Alexander Pope.

The poetical works of Alexander Pope. To which is prefixed, a life of the author .. online

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And mistress of herself though china fall.

And jet, believe me, good as well as ill,
Woman's at beat a contradiction still. 270

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 favourite bless'd,
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. 280

Be this a woman's fame ; with this unbless'd,
Toasts live a scorn, and queens may die a jest.
This Phojbus promised, (I forget the year,)
When those blue eyes first open'd on the sphepe;
Ascendant Phcebus watch'd that hour with care.
Averted half your parents' sunple 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, 290

Kept dross for duchesses, the world shall know it,
To you gave sense, good-humour, and a poet.



Of the Use of Rickes.

That it is known to few, most falling into one of the

extremes, avarice or profusion, ver. 1, &c. The point

discussed, whether tlic invenlicn of money has lieen

morct comii.odimisor {icrnicioiis to mankind, vcr.2\ to


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77. That riches, either to the avaridous or the pro-
difal, cannot alford happinen, scarcely necessaries
ver. 89 to 160. That avarice is an absohite frenzy
without an end or purpose, ver. 113, itc. 153. Gonj^-
tures about the motives of avaricious men, ver. 121 tc
153. 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,
ver. 161 to 178. How a miser acts upon ]nrlnciple8
which appear to him reasonable, ver. 179. How a pro-
digal does the same, ver. 199. The true medium, and
true use of riches, ver. 219. The man of Ross, ver.
250. The fate of the profuse and the covetous, in two
examples ; both miserable in life and in death, ver. 30O,
Aic The story of Sir Balaam, ver. 339 to the end.

This qpistle was written after a very violent oatery
against our author, on a supposition that he had ridi-
culed 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 tdat there are some who woald
rather be wicked than ridiculous: and therefore it
may be safer to attack vices than follies. I will there-
fore leave my betters in the quiet possession 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 lessen offence,
and not to multiply ill-natured applications, I may
probably in my next make use of real names instead
of fictitious ones.*

P. Who shall decide when doctors disagree.
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me 7
Yon 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 awav.

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Bat 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 IC

^t when, by man's audacious labour won,
Flamed forth this rival to 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 pass'd.
We find our tenets just the same at last:
Both fairly owning riches, in effect.
No grace of Heaven, of token of the elect:
Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil.
To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the devil. 20

B. What nature wants, commodious gold bestows :
*ris 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 much 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. 90

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,
*01d Cato is as great a rogue as you.'
Bless'd paper credit ! last and best supply !
That lends corruption lighter wings to fly ! 40

Grold, imp'd by thee, can compass hardest things.
Can pocket states, can fetch or carry kings :
A single leaf shall waft an army o'er,
Qr ship off senates to some distant shore;

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A leaf like Sybirs, scatter to and fro
Our fates and fortunes, as the wind shall blow ;
Pl^egnant with thousands flits the scrap unseen.
And silent sells a king or buys a queen.

Oh ! that such bulky bribes as all might see,
Still, as of old, encumber'd villany ! M

Could France or Rome divert our brave designi,
With all their brandies or with all their wines ?
What could they more than knights and 'squires con*

Or water all the quorum ten rpilea round?
A statesman's slumbers how this speech would spoil !
*Sir, Spain has sent a thousand jars of oil;
Huge halea of British cloth blockade the door ;
A hundred oxen at your levee roar.'

Poor avarice one torment more would find ;
Nor could profusion squander all in kind. 60

Astride his cheese Sir Morgan might we meet,
And Worldly crying coals from street to street,
Whom with a wig so wild and mien so mazed,
Pity mistakes for some poor tradesman crazed.
Had Colepepper's whole wealth been hops and hogs.
Could he himself have sent it to the dogs?
His grace will game : to White's a bull be led.
With spuming heels and with a butting head :
To White's be carried, as to ancient games.
Pair coursers, vases, and alluring dames. 70

Shall then Uxorio, if the stakes he sweep.
Bear home six whores, and make his lady weep?
Or soft Adonis, so peifumed and fine.
Drive to St. James's a whole herd of swine 7
O filthy check on all industrious skill.
To spoil the nation's last great trade, quadrille !
Since then, my lord, on such a world we fall,
What say you? B. Say? Why, take it, gold and all.

P. What riches gives us, let us then inquire :
Meat, fire, and clothes. B. What more? P. Meat,
clrithes, and fire. 80

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Is this too little ? would you more than live ?

Alas ! 'tis more than Turner finds they give.

Alas ! 'tis more than (all his visions pass'd)

Unhappy Wharton, waking, found at last !

What can they give ? To dying Hopkins heirs ?

To Chartres vigour ? Japhet nose and ears ?

Can they in gems bid pallid Hippia glow?

In Fulvia's buckle ease the throbs below ?

Or heal, old Narses, thy obscener ail.

