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Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth;
The Dev'l was piqu'd such saintship to behold, And long’d to tempt him like good Jobofold: 350 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 ; Then full against his Cornish lands they roar, 355 And two rich ship-wrecks bless thelucky shore.
COMMENTARY: ing with the other. Let me only observe further, that the Author, in this Tale, has artfully summed up and recapitulated those three principal mischiefs in the abuse of money, which the satyrical part of this Poem throughout was employ
NOTE s. Ver. 355. Cornish] The Author has placed the scene of these shipwrecks in Cornwall, not only from their frequency on that coast, but from the inhumanity of the inhabitants to those to whom that misfortune arrives : When a ship happens to be stranded there, they have been known to bore holes in it, to prevent its getting off; to plunder, and sometimes
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks, He takes his chirping pint, andcracks his jokes : “ Live like yourself,” was soon my Lady's word; And lo! two puddings smoak’d upon the board. 360
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. 364 Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought, “ I'll now give six-pence where I gave a groat;
ed to expose, namely, AVARICE, PROFUSION, and PUBLIC CORRUPTION.
“ Constant at Church, and 'Change; his gains were sure, “ His givings rare, fave farthings to the poor. " Leaves the dull Cits, and joins (to please the fair) " The well-bred Cuckolds in St. James's air.“ In Britain's Senate he a seat obtains, “ And one more Pensioner St. Stephen gains."
NOT E s. even to massacre the people : Nor has the Parliament of Eng. land been yet able wholly to suppress these barbarities.
Ver. 360. And lo! &c.] The Poet had observed above, that when the luxuriously felfish had got more than they knew how to use, they would try to do more than live; instead of imparting the least pittance of it to those whom fortune had reduced to do less: The Vanity of which chimerical project he hath well exposed in these lines;
- 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 ev'ry side, 370 "Till all the Dæmon 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, 375 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.
NOT E s. • What Riches give us let us then enquire : “ Meat, Fire, and Cloaths. What more? Meat, Cloaths,
" and Fire.” But here, in one who had not yet learnt the art of difguising the Poverty of Wealth by the Refinements of Luxury, he shews, with admirable humour, the ridicule of that project :
" And lo! two Puddings smoak'd upon the board.” VER. 377. What late he callid à Blessing, now was Wit, &c.] This is an admirable picture of human nature: In the entrance into life, all, but coxcombs-born, are modest; and esteem the favours of their superiors as marks of their benevolence: But if these favours happen to increase; then, instead of advancing in gratitude to our benefactors, we only improve in the good opinion of ourselves; and the constant returns of such favours make us consider them no longer as accommodations to our wants, or the hire of our service,
Things change their titles, as our manners turn:
A Nymph of Quality admires our Knight; 385
but debts due to our merit: Yet, at the same time, to do justice to our common nature, we should observe, that this does not proceed fo often from downright vice as is imagined, but frequently from mere infirmity; of which the reason is evident; for, having small knowledge, and yet an excessive opinion of ourselves, we estimate our merit by the passions and caprice of others; and this perhaps would not be so much amils, were we not apt to take their favours for a declaration of their sense of our merits. How often, for instance, has it been seen, in the three learned Professions, that a Man, who, had he continued in his primeval meanness, would have cir. cumscribed his knowledge within the modest limits of Socrates; yet, being pushid up, as the phrase is, has felt himself growing into a Hooker, a Hales, or a Sydenham; while, in the rapidity of his course, he imagined he saw, at every new
In Britain's Senate he a seat obtains,
NOT E s.
station, a new door of science, opening to him, without so
-Beatus enim jam
atque unum civem donare Sibylle.