« PreviousContinue »
Virtue may chuse the high or low Degree, 'Tis just alike to Virtue, and to me;
Notes. much more than he had feigned in the imaginary virtues of the man of Rafs. One, who, whether he be considered in his civil, focial, domestic, or religious character, is, in all these views, an ornament to human nature.
And, indeed, we shall see, that what is here said of him agrees only with such a Character. But as both the thought and the expression have been censured, we fall consider them in their order.
Let bumble Allen, with an aukward Shame,
Do good by fealth ---This encomium has been called obfcure (as well as penu. rious.) It may be so; not from any defect in the conception, but from the deepness of the sense ; and, what may feem more strange, (as we shall see afterwards) from the elegance of phrase, and exactness of expression. We are fo absolutely governed by custom, that to act contrary to it, creates even in virtuous men, who are ever modet, a kind of diffidence, which is the parent of Shame. But when, to this, there is joined a consciousness that, in forfaking custom, you follow truth and reason, the indignation arising from such a conscious virtue, mixing with foame, produces that amiable aukwardness, in going out of the fashion, which the Poet, here, celebrates.
and blush to find it Fame. i.e. He blushed at the degeneracy of his times, which, at beft, gave his goodnels its due commendation (the thing he never aimed at) instead of following and imitating his example, which was the reason why some acts of it were not done by stealth, but more openly. So far as to the thought: but it will be said,
tantamne rem tam negligenter? And this will lead us to say something concerning the ex
Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
Notes. preslion, which will clear up what remains of the difficulty. In these lines, and in those which precede and follow them, are contained an ironical neglect of Virtue, and an ironical concern and care for Vice. So that the Poet's elegant correctness of composition required, that his lan. guage, in the first cale should present something of regii. gence and censure ; - which is admirably implied in che expression of the thought.
Hear her black Trumpet thro' the Land proclaim,
Yet may this Verse (if such a Verse remain)
F. Yet none but you by Name the guilty lash; 10 Ev’n Guthry saves half Newgate by a Dalh.
Notes. Ver, 1. Paxton.) Late sollicitor to the Treasury. VER. II. Ev'n Gutbry.) The Ordinary of Newgate, VOL IV.
* R 3
Spare then the Person, and expose the Vice.
P. How, Sir ! not damn the Sharper, but the Dica? Come on then, Satire ! gen'ral, unconfin'd, Spread thy broad wing, and fouce on all the kind. 15 Ye Statesmen, Priefts, of one Religion all! Ye Tradesmen, vile, in Army, Court, or Hall ! Ye Rey'rend Atheists. F. Scandal ! name them, Who?
P. Why that's the thing you bid me not to do. Who stary'd a Sifter, who forswore a Debt, I never nam'd; the Town's enquiring yet, The pois’ning Dame - F. You mean - P. I don't.
F. You do. P. See, now I keep the Secret, and not you! The bribing Statesman--F. Hold, too high you go. 24
P. The brib'd Elector--F. There you stoop too low.
P. I fain would please you, if I knew with what ; Tell me, which Knave is lawful Game, which not? Must great Offenders, once escap'd the Crown, Like Royal Harts be never more run down?. Adinit your Law to fpare the Knight requires, As Beasts of Nature may we hunt the Squires ? Suppose I censure you know what I mean To save a Bishop, may I name a Dean?
who publishes the memoirs of the Malefactors, and is often prevailed upon to be so tender of their reputation, as to fet down no more than the initials of their name. P.