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[Page 5]EPISTLE I.

ARGUMENT. Of the Knowlege and Characters of MEN.

THAT it is not sufficient for this knowlege to consi­der man in the abstract: books will not serve the purpose, nor yet our own experience singly, v. 1. General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, v. 10. Some peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet vary­ing from himself, v. 15. Difficulties arising from our own passions, fancies, faculties, etc. v. 31. The shortness of life, to observe in, and the un­certainty of the principles of action in men, to observe by, v. 37, etc. Our own principle of a­ction often hid from ourselves, v. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, dis­sembled, or inconsistent, v. 51. The same man [Page 4] utterly different in different places and seasons, v. 71. Unimaginable weaknesses in the great­est, v. 70, etc. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, v. 95. No judging of the motives from the actions; the same actions proceeding from contrary motives, and the same motives influencing contrary actions, v. 100. II. Yet to form characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree: the utter uncertainty of this, from nature itself, and from policy, v. 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, v. 135. And some reason for it, v. 140. Educa­tion alters the nature, or at least character, of many, v. 149. Actions, passions, opinions, man­ners, humours, or principles, all subject to change. No judging by nature, from v. 158 to 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING PASSION: that will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsisten­cy of all his actions, v. 175. Instanced in the ex­traordinary character of Clodio, v. 179. A cau­tion against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowlege of mankind, v. 210. Examples of the strength of the ruling passion, and its continuation to the last breath, v. 222, etc.

YES, you despise the man to books confin'd,
Who from his study rails at human kind;
Tho' what he learns he speaks, and may advance
Some gen'ral maxims, or be right by chance.
The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,
That from his cage cries cuckold, whore, and knave,
Tho' many a passenger he rightly call,
You hold him no philosopher at all.
And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
Men may be read, as well as books, too much.
To observations which ourselves we make,
We grow more partial for th' observer's sake;
To written wisdom, as another's, less:
Maxims are drawn from notions, those from guess.
There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein:
[Page 6] Shall only man be taken in the gross?
Grant but as many sorts of mind as moss.
That each from other differs, first confess;
Next, that he varies from himself no less:
Add nature's, custom's, reason's, passion's strife,
And all opinion's colours cast 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:
His principle of action once explore,
That instant 'tis his principle no more.
Like following life thro' creatures you dissect,
You lose 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 discolour'd thro' our passions shown.
Or fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will life's stream for observation stay,
It hurries all too fast to mark their way:
In vain sedate reflections we would make,
When half our knowlege we must snatch, not take.
Oft, in the passions' wild rotation tost,
Our spring of action to ourselves is lost:
Tir'd, not determin'd, to the last we yield,
And what comes then is master of the field.
As the last image of that troubled heap,
When sense subsides, and fancy sports in sleep,
(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, some are open, and to all men known;
Others so very close, they're hid from none;
(So darkness strikes the sense no less than light)
Thus gracious CHANDOS is belov'd at sight;
And ev'ry child hates Shylock, tho' his soul
Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.
[Page 8] At half mankind when gen'rous Manly raves,
All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves:
When universal homage Umbra pays,
All see 'tis vice, and itch of vulgar praise.
When flatt'ry glares, all hate it in a queen,
While one there is who charms us with his spleen.
But these plain characters we rarely find;
Tho' strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind:
Or puzzling contraries confound the whole;
Or affectations quite reverse the soul.
The dull, flat falshood serves, for policy:
And in the cunning, truth itself's a lye:
Unthought-of frailties cheat us in the wise;
The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.
See the same man, in vigour, in the gout;
Alone, in company; in place, or out;
Early at bus'ness, and at hazard late;
Mad at a fox-chace, wise at a debate;
Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball;
Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave,
Save just at dinner—then prefers, no doubt,
A rogue with ven'son to a saint without.
Who would not praise Patritio's high desert,
His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
His comprehensive head! all int'rests weigh'd,
All Europe sav'd, yet Britain not betray'd.
He thanks you not, his pride is in picquette,
New-market-fame, and judgment at a
What made, (say Montagne, or more sage Char­ron!)
Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon?
A perjur'd prince a leaden saint revere,1
A godless regent tremble at a star?
[Page 10] The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit,2
Faithless thro' piety, and dup'd thro' wit?
Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule,
And just her wisest monarch made a fool?
Know GOD and NATURE only are the same:
In man, the judgment shoots at flying game;
A bird of passage! gone as soon as found,
Now in the moon perhaps, now under ground.
In vain the sage, with retrospective eye,
Would from th' apparent what conclude the why,
Infer the motive from the deed, and shew
That what we chanc'd was what we meant to do.
Behold! if fortune or a mistress frowns,
Some plunge in bus'ness, others shave their crowns:
[Page 11] To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
This quits an empire, that embroils a state:
The same adust complexion has impell'd
Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.
Not always actions shew the man: we find
Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind;
Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast,
Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east:
Not therefore humble he who seeks retreat,
Pride guides his steps, and bids him shun the great:
Who combats bravely is not therefore brave,
He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave:
Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise,
His pride in reas'ning, not in acting lies.
But grant that actions best discover man;
Take the most strong, and sort them as you can.
The few that glare, each character must mark,
You balance not the many in the dark.
What will you do with such as disagree?
Suppress them, or miscall them policy?
[Page 12] Must then at once (the character to save)
The plain rough hero turn a crafty knave?
Alas! in truth the man but chang'd his mind,
Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd.
Ask why from Britain Caesar would retreat?here
Caesar himself might whisper he was beat.
Why risk the world's great empire for a punk?
Caesar perhaps might answer he was drunk.
But, sage historians! 'tis your task to prove
One action conduct; one, heroic love.
'Tis from high life high characters are drawn:
A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn;
A judge is just, a chanc'lor juster still;
A gownman, learn'd; a bishop, what you will;
[Page 13] Wise, if a minister; but, if a king,
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more ev'ry thing.
Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate,
Born where heav'n's influence scarce can penetrate:
In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like,
They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
Tho' the same sun with all-diffusive rays
Blush in the rose, and in the di'mond blaze,
We prize the stronger effort of his pow'r,
And justly set the gem above the flow'r.
'Tis education forms the common mind,
Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd.
Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'squire;
The next a tradesman, meek, and much a lyar;
Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave;
Will sneaks a scriv'ner, an exceeding knave:
Is he a churchman? then he's fond of pow'r:
A quaker? sly: A presbyterian? sow'r:
A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour.
Ask men's opinions: Scoto now shall tell
How trade increases, and the world goes well;
Strike off his pension, by the setting sun,
And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
What turns him now a stupid silent dunce?
Some God or Spirit he has lately found;
Or chanc'd to meet a minister that frown'd.
Judge we by nature? Habit can efface,
Int'rest o'ercome, or policy take place:
By actions? those uncertainty divides:
By passions? these dissimulation hides:
Opinions? they still 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.
Search then the RULING PASSION: there, alone,
The wild are constant, and the cunning known;
The fool consistent, and the false sincere;
Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.
[Page 15] This clue, once found, unravels all the rest,
The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confest.
Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days,
Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise:
Born with whate'er could win it from the wise,
Women and fools must like him or he dies;
Tho' wond'ring senates hung on all he spoke,
The club must hail him master of the joke.
Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too.3
Then turns repentant, and his God adores
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores;
Enough if all around him but admire,
And now the punk applaud, and now the fryer.
Thus with each gift of nature and of art,
And wanting nothing but an honest heart;
Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt;
And most contemptible, to shun contempt;
[Page 16] His passion still, to covet gen'ral praise,
His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways;
A constant bounty which no friend has made;
An angel tongue, which no man can persuade;
A fool with more of wit than half mankind,
Too rash for thought, for action too refin'd:
A tyrant to the wife her heart approves;
A rebel to the very king he loves;
He dies, sad out-cast of each church and state,
And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great.
Ask you why Wharton broke thro' ev'ry rule?
'Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool.
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,here
Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
If second qualities for first they take.
[Page 17] When Catiline by rapine swell'd his store;
When Caesar made a noble dame a whore;
In this the lust, in that the avarice,
Were means, not ends; ambition was the vice.
That very Caesar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by chastity at praise.
Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabin farm.
In vain th' observer eyes the builder's toil,
But quite mistakes the scaffold for the pile.
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
As fits give vigour, just when they destroy.
Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand.
Consistent in our follies and our sins,
Here honest nature ends as she begins.
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in bus'ness to the last;
[Page 18] As weak, as earnest; and as gravely out,
As sober Lanesb'row dancing in the gout.4
Behold a rev'rend fire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shov'd from the wall, perhaps, or rudely press'd
By his own son, that passes by unbless'd:
Still to his wench he crawls on knocking knees,
And envies ev'ry sparrow that he sees.
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate;
The doctor call'd, declares all help too late:
" Mercy! cries Helluo, mercy on my soul!
" Is there no hope?—Alas!—then bring the jowl."
The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend,
Still tries to save the hallow'd taper's end,
Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires,
For one puff more, and in that puff expires.
" Odious! in woollen! 'twould a saint provoke,
(Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke)5
" No, let a charming Chintz, and Brussels lace,
" Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face:
" One would not, sure, be frightful when one's dead—
" And—Betty—give this cheek a little red."
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shin'd
An humble servant to all human kind,
Just brought out this, when scarce his tongue could stir,
" If—where I'm going—I could serve you, Sir?"
" I give and I devise, (old Euclio said,
And sigh'd) "my lands and tenements to Ned.
Your money, Sir?—"My money, Sir, what all?
" Why,—if I must—(then wept) I give it Paul.
[Page 20] " The manor, Sir?—"The manor! hold, he cry'd,
" Not that,—I cannot part with that"—and dy'd.
And you! brave COBHAM, to the latest breath
Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death:
Such in those moments as in all the past,
" Oh, save my country, heav'n!" shall be your last.


