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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
Tho' wond'ring Senates hung on all he spoke,
VER. 187. John Wilmot, more of Wit] Folly, joined with E. of Rochester, famous for his much Wit, produces that behaWit and Extravagancies in the viour which we call Absurdity; time of Charles the Second. P. and this Abfurdity the poet has
VER. 189. With the same here admirably described in the spirit] Spirit, for principle, not words,
Too rajh for Thought, for Astion too refin’d :
A Tyrant to the wife his heart
approves; A Rebel to the very king he loves ; He dies, fad out-cast of each church and state, And, harder still ! flagitious, yet not great. 205 Alk you why Wharton broke thro' ev'ry rule? 'Twas all for fear the Knaves should call him Fool.
Nature well known, no prodigies remain, Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
VARIATIONS. In the former Editions, 208.
Nature well known, no Miracles remain. Alter'd, as above, for very obvious reasons.
NOTE s. by which we are made to un- practise them, in the pursuit derstand, that the person de- and attainment of one imporscribed gave a loose to his Fan- tant end. This unhappy Nosy when he should have used bleman did neither. his Judgment; and pursued his Ver. 207. 'Twas all for Speculations when he should fear &c.] To understand this, have trusted to his Experience. we must observe, that the Luft
VEŘ. 205. And, harder ftill, of general praise made the perflagitious, yet not great.) To lon, whose Character is here lo arrive at what the world calls admirable drawn, both extravaGreatness, a man must either gant and flagitious; his Madhide and conceal his vices, or nefs was to please the Fools, he muft openly and steddily
Women and Fools must like him, or he dies. And his Crimes to avoid the cenfure of the Knaves,
'Twas all for fear the Knaves should call him Fool. Prudence and Honesty being the and consequently most induftwo qualities that Fools and trious, to misrepresent. Knaves are most interested, VER. 209. Comets are rege
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake, 210
COMMENTARY. Ver. 210. Yet, in this search, &c.] But here (from $ 209 to 222) he gives one very necessary caution, that, in developing the Ruling Pasion, we must be careful not to mistake a subsidiary passion for the principal; which, without great attention, we may be very liable to do; as the subsidiary, ačting in support of the principal, has frequently all its vigour and much of its perfeverance : This error has misled several both of the ancient and modern historians; as when they supposed Luft and Luxury to be Characteristics of Cæsar and Lucullus ; whereas, in truth, the Ruling Passion of both was Ambition ; which is so certain, that, at whatsoever different time of the Republic these men had lived, their Ambition, as the Ruling Pasion, had been the
NOTES. lar, and Wharton plain.] This puzzling inconsistency of conillustration has an exquisite duct we observe in it. beauty, arising from the exact
a noble Dame ness of the analogy : For, as a whore,] The sister of Cato, the appearance of irregularity, and mother of Brutus. in a Comet's motion, is occa- VER. 215. Ambition was the fioned by the greatness of the vice.] Pride, Vanity, and Amforce which pushes it round a bition are such bordering and very eccentric orb; so it is the neighbourly vices, and hold so violence of the Ruling Passion, much in common, that we gethat, impatient for its object, nerally find them going togein the impetuosity of its course ther, and therefore, as genetowards it, is frequently hur- rally mistake them for one ried to an immense distance another. This does not a little from it, which occasions all that I contribute to our confounding