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N. Blakey inw. Edel
Char: of Wonen
E P I S T L É II.
A L A DY.
Of the Characters of Women. .
OTHING fo true as what you once let fall,
" Most Women have no Characters at all.” Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear, And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.
NOT E S. of the Characters of Wo- haps account for the small atmen.] There is nothing in tention given to it. He said, Mr. Pope's works more highly that no one character in it was finished than this Epiftle: Yet drawn from the life. The its success was in no propor
Public believed him on his tion to the pains he took in word, and expressed little cucomposing it. Something he riosity about a Satire in which chanced to drop in a short Ad- there was nothing personal. vertisement prefixed to it, on VER. 1. Nothing so true its first publication, may per- / 3c.] The reader perhaps may
How many pictures of one Nymph we view, 5 All how unlike each other, all how true !
Notes. be disappointed to find that pains to study these Characters this Epiftle, which proposes with any degree of attention, the fame subject with the pre- as they are here masterly ceding, is conducted on very drawn, one important partidifferent rules of method ; for cular (for which the poet has instead of being disposed in the artfully prepared him by the same logical connection, and introduction) will very forcifilled with the like philofophi- bly strike his observation; and cal remarks, it is wholly taken that is, that all the great strokes up in drawing a great variety in the several Characters of of capital Characters: But if Women are not only infinitely he would reflect, that the two perplexed and discordant, like Sexes make but one Species, and thofe in Men, but absolutely consequently, that the Cha- | inconsistent, and in a much racters of both must be studied higher degree contradictory. and explained on the same As strange as this may appear, principles, he would see, that yet he will see that the poet when the poet had done this
has all the while strictly folin the preceding Epistle, his lowed Nature, whose
ways, we business here was, not to re- find by the former Epiftle, are peat what he had already de
not a little mysterious; and a livered, but only to verify and mystery this might have reillustrate his doctrine, by every mained, had not our author view of that perplexity of Na- explained it at y 207, where ture, which his philosophy only he shuts up his Characters with can explain. If the reader this philosophical reflexion : therefore will but be at the
In Men, we various ruling Passions find ;
The love of Pleasure, and the love of Sway.
Arcadia's Countefs, here, in ermin’d pride,
NOTES. tions in those Actions from whose office it is to regulate whence their general and ob- the ruling Pasion, loses all its vious Character is denomi- force and direction; and these nated: To verify this observa- unhappy victims to their printion, let the reader examine all ciples, tho’ with their attenthe Characters here drawn), tion till fixed upon them, are and try whether with this key ever prosecuting the means he cannot discover that all destructive of their end, and their Contradictions arise from thus become ridiculous in a desire to hide the ruling Paf youth, and miserable in old fion.
age. But this is not the worst. Let me not omit to observe The poet afterwards (from the great beauty of the con* 218 to 249) takes notice of clusion: It is an Encomium another mischief arising from on an imaginary Lady to whom this necessity of hiding their the Epistle is addressed, and ruling Paffions; which is, that artfully turns upon the fact generally the end of each is which makes the subject of the defeated even there where they Epistle, the contradiction of a are most violently pursued : Woman's Character, in which For the necessity of hiding contradiction he shews that all them inducing an habitual dif- the lustre even of the best sipation of mind, Reason, Character confifts:
And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a Contradiction fiill, &c. Ver. 5. How many pietures] Ver. 7, 8, 10, &c. ArcaThe poet's purpose here is to dia's Countess,- Pastora by a shew, that the Characters of fountain-Leda with a fwan. Women are generally incon- - Magdalen--Cecilia- j Attisistent with themselves; and tudes in which several ladies this he illustrates by so happy a affected to be drawn, and Similitude, that we , see the sometimes one lady in them folly, described in it, arises all --The poet's politeness and from that very principle which complaisance to the sex is obgives birth to this inconsistency fervable in this instance, 2of Character.
mongst others, that, whereas
Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare!
Rufa, whose eye quick-glancing o'er the Park, Attracts each light gay meteor of a Spark, Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke, As Sappho's di’monds with her dirty smock;
in the CharaEters of Men he trarieties, given even from such has sometimes made use of Characters as are most strongreal names, in the Characters ly mark'd, and seemingly of Women always fictitious. P. therefore most consistent: As,
VER. 20. Catch, e'er the I. In the AffeEled, x 21, change, the Cynthia of this mi- &c. P. nute.] Alluding to the precept VER. 23. Agrees as ill with of Fresnoy,
Rufa studying Locke,] This formæ veneres captando fugaces. humour in the following stanza:
thought is expressed with great Ver. 21. Instances of con