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Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
Ver. 401. The Devil and the King divide the prize,] This is to be understood in a very sober and decent sense; as a satire only on such Ministers of State (which history informs us have been found) who aided the Devil in his temptations, in order to foment, if not to make, plots for the sake of confiscations. So sure always, and just, is our author's satire, even in those places where he seems most to have indulged himself only in an elegant badinage. But this satire on the abuse of the general laws of forfeiture for high treason, which laws all well-policied communities have found necessary, is by no means to be understood as a reflection on the laws themselves; whose necessity, equity, and even lenity, have been excellently well vindicated in that very learned and elegant Discourse, intitled, Some considerations on the Law of Forfeiture for High Treason. Third Edition, London, 1748.
Warburton. Methinks it was better in the former editions, because shorter : “ Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies.” Warton. Ver. 402. curses God.] Alluding to the second chapter of the Book of Job: on which passage Warburton made (Divine Legation, book vi.) the following remarkable observation : " The wife of Job acts a small part in this drama, but a very spirited one. Then said his wife unto him, “Dost thou still retain thy integrity ? Curse God and die.' Tender and pious ! He might see by this prelude of his spouse, what he was to expect from his friends. The Devil, indeed, assaulted Job, but he seems to have got possession of his wife!” p. 261.
Additional Note on The Man of Ross, referred to in Ver. 284.] I am inclined to think that the singular character, Kyrle, who was in fact a "village Chandos," beneficent, charitable, but in a smaller sphere not unostentatious, was noticed by Pope, in consequence of a journey from Lord Bathurst's to Lord
Oxford, Oxford, in which he must pass through Ross. Kyrle died in 1724. The mind of the poet must have been warmed by what he heard and saw; and certainly he could not have described every thing so minutely, (though I cannot find the date of his visit,) without being an eye-witness.
The following more particular account of this extraordinary man is given in the words of his immediate descendant, the late Thomas Hutcheson, Barrister, whose sister, married to Mr. Jones, is now in possession of the property.
Bowles. OBSERVATIONS ON THE FACTS STATED BY POPE IN HIS MORAL ESSAYS,
AS THEY RESPECT THE CHARACTER OF THE
MAN OF ROSS.
“ Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow ?” There was, and still is, a very long shady walk, of nearly a mile and a half in length, called Kyrle's Walks, which, whilst I had the estate, was kept in a good preservation, and is on the summit of an eminence, commanding a beautiful prospect of the river Wye and country to a great extent. There is a summer-house now remaining thereon, erected by the “ Man of Ross," with a motto over the
“ Si non tibi non ibi."
“ From the dry rock who bade the waters flow?" The “ Man of Ross” promoted, and partly assisted by his own pecuniary aid, the erection of a small water-work near the river Wye, which supplied the town of Ross with water, in which article it was very deficient before.
“ Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows ?” A causeway of the greatest safety to the country, in the time of floods, was, when surveyor of the roads, made by him; and his estate being on each side of it, he, I think, gave up some land for the conveniency of its erection, and caused the same to be completed. " Whose seats the
2 Seats were fixed by him in the walks first mentioned, which the different possessors of the estates kept, until lately, in good repair. The church-path being through them, also being a short way to Goodrich ferry, &c. they certainly afforded rest and pleasure to passengers, and to the inhabitants of the town of Ross.
“ Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise ?" The “ Man of Ross” certainly first promoted the erection of that beautiful structure, both by his pecuniary aid and personal attention, each of which was considerable.
“ Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread!" His house was opposite the market-place. He kept an open house every market-day: any person without distinction might meet on that day at his hospitable board, which, according to the stories related to me by some old tenants, consisted of a joint of meat of each sort. The poor, who were always in waiting on that day, and every other, had distributed to them, by his own superintendence, the whole of the remains of each day, besides continual distributions of bread, &c.
“ He feeds yon alms-house," &c. He founded a small alms-house in Ross, and left an annual sum charged on his estate towards its assistance. His charities, whether by pecuniary aids, sustenance, or by the gift of medicines, were more than commensurate with his income. He was the constant and just arbitrator of all differences.
“ This man possess'd five hundred pounds a-year!" Miss Sarah Kyrle, afterwards Mrs. Hutcheson, being the niece of the “ Man of Ross,” inherited the estate, which then amounted to that sum, after the separation of some copyholds, which afterwards came to Robert Kyrle Hutcheson of Bath, Esq.; but his father having had eight children, and a power to charge the estate, it was so burdened as to prevent his keeping it; and accordingly he sold the greater part to his sister, now Mrs. Jones of Ross.
" And what? no monument,” c. There was erected, several years since, by the bounty of the Earl of Kinnoul, who was a cousin, by his father's marriage with Miss Vicentia Kyrle of Much Marcle, to the “ Man of Ross,” a very
handsome monument, at the expense of upwards of two hundred pounds.
“ His race, his form, his name almost unknown ?” The “Man of Ross” was of one of the best families in the county of Hereford, was allied to the Scudamores, the Traceys, the Clarkes, and all other the then principal private families; and the Kyrles, by marriage, brought into the Clarke family an estate, called the “ Hill,” of the value of two hundred pounds a-year.
The estates of Much Marcle, of the value of four thousand pounds per annum, belonged to his cousin, Sir John Kyrle, Bart. who left four daughters and no son; and I believe that the limitation was in the will to the heirs male general, and that they might have taken it, had he chosen. Splendid monuments of the family
are to be seen in Much Marcle church, Walford, near Ross, and other places.
He wrote out his own pedigree on parchment, commencing in the reign of Henry the Seventh, now in Mr. Hutcheson's sion; and it is a very accurate and methodical
arrangement. A good picture of him was at the inn, which had been his dwellinghouse, but not an original, which the innkeeper, Ball, removed. There is an original picture in the possession of Mrs. Jones.
There are several little stories amongst the old people in the country, as to the plain attire of the “ Man of Ross,” and the consequent mistakes of persons seeing him in such, and their surprise when they approached his hospitable mansion to partake of his liberality, and witness his mode of living. This general outline, I submit, is fully sufficient to verify the truths which run through the whole of Pope's lines, in praise of the character which, from all I have learned, was only exaggerated by the elegance of the poetical writing.