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BOOK III.

Pleasure in observing the tempers and manners of men, even

where vicious or absurd. The origin of vice, from false representations of the fancy, producing false opinions concerning good and evil. Inquiry into ridicule. The general sources of ridicule in the minds and characters of men, enumerated. Final cause of the sense of ridicule. The resemblance of certain aspects of inanimate things to the sensations and properties of the mind. The operations of the mind in the production of the works of imagination, described. The secondary pleasure from imitation. The benevolent order of the world illustrated in the arbitrary connexion of these pleasures with the objects which excite them. The nature and conduct of taste. Concluding with an account of the natural and moral advantages resulting from a sensible and well-formed imagination.

What wonder therefore, since the endearing ties
Of passion link the universal kind
Of man so close, what wonder if to search
This common nature through the various change
Of sex, and age, and fortune, and the frame
Of each peculiar, draw the busy mind
With unresisted charms: the spacious west,
And all the teeming regions of the south
Hold not a quarry, to the curious flight
Of knowledge, half so tempting or so fair,
As man to man. Nor only where the smiles
Of love invite; nor only where the applause
Of cordial honour turns the attentive eye
On virtue's graceful deeds. For since the course
Of things external acts in different ways
On human apprehensions, as the hand
Of nature temper'd to a different frame
Peculiar minds; so haply where the powers
Of fancy neither lessen nor enlarge
The images of things, but paint in all
Their genuine hues, the features which they wore
In nature; their opinion will be true,

And action right. For action treads the path
In which opinion says he follows good,
Or flies from evil; and opinion gives
Report of good or evil, as the scene
Was drawn by fancy, lovely or deform’d;
Thus her report can never there be true
Where fancy cheats the intellectual eye,
With glaring colours and distorted lines.
Is there a man, who at the sound of death
Sees ghastly shapes of terror conjur'd up,
And black before him ; nought but death-bed groans
And fearful

prayers, and plunging from the brink
Of light and being, down the gloomy air
An unknown depth? Alas! in such a mind,
If no bright forms of excellence attend
The image of his country; nor the pomp
Of sacred senates, nor the guardian voice
Of justice on her throne, nor aught that wakes
The conscious bosom with a patriot's flame;
Will not opinion tell him, that to die,
Or stand the hazard, is a greater ill
Than to betray his country? And in act
Will he not choose to be a wretch and live?
Here vice begins then. From the enchanting cup
Which fancy holds to all, the unwary thirst
Of youth oft swallows a Circean draught,
That sheds a baleful tincture o'er the eye
Of reason, till no longer he discerns,
And only guides to err.

Then revel forth
A furious band that spurns him from the throne !
And all is uproar. Thus ambition grasps
The empire of the soul : thus pale revenge
Unsheaths her murderous dagger; and the hands
Of lust and rapine, with unholy arts,
Watch to o'erturn the barrier of the laws
That keeps them from their prey: thus all the plagues
The wicked bear, or o'er the trembling scene
The tragic muse discloses, under shapes
Of honour, safety, pleasure, ease, or pomp,
Stole first into the mind. Yet not by all
Those lying forms which fancy in the brain
Engenders, are the kindling passions driven,

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To guilty deeds : nor reason bound in chains,
That vice alone may lord it: oft adorn'd
With solemn pageants, folly mounts the throne,
And plays her idiot-anticks, like a queen.
A thousand garbs she wears; a thousand ways
She wheels her giddy empire.-Lo! thus far
With bold adventure, to the Mantuan lyre
I sing of nature's charms, and touch well pleas'd
A stricter note: now happly must my song
Unbend her serious measure, and reveal
In lighter strains, how folly's awkward arts
Excite inipetuous laughter's gay rebuke;
The sportive province of the comic muse.

See! in what crowds the uncouth forms advance :
Each would outstrip the other, each prevent
Our careful search, and offer to your gaze,
Unask'd his motley features. Wait awhile,
My curious friends! and let us first arrange
In proper order your promiscuous throng.