After v. 86, in the former editions,

Triumphant leaders, at an army's head,
Hemm'd round with glories, pilfer cloth or bread:
As meanly plunder as they bravely fought,
Now save a people, and now save a groat.

[Page 12]VER. 129. in the former editions,

Ask why from Britain Caesar made retreat?
Caesar himself would tell you he was beat.
The mighty Czar what mov'd to wed a punk?
The mighty Czar would tell you he was drunk.

[Page 16]In the former editions, v. 208.

Nature well known, no Miracles remain.

Of the Characters of WOMEN.

NOTHING so true as what you once let fall,
" Most women have no characters at all."
Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,
And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair.
How many pictures of one nymph we view,
All how unlike each other, all how true!
Arcadia's Countess, here, in ermin'd pride,6
Is there, Pastora by a fountain side.7
Here Fannia, leering on her own good man,
And there, a naked Leda with a swan.8
[Page 22] Let then the fair one beautifully cry,
In Magdalen's loose hair and lifed eye,9
Or drest in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine,10
With simp'ring angels, palms, and harps divine;
Whether the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If folly grows romantic, I must paint it.
Come then, the colours and the ground prepare!
Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air;
Chuse a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.
11Rufa, whose eye, quick-glancing o'er the park,
Attracts each light gay meteor of a spark,
Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,
As Sappho's di'monds with her dirty smock;
[Page 23] Or Sappho at her toilet's greazy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an ev'ning mask:
So morning insects that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and fly-blow in the setting-sun.
12How soft is Silia! fearful to offend;
The frail one's advocate, the weak one's friend.
To her, Calista prov'd her conduct nice;
And good Simplicius asks of her advice.
Sudden, she storms! she raves! you tip the wink,
But spare your censure; Silia does not drink.
All eyes may see from what the change arose,
All eyes may see—a pimple on her nose.
13Papillia, wedded to her am'rous spark,
Sighs for the shades—"how charming is a park!"
A park is purchas'd, but the fair he sees
All bath'd in tears—"oh odious, odious trees!"
Ladies, like variegated tulips, show;
'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe;
[Page 24] Fine by defect, and delicately weak,
Their happy spots the nice admirer take.
14'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd,
Aw'd without virtue, without beauty charm'd;
Her tongue hewitch'd as odly as her eyes.
Less wit than mimic, more a wit than wise;
Strange graces still, and stranger flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;
Yet ne'er so sure our passion to create,
As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.
15Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child;
Has ev'n been prov'd to grant a lover's pray'r,
And paid a tradesman once to make him stare;
Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim,
And made a widow happy, for a whim.
Why then declare good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be born?
[Page 25] Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name?
A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame:
Now deep in Taylor and the Book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his grace and Chartres:
Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns;
And atheism and religion take their turns;
A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad, good Christian at her heart.
16See sin in state, majestically drunk;
Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk;
Chaste to her husband, frank to all beside,
A teeming mistress, but a barren bride.
What then? let blood and body bear the fault,
Her head's untouch'd, that noble seat of thought:
Such this day's doctrine—in another fit
She sins with poets thro' pure love of wit.
[Page 26] What has not fir'd her bosom or her brain?here
Caesar and Tall-boy, Charles and Charlema'ne.
As Helluo, late dictator of the feast,
The nose of Hautgout, and the tip of taste,
Critiqu'd your wine, and analyz'd your meat,
Yet on plain pudding deign'd at home to eat:
So Philomede, lect'ring all mankind
On the soft passion, and the taste refin'd,
Th' address, the delicacy—stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a dunce.
17Flavia's a wit, has too much sense to pray;
To toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her stars, to give
The mighty blessing, "while we live, to live."
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul!
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
[Page 27] Say, what can cause such impotence of mind?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind.
Wise wretch! with pleasures too refin'd to please;
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease;
With too much quickness ever to be taught;
With too much thinking to have common thought:
You purchase pain with all that joy can give,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.
Turn then from wits; and look on Simo's mate,
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate.
Or her, that owns her faults, but never mends,
Because she's honest, and the best of friends.
Or her, whose life the church and scandal share,
For ever in a passion, or a pray'r.
Or her, who laughs at hell, but (like her grace)
Cries, "Ah! how charming, if there's no such place!"
Or who in sweet vicissitude appears
Of mirth and opium, ratafie and tears,
The daily anodyne, and nightly draught,
To kill those foes to fair ones, time and thought.
[Page 28] Woman and fool are too hard things to hit;
For true no-meaning puzzles more than wit.
But what are these to great Atossa's mind?
Scarce once herself, by turns all womankind!
Who, with herself, or others, from her birth
Finds all her life one warfare upon earth:
Shines, in exposing knaves, and painting fools,
Yet is, whate'er she hates and ridicules.
No thought advances, but her eddy brain
Whisks it about, and down it goes
Full sixty years the world has been her trade,
The wisest fool much time has ever made.
From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No passion gratify'd except her rage.
So much the fury still out-ran the wit,
The pleasure miss'd her, and the scandal hit.
[Page 29] Who breaks with her, provokes revenge from hell,
But he's a bolder man who dares be well.
Her ev'ry turn with violence pursu'd,
Nor more a storm her hate than gratitude:
To that each passion turns, or soon or late;
Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate:
Superiors? death! and equals? what a curse;
But an inferior not dependant? worse.
Offend her, and she knows not to forgive;
Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live:
But die, and she'll adore you—then the bust
