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WHATEVER IS, is RIGHT.-This world, 'tis true,
Or he whose Virtue figh'd to lose a day?
"But fometimes Virtue ftarves, while Vice is fed."
But grant him Riches, your demand is o'er ?
VER. 149. "But fometimes Virtue ftarves, while Vice is fed."] III. The poet, having dispatched these two species of murmurers, comes now to the third and still more pardonable fort, the difcontented GOOD MEN, who lament only that Virtue ftarves, while Vice riots. To these he replies (from ✯ 148 to 157) that admit this to be the cafe, yet they have no reason to complain, either of the good man's lot in particular, or of the dispensation of Providence in general. Not of the former, because Happiness, the reward of Virtue, confifteth not in Externals; nor of the latter, because ill men may gain wealth by commendable induftry, good men want neceffaries through indolence or bad conduct.
VER. 157. But grant him Riches, &c.] But as modeft as this
Add Health, and Pow'r, and ev'ry earthly thing, Why bounded Pow'r? why private? why no king?"
Nay, why external for internal giv'n ?
complaint feemeth at firft view, the poet next fhews (from 156 to 167) that it is founded on a principle of the highest extravagance, which will never let the difcontented good man rest, 'till he becomes as vain and foolish in his imaginations as the very worst fort of complainers. For that when once he begins to think he wants what is his due, he will never know where to ftop, while God hath any thing to give.
VER. 167. What nothing earthly gives, &c.] But this is not all; he proveth next (from 166 to 185) that these demands are not only unreasonable, but in the highest degree abfurd likewife. For that those very goods, if granted, would be the deftruction of that Virtue for which they are demanded as a Reward. He concludes therefore on the whole, that,
What nothing earthly gives, or can deftroy,
Juftice a Conq'ror's fword, or Truth a gown,
Weak, foolish man! will Heav'n reward us there
Expect thy dog, thy bottle, and thy wife :
After 172. in the MS.
Say, what rewards this idle world imparts,
And that to aim at other, which not only is of no ufe to us here, but, what is more, will be of none hereafter, is a paffion like that of an Infant or a Savage, where the one is impatient for what he will foon defpife, and the other makes a provision for what he can never want.
VER. 177. Go, like the Indian, &c Alluding to the example of the Indian in Epift. i.
99. and fhewing, that that example was not given to dif
| credit any rational hopes of fu-
-Zeal, not Charity, became the guide,
And hell was built on spite, and heav'n on pride.
How oft by these at sixty are undone
VER. 185. To whom can Riches give Repute, or Truft,] The poet now enters more at large upon the matter: And still continuing his discourse to this third fort of complainers (whom hẹ indulgeth, as much more pardonable than the firft or fecond, in rectifying all their doubts and mistakes) he proves, both from reafon and example, how unable any of thofe things are which the world most admires, to make a good man happy. For as to the Philofophic mistakes concerning Happiness, there being little danger of their making a general impreffion, he had, after a fhort confutation, difmiffed them at once. But External goods are thofe Syrens which fo bewitch the world with dreams. of Happiness, that it is of all things the most difficult to awaken it out of its delufions; though, as he proves in an exact review of the most pretending, they difhonour bad men, and add no luftre to the good. That it is only this third and least criminal fort of complainers, against which the remaining part of the dif courfe is levelled, appeareth from the poet's fo frequently addreffing himself, while he inforceth his arguments in behalf of Providence, from henceforward to his friend.
I. He beginneth therefore (from 184 to 205) with confidering RICHES. 1. He examines, firft, what there is of real value or enjoyment in them; and fheweth, they can give the good man only that very Contentment and that very Esteem and Love which he had before: And fcornfully cries out to those of a different opinion,
Ob fool! to think God hates the worthy mind,
Whofe life is healthful, and whofe confcience clear 3
Oh fool! to think God hates the worthy mind, The lover and the love of human-kind, 190 Whofe life is healthful, and whose conscience clear, Because he wants a thousand pounds a year.
Honour and shame from no Condition rife; Act well your part, there all the honour lies. 194 Fortune in Men has fome fmall diff'rence made, One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade; The cobler apron'd, and the parfon gown'd, The frier hooded, and the monarch crown'd. "What differ more (you cry) than crown and cowl?" I'll tell you, friend! a wife man and a Fool. 200
2. Next he examines the imaginary value of Riches, as the fountain of Honour. For his adverfaries' objection standeth thus: -As Honour is the genuine claim of Virtue, and Shame the juft retribution of Vice; and as Honour, in their opinion, follows Riches, and Shame Poverty; therefore the good man should be rich. He tells them in this they are much mistaken :
Honour and fame from no Condition rife;
What power then has Fortune over the Man? None at all for as her favours can confer neither worth nor wifdom; fo neither can her displeasure cure him of any of his follies. On his Garb indeed fhe hath fome little influence; but his Heart still remains the fame :
Fortune in Men has fome small diffrence made,
But this difference extends no farther than to the habit; the pride of heart is the fame both in the flaunter and the flutterer, as it is the poet's intention to infinuate by the ufe of thofe terms.