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IN FOUR EPISTLES TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
Impediat verbis lassas onerantibus aures :
Et sermone opus est modo tristi, sæpe jocoso,
Defendente vicem modo Rhetoris atque Poëtæ,
Interdum urbani, parcentis viribus, atque
Extenuantis eas consulto.
TO SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, L. COBHAM.
OF THE KNOWLEDGE AND CHARACTERS
YES, you despise the man to books confin'd,
Who from his study rails at human-kind;
Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance
Some general maxims, or be right by chance.
The coxcomb bird, so talkative and grave,
That from his cage cries cuckold, whore, and knave,
Though many a passenger he rightly call,
You hold him no philosopher at all.
And yet the fate of all extremes is such,
Men may be read, as well as books, too much.
To observations which ourselves we make,
We grow more partial for th' observer's sake;
To written wisdom, as another's, less:
Maxims are drawn from notions, these from guess.
There's some peculiar in each leaf and grain,
Some unmark'd fibre, or some varying vein :
Shall only man be taken in the gross?
Grant but as many sorts of mind as moss.
That each from other differs, first confess;
Next, that he varies from himself no less;
Add nature's, custom's, reason's, passion's strife,
And all opinion's colors cast on life.
Our depths who fathoms, or our shallows finds,
Quick whirls, and shifting eddies, of our minds?
On human actions reason though you can,
It may be reason, but it is not man:
His principle of action once explore,
That instant 'tis his principle no more.
Like following life through creatures you dissect,
You lose it in the moment you detect.
I. That it is not sufficient for this knowledge to
consider man in the abstract: books will not
serve the purpose, nor yet our own experience
singly. General maxims, unless they be formed
upon both, will be but notional. Some pecu-
liarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet
varying from himself. Difficulties arising from
our own passions, fancies, faculties. The short-
ness of life to observe in, and the uncertainty of
the principles of action in men to observe by.
Our own principle of action often hid from our:
selves. Some few characters plain, but in general
confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent. The
same man utterly different in different places and
seasons. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greatest.
Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature.
No judging of the motives from the actions; the
same actions proceeding from contrary motives,
and the same motives influencing contrary ac-
tions. II. Yet, to form characters, we can only
take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try
to make them agree: the utter uncertainty of
this, from nature itself, and from policy. Charac-
ters given according to the rank of men of the
world and some reason for it. Education alters
the nature, or at least character of many. Ac- At half mankind when generous Manly raves,
tions, passions, opinions, manners, humors, or prin- All know 'tis virtue, for he thinks them knaves;
ciples, all subject to change. No judging by When universal homage Umbra pays,
nature. III. It only remains to find (if we can) All see 'tis vice, an itch of vulgar praise.
his ruling passion: that will certainly influence When flattery glares, all hate it in a queen,
all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or While one there is who charms us with his spleen.
real inconsistency of all his actions. Instanced
in the extraordinary character of Clodio. A cau-
tion against mistaking second qualities for first,
which will destroy all possibility of the know-
ledge of mankind. Examples of the strength of
the ruling passion, and its continuation to the last
True, some are open, and to all men known;
Others, so very close, they're hid from none;
(So darkness strikes the sense no less than light,)
Thus gracious Chandos is belov'd at sight;
And every child hates Shylock, though his soul
Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.
The optics seeing, as the objects seen.
Yet more; the difference is as great between
All manners take a tincture from our own;
Or come discolor'd through our passions shown.
Or Fancy's beam enlarges, multiplies,
Contracts, inverts, and gives ten thousand dyes.
Nor will life's stream for observation stay,
hurries all too fast to mark their way:
In vain sedate reflections we would make,
When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take
Oft, in the passion's wild rotation tost,
Our spring of action to ourselves is lost:
Tir'd, not determin'd, to the last we yield,
And what comes then is master of the field.
As the last image of that troubled heap,
When sense subsides and fancy sports in sleep,
(Though past the recollection of the thought,)
Becomes the stuff of which our dream is wrought:
Something as dim to our internal view,
Is thus, perhaps, the cause of most we do.
But these plain characters we rarely find:
Though strong the bent, yet quick the turns of mind,
Or puzzling contraries confound the whole;
Or affectations quite reverse the soul.
The dull, flat falsehood serves for policy;
And, in the cunning, truth itself's a lie:
Unthought-of frailties cheat us in the wise;
The fool lies hid in inconsistencies.
