Imágenes de páginas

Plate XII.

Vol. II. facing p.109

N. Blakey inv.kdel.

G.Scotin Sculp. Boastfull first don is adquire; The next a and much aliar; Tom struts a Soldier

, open, bold and Bravel; Will oneaks a Soriverier, an




Char: of Mens

E P I S T L E I.

[ocr errors]

ES, you despise the man to Books confind,

Who from his study rails at human kind; Tho' what he learns he speaks, and may advance Some gen’ral maxims, or be right by chance. The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave, 5 That from his cage cries Cuckold, Whore, and Knave, Tho'many a passenger he rightly call, You hold him no Philosopher at all. And yet

the fate of all extremes is such, Men may be read, as well as Books, too much. 10 To observations which ourselves we make, We grow more partial for th’Observer's fake;


NOTES. VER. 5. The coxcomb | Books too much, &c.] The bird, &c.] A fine turn'd poet has here covertly deallusion to what Philoftratus scrib'd a famous fystem of a said of Euxenus, the Tutor man of the world, the cele. of Apollonius, that he could brated Maxims of M. de la only repeat some sentences Rochefoucault, which are of Pythagoras, like those one continued satire on hucoxcomb birds, who were man Nature, and hold much taught their cū apézle and of the ill language of the their Ζεύς έλεως, but knew Parrot : The reason of the not what they signified. censure, our author's system

Ver. 10. And yet Men of human nature will exmay be read, as well as I plain,


To written Wisdom, as another's less :
Maxims are drawn from Notions, those from Guess,
There's some Peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein :
Shall only Man be taken in the gross ?
Grant but as many sorts of Mind as Moss.

That each from other differs, first confess;
Next, that he varies from himself no less : 20
Add Nature's, Cuftom's, Reason's, Paffion's strife,
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 tho' you can,

25 It may be Reason, but it is not Man :

NOTES. VER. 22. And all Opi-y on Man he gives both the nion's colours cast on life.] efficient and the final cause : The poet refers here only | The First in the third Ep. to the effects: In the Ejay | x 231.

E'er Wit oblique had broke that fteddy light. For oblique Wit is Opinion. The other, in the second Ep. X 283

Mean-while Opinion gilds with varying rays

These painted clouds that beautify our days, &c. Ver. 26. It may be Rea. appearances

he would in, fon, but it is not Man:}i.e. vestigate ; and yet that hy. The Philosopher may in- pothesis be all the while very vent a rational hypothesis wide of truth and the nas that shall account for the ture of things.

His Principle of action once explore,
That instant ’tis his Principle no more.
Like following life thro' creatures you diffect,

' You lose it in the

moment you

Yet more; the diff'rence is as great between
The optics seeing, as the objects seen.
All Manners take a tincture from our own ;
Or come discolour'd thro' our Passions shown.
Or Fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,

35 Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.

Nor will Life's stream for Observation ftay, It hurries all too fast to mark their way: In vain fedate reflections we wou'd make, When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take. Oft, in the Passions' wild rotation toft,

41 Our spring of action to ourselves is lost : Tir'd, not determin’d, to the last we yield, And what comes then is master of the field. As the last image of that troubled heap, 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.
When Flatt'ry glares, all hate it in a Queen,
While one there is who charms us with his Spleen.

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, flat Falshood serves, for policy;
And in the Cunning, Truth itself's a lye:
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-chace, 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,
Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave,


« AnteriorContinuar »