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I MEN T AR Y.
In vain may Heroes fight, and Patriots rave ; .
COMMENTARY. it artfully denounces, in our entrance on the main Question, the principal topics intended to be employed for the dilucidation of it, namely AVARICE, PROFUSION, and PUBLIC CORRUPS TION.
NOTES. VER. 33. — and Patriots rave;] The character of modern Patriots was, in the opinion of our poet, very equivocal; as the name was undistinguishingly bestowed on every one in opposition to the court; of whose virtues he gives a hint in * 139. of this Epistle. Agreeably to these sentiments, his pre® dicate of them here is as equivocal,
In vain — may Patriots rave; which they may do either in earnest or in jest; and is a conduct, in the opinion of Sempronius in the Play, best fitted to hide their game.
VER. 34. If secret Gold fap on from knave to knave.] The expression is fine,and gives us the image of a place invested, where the approaches are made by communications which support each other; as the connexions amongst knaves, after they have been taken in by a state engineer, serve to screen and encourage one another's private corruptions.
VER. 35. — beneath the Patriot's cloak,] This is a true story, ' which happened in the reign of William III. to an unsuspected old Patriot, who coming out at the back-door from having been closeted by the King, where he had received a large bag of Guineas, the bursting of the bag discovered his business there. P.
Gold imp'd by thee, can compass hardest things,
Oh! that such bulky Bribes as all might see, Still, as of old, incumber'd Villainy! 50 Could France or Rome divert our brave designs, With all their brandies or with all their wines?
To break a trust were Peter brib'd with wine,
Note S. Ver. 42.--fetch or carry Kings ;] In our author's time, many Princes had been sent about the world, and great changes of Kings projected in Europe. The partition-treaty had disposed of Spain; France had set up a King for England, who was sent to Scotland, and back again; King Stanislaus was sent to Poland, and back again; the Duke of Anjou was sent to Spain, and Don Carlos to Italy. P.
VER. 44. Or rip off Senates to fome distant Shore;] Alludes to several Ministers, Counsellors, and Patriots banished in our times to Siberia, and to that MORE GLORIOUS FATE of the PARLIAMENT of PARIS, banished to Pontoise in the year 1720. P.
VER. 47. Pregnant with thousands fits the Scrap uneen,] The imagery is very sublime, and alludes to the courle of a
What could they more than Knights and Squires
confound, Or water all the Quorum ten miles round? A statesman’s Plumbers how this speech would spoil! “ Sir, Spain has sent a thousand jars of oil; 56 “ Huge bales of British cloth blockade the door ; “ A hundred oxen at your levee roar.”.
Poor Avarice one torment more would find; Nor could Profusion squander all in kind. 6a Astride his cheese Sir Morgan might we meet; And Worldly crying coals from street to street, Whom with a wig so wild, and mien fo maz'd, Pity mistakes for some poor tradesman craz’d. HadColepepper's whole wealth been hops and hogs, Could he himself have sent it to the dogs ? 66 His Grace will game: to White's a Bull be led, With spurning heels and with a butting head.
Nores. destroying pestilence. The Pfalmist, in his expression of the Pestilence that walketh in darkness, supplied him with the grandeur of his idea.
Ver. 63. Some Misers of great wealth, proprietors of the coad-mines, had entered at this time into an Association to keep up coals to an extravagant price, whereby the poor were reduced almost to starve, till one of them taking the advantage of underfelling the rest, defeated the design. One of these Mifers was worth ten thoujand, another seven thousand a year. P. .
VER. 65. Colepepper] Sir WILLIAM COLEPEPPER, Bart. a Person of an ancient family, and ample fortune, without one
To White's be carry'd, as to ancient games,
Well then, since with the world we stand or fall,
COMMENT A RY. VER. 77. Since then, my Lord, on fach a World, &c.] Having thus ironically described the incumbrance which the want of money would occafion to ail criininal excesses in the use of Riches, particularly to Gaming, which being now become of public concern, he affects much regard to s
Oh filthy check on all induftrious skill,
NOTE S. other qua'ity of a Gentleman, who, after ruining himself at the Gaming-table, past the rest of his days in fitting there to fee the ruin of others; preferring to sublitt upon borrowing and begging, rather than to enter into any reputable method of life, and refusing a Post in the army which was offered him. P.
P. What Riches give us let us then enquire : Meat, Fire, and Cloaths. B. What more? P. Meat, Cloaths, and Fire.
COMMENTARY. he concludes the previous Question without deciding it, in the fame ironical manner,
Since then, my Lord, on such a World we fall:
What say you? Say? Why take it, Gold and all. That is, since for these great purposes we must have Money, let us now seriously inquire into its true Use.
Ver. 79. What riches give us &c.] He examines therefore in the first place (from * 78 to 97) I. Of what Use Riches are to ourselves :
What Riches give us let us then enquire: Meat, Fire,and Cloaths. What more? Meat, Cloaths,and Fire. The mere turn of the expression here shews, without further reasoning, that all the infinite ways of spending on ourselves, contrived in the insolence of Wealth, by those who would more than live, are only these three things diversified throughout every wearied mode of Luxury and Wantonness.
Yet as little as this is, adds the poet (from x 81 to 85) it is only to be had by the moderate use of Richey, Avarice and Profufion not allowing the pofleflors of the most exorbitant wealth even this little:
Alas! 'tis more than Turner finds they give.
Unhappy Wharton, waking, found at last! But what is it you would expect them to give ? continues the poet (from x 84 to 91.) Would you have them capable of refloring those real blessings, which men have lost by their Vices or their Villainies ; or of satisfying those imaginary ones, which they have gotten by their irregular Appetites and Pations ? These, sure, the bad or foolish man cannot have the face to demand ; and those, by the wise provision of Nature, Riches are incapable of giving, if he had.