With all the embroidery plaster'd at thy tail ? 9C

They might (were Harpax not too wise to spead)

Give Harpax' self the blessing of a friend ;

Or find some doctor that would save the life

Of wretched Shylock, spite of Shylock's wife.

But thousands die, without or this or that.

Die, and endow a college or a cat.

To some, indeed. Heaven grants the happier fate.

To enrich a bastard, or a son they hate.

Perhaps you think the poor might have their part;
Bond damns the poor, and hutes them from his heart :
The grave Sir Gilbert holds it for a rule, 101 /

That every man in want is knave or fool :

• God cannot love,' says Blunt, with tearless eyes,

* The wretch he starves' — and piously denies :
But the good Bishop, with a meeker air.
Admits, and leaves them. Providence's care.

Yet, to be just to these poor men of pelf.
Each does but hate his neighbour as himself:
Damn'd to the mines, an equal fate betides
The slave that digs it, and the slave that hides. 1 10

B. Who suffer thus, mere charity should own,
Must act on motives powerful, though unknown.

P. Some war, some plague, or famine, they foresee,
Some revelation hid from you and me.
Why Shylock wants a meal, the cause is found ;
He thinks a Loaf will rise to fifty pound.
What made directors cheat in South-sea year?
To live on venison when it sold so dear.

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Ask you why Phryne the whole auction bays T
Phiyne foresees a geuera] excise. WO

Why she and Sappho raise that monstrous sum ?
Alas ! they think a man will cost a plum.

Wise Peter sees the world's respect for gold,
And therefore hopes this nation may be sold :
Glorious ambition ! Peter, swell thy store.
And be what Rome's great Didius was before

The crown of Poland, venal twice an age, /

To just three millions stinted modest Gage.
But nobler scenes Maria's dreams unfold,
Hereditary realms, and worlds of gold. 130

Congenial souls ; whose life one avarice joins,
And one fate buries in the Asturian mines.

Much-injured Blunt ! why bears he Britain's hate T
A wizard told him in these words our fate :

* At length corruption, like a general flood
(So long by watchful ministers withstood,}
Shall deluge all ; and avarice creeping on,
Spread like a low-bom mist, and blot the sun ;*
Statesman and patriot ply alike the stocks.
Peeress and butler share alike the box, 140

And judges job, and bishops bite the town.
And mighty dukes pack cards for half-a-crown.
See Britain sunk in lucre's sordid charms.
And France revenged of Anne's and Edward's arms '.'
'Twas no court-badge, great scrivener ! fired thy brain,
Nor lordly luxury, nor city gain :
No, 'twas thy righteous end, ashamed to see
Senates degenerate, patriots disagree.
And nobly wisliing party-rage to cease,
To buy both sides, and give thy country peace. 15G

' All this is madness,* cries a sober sage :
But who, my friend, has reason in his rage ?
The ruling passion, be it what it will.
The ruling passion, conquers reason still.*
Leas mad the wildest whimsey we can frame,
Ulan ev'n that passion, if it has no aim :

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For though each motiyes folly yoa may call,
The foUy'a greater to have none at all.

Hear then the truth: 'Tb Heaven each passion sends
And different men directs to different ends. 160

Extremes in nature equal good produce,
E^remes in man concur to general use.
Ask we what makes one keep^ and one hestow?
That Powet who bids the ocean ebb and flow ;
Bids seed-time, harvest, equal course maintain,
Through reconciled extremes of drought and rain :
Builds life on death, on change duration founds,
And gives the eternal wheels to know their rounds

Riches, like insects, when conceard they lie.
Wait but for wings, and in their season fly. 170

Who sees pale Mamtoion pine amidst bis store,
Sees but a backward steward for the poor;
This year a reservoir to keep and spare.
The next a fountain, spouting through his heir,
In lavish streams to quench a country's thirst,
And men and dogs shall drink him till they burst.

Old Cotta shamed his fortune and his birth.
Yet was not Cotta void of wit or worth :
What though, (the use of baibarous spits foigot,)
His kitchen vied in coolness with his grot ? 180

His court with nettles, moats with cresses stored,
With soups unbooght and salads bless'd his board 7
(f Cotta lived on pulse, it was no more
rhan Bramins, saints, and sages did before :
To cram the rich was prodigal expense.
And who would take the poor from Providence ?
Like some lone Chartreux stands the good old hall.
Silence without, and fasts vtrithin the wall ;
No rafter'd roofs with dance and tabour sound.
No noontide bell invites the country round : 190

Tenants with sighs the smokeless towers survey,
And turn their unwilling steeds another way :
Benighted wanderers, the forest o'er.
Curse the saved candle and unopening door ;

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Whil^ the gaunt mastiff, growling at the gate.
Affrights the beggar whom he longs to eat. .

