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Yet to be just to these poor men of pelf,
Each does but hate his neighbour as himself:
Damn'd to the mines, an equal fate betides
The slave that digs it, and the slave that hides.
B. Who suffer thus, mere charity should own,
Must act on motives powerful, though unknown.
P. Some war, some plague, or famine, they foresee,
Some revelation hid from you and me.
Why Shylock wants a meal, the cause is found,
He thinks a loaf will rise to fifty pound.
What made directors cheat in South-sea year?
To live on venison when it sold so dear.16
Ask you why Phryne the whole auction buys?
Phryne foresees a general excise.17

Why she and Sappho raise that monstrous sum ?
Alas! they fear a man will cost a plum.

Wise Peter 18 sees the world's respect for gold,
And therefore hopes this nation may be sold:
Glorious ambition! Peter, swell thy store,
And be what Rome's great Didius was before. 19
The crown of Poland,20 venal twice an age,
To just three millions stinted modest Gage;
But nobler scenes Maria's dreams unfold,
Hereditary realms, and worlds of gold.






16 In the extravagance and luxury of the South Sea year, the price of a haunch of venison was from three to five pounds.

17 Many people about the year 1733, had a conceit that such a thing was intended, of which it is not improbable this lady might have some intimation.

18 Peter Walter, a person, not only eminent in the wisdom of his profession as a dexterous attorney, but allowed to be a good, if not a safe, conveyancer; extremely respected by the nobility of this land, though free from all manner of luxury and ostentation: his wealth was never seen, and his bounty was never heard of, except to his own son, for whom he procured an employ. ment of considerable profit, of which he gave him as much as was necessary. Therefore the taxing this gentleman with any ambition, is certainly a great wrong to him.

19 A Roman lawyer, so rich as to purchase the empire when it was set to sale upon the death of Pertinax.

20 The two persons here mentioned were of quality, each of whom in the Mississipi despised to realize above three hundred thousand pounds; the gentleman, with a view to the purchase of the crown of Poland, the lady, on a vision of the like royal nature. They since retired into Spain, where they are still in search of gold in the mines of the Asturias.

Congenial souls; whose life one avarice joins,
And one fate buries in the Asturian mines.

Much-injured Blunt! 21 why bears he Britain's hate?
A wizard told him in these words our fate:
"At length corruption, like a general flood,
(So long by watchfnl ministers withstood)
Shall deluge all; and avarice creeping on,
Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun;
Statesman and patriot ply alike the stocks,
Peeress and butler share alike the box,

And judges job, and bishops bite the town,
And mighty dukes pack cards for half-a-crown.
See Britain sunk in lucre's sordid charms,
And France revenged on Anne's and Edward's arms!"
'Twas no court-badge, great scrivener, fired thy brain,
Nor lordly luxury, nor city gain:




No, 'twas thy righteous end, ashamed to see
Senates degenerate, patriots disagree;
And, nobly wishing party-rage to cease,
To buy both sides, and give thy country peace.
"All this is madness," cries a sober sage :
But who, my friend, has reason in his rage?
"The ruling passion, be it what it will,
The ruling passion conquers reason still.”
Less mad the wildest whimsey we can frame,
Than e'en that passion, if it has no aim;
For though such motives folly you may call,
The folly's greater to have none at all.


Hear then the truth: 'Tis Heaven each passion sends, "And different men directs to different ends. Extremes in Nature equal good produce, Extremes in man concur to general use."



21 Sir John Blunt, originally a scrivener, was one of the first projectors of the South Sea Company, and afterwards one of the directors and chief managers of the famous scheme in 1720. He was also one of those who suffered most severely by the bill of pains and penalties on the said directors. He was a Dissenter, of a most religious deportment, and professed to be a great believer. Whether he did really credit the prophecy here mentioned is not certain, but it was constantly in this very style he declaimed against the corruption and luxury of the age, the partiality of parliaments, and the misery of party-spirit. He was particularly eloquent against avarice in great and noble persons, of which he had indeed lived to see many miserable examples. He died in the year 1732.

Ask we what makes one keep, and one bestow?
That power who bids the ocean ebb and flow,
Bids seed-time, harvest, equal course maintain,
Through reconciled extremes of drought and rain,
Builds life on death, on change duration founds,
And gives the eternal wheels to know their rounds.
Riches, like insects, when concealed they lie,
Wait but for wings, and in their season fly.
Who sees pale Mammon pine amidst his store,
Sees but a backward steward for the poor;
This year a reservoir, to keep and spare;
The next, a fountain, spouting through his heir,
In lavish streams to quench a country's thirst,
And men and dogs shall drink him till they burst.
Old Cotta shamed his fortune and his birth,
Yet was not Cotta void of wit or worth:
What though (the use of barbarous spits forgot)
His kitchen vied in coolness with his grot?
His court with nettles, moats with cresses stored,
With soups unbought and salads blessed his board? 22
If Cotta lived on pulse, it was no more

Than Brahmins, saints, and sages did before;
To cram the rich was prodigal expense,
And who would take the poor from Providence?
Like some lone Chartreux stands the good old hall,
Silence without, and fasts within the wall;
No raftered roofs with dance and tabor sound,
No noontide bell invites the country round:
Tenants with sighs the smokeless towers survey,
And turn the unwilling steeds another way:
Benighted wanderers, the forest o'er,
Curse the saved candle, and unopening door;
While the gaunt mastiff growling at the gate,
Affrights the beggar whom he longs to eat.