And temple rise—then fall again to dust.
Last night, her lord was all that's good and great;
A knave this morning, and his will a cheat.
Strange! by the means defeated of the ends,
By spirit robb'd of pow'r, by warmth of friends,
By wealth of follow'rs! without one distress
Sick of herself thro' very selfishness!
[Page 30] Atossa, curs'd with ev'ry granted pray'r,
Childless with all her children, wants an
To heirs unknown descends th' unguarded store,
Or wanders, heav'n-directed, to the poor.
Pictures like these, dear madam, to design,
Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line;
Some wand'ring touches, some reflected light,
Some flying stroke alone can hit 'em right:
For how should equal colours do the knack?
Chameleons who can paint in white and black?
" Yet Cloe, sure, was form'd without a spot."—
Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.
" With ev'ry pleasing, ev'ry prudent part,
" Say, what can Cloe want?"—she wants a heart.
She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought;
But never, never, reach'd one gen'rous thought.
[Page 31] Virtue she finds too painful an endeavour,
Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
So very reasonable, so unmov'd,
As never yet to love, or to be lov'd.
She, while her lover pants upon her breast,
Can mark the figures on an Indian chest;
And when she sees her friend in deep despair,
Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair.
Forbid it, heav'n, a favour or a debt
She e'er should cancel—but she may forget.
Safe is your secret still in Cloe's ear;
But none of Cloe's shall you ever hear.
Of all her dears she never slander'd one,
But cares not if a thousand are undone.
Would Cloe know if you're alive or dead?
She bids her footman put it in her head.
Cloe is prudent—would you too be wise?
Then never break your heart when Cloe dies.
One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen,
Which heav'n has varnish'd out, and made a Queen:
[Page 32] THE SAME FOR EVER! and describ'd by all
With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball:
Poets heap virtues, painters gems at will,
And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill.
'Tis well—but, artists! who can paint or write,
To draw the naked is your true delight.
That robe of quality so struts and swells,
None see what parts of nature it conceals:
Th' exactest traits of body or of mind,
We owe to models of an humble kind.
If QUEENSBERRY to strip there's no compelling,
'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.
From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing
To draw the man who loves his God, or king:
Alas! I copy, (or my draught would fail)
From honest Mah'met, or plain parson Hale.18 here
But grant, in public men sometimes are shown,19
A woman's seen in private life alone:
Our bolder talents in full light display'd;
Your virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide;
There, none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
[Page 34] Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,
That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.
In men, we various ruling passions find;20 here
In women, two almost divide the kind:
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.
That nature gives; and where the lesson taught21
Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault?
Experience, this; by man's oppression curst,
They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to bus'ness, some to pleasure take;
But ev'ry woman is at heart a rake:
[Page 35] Men, some to quiet, some to public strife;
But ev'ry lady would be queen for life.
22Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens!
Pow'r all their end, but beauty all the means:
In youth they conquer, with so wild a rage,
As leaves them scarce a subject in their age:
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam;
No thought of peace or happiness at home.
But wisdom's triumph is well-tim'd retreat,
As hard a science to the fair as great!
Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone,
Worn out in public, weary ev'ry eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.
23Pleasures the sex, as children birds, pursue,
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the toy at most,
To covet flying, and regret when lost:
[Page 36] At last, to follies youth could scarce defend,
It grows their age's prudence to pretend;
Asham'd to own they gave delight before,
Reduc'd to feign it, when they give no more:
As hags hold sabbaths, less for joy than spight,
So these their merry, miserable night;
Still round and round the ghosts of beauty glide,
And haunt the places where their honour dy'd.
See how the world its veterans rewards!
A youth of frolics, an old age of cards;
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end,
Young without lovers, old without a friend;
A fop their passion, but their prize a sot,
Alive, ridiculous, and dead, forgot!
24Ah! friend! to dazzle let the vain design;
To raise the thought, and touch the heart be thine!
That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the ring,
Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:
[Page 37] So when the sun's broad beam has tir'd the sight,
All mild ascends the moon's more sober light,
Serene in virgin modesty she shines,
And unobserv'd the glaring orb declines.
Oh! blest with temper, whose unclouded ray
Can make to-morrow chearful as to-day:
She, who can love a sister's charms, or hear
Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear;
She who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules;
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
Yet has her humour most, when she obeys;
Let fops or fortune fly which way they will;
Disdains all loss of tickets, or codille;
Spleen, vapours, or small-pox, above them all,
And mistress of herself, tho' China fall.
And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a contradiction still.
Heav'n, when it strives to polish all it can
Its last best work, but forms a softer man;
[Page 38] Picks from each sex, to make the fav'rite blest,
Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest:
Blends, in exception to all gen'ral rules,
Your taste of follies, with our scorn of fools:
Reserve with frankness, art with truth ally'd,
Courage with softness, modesty with pride;
Fix'd principles, with fancy ever new;
Shakes all together, and produces—you.
Be this a woman's fame: with this unblest,
Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest.
This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year)
When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere;
Ascendant Phoebus watch'd that hour with care,
Averted half your parent's simple pray'r;
And gave you beauty, but deny'd the pelf
That buys your sex a tyrant o'er itself.
The gen'rous god, who wit and gold refines,
And ripens spirits as he ripens mines,
Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it,
To you gave sense, good-humour, and a poet.


