Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 185 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 dowris First shade a Country, and then raise a Town. 190

You too proceed! make falling Arts your care, Erect new wonders, and the old repair ;

COMMENT A RY. courses; that, in Planting, the private advantage of the neighbourhood is first promoted, till, by time, it rises up to a public benefit :

“ Whose ample Lawns are not alham'd to feed
“ The milky heifer, and deserving steed;
" Whose rising Forests, not for pride or show,

“ But future Buildings, future Navies, grow.” On the contrary, the wonders of Architecture ought first ta be bestowed on the public :

NOTES. beginning with Sense, and the making Splendor of Taste borrow all its rays from thence, is going on with Sense; after she has led us up to Tafe. The art of this difpofition of the thought can never be sufficiently admired. But the Expression is equal to the Thought. This janerifying of expence gives us the idea of something consecrated and set apart för sacred ufes ; and indeed, it is the idea under which it may be probe VOL. III.

A a

Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
And be whate'er Vitruvius was before :
Till Kings call forth th’ Ideas of your mind, 195
(Proud to accomplish what such hands design'd)
Bid Harbors open, public Ways extend,
Bid Temples, worthier of the God, ascend;
Bid the broad Arch the dang’rous Flood contain,
The Mole projected break the roaring Main; 200

COMMENTARY.
“ Bid Harbors open, public Ways extend,
“ Bid Temples, worthier of the God, ascend;
“ Bid the broad Arch the dang’rous food contain ;
The Mole projected break the roaring main.”

And when the public hath been properly accommodated and adorned, then, and not till then, the works of private Mag. nificence may take place. This was the order observed by those two great Empires, from whom we received all we have of this polite art : We do not read of any Magnificence in the private Buildings of Greece or Rome, till the generosity of their public spirit had adorned the State with Temples, Emporiums, Council-houses, Common porticos, Baths, and Theatres.

N o T E S.

1

perly conlidered : for wealth employed according to the intention of Providence, is its true consecration; and the real uses of humanity were certainly firft in its intention.

VER. 195, 197, &C. Till Kings--Bid Harb:rs open, &c.] The Poet, after having touched upon the proper objects of Magnificence and Expence, in the private works of great men, comes to those great and public works which become a prince. This Poem was published in the year 1732, when fome of the new built churches, by the act of Queen of Anne,

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.

NOT E s. were ready to fall, being founded in boggy land (which is fatyrically alluded to in our author's imitation of Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. 2.

“ Shall half the new-built Churches round thee fall) others were vilely executed, through fraudulent cabals between undertakers, officers, &c. Dagenham-breach had done very great mischiefs; many of the Highways throughout England were hardly passable; and most of those which were repaired by Turnpikes were made jobs for private lucre, and infamously executed, even to the entrance of London itfelf. The proposal of building a Bridge at Westminster had been petitioned against and rejected; but in two years after the publication of this poem, an Act for building a Bridge passed through both houses. After many debates in the committee, the execution was left to the carpenter above-mentioned, who would have made it a wooden one ; to which our author alludes in these lines,

• Who builds a Bridge that never drove a pile?

• Should Ripley venture, all the world would finile." See the notes on that place.

P

MORAL ESSAYS.

E P I S T L E V.

To Mr. ADDISON.

Occasioned by his Dialogues on MEDALS.

EE the wild Waste of all-devouring years!

How Rome her own fad Sepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very Tombs now vanish'd like their dead!

NOI E s.

THIS was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was fometime before he was Secretary of State ; but not published till Mr. Tickle's Edition of his works ; at which time the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.

P. EPIST. V.] As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of Avarice and Profufion; and the fourth took up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people

5

Imperial wonders rais’d on Nations spoild, Where mix'd with Slaves the groaning Martyr

toil'd : Huge Theatres, that now unpeopled Woods, Now drain’d a distant country of her Floods : Fanes, which admiring Gods with pride survey, Statues of Men, scarce less alive than they!

IO

NOTE s. of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third ; so this treats of one circumstance of that vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore, Pa corollary to the fourth.

Ver. 6. Where mix'd with Slaves the groaning Murtyr toil'd:] The inattentive reader might wonder how this circumstance came to find a place here. But let him compare it with Ver. 13. 14. and he will see the Reason,

Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,

“ And Papal piety, and Gothic fire.” For the Slaves mentioned in the 6th line were of the same nation with the Barbarians in the 13th ; and the Chriftians, in the 13th, the Succeffors of the Martyrs in the 6th: Providence ordaining, that these should ruin what t'ofe so injuriously employed in rearing : for the Poet never loseth light of his great principle.

VER. 9. Fanes, which admiring Gods with pride survey,] These Góds were then the Tyrants of Rome, to whom the Empire raised Temples. The epithet, admiring, conveys a ftrong ridicule ; that passion, in the opinion of Philosophy, always conveying the ideas of ignorance and misery.

“ Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici,

“ Solaque quæ possit facere et servare beatum." Admiratim implying our ignorance of other things ; pride, our. ignorance of ourselves.

« PreviousContinue »