« PreviousContinue »
Of the Ufe of RICHES.
THAT it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes, Avarice or Profufion, Ver. 1, &c. The Point difcuffed, whether the invention of Money has been more commodious, or pernicious to Mankind, Ver. 21 to 77. That Riches either to the Avaricious or the Prodigal, cannot afford Happiness, fcarcely Neceffaries, Ver. 89 to 160. That Avarice is an abfolute Frenzy, without an End or Purpose, Ver. 113, &c. 152. Conjectures about the Motives of Avaricious Men, Ver. 121 to 153. That the conduct of Men, with respect to Riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER of Providence, which works the general Good out of Extremes, and brings all to its great End by perpetual Revolutions, Ver. 161 to 178. How a Miser acts upon Principles which appear to him reasonable, Ver. 179. How a Prodigal
does the fame, Ver. 199. The due Medium, and true Ufe
of Riches, Ver. 219. The Man of Rofs, Ver. 250. The fate of the Profufe and the Covetous, in two examples; both miferable in Life and in Death, Ver. 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ver. 339, to the End.
EPISTLE III.] This Epiftle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on fufpicion that he had ridiculed a worthy nobleman merely for his wrong tafte. He juftified himself upon that article in a letter to the Earl of Burlington; at the end of which are these words: "I have learnt that there are fome who would rather be wicked than ridiculous; and therefore it may be safer to attack vices than follies. I will therefore leave my betters in the quiet poffeffion of their idols, their groves, and their high places, and change my fubject from their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their miferies; and as the only certain way to avoid mifconftructions, to leffen offence, and not to multiply illnatured applications, I may probably, in my next, make use of real names inftead of fictitious ones." POPE. VER. I. Who fball decide, &c.] The addrefs of the introduction from ver. 1 to 21.) is remarkable: The Poet reprefents himself, and the noble Lord, his friend, as in a free converfation, philofophizing on the final caufe of Riches; and it proceeds by way of dialogue, which moft writers have employed to hide the want of method; our Author ufes it only to foften and enliven the drynefs and feverity of it. You (fays the Poet)
hold the word from Jove to Momus giv❜n,But I, who think more highly of our kind,Opine, that Nature," &c.
VER. 2. like you and me?] A moft unaccountable piece of falfe English-me for I. It is not for the fake of making petty
And Gold but fent to keep the fools in play,
Like Doctors thus, when much difpute has paft,
As much as to fay, "You, my Lord, hold the fubject we are upon, as fit only for SATIRE; I, on the contrary, efteem it amongst the high points of Philosophy, and profound ETHICS: But as we both agree in the main Principle, that Riches were not given for the reward of Virtue, but for very different purposes (see Effay on Man, Ep. iv.), let us compromise the matter, and confider the fubject both under your idea and mine conjointly, i. e Satirically and Philofophically.”—And this, in fact, we shall find to be the true character of this poem; which is of a Species peculiar to itfelf; partaking equally of the nature of his Ethic Epifiles and of his Satires, just as the best pieces of Lucian arofe from a combination of the Dialogues of Plato, and the Scenes of Ariflophanes. This it will be neceffary to carry with us, if we would fee either the wit or the reasoning of this Epistle in their true light.
objections that it is thought neceffary to hint at thefe inaccuracies in fo correct a writer, but merely to prevent their becoming authorities for errors. "In the Epiftles to Lords Bathurst and Burlington," fays Johnfon, "Warburton has endeavoured to find a train of thought which was never in the writer's head; and, to fupport his hypothefis, has printed that firft which was published laft." WARTUN.
Both fairly owning, Riches, in effect,
grace of Heav'n, or token of th' Ele&; Giv'n to the Fool, the Mad, the Vain, the Evil, To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil.
VER. 20. JOHN WARD of Hackney, Efq. Member of Parlia ment, being profecuted by the Duchefs of Buckingham, and convicted of Forgery, was first expelled the House, and then stood on the pillory on the 17th of March, 1727. He was fufpected of joining in a conveyance with Sir John Blunt, to fecrete fifty thoufand pounds of that Director's estate, forfeited to the South Sea Company by Act of Parliament. The Company recovered the fifty thousand pounds againft Ward; but he fet up prior conveyances of his real eftate to his brother and fon, and concealed all his perfonal, which was computed to be one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. These conveyances being also set aside by a bill in Chancery, Ward was imprisoned, and hazarded the forfeiture of his life, by not giving in his effects till the laft day, which was that of his examination. During his confinement, his amusement was to give poifon to dogs and cats, and fee them expire by flower or quicker torments. To fum up the worth of this gentleman, at the several æras of his life: At his standing in the Pillory, he was worth above two hundred thousand pounds; at his commitment to Prison, he was worth one hundred and fifty thousand; but has been fince fo far diminished in his reputation, as to be thought a worse man by fifty or fixty thousand. POPE.
FR. CHARTRES, a man infamous for all manner of vices. When he was an enfign in the army, he was drummed out of the regiment for a cheat; he was next banished Bruffels, and drummed out of Ghent, on the fame account. After a hundred tricks at the gaming-tables, he took to lending of money at exorbitant intereft and on great penalties, accumulating premium, intereft, and capital into a new capital, and seizing to a minute when the payments became due; in a word, by a conftant attention to the vices, wants, and follies of mankind, he acquired an immense fortune. His houfe was a perpetual bawdy-houfe. He was twice condemned for rapes, and pardoned; but the last time not without imprisonment in Newgate, and large confifcations. He died in
B. What Nature wants, commodious Gold beftows, 'Tis thus we eat the bread another fows.
VER. 21. What Nature wants, &c.] Having thus fettled the terms of the debate, before he comes to the main queftion, the Ufe of Riches, it was neceffary to discuss a previous one, whether, indeed, they be, upon the whole, useful to mankind or not; (which he does from ver. 20 to 77). It is commonly obferved, says he, (from ver. 20 to 35.), That Gold most commodiously supplies the wants of Nature: "Let us firft confider the propofition in general, both in MATTER and EXPRESSION; I. As it regards the supply; and this we shall find to be very unequal: 2. As it regards the wants ; and these, we shall fee, are very ambiguous; under that term, all
Scotland in 1731, aged 62. The populace at his funeral raised a great riot, almoft tore the body out of the coffin, and caft dead dogs, &c. into the grave along with it. The following Epitaph contains his character very juftly drawn by Dr. Arbuthnot:
HERE continueth to rot
The Body of FRANCIS CHARTRES,
In fpite of AGE and INFIRMITIES,
in the undeviating Pravity of his Manners,
in Accumulating WEALTH;
For, without TRADE OF PROFESSION,