[Page 26]VER. 77. What has not fir'd etc.] in the MS.

In whose mad brain the mixt ideas roll
Of Tall-boy's breeches, and of Caesar's soul.

[Page 28]After ver. 122. in the MS.

Oppress'd with wealth and wit, abundance sad!
One makes her poor, the other makes her mad.

[Page 30]After ver. 148, in the MS.

This death decides, nor lets the blessing fall
On any one she hates, but on them all.
Curs'd chance! this only could afflict her more,
If any part should wander to the poor.

[Page 33]After ver. 198, in the MS.

Fain I'd in Fulvia spy the tender wife;
I cannot prove it on her, for my life:
And, for a noble pride, I blush no less,
Instead of Berenice to think on Bess.
Thus while immortal Cibber only sings
(As * and H**y preach) for queens and kings,
The nymph, that ne'er read Milton's mighty line,
May, if she love, and merit verse, have mine.

[Page 34]VER. 207, in the first edition,

In sev'ral men we sev'ral passions find;
In women, two almost divide the kind.

[Page 41]EPISTLE III.25


THAT it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes, avarice or profusion, v. 1, etc. The point discussed, whether the invention of money has been more commodious, or pernicious to mankind, v. 21 to 77. That riches, either to the avaricious or the prodigal, cannot afford happiness, scarcely neces­saries, v. 89 to 160. That avarice is an absolute frenzy, without an end or purpose, v. 113, etc. 152. Conjectures about the motives of avaricious men, v. 121 to 153. That the conduct of men, with respect to riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER OF PROVIDENCE, which works the [Page 40] general good out of extremes, and brings all to its great end by perpetual revolutions, v. 161 to 178. How a miser acts upon principles which ap­pear to him reasonable, v. 179. How a prodigal does the same, v. 199. The due medium, and true use of riches, v. 219. The man of Ross, v. 250. The fate of the profuse and the covetous, in two examples; both miserable in life and in death, v. 300, etc. The story of Sir Balaam, v. 339 to the end.

