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Wealth in the gross is death, but life diffused;
P. Who starves by nobles, or with nobles eats ?
240 Whose table, wit or modest merit share, Unelbow'd by a gamester, pimp, or player ? Who copies yours or Oxford's better part, To ease the oppress’d and raise the sinking heart ? Where'er he shines, O Fortune, gild the scene, And angels guard him in the golden mean! There, English bounty yet awhile may stand, And honour linger ere it leaves the land.
But all our praises why should lords engross? Rise, honest muse! and sing the Man of Ross : 250 Pleased Vaga echoes through her winding bounds, And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds. Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow? From the dry rock who bade the waters flow? Not to the skies in useless columns toss'd, Or in proud falls magnificently lost, But clear and artless pouring through the plain, Health to the sick, and solace to the swain. Whose causeway parts the rale with shady rows ? Whose seats the weary traveller repose ? 26C Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise ? "The Man of Ross,' each lisping babe replies. Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread ! The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread : IIe feeds yon alms-house, neat, but void of state, Where age and want sit smiling at the gate : Him portion'd maids, apprenticed orphans bless'd, The young who labour, and the old who rest. Is any sick ? the Man of Ross relieves, Prescribes, attends, the medicine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? enter but his door,
271 Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more. Despairing quacks with curses fled the place, And vile attorneys, now a useless race.
B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue What all so wish, but want the power to do! Say, O 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 your Ye little stars ! hide your diminish'd rays. [blaze!
B. And what! no monument, inscription, stone ? His race, his form, his name almost unknown?
P Who builds a church to God, and not to fame, Will never mark the marble with his name: Go, search it there, where to be born and die, Of rich and poor makes all the history; Enough that virtue fill’d the space between, Proved by the ends of being to have been. 290 When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend The wretch who, living, saved a candle's end; Shouldering God's altar a vile image stands, Belies his features, nay, extends his hands; That live-long wig, which Gorgon's self might own Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone. Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend ! And see what comfort it affords our end. In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hung, The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung, 300 On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw, With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw, The George and Garter dangling from that bed, Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red, Great Villiers lies-alas! how chang’d from him, That life of Pleasure, and that soul of whim! Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love,
Or just as gay at council, in a ring
His Grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee,
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepared ? Or are they both, in this, their own reward ? A knotty point to which we now proceed, But you are tired—I'll tell a tale-B. Agreed.
P. Where London's column, pointing at the skies Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies,
340 There dwelt a citizen of sober fame, A plain good man, and Balaam was his name; Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth: His word would pass for more than he was worth. One solid dish his week-day meal affords, An added pudding solemnized the Lord's:
Constant at church and 'change; his gains were suro His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The Devil was piqued such saintship to behold, And long’d to tempt him, like good Job of old; 350 But Satan now is wiser than of yore, And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Roused by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep The surge, and plunge his father in the deep; Then full against his Cornish lands they roar, And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks, He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes : *Live like yourself,' was soon my lady's word; And, lo! two puddings smoked upon the board. 360
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay, An honest factor stole a gem away: He pledged it to the knight; the knight had wit, So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit. Some scruple rose, but thus he eased his thought, *I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat; Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice And am so clear too of all other vice.'
The tempter saw his time : the work he plied ; Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side, 370 Till all the demon makes his full descent In one abundant shower of cent per cent, Sinks'deep within him, and possesses whole, Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit; What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit, And God's good providence, a lucky hit. Things change their titles, as our manners turn: His compting-house employed the Sunday morn: 380 Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life,) But duly sent his family and wife. There (so the devil ordain'd) one Christmas tido My good old lady catch'd a cold, and died.
A nymph of quality admires our knight; He marries, bows at court, and grows polite, Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair) The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air: First, for his son, a gay commission buys, Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies : His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife; She bears a coronet and p-x for life. In Britain's senate he a seat obtains, And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains. My lady falls to play: so bad her chance, He must repair it; takes a bribe from France, The house impeach him, Coningsby harangues; The court forsake him, and sir Balaam hangs : Wise, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own; His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown: 400 The devil and the king divide the prize, And sad sir balaam curses God, and dies.
TO RICHARD BOYLE, EARL OF
Of the Use of Riches. The vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality.
The abuse of the word Taste, ver. 13. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense, ver. 40. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and gardening where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but re. sulting from it, ver. 50. How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings, for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please