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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 tost, 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 vale with shady rows ? Whose seats the weary traveller repose ? 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 : He feeds yon alms-house, neat, but void of state, Where Age and Want sit smiling at the gate; Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest, 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, Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more. Despairing quacks with curses fled the place, And vile attorneys, now an useless race.
B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue What all so wish, but want the power to do! Oh say, what sums that generous hand supply? What mines to swell that boundless charity ?
P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possest — five hundred pounds a year. Blush, Grandeur, blush! proud courts, withdraw
your blaze! Ye little stars! hide your diminish'd rays.
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 fillid the space between; Prov'd by the ends of being, to have been. When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend The wretch, who living sav'd 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, On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw, With tape-ty'd curtains, never meant to draw, The George and Garter dangling from that bed Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red, Great Villers 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 Of mimick'd statesmen, and their merry king. No wit to flatter, left of all his store ! No fool to laugh at, which he valued more. There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends, And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends.
His grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee, And well (he thought) advis'd him, “Live like me!" As well his grace reply'd, “ Like you, Sir John ! That I can do, when all I have is gone." Resolve me, Reason, which of these are worse, Want with a full, or with an empty purse? Thy life more wretched, Cutler, was confess'd, Arise, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd ? Cutler saw tenants break, and houses fall, For very want he could not build a wall. His only daughter in a stranger's power, For very want; he could not pay a dower. A few grey hairs his reverend temples crown'd, 'Twas very want that sold them for two pound. What! ev'n deny'd a cordial at his end, Banish'd the doctor, and expell’d the friend ? What but a want, which you perhaps think mad, Yet numbers feel, the want of what he had ! Cutler and Brutus dying, both exclaim, “ Virtue ! and Wealth! what are ye but a name !" Say, for such worth are other worlds prepar'd ? Or are they both, in this, their own reward ? A knotty point! to which we now proceed. But you are tir'd - 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; 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, And added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's :
Constant at church, and 'Change; his gains were
sure, His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The devil was piqu’d such saintship to behold, And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old; But Satan now is wiser than of yore, And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd 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 smok'd upon the board.
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay, An honest factor stole a gem away : He pledg'd it to the knight, the knight had wit, So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit. Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd 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 ply'd; Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side, 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,
A nymph of quality admires our knight ;