Abbildungen der Seite


HO shall decide, when Doctors disagree,
And foundest 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;


COMMENTARY. EPISTLE III.] This Epistle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on a supposition that he had ridiculed a worthy nobleman merely for his wrong taste. He justified himself upon that article in a letter to the Earl of Burlington ; at the end of which are these words : « I have learnt that there are “ some who would rather be wicked than ridiculous; and there« fore it may be fafer to attack vices than follies. I will there“ fore leave my betters in the quiet possession of their idols, their “ groves, and their high places ; and change my fubject from « their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their mi. " series ; and as the only certain way to avoid misconstructions, “ to lessen offence, and not to multiply ill-natured applications, “ I may probably, in my next, make use of real names instead " of fictitious ones.” P.

VER. I. Who Mall decide, &c.] The address of the Introduction (from ø 1 to 21) is remarkable : The poet represents himself and the noble Lord his friend, as in a conversation, philosophising on the final cause of Riches ; and it proceeds by way of

[ocr errors]

NOTES Ver. 3. Momus giv’n,) A came to be at the head of the mongst the earliest abuses of old Free-thinkers.

Him, the reason, one of the first was to Mythologists very ingeniously cavil at the ways of Provi- | made the Son of Sleep and dence. But as, in those times, Night, and so, consequently, every Vice as well as Virtue, half-brother to Dulnes. Bit had its Patron-God, MOMUS having been much employed,

[ocr errors]

And Gold but sent to keep the fools in play, 5
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: 10

dialogue, which most writers use to hide want of method; our
Author only to foften and enliven the dryness and severity of it.
Dou (fays the poet)

hold the word from fove to Momus giv'n,
But I, who think more highly of our kind, &c.

Opine that Nature, &c.
As much as to say, “ You, my Lord, hold the subject we are

upon as tit only for Satire; I, on the contrary, esteem it a
“cafe of Philosophy and profound Ethics : But as we both
“agree in the main Principle, that Riches were not given for the
reward of Virtue, but for very different purposes (See Essay on
Man, Ep. iv.) let us compromile the matter, and consider
" thc subject jointly, both under your idea and mine, i. e. Sati-
rically and Philosophically.—And this, in fact, we shall find
to be the true character of this poem, which is a Species pecu-
liar to itself, and partaking equally of the nature of his Ethic
Epistles and his Satires, as the best picces of Lucian arose from
a combination of the Dialogues of Plaio, and the Scenes of Aristo-
phanes. This it will be necessary to carry with us, if we would
see either the Wit or the Reasoning of this Epistle in their true

NOTE s. in after ages, by the Greek Sa sacred to controversy and high tirists, he came, at last, to pass debate. for a Wit; and under this idea,

6. 9.

- that Nature, as he is to be considered in the in duty bound,] This, though place before us.

ludicrously, is yet exactly, exVER.9. Opine,] A term pressed ; to Thew, that, by



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,

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.



Notes. Nature, the poet meant, not a conveyance with Sir John the God of nature, but the in- Blunt, to secrete fifty · thouftrument and substitute of his fand pounds of that Director's providence.

Estate, forfeited to the South: Ver. 12. Flam'd forth this Sea company by Act of Parrival to, its Sire, the Sun,] liament. The Company reThe rival of its Sire in its covered the fifty thoufand brightness, and in its power of pounds against Ward; but he drawing mankind into error set up prior conveyances of and delusion; the two first his real estate to his brother idols of the world, natural and and son, and conceal'd all his moral, being the Sun and perfonal, which was computed Gold.

to be one hundred and fifty : VER. 20. John WARD of thousand pounds. These conHackney Esq; Member of Par- veyances being also set aside by liament, being prosecuted by a bill in Chancery, Ward was the Duchess of Buckingham, imprisoned, and hazarded the and convicted of Forgery, forfeiture of his life, by not was first expelled the House, giving in his effects till the last and then stood in the Pillory day, which was that of his on the 17th of March 1727. examination. During his conHe was suspected of joining in finement, his amusement was

B.What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,

'Tis thus we eat the bread another fows.

COMMENTARY. Ver. 21. What Nature wants, &c.] Having thus settled the terms of the Debate, before he comes to the main Question, the Ufe of Riches, it was necessary to discuss a previous one, whether indeed they are, upon the whole, useful to mankind or not; (which he does from y 20 to 77.) It is commonly observed, says hc (from ý 21 to 35) That Gold most commodisully supplies the wants of Nature: “ Let us first consider the proposition in ge“ neral, both in Matter and Expression ; 1. As it regards the Sup “ ply; and this we shall find to be very unequal : 2. As it regards “the Wants; and these, we shall see, are very ambiguous; under

NOTES. to give poison to dogs and cats, money at exorbitant interest and see them expire by flower and on great penalties, acor quicker torments. To sum cumulating premium, interest, up the worth of this gentle and capital into a new capital, man, at the several æra's of and seizing to a minute when his life, At his standing in the payments became due ; in the Pillory he was worth above a word, by a constant attentwo hundred thousand pounds; tion to the vices, wants, and at his commitment to Prison, follies of mankind, he ache was worth one hundred and quired an immense fortune. fifty thousand; but has been His house was a perpetual since so far diminished in his bawdy-house. He was twice reputation, as to be thought a condemn'd for rapes, and parworse man by fifty or fixty doned; but the last time not thousand. P.

without imprisonment in NewFR. CHARTRES, a man gate, and large confiscations. infamous for all manner of He died in Scotland in 1731, vices. When he was an en aged 62. The populace at fign in the army, he was his funeral rais'd a great riot, drumm'd out of the regi- almost tore the body out of the ment for a cheat ; he was coffin, and cast dead dogs, next banish'd Brussels, and&c. into the grave along with drumm'd out of Ghent on it. The following Epitaph the same account. After a contains his character, very hundred tricks at the gaming- justly drawn by Dr. Arbuthtables, he took to lending of not:

P. But how unequal it bestows, observe,

'Tis thus we riot, while, who fow it, starve:

[ocr errors]

COMMENTARY. “ that term, all our fantastic and imaginary, as well as real wants being comprized. Hitherto the use is not very ap

HERE continueth to rot

In spite of Age and INFIRMITIES,
In the Practice of EVERY HUMAN VICE;

His insatiable AVARICE exempted him from the first,
His matchless IMPUDENCE from the second.

Nor was he more singular
in the undeviating Pravity of his Manners,

Than successful
in Accumulating WEALTH,
For, without TRADE or PROFESSION,
Without Trust of Public MONEY,

And without BRIBE-WORTHY Service,
He acquired, or more properly created,


He was the only Person of his Time,
Who could cheat without the Mask of HONESTY,

Retain his Primeval MEANNESS
When poffefs'd of Ten THOUSAND a Year,
And having daily deserved the Gibbet for what he did,
Was at last condemn’d to it for what he could not do.

Oh Indignant Reader !
Think not his Life useless to Mankind !
PROVIDENCE conniv'd at his execrable Designs,

To give to After-ages
A conspicuous Proof and EXAMPLE,
Of how fmall Eftimation is EXORBITANT WEALTH

in the Sight of GOD, By his bestowing it on the most UNWORTHY ALL MORTALS.

« ZurückWeiter »