See the same man, in vigor, in the gout
Alone, in company; in place, or out;
Early at business, and at hazard late;
Mad at a fox-chase, wise at a debate;
Drunk at a borough, civil at a ball;
Friendly at Hackney, faithless at Whitehall.
Catius is ever moral, ever grave,
Thinks who endures a knave, is next a knave
Save just at dinner-then prefers, no doubt, A rogue with venison to a saint without.
Who would not praise Patricio's high desert,
His hand unstain'd, his uncorrupted heart,
His comprehensive head! all interests weigh'd,
All Europe sav'd, yet Britain not betray'd.
He thanks you not, his pride is in piquette,
Newmarket fame, and judgment at a bet.
What made (say, Montagne, or more sage Charron!)
Otho a warrior, Cromwell a buffoon?
A perjured prince a leaden saint revere,
A godless regent tremble at a star?
The throne a bigot keep, a genius quit,
Faithless through piety, and dup'd through wit?
Europe a woman, child, or dotard rule,
And just her wisest monarch made a fool?
Know, God and Nature only are the same:
In man, the judgment shoots a flying game;
A bird of passage! gone as soon as found,
Now in the Moon perhaps, now under ground.
In vain the sage, with retrospective eye,
Would from th' apparent what conclude the why,
Infer the motive from the deed, and show,
That what we chanc'd, was what we meant to do.
Behold if Fortune or a mistress frowns,
Some plunge in business, others shave their crowns;
To ease the soul of one oppressive weight,
This quits an empire, that embroils a state:
The same adust complexion has impell'd
Charles to the convent, Philip to the field.
Not always actions show the man: we find Who does a kindness, is not therefore kind : Perhaps prosperity becalm'd his breast, Perhaps the wind just shifted from the east: Not therefore humble he who seeks retreat, Pride guides his steps, and bids him shun the great: Who combats bravely is not therefore brave, He dreads a death-bed like the meanest slave: Who reasons wisely is not therefore wise, His pride in reasoning, not in acting, lies.
But grant that actions best discover man;
Take the most strong, and sort them as you can.
The few that glare, each character must mark,
You balance not the many in the dark.
What will you do with such as disagree?
Suppress them, or miscall them policy?
Must then at once (the character to save)
The plain rough hero turn a crafty knave?
Alas! in truth the man but chang'd his mind,
Perhaps was sick, in love, or had not din'd.
Ask why from Britain Cæsar would retreat?
Cæsar himself might whisper, he was beat.
Why risk the world's great empire for a punk?
Cæsar perhaps might answer, he was drunk.
But, sage historians! 'tis your task to prove
One action, conduct; one, heroic love.
"Tis from high life high characters are drawn: A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn;
A judge is just, a chancellor juster still;
A gownman learn'd; a bishop, what you will;
Wise, if a minister; but, if a king,
More wise, more learn'd, more just, more every thing.
Court-virtues bear, like gems, the highest rate,
Born where Heaven's influence scarce can penetrate:
In life's low vale, the soil the virtues like,
They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
Though the same Sun with all diffusive rays
Blush in the rose, and in the diamond blaze,
We prize the stronger effort of his power,
And justly set the gem above the flower.
"Tis education forms the common mind; Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclin'd. Boastful and rough, your first son is a 'squire ; The next a tradesman meek, and much a liar: Tom struts a soldier, open, bold, and brave; Will sneaks a scrivener, an exceeding knave: Is he a churchman? then he's fond of power: A quaker? sly: a presbyterian? sour:
A smart free-thinker? all things in an hour.
Ask men's opinions: Scoto now shall tell
How trade increases, and the world goes well;
Strike off his pension, by the setting sun,
And Britain, if not Europe, is undone.
That gay free-thinker, a fine talker once,
What turns him now a stupid, silent dunce?
Some god, or spirit, he has lately found;
Or chanc'd to meet a minister that frown'd.
Judge we by nature? habit can efface,
Interest o'ercome, or policy take place:
By actions? those uncertainty divides:
By passions? these dissimulation hides:
Opinions? they still take a wider range :
Find, if you can, in what you cannot change.
Manners with fortunes, humors turn with
Tenets with books, and principles with times.
Search then the ruling passion: there, alone,
The wild are constant, and the cunning known;
The fool consistent, and the false sincere;
Priests, princes, women, no dissemblers here.
