« EelmineJätka »
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:
Opinions? they still take a wider range:
Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.
Manners with Fortunes, Humours turn with Climes, Tenets with Books, and Principles with times.
III. Search then 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 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;
Enough if all around him but admire,
And now the Punk applaud, and now the Friar.
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 outcast of each church and state,
And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great.
Ask you why Wharton broke thro' ev'ry rule?
'Twas all for fear the Knaves should call him Fool.
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
If second qualities for first they take.
When Cataline by rapine swell'd his store;
When Cæsar made a noble dame a whore;
In this the Lust, 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.
Lucullus, when Frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabine 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.
Old Politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in bus'ness to the last;
As weak, as earnest; and as gravely out,
As sober Lanesb'rough dancing in the gout.
Behold a rev'rend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shov'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
By his own son, that passes by unbless'd:
Still to his wench he crawls 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."
The frugal Crone, whom praying priests attend,
Still strives 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— 250 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, 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 Manor, sir ?"—"The manor! hold (he cry'd), 260 Not that, I cannot part with that”—and died. 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,
"Oh, save my Country, Heav'n!" shall be your last. 265
OF THE CHARACTERS OF WOMEN
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,
And 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 grow romantic, I must paint it.
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare!
Dip in the Rainbow, trick her off in Air;
Choose 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 Sappho's di'monds with her dirty smock;
Or Sappho at her toilet's greasy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an ev’ning 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. 30
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 see-a 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;
Fine by defect, and delicately weak,
Their happy Spots the nice admirer take.
'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd,
Aw'd without Virtue, without Beauty charm'd;
Her Tongue bewitch'd as oddly 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 e'en 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 whim.
Why then declare Good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be borne?