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encing contrary actions, ver. 100. II. Yet, to form Characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agrée: The utter uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from Policy, ver. 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, ver. 135. And some reason for it, ver. 140. Education alters the Nature, or at least Character, of many, ver. 149. Actions, Pasfions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles, all subject to change. No judging by Nature, from ver. 158. to ver. 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, ver. 175. Inftanced in the extraordinary Character of Clodio, ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qnalities for first, which will destroy all poffibility of the knowledge of mankind, ver. 210. Examples of the strength of the Ruling Passion, and its continuation to the last breath, ver. 222, &c.
EP I S T L E I.
YES, you despise the man to Books confind,
Who from his study rails at human-kind; Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance, Some general maxims, or be right by chance. The coxcomb bird, fo talkative and grave;
5 That from his cage cries Cuckold, Whore, and Knave, Though many a passenger he rightly call, You hold him no Philosopher at all.
And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
That each from other differs, first confess;
Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds,
His Principle of action once explore,
35 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. 40 Oft, in the Passion's wild rotation tost, Our spring of action to ourselves is lost : Tir'd, 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 sleep, (Though past the recollection of the thought) Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought : Something as dim to our internal view, Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.
50 True, some are open, and to all men known : Others, so very close, they 're hid from none; (So darkness strikes the sense no less than light) Thus gracious Chandos is belov'd at fight;
And every child hates Shylock, though his soul
S5 Still fits 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. 60 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 : Though 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.
70 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-chase, wife at a Debate ; Drunk at a Borough, civil at a Ball;
75 Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
He thanks you not, his Pride is in Picquette,
What made (fay, Montagne, or more fage Charron!)
go The throne a Bigot keep, a Genius quit, Faithless through Piety, and dup'd through Wit? Europe a Woman, Child, or Dotard rule, And just her wisest monarch made a fool ?
Know, God and Nature only are the same : 95 In Man, the judginent 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, Infer the Motive from the Deed, and shew, That what we chanc'd was what we meant to do, Behold if Fortune or a Mistress frowns, Some plunge in business, others have their crowns: To ease the Soul of one oppressive weight, 10$ This quits an Empire, that embroils a State: The fame adult complexion has impell’d Charles to the Convent, Philip to the Field.
Triumphant leaders at an army's head,