Abbildungen der Seite

Tho' wond'ring Senates hung on all he spoke,
The Club must hail him master of the joke. 185
Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too.
Then turns repentant, and his God adores
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores ;
Enough if all around him but admire, Igo
And now the Punk applaud, and now the Fryer.
Thus with each gift of nature and of art,
And wanting nothing but an honest heart ;
Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt ;
And most contemptible, to Thun contempt; 195
His Passion still, to covet gen’ral praise,
His Life, to forfeit it a thousand

ways ;
A constant Bounty which no friend has made;
An angel Tongue, which no man can persuade ;
A Fool, with more of Wit than half mankind, 200
Too rash for Thought, for Action too refin’d:

of the Passion had destroyed all paffion.
the delicacy of the Sensation. Ver. 200. A Fool, with

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 :

[ocr errors]

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.

NOT E 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 VER. 205. And, harder ftill, of general praise made the

perflagitious, yet not great.) To son, whose Character is here so arrive at what the world calls admirable drawn, both extravaGreatness, a man muft either gant and flagitious; his Madhide and conceal his vices, or ness 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 moft induftwo qualities that Fools and trious, to misrepresent. Knaves are poft interested, VER. 209. Comets are rege


Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake, 210
If second qualities for first they take.
When Catiline by rapine swell’d his store ;
When Cæfar made a noble dame a whore
In this the Lust, in that the Avarice 214
Were means, not ends; Ambition was the vicę.

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

VER. 213

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

That very Cæsar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by Chastity at praise.
Lucullus, when Frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabin farm.
In vain th' observer eyes the builder's toil,
But quite mistakes the scaffold for the pile.

In this one Passion man can strength enjoy,
As Fits give vigour, just when they destroy.


COMMENTARY. fame ; but a different time had changed their subsidiary ones of Luft and Luxury, into their very opposites of Chastity and Frugality. 'Tis in vain therefore, says our author, for the observer of human nature to fix his attention on the Workman, if he all the while mistakes the Scaffold for the Building.

VER. 222. In this one Passion &c.) But now it may be objected to our philofophic poet, that he has indeed shewn the true means of coming to the Knowledge and Characters of men by a Principle certain and infallible, when found, yet, by his own account, of so difficult investigation, that its Counterfeit, and it is always attended with one, may be easily mistaken for it. To

NOTES. Characters; for they are, in Cicero bad Vanity without pride reality, very different and di or ambition. ftinct; fo much so, that 'tis VER. 223. As Fits give viremarkable, the three greatest gour, just when they destroy:] men in Rome, and contem The fimilitude is extremely poraries, possessed each of these apposite; as most of the inseparately, without the least ítances he has afterwards given mixture of the other two: The of the vigorous exertion of the men I mean were Cæsar, Cato, Ruling Pasion in the last mo. and Cicero : For Cæfar had ments, are from such who had Ambition without either vanity haftened their death by an imor pride; Cato had Pride with moderate indulgence of that out ambition or vanity; and Paffion,

Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand. 225
Consistent in our follies and our fins,
Here honest Nature ends as the begins.

Old Politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in bus'ness to the last ;
As weak, as earnest; and as gravely out, 230
As sober Lanesb’row dancing in the gout.

Behold a rev'rend fire, whom want of grace Has made the father of a nameless race,

COMMENTARY. remove this difficulty, therefore, and consequently the objection that arises from it, the poet has given (from y 221 to 228) one certain and infallible criterion of the Ruling Paffon, which is this, that all the other passions, in the course of time, change and wear away ; while this is ever constant and vigorous; and still going on from strength to strength, to the very moment of its demolishing the miserable machine that it has now at length overworked. Of this great truth, the poet (from $ 227 to the end) gives various instances in all the principal Ruling Paffions of our nature, as they are to be found in the Man of Business, the Man of Pleasure, the Epicure, the Parcimonious, the Toast, the

Nores. VER. 227. Here honest Na- ancient Nobleman, who conture ends as joe begins.) Hu tinued this practice long after man nature is here humourously his legs were disabled by the called honest, as the impulse of gout. Upon the death of the ruling pasion (which the Prince George of Denmark, gives and cherishes) makes her he demanded an audience of more and more impatient of the Queen, to advise her to disguise.

preserve her health and difpel VER. 231. Lanesb’row.] An her grief by Dancing. P.

« ZurückWeiter »