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When black ambition stains a public cause, A monarch's sword when mad vain-glory draws, Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, Nor Boileau turn the feather to a star. 231
Not so, when diadem'd with rays divine, Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's
shrine, Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, And opes the temple of eternity. There, other trophies deck the truly brave, Than such as Anstis casts into the grave; Far other stars than *** and *** wear, · And may descend to Mordington from Stair; Such as on Hough's unsullied mitre shine, 240 Or beam, good Digby, from a heart like thine.
228 When black ambition, &c. The case of Cromwell in the civil war of England; and, ver. 229, of Louis XIV. in his conquest of the Low Countries.--Pope.
237 Anstis. The chief herald at arms. It is the custom, at the funeral of great peers, to cast into the grave the broken staves and ensigns of honor.–Pope.
238 Far other stars. The names to be supplied here are Kent and Grafton. Mordington was said to be the principal of a gaming-club.
239 Stair. John Dalrymple, earl of Stair, knight of the thistle, served in all the wars under the duke of Marlborough, and afterwards as ambassador to France.-Pope.
240 Unsullied mitre. This prelate, in whose favor Pope remits his usual acrimony to the English prelates, was a learned and active bishop: he died at the great age of ninety-two, after an episcopacy of fifty-three years. Littleton has panegyrised him in his · Persian Letters.
240 Hough—Digby. Dr. John Hough, bishop of Worcester; and the Jord Digby: the one an assertor of the church of England, in opposition to the false measures of king James II.; the other as firmly attached to the cause of that king : both acting out of principle, and equally men of honor and virtue.-Pope.
Let envy howl, while heaven's whole chorus sings,
Yes, the last pen for freedom let me draw, When truth stands trembling on the edge of law; Here, last of Britons ! let your names be read; 250 Are none, none living ? let me praise the dead; And for that cause which made your fathers
shine, Fall by the votes of their degenerate line.
F. Alas! alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more · Essays on Man.'
250 Here, last of Britons. Pope's powerful common sense ought to have redeemed him from the affectation of pronouncing all public and private virtue to be in the grave. His day was immoral, and degraded by political corruption, the natural results of long political feud: but it was a purer, manlier, and more patriotic age, than the one which went before it; unless the age of the Georges was to be eclipsed by the morality of Charles and his love of liberty. The age of George III. was a still more memorable advance in every high quality of a nation,-morals, learning, talents, and religion. England is not exhausted yet ; and what she has been may be nothing to the powers which the British mind contains within itself; only waiting to be developed by the necessities, the prizes, and the conflicts of the age to come. 255 In the Ms.
Quit, quit these themes, and write Essays on Man.'
END OF VOL. II.
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