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Th' exactest traits of body or of mind,
We owe to models of a humble kind.
If QUEENSBERRY to strip there's no compelling,
"Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.
From Peer or Bishop 'tis no easy thing

195
To draw the man who loves his God, or King:
Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail)
From honest Mah’met, or plain Parson Hale.

But grant, in public, men sometimes are shown, A woman's seen in private life alone:

200 Our bolder talents in full light display'd ; Your virtues open fairest in the shade.

NOTES.

Ver. 198. Mah’met,] Servant to the late King, said to be the son of a Turkish Bassa, whom he took at the siege of Buda, and constantly kept about his person.-Pope.

Ver. 198. plain Parson Hale.] Dr. Stephen Hale ; not more estimable for his useful discoveries as a natural Philosopher, than for his exemplary life and pastoral charity as a parish priest.-Warburton.

Ver. 202. Your virtues open] To balance the many severe things our author has said of Women in this Epistle, I cannot forbear adding a passage from a writer, who has been usually thought by no means a friend to the fair sex.

And it may occasion surprise to find such a passage from Dean Swift.“ The degeneracy of conversation, with the pernicious consequences thereof upon our humours and dispositions, hath been owing, among other causes, to the custom arisen, for some time past, of excluding women from any share in our society, further than in parties at play, or dancing, or in the pursuit of an amour. I take the highest period of politeness in England (and it is of the same date in France) to have been the peaceable part of King Charles the First's Reign ; and from what we read of those times, as well as from the accounts I have formerly met with from some who lived in that court, the methods then used for raising and cultivating conversation were altogether different from ours. Several ladies, whom we find celebrated by the poets of that age, had assemblies at their houses, where persons of the best understanding, and of both sexes, met to pass the evenings in discoursing upon whatever agreeable subjects were occasionally started ; and although we are apt to ridicule the sublime platonic notions they had, or personated, in love and friendship, I conceive their

VARIATIONS.

;

After ver. 198 in the MS.

Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender wife
I cannot prove it on her, for my life :
And, for a noble pride, I blush no less,
Instead of Berenice to think on Bess.
Thus while immortal Cibber only sings,
(As * and H**y preach) for queens and kings,
The nymph, that ne'er read Milton's mighty line,
May, if she love and merit verse, have mine.-Warburton.

Bred to disguise, in public ’tis you hide;
There, none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,

205 That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.

In men, we various Ruling Passions find;
In women, two almost divide the kind;
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.

210
That, Nature gives; and where the lesson taught
Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault?
Experience, this; by Man's oppression curs’d,
They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to business, some to pleasure take; 215
But every woman is at heart a rake;

NOTES.

refinements were grounded upon reason, and that a little grain of the romance is no ill ingredient to preserve and exalt the dignity of human nature, without which it is apt to degenerate into every thing that is sordid, vicious, and low. If there were no other use in the conversation of ladies, it is sufficient that it would lay a restraint upon those odious topics of immodesty and indecencies into which the rudeness of our northern genius is so apt to fall.”—Warton.

Ver. 203. Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide ;] There is something apparently exceptionable in the turn of this assertion, which makes their disguising in public the natural effect of their being bred to disguise : but if we consider that female education is the art of teaching, not to be, but to appear, we shall have no reason to find fault with the exactness of the expression.-Warburton.

Ver. 207.] The former part having shown, that the particular characters of Women are more various than those of Men, it is nevertheless observed, that the general characteristic of the sex, as to the ruling Passion, is more uniform.- Pope.

Ver. 208. In women, two] I cannot think our author would suffer by a minute comparison of this Epistle with the most shining and applauded morsels of the tenth satire of Boileau, which undoubtedly are his portraits of the affected female Pedant, ver. 439. The Gamester, ver. 215. His Jealous Lady, ver. 378. The Haughty Lady of Family, ver. 470. And above all, what Boileau himself valued most, the Devout Lady and her Director, ver. 558. Boileau was severely attacked for this Epistle by Perrault ; but was powerfully defended by the great Arnauld, a rigid moralist, and also by La Bruyère.-Warton.

Ver. 211.] This is occasioned partly by their Nature, partly by their Education, and in some degree by Necessity.--Pope. Ver. 216. But every woman is at heart a rake ;] This line has given

VARIATIONS,
Ver. 207.) In the first edition :

In several men, we several Passions find ;
In women, two almost divide the kind.--Warburton,

!

220

225

Men, some to quiet, some to public strife;
But every lady would be queen for life.

Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens
Power all their end, but beauty all the means :
In youth they conquer, with so wild a rage,
As leaves them scarce a subject in their age:
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam ;
No thought of peace or happiness at home.
But wisdom's triumph is well-tim'd retreat,
As hard a science to the fair as great!
Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone,
Worn out in public, weary every eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.

Pleasures the sex, as children birds, pursue,
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the toy at most,
To covet flying, and regret when lost :
At last, to follies youth could scarce defend,
It grows their age's prudence to pretend ;

230

235

NOTES.

offence : but in behalf of the Poet we may observe, that what he says amounts only to this : Some men take to business, some to pleasure ; but every woman would willingly make pleasure her business ; which being the proper periphrasis of a rake, he uses that word, but of course includes in it no more of the rake's ill qualities than is implied in this definition, of one who makes pleasure his business.-Warburton.

Ver. 219.] What are the Aims and the Fate of this sex.-1. As to Power.-Pope.

Ver. 229. Worn out in public,} Copied from Young, Satire 5, written eight years before this Epistle appeared :

“ Worn in the public eye, give cheap delight

To throngs, and tarnish to the sated sight.”—Warton. Ver. 231.)-. As to Pleasure.Pope.

Ver. 234. To covet flying,] It is impossible not to recollect the witty simile of Young, Sat. 5.

“ Pleasures are few, and fewer we enjoy ;
Pleasure, like quicksilver, is bright and coy ;
We strive to grasp it with our utmost skili,
Still it eludes us, and it glitters still ;
If seiz'd at last, compute your mighty gains,
What is it, but rank poison in your veins ?”—Warton.

Asham'd to own they gave delight before,
Reduc'd to feign it, when they give no more:
As bags hold Sabbaths less for joy than spite,
So these their merry, miserable night:

240 Still round and round the ghosts of beauty glide, And haunt the places where their honour died.

See how the world its veterans rewards!
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards ;
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,

245
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; 249 To raise the thought, and touch the heart, be thine! That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the ring, Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:

NOTES.

Ver. 244. A youth of frolics,] The antithesis, so remarkably strong in these lines, was a very favourite figure with our Poet. He has indeed used it but in too many parts of his works ; nay, even in his translation of the Iliad, where it ought not to have been admitted, and which Dryden has but rarely used in his Virgil. Our author seldom writes many words together without an antithesis. It must be allowed sometimes, to add strength to 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 manner, 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 ad. miration. It is then we relish Terence, Cæsar, and Xenophon.-Warton.

Ver. 249.] Advice for their true interest.-Pope.

255

260

265

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.

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

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 opend on the sphere;

270

275

280

NOTES.

Ver. 268. tho' 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.

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