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Who then shall grace, or who improve the Soil ? Who plants like BATHURST, or who builds like
BOYLE. 'Tis Use alone that sanctifies Expense, And Splendour borrows all her rays from Sense. 180
His Father's Acres who enjoys in peace,
NOTES. beauty of this line is an instance of the art peculiar to our Poet; by which he has so disposed a trite classical figure, as not only to make it do its vulgar office, of representing a very plentiful harvest, but also to assume the personage of Nature, re-establishing herself in her rights, and mocking the vain efforts of magnificence, which would keep her out of them. W. Ver. 179, 180. 'Tis Use alone that sanctifies Expense,
And Splendour borrows all her rays from Sense.] Here the Poet, to make the examples of good Taste the better understood, introduces them with a summary of his Precepts, in these two sublime lines; for, the consulting Use is beginning with Sense, and the making Splendour or Taste borrow all its rays from thence, is going on with Sense, after she has led us up to Taste. The art of this disposition of the thought can never be sufficiently admired. But the Expression is equal to the Thought. This sanctifying of expense gives us the idea of something consecrated and set apart for sacred uses; and indeed it is the idea under which it may be properly considered : for wealth employed according to the intention of Providence is its true consecration; and the real uses of humanity were certainly first in its intention, W.
Lord Chesterfield wrote the following lines, intending to shew that Lord Burlington did not always attend to this rule of our Poet:
Possest of one great hall for state,
And all mankind, how ill you dwell,
Whose ample Lawns are not asham'd to feed 185
You too proceed ! make falling Arts your care,
Ver. 191. You too proceed!] This is not fulsome adulation, but only such honest praise as the noble Lord, whom he addressed, strictly deserved; who inherited all that love of science and useful knowledge for which his family has been so famous. The name of Boyle is indeed auspicious to literature. That sublime genius and good man, Bishop Berkeley, owed his preferment chiefly to this accomplished peer: for it was he that recommended him to the Duke of Grafton, in the year 1721, who took him over with him to Ireland when he was Lord-Lieutenant, and promoted him to the deanery of Derry in the year 1724. Berkeley gained the patronage and friendship of Lord Burlington, not only by his true politeness, and the peculiar charms of his conversation, which was exquisite, but by his profound and perfect skill in architecture; an art which he had very particularly and accurately studied in Italy, when he went and continued abroad four years with Mr. Ashe, son of the Bishop of Clogher. With an insatiable and philosophic attention, Berkeley surveyed and examined every object of curiosity. He not only made the usual tour, but went over Apulia and Calabria, and even travelled on foot through Sicily, and drew up an account of that very classical ground; which was lost in a voyage to Naples, and cannot be sufficiently regretted. His generous project for erecting a university at Bermudas, the effort of a mind truly active, benevolent, and patriotic, is sufficiently known.
Ver. 193. Jones) See an accurate and judicious account of his Works in Walpole's Anecdotes, vol. ii. from page 261 to page
Till Kings call forth th’ Ideas of your mind. 195
NOTES. 280, full of curious particulars. Dr. Clarke, of All Souls College, Oxford, had Jones's Palladio, with his own notes and observations in Italian, which the Doctor bequeathed to Worcester
Ver. 195, 197, &c. Till Kings—Bid Harbours open, &c.] The Poet, after having touched upon the proper objects of Magnificence and Expense, in the private works of great men, comes to those great and public works which become a prince. This Poem was published in the year 1732, when some of the new-built churches, by the act of Queen Anne, were ready to fall, being founded in boggy land (which is satirically alluded to in our Author's imitation of Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. 2.
“Shall half the new-built Churches round thee fall”). Others were vilely executed, through fraudulent cabals between undertakers, officers, &c. Dagenham-breach had done very great mischiefs ; many of the Highways throughout England were hardly passable; and most of those which were repaired by Turnpikes were made jobs for private lucre, and infamously executed, even to the entrance of London itself. The proposal of building a Bridge at Westminster had been petitioned against and rejected; but in two years after the publication of this poem, an Act for building a Bridge passed through both Houses. After many debates in the committee, the execution was left to the carpenter above mentioned, who would have made it a wooden one ; to which our Author alludes in these lines,
“ Who builds a Bridge that never drove a pile?
Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile.” See the notes on that place P.
Ver. 197. Bid Harbours open,] No country has been enriched and adorned, within a period of thirty or forty years, with so many works of public spirit, as Great Britain has been; witness
Back to his bounds their subject Sea command, And roll obedient Rivers through the Land : These Honours, Peace to happy Britain brings, These are Imperial Works, and worthy Kings.
NOTES. our many extensive roads, our inland navigations (some of which excel the boasted canal of Languedoc), the lighting, and the paving, and beautifying, our cities, and our various and magni. ficent edifices. A general good taste has been diffused in gardening, planting, and building. The ruins of Palmyra, the antiquities of Athens and Spalatro, and the Ionian antiquities, by Wood, Stuart, Adam, and Chandler, are such magnificent monuments of learned curiosity as no country in Europe can equal. Let it be remembered, that these fine lines of Pope were written when we had no Wyatt or Brown, Brindley or Reynolds ; no Westminster Bridge, no Pantheon, no Royal Academy, no king that is at once a judge and a patron of all those fine arts which ought to be employed in raising and beautifying a palace equal to his dignity and his taste.
On the whole, this Epistle contains rather strictures on the false taste, than illustrations of the true; which circumstance gave room to Mr. Mason to treat the subject in a more open and ornamental manner, and with more picturesque and poetical imagery in his English Garden.
Ver. 203. These Honours, Peace] One of the chief sources of the great riches of this country was, the long Peace which was enjoyed during the ministry of Sir Robert Walpole; who, however he may have been censured, deserved high praise on this account.