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We prize the stronger effort of his power,
'Tis education forms the common mind,
Ask men's opinions: Scoto now shall tell15
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
Judge we by nature? Habit can efface,
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes,
III. Search then the RULING PASSION: there, alone,
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,
He dies, sad outcast of each church and state,
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
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.
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
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."
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?
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; 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."]