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Tired, not determined, to the last we yield,
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 beloved at sight; And every child hates Shylock, though his soul 55 Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole. At half mankind when generous 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 flattery glares, all hate it in a queen, While one there is who charms us with his spleen. But these plain characters we rarely find; Though strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind:
Or puzzling contraries confound the whole; 65 Or affectations quite reverse the soul.
57 Manly raves. The principal character in the 'Plain Dealer' of Wycherley. The epithet generous' seems but ill applied to that harsh and crude libeller of human nature.
61 Hate it in a queen. Supposed to be queen Caroline, who was frequently laughed at for an idle pedantry, and a pretended love of science.
62 Charms us with his spleen. Swift. The sentiment is in Boileau; but given on general and natural grounds :
Un esprit né chagrin plaît par son chagrin même.
The dull, flat falsehood serves for policy;
See the same man, in vigor, in the gout;
69 Unthought-of frailties cheat us in the wise. Warton tells us, that the night before the battle of Blenheim, prince Eugene, having occasion to return to Marlborough's tent, soon after the council held on the operations of the forthcoming day had broken up, found the great duke giving orders to his aide-decamp, colonel Selwyn, (who narrated the circumstance) by the light of a single candle, all the others having been put out the moment the council was over. What a man is this,' said the prince, who at such a time can think of saving candle-ends!' Marlborough's love of economy in trifles (for in matters of a higher order no man was more magnificent) might have laid him open to the observation of the lively Frenchman; but a more important observation might also have been made on the mind, which in a moment of such natural anxiety, could have attended to trifles. On the battle of Blenheim depended much to Europe, but to Marlborough every thing. The march into Germany was the most daring exercise of responsibility in modern times: Marlborough himself was so conscious at once of its necessity and its hazard, that he had not ventured to communicate his plan even to his own government, through a conviction that its boldness would lead them to throw obstacles in its way. Within a few hours the die was to be cast, on which hung his fame and fortune, perhaps his existence : yet, at a period which might have exhausted or overwhelmed any other intellect of his day, we find him saving ends of candles. The habit may be humiliating to the stateliness, but it gives a striking proof of the composure, of his mind.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave;
Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave,
Who would not praise Patritio's high desert, His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart, His comprehensive head? all interests weigh'd, All Europe saved, yet Britain not betray'd! He thanks you not; his pride is in piquet, Newmarket fame, and judgment at a bet. What made (say, Montaigne, or more sage Charron !)
Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon?
A perjured prince a leaden saint revere?
81 Patritio's high desert. Lord Godolphin; of whom says Prior, in an original letter, 'as the wise earl of Godolphin told me, when he turned me out for having served him, 'things change, times change, and men change.''-Warton. After ver. 86. in the former editions :
Triumphant leaders, at an army's head,
Hemm'd round with glories, pilfer cloth or bread;
87 Charron. Author of the celebrated treatise De la Sagesse,' and friend of Montaigne.
89 A perjured 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.-Pope.
90 A godless regent tremble at a star. Philip, duke of Orleans, regent in the minority of Louis XV. superstitious enough to be a believer in judicial astrology, though an unbeliever in all religion.
91 The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit. Philip V. of Spain, who, after renouncing the throne for religion, resumed it to
Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule,
Know, God and nature only are the same;
In vain the sage, with retrospective eye, Would from the apparent What conclude the Why, Infer the motive from the deed, and show That what we chanced was what we meant to do Behold! if fortune or a mistress frowns, Some plunge in business, others shave their
To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
Not always actions show the man: we find, Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind : Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast; Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east: Not therefore humble he who seeks retreat; Pride guides his steps, and bids him shun the great:
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.
93 Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule. The czarina, the French king, the pope, and her wisest monarch, the king of Sardinia.
107 The same adust complexion. Philip II. of Spain was atrabilaire Charles V. suffered much from bile. Melancholy drove Charles to the cloister, and Philip to war.
Who combats bravely, is not therefore brave; 115
The few that glare each character must mark;
'Tis from high life high characters are drawn: A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn ;
129 Ask why from Britain. In former editions, the third and fourth lines were,
The mighty czar what moved to wed a punk?
The mighty czar would tell you, he was drunk:
in allusion to the marriage of Peter the Great. But it was altered as above, and altered for the worse. It is strange that Pope should not have known that drunkenness was not one of Cæsar's vices.
135 'Tis from high life. The sarcasm of this well-known passage, more than its soundness, has assisted its celebrity. For the larger the sphere, the greater the difficulty of filling it: it is from high life that high characters ought to be drawn ;