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There, where no Father's, Brother's Friend's difgrace Once break their reft, or ftir them from their Place: But past the Sense of human Miseries,
All Tears are wip'd for ever from all eyes;
No cheek is known to blush, no heart to throb,
P. Good Heav'n forbid, that I fhould blaft their
Who know how like Whig Minifters to Tory,
Have I, in filent wonder feen such things
And at a Peer or Peerefs, fhall I fret,
Who starves a Sifter, or forfwears a Debt?
But shall the Dignity of Vice be loft?
Ye Gods! fhall Cibber's Son, without rebuke, 115 Swear like a Lord, or Rich out-whore a Duke ;
VER. 112. in fome editions,
Who ftarves a Mother,
VER. 108. gracious Prince] The ftyle of Addreffes on
VER. 115. Cibber's Son,- Rich] Two Players: look for them in the Dunciad.
A Fav'rite's Porter with his Mafter vie,
Be brib'd as often, and as often lie?
Shall Ward draw Contracts with a Statesman's skill?
Or Japhet pocket, like his Grace, a Will?
Is it for Bond, or Peter, (paltry things)
To pay their Debts, or keep their Faith, like Kings?
But shall a Printer, weary of his life,
Learn, from their Books, to hang himself and Wife?
And hurls the Thunder of the Laws on Gin.
VER. 123, If Blount] Author of an impious and foolish book called the Oracles of Reason, who being in love with a near kinfwoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a ftab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the confequence of which he really died. P.
VER. 124. Pafferan!] Author of another book of the fame ftamp, called A philofophical difcourfe on death, being a defence of fuicide.
VER. 125. But shall a Printer, etc.] A Fact that happened in London a few years paft. The unhappy man left behind him a paper juftifying his action by the reafonings of fome of thefe authors. P.
VER. 129. This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,] Alluding to the forms of prayer, compofed in the times of public calamity; where the fault is generally laid upon. the People.
VER. 130. Gin.] A fpirituous liquor, the exorbitant.
Let modeft FOSTER, if he will, excell
Let humble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame, 135
ufe of which had almost deftroyed the lowest rank of the People till it was reftrained by an act of Parliament in 1736. P.
VER. 131. Let modeft FOSTER,] This confirms an observation which Mr. Hobbes made long ago, That there be very few Bishops that at a fermon fo well, as divers Prefbyterians and fanatic Preachers can do. Hilt. of Civ. Wars. p. 62. SCRIBL.
VER. 134. Landaffe] A poor Bifhoprick in Wales, as poorly fupplied.
VER. 135. Let humble ALLEN with an aukward Shame, Do good by Stealth, and blush to find it Fame.] The true Character of our Author's moral pieces, contidered as a Supplement to human laws (the force of which they have defervedly obtained) is, that his praife is always delicate, and his reproof never misplaced: and therefore the first not reaching the head, and the latter too fenfibly touching the heart of his vulgar readers, have made him cenfured as a cold Panegyrist, and a cauftic Satirift; whereas, indeed, he was the warme friend, and the moit placable enemy.
The lines above have been commonly given as an inftance of this ungenerous backwardnefs in doing justice to merit. And, indeed, if fairly given, would bear hard upon the Author, who believed the perfon here celebrated to be one of the greatest characters in private life that ever was; aud known by him to be, in fact, all, and
Virtue may chufe the high or low Degree,
'Tis juft alike to Virtue, and to me;
much more than he had feigned in the imaginary virtues of the man of Rofs. One, who, whether he be confidered in his civil, focial, domeftic, or religious character, is, in all these views, an ornament to human nature.
And, indeed, we fhall fee, that what is here faid of him agrees only with fuch a Character. But as both the thought and the expreffion have been cenfured, we shall confider them in their order.
Let humble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame,
This encomium has been called obscure (as well as penurious.) It may be fo; not from any defect in the conception, but from the deepness of the sense; and, what may seem more strange, (as we shall fee afterwards) from the elegance of phrafe, and exactnefs of expreffion. We are fo abfolutely governed by cuftom, that to act contrary to it, creates even in virtuous men, who are ever modeft, a kind of diffidence, which is the parent of Shame. But when, to this, there is joined a consciousness that, in forfaking cuftom, you follow truth and reason, the indignation arifing from fuch a confcious virtue, mixing with Shame, produces that amiable aukwardness, in going out of the fashion, which the Poet, here, celebrates.
and blush to find it Fame.
i. e. He blushed at the degeneracy of his times, which, at best, gave his goodness its due commendation (the thing he never aimed at) instead of following and imitating his example, which was the reason why fome acts of it were not done by stealth, but more openly.
So far as to the thought: but it will be said,
tantamne rem tam negligenter?
And this will lead us to fay fomething concerning the ex
Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
She's still the fame, belov'd, contented thing.
And stoops from Angels to the Dregs of Earth :
Our Youth, all livery'd o'er with foreign Gold, 155
preffion, which will clear up what remains of the difficulty. În these lines, and in thofe which precede and follow them, are contained an ironical neglect of Virtue, and an ironical concern and care for Vice. So that the Poet's elegant correctness of compofition required, that his language, in the first cafe fhould prefent fomething of negli gence and cenfure; which is admirably implied in the expreffion of the thought.