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EPISTLE III.

OF THE USE OF RICHES.

ARGUMENT.

THAT it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes,

Avarice or Profusion, Ver. 1, &c. The point discussed, whether the indention of Money has been more commodious, or pernicious to Mankind, Ver. 21 to 77. That Riches either to the Avaricious or the Prodigal, cannot afford Happiness, scarcely Necessaries, Ver. 89 to 160. That Avarice is an absolute frenzy, without an End or Purpose, Ver. 113, &c. 152. Conjectures about the Motives of avaricious Men, Ver. 121 to 153. That the conduct of Men, with respect to Riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER OF PROVIDENCE, which works the general good out of extremes, and brings all to its great end by perpetual revolutions, Ver. 161 to 178. How a Miser acts upon Principles which appear to him reasonable, Ver. 179. How a Prodigal does the same, Ver. 199. The due Medium, and true use of Riches, Ver. 219. The Man of Ross, Ver. 250. The fute of the Profuse and the Covetous, in two examples; both miserable in Life and in Death, Ver. 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ver. 339 to the End.

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EPISTLE III.

OF THE USE OF RICHES.

WITH THE COMMENTARY OF WILLIAM WARBURTON, D. D.

P. Who shall decide, when Doctors disagree, And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me? You hold the word, from Jove to Momus given, That man was made the standing jest of Heaven;

COMMENTARY.

Ver. 1. Who shall decide, &c.] The address of the introduction (from ver. 1 to 21.) is remarkable. The Poet represents himself, and the noble Lord, his friend, as in a free conversation, philosophizing on the final cause of Riches; and it proceeds by way of dialogue, which most writers have employed to hide the want of method ; our author uses it only to soften and enliven the dryness and severity of it. You (says the Poet)

hold the word from Jove to Momus given,But I, who think more highly of our kind, Opine, that Nature," &c.

As

NOTES.

EPISTLE III.] This Epistle was written after a violent outcry against our author, on suspicion 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 therefore it may

be safer to attack vices than follies. I will therefore leave my betters in the quiet possession of their idols, their groves, and their high places, and change my subject from their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their miseries ; 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.”

Pope.

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, Heaven and I are of a mind) Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound, Deep hid the shining mischief under ground: 10 But when by Man's audacious labour won, Flam'd forth this rival to its sire, the sun, Then careful Heaven supplied two sorts of men, To squander these, and those to hide again.

Like Doctors thus,when much dispute has pass’d, We find our tenets just the same at last. Both fairly owning, Riches, in effect, No grace of Heaven, or token of th’ Elect; Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil, To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil. 20

COMMENTARY.

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As much as to say,

You, my Lord, hold the subject we are upon, as fit only for SATIRE ; I, on the contrary, esteem it amongst the high points 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 compromise the matter, and consider the subject both under your idea and mine conjointly, i. e. satirically and philosophically.—And this, in fact, we shall find to be the true character of this poem ; which is of a Species peculiar to itself; partaking equally of the nature of his Ethic Epistles and of his Satires, just as the best pieces of Lucian arose from a combination of the Dialogues of Plato, and the Scenes of Aristophanes. 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 light.

NOTES.

Ver. 20.] John Ward of Hackney, Esq. Member of Parliament, being prosecuted by the Duchess of Buckingham, and con

victed

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