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In vain sedate reflections we would make,
45 When sense subsides, and fancy sports in sleep, (Tho' past the recollection of the thought,) Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought : Something as dim to our internal view, Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do. 50
True, some are open, and to all men known; Others so very close they're hid from none ; (So darkness strikes the sense no less than light ;) Thus gracious Chandos is belov'd at sight ; And ev'ry child hates Shylock, tho' his soul 55 Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole. At half mankind when gen'rous Manly raves, All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves: When universal homage Umbra pays, All see 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise. 60 When flatt'ry glares, all hate it in a queen, While one there is who charms us with his spleen.
Ver. 57. At balf mankind] The character alluded to is the principal one in the Plain Dealer of Wycherly.
VER. 61. hate it in a queen,] Queen Caroline, whom he was fond of censuring
But these plain characters we rarely find; Tho' strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind : Or puzzling contraries confound the whole ; 65 Or affectations quite reverse the soul. The dull, fat 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.
70 See the same man, in vigour, in the gout ; Alone, in company; in place, or out; Early at bus’ness, and at hazard late ; Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate; Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball ;
75 Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
with ven'son to a saint without.
What made (say Montagne, or more sage Charron!) Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon?
Ver. 81. Patritio's bigb desert,] Meaning Lord Godolphin, who, though he was a great gamester, yet was an able and honest minister.
A perjur'd Prince, a leaden saint revere,
Know, God and NATURE only are the same :
II. In vain the sage, with retrospective eye, Would from th' apparent What conclude the Why,
After ver. 86. in the former editions :
Triumphant leaders, at an army's head,
Now save a people, and now save a groat. VER. 89. A perjur'd Prince, Louis XI. of France wore in his hat a leaden image of the Virgin Mary, which, when he swore by, he feared to break his oath.
VER. 90. A godless Regent tremble at a star?) Philip Duke of Orleans, Regent in the minority of Louis XV. superstitious in - judicial astrology, though an unbeliever in all religion.
VER. 91. The tbrone a bigot keep, a genius quit,] Philip V. of Spain, who, after renouncing the throne for religion, resumed it 20 gratify his queen; and Victor Amadeus II. King of Sardinia, who resigned the crown, and trying to re-assume it, was imprisoned till his death. VER. 93. Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule,
And just ber wiscst monarch made a fool?] The Czarina, the King of France, the Pope, and the above-nachtioned King of Sardinia.
Infer the motive from the deed, and shew, 101
Not always actions shew the man: we find
115 He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave; Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise, His pride in reas'ning, not in acting lies.
But grant that actions best discover man; Take the most strong, and sort them as you can. 120 The few that glare each character must mark, You balance not the many in the dark.
VER. 107. The same adust complexion bas impelld
Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.] Philip II. was of an atrabilaire complexion. He derived it from his father Charles V. whose health, the historians of his life tell us, was frequently disordered by bilious fevers: the same complexion not only drove them variously, but made each act contrary to his character; Charles, who was an active man, when he retired into a convent; Philip, who was a man of the closet, when he gave the battle of St. Quintin.
What will you do with such as disagree?
historians! 'tis your
'Tis from high life high characters are drawn;
task to prove
Ver. 129. in the former editions :
Ask why from Britain Cæsar made retreat ?
The mighty Czar would tell you he was drunk. Altered as above, because Cæsar wrote his Commentaries of this war, and does not tell you he was beat. And as Cæsar afforded an instance of both cases, it was thought better to make him the single example.
VER. 129. Ask wby from Britain] In former editions, the third and fourth lines were,
The mighty Czar what mov'd to wed a Punk?
The mighty Cżar would tell you he was drunk. But it was altered as above; and altered for the worse. It is strange that Pope should not have known that drunkennes was not one of Cæsar's vices.