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Constant at church and 'change; his gains were sure His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The Devil was piqued such saintship to behold, And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old; 350 But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
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,
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes:
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledged it to the knight; the knight had wit,
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 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 : 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
A nymph of quality admires our knight;
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 gardening 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 ridi culous, ver. 65 to 90. 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 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. ii. 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 remarkable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is less philosophical, makes it capable of being analysed in a much narrower com pass.
'Tis strange, the miser should his cares employ
He buys for Topham drawings and designs;
For what has Virro painted, built, and planted? Only to show how many tastes he wanted. What brought sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste? Some demon whisper'd Visto! have a taste.' Heaven visits with a taste the wealthy fool, And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule. See! sportive fate, to punish awkward pride, Bids Bubo build, and sends him such a guide: A standing sermon at each year's expense, That never coxcomb reach'd magnificence.
You show 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;
Whose random drawings from your sheets shall take, And of one beauty, many blunders make;
Shall call the winds through long arcades to roar,
Load some vain church with old theatric state,
That laced with bits of rustic makes a front;
A light which in yourself you must perceive;
To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
Consult the genius of the place in all: That tells the waters or to rise or fall;
Or helps the ambitious hill the heavens to scale,
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Still follow sense, of every art the soul:
Without it, proud Versailles! thy glory falls;