« PreviousContinue »
'Tis education forms the common mind:
Ask men's opinions: Scoto now shall tell
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 chanced to meet a minister that frown'd. Judge we by nature? habit can efface, Interest o'ercome, of 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 climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times,
III. Search then the ruling passion: Then alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; The fool consistent, and the false sincere; Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here. This clew once found unravels all the rest, The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confess'd. 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,
A rebel to the very king he loves;
He dies, sad outcast of each church and state,
Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
If second qualities for first they take,
In this the lust, in that the avarice.
Were means, not ends; ambition was the vice.
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shined 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,
And sigh'd, my lands and tenements to Ned.' Your money, sir?'-My money, sir, what, all? 'Why,—if I must'-then wept, I give it Paul.' 'The manor, sir?'- The manor ! hold, he cried, 260 'Not that, I cannot part with that,'-and died. And you! brave Cobham, to the latest breath, Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death: Such in those moments as in all the past,
'Oh, save my country, Heaven!' shall be your last,
That the particular characters of women are not so strongly marked as those of men, seldom so fixed, and still more inconsistent with themselves, ver. 1, &c. Instances of contrarieties given, even from such characters as are more strongly marked, and seemingly, therefore, more consistent. as, 1. In the affected.—— 2. In the soft natured.-3. In the cunning and artful.-4. In
the whimsical.-5., In the lewd and vicious.-6. In the witty and refined-7. In the stupid and simple, ver. 21. to 207. The former part having shown that the particular characters of women are more various than those of men, it is nevertheless observed that the general characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling passion, is more uniform, ver 207. This is occasioned partly by their nature, partly by their education, and in some degree by necessity, ver. 211. What are the aims and the fate of this sex: -1. As to power.-2. As to pleasure, ver. 219.-Advice for their true interest.-The picture of an estimable woman, with the best kind of contrarieties, ver. 249. to the end.
There is nothing in Mr. Pope's works more highly finished than this epistle yet its success was in no proportion to the pains he took in composing it. Something he chanced to drop in a short advertisement prefixed to it on its first publication, may, perhaps, account for the small attention given to it. He said that no one character in it was drawn from the life. The public believed him on his word, and expressed little curiosity about a satire, in which there was nothing personal.
NOTHING SO true as what you once let fall,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.