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Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursu'd,
That secret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
COMMENTARY: ample; not only the Plan, but the Philosophy of his Poem, reo quired, that he should, in the same way, thew the Use likewise: He therefore (from Ver. 218 to 249 ) calls for an Example, in which may be found, against the PRODIGAL, the Sense to value Riches; against the VAIN, the Art to enjoy them; and against the AVARICIOUS, the Virtue to impart them, when acquired. This whole Art (he tells us) may be comprized in one great and general precept, which is this: “ That the rich man should consider himfelf as the substitute of Pro
NOT E s. Art, and imparted with Virtue, so they may be valued with out Sense. That man therefore only shews he has the sense to value Riches, who keeps what he has acquired, in order to enjoy one part innocently and elegantly, in such measure and degree as his station may justify, (which the Poet calls the Art of enjoying) and to impart the remainder amongst objects of worth, or want well-weighed; which is, indeed, the Viro tue of imparting
That secret rare, between th' extremes to move
COMMENTARY. vidence, in this unequal distribution of things; as the person who is
To eafe, or emulate, the care of Heav'n; . “ To mend the faults of fortune, or to justify her graces.” And thus the Poet Nides naturally into the prosecution of his subject, in an Example of the true Use of Riches.
Mend Fortune's fault, and justify her grace.] i. e. Such of the Rich whose full measure overflows on hu. man race, repair the wrongs of Fortune done to the indigent, and at the same time justify the favours she had bestowed upon themselves.
Is there a Lord, who knows a chearful noon
But all our praises why should Lords engross? Rise, honest Muse! and sing the Man of Ross: 250
Trace humble worth beyond Sabrina's fore,
. COMMENTARY. Ver. 249. But all our praises why should Lords engross?
Rise, honest Muse! ] This invidious exprellion of unwillingness that the Nobility should engross all the praise, is strongly ironical; their
NOT E s. VER. 243. OXFORD's better part,] Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford. The son of Robert, created Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer by Queen Anne. This Nobleman died regretted by all men of letters, great numbers of whom had experienced his benefits. He left behind him one of the most noble Libraries in Europe. P.
VER. 250. The Man of Ross:] The person here cele- . brated, who with a small Estate actually performed all
Pleas'd Vaga echoes thro' her winding bounds, And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds. Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry
brow? From the dry rock who bade the waters flow?
example having been hitherto only to fhew the abuse of Riches. But there is great justness of design as well as agreeableness of manner in the preference here given to the Man of Rofs. The purpose of the Poet is to thew, that an immense fortune is not wanted for all the good that Riches are capable of doing; he therefore chuses such an instance, as proves, that a man with five hundred pounds a year could become a blessing to a whole country; and, consequently, that his precepts for the right use of money, are of more general service than a bad heart will give an indifferent head leave to conceive. This was a truth of the greatest importance to inculcate : He therefore (from Ver. 249 to 297.) exalts the character of a very private man, one Mr. J. Kyrle, of Herefordshire: And, in ending his description, struck as it were with admiration at a sublimity of his own creating, and warmed with sentiments of gratitude which he had raised in himself, in behalf of the public, he breaks out,
NO TE S.
these good works, and whose true name was almost loft (partly by the title of the Man of Ross given him by way of eminence, and partly by being buried without so much as an inscription) was called Mr. John Kyrle. He died in the year 1724, aged 90, and lies interred in the chancel of the church of Ross in Herefordshire. P.
We must understand what is here said, of actually performing, to mean by the contributions which the Man of Ross, by his assiduity and interest, collected in his neighbourhood. Vol. III.
Not to the skies in useless columns toft, 255
“ His race, his form, his name almost unknown ?” And then transported with indignation at a contrary object, he exclaims,
“ When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
“ Belies his features, nay extends his hands." I take notice of this description of the portentous vanity of a miserable Extortioner, chiefly for the use we shall now see he makes of it, in carrying on his subject.
Or in proud falls magnificently loft,] The intimation, in the first line, well ridicules the madness of fashionable Magnificence; these columns aspiring to prop the skies, in a very different sense from the heav'n-diretied spire, in the verse that follows: As the expression, in the second line, exposes the meanness of this magnificence, in falling proudly to no purpose.