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The poet's dehgn, in this divine satire, is to represent the various wishes and desres of mankind; and to set out the folly of them. He runs through all the several heads of riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial atchievements, long life, and beauty; and gives instances, in each, how frequently they have proved the ruin of those that owned them. He concludes therefore, that pince we generally chufe so ill for ourselves, we should do better to leave it to the gods, to make the choice for us. All we can safely aske of heaven, lies within a very small compass. 'Tis but health of body and mind. And if we have these, it is not much matter what we want besides ; for we have already enough to make us happy.
LOOK round the habitable world, how few Know their own good; or knowing it, pursue.
Ver. 1. Look round) There is not perhaps in our language a poem of the moral and didactic species, written with more vigo.
How void of reason are our hopes and fears ! What in the conduct of our life
appears So well design'd, so luckily begun, But, when we have our wish, we wish undone ?
Whole houses, of their whole desires poflest, Are often ruin’d, at their own request. In wars, and peace, things hurtful we require, When made obnoxious to our own desire.
With laurels some have fatally been crown'd; Some, who the depths of eloquence have
found, In that unnavigable stream were drown'd.
tous and strong sentiments, more penetrating and useful observations on life, in a di&tion remarkably close and compaat, than the Vanity of Human Wishes, by Dr. Johnson, in imitation of this Tenth Satire of his favourite Juvenal. In point of sprightliness, and poignancy of wit and sarcasm, it may not be equal to his imitation of the Third ; but indeed the nature and tune of the two pieces are essentially different; for here all is serious, folemn, and even devout. The evils of life are indeed aggravated and painted in the darkeft and most disagreeable colours; but such an unwarrantable representation was a favourite topic with our author, touched as he was with a morbid melancholy; but surely to magnify and dwell too much on these evils, is, after all, very false philosophy, and an affront to our most benevolent and bounteous Creator. Those who hold this uncomfortable and gloomy opinion, would do well to consider attentively what such men as Cudworth, Archbishop King, Hutcheson, and Balguy, have fo ftrongly urged in confutation of this opinion of the prepollence of evil in the world. It may not be unpleasant to lay before the reader fome pallages of Johnson's Imitations, which seem particularly happy in the accommodation of modern facts and characters to the ancient; and we may imagine he put forth all his ftrength when he was to contend with Dryden. He certainly would not have succeeded so well if he had ever attempted to imitate Horace.
Dr. J. WARTON,
The brawny fool, who did his vigour boast,
For this, in Nero's arbitrary time,
Of all the vows, the first and chief request 35
Ver. 14. Milo, of Crotona, who, for a trial of his strength, going to rend an oak, perisheci in the attempt; for his arms were caught in the trunk of it, and he was devoured by wild beasts. VOL, IV,
Then fear the deadly drug, when gems
divine Enchase the cup, and sparkle in the wine.
Will you not now the pair of sages praise, Who the same end pursu'd, by several ways? One pity'd, one contemn’d the woeful times : One laugh'd at follies, one lamented crimes : Laughter is easy ; but the wonder lies, What store of brine fupply'd the weeper's eyes. Democritus could feed his fpleen, and shake His fides and shoulders till he felt 'em ake; Though in his country-town no lietors were, Nor rods, nor ax, nor tribune did
appear; Nor all the foppish gravity of show, Which cunning magiftrates on crowds bestow :
What had he done, had he beheld, on high Our prætor seated, in mock majesty ; His chariot rolling o'er the dusty place, While, with dumb pride, and a fet formal face, He moves, in the dull ceremonial track, With Jove's embroider'd coat upon his back : A suit of hangings had not more opprest His shoulders, than that long, laborious veft: 60 A heavy gewgaw, (call’d a crown) that spread About his temples, drown'd his narrow head: And would have crush'd it with the maffy freight, But that a sweating slave sustain'd the weight:
Ver. 53. What had he done,] All this is falfe, on the unavoidable marks of state and distinction in every country.
Dr. J. WARTON.
A Nave in the fame chariot seen to ride,
65 To mortify the mighty madman's pride. Add now th’imperial eagle, rais'd on high, With golden beak (the mark of majesty), Trumpets before, and on the left and right, A cavalcade of nobles, all in white: In their own natures false and flatt’ring tribes, But made his friends, by places and by bribes.
In his own age, Democritus could find Sufficient cause to laugh at human kind : Learn from so great a wit ; a land of bogs 75 With ditches fenc'd, a heaven fat with fogs, May form a spirit fit to sway the state; And make the neighb’ring monarchs fear their
fate. He laughs at all the vulgar cares and fears; At their rain triumphs, and their vainer tears: 80 An equal temper in his mind he found, When Fortune flatter'd him, and when she
frown'd. 'Tis plain, from hence, that what our vows re
quest, Are hurtful things, or useless at the best.
Some ask for envy'd pow'r; which public hate Pursues, and hurries headlong to their fate: Down
the titles; and the statue crown'd, Is by base hands in the next river drown'd.
Ver. 66. To mortify) One of his happiest alliterations.
Dr. J. WARTUN.