Page images
PDF
EPUB

A judge is just, a chancellor juster still;
A gownman 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, 141
Born where Heaven's influence scarce can pene-

trate:
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 inclined. 150
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:
Will sneaks a scrivener, an exceeding knave.
Is he a churchman ? then he's fond of power :
A quaker ? sly: a presbyterian? sour :
A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour.

Ask men's opinions: Scoto now shall tell How trade increases, and the world goes

well: Strike off his pension, by the setting sun,

160 And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.

That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
What turns him now a stupid silent dunce?
Some god, or spirit, he has lately found;
Or chanced to meet a minister that frown'd.

Judge we by nature ? habit can efface,
Interest o'ercome, or policy take place :
By actions ? those uncertainty divides:
By passions ? these dissimulation hides :
Opinions ? they still take a wider range:

170 Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.

Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.

III. Search then the ruling passion : There, alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; The fool consistent, and the false sincere ; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.

This clew once found unravels all the rest,
The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confess'd.
Wharton ! the scorn and wonder of our days,

180
Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise ;
Born with whate'er could win it from the wise,
Women and fools must like him, or he dies:
Though wondering senates hung on all he spoke,
The club must hail him master of the joke.
Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too :
Then turns repentant, and his God adores
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores;
Enough if all around him but admire,

190 And now the punk applaud, and now the friar. Thus with each gift of nature and of art, And wanting nothing but an honest heart; Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt, And most contemptible, to shun contempt; His passion still, to covet general praise ; His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways; A constant bounty, which no friend has made; An angel tongue, which no man can persuade; A fool, with more of wit than half mankind, 200 Too rash for thought, for action too refined : A tyrant to the wife his heart approves; A rebel to the very king he loves; He dies, sad outcast of his church and state, And harder still! flagitious, yet not great. 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, 210 If second qualities for first they take. When Catiline by rapine swelld his store ; When Cæsar made a poble 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, Had roasted turnips in the Sabine farm.

230

In vain th' observer eyes the builder's toil, 220
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 suber Lanesborow 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 call’d, declares all help too late.
• Mercy!' cries Helluo, 'mercy on my soul ! 240
Is there no hope ?--Alas !—then bring the jole.'

The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend,
Still strives 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 deadAnd-Betty-give this cheek a little red.'

251 The courtier smooth, who forty years had shined An humble servant to all human-kind, Just brought out this, when scarce his tongue could *If-where I'm going--I could serve you, sir! (stir,

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, 260 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.

[ocr errors]

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 themselves, ver. 1, &c. 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.-C. In the witty and refined.-7. In the stupid and simple, ver. 21 to 207. The former part having shewn 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 raling passion, is more uniform, ver. 207. This is occasioned partly by their nature, partly by their education, and in some degree by necessity, ver. 211.' What are the aims and the fate of this sex :-1, As to power.-2. As to pleasure, ver. 219.-Advice for their true interest.-- The picture of an estimable woman, with the best kiud of contrarieties, ver. 249 to the end

There is nothing in Mr. Pope's works more highly finished than this epistle ; yet its success was in no proportion to the pains he took in composing it. Something he chanced to drop in a short advertisement prefixed to it on its first pub. lication, may, perhaps, account for the small attention given to it. He said that no one character in it was drawn from the life. The public believed him on his word, and expressed little curiosity about a satire, in which there was nothing personal. NOTAING so true as what you once let fall, . Most women have no characters at all.' Matter tou 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.

[ocr errors]

Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
And there, a naked Leda with a swan.

10
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. 20

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 Silią! fearful to offend;
The frail-one's advocate, the weak-one's friend. 30
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 seema 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!' 40

Ladies, like variegated tulips, shew,
'Tis to their changes half their charms they owe;
Fine by defect, and delicately weak,
Their happy spots the nice admirer take.
'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'a,
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;

50

« PreviousContinue »