsistent Character that ever was;
which (when drawn out at length, in a spirit of poetry as rare as the character itself) we see, this Principle unravels, and renders throughout of one plain consistent thread.
NOT E S. our Manners are warped from the government. nature by our Fortunes or Sta VER. 174. Search then the tions ; our Tenets, by our Books Ruling Pasion :] See Essay on or Professions ; and then each | Man, Ep. ii. x 133. & feq. . drawn still more oblique, into VER. 181. the Luft of humcur and political principles, Praise:) This very well exby the temperature of the cli- presies the grolness of his apmate, and the constitution of petite for it; where the strength