Behold the foreniost band of slender thought, And easy faith; whom flattering fancy soothes With lying spectres, in themselves to view Illustrious forms of excellence and good, That scorn the mansion. With exulting hearts They spread their spurious treasures to the sun, And bid the world admire! but chief the glance Of wishful envy draws their joy-bright eyes, And lifts with self-applause each lordly brow. In numbers boundless as the blooms of spring, Behold their glaring idols, empty shades By fancy gilded o'er, and then set up For adoration. Some in learning's garb, With formal band, and sable-cinctur'd gown, And rags of mouldy volumes. Some elate With martial splendor, steely pikes and swords Of costly frame, and gay Phænician robes Inwrought with flowery gold, assume the port Of stately valour: listening by his side There stands a female form; to her, with looks Of earnest import, pregnant with amaze, He talks of deadly deeds, of breaches, storms, And sulphurous mines, and ambush: then at once

Breaks off, and smiles to see her look so pale,
And asks some wondering question of her fears.
Others of graver mien, behold, adorn'd
With holy ensigns, how sublime they move,
And bending oft their sanctimonious eyes
Take homage of the simple-minded throng;
Ambassadors of heaven! Nor much unlike
Is he whose visage, in the lazy mist
That mantles every feature, hides a brood
Of politic conceits; of whispers, nods,
And hints deep omen'd with unwieldy schemes,
And dark portents of state. Ten thousand more,
Prodigions habits and tumultuous tongues,
Pour dauntless in, and swell the boastful band.

Then comes the second order, all who seek
The debt of praise, where watchful unbelief
Darts through the thin pretence her squinting eye
On some retir'd appearance which belies
The boasted virtue, or annuls the applause
That justice else would pay. Here side by side
I see two leaders of the solemn train
Approaching : one a female old and gray,
With eyes demure, and wrinkle-furrow'd brow,
Pale as the cheeks of death ; yet still she stuns
The sickening audience with a nauseous tale ;
How many youths her myrtle-chains have worn,
How many virgins at her triumphs pin'd!
Yet how resolv'd she guards her cautious heart;
Such is her terror at the risks of love,
And man's seducing tongue! The other seems
A bearded sage, ungentle in his mien,
And sordid all his habit , peevish want
Grins at his heels, while down the gazing throng
He stalks, resounding in magnific phrase
The vanity of riches, the contempt
Of pomp and power. Be prudent in your zeal,
Ye grave associates ! let the silent grace
Of her who blushes at the fond regard
Her charms inspire, more eloquent unfold
The praise of spotless honour: let the man
Whose eye regards not his illustrious pomp
And ample store, but as indulgent streams

To cheer the barren soil and spread the fruits
Of joy, let him by juster measures fix
The price of riches and the end of power.

Another tribe succeds; deluded long
By fancy's dazzling optics, these behold
The images of some peculiar things
With brighter hues resplendent, and pourtray'd
With features nobler far than e'er adorn'd
Their genuine objects. Hence the fever'd heart
Pants with delirious hope for tinsel charms;
Hence oft obtrusive on the

eye

of scorn,
Untimely zeal her witless pride betrays,
And serious manhood from the towering aim
Of wisdom stoops to emulate the boast
Of childish toil. Behold yon mystic form,
Bedeck’d with feathers, insects, weeds, and shells !
Not with intenser view the Samian sage
Bent his fixt eye on heaven's intenser fires,
When first the order of that radiant scene
Swell’d his exulting thought, than this surveys
A muckworm's entrails, or a spider's fang.
Next him a youth with flowers and myrtles crown'd,
Attends that virgin form, and blushing kneels,
With fondest gesture and a suppliant's tongue,
To win her coy regard: adieu, for him,
The dull engagements of the bustling world!
Adieu the sick impertinence of praise !
And hope, and action! for with her alone,
By streams and shades, to steal these sighing hours,
Is all he asks, and all that fate can give!
Thee too, facetious Momion, wandering here,
Thee, dreaded censor, oft have I beheld
Bewilder'd unawares : alas! too long
Flush'd with thy comic triumphs and the spoils
Of sly derision! till on every side
Hurling thy random bolts, offended truth
Assign'd thee here thy station with the slaves
Of folly. Thy once formidable name

her humble records, and be heard
In scoffs and mockery bandied from the lips
Of all the avengeful brotherhood around,
So oft the patient victims of thy scorn.

Shall grace

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