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Wise, if a minister; but, if a king,
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more ev'ry thing.
Blush in the rose, and in the di'mond blaze,
'Tis education forms the common mind,
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
VER. 165. Or chanc'd to meet Sir Robert when he frown'd.
Judge we by nature? Habit can efface,
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.
Search then the RULING PASSION: There, alone, The wild are constant, and the cunning known; 175 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 WHARTON stands confest. 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: 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;
VER. 187. John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, famous for his wit
and extravagancies in the time of Charles the Second.
Enough, if all around him but admire,
And now the punk applaud, and now the fryer.
He dies, sad outcast of each church and state,
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
Comets are regular, and WHARTON plain.
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake, 21Q If second qualities for first they take.
VER. 206. Ask you why Wharton] "This celebrated peer," says Lord Orford, "like Buckingham and Rochester, comforted all the grave and dull by throwing away the brightest profusion of parts on witty fooleries, debaucheries, and scrapes, which may mix graces with a great character, but never can compose one." VER. 208. In the former editions,
Nature well known, no Miracles remain. Altered as above, for very obvious reasons.
When Cataline by rapine swell'd his store;
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore;
In this the last, 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.
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand.
Consistent in our follies and our sins,
As sober Lanesb'row dancing in the gout.
Has made the father of a nameless race,
VER. 213. When Casar made] This was Servilia, the sister of Cato, and the mother of Brutus.
VER. 231. Lanesb'row] 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 lispel her grief by dancing.
Shov'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate ; The doctor call'd, declares all help too late : "Mercy!" cries Helluo, " mercy on my soul! 240 "Is there no hope?-Alas!-then bring the jowl." The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend, Still tries to save the hallow'd taper's end, Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires,
For one puff more, and in that puff expires.
"Odious! in woollen! 'twould 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."
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,
66 my lands and tenements to Ned."
VER. 242. The frugal crone, &c.] A fact told him by Lady Bolinbroke, of an old countess at Paris.
VER. 247. Narcissa] Mrs. Oldfield the actress, who gave these orders with her dying breath. Betty was Mrs. Saunders, an actress, her friend and confidante.