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WHAT reason contradi&ts, or cannot reach.] It
Page 7. is apprehended that genuine christianity requires not the belief of any such propositions.
Mr. Jenyns was, latterly, of the contrary opinion, as is evident from his "Disquisitions."
ib. And censure those, who nearer to the right,
Think Virtue is but to dispense delight.] These lines mean only, that censoriousness is a vice more odious than unchastity; this always proceeding from malevolence, that sometimes from too much good-nature and compliance. S. J.
Page 9. The Gentleman to whom this Epistle is addressed, was author of "Philemon to Hydaspes." The Epistle itself was first printed in 1735, Mr. Coventry died in 1752.
10. Had, fair Astraca! been thy TALBOT's choice,] The Lord Chancellor Talbot, is the person here referred to.
ib. Nor thou, sweet Bard! who "turn'dst the tuneful art,
"From sound to sense, from fancy to the heart,”]
-virtuous Falkland-] Of this excellent person a labored character may be read in Clarendon's " History of the Rebellion."
-great Ashley, gen'rous sage,
Plan'd in sweet leisure his instructive page.] The "Characteristicks ;" particularly the "Inquiry concerning Virtue," and "The Moralists," of Antony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftsbury.
Page 20. Mr. Rolle, the author of this Epistle, was a member of New College, Oxford.
Page 27. The Writer of this Epistle was born on the 5th of November 1715, at Rothbury in Northumberland, of which parish his father, a native of Scotland, was at that time curate. Having been instructed in the languages at Wigton in Cumberland, he was sent thence to St. John's College, Cambridge,
After taking the degree of batchelor, he returned to Wigton, and received ordination from the hands of Bishop Fleming. His first preferment was a minor canonry and lectureship in the cathedral of Carlisle, where he lived in obscurity, till the year 1745, when he, and the late Bishop Law, eminently distinguished themselves in opposition to the rebels, during their siege of that city. On some cause however of disgust, he quitted his situation, and coming to London, formed an acquaintance with Warburton, who introduced him to the late Lord Hardwicke, by whom he was presented to Hocksley, in Essex, a living which he afterwards resigned to take the vicarage of Newcastle.-Exclusive of his Poetical pieces, the Doctor was author of a spirited attack on the Characteristicks, an Estimate on the Times, a Dissertation on the Origin of Poetry and Music, and a valuable volume of Sermons. In the latter part of his life he conceived an idea of a code of laws to civilize the Russians, and actually embarked in the undertaking; but unfortunately becoming the dupe of an overheated imagination, and being unable to withstand the ridicule to which it exposed him, in a paroxysm of lunacy, he destroyed himself.
27. Yes: all, my Lord, usurp fair HONOR's fame,] In this and the succeeding verses, the various pretensions of mankind to Honor and Fame are enumerated. The lines themselves are imitated from the following, in the 11th Satire of Boileau :
Oui, l'honneur, Valincour, est chéri dans le monde—
L' Avare, à voir chez le Pactole rouler;
Un faux brave, à vanter sa prouesse frivole.
28. The truth, my Lord, is clear: &c.] Tho' they be thus inconstant and contradictory, yet true Honor is a thing fixed and determinate.
Un vrai fourbe, à jamais ne garder sa parole;
ib. But how explor'd? &c.] If we would form an impartial judgment of what is truly honorable, we must abstract all considerations which regard ourselves.
ib. Yet judge not rashly from a partial view] Not only so, but we must remove ourselves to a proper distance from the object we examine, lest some part should predominate in our eye, and occasion a false judgment of the whole.
29. Come then, from past examples let us prove.] Therefore the surest method is, to prove by past examples what commands our love and esteem.
ib. Can greatness give true Honor? can expence ?] Expence and grandeur cannot give true Honor: Their most splendid monuments vanish; and even should
they last for ever, could not bestow real glory, if only the records of Pride, Tyranny, and Vice.
30. In vain, O Studley, thy proud forests spread;
In vain, &c.] Much less if purchased by oppression and guilt. [Studley in Yorkshire, the seat of the Aislabies, one of whom was deeply concerned in the dark transaction of the year 1720.
ib. Next view the Hero in th' embattled field;-] True Honor is not to be reaped from unjust Conquest: It is not victory, but a just cause, that can engage
31. Not Caesar's self, &c.]
Du premier de Césars on vante les exploits ;
ib. Whose voice wak'd Freedom in the GUSTAVUS VASA.
32. Alas, nor wit, nor science, this can boast,] Neither is true glory to be obtained by wit or science: They are chimerical: Sometimes attended with folly, or weakness; often stained with vice, and so render their possessors mischievous and infamous.
ib. Oft vice corrupts, what sense and parts refine,]
Je ne puis estimer ces dangereux auteurs
Qui de l'honneur, en vers, infâmes déserteurs,