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Is ftrange, the Mifer fhould his Cares employ
To gain thofe Riches he can ne er enjoy:

Is it lefs ftrange, the Prodigal fhould wast
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can tafte?


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, juft as the Epiftle on the Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. It is equally remarkable for exactness of method with the reft. But the nature of the fub- ̈ ̈ ject, which is lefs philosophical, makes it capable of being analifed in a much narrower compass.

VER. 1. 'Tis ftrange, &c.] The poet's introduction (from I to 39) confifts of a very curious remark, arifing from his intimate knowledge of nature; together with an illustration of it, taken from his obfervations on life. It is this, That the Prodigal no more enjoys his Profufion, than the Mifer, his Rapacity. It was generally thought that Avarice only kept without enjoyment; but the poet here firft acquaints us with a circumftance 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 pasfions (of which this has the appearance) as want of enjoyment was the punishment of the selfish. The phænomenon obferved is odd enough. But if we look more narrowly into this matter, we fhall find, that Prodigality, when in purfuit of Tafte, is only a Mode of Vanity, and confequently as felfifh a paffion as even avarice itself; and it is of the ordonance and constitution of all selfish paffions, when growing to excefs, to defeat their own end, which is Self-enjoyment. But befides the accurate

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N. Blakey del.

Ravenet Sculp

What brought S." listo's ill-got Wealth to waste? Some Damon whisperd, Visto! have a Taste..

Ep: on Taste:

Not for himself he fees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must chufe his Pictures, Mufic, Meats:
He buys for Topham, Drawings and Defigns,
For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins ;
Rare monkith Manufcripts for Hearne alone,
And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane. 10


philofophy of this obfervation, there is a fine Morality contained in it; namely, that ill-got Wealth is not only as unreasonably, but as uncomfortably fquandered as it was raked together; which the poet himself further infinuates in 15.


What brought Sir Vifto's ill-got wealth to waste?

He then illuftrates the above obfervation by divers examples in every branch of wrong Tafte; and to fet their abfurdities in the ftrongeft light, he, in conclufion, contrafts them with feveral inftances of the true, in the Nobleman to whom the Epiftle is addreffed. This difpofition is productive of various beauties; for, by this means, the Introduction becomes an epitome of the body of the Epiftle; which, as we fhall fee, confifts of general reflections on Tafte, and particular examples of bad and good. And his friend's Example concluding the Introduction, leads the poet gracefully into the fubject 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 all that follow.


VER. 7. Topham] A Gentleman famous for a judicious collection of Drawings. P.

VER. 8. For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins.] The author fpeaks here not as a Philofopher or Divine, but as a Connoiffeur and Antiquary;

| confequently the dirty attribute
here affigned thefe Gods of old
renown, is not in disparage-
ment of their worth, but in
high commendation of their
genuine pretenfions. SCRIBL.

VER. 9. Rare monkish Manufcripts for Heare alone,]

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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 Vifto's ill got wealth to waste ?
Some Dæmon whisper'd, "Vifto! have a Tafte."


This is not to be understood alas! or finer Whore.] By the in the ftrictnefs of the letter, Author's manner of putting toas if Mr. Tho. Hearne enjoy-gether thefe two different Utened these rarities without a par- fils of falfe 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- tajte, but the Finery only: ing-houfe, where the good feed And whoever wears it, whehas fometimes 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 be reato deserve it beft, 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 Thing of the two. SCRIBL.

VER. 17. Heav'n vifits with a Taste the wealthy fool,] The prefent rage of Tafie, in this overflow of general Luxury, may be very properly reprefented by a defolating peftilence, alluded to in the word vifit, where Tafte becomes, as the poet says, that

VER 10. And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane.] Two eminent Phyfi cians; the one had an excellent Library, the other the fineft collection in Europe of natural curiofities; both men of great learning and huma nity. P.

VER. 12. Than his fine Wife,

planetary Plague, when Jove
Does o'er fome high-vic'd City hang his poison
In the fick air

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