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Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,

Young without lovers, old without a friend;
A fop their passion, but their prize a sot;
Alive, ridiculous; and dead, forgot!

Ah! Friend! to dazzle let the vain design;

245

To raise the thought, and touch the heart, be

thine!

250

That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the

ring,

Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:

manner.

NOTES.

a sentiment by an opposition of images: but, too frequently repeated, it becomes tiresome and disgusting. Rhyme has almost a natural tendency to betray a writer into it: but the purest authors have despised it, as an ornament pert and puerile and epigrammatic. Seneca, Pliny, Tacitus, and later authors, abound in it. Quintilian has sometimes used it with much success, as when he speaks of style; "magna, non nimia; sublimis, non abrupta; severa, non tristis ; læta, non luxuriosa; plena, non tumida." And sometimes Tully; as, " vicit pudorem libido, timorem audacia, rationem amentia." But these writers fall into this mode of speaking but seldom, and do not make it their constant and general Those moderns, who have not acquired a true taste for the simplicity of the best ancients, have generally run into a frequent use of point, opposition, and contrast. They who begin to study painting, are struck at first with the pieces of the most vivid colouring; they are almost ashamed to own that they do not relish and feel the modest and reserved beauties of Raphael. The exact proportion of St. Peter's at Rome occasions it not to appear so great as it really is. It is the same in writing; but by degrees we find that Lucan, Martial, Juvenal, Q. Curtius, and Florus, and others of that stamp, who abound in figures that contribute to the false florid, in luxuriant metaphors, in pointed conceits, in lively antitheses, unexpectedly darting forth, are contemptible for the very causes which once excited our admiration. It is then we relish Terence, Cæsar, and Xenophon. Warton. Ver. 249.] Advice for their true interest.

Pope.

So when the sun's broad beam has tir'd the sight, All mild ascends the moon's more sober light, Serene in virgin modesty she shines,

And unobserv'd the glaring orb declines.

255

260

Oh! blest with temper, whose unclouded ray,
Can make to-morrow cheerful as to-day;
She, who can love a sister's charms, or hear
Sighs for a daughter, with unwounded ear;
She, who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules,
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
Yet has her humour most, when she obeys;
Lets fops or fortune fly which way they will; 265
Disdains all loss of tickets, or codille;

Spleen, vapours, or small-pox, above them all,
And mistress of herself, tho' china fall.

And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a contradiction still.
Heaven, when it strives to polish all it can
Its last best work, but forms a softer man;
Picks from each sex, to make the fav'rite blest,
Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest;
Blends, in exception to all general rules,
Your taste of follies, with our scorn of fools;
Reserve with frankness, art with truth allied,
Courage with softness, modesty with pride;

NOTES.

270

275

Ver. 268. though china fall.] Addison has touched this subject with his usual exquisite humour, in the Lover, No. 10. p. 291. of his works, 4to. quoting Epictetus to comfort a lady that labours under this heavy calamity. Warton.

Fix'd principles, with fancy ever new ;
Shakes all together, and produces――You.

280

Be this a woman's fame: with this unblest, Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest. This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year) When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere; Ascendant Phoebus watch'd that hour with care, 285 Averted half your parent's simple prayer; And gave you beauty, but denied the pelf That buys your sex a tyrant o'er itself.

NOTES.

Ver. 285, &c. Ascendant Phœbus watch'd that hour with care, Averted half your parents' simple pray'r;

And gave you beauty, but denied the pelf]

The poet concludes his epistle with a fine Moral, which deserves the serious attention of the public. It is this: that all the extravagances of these vicious characters here described, are much inflamed by a wrong education, hinted at in ver. 203; and that even the best are rather secured by a good natural, than by the prudence and providence of parents; which observation is conveyed under the sublime classical machinery of Phoebus in the ascendant, watching the natal hour of his favourite, and averting the ill effects of her parents' mistaken fondness. For Phoebus, as the God of wit, confers genius, and, as one of the astronomical influences, defeats the adventitious bias of education.

In conclusion, the great moral from both these Epistles together is, that the two rarest things in all nature are, a DISINTERESTED MAN, and a REASONABLE WOMAN. Warburton.

It may be doubted whether the preceding note, like some others of the same learned critic, does not tend to obscure rather than to elucidate the sense of the author; who meant nothing more in this passage, than by an elegant fiction to reconcile the Lady to whom it is addressed to her lot in life, by the consideration, that sense and good humour, with the additional advantage of a Poet to celebrate them, were preferable to riches. The MORAL of this Epistle

290

The gen'rous God, who wit and gold refines,
And ripens spirits as he ripens mines,
Kept dross for Duchesses, the world shall know it
To you gave sense, good-humour, and a poet.

NOTES.

Epistle is, that all female accomplishments, founded on pretensions to admiration, to wit, to piety, to spirit, and even to superiority of talents and ability, as exemplified in a series of female characters, are inadequate either to conciliate esteem or to confer happiness, without those higher endowments of the mind which alone can "raise the thought and touch the heart;" and which produce that" temper," which will display itself in all the relations of domestic life, and even render a woman

"Mistress of herself, tho' china fall!”

Its connexion with the preceding Epistle consists in its being a further illustration of the poet's idea of the ruling passion, which in woman is either the love of pleasure or the love of sway; the unrestrained indulgence of which inevitably leads to the unhappy consequences so strikingly displayed at ver. 219, &c. whilst she who employs her reason and judgment in the proper correction of these propensities, or in other words, who cultivates her understanding and her heart, will continue to charm,

"while what fatigues the ring,

Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing."

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