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There, where no Father's, Brother's Friend's disgrace
VER. 11 2. in some editions,
Who Itarves a Mother,
Notes. Ver. 108. gracious Prince] The style of Addresses on an accession.
Ver. 115. Cibber's Son, --- Rich] Two Players : look for them in the Dunciud. P.
A Fav'rite's Porter with his Master vie,
130 Nores. Ver. 123. If Blount] Author of an impious and foolish book called the Oracles of Reason, who being in love with a near kinswoman of his, and rejected, gave himself a stab in the arm, as pretending to kill himself, of the consequence of which he really died. P.
Ver. 124. Passeran!] Author of another book of the same stamp, called A philosophical discourse on death, being a defence of suicide.
VER. 125. But mall a Printer, etc.) A Fact that happened in London a few years past. The unhappy man left behind him a paper justifying his action by the reasonings of some of these authors. P.
VER. 129. This calls the Church to deprecate our Sin,] Alluding to the forms of prayer, composed in the tinies of public calamity; where the fault is generally laid upon the People.
Ver. 130. Gin.) A spirituous liquor, the exorbitant
Let modest Foster, if he will, excell
: Let humble ALLEN, with an aukward Shame, Do good by stealth, and blush to find it Fame.
Notes. use of which had almost destroyed the lowest rank of the People till it was restrained by an act of Parliainent in 1736. P.
VER. 135. Let modeft Foster,] This confirms an observation which Mr. Hobbes made long ago, That there be very few Bijbops that azt a sermon so well, as divers Presbyterians and fanatic Preachers can do. Hilt. of Civ, Wars. p. 62. SCRIBL.
VER. 134. Landaffe] A poor Bishoprick in Wales, as poorly supplied. P.
VER. 135. Let humble ALLEN with an aukward Shame, Do good by stealth, and blush to find i: Fame.] The true Character of our Author's moral pieces, coniidered as a Supplement to human laws (the force of which they have defurvedly obtained) is, that his praise is always delicate, and his reproof never misplaced : and therefore the first not reaching the head, and the latter too sensibly touching the heart of his vulgar readers, have made himn censured as a cold Panegyrist, and a caustic Satirist; whereas, indeed, he was the warmest friend, and the moit placable enemy.
The lines above have been commonly given as an inftance of this ungenerous backwardness in doing justice to merit. And, indeed, if fairly given, would bear hard upon the Author, who believed the person here celebrated to be one of the greatest characters in private life that ever was; and known by him to be, in fact, all, and
Virtue may chuse the high or low Degree, 'Tis juft alike to Virtue, and to me;
Notes. much more than he had feigned in the imaginary virtaes of the man of Rofs. One, who, whether he be considered in his civil, social, domeftic, or religious character, is, in all these views, an ornament to human nature.
And, indeed, we shall fee, that what is here said of hin agrees only with such a Character. But as both the thought and the expression have been censured, we shall consider them in their order.
Let humble Allen, with an aukward Shame,
Do good by Realth -This encomium has been called obfcure (as well as penurious.) It may be so; not from any defect in the conception, but from the deepness of the sense ; and, what may seem more strange, (as we shall see afterwards) from the elegance of phrase, and exactness of expression. We are so absolutely governed by custom, that to act contrary to it, creates even in virtuous men, who are ever modest, a kind of diffidence, which is the parent of Shame. But when, to this, there is joined a consciousness that, in forsaking custom, you follow truth and reason, the indignation arising from such a conscious virtue, mixing with Mame, 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 some 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 say something concerning the ex
Dwell in a Monk, or light upon a King,
Notes. prelion, which will clear up what remains of the difficulty. in these lines, and in chole which precede and follow them, are contained an ironical negleži of Virtue, and an ironical concern and care for Vice. So that the Poet's elegant correctness of composition required, that his language, in the first case should present foinething of negligence and censure ; which is admirably implied in the ex. presion of the thought.