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A Tyrant to the wife his heart approves;
He dies, fad out-caft of each church and state,
Nature well known, no Miracles remain. Alter'd, as above, for very obvious reasons.
by which we are made to understand, that the perfon described gave a loose to his Fancy when he should have used his Judgment; and pursued his Speculations when he fhould have trufted to his Experience. VER. 205. And, harder ftill, flagitious, yet not great.) To arrive at what the world calls Greatness, a man muft either hide and conceal his vices, or he muft openly and steddily
practise them, in the pursuit and attainment of one important end. This unhappy Nobleman did neither.
VER. 207. 'Twas all for fear &c.] To understand this, we muft obferve, that the Luft of general praife made the perfon, whofe Character is here fo admirable drawn, both extravagant and flagitious; his Madnefs was to please the Fools,
Women and Fools must like him, or he dies. And his Crimes to avoid the cenfure of the Knaves, 'Twas all for fear the Knaves should call him Fool.
Prudence and Honefty being the two qualities that Fools and Knaves are most interested,
and confequently most induftrious, to mifrepresent.
VER. 209. Comets are regu
Yet, in this fearch, the wifeft may mistake, 210
If fecond qualities for first they take.
When Catiline by rapine fwell'd his store;
When Cæfar made a noble dame a whore ;
In this the Luft, in that the Avarice
VER. 210. Yet, in this fearch, &c.] But here (from 209 to * 222) he gives one very neceffary caution, that, in developing the Ruling Paffion, we must be careful not to mistake a fubfidiary paffion for the principal; which, without great attention, we may be very liable to do; as the fubfidiary, acting in fupport of the principal, has frequently all its vigour and much of its perfeverance: This error has mifled feveral both of the ancient and modern hiftorians; as when they fuppofed Luft and Luxury to be Characteristics of Cæfar and Lucullus; whereas, in truth, the Ruling Paffion of both was Ambition; which is so certain, that, at whatsoever different time of the Republic these men had lived, their Ambition, as the Ruling Paffion, had been the
lar, and Wharton plain.] This illustration has an exquifite beauty, arifing from the exactnefs of the analogy: For, as the appearance of irregularity, in a Comet's motion, is occafioned by the greatnefs of the force which pushes it round a very eccentric orb; fo it is the violence of the Ruling Paffion, that, impatient for its object, in the impetuofity of its course towards it, is frequently hurried to an immenfe diftance from it, which occafions all that
puzzling inconfiftency of con-
VER. 215. Ambition was the vice.] Pride, Vanity, and Ambition are fuch bordering and neighbourly vices, and hold fo much in common, that we generally find them going together, and therefore, as generally miftake them for one another. This does not a little contribute to our confounding
That very Cæfar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by Chastity at praise.
In this one Paffion man can strength enjoy,
fame; but a different time had changed their fubfidiary ones of Luft and Luxury, into their very oppofites of Chastity and Frugality. 'Tis in vain therefore, fays our author, for the observer of human nature to fix his attention on the Workman, if he all the while mistakes the Scaffold for the Building.
VER. 222. In this one Paffion &c.] But now it may be objected to our philofophic poet, that he has indeed fhewn the true means of coming to the Knowledge and Characters of men by a Principle certain and infallible, when found, yet, by his own account, of fo difficult investigation, that its Counterfeit, and it is always attended with one, may be easily mistaken for it. To
Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand. 225
Here honest Nature ends as he begins.
remove this difficulty, therefore, and consequently the objection that arifes from it, the poet has given (from 221 to 228) one certain and infallible criterion of the Ruling Paffion, which is this, that all the other paffions, in the course of time, change and wear away; while this is ever conftant and vigorous; and ftill going on from ftrength to ftrength, to the very moment of its demolishing the miserable machine that it has now at length overworked. Of this great truth, the poet (from 227 to the end) gives various instances in all the principal Ruling Paffions of our nature, as they are to be found in the Man of Bufinefs, the Man of Pleafure, the Epicure, the Parcimonious, the Toaft, the
VER. 227. Here honeft Na- | ancient Nobleman, who conture ends as he begins.] Hu- tinued this practice long after man nature is here humouroufly his legs were disabled by the called honeft, as the impulfe of gout. Upon the death of the ruling paffion (which the Prince George of Denmark, gives and cherishes) makes her more and more impatient of difguife.
he demanded an audience of the Queen, to advife her to preferve her health and difpel her grief by Dancing. P.
Shov'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely prefs'd
A falmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate ; The doctor call'd, declares all help too late : "Mercy! cries Helluo, mercy on my foul! 240 “ Is there no hope ?—Alas !—then bring the jowl.” The frugal Crone, whom praying priests attend, Still tries to fave 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 Bruffels lace
Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face:
Courtier, the Mifer, and the Patriot; which laft inftance the poet has had the art, under the appearance of Satire, to turn into the nobleft Compliment on the perfon to whom the Epiftle is addreffed.
VER. 247.- the last words that poor Narciffa spoke)] This ftory, as well as the others, is founded on fact, tho' the author had the goodness not to mention the names. Several
attribute this in particular to a very celebrated Actress, who, in deteftation of the thought of being buried in woollen, gave these her last orders with her dying breath. P.