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tions, passions, opinions, manners, humours, or principles, all subject to change. No judging by nature. 3. 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. Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind. Examples of the strength of the ruling passion, and its continuation to the last breath.


Yes, you despise the man to books confin'd,
Who from his study rails at humankind;
Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance
Some general maxims, or be right by chance.
The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,
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,
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, those from guess.
There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein.
Shall only man be taken in the gross ?
Grant but as many sorts of mind as moss.

That each from other differs, first confess; Next, that he varies from himself no less;

It may

Add nature's, custom's, reason's, passion's strife, And all opinion's colours cast on life.

Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds, Quick whirls and shifting eddies of our minds ? On human actions reason though you can, be reason,

but it is not man: His principle of action once explore, That instant 'tis his principle no more. Like following life through creatures you dissect, You lose it in the moment


detect. Yet more; the difference is as great between The opties seeing as the objects seen. All manners take a tincture from our own, Or come discolour'd through 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' wide 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.

Others so very

True, some are open, and to all men known;

close they're hid from none (So darkness strikes the sense no less than light); Thus gracious Chandos is belov'd at sight; And every child hates Shylock, though 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 see 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise. When flattery glares, all hate it in a queen, While one 8 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.

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, 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,

1 The principal character in Wycherley's Plain Dealer. 2 Queen Caroline.

8 Swift.

Save just at dinner-then prefers, no doubt,

with venison to a saint without.
Who would not praise Patricio’s 4 high desert,
His hand unstain’d, his uncorrupted heart,
His comprehensive head ? all interests weigh’d,
All Europe sav’d, yet Britain not betray'd !
He thanks you not, his pride is in piquet,
Newmarket fame, and judgment at a bet.
What made (say, Montaigne, or more sage

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 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: 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.

4 Lord Godolphin.

6 Louis XI. of France. 6 Philip Duke of Orleans, Regent in the minority of Louis XV.

7 Philip V. of Spain, who after renouncing the throne for religion, resumed it to gratify his queen; and Victor Amadeus II. king of Sardinia, who resigned the crown, and trying to reassume it, was imprisoned till his death.

8 The Czarina, the king of France, the Pope, and the above-mentioned king of Sardinia.


In vain the sage, with retrospective eye,
Would from th' apparent What conclude the Why,
Infer the motive from the deed, and show
That what we chanc'd was what we meant to do.
Behold ! if fortune or a mistress frowns,
Some plunge in business, others shave their crowns :
To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
This quits an empire, that embroils a state.
The same adust complexion has impell’d
Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.

Not always actions show the man: we find
Who does a kindness is not therefore kind ;
Perhaps prosperity becalm’d his breast;
Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east :
Not therefore humble he who seeks retreat ;
Pride guides his steps, and bids him shun the

Who combats bravely is not therefore brave;
He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave :
Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise ;
His pride in reasoning, not in acting, lies.

But grant that actions best discover man ;
Take the most strong, and sort them as you can:
The few that glare each character must mark ;
You balance not the many in the dark.


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