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fion, instead of the Proportion and Harmony of the whole, Ver. 97. and the fecond, either in joining together Parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling, or in the Repetition of the fame too frequently, Ver. 105, &c. A word or two of falfe Tafie in Books, in Mufic, in Painting, even in Preaching and Prayer, and lastly in Entertainments, Ver. 133, &c. Yet PROVIDENCE is justified in giving Wealth to be fquandered in this manner, fince it is difperfed to the Poor and laborious part of mankind, Ver. 169. [recurring to what is laid down in the first book, Ep. ii. and in the Epiftle preceding this, Ver. 159, &c.] What are the proper Objects of Magnificence, and a proper field for the Expence of Great Men, Ver. 177, &c. and finally the Great and Public Works which become Prince, Ver. 191, to the end.
N.Blakey inv.et del.
What brought S." listo's ill-got Wealth to waste? Some Demon whisperdNisto! have a Taste?.
To gain those Riches he can ne'er enjoy :
EPISTLE IV.] The extremes of Avarice and Profufion being treated of in the foregoing Epiftle; this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the Vanity of Expence in people of wealth and condition; and is therefore a corollary to the preceding, just as the Epiftle on the Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge and Characters of Men. It is equally eftimable for exactness of method with the rest. But the nature of the subject, which is lefs philofophical, makes it capable of being analyfed in a lefs compafs.
VER. I. 'Tis frange, &c.] The Poet's introduction (from Ver. 1 to 39.) confifts of a very curious remark, arising from his intimate knowledge of nature; together with an illustration of that remark, taken from his obfervations on life. It is this, that the Prodigal no more enjoys his profufion, than the Mifer his rapacity. It was generally thought that Avarice only kept, without enjoyment; but the Poet here first acquaints us with a circumstance in human life much more to be lamented, viz. that Profufion too can communicate, without it; whereas Enjoyment was thought to be as peculiarly the reward of the beneficent paffions (of which this has the appearance) as want of enjoyment was the punishment of the selfish. The phænomenon obferved is odd enough. But if we look more narrowly into this matter, we shall find, that Prodigality, when in pursuit of Taste, is only a mode of vanity, and
Not for himself he fees, or hears, or eats; 5 Artists much chufe his Pictures, Mufic, Meats: He buys for Topham, Drawings and Designs, For Pembroke, Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins;
confequently as felfish a paffion as even Avarice itself; and it is of the ordonnance and conftitution of all selfish paffions, when growing to an excefs, to defeat their own end, which is Selfenjoyment. But befides the accurate philofophy of this obfervation, there is a fine morality contained in it; namely, that ill-got Wealth is not only as unreasonably, but as uncomfortably, fquandered, as it was raked together; which the Poet hims felf further infinuates in Ver. 15.
"What brought Sir Vifto's ill-got wealth to waste ?"
He then illustrates the above obfervation by divers exam. ples in every branch of wrong Tafte; and to fet their abfurdities in the strongest light, he, in conclufion, contrasts them with several inftances of the true, in the Nobleman to whom the Epiftle is addreffed. This difpofition is productive of various beauties; for, by this means, the introduction becomes an epitome of the body of the Epiftle; which, as we shall see, confifts of general reflections on Tafte, and particular examples of bad and good. And his friend's example concluding the introduction, leads the Poet gracefully into the subject itfelf; for the Lord, here celebrated for his good Tafte, was now at hand to deliver the first and fundamental precept of it himself, which gives authority and dignity to all that follow,
VER. 7. Topham] A Gentleman famous for a judicious collection of Drawings. P.
VER. 8. For Pembroke, Statues, dirty Gods, and Coins] The Author fpeaks here not as a philofopher, or divine, but as a Connoiffeur and Antiquary only; confequently, the dirty