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Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursued,
given, And ease, or emulate, the care of heaven; 230
injurious effects of the father's avarice were obviated by the conduct of the son, who disperses his immense wealth in the service of his country; but, from the irony that runs through the whole passage we are led to conclude that he could scarcely have devoted it to a worse purpose, and that it did as much harm in its overflow as it did in its restraint; a result which can scarcely be said to shew that
“ Extremes in man concur to general use." Ver. 219, 220. The sense to value Riches, with the art
T enjoy them, and the virtue to impart,] The sense to value Riches, is not in the city-meaning, the sense in valuing them: for, as Riches may be enjoyed without art, and imparted without virtue, so they may be valued without sense. That man, therefore, only shews he has the sense to value Riches who keeps what he has acquired, in order to enjoy one part innocently and elegantly, in such measure and degree as his station may justify, (which the Poet calls the art of enjoying) and to impart the remainder amongst objects of worth, or want well weighed, which is, indeed, the virtue of imparting.
That secret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
Whose measure full o'erflows on human race,
heart? Where'er he shines, oh Fortune, gild the scene, 245 And angels guard him in the golden mean! There, English bounty yet awhile may stand, And honour linger ere it leaves the land.
Ver. 231, 232. Whose measure full o'erflows on human race,
Mend Fortune's fault, and justify her grace.] i. e. Such of the Rich, whose full measure overflows on human race, repair the wrongs of Fortune done to the indigent, and at the same time justify the favours she had bestowed upon
Warburton. Ver. 243. OXFORD's better part,] Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford ; the son of Robert, created Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer by Queen Anne. This Nobleman died regretted by all men of letters, great numbers of whom had experienced his benefits. He left behind him one of the most noble Libraries in Europe.
But all our praises why should Lords engross? Rise, honest Muse! and sing the Man of Ross: 250
Ver. 249. But all our praises why should Lord's engross?
Rise, honest Muse] This invidious expression of unwillingness that the Nobility should engross all the praise, is strongly ironical; their example having heen hitherto given only to shew the abuse of Riches. But there is great justness of design, as well as agreeableness of manner, in the preference here given to the Man of Ross. The purpose of the Poet is to shew, that an immense fortune is not wanted for all the good that Riches are capable of doing. He therefore chuses such an instance, as proves, that a man with five hundred pounds a-year could become a blessing to a whole country; and consequently, that his precepts for the right use of money, are of more general service than a bad heart will give an indifferent head leave to conceive. This was a truth of the greatest importance to inculcate. He therefore (from ver. 249 to 297.) exalts the character of a very private man, one Mr. J. Kyrle, of Herefordshire; and, in ending his description, struck as it were with admiration at a sublimity of his own creating, and warmed with sentiments of
gratitude which he had raised in himself, in behalf of the public, he breaks out:
“ And what? no monument, inscription, stone ?
His race, his form, his name almost unknown ?” And then, transported with indignation at a contrary object, he exclaims :
“ When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
Ver. 250. The Man or Ross :] The person here celebrated, who with a small estate actually performed all these good works,
After Ver. 250. in the MS.
Trace humble worth beyond Sabrina's shore ;
Pleas'd Vaga echoes thro' her winding bounds,
Should'ring God's altar, a vile image stands,
Belies his features, nay, extends his hands.” I take notice of this description of the portentous vanity of a miserable extortioner, chiefly for the use we shall now see he makes of it, in carrying on his subject.
and whose true name was almost lost (partly by the title of the Man of Ross given him by way of eminence, and partly by being buried without so much as an inscription), was called Mr. John Kyrle. He died in the year 1724, aged 90, and lies interred in the chancel of the church of Ross in Herefordshire. Pope.
We must understand what is here said of actually performing, to mean by the contributions which the Man of Ross, by his assiduity and interest, collected in his neighbourhood. Warburton.
Ver. 250. Rise, honest Muse!] These lines, which are eminently beautiful, particularly 267, containing a fine prosopopoeia, have conferred immortality on a plain, worthy, and useful citizen of Herefordshire, Mr. John Kyrle, who spent his long life in advancing and contriving plans of public utility. The Howard of his time; who deserves to be celebrated more than all the heroes of Pindar. The particular reason for which I mention them, is to observe the pleasing effect that the use of common and familiar words and objects, judiciously managed, produce in poetry. Such as are here, the words causeway, seats, spire, market-place, almshouse, apprentic'd. A fastidious delicacy, and a false refinement, in order to avoid meanness, have deterred our writers from the introduction of such words ; but Dryden often hazarded it, and gave by it a secret charm, and a natural air to his verses, well knowing of what consequence it was sometimes to soften and subdue his hints, and not to paint and adorn every object he touched, with perpetual pomp and unremitted splendor. Mr. Kyrle was enabled to effect many of his benevolent purposes by the assistance of liberal subscriptions, which his character easily procured. This circumstance was communicated by Mr. Victor. Warton.
Not to the skies in useless columns toss'd, 255
sick ? the Man of Ross relieves,
what sums that generous hand supply? What mines, to swell that boundless charity ? P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possess'd- -five hundred pounds a year! Blush, Grandeur, blush! proud Courts, withdraw
281 Ye little stars! hide your
Ver. 281. Blush, Grandeur, blush! proud Courts, withdraw your