« AnteriorContinuar »
On morning wings how active springs the mind That leaves the load of yesterday behind ! How easy every labor it pursues ! How coming to the poet every Muse! Not but we may exceed, some holy time, 85 Or tired in search of truth, or search of rhyme: Ill health some just indulgence may engage, And more the sickness of long life, old age : For fainting age what cordial drop remains, If our intemperate youth the vessel drains ? 90 Our fathers praised rank venison: you sup
pose, Perhaps, young men ! our fathers had no nose. Not so: a buck was then a week's repast; And 'twas their point, I ween, to make it last; More pleased to keep it till their friends could come,
95 Than eat the sweetest by themselves at home. Why had not I in those good times my birth, Ere coxcomb-pies or coxcombs were on earth?
Unworthy he the voice of fame to hear, That sweetest music to an honest ear,
100 (For 'faith, lord Fanny ! you are in the wrong; The world's good word is better than a song) ' Who has not learn’d, fresh sturgeon and ham-pie Are no rewards for want and infamy! When luxury has lick'd up all thy pelf, 105 Cursed by thy neighbors, thy trustees, thyself, To friends, to fortune, to mankind a shame, Think how posterity will treat thy name; And buy a rope, that future times may tell Thou hast at least bestow'd one penny well. 110
6 Right,' cries his lordship; “for a rogue in
need To have a taste, is insolence indeed : In me ʼtis noble ; suits my birth and state; My wealth unwieldy, and my heap too great,' Then, like the sun, let bounty spread her ray, 115 And shine that superfluity away. 0, impudence of wealth! with all thy store, How darest thou let one worthy man be poor? Shall half the new-built churches round thee fall? Make quays, build bridges, or repair Whitehall : 1 Or to thy country let that heap be lent, 121 As M *** o's was, but not at five per cent. • Whọ thinks that fortune cannot change her
mind, Prepares a dreadful jest for all mankind. And who stands safest ? tell me, is it he 125 That spreads and swells in puff'd prosperity; Or bless'd with little, whose preventing care In peace provides fit arms against a war?
122 At five per cent. Bowles, from Coxe, quotes a letter of the duke of Marlborough to sir Robert Walpole, saying that he had £100,000 to dispose of, and requesting Walpole to lay it out for him. Yet it must be observed, in justice to the memory of so great a man, that this story adds but little to the customary stigma of his love for money. That a man of Marlborough's bigh employments and services should have £100,000 to dispose of in his retirement, can be no imputation on his character; that he should have written on the subject to the prime minister, at least shows that he was neither ashamed nor afraid of its coming to the public knowlege ; and if he desired to make but five per cent of it, as the text seems to imply, while usury would have produced him ten, it is equally evident that he did not stoop to the common modes of making the most of his money,'
Thus Bethel spoke, who always speaks his
thought, And always thinks the very thing he ought: 130 His equal mind I copy what I can, And as I love would imitate the man : In South-sea days not happier, when surmised The lord of thousands, than if now excised; In forest planted by a father's hand,
135 Than in five acres now of rented land.
133 In South-sea days. Pope had South-sea stock, valued, in the day of national madness, at between £20,000 and £30,000. He kept it until it vanished into air.
134 Than if now excised. A fragment of Pulteney's speech against the excise, is a model for popular panic. “There is,' exclaimed this far-sighted orator, "another thing impending, a monstrous project; such a project, as has struck terror into the minds of most gentlemen of this house, and into the minds of all men without doors, who have any regard to the happiness or the constitution of their country:-I mean that monster, the excise, that plan of arbitrary power, which is expected to be laid before the house in the present parliament. The clamor succeeded; the people saw nothing in the excise but national chains; the cabinet was rooted up: and what was the result of all? The nation lost the best finance minister of the age, and Pulteney gained a peerage, and disgrace. The dreaded excise itself came in with flying colors, a few years after ; and the nation, neither revolutionised, insolvent, nor enslaved, in the process, found it to be one of the most productive and powerful sources of revenue.
136 Than in five acres. Pope's villa at Twickenham was rented from a Mrs. Vernon. In his letter to Bethel, March, 1743, he says,— My landlady, Mrs. Vernon, being dead, this garden and house are offered to me in sale; and I believe, together with the cottages on each side of my grass-plot next the Thames, will come to about a thousand pounds. If I thought any very particular friend would be pleased to live in it after my death, I would purchase it, and more particularly, could I hope two things; that the friend who should like it, was so much younger and healthier than myself, as to have a prospect of its continuing bis some years longer than I can have of its
Content with little, I can piddle here
place) And, what's more rare, a poet shall say grace. 150
Fortune not much of humbling me can boast; Though double tax’d, how little have I lost ! My life's amusements have been just the same Before and after standing armies came. My lands are sold, my father's house is gone; 155 I'll hire another's; is not that my own, And yours, my friends ? through whose free open
ing gate None comes too early, none departs too late; For I, who hold sage Homer's rule the best, Welcome the coming, speed the going guest. 160 • Pray Heaven it last !' cries Swift, as you go on; I wish to God this house had been your own :
continuing mine. But most of those I love are travelling out of the world, not into it; and unless I have such a view given me, I have no vanity or pleasure that does not stop short of the grave.'
Pity, to build, without a son or wife :
172 The chancery takes your rents. Warburton says, roughly but keenly,--A protestant miser's money in chancery, and a catholic miser's money in purgatory, are never to be got out, till the law and the church have been well paid for their redemption.'
175 Shades, that to Bacon. Gorhambury, near St. Albans.
177 Proud Buckingham's delight. Villiers, duke of Buckingham.