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The George and Garter dangling from that bed
Where tawdry yellow ftrove with dirty red,
Great Villers lies-alas! how chang'd from him, 305
That life of Pleasure, and that foul 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 ftore!
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 fage 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."
Refolve me, Reason, which of these are worse,
Want with a full, or with an empty purse?
Thy life more wretched, Cutler, was confess'd,
Arife, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd?
Cutler faw 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 gray hairs his reverend temples crown'd, 'Twas very want that fold them for two pound. What! even 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 fuch worth are other worlds prepar'd? 33
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 fober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name;
Religious, punctual, frugal, and fo forth;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One folid dish his week-day meal affords,
An added pudding folemniz'd the Lord's:
Conftant at Church, and Change; his gains were fure, His givings rare, fave farthings to the poor.
The Devil was piqu'd fuch faintship to behold,
And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old: 350
But Satan now is wifer than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rouz'd by the Prince of Air, the whirlwinds fweep
The furge, and plunge his Father in the deep;
Then full againft 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 :
Ver. 337. In the former Editions,
That knotty point, my Lord, fhall I difcufs,
Or tell a tale?-A Tale--It follows thus.
"Live like yourself," was foon my Lady's word;
And lo! two puddings smoak'd upon the board.
Afleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honeft factor ftole a Gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight, the knight had wit,
So kept the Diamond, and the rogue was bit.
Some fcruple rofe, but thus he eas'd his thought,
I'll now give fixpence where I gave a groat;
"Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice-
"And am fo clear too of all other vice."
The Tempter faw his time; the work he ply'd ;
Stocks and Subfcriptions pour on every fide,
Till all the Dæmon makes his full defcent
In one abundant fhower of Cent per Cent,
Sinks deep within him, and poffeffes whole,
Then dubs Director, and fecures his foul.
Behold Sir Balaam now a man of spirit,
Afcribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
What late he call'd a Bleffing, now was Wit,
And God's good Providence, a lucky Hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn :
His Compting-houfe employ'd the Sunday-morn: 380 Seldom at Church, ('twas fuch a bufy life)
But duly fent his family and wife.
There (fo the Devil ordain'd) one Christmas-tide
My good old Lady catch'd a cold, and dy'd.
A Nymph of Quality admires our Knight;
He marries, bows at Court, and grows polite :
Leaves the dull Cits, and joins (to please the Fair)
The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air:
Firft, for his Son a gay Commiffion buys,
Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies :
His Daughter flaunts a Vifcount's tawdry wife;
She bears a Coronet and P-x for life.
In Britain's Senate he a feat obtains,
And one more Penfioner St. Stephen gains.
My Lady falls to play: fo bad her chance,
He muft repair it; takes a bribe from France;
The House impeach him, Coningsby harangues;
The Court forfake him, and Sir Balaam hangs;
Wife, fon, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the Crown:
The Devil and the King divide the prize,
And fad Sir Balaam curfes God and dies.
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 fubject, which is lefs philofophical, makes it capable of being analyzed in a much narrower compass.
IS ftrange, the Mifer should his Cares employ
To gain thofe riches he can ne'er enjoy :
Is it lefs ftrange, the Prodigal fhould waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
Not for himself he fees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must chufe his Pictures, Mufic, Meats:
He buys for Topham Drawings and Designs;
For Pembroke Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins;
Rare monkish Manuscripts for Hearne alone,
And Books for Mead, and Butterflies for Sloane.
Think we all thefe are for himself? no more
Than his fine Wife, alas! or finer Whore.
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted?
Only to fhew, how many taftes he wanted.
What brought Sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste?
Some Dæmon whisper'd, "Vifto! have a Taste."