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Heav'n breathes thro’ ev'ry member of the whole
'Tis peace of mind alone is at a stay:
NOTES. Ver. 84. But these less taste them,) “A selfish villain,” says an
Say, in pursuit of profit or delight, 85
VARIATIONS. After Wer. 92 in the MS.
Let sober Moralists correct their speech,
acute observer, “may possess a spring and alacrity of temper, a certain gaiety of heart, which is indeed a good quality, but which is rewarded much beyond its merit; and when attended with good fortune, will compensate the uneasiness and remorse arising from all the other vices.” Hume's Essays. The Sceptic.
Ver. 88. Which meets contempt, Compassion, it will be said, is but a poor compensation for misery.
Ver. 92. to pass for good.] “But are not the one frequently mistaken for the other? How many profligate hypocrites have passed for good?”
Ver. 99. See FALKLAND] His genius, his learning, his integrity, his patriotism, are eloquently displayed by Cowley, as well as by Clarendon: but Lord Orford thinks the portrait by the latter too flattering and overcharged. If any proofs had been want
VOL. III. K
See SIDNEY bleeds amid the martial strife!
ing of the violence and haughtiness of Archbishop Laud, this virtuous nobleman's opposing him would have been sufficient. He assisted Chillingworth in his great work against Popery; and he wrote some very elegant verses to Sandys, on his Translation of the Psalms. The gallantry of Sir Philip Sidney, mentioned in a succeeding line (101), cannot be disputed; but whether the death of this valorous knight was a proper example of suffering virtue to be here introduced, is another question.
Ver. 100. See god-like TURENNE] This great general was killed July 27, 1675, by a cannon-shot, near the village of Saltyback, in going to choose a place whereon to erect a battery. “No one,” says Voltaire, “is ignorant of the circumstances of his death; but we cannot here refrain a review of the principal of them, for the same reason that they are still talked of every day. It seems as if one could not too often repeat, that the same bullet which killed him, having shot off the arm of St. Hilaire, lieutenant-general of the artillery, his son came and bewailed his misfortune with many tears; but the father, looking towards Turenne, said, ‘It is not I, but that great man, who should be lamented.’ These words may be compared with the most heroic sayings recorded in all history; and are the best eulogy that can be bestowed upon Turenne. It is uncommon under a despotic government, where people are actuated only by private interests, for those who have served their country to die regretted by the public. Nevertheless, Turenne was lamented both by the soldiers and people; and Louvois was the only one who rejoiced at his death. The honours which the king ordered to be paid to his memory are known to every one; and that he was interred at St. Dennis, in the same manner as the constable du Guesclin.” But how much is the glory of Turenne tarnished by his cruel devastation of the Palatinate |
Ver. 101. See SIDNEY bleeds] Anlong the many things related of the life and character of this all-accomplished person, it does not seem to be much known, that he was the intimate friend and par tron of the famous atheist Giordano Bruno; was in a secret club with him and Sir Fulk Greville, held in London in 1587; and that the Spaccio della Bestia Trionfante was at that time composed and printed in London, and dedicated to Sir Philip. See General Dictionary, vol. iii. p. 622.
Say, was it Virtue, more tho’ Heav'n ne'er gave,
Ver. 107. Why drew] M. de Belsance, bishop of Marseilles. This illustrious prelate was of a noble family in Guienne. In early life he took the vows, and belonged to a convent of Jesuits. He was made bishop of Marseilles in 1709.
In the plague of that city, in the year 1720, he distinguished himself by his zeal and activity, being the pastor, the physician, and the magistrate, of his flock, whilst that horrid calamity prevailed. Louis XV. in 1723, offered him a more considerable bishoprick (to which peculiar feudal honours were annexed), that of Laon in Picardy. He refused, however, to quit that of Marseilles, given for a reason, that he could not desert a flock which had been so endeared to him by their misfortunes and his own exertions. The king, however, insisted upon his accepting of the privilege of appealing, in all his own causes, either temporal or spiritual, to the Parliament of Paris. The Pope sent him from Rome an ornament ealled Palium, worn only by arehbishops. He died at a very advanced age, in the year 1755, after having founded a college in Marseilles, which bears his name, and after having written the History of the Lives of his Predecessors in that See. When he was grand vicar of Agen, he published the life of a female relation of his, who was eminent for her piety, with this title, “Vie de Susanne Henriette de Foix Candale.” Vaniere has finely celebrated him. Lib. iii. of the Praedium Rusticum.
Wer. 108. When Nature sicken'd, A verse of marvellous comprehension and expressiveness, adopted from Dryden's Miscellanies, v. 6. The effects of this pestilence are more emphatically set forth in these few words than inforty such Odes as Sprat's on the Plague at Athens. A fine example of what Dion. Halicarnassus calls IIvkvörnrog kai oeuvárorog.
What makes all physical or moral ill? There deviates Nature, and here wanders Will. God sends not Ill; if rightly understood, Or partial Ill is universal Good, Or change admits, or Nature lets it fall; 115 Short, and but rare, till Man improv’d it all. We just as wisely might of Heav'n complain That righteous Abel was destroy'd by Cain,
NOTES. Ver. 110. Lent Heav'n a parent, &c.] This last instance of the Poet's illustration of the ways of Providence, the reader sees, has a peculiar elegance; where a tribute of piety to a parent is paid in return of thanks to, and made subservient of his vindication of, the great Giver and Father of all things. The Mother of the Author, a person of great piety and charity, died the year this poem was finished, viz. 1733. W. Ver. 112. There deviates Nature,) How can Nature be said to deviate, when we before have been told, that the general “Order has been kept, since the whole began ” And as to the wandering of the will, objectors persist in saying, that it is precisely the same thing, whether a God of infinite power and knowledge created beings originally wicked and miserable, or gave them a power to make themselves so; foreknowing, that they would employ that power to their own destruction. This is the objection for ever repeated by Bayle, and which our limited understandings cannot fully answer, “But find no end in wand'ring mazes lost.” Ver. 115. Or Change admits,) How Change can admit, or Nature let fall any evil, however short and rare it may be, under the government of an all-wise, powerful, and benevolent Creator, is hardly to be understood. The reasons assigned for the Origin of Evil, in these two lines, are surely not solid and satisfactory, and the doctrine is expressed in obscure and equivocal terms. These six lines are perhaps the most exceptionable in the whole Poem, in point both of sentiment and expression.