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See SIDNEY bleeds amid the martial strife!
Was this their virtue, or contempt of life?
Say, was it virtue, more tho’ heaven ne'er gave,
Lamented DigBY! sunk thee to the grave ?
Tell me, if virtue made the son expire, 105
Why, full of days and honour, lives the sire ?
Why drew Marseilles' good bishop purer breath,
When Nature sicken'd, and each gale was death?

NOTES,

we cannot here refrain a review of the principal of them, for the same reason that they are still talked of every day. It seems as if one could not too often repeat, that the same bullet which killed him, having shot off the arm of St. Hilaire, lieutenant-general of the artillery, his son came and bewailed his misfortune with many tears; but the father, looking towards Turenne, said, “It is not I, but that great man, who should be lamented.'

These words may be compared with the most heroic sayings recorded in all history; and are the best eulogy that can be bestowed upon

Turenne. It is uncommon under a despotic government, where people are actuated only by private interests, for those who have served their country to die regretted by the public. Nevertheless Turenne was lamented both by the soldiers and people; and Louvois was the only one who rejoiced at his death. The honours which the king ordered to be paid to his memory are known to every one; and that he was interred at St. Denis, in the same manner as the constable du Guesclin.” But how much is the glory of Turenne tarnished by his cruel devastation of the Palatinate ! Wurton.

Ver. 101. See Sidney bleeds] Among the many things related of the life and character of this all-accomplished person, it does not seem to be much known, that he was the intimate friend and patron of the famous atheist Giordano Bruno; was in a secret club with him and Sir Fulk Greville, held in London in 1587; and that the Spaccio della Bestia Triomfante was at that time composed and printed in London, and dedicated to Sir Philip. See General Dictionary, vol. iii.p. 622.

Wurton. Ver. 107. Why drew] M. de Belsance, bishop of Marseilles. This illustrious prelate was of a noble family in Guienne. In early

life

a

Or why so long (in life if long can be)
Lent heaven a parent to the poor and me?

110

NOTES.

life he took the vows, and belonged to a convent of Jesuits. He was made bishop of Marseilles in 1709.

In the plague of that city, in the year 1720, he distinguished himself by his zeal and activity, being the pastor, the physician, and the magistrate of his flock, whilst that horrid calamity prevailed. Louis XV. in 1723, offered him a more considerable bishopric (to which peculiar feudal honours were annexed) that of Laon in Picardy. He refused, however, to quit that of Marseilles, giving for a reason, that he could not desert a flock which had been so endeared to him by their misfortunes and his own exertions. The king, however, insisted upon his accepting of the privilege of appealing, in all his own causes, either temporal or spiritual, to the Parliament of Paris. The Pope sent him from Rome an ornament called Pallium, worn only by archbishops. He died at a very advanced age, in the year 1755, after having founded a college in Marseilles, which bears his name, and after having written the History of the Lives of his Predecessors in that See. When he was grand vicar of Agen, he published the life of a female relation of his, who was eminent for her piety, with this title, “ Vie de Susanne Henriette de Foix Candale." Vaniere has finely celebrated him. Lib. iii. of the Prædium Rusticum.

Warton. Ver. 108. When Nature sicken'd,] A verse of marvellous comprehension and expressiveness, adopted from Dryden's Miscella nies, ver. 6. The effects of this pestilence are more emphatically set forth in these few words, than in forty such Odes as Sprat's on the Plague at Athens. A fine example of what Dion. Halicarnassus calls Πυκνότητος και σεμνότητος.

Warton. Ver. 110. Lent heaven a parent, &c.] This last instance of the Poet's illustration of the ways of Providence, the reader sees,

has a peculiar elegance; where a tribute of piety to a parent is paid in return of thanks to, and made subservient of his vindication of, the great

Giver and Father of all things. The mother of the author, a person of great piety and charity, died the year this poem was finished, viz. 1733.

Warburton,

a

What makes all physical or moral ill ? .
There deviates Nature, and here wanders will.
God sends not ill; if rightly understood,
Or partial ill is universal good,

COMMENTARY.