This clue once found, unravels all the rest,
The prospect clears, and Wharton stands confest.
Wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days,
Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise;
Born with whate'er could win it from the wise,
Women and fools must like him, or he dies:
Though wondering senates hung on all he spoke,
The club must hail him master of the joke.
Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?
He'll shine a Tully and a Wilmot too.
Then turns repentant, and his God adores
With the same spirit that he drinks and whores;
Enough if all around him but admire,
And now the punk applaud, and now the friar.
Thus with each gift of Nature and of Art,
And wanting nothing but an honest heart;
Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt;
And most contemptible, to shun contempt;
His passion still, to covet general praise;
His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways;
A constant bounty, which no friend has made;
An angel tongue, which no man can persuade;
A fool, with more of wit than half mankind,
Too rash for thought, for action too refin'd:
A tyrant to the wife his heart approves;
A rebel to the very king he loves;
He dies, sad outcast of each church and state,
And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great.
Ask you why Wharton broke through every rule?
"Twas all for fear the knaves should call him foo
Nature well known, no prodigies remain,
Comets are regular, and Wharton plain.
Yet, in this search, the wisest may mistake,
If second qualities for first they take.
When Catiline by rapine swell'd his store;
When Cresar made a noble dame a whore;
In this the lust, in that the avarice,
Were means, not ends; ambition was the vice.
That very Cæsar, born in Scipio's days,
Had aim'd, like him, by chastity, at praise.
Lucullus, when frugality could charm,
Had roasted turnips in the Sabine farm.
In vain the observer eyes the builder's toil,
But quite mistakes the scaffold for the pile.
In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
As fits give vigor, just when they destroy.
Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand,
Yet tames not this; it sticks to our last sand.
Consistent in our follies and our sins,
Here honest Nature ends as she begins.
Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in business to the last;
As weak, as earnest; and as gravely out,
As sober Lanesborow dancing in the gout.
Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race,
Shoy'd from the wall perhaps, or rudely press'd
By his own son, that passes by unbless'd:
Still to his wench he crawls on knocking knees,
And envies every sparrow that he sees.
A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate; The doctor call'd, declares all help too late: Mercy" cries Helluo, "mercy on my soul! Is there no hope ?-Alas!-then bring the jowl."
The frugal crone, whom praying priests attend, Still strives to save the hallow'd taper's end, Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires, For one puff more, and in that puff expires.
"Odious! in woollen! 'twould a saint provoke," (Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke,) No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace, Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face: One would not, sure, be frightful when one's deadAnd-Betty-give this cheek a little red."
The courtier smooth, who forty years had shin'd An humble servant to all human-kind, [stir, Just brought out this, when scarce his tongue could "If where I'm going-I could serve you, sir!"
"I give and I devise" (old Euclio said, And sigh'd)" my lands and tenements to Ned." Your money, sir?" My money, sir, what all? Why, if I must"-(then wept) "I give it Paul." The manor, sir?-"The manor! hold," he cried. "Not that I cannot part with that,"-and died.
And you! brave Cobham, to the latest breath, Shall feel your ruling passion strong in death: Such in those moments as in all the past,
To make a wash, would hardly stew a child;
Has ev'n been prov'd to grant a lover's prayer,
And paid a tradesman once to make him stare;
Gave alms at Easter, in a Christian trim,
And made a widow happy, for a whim.
Why then declare good-nature is her scorn,
When 'tis by that alone she can be borne?
Why pique all mortals, yet affect a name?
"Oh, save my country, Heaven!" shall be your last. A fool to pleasure, yet a slave to fame:
OF THE CHARACTERS OF WOMEN. NOTHING So true as what you once let fall, 66 Most women have no characters at all." Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear, And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair. How many pictures of one nymph we view, All how unlike each other, all how true! Arcadia's countess, here, in ermin'd pride, Is, there, Pastora by a fountain side. Here Fannia, leering on her own good man, And there, a naked Leda with a swan. Let then the fair-one beautifully cry, In Magdalene's loose hair, and lifted eye, Or drest in smiles of sweet Cecilia shine, With simpering angels, palms, and harps divine;
Whether the charmer sinner it, or saint it,
If folly grow romantic, I must paint it.
Come then, the colors and the ground prepare!
Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air;
Choose a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it
Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.
