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Old Cotta sham'd his fortune and his birth, Yet was not Cotta void of wit or worth: What tho' (the use of barb'rous fpits forgot) His kitchen vy'd in coolness with his grot? 180 His court with nettles, moats with creffes ftor'd, With foups unbought and fallads blefs'd his board? If Cotta liv'd on pulfe, it was no more

Than Bramins, Saints, and Sages did before;

COMMENTARY.

VER. 177. Old Cotta fham'd his fortune &c.] The poet now proceeds to fupport the principles of his Philofophy by examples: But before we come to thefe, it will be neceffary to look back upon the general ceconomy of the poem.

In the first part, toy 109, the use and abufe of Riches are fatirically delivered in precept. From thence, to 177, the ỳ caufes of the abuse are philofophically inquired into: And from thence to the end, the ufe and abufe are hiftorically illuftrated in examples. Where we may obferve, that the conclufion of the firft part, concerning the Mifer's cruelty to others, naturally introduces the fecond, by a fatirical apology, fhewing that he is full as cruel to himself: The explanation of which extraordinary phenomenon brings the author into the Philofophy of his fubject';

NOTES.

wants, there fhould be no poffible temptation to either. The which noble truth our poet

hints at in the beginning of the Epiftle:

But when by Man's audacious labour won,
Flam'd forth this Rival to it's Sire, the fun,
Then careful Heav'n fupply'd two forts of men,

To fquander Thefe, and Thefe to hide again. 11, &c.

IMITATIONS.

VER. 182. With foups unbought,]

dapibus menfas onerabat inemptis. VIRG. P.

To cram the Rich was prodigal expence,

185

And who would take the Poor from Providence?
Like fome lone Chartreux stands the good old Hall,
Silence without, and Fafts within the wall;
No rafter'd roofs with dance and tabor found,
No noontide-bell invites the country round: 190
Tenants with fighs the fmoaklefs tow'rs furvey,
And turn th'unwilling steeds another way:
Benighted wanderers, the foreft o'er,

Curfe the fav'd candle, and unop'ning door;
While the gaunt mastiff growling at the gate, 195
Affrights the beggar whom he longs to eat.

COMMENTARY.

and this ending in an observation of Avarice and Profufion's correcting and reconciling one another, as naturally introduces the third, which proves the truth of the obfervation from fact. And thus the Philofophy of his subject standing between his Precepts and Examples, gives ftrength and light to both, and receives it reflected back again from both.

He first gives us two examples (from 176 to 219) of these oppofite ruling Paffions, and (to fee them in their full force) taken from fubjects, as he tells us, not void of wit or worth; from fuch as could reafon themselves (as we fee by 183, & feqq. and y 205, & feqq) into the whole length of each extreme: For the poet had obferved of the ruling passion, that

Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse;
Reafon itself but gives it edge and pow'r.

Effay, Ep. ii. 146.

Old Cotta therefore and his Son afforded him the most happy il

luftration of his own doctrine.

Not fo his Son, he mark'd this oversight,

And then mistook reverfe of wrong for right.
(For what to shun will no great knowledge need,
But what to follow, is a tafk indeed.)
Yet fure, of qualities deferving praise,

More go to ruin Fortunes, than to raise.

200

What flaughter'd hecatombs, what floods of wine,
Fill the capacious Squire, and deep Divine !
Yet no mean motive this profufion draws,

205

His oxen perish in his country's cause ; 'Tis GEORGE and LIBERTY that crowns the cup, And Zeal for that great House which eats him

NOTES.

VER. 199. (For what to fhun will no great knowledge need, But what to follow, is a task indeed.)] The poet is here fpeaking only of the knowledge gained by experience. Now there are fo many miferable examples of ill conduct, that no one, with his eyes open, can be at a lofs to know what to fhun; but, very inviting examples of a good conduct are extremely rare: Befides, the mifchiefs of folly are eminent and obvious; but the fruits of prudence, remote and retired from common obfervation; and if feen at all, yet their dependance on their caufes

up.

not being direct and immediate, they are not easily understood.

VER. 201, 202. Yet fure, of qualities deferving praise, Mare ga to ruin Fortunes, than to raife.] This, tho' a certain truth, will, as. I apprehend, never make its fortune in the City: yet, for all that, the poet has fully approved his maxim in the following defcription.

VER. 203. What flaughter'd hecatombs, &c.] Our author reprefents this, as it truly was defigned, a Sacrifice to the Church, to render it propitious, in a time of danger, to the State. SCRIBL

The Woods recede around the naked feat,

209

The Sylvans groan-no matter-for the Fleet:
Next goes his Wool-to clothe our valiant bands,
Laft, for his Country's love, he fells his Lands.
To town he comes, completes the nation's hope,
And heads the bold Train-bands, and burns a Pope.
And shall not Britain now reward his toils, 215
Britain, that pays her Patriots with her Spoils?
In vain at Court the Bankrupt pleads his cause,
His thankless Country leaves him to her Laws.

The Sense to value Riches, with the Art
T'enjoy them, and the Virtue to impart,

VARIATIONS.

After 218. in the MS.

Where one lean herring furnish'd Cotta's board,
And nettles grew, fit porridge for their Lord;
Where mad good-nature, bounty misapply'd,
In lavish Curio blaz'd awhile and dy'd;
There Providence once more shall shift the scene,
And fhewing H-Y, teach the golden mean.

COMMENTARY.

220

VER. 219. The Senfe to value Riches, &c.] Having now largely expofed the ABUSE of Riches by example, not only the Plan, but the Philofophy of his Poem, required, that he should in the fame way, fhew the USE likewife: He therefore (from y 218 to 249) calls for an EXAMPLE, in which may be found, against

NOTES.

VER. 219, 220. The Senfe to value Riches, with the Art,

T'enjoy them, and the Virtue to impart.] The Senfe to value

Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursu'd,

Not funk by floth, nor rais'd by fervitude;
To balance Fortune by a juft expence,
Join with Oeconomy, Magnificence;

With Splendor, Charity; with Plenty, Health; 225
Oh teach us, BATHURST! yet unfpoil'd by wealth!
That fecret rare, between th' extremes to move
Of mad Good-nature, and of mean Self-love.

VARIATIONS.

After 226. in the MS.

That fecret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
Which W-n lost, yet B—y ne'er could find ;
Still mifs'd by Vice, and scarce by Virtue hit,
By G's goodness, or by S-'s wit.

COMMENTARY.

the Prodigal, the Senfe 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 fhould confider himself as the fubftitute of Providence in this unequal diftribution 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 flides naturally into the profecution of his subject. in an Example of the true Use of Riches.

NOTES.

Riches, is not, in the Citymeaning, the Senfe in valuing them: For as Riches may be enjoyed without Art, and imparted with Virtue, fo they may

I be valued without Senfe. That man therefore only fhews he has the fenfe to value Riches, who keeps what he has acquired, in order to enjoy one part

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