Not so his son : he marked this overs^ht.
And then mistook reverse of wrong for right:
(For what to shun, will no great knowledge need ;
But what to follow, is a task indeed.) 209

Yet sure, of qualities deserving praise.
More go to ruin fortunes, than to raise.
What slaughtered hecatombs, what floods of wine.
Fill the capacious 'squire, and deep divine !
Yet no mean motive this profusion draws.
His oxen perish in his country's cause ;
'Tis George and liberty that crowns the cup.
And zeal for that great house which eats him up.
The woods recede around the naked seat,
The Sy Ivans groan — ^no matter — ^for the fleet : 210
Next goes his wool>-to 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 bums a pope ;
And shall not Britain now reward his toils,
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
To enjoy them, and the virtue to impart, 22C

Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursued.
Not sunk by sloth, nor raised by servitude ;
To balance fortune by a just expense.
Join with economy, magnificence ;
With splendour charity, with plenty health ;
O teach us, Bathurst ! yet unspoil'd by wealth !
That secret rare, between the extremes to move
Of mad good-nature, and of mean self-love.

B. To worth or want well-weigh'd,be bounty given.
And ease or emulate the care of Heaven ; 230

(Whose measure full o'erflows on human race ;)
Mend fortune's fault, and justify hex grace.

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Wealth in the groaa is death, but ]ife, diffuaed ;
As poiaon heala in just proportion uaed :
In heaps, like ambergris, a stink it lies.
Bat well dispersed, is incense to the skies.

P. Who starves by nobles, or with nobles eats 7
The wretch that trusts them, and the rogae that cheatf.
Is there a lord, who knows a cheerful noon
Without a fiddler, flatterer, or buffoon 7 S40

Whose table, wit or modest merit share,
Unelbow*d fay a gamester, pimp, or player 7
Who copies youra or Oxford's better part.
To ease the oppress^ and raise the sinking heiit 7
Where'er he shines, O Fortune, gild the scene.
And angels guard him in the golden mean !
There, English bounty yet awhile may stand,
And honour linger ere it leayes the land.

But all our praises why should lords engross 7
Rise, honest muse ! and sing the Man or Ross : 2flO
Pleased Vaga echoes through her winding bounds,
And rapid Severn hoarse applause resounds.
Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow 7
From the dry rock who bade the waters flow 7
Not to the skies in useless columns toss*d,
Or in proud falls magnificently lost,
But clear and artless pouring through the plain,
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain.
Whose causeway parts the rale with shady rows 7
Whose seats the weary traveller repose 7 960

Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise 7
*The Man of Ross,* each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread !
The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread :
He feeds yon alms-house, neat, but void of state.
Where age and want sit smiling at the gate :
Him portioned maids, apprenticed orphans bless'd,
The young who labour, and the old who rest.
Is any sick ? the Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the medicine makes and gives.

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Is there a ▼ariuice ? enter bat hie door, 2T1

Balk'd are the couita, and contest is no more.
Despairing quacks with corses fled the place,
And vile attorneys, now a useless race.

B. Thrice happy man ! enabled to pursue
What all so wish, but want the power to do !
Say, O what sums that generous hand supply ;
What mines to swell that boundless charity 7

P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear.
This man po8sess*d— five hundred pounds a year.
Blush, grandeur, blush ! proud courts, withdraw your
Ye little stars ! hide your diminish'd rays. [blaze !

B. And what I no monument, inscription, stone?
His race, his form, his name almost unimown 7

P Who builds a church to God, and not to fiune,
Will never mark the marble with his name :
Go, search it there, where to be bom and die.
Of rich and poor makes all the history ;
Enough that virtue fiU'd the space between,
Proved by the ends of being to have been. 890

When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
The wretch who, living, saved a candle's end;
Shouldering God's altar a vile image stands,
Belies his features, nay, eiteads his hands ;
That live>long wig, which Gorgon's self ought own
Ekemal buckle takes in Parian stone.
Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend !
And see what comfort it affords our end.
In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half hong,
The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung, 300
On once a flock-bed, but repair'd with straw,
With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw,
The George and Garter dangling from that bed.
Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red,
Great Villiers lies— -alas ! how chang'd from him.
That life of Pleasure, and that soul of whim !
Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove.
The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love;

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Or juBt as gay at conncO, in a ring

Of mimic statesmen, and their merry king; 310

No wit to flatter, left of all his store;

No fool to laugh at, which he valu*d more ;

There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends,

And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends !

His Grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee,
And well (he thought) advisM him, * Live like me.*
As well his Grace replied, 'Like you, sir John ?
That I can do, when all I have is gone.*
Resolve me, reason, which of these is worse,
Want with a full or with an empty purse ? 320

rhy life more wretched. Cutler! was confess'd:
irise, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd ?
Outler saw tenants break and houses fall ;
For very want he could not build a wall.
His only daughter in a stranger's power.
For very want, he could not pay a dower ;
A few gray hairs lys reverend temples crown*d ;
'Twas very want that sold them for two pound
What ! e*en denied a cordial at his end,
Banish*d the doctor, and expelFd the friend ? 330
What but a want, which you perhaps think mad,
Yet numbers feel the want of what he had !
Cutler and Brutus dying, both exclaim,
'Virtue ! and wealth ! what are ye but a name !*

Say, for such worth are other worlds prepared ?
Or are they both, in this, their own reward ?
A knotty point to which we now proceed.
But you are tired — ^Tll tell a tale — B. Agreed.

P. Where London's column, pointing at the skies
like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies, 310

Tliere dwelt a citizen of sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name ;
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth :
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his week-day meal affords,
An added pudding solemnized the Lord*8 :

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Constant at church and * change ; his gains wen rare
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.

The Devil was piqued such saintship to behold,
And long'd to tempt him, like good Job of old ; 390
But Satan now is wiser than of yore.
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.

Roused by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep ;
Then full against his Cornish lands they roar.
And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.

Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks.
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes :
*Live like yourself,' was soon my lady's word;
And, lo ! two puddings smoked upon the board. 960

Asleep and naked as an Indian lay.
An honest factor stole a gem away :
He pledged it to the knight ; the knight had wit,
So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eased his thought,
* m now give sixpence where I gave a groat ;
Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice—
And am so clear too of all other vice.'

The tempter saw his time : the work he plied ;
Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side, 370
Till all the demon makes his full descent
In one abundant shower of cent per cent.
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs director, and secures his soul.

Behold sir Balaam, now a man of spirit.
Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit ;
What late he call'd a blessing, now was wit,
And God's good providence, a lucky hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn :
His compting-house employed the Sunday mom : 380
Seldom at church ('twas such a busy lifej)
But duly sent his family and wife.
There (so the devil ordain'd) one Christmas tide
My good old lady catch'd a cold, and died.

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A tjmfpk of qoalkj admires our knighl;
He mairiee, bowi at court, and grows polite ;
LeaToe the dull cits, and joins (to please the ftir)
The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air:
Fint, fbr his son, a gay commission buys,
Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies : 990
His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife;
She bean a coronet and p— z for life.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My Udy falls to play : so bed her chance,
He must repair it ; takes a bribe from France ;
Hie house impeach him, Coningsby harangues;
The court forsake him, and sir Balaam bangs :
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan ! are thy own ;
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown : 400
The deril and the king divide the prize,
Aii4 sad sir Balaam curses God, and dies.




Cf the Use of Rubies.
Tbe vanity of eipense in people of wealth and quality.
The abuse of the word Taste, ver. 13. That the first
principle and foundation in this, as in every thing
else, is good sense, ver. 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
tbe place, and the beauties not forced into it, but re-
sulting ftom it, ver. 50. How men are disappointed
in their most expensive undertakings, for want of
this true Ibundation, without which nothing can p

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long, if at all ; and the faest examples and mU»vAi\ be
but perveirted into somethk^ burthensooM and ridi-
cuioos, ver. 65 to 90. A description of the false taste
of magnificence ; the first grand error of which is, to
imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimen-
sion, instead of the proportion and harmony of tlie
whole, ver. 97, and the second either in joining to-
gether parts incoherent, or too minutely resembling
or in tho repetition of tike same too fre<iH«iitIy, rex.
105, &e. A word or two of fklse taste in books
music, i» painting, even in imeachiag ani prayer, and
lastly in entertainments, ver. 133, &c Yet Providence
is Justified in giving wealth to be squandered in this
manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laboriove
part of mankind, ver. 169. [recurring to what is laid
down in the first book, Ep. ii. and in the Epistle pre*
ceding this, ver. 159, &c.] What are th6 proper objeeta
of magnifteence, and a proper ibid for the expense of
great men, v<er. 177, Jbc. And finally the great tad
public works which become a prises, vet, 191^ to tAe

The extremes of avarice and profusion being treat-
ed of in the foregoing Epistle, this takes up one par-
ticular branch of the latter, the vanity of espeiuie in
people of wealth and quality ; and is, therefore, a
corollary to the preceding, just as the Epistle on the
Characters of Women is to that of the Knowledge
and Characters of Men. It is equally remarkable for
exactness of method with the rest. But the nature
of the subject, which is less philosophical* makes ii
capable of being analysed in a much narrower com

*Tis strange, the miser shonld his cares c
To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy :
Is it less strange, the prodigal should waste
His wealth, to purchase what he ne'er can tasta 7
Not for hitnself he sees, or hears, or eats ;

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Online LibraryAlexander PopeThe poetical works of Alexander Pope. To which is prefixed, a life of the author .. → online text (page 21 of 22)