Rufa, whose eye, quick glancing o'er the Park,
Attracts each light gay meteor of a spark,
Agrees as ill with Rufa studying Locke,
As Sappho's diamonds with her dirty smock;
Or Sappho at her toilet's greasy task,
With Sappho fragrant at an evening mask :
So morning insects, that in muck begun,
Shine, buzz, and fly-blow in the setting-sun.
How soft is Silia! fearful to offend; The frail-one's advocate, the weak-one's friend. To her Calista prov'd her conduct nice, And good Simplicius asks of her advice. Sudden, she storms! she raves! You tip the wink, But spare your censure; Silia does not drink. All eyes may see from what the change arose, All eyes may see-a pimple on her nose.
Papillia, wedded to her amorous spark,
Sighs for the shades-" How charming is a park!"
A park is purchas'd, but the fair he sees
All bath'd in tears-"Oh odious, odious trees!"
Ladies, like variegated tulips, show,
'Tis to their changes half their charms we owe;
Fine by defect, and delicately weak,
Their happy spots the nice admirer take.
'Twas thus Calypso once each heart alarm'd,
Aw'd without virtue, without beauty charm'd;
Her tongue bewitch'd as oddly as her eyes,
Less wit than mimic, more a wit than wise;
Strange graces still, and stranger flights she had,
Was just not ugly, and was just not mad;
Yet ne'er so sure our passion to create,
As when she touch'd the brink of all we hate.
Narcissa's nature, tolerably mild,
Now deep in Taylor and the Book of Martyrs,
Now drinking citron with his grace and Chartres;
Now conscience chills her, and now passion burns,
And atheism and religion take their turns;
A very heathen in the carnal part,
Yet still a sad good Christian at her heart.
See Sin in state, majestically drunk, Proud as a peeress, prouder as a punk; Chaste to her husband, frank to all beside, A teeming mistress, but a barren bride. What then? let blood and body bear the fault, Her head's untouch'd, that noble seat of thought; Such this day's doctrine-in another fit She sins with poets through pure love of wit. What has not fir'd her bosom or her brain? Cæsar and Tall-boy, Charles and Charlemagne. As Helluo, late dictator of the feast, The nose of Haut-gout, and the tip of Taste, Critiqu'd your wine, and analyz'd your meat, Yet on plain pudding deign'd at home to eat: So Philomede, lecturing all mankind On the soft passion, and the taste refin'd,
Th' address, the delicacy-stoops at once,
And makes her hearty meal upon a dunce.
Flavia 's a wit, has too much sense to pray;
To toast our wants and wishes, is her way;
Nor asks of God, but of her stars, to give
The mighty blessing, "while we live, to live."
Then all for death, that opiate of the soul!
Lucretia's dagger, Rosamonda's bowl.
Say, what can cause such impotence of mind?
A spark too fickle, or a spouse too kind?
Turn then from wits; and look on Simo's mate,
No ass so meek, no ass so obstinate.
Wise wretch! with pleasures too refin'd to please; Virtue she finds too painful an endeavor,
With too much spirit to be e'er at ease;
Content to dwell in decencies for ever.
With too much quickness ever to be taught; So very reasonable, so unmov'd,
With too much thinking to have common thought: As never yet to love, or to be lov'd.
You purchase pain with all that joy can give, She, while her lover pants upon her breast,
And die of nothing but a rage to live.
Can mark the figures on an Indian chest;
And when she sees her friend in deep despair,
Observes how much a chintz exceeds mohair.
Forbid it, Heaven, a favor or a debt
She e'er should cancel-but she may forget.
Safe is your secret still in Chloe's ear;
But none of Chloe's shall you ever hear.
Of all her dears she never slander'd one,
But cares not if a thousand are undone.
Would Chloe know if you're alive or dead?
She bids her footman put it in her head.
Chloe is prudent-Would you too be wise?
Then never break your heart when Chloe dies.
Or her, that owns her faults, but never mends,
Because she's honest, and the best of friends.
Or her, whose life the church and scandal share,
For ever in a passion, or a prayer.
Or her, who laughs at Hell, but (like her grace)
Cries, "Ah! how charming, if there's no such
Or who in sweet vicissitude appears
Of mirth and opium, ratafie and tears,
The daily anodyne, and nightly draught,
To kill those foes to fair-ones, time and thought.
Woman and fool are too hard things to hit;
For true no-meaning puzzles more than wit.
