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Where crowds can wink, and no offence be known,
Since in another's guilt they see their own.
Yet fame deserv'd no enemy can grudge ;
The statesman we abhor, but praise the judge.
In Israel's courts ne'er sat an Abethdin*
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean ;
Unbrib'd, unsought, the wretched to redress;
Swift of despatch, and easy of access.
Oh! had he been content to serve the crown
With virtues only proper to the gown,
Or had the rankness of the soil been freed
From cockle that oppress’d the noble seed,
David for him his tuneful harp had strung,
And heaven had wanted one immortal song.
I“ Character of Lord Shaftesbury.”- Anthony Ashley Cooper, first Earl of Shaftesbury, a mercurial and ambitious man, not very well principled where power was to be obtained, but not indis. posed to be just and patriotic when possessed of it. Even the famous reply which he is said to have made to a banter of Charles the Second, contained a sort of impudent' aspiration, which must have at once disconcerted and delighted the merry monarch ; for it implied that his majesty and he stood in a very remarkable state of relationship.
The King. Shaftesbury, I believe thou art the wickedest dog in my dominions.
Shaftesbury (with a bow). May it please your majesty, of a subject, I believe I am.”
: “ Great wits to madness surely are allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide."
The truth of this striking couplet may seem to be exemplified in the history of Swist and others; but it is not the greatness of the wit that is allied to the madness; it is the weakness or vio. lence of the will. Rabelais was no madman, Molière was none, Sterne was none, Butler none, Horace, Aristophanes, Ariosto, Berni, Voltaire, Shakspeare, Cervantes. The greater the wit, for the most part, the healthier the understanding, because it is thoroughly wisest and well-balanced. Some physical irregularity
• A Jewish word for judge. Shaftesbury had been Lord Chancellor.
or accident is generally at the bottom of the madness of men of genius. Lee was a drinker, and used to lie at night in the streets. Swift had a diseased blood. Poor Collins probably got the seeds of his malady in the gay life he once led “ about town,” a very unfit one for his sensitive and sequestered turn of mind. Cowper was driven mad through an excessive delicacy of organization frightened by Methodism; instead of being soothed, as it ought to have been, by the liberal opinions natural to his heart and good sense.
8" To that unfeather'd two-leggd thing, a son.”-Father of the third Earl of Shaftesbury, the philosopher; who with all his philosophy never forgave Dryden this attack on the parental insignificance.
CHARACTER OF THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
A numerous host of dreaming saints succeed,
Of the true and enthusiastic breed :
'Gainst form and order they their power employ,
Nothing to build, and all things to destroy.
But far more numerous was the herd of such,
Who think too little, and who talk too much.
These out of mere instinct, they knew not why,
Ador'd their fathers' God, and property ;
And by the same blind benefit of fate,
The Devil and the Jebusi.e did hate ;
Born to be sav'd, even in their own despite,
Because they could not help believing right.
Such were the tools; but a whole hydra more
Remains of sprouting heads too long to score.
Some of their chiefs were princes of the land.
In the first rank of these did Zimri stand;
A man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not but all mankind's epitome ;
Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong,
Was everything by starts, and nothing long ;
George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, son of the favorite of
Jamas and Charles the First,
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon ;
Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking,
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Blest madman, who could every hour employ
With something new to wish or to enjoy!
Railing and praising were his usual themes,
And both, to show his judgment in extremes ;
So over violent, or over civil,
That every man with him was God or Devil.
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art;
Nothing went unrewarded but desert.
Beggar'd by fools whom still he found too late,
He had his jest, and they had his estate.
He laugh'd himself from court; then sought relief
By forming parties, but could ne'er be chief:
For spite of him the weight of business fell
On Absalom and false Achitophel
Thus, wicked but in will, of means berest,
He left not faction, but of that was left."
1« Character of the Duke of Buckingham.”—The duke intrigued against a giddy and unprincipled court out of pure similarity of disposition. Dryden's attack on him was partly in payment for offence received in the critical comedy of The Rehearsal. His Grace was very angry, and replied in a wretched pamphlet, which is forgotten.—See the interesting notes on Walter Scott's edition of Dryden, vol. ix., p. 272.
