Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

THE SIXTH EPISTLE

OF THE

FIRST BOOK OF HORACE.

TO MR. MURRAY.

• Not to admire, is all the art I know; To make men happy, and to keep them so.' Plain truth, dear Murray, needs no flowers of

speech, So take it in the very words of Creech.

This vault of air, this congregated ball, 5 Self-centred sun, and stars that rise and fall, There are, my friend! whose philosophic eyes Look through, and trust the Ruler with his skies ; To him commit the hour, the day, the year, And view this dreadful all without a fear. 10 Admire we then what earth's low entrails hold, Arabian shores, or Indian seas infold ; All the mad trade of fools and slaves for gold ? Or popularity? or stars and strings? The mob’s applauses, or the gifts of kings? 15

The very words of Creech. If Pope could be suspected of steering, there was pleasant malice in beading his own fluent and forcible lines by this deplorably prosaic couplet of his predecessor.

30

Say, with what eyes we ought at courts to gaze, And pay the great our homage of amaze.

If weak the pleasure that from these can spring, The fear to want them is as weak a thing : Whether we dread, or whether we desire, 20 In either case, believe me, we admire: Whether we joy or grieve, the same the curse; Surprised at better, or surprised at worse. Thus good or bad to one extreme betray The unbalanced mind, and snatch the man away: For virtue's self may too much zeal be had : 26 The worst of madmen is a saint run mad.

Go then, and if you can, admire the state Of beaming diamonds and reflected plate; Procure a taste to double the surprise, And gaze on Parian charms with learned eyes : Be struck with bright brocade, or Tyrian die, Our birth-day nobles' splendid livery. If not so pleased, at council-board rejoice, To see their judgments hang upon thy voice; 35 From morn to night, at senate, rolls, and hall, Plead much, read more, dine late, or not at all. But wherefore all this labor, all this strife? For fame, for riches, for a noble wife? Shall one, whom nature, learning, birth, conspired

40 To form, not to admire, but be admired, Sigh, while his Chloe, blind to wit and worth, Weds the rich dulness of some son of earth? Yet time ennobles or degrades each line; It brighten'd Craggs's, and may darken thine : 45

43 It brighten'd Craggs's. The secretary was the son of a man originally in a menial situation, yet who by industry and cha.

And what is fame? the meanest have their day; The greatest can but blaze, and pass away. Graced as thou art with all the power of words, So known, so honor'd at the house of lords; Conspicuous scene! another yet is nigh, 50 More silent far, where kings and poets lie; Where Murray, long enough his country's pride, Shall be no more than Tully or than Hyde! .

Rack'd with sciatics, martyr'd with the stone, Will any mortal let himself alone? See Ward by batter'd beaux invited over, And desperate misery lays hold on Dover. The case is easier in the mind's disease ; There all men may be cured whene'er they please. Would ye be bless'd ? despise low joys, low gains ;

Disdain whatever Cornbury disdains; 61 · Be virtuous, and be happy for your pains.

[ocr errors]

racter rose to be postmaster-general. Pope had an unaccount. able taste for reminding men of humble birth of their origin; a matter wbich no man can help, and none but a fool will deny; but which neither fool nor philosopher can relish. Thus he offended humble Allen: he praised his virtues, and told bim that his father had been a footman. Allen spurned the praise, for the sake of the recollection.

53 Than Hyde. Warton gives a striking anecdote of this celebrated man's temper. When he was going from court, just after his resignation of the seals to his trifling and ungrateful master, the duchess of Cleveland insulted him froin a window of the palace. He looked up at her, and only said, with calm and contemptuous dignity,–Madam, if you live, you too will grow old. A fine sarcasm on the fickleness of the king, and probably a finer still on the profligate woman, whose sole merit was her beauty.

56 See Ward by batter'd beaux. Ward and Dover, wellknown quacks.

61 Disdain whatever Cornbury disdains. Lord Cornbury, a man of talents and virtue. On Mallet's intending to publish

But art thou one, whom new opinions sway; One who believes as Tindal leads the way; Who virtue and a church alike disowns; Thinks that but words, and this but brick and

stones?

Fly then, on all the wings of wild desire;
Admire whate'er the maddest can admire.
Is wealth thy passion ? Hence! from pole to pole,
Where winds can carry, or where waves can roll,
For Indian spices, for Peruvian gold, 71
Prevent the greedy, and outbid the bold :
Advance thy golden mountain to the skies;
On the broad base of fifty thousand rise ;

some of Bolingbroke's sneers at Scripture, lord Cornbury, in a letter from Paris in 1752, given by Warton, thus manfully and wisely remonstrates with this low mercenary of posthumous profaneness :- I must say to you, sir, for the world's sake, and for his sake, that part of the work ought by no means to be communicated farther. If tbis digression (a particular attack on the Old Testament) be made public, it will be censured, it must be censured, it ought to be censured: it will be criticised too by able pens, whose erudition, as well as their reasonings, will not be easily answered.' He concludes by saying, I therefore recommend to you to suppress that part of the work, as a good citizen of the world, for the world's peace; as one entrusted and obliged by lord Bolingbroke not to raise storms to his memory.'

Henry, viscount Cornbury, had an hereditary claim to virtue ; he was great-grandson of the celebrated lord Clarendon. Ruffhead tells us, that when this young nobleman returned from his travels, the earl of Essex, his brother-in-law, told him, that he had got a handsome pension for bim :' he replied, with dignity,-- How could you tell, my lord, that I was to be sold ? or, at least, how came you to know my price so exactly? He died in 1753.

65 Who virtue and a church alike disowns. The one be renounces in his party-pamphlets, the other in his · Rights of the Christian Church.' -Warburton.

Add one round hundred; and, if that's not fair, 75
Add fifty more, and bring it to a square :
For, mark the advantage ; just so many score
Will gain a wife with half as many more,
Procure her beauty, make that beauty chaste,
And then such friends—as cannot fail to last. 80
A man of wealth is dubb'd a man of worth;
Venus shall give him form, and Anstis birth.
(Believe me, many a German prince is worse,
Who proud of pedigree, is poor of purse.)
His wealth brave Timon gloriously confounds ; 85
Ask'd for a groat, he gives a hundred pounds;
Or if three ladies like a luckless play,
Takes the whole house upon the poet's day.
Now, in such exigences not to need,
Upon my word, you must be rich indeed: 90
A noble superfluity it craves,
Not for yourself, but for your fools and knaves;
Something, which for your honor they may cheat,
And which it much becomes you to forget.
If wealth alone then make and keep us bless'd, 95
Still, still be getting; never, never rest.

But if to power and place your passion lie,
If in the pomp of life consist the joy;
Then hire a slave, or, if you will, a lord,
To do the honors, and to give the word; 100
Tell at your levee, as the crowds approach,
To whom to nod, whom take into your coach,
Whom honor with your hand; to make remarks,

82 Anstis birth. Garter king-at-arms.

87 A luckless play. A frolic of some spendthrift which has escaped particular knowlege: the play was said to be Young's • Busiris.'

« НазадПродовжити »