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One solid dish his week-day meal affords, 345
The dev'l was piqu’d such saintship to behold,
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, 355 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 smoak'd upon the board. 360
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. 364 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 ev'ry side, 370 · Till all the demon makes his full descent
In one abundant show'r of cent per cent,
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, 375 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 employed the Sunday-morn ; Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life) 381 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 dy'd.'
A nymph of quality admires our knight ; 385 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, 395 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.
Of the Use of RICHES.
THE Vanity of Expence 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 Gardening, where all must be adupted 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 burdensome and ridiculous, ver. 65, &c. to 92. A description of tbe 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. Tet Providence is justified in giving Wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and labori. ous part of mankind, ver. 169. [recurring to what is laid down in the first book, Ep. ii. and in the Epistle preceding this, ver. 159, &c.] What are the proper Objects of Magnificence, and a proper field for the Expence of Great Men, ver. 177, &c. and finally the Great and Public Works which become a Prince, ver. 191 to the end.
'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 chuse his pictures, music, meats: He buys for Topham, drawings and designs, : For Pembroke, statues, dirty gods, and coins : Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne alone, And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane. 10 Think we all these are for himself? no more Than his fine wife, alas ! or finer whore.
For Ver. 1. 'Tis strange,] This epistle was written and published before the preceding one ; and the placing it after the third, has occasioned some aukward anachronisms and inconsistencies.
Ver. 7. Topbam,] A gentleman famous for a judicious collection of drawings.
Ver 8. For Pembroke, statues,] The soul of Inigo Jones, which had been patronized by the ancestors of Henry Earl of Pembroke, seemed still to hover over its favourite Wilton, and to have assisted the muses of arts in the education of this noble person.
Ver. 9. Hearne] Well known as an antiquarian.
Ver. 10. And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane.] Two eminent physicians: the one had an excellent library, the other the finest collection in Europe of natural curiosities; both men of great learning and humanity.