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Tho' many a passenger he rightly call,
You hold him no philosopher at all.
'And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
Men may be read, as well as books, too much.
To observations which ourselves we make,
We grow more partial for th’ observer's sake;
To written wisdom, as another's, less :
Maxims are drawn from notions, thefe from guess.
There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or fcme varying vein :
Shail only man be taken in the gross ?
Grant but at many sorts of mind as moss.
That each from other differs, first confess; Next, that he varies from himself no less ; Add Nature's, Custom's, Reason's, Passion's strife, And all Opinion's colours cast on life.
Our depths who fathons, or our shallows finds, Quick whirls, and shifting eddies, of our minds ? On human actions reason tho' you can, It may be reason, but it is not man: His principle of action once explore, That instant ’tis his principle no more. Like following life thro' creatures you diffect, You lose it in the nioment you detect.
Yet more; the difference is as great between The optics seeing, as the objects seen. All manners take a tincture from our own; Or come discolour'd thro' our passions shown, Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies, Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will life's stream for observation stay,
It hurries all too fast to mark their way :
In vain sedate reflections we would make,
When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take-
Oft in the passions' wild rotation tott,
Our spring of actions to ourselves is lost :
Tird, not determin'd, to the last we yield,
And what comes then is master of the field.
As the last image of that troubled heap,
When sense subsides, and fancy sports in Seep,
(Tho' past the recollection of the thought)
Becomes the stuf of which our dream is wrought :
Something as dim, to our internal view,
Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.
True, some are open, and to all men known;
Others so very close, they're known to none;
(So darkness Atrikes the sense no less than light)
Thus gracious CHANDOS is belov'd at fight;
And every child hates Shylock, tho' his soul
Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.
At half mankind when generous Manly raves,
All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves:
When universal homage Umbra pays,
All fee 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise.
When flattery glares, all hate it in a Queen,
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, Aiat falfhood serves, for policy :
And in the Cunning, truth itself's a lye :
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 business, and at hazard late;
Mad at a fox-chace, 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 venison to a faint without.
Who would not praise Patricio's high defert,
His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
His comprehensive head, all interests weigh’d,
All Europe fav’d, yet Britain not betray'd.
He thanks you not, his pride is in picquette,
New-Market fame, and judgment at a bett.
What made (say Montague, or more fage 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 wisest monarch made a fool ?
Know, God and Nature only are the fame : In man, the judgment shoots at flying game :.
A bird of passage' gone as soon as found,
Now in the moon perhaps, now under ground.
In vain the fage, with retrospective eye.
Would from th' apparent What conclude the Why,
Iofer the motive from the deed, and Mew,
That what we chanc'd was what we meant to do.
Behold! if fortune or a mistress frowns,
Some plunge in bufioess, others shave their crowns :
To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
This quits an empire, that embroils a state :
The same adult complexion has impellid
Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.
Not always Actions shew the man :
Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind :
Purhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast,
Perhaps the wind just Thifted from the east :
Not therefore humble he who seeks retreat,
Pride guides his steps, and bids bim fhun the great;
Who combats bravely is not therefore brave,
He dreads a death-bed like the meanest llave :
Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise,
His pride in reas'ning, not in acting lies.
But grant that actions best discover man;
Take the most strong, and fort them as you can.
The few that glare, each character must mark,
You balance not the many in the dark.
What will you do with such as disagree?
Suppress them, or miscall them policy?
Must then at once (the character to fave)
The plain rough hero turn a crafty knave?
Alas! in truth the man but chang'a his mind,
Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd.
Al why from Britain Caesar would retreat ?
Caesar himself might whisper he was beat.
Why risk the world's great empire for a punk !
Caesar perhaps might answer he was drunk.
But, fage historians ! 'tis your talk to prove
One action conduct, one heroic love.
'Tis from high life high characters are drawn; A faint in crape is twice a faint in lawn; A judge is just, a chance’lor juster still; A gownman, learn'd'; a bishop, what you will ; Wife, if a minister ; but, if a king, More wise, more learn'd, more just, more every thing, Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate, Born where heaven's influence scarce can penetrate;
In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like,
They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
Tho' the same fun with all diffusive rays
Bluth in the rose, and in the di’mond blaze,
We prize the stronger effort of his power,
And juftly set the gem above the power.
'Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd.
Boastful and rough, your firit son is a 'squire ;
The next a trad fman, meek and much a lyar;
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Will sneaks a scrivener an exceeding knave :
Is he a churchman ? then he's fond of power :
A Quaker? Ny: A Presbyterian ? sour :
A fmart Free-thinker: all things in an hour.