WHO shall decide, when doctors disagree,
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
You hold the word, from Jove to Momus giv'n,
That man was made the standing jest of heav'n;
And gold but sent to keep the fools in play,
For some to heap, and some to throw away.
But I, who think more highly of our kind,
(And surely, heav'n and I are of a mind)
Opine, that nature, as in duty bound,
Deep hid the shining mischief under ground:
But when by man's audacious labour won,
Flam'd forth this rival to, its sire, the sun,
Then careful heav'n supply'd two sorts of men,
To squander these, and those to hide agen.
Like doctors thus, when much dispute has past,
We find our tenets just the same at last.
Both fairly owning, riches, in effect,
No grace of heav'n or token of th' elect;
Giv'n to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil,
To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil.26
[Page 43]
What nature wants, commodious gold bestows,
'Tis thus we eat the bread another sows.
[Page 44]
But how unequal it bestows, observe,
'Tis thus we riot, while, who sow it, starve:
[Page 45] What nature wants (a phrase I much distrust)
Extends to luxury, extends to lust:
Useful, I grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark assassin hires:
Trade it may help, society extend.
But lures the pyrate, and corrupts the friend.
It raises armies in a nation's aid.
But bribes a senate, and the land's betray'd.
In vain may heroes fight, and patriots rave;
If secret gold sap on from knave to knave.
[Page 46] Once, we confess, beneath the patriot's cloke,27
From the crack'd bag the dropping guinea spoke,
And gingling down the back-stairs, told the crew,
" Old Cato is as great a rogue as you."
Blest paper-credit! last and best supply!
That lends corruption lighter wings to fly!
Gold, imp'd by thee, can compass hardest things,
Can pocket states, can fetch or carry kings;28
A single leaf shall waft an army o'er,
Or ship off senates to a distant shore;29
[Page 47] A leaf, like Sibyl's, scatter to and fro
Our fates and fortunes, as the winds shall blow:
Pregnant with thousands flits the scrap unseen,
And silent sells a king, or buys a queen.
Oh! that such bulky bribes as all might see,
Still, as of old, incumber'd villainy!here
Could France or Rome divert our brave designs,
With all their brandies or with all their wines? [found,
What could they more than knights and squires con-
Or water all the quorum ten miles round?
A statesman's slumbers how this speech would spoil!
" Sir, Spain has sent a thousand jars of oil;
" Huge bales of British cloth blockade the door;
" A hundred oxen at your levee roar."
Poor avarice one torment more would find;
Nor could profusion squander all in kind.
[Page 48] Astride his cheese Sir Morgan might we meet;
And Worldly crying coals from street to street,
Whom with a wig so wild, and mein so maz'd,30
Pity mistakes for some poor tradesman craz'd.
Had Colepepper's whole wealth been hops and hogs,31
Could he himself have sent it to the dogs?
His grace will game: to White's a bull be led,
With spurning heels, and with a butting head.
To White's be carry'd, as to ancient games,
Fair coursers, vases, and alluring dames.
Shall then Uxorio, if the stakes he sweep,
Bear home six whores, and make his lady weep?
[Page 49] Or soft Adonis so perfum'd and fine,
Drive to St. James's a whole herd of swine?
Oh filthy check on all industrious skill,
To spoil the nation's last great trade, quadrille!
Since then, my lord, on such a world we fall,here
What say you? B. Say? why take it, gold and all.
P. What riches give us let then enquire:
Meat, fire and clothes. B. What more? P. Meat, clothes, and fire.
Is this too little? would you more than live:
Alas! 'tis more than Turner finds they give.32
[Page 50] Alas! 'tis more than (all his visions past)
Unhappy Wharton, waking, found at last!33
What can they give! to dying Hopkins' heirs?34
To Chartres, vigour; Japhet, nose and ears?35
Can they, in gems bid pallid Hippia glow,
In Fulvia's buckle ease the throbs below;
[Page 51] Or heal, old Narses, thy obscener ail,
With all th' embroid'ry plaister'd at thy tail?
They might (were Harpax not too wise to spend)
Give Harpax self the blessing of a friend;
Or find some doctor that would save the life
Of wretched Shylock, spite of Shylock's wife:
But thousands die, without or this or that,
Die, and endow a college, or a cat.36
To some, indeed, heav'n grants the happier fate,
T' enrich a bastard, or a fon they hate.
Perhaps you think the poor might have their part.
Bond damns the poor, and hates them from his heart:37
[Page 52] The grave Sir Gilbert holds it for a rule,
That ev'ry man in want is knave or fool:
" God cannot love (says Blunt, with tearless eyes)
" The wretch he starves"—and piously denies:
But the good bishop, with a meeker air,
Admits, and leaves them, providence's care.
Yet to be just to these poor men of pelf,
Each does but hate his neighbour as himself:
Damn'd to the mines, an equal fate betides
The slave that digs it, and the slave that hides.
Who suffer thus, mere charity should own,
Must act on motives pow'rful, tho' unknown.
P. Some war, some plague, or famine they foresee,
Some revelation hid from you and me.
[Page 53] Why Shylock wants a meal, the cause is found,
He thinks a loaf will rise to fifty pound.
What made directors cheat in South-sea year?
To live on ven'son when it sold so dear.38
Ask you why Phryne the whole auction buys?
Phryne foresees a general excise.39
Why she and Sappho raise that monstrous sum?
Alas! they fear a man will cost a plum.
Wise Peter sees the world's respect for gold,40
And therefore hopes this nation may be sold:
[Page 54] Glorious ambition! Peter, swell thy store,
And be what Rome's great Didius was before.41
The crown of Poland, venal twice an age,42
To just three millions stinted modest Gage.
But nobler scenes Maria's dreams unfold,
Hereditary realms, and worlds of gold.
Congenial souls! whose life one av'rice joins,
And one fate buries in th' Asturian mines.
Much injur'd Blunt! why bears he Britain's hate?43
A wizard told him in these words our fate:
[Page 55] " At length corruption, like a gen'ral flood,
" So long by watchful ministers withstood,
" Shall deluge all; and av'rice creeping on,
" Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun;
" Statesman and patriot ply alike the stocks,
" Peeress and Butler share alike the box,
" And judges job, and bishops bite the town,
" And mighty dukes pack cards for half a crown.
" See Britain sunk in lucre's sordid charms,
" And France reveng'd of ANNE'S and EDWARD'S arms!"
'Twas no court-badge, great scriv'ner! fir'd thy brain,
Nor lordly luxury, nor city gain:
No, 'twas thy righteous end, asham'd to see
Senates degen'rate, patriots disagree,
[Page 56] And nobly wishing party-rage to cease,
To buy both sides, and give thy country peace.
" All this is madness," cries a sober sage:
But who, my friend, has reason in his rage?
" The ruling passion, be it what it will,
" The ruling passion conquers reason still."
Less mad the wildest whimsey we can frame,
Than ev'n that passion, if it has no aim;
For tho' such motives folly you may call,
The folly's greater to have none at all.
Hear then the truth: "'Tis heav'n each passion sends,
" And diff'rent men directs to diff'rent ends,
" Extremes in nature equal good produce,
" Extremes in man concur to gen'ral use."
Ask we what makes one keep, and one bestow?
That POW'R who bids the ocean ebb and flow,
Bids seed-time, harvest, equal course maintain,
Thro' reconcil'd extremes of drought and rain,
Builds life on death, on change duration founds,
And gives th' eternal wheels to know their rounds.
Riches, like insects, when conceal'd they lie,
Wait but for wings, and in their season fly.
Who sees pale Mammon pine amidst his store,
Sees but a backward steward for the poor;
This year a reservoir, to keep and spare:
The next, a fountain, spouting thro' his heir,
In lavish streams to quench a country's thirst,
And men and dogs shall drink him till they burst.
Old Cotta sham'd his fortune and his birth,
Yet was not Cotta void of wit or worth:
What tho' (the use of barb'rous spits forgot)
His kitchen vy'd in coolness with his grot!
His court with nettles, moats with cresses stor'd,
With soups unbought and sallads bless'd his boardhere
If Cotta liv'd on pulse, it was no more
Than bramins, saints, and sages did before;
[Page 58] To cram the rich was prodigal expence,
And who would take the poor from providence?
Like some lone Chartreux stands the good old hall,
Silence without, and fasts within the wall;
No rafter'd roofs with dance and tabor sound,
No noontide bell invites the country round:
Tenants with sighs the smokeless tow'rs survey,
And turn th' unwilling steeds another way:
Benighted wanderers, the forest o'er,
Curs'd the sav'd candle, and unop'ning door;
While the gaunt mastiff growling at the gate,
Affrights the beggar whom he longs to eat.
Not so his son, he mark'd this oversight,
And then mistook reverse of wrong for right.
(For what to shun will no great knowlege need,
But what to follow, is a task indeed.)here
