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man in his intellectual capacity at large, as has been explained above. Of this, only a small part of the conclusion (which, as we saįd, was to have contained a satire against the misapplication of wit and learning) may be found in the fourth book of the Dunciad, and up and down, occasionally, in the other three.
The third book, in like manner, was to re-assumo the subject of the third epistle of the first, which treats of man in his social, political, and religious capacity. But this part the poet afterwards conceived might be best executed in an epic poem; as the action would make it more animated, and the fable less invidious: in which all the great principles of true and false governments and religions should be chiefly delivered in feigned examples.
The fourth and last book was to pursue the subject of the fourth epistle of the first, and to treat of ethics, or practical morality; and would have consisted of many members; of which the four following epistles were detached portions; the first two, on the characters of men and women, being the introductory part of this concluding book.
TO SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.
Of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. 1. That it is not sufficient for this knowledge to consider
man in the abstract: books will not serve the purpose, nor yet our own experience sing} }, ver. 1. General max. ims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but no tional, ver. 10. Some peculiarity in every man, charac. ceristic to himself, yet varying from himself, ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own passions, fancies, facul. ties, &c. ver. 31. The shortness of life to observe in, and the uncertainty of the principles of action in men to observe by, ver. 37, &c. Our own principle of action often hid from ourselves, ver. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or incon. sistent, ver. 51. The same man utterly different in dir. ferent places and seasons, ver. 62. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greatest, ver. 70, &c. Nothing constant and certain but God and nature, ver. 95. No judging of the motives from the actions: the same actions proceeding from contrary motives, and the same motives influencing contrary actions, ver. 100. II. Yet, to form characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree. The utter uncertainty of this, from nature itself, and from policy, ver. 120. Character given according to the rank of men of the world, ver. 135. And some reason for it, ver. 140. Education alters the nature, or at least character, of many, ver. 149. Actions, passions, opinions, manners, humours, or principles, all subject to change. No judging by nature, from ver. 158 to ver. 168. IIL It only remains to find (if we can) his ruling passion : That will certainly influence all the rest and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, ver. 175. Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind, ver. 210. Examples of the strength of the ruling passion, and its continuation to the last breath, ver. 222, &c.
I. YEą, you despise the man to books confined, Who from his study rails at human kind, Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance Somne general maxims, or be right by chance
The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,
And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
That each from others differs, first confess ; Next, that he varies from himself no less; 20 Add nature's, custom's, reason's, passion's strise, And all opinion's colours cast on life.
Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds Quick whirls, and shifting eddies of our minds ? On human actions reason though you can, It may be reason, but it is not man: His principle of action once explore, That instant’tis his principle no more. Like following life through creatures you dissect, You lose it in the moment you detect.
30 Yet more; the difference is as great between The optics seeing, as the objects seen. All manners take a tincture from our own; Or some discolour'd through our passions shown Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies, Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will life's stream for observation stay; It hurries all too fast to mark their way: In vain sedate reflections we would make, When half our knowledge we must snatch, not takej Oft, in the passions' wild rotation toss'd, Our spring of action to ourselves is lost;
Tired, not determined, to the last we yield,
True, some are open, and to all men known;
60 When flattery glares, all hate it in a queen, While one there is who charms us with his sp'oen.
But these plain characters we rarely find; Though strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind: Or puzzling contraries confound the whole ; Or affectations quite reverse the soul. The dull flat falsehood serves for policy ; And in the cunning, truth itself's a lie: Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise ; The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
Who would not praise Patricio's high desert,
What made (say, Montagne, or more sage Charron!)
Know, God and nature only are the same;
II. In vain the sage, with retrospective eye,
Not always actions show the man; we find Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind : 110 Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast, Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east : Not therefore humble 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.