But what are these to great Atossa's mind?
Scarce once herself, by turns all woman-kind!
Who, with herself, or others, from her birth
Finds all her life one warfare upon Earth :
Shines, in exposing knaves, and painting fools,
Yet is, whate'er she hates and ridicules.
No thought advances, but her eddy brain
Whisks it about, and down it goes again.
Full sixty years the world has been her trade,
The wisest fool much time has ever made.
From loveless youth to unrespected age,
No passion gratified, except her rage,
So much the fury still outran the wit,
The pleasure mist her, and the scandal hit.
Who breaks with her, provokes revenge
But he's a bolder man who dares be well.
Her every turn with violence pursued,
Nor more a storm her hate than gratitude:
To that each passion turns, or soon or late;
Love, if it makes her yield, must make her hate:
Superiors? death! and equals? what a curse!
But an inferior not dependant? worse.
Offend her, and she knows not to forgive;
Oblige her, and she'll hate you while you live:
But die, and she'll adore you-Then the bust
And temple rise-then fall again to dust.
Last night, her lord was all that's good and great;]
A knave this morning, and his will a cheat.
Strange! by the means defeated of the ends,
By spirit robb'd of power, by warmth of friends,
By wealth of followers! without one distress
Sick of herself, through very selfishness!
Atossa, curs'd with every granted prayer,
Childless with all her children, wants an heir.
To heirs unknown descends th' unguarded store,
Or wanders, Heaven-directed, to the poor.
Pictures, like these, dear madam, to design,
Asks no firm hand, and no unerring line;
Some wandering touches, some reflected light,
Some flying stroke alone can hit them right:
For how should equal colors do the knack?
Chameleons who can paint in white and black?
Yet Chloe sure was form'd without a spot."-
Nature in her then err'd not, but forgot.
With every pleasing, every prudent part,
Say, what can Chloe want?"-She wants a heart.
She speaks, behaves, and acts just as she ought;
But never, never reach'd one generous thought.
One certain portrait may (I grant) be seen,
Which Heaven has varnish'd out, and made a queen:
The same for ever! and describ'd by all
With truth and goodness, as with crown and ball.
Poets heap virtues, painters gems at will,
And show their zeal, and hide their want of skill.
"Tis well-but, artists! who can paint or write,
To draw the naked is your true delight.
That robe of quality so struts and swells,
None see what parts of Nature it conceals:
Th' exactest traits of body or of mind,
We owe to models of an humble kind.
If Queensberry to strip there's no compelling,
'Tis from a handmaid we must take a Helen.
From peer or bishop 'tis no easy thing
To draw the man who loves his God, or king:
Alas! I copy (or my draught would fail)
from From honest Mah'met, or plain parson Hale.
But grant, in public, men sometimes are shown,
A woman's seen in private life alone:
Our bolder talents in full life display'd;
Your virtues open fairest in the shade.
Bred to disguise, in public 'tis you hide;
There, none distinguish 'twixt your shame or pride,
Weakness or delicacy; all so nice,
That each may seem a virtue, or a vice.
In men, we various ruling passions find;
In women, two almost divide the kind:
Those, only fix'd, they first or last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.
That, Nature gives; and where the lesson taught
Is but to please, can pleasure seem a fault?
Experience, this; by man's oppression curst,
They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to business, some to pleasure take;
But every woman is at heart a rake:
Men, some to quiet, some to public strife;
But every lady would be queen for life.
Yet mark the fate of a whole sex of queens!
Power all their end, but beauty all the means:
In youth they conquer with so wild a rage,
As leaves them scarce a subject in their age:
For foreign glory, foreign joy, they roam;
No thought of peace or happiness at home.
But wisdom's triumph is well-tim'd retreat,
As hard a science to the fair as great!
Beauties, like tyrants, old and friendless grown,
Yet hate repose, and dread to be alone,
Worn out in public, weary every eye,
Nor leave one sigh behind them when they die.
Pleasures the sex, as children birds, pursue,
Still out of reach, yet never out of view;
Sure, if they catch, to spoil the toy at most,
To covet flying, and regret when lost:
At last, to follies youth could scarce defend,
It grows their age's prudence to pretend;
Asham'd to own they gave delight before,
Reduc'd to feign it, when they give no more.
