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Buy every stick of wood that lends them heat;
Yet these are wights, who fondly call their own
Estates have wings, and hang in Fortune's power
By sale, at least by death, to change their lord.
Man? and for ever? wretch! what wouldst thou have?
Heir urges heir, like wave impelling wave.
Enclose whole downs in walls,-'tis all a joke!
And trees, and stones, and farms, and farmer fall.
Gold, silver, ivory, vases sculptured high,
Paint, marble, gems, and robes of Persian dye,
Talk what you will of taste, my friend, you'll find
11 Lord Townshend, Secretary of State to George the First and Second.When this great statesman retired from business, he amused himself in husbandry and was particularly fond of that kind of rural improvement which arises from turnips; it was the favourite subject of his conversation.
[Charles, the second Viscount Townshend, brother-in-law of Sir Robert Walpole. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's notice of this nobleman is to the same effect as Pope's sarcasm. He had that sort of understanding, she observes, "which commonly makes men honest in the first part of their lives; they follow the instruction of their tutor, and, till somebody thinks it worth
Why one like Bu
with pay and scorn content,12
Bows and votes on, in court and parliament;
while to show them a new path, go regularly on in the road where they are set."]
12 ["Bu," Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe.]
One, driven by strong benevolence of soul,
Yes, sir, how small soever be my heap,
I, who at sometimes spend, at others spare,
Glad, like a boy, to snatch the first good day,
What is 't to me (a passenger, God wot,)
Whether my vessel be first-rate or not?
13 Employed in settling the colony of Georgia.
[General Oglethorpe was a remarkable man. He had served under Prince Eugene, and in 1733 he entered upon those services for founding the colony of Georgia which the poet has so finely commemorated. The two eminent brothers, John and Samuel Wesley, accompanied him to Georgia. He returned in 1734, bringing some Indian chiefs with him; and two years afterwards he repaired again to Georgia, accompanied by a second body of emigrants. The war with Spain threatened the destruction of the colony, but Oglethorpe repelled the Spaniards, though he was unsuccessful in an expedition he made against St. Augustin. On his return to England he was employed against the followers of Charles Edward in Scotland, in 1745. He could not come up with them, and was tried for neglect of duty, but acquitted. The circumstance that Oglethorpe was a decided Jacobite, perhaps led to this slur on his military character, as it led to subsequent neglect on the part of the court and ministry. The general, however, was repaid by the praises of Pope, Thomson, and Dr. Johnson, and by the regard which his amiable character and intelligence inspired. He died in 1785.]
14 Alluding to the statutes made in England and Ireland, to regulate the succession of Papists, &c.
I neither strut with every favouring breath,
"But why all this of avarice? I have none."
I wish you joy, sir, of a tyrant gone;
Or will you think, my friend, your business done,
Learn to live well, or fairly make your will; You've play'd, and loved, and eat, and drunk your fill: Walk sober off, before a sprightlier age
Comes tittering on, and shoves you from the stage:
Leave such to trifle with more grace and ease,
Whom folly pleases, and whose follies please.
THE SATIRES OF DR. JOHN DONNE,
DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,
"Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
["What then forbids our equal right to know
Why his own verses in harmonious flow?
Or whether in his subject lies the fault,
Or in himself, that they 're not higher wrought."-FRANCIS.]
[Dr. John Donne, the precursor of Cowley and the other metaphysical poets, wrote Latin verses much smoother and more correct than his English numbers. The latter, however, abound in sense and wit, and Dryden had suggested the modernisation of his satires. Donne died in 1662, having survived many schools of poetry and politics: he was in his eighty-ninth year. The style of this old poet, though rugged and most unmusical, is not very antiquated in expression. The following is the opening of his second satire:
'Sir, though (I thank God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state
In all ill things so excellently best,
That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the rest.
As I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in:
Never, till it be starved out; yet their state
Is poor, disarm'd, like Papists, not worth hate.
One (like a wretch, which at barre judged as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read,
(Starving himself) to live by 's laboured scenes:
As in some organs, puppets dance above,
And bellows pant below which them do move.
One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's charms