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We prize the stronger effort of his pow'r,
And always set the gem above the flow'r.
'Tis education forms the vulgar mind ;
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd,
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 scriv'ner, an exceeding knave :
Is he a churchman? then he's fond of pow'r ;
A quaker ? sly; a Presbyterian ? sour ;
A smart Free-thinker? all things in an hour.
True, some are open and to all men known ;
Others so very close they're hid from none :
(So darkness fills the eye no less than light)
Thus gracious Chandos is belov'd at sight;
And ev'ry child hates Shylock, tho' his soul
Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.
At half mankind when gen'rous Manly raves,
All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves.
When universal homage Umbra pays,
All see 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise.
Who but detests th' endearments of Courtine ?
While one there is, who charms us with his spleen.
But these plain characters we rarely find,
Tho' strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind.
Or puzzling contraries confound the whole,
Or affectations quite reverse the soul.
The dull, flat falsehood serves for policy,
And in the cunning, truth itself 's a lie.
Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise,
The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.
See the same man, in vigour, in the gout ;
Alone, in company ; in place, or out :
Early at bus'ness, and at hazard late ;
Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate ;
Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball ;
Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave ;
Save just at dinner then prefers, no doubt,
A rogue with ven’son to a saint without.
Who would not praise Patritio's high desert ?
His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
His comprehensive head ; all int’rests weigh'd,
All Europe sav'd, yet Britain not betray'd.
He thanks you not ; his pride was in piquette,
Newmarket-fame, and judgment at a bett.
Triumphant leaders, at an army's head,
Hemm'd round with glories, pilfer cloth or bread,
As meanly plunder, as they bravely fought,
Now save a people, and now save a groat.
What made (say Montagne, or more sage Charron !
Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon ?
A perjur’d Prince a leaden saint revere?
A godless Regent tremble at a star ?
The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit.
Faithless thro' piety, and dup'd thro' wit ?
Europe, a woman, child, or dotard rule ;
And just her ablest monarch made a fool!
Know, God and Nature only are the same :
In man, the judgment shoots at flying game ;
A bird of passage ! lost, as soon as found ;
Now in the moon perhaps, now under ground !
Ask men's opinions : Scoto now shall tell
How trade increases, and the world goes well ;
Strike off his pension by the setting sun,
And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.
Manners with fortunes, humour change with climes,
Tenets with books, and principles with times.
Judge we by nature ? Habit can efface,
Int'rest o'ercome, or policy take place :
By actions ! those uncertainty divides :
By passions ? these dissimulation hides :
Affections ? they still take a wider range :
Find, if you can, in what you cannot change ?
"Tis in 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 clue once found, unravels all the rest ;
The prospect clears, and Clodio stands confest.
Clodio, 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.
Tho' wond'ring 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 :
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 fry’r.
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 gen'ral 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 refin'd ;,
A tyrant to the wife his heart approves ;
A rebel to the very king he loves ;
He dies, sad out-cast of each Church and State !
And (harder still) flagitious, yet not great !
Ask you why Clodio broke thro' ev'ry rule ?
'Twas all for fear, the knave should call him fool.
Nature well known, no miracles remain ;
Comets are regular, and Clodio plain.
Yet in the search, the wisest may mistake,
If second qualities for first they take :
When Catiline by rapine swell’d his store,
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore,
In this the lust, in that the avarice,
Were meaus, 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 Sabin farm.
In vain th' 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.
Behold a rev'rend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race.
Crawl thro' the street, shov'd on, or rudely press'd
By his own sons that pass him by un-bless'd !
Still to his wench be creeps on knocking knees,
And envies ev'ry 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 !
Is there no hope ? alas ! then bring the jowl.
“Odious ! in woollen ! 'twou'd a saint provoke,
(Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke)
“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 dead
“And, Betty! give this cheek a little red.
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And blunder on in bus'ness to the last ;
As weak as earnest; and as gravely out,
As sober Lanes'brow, dancing in the gout.
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shin'd
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 mannor, sir ? “The mannor ! hold, he cry'd,
“Not that, I cannot part with that "--and dy'd.
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,
“O save my country, Heav'n!” shall be your last.
OF THE CHARACTERS OF WOMEN.
TO A LADY. Of the characters of women (considered only as contradistinguished from the other sex). That these are yet more inconsistent and incomprehensible than those of men, of which instances are given even from such characters as are plainest, and most strongly marked; as in the affected, Ver. 7, &c. The soft-natured, 29; the cunning, 45; the whimsical, 50; the wits and refiners, 69; the stupid and silly, 80. How contrarieties run through them all.
But though the particular characters of this sex are more various than those of men, the general characteristick, as to the ruling passion, is more uniform and contined. In what that lies, and whence it proceeds, 109, &c. Men are best known in publick life, women in private, 110. What are the aims, and the fate of tbe sex, both as to power and pleasure ? 121, 133, &c. Advice for their true interest, 151. The picture of an esteemable woman, made up of the best kind of contrarieties, 171, &c.
Nothing so true as what you once let fall,
“Most women have no characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.
How many pictures of one nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true !
Arcadia's countess, here in ermin'd pride,
Is there Pastora by a fountain side :
Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
Is there, a naked Leda with a swan,
Let then the fair-one beautifully cry,
In Magdalen's loose hair and lifted eye,
Or drest in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine,
With simp'ring angels, palms, and harps divine ;
Whether the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If folly grows romantic, I must paint it!
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare !
Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air,
Chuse a firm cloud before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.
Rufa, whose eye quick-glancing o'er the Park,
Attracts each light gay meteor of a spark,
Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,
As Sapho's diamonds with her dirty smock;
Or Sapho, at her toilet's greazy task,
And issuing flagrant to an evening mask,
So morning insects that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and fly-blow, in the setting.sun.
How soft is Silia ! fearful to offend,
The frail one's advocate, the weak one's friend :
To her, Calista prov'd her conduct nice,
And good Simplicius asks of her advice.
Sudden she storms! she raves ! You tip the wink,
But spare your censure, Silia does not drink.
All eyes may see from what the change arose ;
All eyes may seema pimple on her nose.
Papillia, wedded to her am'rous spark,
Sighs for the shades—“How charming is a park !”
A park is purchas'd ; but the fair he sees
All bath'd in tears—“Oh odious, odious trees!”
Ladies like variegated tulips show,
'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe,
Such happy spots the nice admirer take,
Fine by defect, and delicately weak.
'Twas thus Calypso once our hearts alarm'd,
Aw'd without virtue, without beauty charm'd ;
Her tongue bewitch'd as odly as her eyes,
Less wit than mimic, more a wit than wise ;
Strange graces still, and stranger flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad ;
Yet ne'er so sure our passion to create,
As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.
Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child,
Has ev'n been prov'd to grant a lover's pray’r,
And paid a tradesman once, to make him stare,
Gave alms at Easter in a christian trim,
And made a widow happy, for a whin,
Why then declare good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be born ?
Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name ?
A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame !
Now deep in Taylor and the book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his Grace and Chartres.
Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns;
And atheism and religion take their turns ;
A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.
Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray,
To toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God but of her stars to give
The mighty blessing, "while we live, to live."
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul !
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind ?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind.
Wise fool! with pleasures too refin'd to please,
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease,
With too much quickness ever to be taught,
With too much thinking to have common thought :
Who purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.
Turn then from wits; and look on Simo's mate ;
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate :
Or her, that owns her faults, but never mends,
Because she's honest, and the best of frien ls :
Or her, whose life the Church and scandal share,
For ever in a passion or a pray'r :