Not so his son, he mark'd this oversight,
And then mistook reverse of wrong for right.
(For what to shun will no great knowledge need,
But what to follow, is a task indeed.) 23

dapibus mensas onerabat inemptis."-VIRG.


23 In the MS.


"Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise,
More go to ruin fortunes than to raise."









Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise,
More go to ruin fortunes than to raise.
What slaughter'd hecatombs, what floods of wine,
Fill the capacious 'squire, and deep divine!
Yet no mean motives this profusion draws,
His oxen perish in his country's cause;
"Tis GEORGE and LIBERTY that crowns the cup,24
And zeal for that great House which eats him up.
The woods recede around the naked seat,
The sylvans groan-no matter-for the fleet:
Next goes his wool, to clothe our valiant bands;
Last, for his country's love, he sells his lands.
To town he comes, completes the nation's hope,
And heads the bold train-bands, and burns a pope.
And shall not Britain now reward his toils,
Britain, that pays her patriots with her spoils ?
In vain at Court the bankrupt pleads his cause,
His thankless country leaves him to her laws. 25
The sense to value riches, with the art
To enjoy them, and the virtue to impart,
Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursued,
Not sunk by sloth, not raised by servitude;
To balance fortune by a just expense,
Join with economy, magnificence;

With splendour, charity; with plenty, health;
Oh teach us, Bathurst! yet unspoil'd by wealth!
That secret rare, between the extremes to move
Of mad good-nature, and of mean self-love.26

24 [In first edition

""Tis the dear Prince (Sir John) that crowns thy cup."] 25 After ver. 218, in the MS.






"Where one lean herring furnish'd Cotta's board,
And nettles grew, fit porridge for their lord;
Where mad good-nature, bounty misapplied,
In lavish Curio blazed awhile and died;

There Providence once more shall shift the scene,
And showing H―y, teach the golden mean."

[The blank in the last line may be filled up with the name of Harley, second Earl of Oxford. (See verse 243.) He married the daughter and heiress of John, Duke of Newcastle. Pope very ingeniously makes these variations in the text convey compliments or censures as he chooses.]

26 After ver. 226, in the MS.


B. To worth or want well weigh'd, be bounty given,
And ease, or emulate, the care of Heaven;
(Whose measure full, o'erflows on human race ;)
Mend Fortune's fault, and justify her grace.
Wealth in the gross is death, but life diffused;
As poison heals, in just proportion used:
In heaps, like ambergris, a stink it lies,
But, well dispersed, is incense to the skies.

P. Who starves by nobles, or with nobles eats ?
The wretch that trusts them, and the rogue that cheats.
Is there a lord, who knows a cheerful noon
Without a fiddler, flatterer, or buffoon?
Whose table, wit or modest merit share,
Un-elbow'd by a gamester, pimp, or player?
Who copies yours, or Oxford's better part, 27
To ease the oppress'd, and raise the sinking heart?
Where'er he shines, oh Fortune, gild the scene,
And angels guard him in the golden mean!
There English bounty yet awhile may stand,
And honour linger ere it leaves the land.

But all our praises why should lords engross ?
Rise, honest Muse! and sing the Man of Ross: 28
Pleased Vaga echoes through her winding bounds,
And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds.


After ver. 250, in the MS.


"Trace humble worth beyond Sabrina's shore,
Who sings not him, oh may he sing no more!"



"The secret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
Which W-n lost, yet By ne'er could find:
Still miss'd by Vice, and scarce by Virtue hit,
By G's goodness, or by S--'s wit."

[We would offer as a conjecture the names of Wharton, Bishop Berkeley, Granville (Lord Lansdowne), and Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham.]


27 Edwin Harley, Earl of Oxford, the son of Robert, created Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer by Queen Anne. This nobleman died [1741] regretted by all men of letters, great numbers of whom had experienced his benefits. He left behind him one of the most noble libraries in Europe.

28 The person here celebrated, who with a small estate actually performed all these good works, and whose true name was almost lost (partly by the title of the Man of Ross, given him by way of eminence, and partly by being buried without so much as an inscription) was called Mr. John Kyrle. He died in the year 1724, aged 90, and lies interred in the chancel of the church of Ross, in Herefordshire.

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