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A Fav'rite's Porter with his Mafter vie,
Shall Ward draw Contracts with a Statesman's skill ?
To pay their Debts, or keep their Faith, like Kings?
But fhall a Printer, weary of his life,
VER. 123. If Blount] Author of an impious and foolish book called the Oracles of Reafon, who being in love with a near kinfwoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a ftab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the confequence of which he really died. P..
VER. 124. Pafferan!] Author of another book of the fame ftamp, called A philofophical difcourfe on death, being a defence of fuicide.
VER. 125. But shall a Printer, etc.] A Fact that happened in London a few years paft. The unhappy man left behind him a paper juftifying his action by the reafonings of fome of thefe authors.
VER. 129. This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,] Alluding to the forms of prayer, compofed in the times of public calamity; where the fault is generally laid upon the People.
VER. 130. Gin.] A fpirituous liquor, the exorbitant
Let modeft FOSTER, if he will, excell
afe of which had almoft deftroyed the loweft rank of the People till it was reftrained by an act of Parliament in 1736. P.
VER. 131. Let modeft FOSTER,] This confirms an obfervation which Mr. Hobbes made long ago, That there be very few Bishops that act a fermon fo well, as divers Prefbyterians and fanatic Preachers can do. Hift. of Civ.
Wars. p. 62. SCRIBL.
VER. 134. Landaffe] A poor Bishoprick in Wales, as poorly fupplied. P.
VER. 135. Let humble ALLEN with an aukward Shame, Do good by fealth, and blush to find it Fame.] The true Character of our Author's moral pieces, confidered as a Supplement to human laws (the force of which they have defervedly obtained) is, that his praise is always delicate, F and his reproof never misplaced: and therefore the firft not reaching the bead, and the latter too fenfibly touching the heart of his vulgar readers, have made him cenfured as a cold Panegyrist, and a cauftic Satirift; whereas, indeed, he was the warmest friend, and the most placable enemy.
The lines above have been commonly given as an inftance of this ungenerous backwardness in doing justice to merit. And, indeed, if fairly given, would bear hard upon the Author, who believed the perfon here celebrated to be one of the greateft characters in private life that ever was; aud known by him to be, in fact, all, and
Virtue may chufe the high or low Degree,
'Tis juft alike to Virtue, and to me;
much more than he had feigned in the imaginary virtues of the man of Rafs. One, who, whether he be confidered in his civil, focial, domestic, or religious character, is, in all these views, an ornament to human nature.
And, indeed, we fhall fee, that what is here faid of him agrees only with fuch a Character. But as both the thought and the expreffion have been cenfured, we shall confider them in their order.
Let bumble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame,
This encomium has been called obfcure (as well as penu-
i. e. He blushed at the degeneracy of his times, which, at beft, gave his goodness its due commendation (the thing he never aimed at) instead of following and imitating his example, which was the reason why some acts of it were not done by ftealth, but more openly.
So far as to the thought: but it will be faid, tantamne rem tam negligenter?
And this will lead us to fay fomething concerning the ex
Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
See thronging Millions to the Pagod run,
And offer Country, Parent, Wife, or Son!
preffion, which will clear up what remains of the difficulty. In thefe lines, and in thofe which precede and follow them, are contained an ironical neglect of Virtue, and an ironical concern and care for Vice. So that the Poet's elegant correctness of compofition required, that his lan guage, in the first cafe fhould prefent fomething of negli gence and cenfure; which is admirably implied in the expreffion of the thought.
Hear her black Trumpet thro' the Land proclaim,
See, all our Nobles begging to be Slaves!
All, all look up, with reverential Awe,
At Crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the Law: While Truth, Worth, Wisdom, daily they decry→ "Nothing is Sacred now but Villainy." 170
Yet may this Verse (if such a Verse remain) Show, there was one who held it in difdain.