Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

B.What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,

'Tis thus we eat the bread another fows.

COMMENTAR Y. VER. 21. What Nature wants, &c.] Having thus settled the terms of the Debate, before he comes to the main Question, the Use 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 he (from ý 21 to 35) That Gold most commodiously supplies the wants of Nature': “ Let us first consider the proposition in ge

neral, both in Matter and Expreffion; 1. As it regards the Supe ply; and this we shall find to be very unequal : 2. As it regards “the Wants; and these, we shall fee, are very ambiguous; under

NOTES. to give poison to dogs and cats, money at exorbitant intereft 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 ļife, 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 he 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 sign in the army, he was

his funeral rais's 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:

ac

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

NOTES.

HERE continueth to rot
The Body of FRANCIS CHARTRES,
Who with an INFLEXIBLE CONSTANCY,
and INIMITABLE UNIFORMITY of Life,

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

Excepting PRODIGALITY and HYPOCRISY:
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,

A MINISTERIAL ESTATE.

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.

What Nature wants (a phrase I much distrust) 25 Extends to Luxury, extends to Lüft:

COMMENTARY. parent. Let us in the second place, therefore, consider the « proposition in particular, or how Gold supplies the wants of « Nature both in private and public life: 1. As to private; “ it aids us, indeed, to support life; but it,, at the same time, 66 hires the assassin*: 2. As to Society; it may procure Friend• ships and extend Trade; but it allures Robbers, and corrupts “ our acquaintance. 3. As to Government; it pays the Guards “ necessary for the support of public liberty ; but it may, with ¢ the same ease, bribe a Senate to overturn it.”

The matter, therefore, being thus problematical, the poet, instead of formally balancing between the Good and Ill, chuses to leave this previous Question undetermined (as Tacitus had done before him ; where, speaking of the ancient Germans, he says, Argentum et aurum propitii aut irati Dii negaverint dubito ;) and

NOTES. This Gentleman was worth the Devil.] Alluding to the seven thousand pounds a year vulgar opinion, that all mines estate in Land, and about one of metal and fubterraneous hundred thousand in Money. P. treasures are in the guard of

Mr. WATERS, the third the Devil: which seems to of these worthies, was a man have taken its rise from the no way resembling the former

pagan fable of Plutus the God in his military, but extremely of Riches. so in his civil capacity; his VER. 21.

What Nature great fortune having been wants, commodious Gold berais’d by the like diligent at- stows,] The epithet commodious tendance on the necessities of gives us the very proper idea of others. But this gentleman's à Bawd or Pander; and this hiftory must be deferred till thought produced the two folhis death, when his worth may lowing lines, which were in all be known more certainly. P. the former editions, but, for VER. 20. - Chartres and their bad reasoning, omitted,

And if we count amongst the needs of life
Another's Toil, why not another's Wife;

Useful, I grant, it serves what life requires,

But dreadful too, the dark Assassin hires:
B. Trade it may help, Society extend.
P. But lures the Pyrate, and corrupts the Friend.
B. It raises Armies in a Nation's aid.

31 P. But bribes a Senate, and the Land's betray'd.

COMMENTARY. falls at once upon what he esteems the principal of these abuses, public Corruption.

For having in the last instance, of the Use of Riches in Government, spoken of venal Senates, he goes on to lament the mischief as desperate and remediless; Gold, by its power to corrupt with Secrecy, defeating all the efforts of public Spirit, whether exerted in the Courage of Heroes, or in the Wisdom of Patriots.

'Tis true indeed (continues the poet from y 34 to 49) the very weight of the Bribery has sometimes detected the Corruption :

From the crack'd bag the dropping Guinea spoke, &c. But this inconvenience was foon repaired, by the invention of Paper credit : Whose dreadful effects on public Liberty he describes in all the colouring of his poetry, heightened by the warmest concern for virtue; which now makes him willing to give up, as it were, the previous question, in a passionate with (from 48 to 59) for the return of that incumbrance attendant on public Corruption, before the fo common use of money.

And pleased with this Aattering idea, he goes on (from x 58 to 77) to shew the other advantages that would accrue from Riches only in kind; which are, that neither Avarice could contrive to hoard, nor Prodigalily to lavish, in so mad and boundless a manner as they do at present. Here he shews particularly, in a fine ironical description of the embarras on Gaming, how effectually it would eradicate that execrable practice.

But this whole Digression (from * 34 to 77) has another very uncommon beauty; for, at the same time that it arises naturally from the last consideration in the debate of the previous Question,

In vain may Heroes fight, and Patriots rave;
If secret Gold fap on from knave to knave.
Once, we confess, beneath the Patriot's cloak, 35
From the crackd bag the dropping Guinea spoke,
And gingling down tire back-stairs, told the crew,
“ Old Cato is as great a Rogue as you.”
Blest paper-credit! last and best fupply !
That lends Corruption lighter wings to fly! 40

COMMENTARY. it artfully denounces, in our entrance on the main Question, the principal topics intended to be employed for the dilucidation of it, namely AVARICE, PROFUSION, and Public CORRUPTION.

NOTE s. VER. 33. — and Patriots The expresfion is fine, and rave;] The character of mo- gives us the image of a place dern Patriots was, in the opi- invested, where the approaches nion of our poet, very equi- are made by communications vocal; as the name was un- which support each other; as distinguishingly bestowed on the connexions amongst knaves, every one in opposition to the after they have been taken in court; of whose virtues he by a state engineer, ferve to gives a hint in x 139. of this sereen and encourage one anEpistle. Agreeably to these other's private corruptions. sentiments, his predicate of VER. 35.- beneath the Pathem here is as equivocal, triot's cloak,] This is a true

story, which happened in the In vain-may Patriots rave;

reign of William III. to an which they may do either in unsuspected old Patriot, who earnest or in jest ; and is a coming out at the back-door conduct, in the opinion of from having been closeted by Sempronius in the Play, best the King, where he had re-. fitted to hide their game.

ceived a large bag of Guineas, VER. 34. If secret Gold the bursting

of the bag discofap on from knave to krave.] l vered his business there. P.

« ZurückWeiter »