[Page 59] Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise,
More go to ruin fortunes, than to raise.
What slaughter'd hecatombs, what floods of wine,
Fill the capacious 'squire, and deep divine!
Yet no mean motive this profusion draws,
His oxen perish in his country's cause;
'Tis GEORGE and LIBERTY that crowns the cup,
And zeal for that great house which eats him up.
The woods recede around the naked seat,
The sylvans groan—no matter—for the fleet:
Next goes his wool—to clothe our valiant Bands,
Last, for his country's love, he fells his lands.
To town he comes, completes the nation's hope,
And heads the bold train-bands, and burns a pope.
And shall not Britain now reward his toils,
Britain, that pays her patriots with her spoils?
[Page 60] In vain at court the bankrupt pleads his cause,
His thankless country leaves him to her
The sense to value riches, with the art
T' enjoy them, and the virtue to impart,
Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursu'd,
Not sunk by sloth, nor rais'd by servitude;
To balance fortune by a just expence,
Join with oeconomy, magnificence;
With splendor, charity; with plenty, health;
Oh teach us, BATHURST! yet unspoil'd by wealth!here
That secret rare, between th' extremes to move,
Of mad good-nature, and of mean self-love.
[Page 61]
To worth or want well-weigh'd, be bounty giv'n,
And ease, or emulate, the care of heav'n;
(Whose measure full o'erflows on human race)
Mend fortune's fault, and justify her grace.
Wealth in the gross is death, but life diffus'd;
As poison heals, in just proportion us'd:
In heaps, like ambergrise, a stink it lies,
But well dispers'd, is incense to the skies.
Who starves by nobles, or with nobles eats?
The wretch that trusts them, and the rogue that cheats.
Is there a lord, who knows a chearful noon
Without a fiddler, flatt'rer, or buffoon?
Whose table, wit, or modest merit share,
Un-elbow'd by a gamester, pimp, or play'r!
Who copies your's, or OXFORD'S better part,44
To ease th' oppress'd, and raise the sinking heart?
[Page 62] Where-e'er he shines, oh fortune, gild the scene,
And angels guard him in the golden mean!
There, English bounty yet a while may stand,
And honour linger ere it leaves the land.
But all our praises why should lords engross?
Rise, honest muse! and sing the MAN of ROSS:45 here
Pleas'd Vaga echoes thro' her winding bounds,
And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds.
Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow?
From the dry rock who bade the waters flow?
Not to the skies in useless columns tost,
Or in proud falls magnificently lost,
[Page 63] But clear and artless, pouring thro' the plain
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain.
Whose cause-way parts the vale with shady rows?
Whose seats the weary traveller repose?
Who taught that heav'n-directed spire to rise?
" The MAN of ROSS," each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread!
The MAN of ROSS divides the weekly bread:
He feeds yon alms-house, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate:
Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick! the MAN of ROSS relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes, and gives.
Is there a variance; enter but his door,
Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more.
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile attorneys, now an useless race.
Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue
What all so wish, but want the pow'r to do
[Page 64] Oh say, what sums that gen'rous hand supply?
What mines to swell that boundless charity?
Of debts, and taxes, wife and children clear,
This man possest—five hundred pounds a year,
Blush, grandeur, blush! proud courts, withdraw your blaze!
Ye little stars! hide your diminish'd rays.
And what? no monument, inscription, stone?
His race, his form, his name almost unknown?
Who builds a church to God, and not to fame,
Will never mark the marble with his name:
Go, search it there, where to be born and die,here
Of rich and poor makes all the history;
Enough, that virtue fill'd the space between;
Prov'd, by the ends of being, to have been.
When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
The wretch, who living sav'd a candle's end:
[Page 65] Should'ring God's altar a vile image stands,
Belies his features, nay extends his hands;
That live-long wig which Gorgon's self might own,
Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone.46
Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend!
And see, what comfort it affords our end.
In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half-hung,
The flowers of plaister, and the walls of dung,
On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw,
With tape-ty'd curtains, never meant to draw,
The George and Garter dangling from that bed
When tawdy yellow strove with dirty red,
Great Villers lies—alas! how chang'd from him,47
That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim!
[Page 66] Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove,48
The bow'r of wanton Shrewsbury and love;49
Or just as gay, at council, in a ring
Of mimick'd statesmen, and their merry king.
No wit to flatter, left of all his store!
No fool to laugh at, which he valu'd more.
There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
And fame; this lord of useless thousands ends.
His grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee,
And well (he thought) advis'd him, "Live like me."
As well his grace reply'd, "Like you, Sir John?
" That I can do, when all I have is gone."
Resolve me, reason, which of these is worse,
Want with a full, or with an empty purse?
[Page 67] Thy life more wretched, Cutler, was confess'd,
Arise, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd?
Cutler saw tenants break, and houses fall,
For very want; he could not build a wall.
His only daughter in a stranger's pow'r,
For very want; he could not pay a dow'r.
A few gray hairs his rev'rend temples crown'd,
'Twas very want that sold them for two pound.
What ev'n deny'd a cordial at his end,
Banish'd the doctor, and expell'd the friend?
What but a want, which you perhaps think mad,
Yet numbers feel, the want of what he had!
Cutler and Brutus, dying both exclaim,
" Virtue! and wealth! what are ye but a name!"
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepar'd?
Or are they both, in this their own reward?
A knotty point! to which we now
But you are tir'd—I'll tell a tale—B. Agreed.
[Page 68]
Where London's column, pointing at the skies50
Like a tall bully, lifts the head, and lyes;
There dwelt a citizen of sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name;
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his week-day meal affords,
An added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's:
Constant at Church, and Change; his gains were sure,
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The dev'l was piqu'd such saintship to behold,
And long'd to tempt him like good Job of old:
But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rouz'd by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep;
[Page 69] Then full against his Cornish lands they rore,51
And two rich ship-wrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks,
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes:
" Live like yourself," was soon my lady's word;
And lo! two puddings smok'd upon the board.
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit,
So kept the di'mond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought,
" I'll now give six-pence where I have a groat;
" Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice—
" And am so clear too of all other vice."
The tempter saw his time; the work he ply'd;
Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side,
'Till all the Daemon makes his full descent
In one abundant show'r of cent per cent,
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit,
Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit,
And God's good providence, a lucky hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn:
His compting-house employ'd the sunday-morn:
Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life)
But duly sent his family and wife.
There (so the dev'l ordain'd) one Christmas-tide
My good old lady catch'd a cold and dy'd.
A nymph of quality admires our knight;
He marries, bows at court, and grows polite:
Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair)
The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air:
[Page 71] First, for his son a gay commission buys,
Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies:
His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife;
She bears a coronet and p [...]x for life.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My lady falls to play; so bad her chance,
He must repair it; takes a bribe from France;
The house impeach him; Coningsby harangues;
The court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs:
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth yet dearer, forfeit to the crown:
The devil and the king divide the prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies.


