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E P I S T L E

IV.

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IS 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?

COMMENTARY.

Epistle IV.) The extremes of Avarice and Profufion being treated of in the foregoing Epistle; this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the Vanity of Expence in people of wealth and condition, and is therefore a corollary to the preceding, just as the Epistle on the Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. It is equally estimable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is less philosophical, makes it capable of being analysed in a less compass.

Ver. 1. 'Tis frange, &c.] The Poet's introduction (from Ver. I to 39.) consists of a very curious remark, arising from his intimate knowledge of nature ; together with an illustration of that remark, taken from his observations on life. It is this, that the Prodigal no more enjoys his profusion, than the Miser his rapacity. It was generally thought that Avarice only kept, without enjoyment; but the Poet here first acquaints us with a circumstance in human life much more to be lamented, viz. that Profufion too can communicate, without it; whereas Enjoyment was thought to be as peculiarly the reward of the beneficent passions (of which this has the appearance) as want of enjoyment was the punishment of the selfijh. The phænomenon observed is odd enough. But if we look more narrowly into this matter, we shall find, that Prodigality, when in pursuit of Taste, is only a mode of vanity, and

Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats ;

5 Artists much chuse his Pictures, Music, Meats : He buys for Topham, Drawings and Designs, For Pembroke, Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins ;

COMMENTARY.

consequently as selfish a passion as even Avarice itself; and it is of the ordonnance and constitution of all selfish passions, when growing to an excefs, to defeat their own end, which is Selfenjoyment. But besides the accurate philosophy of this observation, there is a fine morality contained in it; namely, that ill-got Wealth is not only as unreasonably, but as uncomfortably, squandered, as it was raked together; which the Poet him, self further insinuates in Ver. 15.

• What brought Sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste ?"

He then illustrates the above observation by divers exam, ples in every branch of wrong Taste; and to set their absurdities in the strongest light, he, in conclusion, contrasts them with several instances of the true, in the Nobleman to whom the Epistle is addressed. This disposition is productive of various beauties; for, by this means, the introduction becomes an epitome of the body of the Epistle; which, as we shall see, contists of general reflections on Tafte, and particular examples of bad and good. And his friend's example concluding the introduction, leads the Poet gracefully into the subject it. self; for the Lord, here celebrated for his good Taste, was now at hand to deliver the first and fundamental precept of it himself, which gives authority and dignity to all that follow,

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NOTES.

VER. 7. Topham] A Gentleman famous for a judicious Eollection of Drawings. P.

Ver. 8. For Pembroke, Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins] The Author speaks here not as a philosopher, or divine, but es a Connoisseur and Antiquary only; confequently, the dirty

II

Rare monkish Manuscripts for Hearne alone, And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane: 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’sill got wealth to waste? 15 Some Dæmon whisper'd, “ Visto! have a Taste.” Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy fool, And needs no Rod but Ripley with a Rule.

NOT E s.

P.

attribute here afligned these Gods of old renown, is not in disparagement of their worth, but in high commendation of their genuine pretensions. SCRIBL.

Ver. 10. And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane.] Two eminent Physicians; the one had an excellent Library, the other the finest collection in Europe of natural curiosities; both men of great learning and humanity.

VER. 12. Than his fine Wife, alas! or finer Whore. By the Author's manner of putting together these two different Utensils of false Magnificence, it appears, that properly speaking, neither the Wife nor the Whore is the real object of modern Tafte, but the finery only: And whoever wears it, whether the Wife or the Whore, it matters not; any further than that the latter is thought to deserve it best, as appears by her having most of it; and so indeed becomes, by accident, the more fashionable Thing of the two. SCRIBL.

Ver. 17. Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy fool,] The present rage of Taste, in this overflow of general Luxury, may be very properly represented by a desolating pestilence, alluded to in the word visit.

VER. 18. Ripley] This man was a carpenter, employed by a first Minister, who raised him to an Architect, without

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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 !

You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse, And pompous buildings once were things of Use. Yet shall (my Lord) your just, your noble rules 25 Fill half the land with Imitating-Fools;

VARIATION S.

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, Gibbs the Law ?

NO TE S. any genius in the art; and after some wretched proofs of his insufficiency in public Buildings, made him Comptroller of the Board of works. P.

VER. 19. See! sportive fate, to punish aukward pride,] Pride is one of the greatest mischiefs, as well as highest absurdities of our nature; and therefore, as appears both from profane and facred History, has ever been the more peculiar object of divine vengeance. But aukward Pride intimates fuch abilities in its owner, as eafes us of the apprehenfion of much mischief from it ; so that the Poet supposes such a one fecure from the serious resentment of Heaven, though it may permit fate or fortune to bring him into the public contempt and ridicule, which his natural badness of heart so well deserves.

VER. 23. The Earl of Burlington was then publishing the Designs of Inigo Jones, and the Antiquities of Rome by Palo ladio, P..

Who random drawings from your sheets fhall

take,
And of one beauty many blunders make;
Load fome vain Church with old Theatric state,
Turn Arcs of triumph to a Garden-gate; 30

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VER. 28. And of one beauty many blunders make;] Because the road to Taft, like that to Truth, is but one; and those to Error and Absurdity a thousand.

Ver. 29. Load fome vain Church with old Theatric state,] In which there is a complication of absurdities, arising both from their different natures and forms: For the one being for religious fervice, and the other only for civil amusement, it is impoffible that the profuse and lascivious ornaments of the latter should become the modesty and fanctity of the other. Nor will any examples of this vanity of dress in the sacred build. ings of antiquity justify this imitation ; for those ornaments might be very fuitable to a Temple of Bacchus, or Venus, which would ill become the sobriety and purity of the Christian Religion

Besides, it should be considered, that the usual form of a Theatre would only permit the architectonic ornaments to be placed on the outward face ; whereas those of a Church may be as commodiously, and are more properly put within ; particularly in great and close pent-up Cities, where the inceffant driving of the smoke, in a little time corrodes and destroys all outward ornaments of this kind; especially if the members, as is the common tafte, be small and little.

Our Gothic ancestors had juster and manlier notions than these modern mimics of Greek and Roman magnificence: which, because the thing does honour to their genius, I fhall endeavour to explain. All our ancient Churches are called, without distinction, Gothic; but erroneously. They are of two sorts; the one built in the Saxon times ; the other during our Norman race of kings. Several Cathedral and Collegiate Churches of the first sort are yet remaining, either

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