« PreviousContinue »
E PIST L E III.
Of the Use of RICHES.
extremes, Avarice or Profusion, « 1, &c. The Point discuss'd, whether the invention of Money has been more commodious, or pernicious to Mankind, x 21 to 77. That Riches, either to the Avaricious or the Prodigal, cannot afford Happiness, scarcely Necessaries, x 89 to 160. That Averice is an absolute Frenzy, without an End or Purpose, x 113, &c. 152. Conje&tures about the Motives of Avaricious men, x 121 to 153. That the conduet of men, with respeet to Riches, can only be accounted for by the ORDER OF PROVIDENCE, which works the general Good out of Extremes, and brings all to its great End by perpetual Revolutions, x 161 to 178. How a Miser aets upon Principles which appear to him reasonable, x 179. How a Prodigal does the same, ♡ 199. The due Medium, and true use of Riches, x 219. The Man of Ross, * 250. The fate of the Profuse and
be Covetous, in two examples; both miserable in Life and in Death, x 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ý 339 to the end.
1. Blakcy inv.s del
GScotin fculp · Mo sees pale Mammon pine amidsthis Store,
Sees but a backward Steward for the Poor; na
EPIS T L E III.
P. W H O fhall decide, when Doctors disagree,
Epistle 111. thor, on a luppo wrong tafte
COMMENTARY. Epistle III.) This Epistle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on a supposition that he had ridiculed a worthy nobleman merely for his wrong taste. He justified himself upon that article in a letter to the Earl of Burlington ; at the end of which are these words : “ I have learnt that there are s some who would rather be wicked than ridiculous; and there“fore it may be safer to attack vices than follies. I will there“ fore leave my betters in the quite possession of their idols, their “ groves, and their high places; and change my subject from “ their pride to their meanness, from their vanities to their mi" series ; and as the only certain way to avoid misconstructions, " to lessen offence, and not to multiply ill-natured applications, “I may probably, in my next, make use of real names instead “ of fictitious ones," P.
Ver. 1.. Who fall decide, &c.] The address of the Introducțion (from I to 21) is remarkable : The poet represents himself and the noble Lord his friend, as in a conversation, philofophising on the final cause of Riches; and it proceeds by way of
: Notes. Ver. 3. Momus giv’n,] Amongst the earliest abuses of reason, one of the first was to cavil at the ways of Providence. But as, in those times, every Vice as well as Virtue, had its Patron-God, Momus came to be at the head of the old Friethinkers. Him, the Mythologists very ingeniously made the Son of Sleep and Night, and so, consequently, half-brother to Duiness. But having been much employed, in after ages, by
And Gold but sent to keep the fools in play, 5 For some to heap, and some to throw away.
But I, who think more highly of our kind, (And furely, Heav'n and I are of a mind) Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound, Deep hid the shining mischief under ground: 10
- hold the word from Jove to Momus giv'n,
Opine that Nature, &c. As much as to say, “ You, my Lord, hold the subject we are “ upon as fit only for Satire; I, on the contrary, esteem it a “ case of Philosophy, and profound Ethics : But as we both
agree in the main Principle, that Riches were not given for the “ reward of Virtue, but for very different purposes (See Essay or “ Man, Ep. iv.) let us compromise the matter, and consider “ the subject jointly, both under your idea and mine, i. e, Sati“ rically and Philosophically.”—And this, in fact, we shall find to be the true character of this poem, which is a Species peculiar to itself, and partaking equally of the nature of his Ethic Epistles and his Satires, as the best pieces of Lucian arose from a combination of the Dialogues of Plato, and the Scenes of Aristophanes. This it will be necessary to carry with us, if we would see either the Wit or the Reasoning of this Epistle in their tņue light.
NOTE s. the Greek Satirifts, he came, at last, to pass for a Wit; and under this idea, he is to be considered in the place before us.
VER. 9. Opine,] A term sacred to controversy and high debate.
VER. 9.--that Nature, as in duty boud,] This, though ludicrously, is yet exactly, expressed; to thew, that, by Naturi,