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Wise, if a minister ; but, if a king,
'Tis education forms the common mind,
Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
Judge we by nature ? Habit can efface, Int'rest o'ercome, or policy take place : By actions ? those uncertainty divides : By passions ? these dissimulation hides : Opinions ? they still take a wider range : 170 Fird, 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 ; 175 The fool consistent, and the false sincere ; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here. This clue once found, unravels all the rest, The prospect clears, and WHARTON stands confest. 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 : Tho’ wond'ring 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;
Ver. 187. John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, famous for his wit and extravagancies in the time of Charles the Second.
Enough, if all around him but admire,
190 And now the punk applaud, and now the fryer. 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; 195 His passion still, to covet gen’ral 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 refin'd: A tyrant to the wife his heart approves ; A rebel to the very king he loves ; He dies, sad outcast of each church and state, And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great. 205 Ask you why Wharton broke through ev'ry 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 VÉR. 206. Ask you why Wharton) « This celebrated peer," says Lord Orford, “ like Buckingham and Rochester, comforted all the grave and dull by throwing away the brightest profusion of parts on witty fooleries, debaucheries, and scrapes, which may mix graces with a great character, but never can compose one.” Ver. 208. In the former editions,
Nature well known, no Miracles remain. Altered as above, for very obvious reasons.
When Cataline by rapine swell'd his store ;
That very Cæsar born in Scipio's days,
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
Old politicians chew on wisdom past, And totter on in bus'ness to the last ; . As weak, as earnest ; and as gravely out, 230 As sober Lanesb’row dancing in the gout.
Behold a rev’rend sire, whom want of grace Has made the father of a nameless race,
Ver. 213. Wben Cesar made] This was Servilia, the sister of Cato, and the mother of Brutus.
Ver. 231. Lanesb'row] An ancient nobleman, who continued this practice long after his legs were disabled by the gout. Upon the death of Prince George of Denmark, he demanded an audience of the Queen, to advise her to preserve her health and lispel her grief by dancing
Shov'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
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 jowl."
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. 245
« 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.” 251
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shin'd 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, 256 And sigh’d) “ my lands and tenements to Ned.”
Your VER. 242. The frugal crone, &c.) A fact told him by Lady Bolinbroke, of an old countess at Paris.
Ver. 2.47. Narcissa Mrs. Oldfield the actress, who gave these orders with her dying breath. Betty was Mrs. Saunders, an actress, her friend and confidante.