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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;
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
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
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
That very Cæsar, born in Scipio's days,
In this one Passion man can strength enjoy,
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,
Old Politicians chew on wisdom past,
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.