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of the relation), “I told his Majesty I would yield up iny own judgment and obey his commands.” The result is pleasing, as it respects both the king and his friend. “I had scarce uttered my consent, when his Majesty took me by the hand, saying, with great eagerness :
I heartily thank you; you have now given your word, and cannot go back.”” Happily for Lord Waldegrave, with his sober and independent views of things, the projected arrangement did not take effect; he once more felt himself free, without disobliging the king; and his excellent appreciation of the duty and motives of a public man in seeking office are too pointed not to be recorded. He had received the garter as a mark of personal favour from the master who really loved him, and to whom lamenting, from the turn of affairs, that he could not still be one of the ministry, he replied, that “though in promising to accept office he had obeyed his Majesty's command without any show of uneasiness, he had no conception how a reasonable man, not necessitous, could have inducement to undergo the fatigue and anxiety of a ministerial employment, unless he was animated by a probable expectation of rendering his king and country some important service, and of being afterwards rewarded with that general approbation which such services merited. But knowing,” said he, “that the first was impracticable, and the latter unattainable, I considered the place of minister as the greatest misfortune that could befall me.”
These are excellent and virtuous sentiments; but how often reduced to practice by the worshippers of
66 I have now
power, the page of history scarcely informs us. At any rate, his renunciation of power did not make Lord Waldegrave renounce his merriment. “On the day they (the new Ministry) were all to kiss hands, I went,” says he,“ to Kensington, to entertain myself with the innocent, perhaps ill-natured, amusement of examining the different countenances.”
He ends in a more serious and philosophic strain. finished my relation of all the material transactions wherein I was concerned; and, though I can never forget my obligations to the kindest of masters, I have been too long behind the scenes, and had too near a view of the machinery of a court, to envy any man either the power of a minister, or the favour of a prince.”
And with this we would finish our dreams of ambition, agreeing with the maxim,
“ 'Tis from high life high characters are drawn;" and hence most of the examples we have shown are drawn from high nobles and statesmen.
“ But all our praises why should lords engross?
Rise, honest Muse! and sing the man of Ross." There is another set of beings, inore humble indeed, but more tranquil, if not more amiable, who, from their happiness being totally independent of this exciting passion, afford a lesson upon it which it cannot but do us good to learn. This, however, must be the subject of another dream.
POPE.— WHITE OF SELBORNE.- WARTON.
“ I was not much afear'd; but, once or twice,
I was about to speak, and tell him plainly,
How delightful, after having been engaged in the investigation of the great tumultuary passions, as exemplified in the struggles of the world, and these again painted by such writers as Clarendon, or Davila, or De Thou, or De Retz; how soothing to sit down to the quieter pictures of humbler but philosophic life, remote from all temptation, and gratified to content with domestic or intellectual enjoyments! How bewitching the life of some poet, or pious divine, or other lettered and retired man, possessing his own mind, doing good in his station, conversing with his God, or cultivating the muse! The contrast is enchanting. Various are the writers of this description; nor do I know a greater relief to the mind, when tossed with ambition or the pursuit of riches, particularly if likely to fail, but even also if with a prospect of success, than a collection of examples amongst those poets, or moral writers in prose, which
, prove the charms of golden moderation :
Auream quisquis mediocritatem
The happiness to be found in a life of nature, innocence, and privacy, the independence of such a life, that has no hankerings (those baleful enemies of our peace, especially when directed to forbidden objects), is beyond all that ever crowned a statesman, soldier, or even a monarch's felicity.
With a few of these examples I will now refresh the reader, which will pleasingly close the subject, after the harassing anecdotes that have hitherto occupied
And in beginning with some of the sentiments of Pope, let it not be thought that I quote him as a specimen of the equanimity I have been describing, though a great pretender to it. For, of all the
genus irritabile, he was the most irritable; and, when he professed that the attacks upon him were his amusement, he writhed under them so much, that his selfdeception was detected by a mere youth. * But still Pope was a poet of sweetness as well as vigour; approached to sincerity in his professed indifference to courts; and was, as far as he could be, a genuine lover of independence. He was often, indeed, an actor, but as often natural; and, when the eyes of the world were not upon him, his heart might be trusted. Johnson has dealt fairly by him; shown ир
his and pretensions, but done justice to many virtues ; among them, his prudence in owing every thing to himself. Chesterfield, who drew him as accurately as he did all others whom he painted, allows he was the most irritable of his class; but lays the blame, in
a great measure, on his poor, crazy, deformed body, which, he says, was a mere Pandora's box, containing all the ills that ever afflicted humanity. On the other hand, he compliments him on his charity and filial piety, and gives him credit, after seeing his mind in an undress for a week at a time, for being both agreeable and instructive. We can, therefore, easily believe that such a man, who was always in undress with his friend the Bishop of Rochester, was sincere and natural when he wrote thus to him on his (Pope's) indisposition to public life. “If I could bring myself to fancy what I think you do but fancy, that I have any talents for active life, I want health for it; and besides, it is a real truth, I have less inclination, if possible, than ability. Contemplative life is not only my scene, but my habit. I began my life where most people end theirs, with a disrelish of all that the world calls ambition. I don't know why it is called so, for it always seemed to me rather stooping
, than climbing. In my politics, I think no farther than how to preserve the peace of my life in any government under which I live; nor, in my religion, than to preserve the peace of my conscience in any church with which I communicate. If I was born under an absolute prince, I would be a quiet subject.” These are the sentiments of a man who desired not power, at least political power, to make him happy. If he had many drawbacks while pursuing the power he did seek, namely that to be derived from poetical fame, the fault was his own, for not showing the same
* To Atterbury, 20th Nov. 1717.