[Page 47]After ver. 50. in the MS.

To break a trust were Peter brib'd with wine,
Peter! 'twould pose as wise a head as thine.

[Page 49]VER. 77. Since then, etc.] In the former edit.

Well then, since with the world we stand or fall,
Come take it as we find it, gold and all.

[Page 58]VER. 200. Here I found two lines in the poet's MS.

" Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise,
" More go to ruin fortunes than to raise.

[Page 60]After ver. 218. in the MS.

Where one lean herring furnish'd Cotta's board,
And nettles grew, fit porridge for their lord;
Where mad good-nature, bounty misapply'd,
In lavish Curio blaz'd a while and dy'd;
There providence once more shall shift the scene,
And shewing H [...]Y, teach the golden mean,

After ver. 226. in the MS.

That secret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
Which W [...]n lost, yet B [...]y ne'er could find;
Still miss'd by vice, and scarce by virtue hit,
By G [...]'s goodness, or by S [...]'s wit.

[Page 62]After ver. 250. in the MS.

Trace humble worth beyond Sabrina's shore,
Who sings not him, oh may he sing no more!

[Page 64]VER. 287. thus in the MS.

The register inrolls him with his poor,
Tells he was born and dy'd, and tells no more.
Just as he ought, he fill'd the space between;
Then stole to rest, unheeded and unseen.

[Page 67]VER. 337. in the former editions,

That knotty point, my lord, shall I discuss,
Or tell a tale?—A tale.—It follows thus.


[Page 57]VER. 182. With soups unbought,]

—dapibus mensas onerabat inemptis.

[Page 75]EPISTLE IV.


THE vanity of expence in people of wealth and qua­lity. The abuse of the word taste, ver. 13. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense, ver. 40. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in archite­cture and gardening, where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it, ver. 50. How men are disappointed in their most expensive un­dertakings, for want of this true foundation, with­out which nothing can please long, if at all; and the [Page 74] best examples and rules will but be perverted into something burdensome or ridiculous, ver. 65, etc. to 92. A description of the false taste of magnifi­cence; the first grand error of which is to imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimension, in­stead of the proportion and harmony of the whole, ver. 97. and the second, either in joining toge­ther parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling, or in the repetition of the same too frequently, ver. 105, etc. A word or two of false taste in books, in music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer, and lastly in entertainments, ver. 133, etc. Yet PROVIDENCE is justified in giving wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laborious part of mankind, ver. 190 [re­curring to what is laid down in the first book, ep. ii. and in the epistle preceeding this, ver. 159, etc.] What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expence of great men, ver. 177, etc. and finally the great and public works, which become a prince, ver. 191, to the end.

