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TO SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.
The argument. I. THAT it is not fufficient for this knowledge to confider Man in the abftract: books will not serve the purpote, nor yet our own experience singly, v. 1. General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but rotional, v. IO. Some peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from him. felf, v. 15. 1.ficulties arising from cur own paifions, fancies, faculties, &c. v. 31 The shortness of ife to observe in, and the uncertai: ty of the principles of action in Men to observe by, v. 37, &c. Our own principle of action often hid from ourfelves, V. 41 Some few characters plain, but in general contourded, ditlembled, or inconfiftent, v. 51. The same man utterly different in different places and fearons, v. 71. Uniinaginable weakneles in the greateit, y. 77, &c. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, v. 95. No judging of the motives from the actions; the fame actions proceeding from contrary motives, and the fime motives influencing contrary actions, v. ico. II. Yet to form characters we can only take the ftrangeit actions of a man's life, ard try to make them agree: the utier uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from policy, v. 120. Characters giver according to the rank of meri of the world, v. 135; and some reason for it, v. 140. Education alters the nature, or at least character, of many, v. 149. Actions, pailions, Opinions, manners, humours, of principles, all subject to change. No judging by Nature, from v. 158 to 174. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his ruling paifion : that will certainly influence all the reit, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, v. 175. Infanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, v. 179. A caution against iniftaking second qualities for first, which will destroy ail poffibility of the knowledge of mankind, v. 210 Examples of the strength of the ruling paffion, and its continuation to the last breath, v. 222, &c.
Who from his study rails at human kind;
5 That from his cagecries Cuckhold, Whore, and Knave,
Tho' many a paffenger he rightly call, You hold him no philosopher at all. And
the fate of all extremes is such, Men may be read, as well as books, too much. IO To observations which ourselves we make We grow more partial for th' observer's fake; To written wisdom, as another's, leis: Maxims are drawn from notions, these from guess. There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain, 15 Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein,
Shall only man be taken in the gross ?
That each from other differs first confess,
Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds ?
True, Tome are open, and to all men known;
35 Still Gts at squat, and peeps not from its hole.
At half mankind when gen'rous Manly raves,
But these plain characters we rarely find;
70 See the same man in vigour, in the gout, Alone, in company, in place, or out, Early at bus’ness, and at hazard late, Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate, Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball,
75 Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
Who would not praise Patricio's high defert,
What made (say Montaigne, or more sage Charron)
go The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit, Faithleís thro' piety, and dup'd thro' wit? Europe a woman, child, or dotard, rule, And just her wisest monarch made a fool? Know, God and Nature only are the same.
95 In man the judgment shoots at flying game;
A bird of passage, gone as foon as found;
Not always actions shew the man: we find
But grant that actions best discover man;
Tis from high life high characters are drawn; A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn; A judge is just, a chanc'llor julter still; A gownman learn'd; a bishop what you will: Wise if a minister ; but if a king, More wise, more learn'd, more jutt, more ev'ry thing. Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate, 141 Born where Heav'n's influence scarce can penetrate. In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like, They please as beauties, here as wonders strike. Tho' the same fun with all-diffusive rays
145 Blush in the rose, and in the di'inond blaze, We prize the stronger effort of his pow'r, And juftly set the gem above the flow'r.
'Tis education forins the common mind; Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclin'd.
150 Boastful and rough, your first son is a squire; The next a tradesman, meek, and much a liar : Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave; Will sneaks a scriv'ner, an exceeding knave; Is he a Churchman? then he's fond of pow'r: 55 A Quaker? Ny: a Presbyterian? four : A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour. Al mens' opinion: Scoto now shall tell, How trade increases and the world goes well: Strike off his pension by the setting fun, 160 Ard Britain, if not Europe, is undone.
That gay Free-thinker, a fine talker once, What turns him now a stupid filent dunce? Some god or spirit he has lately found, Or chanc'd to meet a minister that frown'd. 165
Judge we by Nature? habit can efface, Int’relt o'ercome, or policy take place. By actions ? those uncertainy divides. By Passions ? these dissimulation hides. Opinions? they still take a wider range.
170 Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes, Tenets with books, and principles with times.