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Who reafons wifely is not therefore wife,
VER. 117. Who reasons wifely, etc.] By reafoning is not here meant fpeculating; but deliberating and refolving in public counfels; for this inftance is given as one, of a variety of actions.
VER. 130. Cæfar himself might whisper he was beat.] Cæfar wrote his Commentaries, in imitation of the Greek Generals,
VER. 129. In the former Editions;
Afk why from Britain Cæfar made retreat?
The mighty Czar would tell you he was drunk.
Alter'd as above, because Cæfar wrote his Commentaries of this war, and does not tell you he was beat. As Cæfar too afforded an inftance of both cafes, it was thought better to make him the fingle Example.
Why risk the world's great empire for a Punk?
'Tis from high Life high Characters are drawn ; A Saint in Crape is twice a Saint in Lawn; A Judge is juft, a Chanc'lor juster fill; A Gownman, learn'd; a Bishop, what you will; Wife, if a Minister; but, if a King, More wife, more learn'd, more juft, more ev'ry thing. Court-Virtues bear, like Gems, the highest rate, 141 Born where Heav'n's influence scarce can penetrate ; In life's low vale, the foil the Virtues like, They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
for the entertainment of the world: But had his friend afked him, in his ear, the reafon of his fudden retreat from Britain, after so many pretended victories, we have cause to suspect, even from his own public relation of that matter, that he would have whifper'd be was beat.
VER. 131. Why risk the world's great empire for a Punk ?] After the battle of Pharfalia, Cæfar purfued his enemy to Alexandria, where he became infatuated with the charms of Cleopatra, and inftead of pushing his advantages, and difperfing the relicks of the Pharfalian quarrel, (after narrowly escaping the violence of an enraged populace) brought upon himself an unneceffary war, at a time his arms were most wanted elfewhere.
VER. 141. Court-virtues bear, like Gems, etc.] This whole reflection, and the fimilitude brought to fupport it, have a great delicacy of ridicule.
Tho' the fame fun with all-diffusive rays
'Tis Education forms the common mind,
That gay Free-thinker, a fine talker once,
VER. 164, 165. Some God, or Spirit he has lately found; Or chanc'd to meet a Minifier that frown'd.] Difafters the most unlooked for, as they were what the Free-thinker's Speculations and Practice were principally directed to avoid.-The poet here alludes to the ancient claffical opinion, that the fudden vifion of a God was fuppofed to ftrike the irreverend obferver speechless. He has only a little extended the conceit, and fuppofed, that the terrors of a Court-God might have the like effect on a very devoted worshipper.
Judge we by Nature? Habit can efface, Int'reft o'ercome, or Policy take place : By Actions? thofe Uncertainty divides: By Paffions? thefe Diffimulation hides: Opinions? they ftill 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.
Search then the RULING PASSION: There, alone, The Wild are conftant, and the Cunning known; The Fool confiftent, and the False finceré ; Priefts, Princes, Women, no dissemblers here. This clue once found, unravels all the reft, The profpect clears, and Wharton ftands confeft.
VER. 172. 173. Manners with Fortunes, Humours turn with Climes, Tenets with Books, and Principles with Times.] The poet had hitherto reckoned up the feveral fimple causes that hinder our knowledge of the natural characters of men. In thefe two fine lines he describes the complicated causes. Humours bear the fame relation to Manners, that Principles do to Tenets; that is, the former are modes of the latter; our Manners (fays the Poet) are warped from nature by our Fortunes or Stations; our Tenets, by our Books or Profeffions; and then each drawn ftill more, oblique, into humour and political principles, by the temperature of the climate, and the conftitution of the government.
VER. 174. Search then the ruling Paffion :] See Effay on Man, Ep. ii. 133. et feq.
Wharton, the fcorn and wonder of our days,
: And now the Punk applaud, and now the Frier.
VER. 181. The Luft of Praife:] This very well expresses the gronefs of his appetite for it; where the firength of the Paffion had destroyed all the delicacy of the Senfation.
VER. 187. John Wilmot, E. of Rochester, famous for his Wit and Extravagancies in the time of Charles the Second.
VER. 189. With the fame fpirit] Spirit, for principle, not paffion.