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Know, God and nature only are the same: '' In man, the judgement shoots at flying game; A bird of passage! gone as soon as found, Now in the moon, perhaps now under ground.
II. In vain the sage, with retrospective eye, Would from th' apparent what conclude the why, Infer the motive from the deed, and show, That what we chanc'd, was what we meant to do. Behold, if fortune or a mistress frowns, Some plunge in business, others shave their crowns: To ease, the soul of one oppressive weight, This quits an empire, that embroils a state : The same adust complexion has impelld Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.
Not always actions show the man: we find Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind: Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast, Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east : Not therefore bumble he who seeks retreat: Pride guides his steps, and bids him shun the great: Who combats bravely is not therefore brave, He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave: Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise, His pride in reasoning, not in acting, lies.
But grant that actions best discover man; Take the most strong, and sort them as you can: The few that glare, each character must mark, You balance not the many in the dark. What will you do with such as disagree? Suppress them, or miscall them policy? Must then at once (the character to save) The plain rough hero turn a crafty koave? Alas! in truth the man but chang'd his mind, Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd. Ask why from Britain Cæsar would retreat ? Cæsar himself might whisper, he was beat. Why risk the world's great empire for a punk? Cæsar perhaps might answer, he was drunk, But, sage historians! 'tis your task to prove One action, conduct; one, heroic love.
'Tis from high life high characters are drawn: A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn; A judge is just, a chancellor juster still ; A gowoman learn'd, a bishop what you will; Wise, if a minister; but, if a king, More wise, more learn'd, more just, more every
thing. Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate, Born where Heaven's influence scarce can penetrate: In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like, They please as beauties, here as wonders strike, . Though the same sun with all-diffusive rays Blush in the rose, and in the diamond blaze. We prize the stronger effort of his power, And justly set the gem above the flower.
"Tis education forms the common mind; Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd.
Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'squire ; • The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar:
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
Judge we by nature? habit can efface,
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.
III. Search then the ruling passion: there alone,
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
In this the lust, in that the avarice,
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend,
Odious ! in woollen ! 'twould a saint provoke,' Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke, • No, let a charming chintz and Brussel's lace, Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face: One would not, sure, be frightful when one's dead... And.Betty --give this cheek a little red.'
The courtier smooth, who forty years had ship'd An humble servant to all human-kind,
Just brought out this, when scarce his tongue
could stir, • If-where I'm going I could serve you, sir !
"I give and I devise,' old Euclio said, And sigh'd, my lands and tenements to Ned.' • Your money, sir ? My money, sir, what, all! •Why,---if I must-then wept, 'I give it Paul.' "The manor, sir?~ The manor! hold,' he cried, • Not that I cannot part with that,'--and died.
And you ! brave Cobham, to the latest breath, Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death: Such in those moments as in all the past, • Oh, save my country, Heaven !' shall be your last.