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Much-injured Blunt! 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 watchful 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 of 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 even 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
And different men directs to different ends.
Extremes in nature equal good produce,
Extremes in man concur to general use.'
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 th' eternal wheels to know their rounds.
Riches, like insects, when conceal'd 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 bless'd his board?
If Cotta lived on pulse, it was no more
Than Bramins, 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 rafter'd roofs with dance and tabour sound,
No noontide bell invites the country round:
Tenants with sighs the smokeless towers survey,
And turn th' 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).
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 motive this profusion draws,
His oxen perish in his country's cause;
'Tis George and Liberty that crowns the cup,
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 to court the bankrupt pleads his cause;
His thankless country leaves him to her laws.
The sense to value riches, with the art
T'enjoy them, and the virtue to impart,
Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursued,
Not sunk by sloth, nor raised by servitude;
To balance fortune by a just expense,
Join with economy, magnificence;
With splendour charity, with plenty health:
O teach us, Bathurst! yet unspoil'd by wealth!
That secret rare, between th' extremes to move
Of mad good-nature, and of mean self-love.
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,
To ease th' oppress'd and raise the sinking heart?
Where'er he shines, O 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.
X But all our praises why should lords engross?
Rise, honest muse! and sing the MAN OF Ross: 250
Pleased Vaga echoes through her winding bounds,
And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds.
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 toss'd,
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 heaven-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 alms-house, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate:
Him portion'd maids, apprenticed orphans bless'd,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick? the Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the medicine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? enter but his door,
Balk'd are the courts, and contest is no more.
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile attorneys, now a 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, 280
Blush, grandeur, blush! proud courts, withdraw your
Ye little stars! hide your diminish'd rays. [blaze!
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,
Proved by the ends of being to have been.
When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
The wretch who living saved 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-hung,
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 changed 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 valued 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) advised him, Live like me!'
As well his grace replied, 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 gray hairs his reverend temples crown'd;
'Twas very want that sold them for two pound.
What! e'en denied 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 prepared?
Or are they both, in this, their own reward?
A knotty point to which we now proceed.
But you are tired-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;