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Afk we what makes one keep, and one bestow?
VER. 173. This
may be both useful and ornamental amongst the other improvements of art; yet in a State of Nature either kind of excefs would be pernicious; because, in that State, the quantity of natural goods, unimproved by art, would not fuffer, without great danger of want to the whole body, either an immoderate hoarding, or a lavish profufion. And therefore Providence has wifely ordered that, in that State, by there being no fantastic
Old Cotta sham'd his fortune and his birth,
Than Bramins, Saints, and Sages did before;
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 necessary 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 causes of the abuse are philofophically inquired into: And from thence to the end, the ufe and abufe are hiftorically illustrated in examples. Where we may obferve, that the conclusion 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 subject';
wants, there fhould be no pof- | hints at in the beginning of the
But when by Man's audacious labour won,
VER. 182. With foups unbought,]
- dapibus menfas onerabat inemptis. VIRG. P.
To cram the Rich was prodigal expence,
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 fubject standing between his Precepts and Examples, gives ftrength and light to both, and receives it reflected back again from both.
Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse;
He firft gives us two examples (from y 176 to 219) of these oppofite ruling Paffions, and (to see them in their full force) taken from fubjects, as he tells us, not void of wit or worth; from fuch as could reafon themfelves (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
Effay, Ep. ii. 146.
Old Cotta therefore and his Son afforded him the most happy illuftration of his own doctrine.
Not fo his Son, he mark'd this oversight, And then mistook reverse of wrong for right. (For what to fhun 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. What flaughter'd hecatombs, what floods of wine, Fill the capacious Squire, and deep Divine ! Yet no mean motive this profufion draws, 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 up.
VER. 199. (For what to fbun 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 loss 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
they are not eafily understood.
VER. 201, 202. Yet fure, of qualities deferving praise, Mare go 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 seat,
After 218. in the MS.
Where one lean herring furnish'd Cotta's board,
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 fhould 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
VER. 219, 220. The Senfe | T'enjoy them, and the Virtue to to value Riches, with the Art, impart.] The Senfe to value