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Old Cotta sham'd his fortune and his birth,
COMMENTARY: Ver. 177. Old Cotta sam’d his furtune &c.] The poet now proceeds to support the principles of his Philosophy by examples : But before we come to these, it will be necessary to look back upon the general economy of the
poem. In the first part, to y 109, the use and abuse of Riches are satirically delivered in precept. From thence, to ý 177, the causes of the abuse are philosophically inquired into : And from thence to the end, the use and abuse are historically illustrated in examples. Where we may observe, that the conclusion of the first part, concerning the Miser's cruelty to others, naturally introduces the second, by a satirical apology, shewing that he is full as cruel to himself: The explanation of which extraordinary phenomenon brings the author into the Philosophy of his subject;
But when by Man's audacious labour won,
IMITATIONS. Ver. 182. With foups unbought,]
-dapibus menfas onerabat inemptis. VIRG. P.
To cram the Rich was prodigal expence, 185
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 observation from fact. And thus the Philosophy of his subject standing between his Precepts and Examples, gives strength and light to both, and receives it reflected back again from both.
He first gives us two examples (from ý 176 to 219) of these opposite ruling Paffions, and (to see them in their full force) taken from subjects, as he tells us, not void of wit or worth; from such as could reason themselves (as we fee by * 183, & feqq. and y 205, & feqq ) into the whole length of each extreme: For the poet had observed of the ruling pasion, that
Wit, Spirit, Faculties, but make it worse;
Ellay, 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 Thun will no great knowledge need, But what to follow, is a talk indeed.) 200 Yet sure, of qualities deserving 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 profusion draws, 205 His oxen perilh in his country's cause ; 'Tis GEORGE and LIBERTY that crowns the cup, And Zeal for that great House which eats him up.
NOTES. VER. 199. (For what to not being direct and immediate, fun will no great knowledge they are not easily understood. need, But what to follow, is VER. 201, 202. Yet sure, a task inderd.)] The poet is of qualities deferving praise
, here speaking only of the knows | More go to ruin Fortunes, than ledge gained by experience. to raise.) This, tho' a certain Now there are so many mise- truth, will, as. I apprehend, rable examples of ill conduct, never make its fortune in the that no one, with his eyes City : yet, for all that, the open, can be at a loss to know poet has fully approved his what to bun; but, very invit- maxim in the following deing examples of a good con- fcription. duct are extremely rare : Be- Ver. 203. IV hat faughter'd sides, the mischiefs of folly are hecatombs, &c.] Our author eminent and obvious; but the reprefents this, as it truly fruits of prudence, remote and was designed, a Sacrifice to retired from common obser- the Church, to render it provation ; and if seen at all, yet pitious, in a time of danger, to their dependance on their causes the State. SCRIBL.
The Woods recede around the naked seat,
209 The Sylvans groan—no matter for the Fleet: Next goes
his Woolto clothe our valiant bands, Last, for his Country's love, he sells 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,
After y 218. in the MS.
Where one lean herring furnish'd Cotta's board,
COMMENTARY. VER. 219. The Sense to value Riches, &c.] Having now largely exposed the ABUSE of Riches by example, not only the Plan, but the Philosophy of his Poem, required, that he should in the fame way, shew the Use likewise : He therefore (from y 218 to 249) calls for an EXAMPLE, in which may be found, against
NOTES. VER. 219, 220. The Sense, Tenjoy them, and the Virtue to to value Riches, with the Art, impart.] The Sense' to value
Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursu’d,
That fecret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
COMMENTARY. the Prodigal, the Sense 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 should consider himself as the fubstitute “ of Providence in this unequal distribution of things ; as the “ person who is
To ease, or emulate, the care of Heav'n; • To mend the faults of fortune, or to justify her graces.” And thus the poet slides naturally into the prosecution of his subject. in an Example of the true Use of Riches.
NOTES. Riches, is n10t, in the City- | be valued without Sense. That mcaning, the Sense in valuing man therefore only shews he them: For as Riches may be has the sense to value Riches, enjoyed without Art, and im- who keeps what he has acquirparted with Virtue, so they may ed, in order to enjoy one part