As hags hold sabbaths, less for joy than spite,
So these their merry, miserable night;
Still round and round the ghosts of beauty glide,
And haunt the places where their honor died.
See how the world its veterans rewards!
A youth of frolics, an old-age of cards:
Fair to no purpose, artful to no end;
Young without lovers, old without a friend;
A fop their passion, but their prize a sot;
Alive, ridiculous; and dead, forgot!
Ah! friend! to dazzle let the vain design;
To raise the thought, and touch the heart, be thine!
That charm shall grow, while what fatigues the ring,
Flaunts and goes down, an unregarded thing:
So when the Sun's broad beam has tir'd the sight,
All mild ascends the Moon's more sober light,
Serene in virgin modesty she shines,
And unobserv'd the glaring orb declines.
TO ALLEN, LORD BATHURST.
That it is known to few, most falling into one of the extremes, avarice or profusion. The point discussed, whether the invention of money has been more commodious or pernicious to mankind. That riches, either to the avaricious or the prodigal, cannot afford happiness, scarcely necessaries. That avarice is an absolute frenzy, without an end or purpose. Conjectures about the motives of avaricious men. That the conduct of men, with respect to riches, can only be accounted for by the order of Providence, which works the general good out of extremes, and brings all to its great end by perpetual revolutions. How a miser acts upon principles which appear to him reasonable. How a prodigal does the same. The due medium, and true use of riches. The Man of Ross. The fate of the profuse and the covetous, in two examples; both miserable in life and in death. The story of Sir Balaam.
P. WHO shall decide when doctors disagree,
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
You hold the word, from Jove to Momus given,
That man was made the standing jest of Heaven;
And gold but sent to keep the fools in play,
For some to heap, and some to throw away.
Oh! blest with temper, whose unclouded ray
Can make to-morrow cheerful as to-day:
She, who can love a sister's charms, or hear
Sighs for a daughter with unwounded ear;
She who ne'er answers till a husband cools,
Or, if she rules him, never shows she rules;
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways,
Yet has her humor most, when she obeys;
Let fops or Fortune fly which way they will,
Disdains all loss of tickets, or codille;
Spleen, vapors, or small-pox, above them all,
And mistress of herself, though china fall.
And yet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at best a contradiction still.
Heaven when it strives to polish all it can
Its last best work, but forms a softer man;
Picks from each sex, to make the favorite blest,
Your love of pleasure, our desire of rest:
Blends, in exception to all general rules,
Your taste of follies, with our scorn of fools:
Reserve with frankness, art with truth allied,
Courage with softness, modesty with pride;
Fix'd principles, with fancy ever new;
Shakes all together, and produces-you.
Be this a woman's fame! with this unblest,
Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest.
This Phoebus promis'd (I forget the year)
When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphere;
Ascendant Phoebus watch'd that hour with care,
Averted half your parents' simple prayer;
And gave you beauty, but denied the pelf
That buys your sex a tyrant o'er itself.
The generous god, who wit and gold refines,
And ripens spirits as he ripens mines,
Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it, Blest Paper-credit! last and best supply!
To you gave sense, good-humor, and a poet. That lends Corruption lighter wings to fly!
But I, who think more highly of our kind,
(And, surely, Heaven and I are of a mind,)
Opine, that Nature, as in duty bound,
Deep hid the shining mischief under ground:
But when, by man's audacious labor won,
Flam'd forth this rival too, its sire, the Sun,
Then careful Heaven supplied two sorts of men,
To squander these, and those to hide again.
Like doctors thus, when much dispute has past,
We find our tenets just the same at last.
Both fairly owning, riches, in effect,
No grace of Heaven, or token of th' elect;
Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil,
To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil.
B. What nature wants, commodious gold bestows "Tis thus we eat the bread another sows.
P. But how unequal it bestows, observe;
'Tis thus we riot, while, who sow it, starve:
What nature wants (a phrase I must distrust)
Extends to luxury, extends to lust:
Useful, I grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark assassin hires.
B. Trade it may help, society extend:
P. But lures the pirate, and corrupts the friend.
B. It raises armies in a nation's aid:
P. But bribes a senate, and the land's betray'd.
In vain may heroes fight, and patriots rave,
If secret gold sap on from knave to knave.
Once we confess, beneath the patriot's cloak,
From the crack'd bag the dropping Guinea spoke,
And jingling down the back-stairs, told the crew,
Old Cato is as great a rogue as you."