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But when by Man's audacious labour won,
Like Doctors thus, when much dispute has past,
the poet meant, not the God of nature, but the instrument and substitute of his providence.
Ver. 12. Flam'd forth this rival to, its Sire, the Sun,] The rivaļ of its Sire in its brightness, and in its power of drawing mankind into error and delusion; the two firit idols of the world, natural and moral, being the Sun and Gold.
Ver. 20. JOHN WARD of Hackney Esq; Member of Parliament, being prosecuted by the Duchess of Buckingham, and convicted of Forgery, was first expelled the House, and then stood in the Pillory on the 17th of March 1727. He was fufpected of joining in a conveyance with Sir John Blunt, to lecrete fifty thousand pounds of that Director's Eftate, forfeited to the South-Sea company by Act of Parliament. The Company recovered the fifty thousand pounds against Ward; but he set up prior conveyances of his real estate to his brother and son, and conceal'd all his personal, which was computed to be one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. These conveyances being also set aside by a bill in Chancery, Ward was imprisoned, and hazarded the forfeiture of his life, by not giving in his etfects till the last day, which was that of his examination, During his confinement, his amusement was to give poison to dogs and cats, and see them expire by flower or quicker tus
B. What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,
'Tis thus we eat the bread another fows.
COMMENTARY. VER. 21. What Nature wants, &c.] Having thus settled the terms of the Debate, before he comes to the main Question, the Use of Riches, it was necessary to discuss a previous one, whether indeed they are, upon the whole, useful to mankind or not; (which he does from x 20 to 77.) It is commonly observed, fays he (from x 21 to 35) That Gold most commodiously supplies the wants of Nature : « Let us first consider the proposition in ge“ neral, both in Matter and Expresion; 1. As it regards the Sup« ply; and this we shall find to be very unequal : 2. As it regards " the Wants; and these, we shall see, are very ambiguous; under
NOTE s. ments. To sum up the worth of this gentleman, at the several æra's of his life, Ac his standing in the Pillory he was worth above two hundred thousand pounds; at his commitment to Prison, he was worth one hundred and fifty thoufand; but has been since so far diminished in his reputation, as to be thought a worfe man by fifty or sixty thousand. P.
Fr. CHARTRES, a man infamous for all manner of vices. When he was an ensign in the army, he was drumm’d out of the regiment for a cheat; he was next banith’Brussels, and drumm'd out of Ghent on the same account. After a hundred tricks at the gaming-tables, he took to lending of money at exorbitant interest and on great penalties, accumulating premium, interest, and capital into a new capital, and seizing to a minute when the payments became due; in a word, by a constant attention to the vices, wants, and follies of mankind, he acquired an immense fortune. His house was a perpetual Bawdy-house He was twice condemn'd for rapes, and pardoned; but the last time not without imprisonment in Newgate, and large confiscations. He died in Scotland in 1731, aged 62. The populace at his funeral rais'd a great riot, almost tore the body out of the coffin, and cast dead dogs, &c. into the grave along with it. The following Epitaph contains his character very juftly drawn by Dr. Arbuthnot ;
P. But how unequal it bestows, observe,
'Tis thus we riot, while, who fow it, starve :
COMMENTARY. " that term, all our fantastic and imaginary, as well as real .66 wants being comprized. Hitherto the use is not very ap
Excepting PRODIGALITY and HYPOCRISY :
Nor was he more fingular
A MINISTERIAL ESTATE.
He was the only person of his Time,
Retain his Primeval MEANNESS:
Oh Indignant Reader !
To give to After-ages
in the Sight of GOD, By his bestowing it on the most UNWORTHY of ALL MORTALS.
What Nature wants (a phrase I much distrust) 25 Extends to Luxury, extends to Lust:
COMMENTARY. “ parent. Let us in the second place, therefore, consider the “ proposition in particular, or how Guld supplies the wants of « Nature both in private and public life: 1. As to private; it “ aids us, indeed, to support life; but it, at the same time, “ hires the aflaffin. 2. As to Society; it may procure Friend“ ships and extend Trade ; but it allures Robbers, and corrupts “ our acquaintance. 3. As to Government ; it pays the Guards “ necessary for the support of public liberty ; but it may, with “ the same ease, bribe a Senate to overturn it."
The matter, therefore, being thus problematical, the poet, instead of formally balancing between the Good and Ill, chuses to leave this previous Question undetermined (as Tacitus had done before him ; where, speaking of the ancient Germans, he says, Argentum et aurum propitii aut irati Dii negaverint dubito ;) and
Noreg. This Gentleman was worth seven thousand pounds a year estate in Land, and about one bundred thousand in Money. P.
Mr. Waters, the third of these worthies, was a man no way resembling the former in his military, but extremely fo in his civil capacity; his great fortune having been rais'd by the like diligent attendance on the necessities of others. But this gentleman's history must be deferred till his death, when his worth may be known more certainly. P.
VER. 20.-Chartres and the Devil.) Alluding to the vulgar opinion, that all mines of metal and subterraneous treasures are in the guard of the Devil: which seems to have taken its rise from the pagan fable of Plutus the God of Riches.
Ver. 21. IVhat Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,) The epithet commodious gives us the very proper idea of a Bawd or Pander; and this thought produced the two following lines, which were in all the former editions, but, for their bad seafoning, omitted,
And if we count amongst the needs of life
Useful, I grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark Assassin hires : B. Trade it may help, Society extend. P. But lures the Pyrate, and corrupts the Friend. B. It raises Armies in a Nation's aid.. P. But bribes a Senate, and the Land's betray'd.
COMMENTARY falls at once upon what he esteems the principal of these abuses, public Corruption.
For having in the last instance, of the Use of Riches in Government, spoken of venal Senates, he goes on to lament the mischief as desperate and remediless; Gold, by its power to corrupt with Secrecy, defeating all the efforts of public Spirit, whether exerted in the Courage of Heroes, or in the Wisdom of Patriots.
'Tis true indeed (continues the poet from * 34 to 49) the very weight of the Bribery has sometimes detected the Corruption :
From the crack'd bag the dropping Guinea spoke, &c. But this inconvenience was soon repaired, by the invention of Paper credit: Whose dreadful effects on public Liberty he describes in all the colouring of his poetry, heightened by the warmest concern for virtue; which now inakes him willing to give up, as it were, the previous question, in a passionate with (from x 48 to 59) for the return of that incumbrance attendant on public Corruption, before the so common use of money. · And pleased with this flattering idea, he goes on (from x 58 to 77) to thew the other advantages that would accrue from Riches only in kind : which are, that neither Avarice could contrive to hoard, nor Prodigality to favilh, in so mad and boundless a manner as they do at present. Here he shews particularly, in a fine ironical description of the embarras on Gaming, how effectually it would eradicate that execrable practice.
But this whole Digression (from x 34 to 77) has another very uncommon beauty; for, at the same time that it arises naturally from the last consideration in the debate of the previous Question,