Page images

What will you do with such as disagree?
Suppress them, or miscall them policy?
Must then at once (the character to save)
The plain rough hero turn a crafty knave?
Alas! in truth the man but chang'd his mind;
Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd.
Ask why from Britain Cæsar would retreat?
Cæsar himself might whisper he was beat.
Why risk the world's great empire for a punk?
Cæsar perhaps might answer, he was drunk.
But, sage historians! 'tis your task to prove

One action, conduct, one heroic love.

'Tis from high life high characters are drawn: A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn: A judge is just, a chancellor juster still; A gownman learn'd; a bishop what you will; Wise if a minister; but if a king,

More wise, more learn'd, more just, more every thing.

Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate, Born where Heaven's influence scarce can pene


In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like,
They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
Though the same sun, with all-diffusive rays,
Blush in the rose, and in the diamond blaze,
We prize the stronger effort of his power,
And justly set the gem above the flower.
"Tis education forms the common mind;
Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclin❜d.

Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'squire;
The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar;
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Will sneaks a scrivener, an exceeding knave.
Is he a churchman? then he's fond of power:
A quaker ?-sly: a presbyterian ?—sour :
A smart free-thinker ?—all things in an hour.
Ask men's opinion: Scoto now shall tell
How trade increases, and the world
Strike off his pension by the setting sun,
And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.


That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
What turns him now a stupid silent dunce?
Some god or spirit he has lately found,
Or chanc'd to meet a minister that frown'd.

Judge we by nature ?-habit can efface,
Interest o'ercome, or policy take place:
By actions?-those uncertainty divides:
By passions?-these dissimulation hides:
Opinions?-they still take a wider range :
Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with

Tenets with books, and principles with times.


SEARCH then the ruling passion: there, alone,
The wild are constant, and the cunning known;
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 Wharton1 stands confest.
Wharton! the scorn and wonder of our days,
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:
Though wondering 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;
Enough if all around him but admire,

And now the punk applaud, and now the friar.
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;

Philip, Duke of Wharton.

* John, Earl of Rochester.

His passion still to covet general 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,
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!
Ask you why Wharton broke through every
'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,
If second qualities for first they take.
When Catiline by rapine swell'd his store,
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore,
In this the lust, in that the avarice
Were means, not ends, ambition was the vice.
That very Cæsar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by chastity at praise.
Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabine farm.
In vain th' observer eyes the builder's toil,
But quite mistakes the scaffold for the pile.

In this one passion man can strength enjoy, As fits give vigour just when they destroy. Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand, Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand.

Consistent in our follies and our sins,
Here honest Nature ends as she begins.
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in business to the last;
As weak, as earnest, and as gravely out
As sober Lanesb'row1 dancing in the gout.
Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shov'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
By his own son, that passes by unbless'd;
Still to his wench he crawls on knocking knees,
And envies every sparrow that he sees.


A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate; The doctor call'd, declares all help too late. "Mercy!" cries Helluo, " mercy on my soul! Is there no hope?-Alas!-then bring the jowl." The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend, Still strives to save the hallow'd taper's end, Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires, For one puff more, and in that puff expires. "Odious! in woollen! 'twould a saint provoke (Were the last words that poor Narcissa3 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 deadAnd-Betty-give this cheek a little red."

An ancient nobleman, who continued this practice long after his legs were disabled by the gout.

2 An old Countess at Paris. 3 Mrs. Oldfield, the actress.

« PreviousContinue »