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6. A godless regent tremble at a star *.

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THE duke of Orleans, here pointed at, was an infidel and libertine, and at the fame time, as well as BOULANVILLIERS and CARDAN who calculated the nativity of Jefus Christ, was a bigotted believer in judicial aftrology; he was faid to be the author, which however has been doubted, of many of those flimfy fongs, nugæ canoræ, to which the language and the manners of France feem to be peculiarly adapted. He knew mankind. Quiconque eft fans honneur & fans humeur, faid he frequently, eft un courtisan parfaite." Crebillon the father, a writer far fuperior to his fon, during this profligate and debauched regent's administration, wrote a set of odes against him, of wonderful energy and keennefs, and almost in the spirit of Alceus; if it be not a kind of profanation to speak thus, of any production of a poet that writes under a deSpotic government.

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7. Alas in truth the man but chang'd his mind, Perhaps was fick, in love, or had not din'd *.

FOR the deftruction of a kingdom, faid a man of wit, nothing more is fometimes. requifite than a bad digestion of the prime minister. The Grand Seignior offered to affift Henry IV. against his rebellious fubjects, not for any deep political reason, but only because he hated the word, League. It is a fault in Davila, as well as Tacitus, never to afcribe great events, to whim, caprice, private paffions, and petty causes.

8. Judge we by nature? Habit can efface,
Intereft o'ercome, or policy take place :
By actions? those uncertainty divides;
By paffions? thefe diffimulation hides;
Opinions? they ftill take a wider range :
Find if you can in what you cannot change.
Manners with fortunes, humours turn with climes,
Tenets with books, and principles with times t.

We find here in the compafs of eight lines, an anatomy of human nature; more fenfe and obfervation cannot well be compreffed and concluded in a narrower space.

* Ver. 127.


† Ver 182.


This paffage might be drawn out into a voluminous commentary, and be worked up into a system concerning the knowledge of the world: There feems to be an inaccuracy in the use of the last verb; the natural temperament is by no means fuddenly changed, or turned with a change of climate, though undoubtedly the humours are originally formed by it: influenced by, would be a more proper expreffion than turn with, if the metre would admit it.

9. His paffion ftill, to covet gen'ral praise,
His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways;

A conftant bounty which no friend has made;
An angel tongue which no man can perfuade;
A fool with more of wit than half mankind,
Too rafh for thought, for action too refin'd;
A tyrant to the wife his heart approves ;
A rebel to the very king he loves;

He dies an out-caft of each church and ftate,
And harder ftill flagitious yet not great *,

THIS character of the Duke of Wharton is finished with much force and expreffivenefs; the contradictions that were in it

* Ver. 205,

† Compare it with that of Zimri, the Duke of Buckingham, in Abfalom and Achitopel in which Dryden has excelled our author,



are strongly contrafted. In an entertaining work lately published, which it is hoped will diffuse a relish for biography, we have a remarkable anecdote relating to this nobleman's speech in favour of the bishop of Rochester. His Grace, then in oppofition to Court, went to Chelsea the day before the last debate on that prelate's affair, where acting contrition, he profeffed being determined to work out his pardon at Court by speaking against the bishop, in order to which he begged fome hints. The minister was deceived, and went through the whole cause with him, pointing out where the strength of the argument lay, and where it's weakness. The Duke was very thankful, returned to town, paffed the night in drinking, and without going to bed, went to the House of Lords, where he spoke FOR the bishop, recapitulating in the most masterly manner, and anfwering all that had been urged against him *.

10. When Cataline by rapine fwell'd his ftore;

When Cæfar made a noble dame a whore;

* Catalogue of the Royal and Noble Authors of England, vol. ii. p. 133.

In this the luft, in that the avarice

Were means, not ends; ambition was the vice *.

THE fame paffion excited Richlieu to throw up the dyke at Rochelle, and to difpute the prize of poetry with Corneille; whom to traduce was the fureft method of gaining the affection of this ambitious minifter, who afpired equally to excel in all things; nay, who formed a defign to be canonized as a faint. A perfect contrast to the character of Cardinal Fleury, who fhewed that it was poffible to govern a great ftate with moderate abilities, and a mild temper. His ministry is impartially represented by Voltaire in the age of

Louis XIV.

11. Lucullus, when frugality could charm, Had roafted turnips in the Sabin farm +,

FEW writers of his country have difplayed a greater energy of fentiment than Crebillon; in his Cataline we have a noble

* Ver. 214.

+ Ver. 218. See Confiderations on Lucullus, in the fecond vol. of L' Abbé de St. Real, p. 1.

The creditors of Crebillon would have ftopped the profits of this tragedy, but the spirited old bard appealed


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