Boast the pure blood of an illustrious race,
In quiet flow from Lucrece to Lucrece:
But by your father's worth if your’s you rate,
Count me those only who were good and great.
Go! if your ancient, but ignoble blood 211
Has crept thro' scoundrels ever since the flood,
Go! and pretend your family is young ;
Nor own, your fathers have been fools so long.
What can ennoble fots, or slaves, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the HOWARDS. 215
Look next on Greatness; say where Greatness

lies ? “ Where, but among the Heroes and the Wise?"

Ver. 207. Boast the pure blood, &c.] in the MS. thus,

The richest blood, right- honourably old,
Down from Lucretia to Lucretia rollid,
May (well thy heart and gallop in thy breast,
Without one dalh of usher or of priest :
Thy pride as much despise all other pride
As Christ Church once all colleges beside,

COMMENTARY. (from Ver. 204 to 217.) is in itself as devoid of all real worth: as the reft; because, in the first case, the Title is generally gained by no merit at all ; in the second, by the merit of the first Founder of the Family; which, when reflected on, is generally the subject rather of humiliation than of glory

VER. 217. Look next on Greatness, &c.] III. The Poet now unmasks (from Ver. 216 to 237.) the false pretences of GREATNESS, whereby it is seen that the Hero and the Politician (the two characters which would monopolize that quality) do, after all their bustle, if they want Virtue, effect only

Heroes are much the same, the point's agreed,
From Macedonia’s madman to the Swede; 220
The whole strange purpose of their lives, to find
Or make, an enemy of all mankind !
Not one looks backward, onward still he goes,
Yet ne'er looks forward further than his nose.
No less alike the Politic and Wise; 225
All fly slow things, with circumspective eyes:
Men in their loose unguarded hours they take,
Not that themselves are wise, but others weak.
But grant that those can conquer, these can cheat;
'Tis phrase absurd to call a Villain Great: 239
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.
Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains,

COMMENTARY. this, that the one proves himself a Fool, and the other a Knave: And Virtue they but too generally want; the art of Heroism being understood to consist in Ravage and Desolation; and the art of Politics, in Circumvention.

It is not success, therefore, that constitutes true Greatness; but the end aimed at, and the means which are employed : And if these be right, Glory will be the reward, whatever be the issue:

" Who noble ends by noble means obtains,
6 Or failing, smiles in exile or in chains,
Fr Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed
" Like Socrates, that man is great indeed."

Like good Aurelius let him reign, or bleed 235
Like Socrates, that Man is great indeed.

What's Fame? a fancy'd life in others breath,
A thing beyond us, ev’n before our death.
Just what you hear, you have, and what's un-

The same (my Lord) if Tully's, or your own. 240
All that we feel of it begins and ends
In the small circle of our foes or friends;
To all beside as much an empty shade
An Eugene living, as a Cæsar dead:
Alike or when, or where, they shone, or shine, 245
Or on the Rubicon, or on the Rhine.
A Wit's a feather, and a Chief a rod;
An honest Man's the noblest work of God.
Fame but from death a villain's name can save,
As Justice tears his body from the grave; 250,
When what t'oblivion better were resign’d,
Is hung on high, to poison half mankind.
All fame is foreign, but of true desert;
Plays round the head, but comes not to the heart:

COMMENTARY. VER. 237. What's Fame?] IV. With regard to FAME, that still more fantastic blefling, he sheweth (from Ver. 236 to 259.) that all of it, besides what we hear ourselves, is merely nothing: and that even of this small portion, no more of it giveth the possessor a real fatisfaction, than

One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas; 256
And more true joy Marcellus exil'd feels,
Than Cæsar with a senate at his heels.

In Parts superior what advantage lies ?
Tell (for You can) what is it to be wise ? 260
'Tis but to know how little can be known; .
To see all others faults, and feel our own ::
Condemn’d in business or in arts to drudge,
Without a second, or without a judge:
Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land?
All fear, none aid you, and few understand. 266
Painful preheminence! yourself to view
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.

COMMENTARY. . what is the fruit of Virtue. Thus he fhews, that Honour, Nobility, Greatness, Glory, fo far as they have any thing real and substantial, that is, so far as they contribute to the Happiness of the possessor, are the sole issue of Virtue ; and that neither Riches, Courts, Armies, nor the Populace, are capable of conferring them.

Ver. 259. In Parts Superior what advantage lies?] V. But lastly, the Poet Mhews (from Ver. 258 to 269.) that as no exter. nal goods can make man happy, so neither is it in the power of all internal. For that even SUPERIOR PARTS bring no more real happiness to the possessor than the rest; nay, that they put him into a worse condition; for that the quickness

NOT E s. Ver. 267. Painful preheminence! &c.] This, to his friend;

nor does it at all contradict what he had said to him concerg. ipg Happiness, in the beginning of the epistle :

Bring then these blessings to a strict account: Make fair deductions ; see to what they mount; ! How much of other each is sure to cost; 271

How each for other oft is wholly loft ;

COMMENTARY. of apprehension and depth of penetration do but sharpen the miseries of life.

VER. 269. Bring then these blessings to a strict account, &c.] Having thus proved how empty and unsatisfactory all these greatest external goods are, from an examination of their nature; he proceeds to strengthen his argument (from Ver. 268 to 309.) by thefe three further considerations :

1. That the acquirement of these goods is made with the loss of one another, or of greater ; either as inconsistent with them, or as spent in attaining them.

2. That the possessors of each of these goods are generally such, as are so far from raising envy in a good man, that he would refuse to take their persons, though accompanied with their posseflions: and this the Poet illustrates by examples.

3. That even the possession of them altogether, where they have excluded Virtue, only terminates in more enormous misery.

“ 'Tis never to be bought, but always free,

“ And fed from Monarchs, St. John! dwells with thee.” For he is now proving, that nothing either external to man, or what is not in man's power, and of his own acquirement, can make him happy here. The most plausible rival of Virtue is Kạowledge: yet even this is so far from giving any degree of real happiness, that it deprives us of those common comforts of life, which are a kind of support, under the want of happiness. Such as the more innocent of those delusions which he speaks of in the second Epistle : .

« Those painted clouds that beautify our days,” &c.

Now Knowledge destroyeth all those comforts, by setting man above life's weaknesses: So that in him, who thinketh 19

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