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by perpetual Revolutions, Ver. 161 to 178. How a Miser aets upon Principles which appear to him reafonable, Ver. 179. How a Prodigal does the same, Ver. 199. The due Medium, and true Use of Riches, 219. The Man of Ross, Ver. 250. The fate of the Profuse and the Covetous, in two examples; both aniserable in Life and in Death, Ver. 300, &c. The Story of Sir Balaam, Ver. 339 to the End.
Vol. III. facing p. 273
N.Blakcy inv.s dit
Gichin frulp.. Who sees pale Mammon pine amidsthis Store, Sees but'a backward Steward for the Poor;n This Year a Reservoir, to keep and spare She rrext, a Fountain,apouting thro his Heira
E PIST E
HO shall decide, when Doctors dif
agree, And soundest Casuists doubt, like you and me? You hold the word, from Jove to Momus giv'n, That Man was made the standing jest of Heav'n;
COMMENTARY. Epistle III.) This epistle was written after a violent outcry against our Author, on a supposition that he had ridiculed a worthy nobleman merely for his wrong taste. He justified himself upon that article in a letter to the Earl of Burlington ; at the end of which are these words: " I have learnt that “ there are some who would rather be wicked than ridicu" lous; and therefore it may be safer to attack vices than a follies. I will therefore leave my betters in the quiet pof“ feffion of their idols, their groves, and their high places, " and change my subject from their pride to their meanness,
from their vanities to their miseries; and as the only cer“ tain way to avoid misconstructions, to lesien offence, and “ not to multiply ill natured applications, I may probably, “ in my next, make use of real names instead of fictitious
Ver. 1. Who shall decide, &c.] The address of the introduce tion (from Ver. I to 21.) is remarkable: The Poet represents himself, and the noble Lord, his friend, as in a free con
NOT E s. Ver. 3. Momus giv'n,] Amongst the earliest abuses of reason, one of the first was to cavil at the ways of Providence. But as, in those times, every vice as well as virtue, had its Patron-God, MOMUS came to be at the head of the old Freethinkers. Him, the Mythologists very ingeniously made the VOL. III.
And Gold but sent to keep the fools in play, 5 For some to heap, and some to throw away.
But I, who think more highly of our kind, (And surely, Heav'n and I are of a mind) Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound, Deep hid the shining mischief under ground : 10
COMMENTARY. versation, philosophizing on the final cause of Riches; and it proceeds by way of dialogue, which most writers have employed to hide the want of method; our Author uses it only to foften and enliven the dryness and severity of it. You (says the Poet).
-" hold the wold from Jove to Momus givin, « But I, who think more highly of our kind,
Opine, that Nature,” &c. As much as to say, “You, my Lord, hold the subject we are upon, as fit only for SATIRE; I, on the contrary, esteem it a case of Philosophy, and profound Ethics: But as we both agree in the main Principle, that Riches were not given for the reward of Virtue, but for very different purposes
. (See Elay on Man, Ep. iv.) let us compromise the matter, and consider the subject both under your idea and mine in conjunc. tion, i e. Satyrically and Philosophically." --And this, in fact, we shall find to be the true character of this poem, which is. a Species peculiar to itself; and partakes equally of the na
NO TE s. Son of Sleep and Nisht; and so, consequently, half-brother to Duksess. But having been much employed, in after ages, by the Greek Satyrists, he came at last to pass for a Wit: and under this Idea, he is to be considered in the place before us.
VER.9. Opine] A term sacred to controversy and high debate.
Ver. ib.--that Nature, as in duty b:und.) This, though ludicrously, is yet exactly, expressed; to fhew, that, by Nature, the Poet meant, not the God of nature, but the inftrument and fubiiitute of his providence.