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Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth:
The devil was piqued such saintship to behold,
Roused 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,
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
The tempter saw his time: the work he plied ;
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit; What late he called a blessing, now was wit, And God's good providence, a lucky hit. Things change their titles, as our manners turn ; His counting-house employ'd the Sunday morn: 380 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 : 390 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 : 400 The devil and the king divide the prize, And sad Sir Balaam curses God, and dies.
TO RICHARD BOYLE, EARL OF BURLINGTON.
of the Use of Riches. The vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality. The abuse of the word Taste, ver. 13. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense, ver. 40. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and garde where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it, ver, 50. 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 examples and rules will be but perverted into something burthensome and ridiculous, ver. 65 to 92. 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, ver 97, and the second either in joining together parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling, or in the repetition of the same too frequently, ver. 105, &c. A word or two of false taste in books, in music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer, and lastly in entertainments, ver. 133, &c. 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, ver. 169. (recurring to what is laid down in the first book, Ep. ij. and in the Epistle preceding this, ver. 159, &c.] What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expense of great men, ver. 177, &c. And, finally, the great and public works which become a prince, ver. 191, to the end.
The extremes of avarice and profusion being treated of in the foregoing Epistle; this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality ; and is therefore a corollary to the preceding, just as the Epistle on the Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. It is equally re. markable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is less philosophical, makes it capable of being analyzed in a much narrower compass. 'Tis 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 choose his pictures, music, meats:
He buys for Topham drawings and designs;
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted ?
You shew us, Rome was glorious, not profuse, And pompous buildings once were things of use. Yet shall, my lord, your just, your noble rules Fill half the land with imitating fools ; Who random drawings from your sheets shall take, And of one beauty many blunders make; Load some vain church with old theatric state, Turns arcs of Triumph to a garden-gate;
30 Reverse your ornaments, and hang them all On some patch'd dog-hole eked with ends of wall; Then clap four slices of pilaster on't, That, laced with bits of rustic, makes a front; Shall call the winds through long arcades to roar, Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door: Conscious they act a true Palladian part, And if they starve, they starve by rules of art.
Oft have you hinted to your brother peer A certain truth, which many buy too dear : 40 Something there is more needful than expense, And something previous e’en to taste_tis sense ; Good sense, which only is the gift of Heaven, And, though no science, fairly worth the seven : A light which in yourself you must perceive ; Jones and Le Nôtre have it not to give.
To build, to plant, whatever you intend, To rear the column, or the arch to bend,
To swell the terrace, or to sink the grot;
Consult the genius of the place in all ;
Still follow sense, of every art the soul,
Behold Villario's ten years' toil complete, His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet;
80 The wood supports the plain, the parts unite, And strength of shade contends with strength of light; A waving glow the bloomy beds display, Blushing in bright diversities of day, With silver-quivering rills meander'd o'erEnjoy them, you! Villario can no more: Tired of the scene parterres and fountains yield, He finds at last he better likes a field, (str
Through his young woods how pleased Sabinus Or sat delighted in the thickening shade,