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THE SIXTH EPISTLE
FIRST BOOK OF HORACE.
TO MR. MURRAY.
[The Hon. William Murray, Lord Mansfield. He was the fourth son of David, Lord Stormont, and was born in 1705. At the date of this Epistle (1737) Murray had not obtained any Government appointment, but in 1742 he was made Solicitor-General. In 1754, he succeeded to the office of Attorney-General, which he held till 1756, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, and was created Baron Murray, of Mansfield. He held the office of Chief Justice (having repeatedly declined that of Lord Chancellor), till his resignation in 1788. He died in 1793. As a strenuous supporter of high monarchical principles, Lord Mansfield was for a time unpopular, and was attacked by Junius with all the virulence and brilliant invective of that writer. His votes in favour of Catholic Relief also exposed him to the fury of the mob, and, in the riots of 1780, his town house, with a valuable library and collection of manuscripts, was burned to the ground. In his legal capacity, no judge has been more eminent than Mans. field. He possessed a clear and penetrating judgment, an intellect at once refined, subtle, and comprehensive, and great powers of eloquence adapted to the bar and the bench. In Parliament he was not so successful, nor was he ambitious of shining as a politician. In private life he possessed those graces and accomplishments which early attracted the admiration of Pope, and which continued to delight his friends after he had passed his eightieth year. The poet's prediction that he should be interred "where kings and poets lie" was realised. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and a costly monument, one of the best works of Flaxman, covers his remains.]
NOT to admire, is all the art I know,
To make men happy, and to keep them so. (Plain truth, dear Murray, needs no flowers of speech, So take it in the very words of Creech.)1
This vault of air, this congregated ball, Self-centred sun, and stars that run and fall,
1 From whose translation of Horace the first two lines are taken.
There are, my friend, whose philosophic eyes
Admire we then what earth's low entrails hold, Arabian shores, or Indian seas infold;
All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold?
If weak the pleasure that from these can spring,
Whether we joy or grieve, the same the curse,
Thus good or bad, to one extreme betray
The unbalanced mind, and snatch the man away:
For Virtue's self may too much zeal be had;
The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.
Go then, and, if you can, admire the state
And gaze on Parian charms with learned eyes:
2 [From the mention of "Chloe "in this passage, it has been assumed that Murray was rejected by some lady to whom he had paid his addresses. The
And what is fame? the meanest have their day,
See Ward by batter'd beaux invited over,
There all men may be cured, whene'er they please.
Be virtuous, and be happy for your pains.
lines do not seem to warrant such an interpretation: the case is purely hypothetical. He was married shortly afterwards to Lady Betty Finch, daughter of Daniel, Earl of Nottingham. Pope's allusion to his friend Craggs's humble ancestry is not marked by his usual taste. The elder Craggs was originally a footman to Lady Mordaunt, Duchess of Norfolk, and according to Lady M. W. Montagu, “he was trusted by the duchess in all her intrigues, particularly in that with King James II.: and scraped a good deal of money from the bounty of the royal lover." Lady Mary, however, adds that the meanness of his education never appeared in his conversation. The bulk of Craggs's fortune was made as an army contractor, and he was afterwards joint Postmaster-General with Lord Cornwallis. He was deeply involved in the South Sea delusion, and had profited by the public credulity to such an extent that his estate was seized by the House of Commons. He left about a million and a-half of money-amassed, it is said, on purpose to give wealth and honours to his son, the friend of Pope, and one of the Secretaries of the Treasury. The son died of the small-pox, and the old man, broken-hearted, died a few weeks afterwards of apoplexy, brought on, as was supposed, partly by grief, and partly by dread of the examination and exposure of his delinquencies in the South Sea case before the House of Commons.]
8 [Cornbury disdained a pension. On his return from travelling abroad, the Earl of Essex, his brother-in-law, said he had got a pension for him. He replied, "How could you tell, my lord, that I was to be sold, or, at least, how came you to know my price so exactly?" Henry, Viscount Cornbury, was great grandson of Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and brother of the Duchess of Queensberry. He died in 1753, aged forty-three. His lordship was a very amiable and accomplished man, and as a politician, one of the party denominated "Hanoverian Tories."]
But art thou one, whom new opinions sway,
One who believes as Tindal leads the way,
Who virtue and a church alike disowns,
Thinks that but words, and this but brick and stones?
Admire whate'er the maddest can admire.
Is wealth thy passion? Hence! from pole to pole,
Where winds can carry, or where waves can roll,
Add one round hundred, and (if that's not fair)
Now, in such exigencies not to need,
Upon my word, you must be rich indeed;
A noble superfluity it craves,
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves:
Something, which for your honour they may cheat,
If wealth alone then make and keep us bless'd,
Still, still be getting, never, never rest.
But if to power and place your passion lie,
If in the pomp of life consist the joy;
Then hire a slave, or (if you will) a lord
To do the honours, and to give the word;
"This may be troublesome, is near the chair :
That makes three members, this can choose a mayor."
Then turn about, and laugh at your own jest.
Or shall we every decency confound,
Through taverns, stews, and bagnios take our round,
Renounce our country, and degrade our name?
The cordial drop of life is love alone,
E'en take the counsel which I gave you first:
[Lords Kinnoul and Tyrawley, two ambassadors noted for wild immo. rality. The latter returned from Lisbon in 1742, and, as Horace Walpole states, brought three wives and fourteen children with him, one of the wives being a Portuguese, with long black hair plaited down to the bottom of her back. He lived to the age of eighty-five, dying in 1773.] 5 The Earl of Rochester.