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What late he call’d a Blessing, now was Wit,
A Nymph of Quality admires our Knight; 385 He marries, bows at Court, and grows polite:
Ver. 377. What late he call'da Blefling, now was IV it, &c.] This is an admirable picture of human nature: În the entrance on life, all, but coxcombs born, are modest; and esteem the favours of their superiors to be marks of their benevolence: But, if these favours happen to increase ; then, instead of advancing in gratitude to our benefactors, we only improve in the good opinion of ourselves; and the constant returns of such favours make us consider them no longer as accommodations to our wants, or the hire of our service, but debts due to our merit : Yet, at the same time, to do justice to our common nature, we should observe, that this does not proceed so often from downright vice as is imagined, but frequently from mere infirmity; of which, the reason is evident; for, having small knowledge, and yet an excessive opinion, o ourselves, we estimate our merit by the passions and caprice of others; and this perhaps would not be so much amiss, were we not apt to take their favours for a declaration of the sense of our merits. How often, for instance, has it been seen, in the several learned Professions, that a Man, who, had he continued in his primeval meanness, would have circumscribed his knowledge within the modest límits of Socrates; yet, being
Leaves the dull Cits and joins (to please the fair)
push'd up, as the phrase is, has felt himself growing into a Hooker, a Ilales, or a Sydenham; while, in the rapidity of his course, he imagined he saw, at every new station, a new door of science opening to him, without so much as staying for a Flatterer to let him in?
- Beatus enim jam
watquc unum civem donare Sibyllæ Juv.
The Devil and the King divide the prize,
NOTES VER.401. The Devil and the King divide the Prize.] This is to be understood in a very sober and decent sense; as a Satire only on such Ministers of State which History informs us have been found, who aided the Devil in his temptations, in order to foment, if not to make, Plots for the sake of confiscations. So sure always, and just is our author's fatire, even in those places where he seems most to have indulged himself only in an elegant badinage. But this Satire on the abuse of the general Laws of forfeiture for high treason, which all well-policied communities have found expedient to provide themselves withal, is by no means to be understood as a reflexion on the Laws themselves, whose necessity, equity, and even lenity have been excellently well vindicated in that very learned and elegant Dircourse, intitled Some considerations on the Law of Forfeiture for high Treason. Third Edition, London 1748.
Ver. ult.--curses God and dies.] i. e. Fell under the tempa tation; alluding to the story of Job referred to above.
EPI S T L E IV.
Τ ο Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington,
A R G U M E N T.
Of the Use of RICHES, The Vanity of Expence in People of Wealth and Quclity.
The abuse of the word Taste, x 13. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is Good Sense, x 40. The chief proof of it is to follow Nature, even in works of mere Luxury and Elegance. Instanced in Architecture and Gardening, where all must be adapted to the Genius and Use of the Place, 'and the Beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it, ý 50. How men are disappointed in their mojt expensive undertakings, for want of this true Foundation, without which nothing can please long, if at all; and the best Examples and Rules will but be perverted into something burdensome or ridiculous, x 65, &c. to 92. A description of the false Taste of Magnificence; the first grand Error of which is to imagine that Greatness consists in the Size and Dimenlion, inftaud of the Proportion and Harmony of the whole, 1 97. and the second, either in joining together Parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling, or in the Repetition of the same too frequently, x 105, &c. A word or two of false Taste in Books, in Music, iit Painting, even in Preaching and Prayer, and lastly in Entertainments, x 133, &c. Yet PROVIDENCE is justified in giving Wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and Laborious part of mankind, x 169. [recurring to what is laid down in the first book, Ep. ii. and in the Epistle preceding this, $ 159, &c.] What are the proper Objects of Magnificence, and a proper field for the Expence of Great Men, * 177, &c. and finally the Great and Public Works which become a Prince, w 191, to the end.