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EPIST L E IV,

is strange, the Miser should his Cares employ

To gain those Riches he can ne'er enjoy : Is it less strange, the Prodigal should wast His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?

COMMENTARY. EPISTLE IV.] The extremes of Avarice and Profufion being treated of in the foregoing Epistle; this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the Vanity of Expence in people of wealth and quality ; and is therefore a corollary to the preceding, just as the Epistle on the Charallers of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Chara&ters of Men. It is equally remarkable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is less philosophical, makes it capable of being analised in a much narrower compass.

Ver. 1. 'Tis strange, &c.] The poet's introduction (from

I to 39) consists of a very curious remark, arising from his intimate knowledge of nature; together with an illustration of it, taken from his observations on life. It is this, That the Prodigal no more enjoys his Profusion, than the Miser, his Rapacity. It was generally thought that Avarice only kept without enjoyment; but the poet here first acquaints us with a circumstance in human life much more to be lamented, viz. that Profufion too can communicate without it; whereas Enjoyment was thought to be as peculiarly the reward of the beneficent paffions (of which this has the appearance) as want of enjoyment was the punishment of the sel5h. The phænomenon observed is odd enough.' But if we look more narrowly into this matter, we shall find, that Prodigality, when in pursuit of Taste, is only a Mode of Vanity, and consequently as selfish a passion as even avarice itself; and it is of the ordonance and constitution of all felfish pasfionis, when growing to excess, to defeat their own end, which is Self- enjoyment. But befides the accurate

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Not for himself he fees, or hears, or eats i
Artists must chuse his Pictures, Music, Meats :
He buys for Topham, Drawings and Designs,
For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins ;
Rare monkish Manuscripts for Hearne aļone,
And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane. 10

COMMENTAR Y. philosophy of this observation, there is a fine Morality contained in it; namely, that ill-got Wealth is not only as unreafonally, but as uncomfortably squandered as it was raked together, which the poet himself further infinuates in ý 15.

What brought Sir Vifto's ill-got wealth to waste ? -He then illustrates the above obfervation by divers examples in every branch of wrong Tafte; and to set their absurdities in the strongest light, he, in conclusion, contrasts them with feveral instances of the true, in the Nobleman to whom the Epiftle is addressed. This disposition is productive of various beauties; for, by this means, the Introduction becomes an epitome of the body of the Epistle ; which, as we shall see, consists of general reflections on Taste, and particular examples of bad and good. And his friend's Example concluding the Introduction, Leads the poet gracefully into the subject itself; for the Lord, here celebrated for his good Taste, was now at hand to deliver the first and fundamental precept of it himself, which gives authority and dignity to aļl that follow.

NOTE $. Ver. 7. Topham] A Gen- consequently the dirty attribute tleman fainous for a judicious here alligned these Gods of old collection of Drawings. P. renown, is not in disparage

Ver. 8. For Pembroke Sta- ment of their worth, but in tues, dirty Gods, and Coins.] high commendation of their The author speaks here not as genuine pretensions. Scribl. a Philosopher or Divine, but as

Ver.

Rare mo ikish Ma. a Çonngisseur and Antiquary; nuseripts for Hear .e alone,]

9.

Think we all these are for himself? no more
Than his fine Wife, alas ! or finer Whore.

For what has Virro painted, built, and planted ? Only to show, how many Tastes he wanted. What brought Sir Visto's ill got wealth to waste ? Some Dæmon whisper'd, “ Visto! have a Taste.”

14

be rea

NOTES. This is not to be understood alas ! or finer Whore.] By the in the strictness of the letter, Author's manner of putting toas if Mr. Tho. Hearne enjoy- gether these two different Utened these rarities without a par- lils of false Magnificence, it aptaker; for he has been often pears, that, properly speaking, known to exemplify these pre- neither the Wife nor the Whore cious relics under the autho- is the real object of modern rity of the Clarendon Print- taste, but the Finery only : ing-house, where the good feed And whoever wears it, whehas sometimes produced forty ther the Wife or the Whore, or fifty fold. Hence, and from it matters not; any further their still continuing as much than that the latter is thought rarities as ever,

it
may

to deserve it best, as appears fonably concluded they were from her having most of it; not the delight of Mr. T. and so indeed becomes, by acHearne alone. SCRIBL. cident, the more fashionable

VER. 10. And Books for Thing of the two. SCRIBL. Mead, and Butterflies for

Ver. 17. Heav'n visits with Sloane.] Two eminent Phyfi- a Taste the wealthy fool,]. The cians; the one had an excel- present rage of Taste, in this lent Library, the other the overflow of general Luxury, finest collection in Europe of may be very properly reprenatural curiosities; both men sented by a desolating pestilence, of great learning and huma- alluded to in the word visit, nity. P.

where Taste becomes, as the VER. 12, Than kis fine Wife, ' poet says, that

--- planetary Plague; when fove
Does o’er some high-vic'd City hang his poison
In the fick air in

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