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Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow?
From the dry rock who bade the waters flow?
Not to the skies in useless columns tost,
Or in proud falls magnificently lost,
But clear and artless pouring through the plain
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain.
Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows?
Whose seats the weary traveller repose?
Who taught that heav'n-directed spire to rise?
"The Man of Ross," each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread!
The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread:
He feeds yon almhouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate :
Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick? The Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, and medicine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? enter but his door,
Baulk'd are the courts, and contest is no more:
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile attornies, now an useless race.
B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue
What all so wish, but want the power to do!
O! say, what sums that generous hand supply?
What mines to swell that boundless charity?
P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possess'd-five hundred pounds a year. Blush, grandeur! blush-proud courts! withdraw your blaze;
Ye little stars! hide your diminish'd rays!
B. And what? no monument, inscription, stone, His race, his form, his name, almost unknown?
P. Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame, Will never mark the marble with his name. Go! search it there, where to be born and die, Of rich and poor makes all the history: Enough that virtue fill'd the space between, Prov'd by the ends of being to have been.
When Hopkins dies a thousand lights attend
The wretch who living sav'd a candle's end:
Shouldering God's altar a vile image stands,
Belies his features, nay, extends his hands;
That live-long wig, which Gorgon's self might own,
Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone.
Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend !
And see what comfort it affords our end.
In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half-hang,
The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung,
On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw,
With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw,
The George and Garter dangling from that bed,
Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red,
Great Villiers lies-alas! how chang'd from him,
That life of pleasure, and that soul 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 mimic statesmen and their merry king:
No wit to flatter, left of all his store!
No fool to laugh at, which he valu'd more;
There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,
And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends!
His Grace's fate sage 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!".
Resolve me, reason, which of these is worse,
Want with a full or with an empty purse?
Thy life more wretched, Cutler! was confess'd;
Arise and tell me, was thy death more bless'd?
Cutler saw 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 grey hairs his reverend temples crown'd;
'Twas very want that sold them for two pound.
What! ev'n 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 such worth are other worlds prepar'd ?.
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 sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name ;
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his week-day meal affords,
An added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's:
Constant at church and change; his gains were sure;
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The devil was piqu'd such saintship to behold, And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old; But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd by the Prince of Air, the whirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep,
Then full against 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.
"Live like yourself," was soon my lady's word;
And, lo! two puddings smok'd upon the board..
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledg'd it to the Knight; the Knight had wit,
So kept the di'mond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought,
"I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat;
Where once I went to church, I'll now go. twice,
And am so clear too of all other vice!"
The Tempter saw his time, the work he ply'd; Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side,,
Till all the dæmon makes his full descent,
In one abundant shower of cent. per cent.
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs Director, and secures his soul.
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit; What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit, And God's good providence, a lucky hit. Things change their titles as our manners turn; His compting-house employ'd the Sunday morn: Seldom at church, ('twas such a busy life)
But duly sent his family and wife.
There (so the devil ordain'd) one Christmas-tide
My good old lady catch'd a cold, and died.
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:
First for his son a gay commission buys,
Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies:
His daughter flaunts a Viscount's tawdry wife;
She bears a coronet and p-x for life.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My lady falls to play; so bad her chance,
He must repair it; takes a bribe from France:
The House impeach him: Coningsby harangues;
The Court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs.
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown:
The devil and the king divide the prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God, and dies.
To Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington.
The vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality. The abuse of the word Taste. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and gardening, where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it. How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please long, if at all; and the best amples and rules will be but perverted into something burdensome and ridiculous. A description of the false taste of magnificence; the first grand error of which is to imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimension, instead of the proportion and harmony of the whole; and the second, either in joining together parts incoherent, or, too minutely resembling, or, in the repetition of the same too frequently. A word or two of false taste in books, in music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer; and, lastly, in entertainments: yet Providence is justified in giving wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laborious part of mankind. What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expence of great men. And, finally, the great and public works which become a prince.
"TUS strange the miser should his cares employ
To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy :
Is it less strange the prodigal should waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats;
Artists must chuse his pictures, music, meats:
He buys for Topham drawings and designs,
For Pembroke statues, dirty gods, and coins;