2 « He left not faction, but of that was left."-See, in the present volume, the rival portrait of Buckingham from the hand of
(Being the Epilogue to Etherege's “Man of More, or Sır FOPLING
Most modern wits such monstrous fools have shown,
They seem not of Heaven's making, but their own:
Those nauseous harlequins in farce may pass,
But there goes more to a substantial ass :
Something of man must be expos’d to view,
That, gallants, he may more resemble you.
Sir Fopling is a fool so nicely writ,
The ladies would mistake him for a wit,
And when he sings, talks loud, and cocks," would cry,
“I vow, methinks, he's pretty company;"
So brisk, so gay, so travell’d, so refin'd,
As he took pains to graff upon his kind.
True fops help Nature's work, and go to school,
To file and finish God Almighty's fool
Yet none Sir Fopling him, or him, can call;
He's knight o'th' shire, and represents you all.
From each he meets he culls whate'er he can,
Legion 's his name-a people in a man.
His bulky folly gathers as it goes,
And, rolling o'er you, like a snow-ball grows.
His various modes from various fathers follow;
One taught the toss, and one the new French wallow.
His sword-knot this, his cravat that design'd;
And this, the yard-long snake he twirls behind t
From one the sacred periwig he gain'd,
Which wind ne'er blew, nor touch of hat profan'd.
Another's diving bow he did adore,
Which, with a shog, casts all the hair before ;
Till he with full decorum brings it back,
And rises with a water-spaniel shake.
As for his songs, the ladies' dear delight,
These sure he took from most of you who write.
Yet every man is safe from what he fear'd,
For no one fool is hunted from the herd.
THE CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT CLERGY.
From the “ HIND AND THE PANTHER.”
A plain good man whose name is understood
(So few deserve the name of plain and good)
Of three fair lineal lordships stood possess'd
And liv'd, as reason was, upon the best.-
• Videlicet, his hat.
f I know not what he means by this.
James II.-Dryden was at this time a Catholic
His house with all convenience was purvey'd
The rest he found, but rais’d the fabric where he pray'd."
And in that sacred place his beauteous wife
Employ'd her happiest hours of holy life.
Nor did their alms extend to those alone,
Whom common faith more strictly made their own
A sort of Dovest were hous'd too near their hall,
Who cross the proverb, and abound in gall.
Though some, ’t is true, are passively inclin’d,
The greater part degenerate from their kind;
Voracious birds, that hotly bill and breed,
And largely drink, because on salt they feed.
Small gain from them their bounteous owner draws;
Yet, bound by promise, he supports their cause,
As corporations privileg'd by laws.
Another farm he had behind his house,
Not overstock’d, but barely for his use •
Wherein his poor Domestic Poultry fed,
And from his pious hands receiv'd their bread. I
Our pamper'd Pigeons, with malignant eyes,
Beheld these inmates and their nurseries :
Though hard their fare at evening and at morn
(A cruise of water and an ear of corn),'
Yet still they grudg’d that modicum, and thought
A sheaf in every single grain was brought:
Fain would they filch that little food away,
While unrestraind these happy gluttons prey;
And much they griev'd to see so nigh their hall,
The bird that warn'd St. Peter of his fall;'
That he should raise his mitred crest on high,
And clap his wings, and call his family
To sacred rites; and vex the Ethereal powers
With midnight matins at uncivil hours ;
Nay more, his quiet neighbors should molest
Just in the sweetness of their morning rest.
Beast of a bird,3 supinely when he might
Lie still and sleep, to rise before the light.
What if his dull forefathers us'd that cry,
Could he not let a bad example die?
The world was fall'n into an easier way:
This age knew better than to fast and pray.
• The Catholic chapel set up by James in Whitehall.
† The clergy of the Church of England. It is amusing to see them re. presented as living on the “alms” of the barely tolerated king
The Catholic clergy maintained by the king.