Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

229

EPISTLE III.

P. Who shall decide, when Doctors disagree, And soundest Casuists doubt, like you and me? You hold the word, from Jove to Momus giv’n, That Man was made the standing jest of Heav'n; And Gold but sent to keep the fools in play, For some to heap, and some to throw away,

But I, who think more highly of our kind (And surely, Heav'n and I are of a mind), Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound, Deep hid the shining mischief under ground; 10

VARIATIONS.

EPISTLE III.] This epistle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on suspicion 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 some who would rather be wicked than ridiculous; and therefore it may be safer to attack vices than follies. I will therefore leave my betters in the quiet 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 miseries; 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. 2. like you and me?] A most unaccountable piece of false English—me for I. It is not for the sake of making petty objections that it is thought necessary to hint at these inaccuracies in so correct a writer, but merely to prevent their becoming authorities for errors. “In the Epistles to Lords Bathurst and Burlington," says Johnson, “ Warburton has endeavoured to find a train of thought which was never in the writer's head; and, to support his hypothesis, has printed that first which was published last." ..

But when by Man's audacious labour won,
Flam'd forth this rival to its Sire, the Sun,
Then careful Heav'n supply'd two sorts of Men,
To squander These, and Those to hide agen.

Like Doctors thus, when much dispute has past, We find our tenets just the same at last.

16 Both fairly owning, Riches, in effect, No grace of Heav'n, or token of th’ Elect; Giv'n to the Fool, the Mad, the Vain, the Evil, To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil. 20

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

NOTES. Ver. 20. John WARD, of Hackney, Esq. Member of Parliament, being prosecuted by the Dutchess of Buckingham, and convicted of Forgery, was first expelled the House, and then stood on the pillory on the 17th of March, 1727. He was suspected of joining in a conveyance with Sir John Blunt, to secrete fifty thousand pounds of that Director's estate, 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 concealed 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 effects 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 slower or quicker torments. To sum up the worth of this gentleman, at the several eras of his life: At 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 thousand; but has been since so far diminished in his reputation, as to be thought a worse 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 drummed out of the regiment for a cheat; he was next banished Brussels, and drummed 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,

B. What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows, 'Tis thus we eat the bread another sows.

NOTES. 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 condemned 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 raised 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 justly drawn by Dr. Arbuthnot:

. HERE continueth to rot

The Body of FRANCIS CHARTRES,
Who, with an INFLEXIBLE CONSTANCY,
and INIMITABLE UNIFORMITY of Life

PERSISTED,
In spite of AgE and INFIRMITIES,
In the Practice of EVERY HUMAN Vice,

Excepting PRODIGALITY and HYPOCRISY:
His insatiable AVARICE exempted him from the first,
His matchless IMPUDENCE from the second.

Nor was he more singular
in the undeviating Pravity of his Manners,

Than successful
in Accumulating Wealth;
For, without TRADE or Profession,
Without Trust of PUBLIC MONEY,
And without BRIBE-WORTHY Service,
He acquired, or more properly created,

A MINISTERIAL ESTATE.

He was the only Person of his Time,
Who could cheat without the Mask of Honesty,

Retain his Primeval MEANNESS
When possessed of Ten Thousand a Year,
And having daily deserved the GIBBET for what he did,
Was at last condemned to it for what he could not do.

Oh indignant Reader !
Think not his Life useless to Mankind !

P. But how unequal it bestows, observe, 'Tis thus we riot, while, who sow it, starve: . is

NOTES.
PROVIDENCE connived at his execrable Designs,

. To give to After-ages

A conspicuous PROOF and ExAMPLE,
Of how small Estimation is EXORBITANT WEALTH

In the Sight of GOD,
By his bestowing it on the most UNWORTHY of ALL MORTALS.

This fine reflection has been much admired; it is also found in La Bruyere: but he evidently borrowed it from Seneca: “Non sunt divitiæ bonum; nullo modo magis potest Deus concupita traducere, quam si ille ad perpessimos defert, ab optimis abigit.”

Cur Bonis Viris mala fiunt, cap. v. This passage was pointed out to me by an amiable friend, equally skilled in all parts of useful and ornamental learning in matters both of taste and philosophy, Dr. Heberden.

The figure of Chartres is introduced by Hogarth in the first plate of his Rake's Progress, and behind him stands a man whom he always had about him, and was his pimp.

This Gentleman, it was said, was worth seven thousand pounds a year estate in Land, and about one hundred thousand in Money.

Mr. WATERS, the third of these worthies, was a man no way resembling the former in his military, but extremely so in his civil capacity; his great fortune having been raised 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. W. No such allusion was intended!

Ver. 21. What 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 reasoning, omitted,

“ And if we count amongst the needs of life
Another's Toil, why not another's Wife ?” W.

« НазадПродовжити »