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There's fome Peculiar in each leaf and grain, 15

Some unmark'd fibre, or fome varying vein:
Shall only Man be taken in the grofs?

Grant but as many forts of Mind as Mofs.

That each from other differs, first confefs

Next, that he varies from himself no less:




obferver, and, for the fame reason, less indulgent to the discoveries of others.


VER. 15. There's fome Peculiar &c.] The poet enters on the Firft divifion of his fubject, the difficulties of coming at the Knowledge and true Characters of Men. The firft caufe of this difficulty which he profecutes (from 14 to 19) is the great diversity of Characters, of which, to abate our wonder, and not difcourage our inquiry, he only defires we would grant him

-but as many forts of Mind as Moss.

Hereby artfully infinuating, that if Nature has varied the most worthless vegetable into above three hundred fpecies, we need not wonder at the like diverfity in the human mind: And if a variety in that vegetable has been thought of importance enough to employ the leisure of a serious enquirer, much more will the fame quality in this mafter-piece of Nature deferve our study and attention.

VER. 19. That each from other differs, &c.] A fecond caufe of this difficulty (from y 18 to 21) is Man's inconftancy, whereby not only one man differs from another, but each man from himself.


Ζεὺς ἵλεως, but knew not what they fignified.

VER. 10. And yet· Men may be read, as well as Books too much, &c.] The poet has here covertly deferib'd a famous fyftem of a man of the world, the celebrated Maxims of M.

de la Rochefoucault, which are one continued fatire on human Nature, and hold much of the ill language of the Parrot: The reafon of the cenfure, our author's fyftem of hunan nature will explain.

L 4

Add Nature's, Cuftom's, Reason's, Paffion's ftrife, And all Opinion's colours caft on life.

Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds, Quick whirls, and shifting eddies, of our minds? On human actions reason tho' you can,

It may be Reason, but it is not Man:



VER. 21. Add Nature's, &c.] A third cause (from y 20 to 23). is that obfcurity thrown over the Characters of men, through the ftrife and conteft between nature and cuftom, between reafon and appetite, between truth and opinion. And as most men, either thro' education, temperature, or profeffion, have their Characters warp'd by cuftom, appetite, and opinion, the obscurity arifing from thence is almoft univerfal.

VER. 23. Our depths who fathoms, &c.] A fourth caufe (from 20 to 25) is deep diffimulation, and reftlefs caprice, whereby the fhallows of the mind are as difficult to be found, as the depths of it to be fathom'd.


VER. 25. On human actions &c.] A fifth caufe (from to 31) is the fudden change of his Principle of action, either on the point of its being laid open and detected, or thro' mere inconftancy.


VER. 22. And all Opinion's colours caft on life.] The poet refers here only to the effects: In the Effay on Man he gives

both the efficient and the final caufe: The Firft in the third Ep. 231.

E'er Wit oblique had broke that fleddy light.

For oblique Wit is Opinion. The other, in the fecond Ep. ✯ 283.

Mean-while Opinion gilds with varying rays

Thefe painted clouds that beautify our days, &c.

VER. 26. It may be Reafon, I would inveftigate; and yet but it is not Man:] i. e. The that hypothefis be all the while Philofopher may invent a rawide of truth and the national hypothefis that fhall ac- ture of things. count for the appearances he


His Principle of action once explore,

That instant 'tis his Principle no more.
Like following life thro' creatures you diffect,
You lofe it in the moment you detect.

Yet more; the diff'rence is as great between
The optics seeing, as the objects seen.
All Manners take a tincture from our own;
Or come difcolour'd thro' our Paffions fhown.
Or Fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will Life's stream for Obfervation stay,
It hurries all too fast to mark their





VER. 31. Yet more; the difference &c.] Hitherto the poet hath spoken of the causes of difficulty arifing from the obfcurity of the Object; he now comes to thofe which proceed from defects in the Obferver. The First of which, and a sixth cause of difficulty, he fhews (from 30 to 37) is the perverfe manners, affections, and imagination of the obferver, whereby the Characters of others are rarely feen either in their true light, complexion, or proportion.

VER. 37. Nor will Life's ftream for Obfervation &c.] The


VER. 29. Like following life | feat of animal life being in the thro' creatures you diffect, heart, our endeavours of tra

drive it from thence.

You lofe it in the moment you de-cing it thither must neceffarily tect.] This Simile is extremely beautiful. To fhew the difficulty of discovering the operations of the heart in a moral fenfe, he illuftrates it by another attempt ftill more difficult, the discovery of its operations in a natural: For the

VER. 33. All Manners take a tincture from our own;· Or come difcolour'd thro' our Paffions shown.] These two lines are remarkable for the exactness and propriety of expreffion. The word tincture,

In vain fedate reflections we wou'd make,

When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take.
Oft, in the Paffions' wild rotation tost,


Our spring of action to ourselves is loft:

Tir'd, not determin'd, to the last we yield,
And what comes then is master of the field.


Second of thefe, and feventh caufe of difficulty (from 36 to 41) is the fhortness of human life, which will not fuffer the obferver to select and weigh out his knowledge, but just to snatch it as it rolls rapidly by him down the current of Time.

VER. 41. Oft, in the Paffions' &c.] We come now to the eighth and laft caufe, which very properly concludes the account, as, in a fort, it fums up all the difficulties in one (from

40 to 51) namely, that very often the man himself is ignorant of his own motive of action; the cause of which ignorance our author has admirably explain'd: When the mind (fays he) is now quite tired out by the long conflict of oppofite motives, it withdraws its attention, and fuffers the will to be feized upon by the first that afterwards obtrudes itself, without taking notice what that motive is. This is finely illuftrated by what he fupposes the general caufe of dreams; where the fancy, just let loofe, poffeffes itself of the laft image which it meets with on the confines between fleep and waking, and on that erects all its vifionary operation; yet this image is, with great difficulty, recollected; and never, but when fome accident happens to interrupt our first flumbers: Then (which proves the truth of the hypothefis) we are fometimes able to trace the workings of the Fancy backwards, from image to image, in a chain, till we come to that from whence they all arose.


which implies a weak colour | colour, which implies a quicker
given by degrees, well de-
fcribes the influence of the
Manners; and the word dif-

change and by a deeper dye,
denotes as well the operation
of the Paffions.


As the last image of that troubled heap,


When Senfe fubfides, and Fancy fports in fleep,
(Tho' past the recollection of the thought)
Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought:
Something as dim to our internal view,

Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.


True, fome are open, and to all men known; Others fo very close, they're hid from none; (So Darkness strikes the fense no less than Light) Thus gracious CHANDOS is belov'd at fight; And ev'ry child hates Shylock, tho' his foul 55 Still fits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.


VER. 51. True, fome are open, &c.] But now in answer to all this, an objector, as the author fhews (from 50 to 61) may fay, That thefe difficulties feem to be aggravated: For many "Characters are fo plainly marked, that no man can mistake "them: And not fo only in the more open and frank, but in

the very clofft and most reclufe likewife." Of each of which the objector gives an inftance, whereby it appears, that the forbidding clofenefs and concealed hypocrify in the one, are as confpicuous to all mankind, as the gracious openness and frank


VER. 56.-peeps not from its hole.] Which fhews that this grave perfon was content with his prefent fituation; as

finding but fmall fatisfaction in what a famous poet reckons one of the great advantages of old age,

The foul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,

Lets in new light from chinks that time has made. SCRIBL.

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