'TIS strange, the miser should his cares employ
To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy:
Is it less strange, the prodigal should waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must chuse his pictures, music, meates:
He buys for Topham, drawings and designs,52
For Pembroke, statues, dirty gods, and coins;
Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne alone,
And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane.53
[Page 76] Think we all these are for himself? no more
Than his fine wife, alas! or finer whore.
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted?
Only to show, how many tastes he wanted.
What brought Sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste?
Some Daemon whisper'd "Visto! have a taste."
Heav'n visits with a taste the wealthy fool,
And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule.54
See! sportive fate, to punish aukward pride,
Bids Bubo build, and sends him such a guide:
A standing sermon, at each year's expence,
That never coxcomb reach'd magnificence!here
You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse,55
And pompous buildings once were things of use.
Yet shall (my lord) your just, your noble rules
Fill half the land with imitating-fools;
Who random drawings from your sheets shall take,
And of one beauty many blunders make;
Load some vain church with old theatric state,
Turn arcs of triumph to a garden-gate;
Reverse your ornaments, and hang them all
On some patch'd dog-hole ek'd with ends of wall;
Then clap four slices of pilaster on't,
That, lac'd with bits of rustic, makes a front.
Shall call the winds thro' long arcades to rore,
Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;
Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
And if they starve, they starve by rules of art.
Oft have you hinted to your brother peer,
A certain truth which many buy too dear:
[Page 78] Something there is more needful than expence,
And something previous ev'n to taste—'tis sense:
Good sense, which only is the gift of heav'n,
And tho' no science, fairly worth the seven:
A light, which in yourself you must perceive;
Jones and Le Notre have it not to give.56
To build, to plant, what ever you intend,
To rear the column, or the arch to bend,
To swell the terras, or to sink the grot;
In all, let nature never be forgot.
But treat the goddess like a modest fair,
Nor over-dress, nor leave her wholly bare;
Let not each beauty ev'ry where be spy'd,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds,
Surprizes, varies, and conceals the bounds.
Consult the genius of the place in all;
That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;
[Page 79] Or helps th' ambitious hill the heav'ns to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
Calls in the country, catches op'ning glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades;
Now breaks, or now directs, th' intending lines;
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
Still follow sense, of ev'ry art the soul,
Parts answ'ring parts shall slide into a whole,
Spontaneous beauties all around advance,
Start ev'n from difficulty, strike from chance;
Nature shall join you; time shall make it grow
A work to wonder at—perhaps a STOW.57
Without it, proud Versailles! thy glory falls;
And Nero's terraces desert their walls:
The vast parterres a thousand hands shall make,
LO! COBHAM comes, and floats them with a lake:
[Page 80] Or cut wide views thro' mountains to the plain,
You'll wish your hill or shelter'd seat again.58
Ev'n in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in an hermitage set Dr. Clarke.59
Behold Villario's ten-years toil complete;
His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet;
The wood supports the plain, the parts unite,
And strength of shade contends with strength of light;
A waving glow the bloomy beds display,
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver-quiv'ring rills maeander'd o'er—
Enjoy them, you! Villario can no more;
Tir'd of the scene parterres and fountains yield,
He finds at last he better likes a field.
Thro' his young woods how pleas'd Sabinus stray'd,
Or sat delighted in the thick'ning shade,
With annual joy the red'ning shoots to greet,
Or see the stretching branches long to meet!
His son's fine taste an op'ner Vista loves,
Foe to the dryads of his father's groves;
One boundless green, or flourish'd carpet views,60
With all the mournful family of yews;61
The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made,
Now sweep those alleys they were born to shade.
At Timon's Villa let us pass a day,62
Where all cry out, "What sums are thrown away!
So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air,
Soft and agreeable come never there.
Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a draught
As brings all Brobdignag before your thought.
To compass this, his building is a town,
His pond an ocean, his parterre a down:
Who but must laugh, the master when he sees,
A puny insect, shiv'ring at a breeze!
Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around!
The whole, a labour'd quarry above ground,
Two Cupids squirt before: a lake behind
Improves the keenness of the northern wind.
His gardens next your admiration call,
On ev'ry side you look, behold the wall!
No pleasing intricacies intervene,
No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other.
[Page 83] The suffring eye inverted nature sees,
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees;
With here a fountain, never to be play'd;
And there a summer-house, that knows no shade;
Here Amphitrite sails thro' myrtle bow'rs;
There gladiators fight, or die in flow'rs;63
Un-water'd see the drooping sea-horse mourn,
And swallows roost in Nilus' dusty urn.
My lord advances with majestic mien,
Smit with the mighty pleasure, to be seen:
But soft—by regular approach—not yet—
First thro' the length of yon hot terrace sweat;64
And when up ten steep slopes you've drag'd your thighs,
Just at his study-door he'll bless your eyes.
His study! with what authors is it stor'd?65
In books, not authors, curious is my lord;
To all their dated backs he turns you round;
These Aldus printed, those Du Sueil has bound.
Lo some are vellom, and the rest as good
For all his lordship knows, but they are wood.
For Locke or Milton 'tis in vain to look,
These shelves admit not any modern book.
And now the chapel's silver bell you hear,
That summons you to all the pride of pray'r:
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to heav'n.
On painted cielings you devoutly stare,66
Where sprawl the saints of Verrio or Laguerre,67
[Page 85] On gilded clouds in fair expansion ly,
And bring all paradise before your eye.
To rest, the cushion and soft Dean invite,
Who never mentions hell to ears polite.68
But hark! the chiming clocks to dinner call;
A hundred footsteps scrape the marble hall:
The rich buffet well-colour'd serpents grace,69
And gaping Tritons spew to wash your face.
Is this a dinner? this a genial room?70
No, 'tis a temple, and a hecatomb.
A solemn sacrifice, perform'd in state,
You drink by measure, and to minutes eat.
[Page 86] So quick retires each flying course, you'd swear
Sancho's dread doctor and his wand were there.71
Between each act the trembling salvers ring,
From soup to sweet-wine, and God bless the king.
In plenty starving, tantaliz'd in state,
And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
Treated, caress'd, and tir'd, I take my leave,
Sick of his civil pride from morn to eve;
I curse such lavish cost, and little skill,
And swear no day was ever past so ill.
Yet hence the poor are cloth'd, the hungry fed;72
Health to himself, and to his infants bread
The lab'rer bears: what his hard heart denies,
His charitable vanity supplies.
Another age shall see the golden ear
Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
Deep harvests bury all his pride has plann'd,
And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.
Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil?
Who plants like BATHURST, or who builds like BOYLE.
'Tis use alone that sanctifies expence,
And splendor borrows all her rays from sense.
His father's acres who enjoys in peace,
Or makes his neighbours glad, if he encrease:
Whose chearful tenants bless their yearly toil,
Yet to their lord owe more than to the soil;
Whose ample lawns are not asham'd to feed
The milky heifer and deserving steed;
Whose rising forests, not for pride or show,
But future buildings, future navies, grow:
Let his plantations stretch from down to down,
First shade a country, and then raise a town.
You too proceed! make falling arts your care,
Erect new wonders, and the old repair;
[Page 88] Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
And be whate'er Vitruvius was before:
Till kings call forth th' ideas of your mind,73
(Proud to accomplish what such hands design'd)
[Page 89] Bid harbors open, public ways extend,74
Bid temples, worthier of the god, ascend;
Bid the broad arch the dang'rous flood contain,
The mole projected break the roring main;
Back to his bounds their subject sea command,
And roll obedient rivers thro' the land:
These honours, peace to happy Britain brings,
These are imperial works, and worthy kings.


[Page 76]After ver. 22. in the MS.

Must bishops, lawyers, statesmen, have the skill
To build, to plant, judge paintings, what you will?
Then why not Kent as well our treaties draw,
Bridgman explain the gospel, Gibs the law?

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  • II. ESSAY on MAN.

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