Ver. 111. What makes all physical or moral ill ?] 2. He exposes their folly (from ver. 110 to 131.) by considerations drawn from the system of Nature: and these twofold, natural and moral. You accuse God, says he, because the good man is subject to natural and moral evil. Let us see whence these proceed. Natural evil is the necessary consequence of a material world so constituted. But that this constitution was best, we have proved in the first Epistle. Moral evil ariseth from the depraved will of Man. Therefore neither one nor the other from God. But you say (adds the Poet, to these impious complainers) that though it be fit Man should suffer the miseries which he brings upon himself, by the commission of moral evil; yet it seems unfit that his innocent posterity should bear a share of the burden. To this, says he, I reply,

“ We just as wisely might of heaven complain

That righteous Abel was destroy'd by Cain,
As that the righteous son is ill at ease,
When his lewd father gave the dire disease.”

But

NOTES.

Ver. 112. There deviates Nature,] How can Nature be said to deviate, when we before have been told, that the general “ Order has been kept, since the whole began." And as to the wandering of the will, objectors persist in saying, that it is precisely the same thing, whether a God of infinite power and knowledge created beings originally wicked and miserable, or gave them a power to make themselves so; foreknowing that they would employ that power to their own destruction.

This is the objection for ever repeated by Bayle, and which our limited understandings cannot fully answer, “ But find no end in wandering mazes lost.” Warton.

The 115

Or change admits, or Nature lets it fall;
Short, and but rare, till Man improv'd it all.

COMMENTARY.

But

you will still say, Why doth not God either prevent or immediately repair these evils? You may as well ask, why he doth not work continual miracles, and every moment reverse the established laws of Nature :

“ Shall burning Etna, if a sage requires,” &c. This is the force of the Poet's reasoning; and these the men to whom he addresseth it; namely, the libertine cavillers against Providence.

NOTES.

The first of these objections is answered by observing that the general order is preserved, notwithstanding deviations in particular instances ; which, both in the natural and moral world, are occasional and temporary.

Thus, we are told, Storms and tempests break not heaven's design, and Heaven disappoints th' effect of every vice. And as to the second, it may be sufficient to remark, that a doctrine which represents the Creator as having formed beings either for the express purpose, or with a foreknowledge, of their being consigned to eternal torments, is irreconcileable with his goodness, as exemplified in all we know of him, and therefore CANNOT POSSIBLY BE TRUE.

Ver. 115. Or change admits,] How change can admit, or Nature let fall any evil, however short and rare it may be, under the government of an all-wise, powerful, and benevolent Creator, is hardly to be understood. The reasons assigned for the Origin of Evil, in these two lines, are surely not solid and satisfactory, and the doctrine is expressed in obscure and equivocal terms. These six lines are perhaps the most exceptionable in the whole Poem, in point both of sentiment and expression.

Warton. On this it may be observed, that all imperfection is evil, and imperfection is unavoidable in all created beings, unless

they

VARIATIONS.

After Ver. 116. in the MS.

Of every evil, since the world began,
The real source is not in God, but man.

Warburton.

We just as wisely might of heaven complain
That righteous Abel was destroy'd by Cain,
As that the virtuous son is ill at ease
When his lewd father gave the dire disease! 120
Think we, like some weak prince, th’ Eternal

Cause
Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws?

Shall burning Etna, if a sage requires,
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires ?
On air or sea new motions be impress’d, 125
Oh blameless Bethel! to relieve thy breast ?

NOTES.

they were made equal to their Creator, which it is absurd to suppose. The only question then is, whether such evil is greater than is indispensable to the quantity of good produced. This the poet has endeavoured to shew is not the case, and that partial ill is universal good. In the Creator alone good is positive and absolute; in the created, it is only relative ; and as we know light only

; from darkness, and harmony from discord, so we know virtue only from vice, and are thereby placed in a state of moral discipline, particularly suited to a responsible and improvable being.

Ver. 121. Think we, like some weak prince, &c.] Agreeable hereunto, Holy Scripture, in its account of things under the com

Providence of Heaven, never represents miracles as wrought for the sake of him who is the object of them, but in order to give credit to some of God's extraordinary dispensations to Mankind.

Warburton. Ver. 123. Shull burning Etna, &c.] Alluding to the fate of those two great naturalists, Empedocles and Pliny, who both perished by too near an approach to Etna and Vesuvius, while they were exploring the cause of their eruptions.

Warburton. Ver. 125. On air or sea] It was observed in the Adventurer, many years before the elegant Letter to Mr. Mason, on the Marks of Imitation, appeared, that this whole passage, and even the ex

pressions,

mon

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