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MORAL ESSAYS.

257

Ask you why Wharton broke through every rule?
Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool

Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.

Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
I second qualities for first they take.
When Catiline by rapine swell’d his store;
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore;
In this the lust, in that the avarice
Were means, not ends; ambition was the vice.
that very Cæsar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by chastity at praise.
Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Lad roasted turnips in the Sabine farm.
In vain the 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.
Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand.
Consistent in our follies and our sins,
Here honest nature ends as she begins.

Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in business to the last;
As weak, as earnest; and as gravely out,
As sober Lanesb’row dancing in the gout.

Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shoved from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
By his own son, that passes by unbless'd:
Still to his wench he crawls on knocking knees,
And envies every sparrow that he sees.

A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
The doctor callid, declares all help too late:
"Mercy!” cries Helluo, “mercy on my soul ;
Is there no hope ?-Alas!-then bring the juwl."

The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend,
Still tries to save the hallow'd taper's end,
Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires,
For one puff more, and in that puff expires.

“ Odious! in woollen! 'twould a saint provoke," (Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke ;)

No, let a charming chintz and Brussels 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 shined
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.

EPISTLE II.

TO A LADY.

ARGUMENT.

OF THE CHARACTERS OF WOMEN

That the particular characters of women are not so strongly marked as those of men, seldom so fixed, and still more inconsistent with them. selves.-Instances of contrarieties given, even from such characters as are more strongly marked, and seemingly, therefore, most consistent: as, 1. In the affected.-2. In the soft-natured.-3. In the cunning and artful.-4. In the whimsical.-5. In the lewd and vicious.-6. In the witty and refined.-7. In the stupid and simple. The former part having shown that the particular characters of women are more various than those of men, it is nevertheless observed that the general characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling passion, is more uniform.--This is occasioned partly by their nature, partly by their education, and in some degree by necessity. What are the aims and the fate of this sex: 1. As to power.-2. As to pleasure.--Advice for their true interest.

The picture of an estimable. woman, with the best kind of contra.. rieties.

NOTHING so 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.
How many pictures of one nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!

Arcadia's countess, here, in ermined pride,
Is there, Pastora by a fountain side.
Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
And there, a naked Leda with a swan.
Let then the fair-one beautifully cry,
In Magdalen's loose hair and lifted eye
Or.dress'd in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine,
With simpering angels, palms, and harps divine;
Whether the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If folly grow romantic, I must paint it.

Come then, the colours and the ground prepare!
Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air;
Choose a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.

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 diamonds with her dirty smock;
Or Sappho at her toilet's greasy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an evening mask:
So morning insects that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and fly-blow in the setting sun.

How soft is Silia! fearful to offend;
The frail one's advocate, the weak one's friend.
To her, Calista proved her conduct nice;
And good Simplicius asks of her advice.
Sudden, she storms! she raves! You tip the wink,
But spare your censure; Silia does not drink.
All eyes may see from what the change arose,
All eyes may see -a pimple on her nose.

Papilia, wedded to her amorous spark, Sighs for the shades !—“How charming is a park!" A park is purchased, but the fair he sees All bathed in tears-“Oh odious, odious trees!"

Ladies, like variegated tulips, show; 'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe; Fine by defect, and delicately weak, Their happy spots the nice admirer take. 'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd, Awed without virtue, without beauty charm’d; Her tongue bewitch'd as oddly as her eyes; Less wit than mimic, more a wit than wise. Strange graces still, and stranger flights she had, Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;

Yet ne'er so sure our passion to create,
As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.

Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child;
Has even been proved to grant a lover's prayer,
And paid a tradesman once to make him stare;
Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim,
And made a widow happy, for a whim.
Why then declare good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be borne?
Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name ?
A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame:
Now deep in Taylor and the Book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres
Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns:
And atheism and religion take their turns;
A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.

See sin in state, majestically drunk;
Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk;
Chaste to her husband, frank to all beside,
A teeming mistress, but a barren bride.
What then ? let blood and body bear the fault.
Her head's untouch'd, that noble seat of thought:
Such this day's doctrine-in another fit
She sins with poets through pure love of wit.
What has not fired her bosom or her brain ?
Cæsar and Tallboy, Charles and Charlemagne.
As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
The nose of hautgout and the tip of taste,
Critiqued your wine, and analyzed your meat,
Yet on plain pudding deigned at home to eat:
So Philomedé, lecturing all mankind,
On the soft passion, and the taste refined,
The address, the delicacy-stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a dunce.

Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray;
To toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her stars, to give
The mighty blessing, “ while we live, to live.”
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul !
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind ?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind.

Wise wretch ! with pleasures too refined to please ;
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease:
With too much quickness ever to be taught;
With too much thinking to have common thought:
You purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.

Turn then from wits! and look on Simo's mate,
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate.
Or her, that owns her faults, but never mends,
Because she's honest, and the best of friends.
Or her, whose life the church and scandal share,
For ever in a passion, or a prayer.
Or her, who laughs at hell, but (like her grace)
Cries," Ah! how charming if there's no such place !"
Or who in sweet vicissitude appears,
Of mirth and opium, ratifie and tears,
The daily anodyne, and nightly draughi,
To kill those foes to fair ones, time and thought.
Woman and fool are two hard things to hit;
For true no-meaning puzzles more than wit.

But what are these to great Atossa's mind? Scarce once herself, by turns all womankind! Who, with herself, or others, from her birth Finds all her life one warfare upon earth: Shines in exposing knaves, and painting fools, Yet is, whate'er she hates and ridicules. No thought advances, but her eddy brain Whisks it about, and down it goes again. Full sixty years the world has been her trade, The wisest fool much time has ever made. From loveless youth to unrespected age, No passion gratified, except her rage. So much the fury still outran the wit, The pleasure miss'd her, and the scandal hit. Who breaks with her, provokes revenge from hell, But he's a bolder man who dares be well. Her every turn with violence pursued, No more a storm her hate than gratitude: To that each passion turns, or soon or late; Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate; Superiors ? death! and equals --what a curse! But an inferior not dependent ?worse. Offend her, and she knows not to forgive; Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live:

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