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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 inclined.
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 opinions: Scoto now shall tell15
How trade increases, and the world goes well;
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 chanced 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 climes,

Tenets with books, and principles with times.

III. 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 clew once found unravels all the rest,

The prospect clears, and WHARTON stands confess'd.16
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:


15 [In the first edition:-"J-n now shall tell;" meaning perhaps Johnston the Scottish Secretary, afterwards Lord Register. He lived to a great age, and was a neighbour of Pope's at Twickenham.]

16 [In the first edition :-" Clodio stands confess'd."]

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.17
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;
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 refined;
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 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,


If second qualities for first they take.
When Cataline by rapine swell'd his store;
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore; 18

17 John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, famous for his wit and extravagancies in the time of Charles II.

18 The sister of Cato and the mother of Brutus. [Servilia. Warton quotes a fine reflection on this passage from St. Real. "How great must have been her affliction at the death of Cæsar, her lover, massacred by the hand of her own son, who perhaps hoped to efface this suspicion of his bastardy by this very action! Historians have neglected to inform us of the fate of this most unhappy mistress and mother. Nothing could have been more interesting than the history of Servilia after this event. Next to Cleopatra she was the most beloved of all Cæsar's mistresses; and Suetonius says, Cæsar bought for her a single jewel at the price of £50,000."]

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 the 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 Lanesborough dancing in the gout.19
Behold a reverend sire, whom want of
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shoved 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!

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Is there no hope ?-alas!-then bring the jole."






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.20


19 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 dispel her grief by dancing.

[Viscount Lanesborough died at Dublin in 1736. Swift mentions his popular manners. He is often alluded to as the dancing peer in the Irish pasquinades of that day.]

20 [Warburton states that this fact was told the poet of a lady at Paris.]

"Odious! in woollen! 'twould a saint provoke, (Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke):21 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."

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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?"


21 This story, as well as the others, is founded on fact, though the author had the goodness not to mention the names. Several attribute this in particular to a very celebrated actress, who, in detestation of the thought of being buried in woollen, gave these her last orders with her dying breath.

"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,)
Not that, I cannot part with that!"—and died.20

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.


22 [None of these death-bed illustrations are more characteristic than the politeness of Lord Chesterfield in apologising to his friend Dayrolles for the contortions which his pangs occasioned; and that of Charles the Second, in expressing his regret for the trouble he caused. "He had been," he said, 'a most unconscionable time dying; but he hoped that they would excuse it." "Euclio," mentioned in the next line of Pope's Epistle, is said to have been Sir Charles Duncombe, the " City Knight" who purchased Helmsley, and who divided his estates in Yorkshire and Wilts among different branches of his family. (See Imitations of Horace, Book II., Sat. II.) Duncombe had been a rich goldsmith in Lombard Street. Warton says, that Sir William Bateman "used those very words," assigned to Euclio on his death-bed; and the critic adds "No comic nor satiric writer has ever carried his descriptions of avarice or gluttony so far as what has happened in real life. Other vices have been exaggerated; these two never have been."]

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