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Cutler faw tenants break, and houses fall,
« Virtue! andWealth! what are ye but a name!" Say, for fuch worth are other worlds prepar'd? Or are they both, in this their own reward? 336
detefted, as the most potent of all charms. Hence this Sage is conjured by the powerful mention of a full, and of an empty purfe. SCRIBL.
VER. 333. Cutler and Brutus, dying both exclaim, "Vir"tue! and wealth! what are ye but a name !"] There is a greater beauty in this comparison than the common reader is aware of. Brutus was, in morals at least, a Stoic, like his uncle. And how much addicted to that fect in general, appears from his profeffing himself of the old academy, and being a moft paffionate admirer of Antiochus Afcalonites, an effential Stoic, if ever there was any. Now Stoical virtue was, as our author truly tells us, not exercife, but apathy-Contracted all, retiring to the breaft. In a word, like Sir J. Cutler's purse, nothing for ufe, but kept clofe fhut, and center'd all within. himself. Now virtue and wealth, thus circumftanced, are indeed no other than mere names.
A knotty point! to which we now proceed.
VER. 337. in the former Editions,
That knotty point, my Lord, fhall I difcufs,
VER. 339. Where London's column, &c.] For, the foregoing examples of profufion and avarice having been given to shew, that mifapplied wealth was not enjoyed; it only remained to prove that in fuch circumstances wealth became the heaviest punishment; and this was the very point to be concluded with, as the great MORAL of this inftructive poem; which is to teach us, how miferable men make themselves by not endeavouring to reftrain the ruling Paffion, tho' it be indeed implanted in the conftitution of things; while, at the fame time, it is an answer to the latter part of the question,
Say, for fuch worth are other worlds prepar'd?
For the folution of which only, this example was jocularly pretended to have been given.
VER 339. Where London's column,] The Monument, built in the memory of the fire of London, with an infcription, importing that city to have been burnt by the Papists. P.
VER. 340. Like a tall bully, lifts the head, and lies,] It were to be wifhed, the City-monument had been compared to fomething of more dignity: As, to the Court-champion; when, like him, it only spoke the fenfe of the Government. SCRIBL.
There dwelt a Citizen of sober fame,
The Dev'l was piqu'd fuch faintship to behold, And long'd to tempt him like good Job of old: 350
All this the poet has admirably fupported, in the artful conftruction of his fable of Sir Balaam; whofe character is fo drawn, as to let the reader fee he had it in his power to regulate the ruling Paffion by reason, as having in himself the feeds of Integrity, Religion, and Sobriety. These are gradually worked out by an infatiable thirst for Wealth; and this again (thro' a falfe fense of his own abilities in acquiring it) fucceeded by as immoderate a Vanity: Which will lead us to another beauty in the management of the Story. For, in order to fee, in one concluding example, the miferies of exorbitant wealth ill employ'd; it was neceffary to set before the Reader, at once, all the misuse, that flowed both from avarice and profufion. The vices of the Citizen and the Noble, therefore, which were feparated and contrafted in the foregoing inftances, are here fhewn incorporated in a Courtly Cit. Perhaps it will be faid, that the character has, by this means, the appearance of two ruling paffions; but thofe ftudied in human nature know the contrary: and that alieni appetens, fui profufus, is frequently as much one as either the profufe or avaricious apart. Indeed, this is fo far from an inaccuracy, that it produces a new beauty. The Ruling Paffion is of two kinds, the fimple and the complex. The firft fort the poet had given examples of before. Nothing then re
But Satan now is wifer than of yore,
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks, He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes: "Live like yourself," was foon my Lady's word; And lo!, two puddings fmoak'd upon the board. 360
mained to complete his philofophic plan, but concluding with the latter. Let me only obferve further, that the author, in this Tale, has artfully fummed up and recapitulated those three principal mischiefs in the abufe of money, which the fatirical part of this poem throughout was employed to expofe, namely AVARICE, PROFUSION, and PUBLIC CORRUPTION.
Conftant at Church and 'Change; his gains were fure,
And one more Penfioner St. Stephen gains.
VER. 355. Cornish] The author has placed the fcene of thefe fhipwrecks in Cornwall, not only from their frequency on that coaft, but from the inhumanity of the inhabitants to thofe to whom that misfortune arrives: When a fhip happens to be ftranded there, they have been known to bore holes in it, to prevent its getting off; to plunder, and fometimes even to maffacre the people: Nor has the Parliament of England been yet able wholly to fupprefs thefe barbarities. P.
VER. 360. And loc.] The poet had obferved above, VOL. III.
Afleep and naked as an Indian lay, An honeft factor ftole a Gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit, So kept the Di'mond, and the rogue was bit. Some fcruple rofe, but thus he eas'd his thought,
I'll now give fix-pence where I gave a groat;366 "Where once I went to church, I'll now go twice-"And am fo clear too of all other vice."
The Tempter faw his time; the work he ply'd; Stocks and Subfcriptions pour on ev'ry fide, 370 'Till all the Dæmon makes his full defcent In one abundant fhow'r of Cent per Cent, Sinks deep within him, and poffeffes whole, Then dubs Director, and fecures his foul.
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit, 375 Afcribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
that when the luxurioufly-felfifa had got more than they knew how to ufe, they would try to do more than live; inftead of imparting the leaft pittance of it to thofe whom fortune had re duced to do lefs: The VANITY of which chimerical project he well expofed in thefe lines:
What Riches give us let us then enquire.
Meat, Fire, and Cloaths. What more? Meat, Cloaths, and Fire. But here, in one who had not yet learnt the art of difguifing the Poverty of Wealth by the Refinements of Luxury, he thew, with admirable humour, the ridicule of that project:
And lowe Puddings finoak'd upon the board.