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Not meanly, nor ambitiously pursued,
230 Whose measure full o’erflows on human race, Mend Fortune's fault, and justify her grace.
example, in which may be found, against 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 comprised in one great and general precept, which is this : “ That the rich man should consider himself as the substitute of Providence, in this unequal distribution things ; as the person who is
“ To ease, or emulate, the care of Heaven.” “ 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.
The sense to value Riches, is not in the city-meaning, the sense in valuing them : for, as Riches may be enjoyed without art, and imparted without virtue, so they may be valued without sense. That man, therefore, only shows he has the sense to value Riches who keeps what he has acquired, in order to enjoy one part innocently and elegantly, in such measure and degree as his station may justify, (which the Poet calls the art of enjoying,) and to impart the remainder amongst objects of worth, or want, well weighed, which is, indeed, the virtue of imparting.--Warburton. Ver. 231, 232. Whose measure full o'erflows on human race,
Mend Fortune's fault, and justify her grace.] i. e. Such of the Rich, whose full measure overflows on human race, repair the wrongs of Fortune done to the indigent, and at the same time justify the favours she had bestowed
Where mad good-nature, bounty misapplied,
And showing H-Y, teach the golden mean.—Warburton.
That secret rare, with affluence hardly join'd,
Wealth in the gross is death, but life diffus'd ;
cheats. Is there a Lord, who knows a cheerful noon Without a fiddler, flatterer, or buffoon?
240 Whose table, wit, or modest merit share, Unelbow'd by a gamester, pimp, or play'r? Who copies yours, or OXFORD's better part, To ease th’ oppress’d, and raise the sinking heart? Where'er he shines, oh Fortune, gild the scene, 245 And angels guard him in the golden mean! There, English bounty yet awhile may stand, And honour linger ere it leaves the land.
But all our praises why should Lords engross? Rise, honest Muse!' and sing the Man of Ross: 250
Ver. 249. But all our praises why should Lords engross ?
Rise, honest Muse!] This invidious expression of unwillingness that the Nobility should engross all the praise, is strongly ironical ; their example having been hitherto given only to show the abuse of Riches. But there is great justness of design, as well as agreeableness of manner, in the preference here given to the Man of Ross. The purpose of the Poet is to show, that an immense fortune is not wanted for all the good that Riches are capable of doing. He therefore chooses such an instance, as proves, that a man with five hundred pounds a-year could become a blessing to a whole country; and
Ver. 243. Oxford's better part,) Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford ; the son of Robert, created Earl of Oxford and Earl of Mortimer by Queen Anne. This Nobleman died regretted by all men of letters, great numbers of whom had experienced his benefits. He left behind him one of the most noble Libraries in Europe.-Pope.
Ver. 250. The Man of Ross :) The person here celebrated, who with a small estate actually performed all these good works, and whose true
After ver. 250 in the MS.
Trace humble worth beyond Sabrina's shore ;
Pleas'd Vaga echoes thro' her winding bounds,
255 Or in proud falls magnificently lost,
consequently, that his precepts for the right use of money are of more general service than a bad heart will give an indifferent head leave to conceive. This was a truth of the greatest importance to inculcate. He therefore (from ver. 249 to 297) exalts the character of a very private man, one Mr. J. Kyrle, of Herefordshire ; and, in ending his description, struck as it were with admiration at a sublimity of his own creating, and warmed with sentiments of gratitude which he had raised in himself, in behalf of the public, he breaks out :
“ And what? no monument, inscription, stone ?
His race, his form, his name almost unknown ?" And then, transported with indignation at a contrary object, he exclaims :
“ When Hopkins dies, a thousand lights attend
The wretch, who living sav'd a candle's end :
Belies his features, nay, extends his hands." I take notice of this description of the portentous vanity of a miserable extortioner, chiefly for the use we shall now see he makes of it, in carrying on his subject.
name was almost lost (partly by the title of the Man of Ross given him by way of eminence, and partly by being buried without so much as an inscription), was called Mr. John Kyrle. He died in the year 1724, aged 90, and lies interred in the chancel of the church of Ross in Herefordshire. - Pope.
We must understand what is here said of actually performing, to mean by the contributions which the Man of Ross, by his assiduity and interest, collected in his neighbourhood.-Warburton.
Ver. 250. Rise, honest Muse!] These lines, which are eminently beautiful, particularly 267, containing a fine prosopopeia, have conferred immortality on a plain, worthy, and useful citizen of Herefordshire, Mr. John Kyrle, who spent his long life in advancing and contriving plans of public utility. The Howard of his time ; who deserves to be celebrated more than all the heroes of Pindar. The particular reason for which I mention them, is to observe the pleasing effect that the use of common and familiar words and objects, judiciously managed, produce in poetry. Such as are here, the words causeway, seats, spire, market-place, alms-house, apprentic'd. A fastidious delicacy, and a false refinement, in order to avoid meanness, have deterred our writers from the introduction of such words ; but Dryden often hazarded it, and gave by it a secret charm, and a natural air to his verses, well knowing of what consequence it was sometimes to soften and subdue bis hints, and not to paint and adorn every object he touched, with perpetual pomp and unremitted splendor. Mr. Kyrle was enabled to effect many of his benevolent purposes by the assistance of liberal subscriptions, which his character easily procured. This circumstance was communicated by Mr. Victor:-Warton.
But clear and artless, pouring thro' the plain
260 Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise ? “ 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, 265 Where age and want sit smiling at the gate : Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans bless’d, The young
who labour, and the old who rest.
275 What all so wish, but want the power to do! Oh say, what sums that generous hand supply? What mines, to swell that boundless charity? P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear, This man possess'd—five hundred pounds a year! Blush, Grandeur, blush! proud Courts, withdraw your blaze !
281 Ye little stars! hide
rays. B. And what? no monument, inscription, stone ? His race, his form, his name almost unknown?
Ver. 281. Blush, Grandeur, blush ! proud Courts, withdraw your blaze, &c.] In this sublime apostrophe, proud Courts are not bid to blush because outstripp'd in virtue ; for no such contention is supposed : but for being outshined in their own proper pretensions to splendor and magnificence. SCRIBL.-Warburton.
Ver. 284. his name almost unknown ?] See a further account of the Man of Ross at the end of the present Epistle, p. 261.
P. Who builds a church to God, and not to fame, 285
Ver. 297. Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend !
And see, what comfort it affords our end.] In the first part of this Epistle, the author had shown, from Reason, that Riches abused afford no comfort either in life or death. In this part, where the same truth is taught by examples, he had, in the case of Cotta and his son, shown, that they afford no comfort in life: the other member of the division remained to be spoken to :
Now see what comfort they afford our end." And this he illustrates (from ver. 298 to 335) in the unhappy deaths of the last Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and Sir J. Cutler ; whose profusion and avarice he has beautifully contrasted. The miserable end of these
Ver. 286. Will never mark] As Voltaire did at Ferney, with this inscription : “ Deo erexit Voltaire.”—Warton.
Ver. 287. Go, search it there,] The Parish-register.- Warburton.
Belies his features, nay, extends his hands ;] The description is inimitable. We see his shouldering the altar like one who impiously affected to draw off the reverence of God's worshippers, from the sacred table, upon himself ; whose features too the sculptor had belied, by giving them the traces of humanity: and what is still more impudent flattery, had insinuated by extending his hands, as if that humanity had been, some time or other, put into act.-Warburton.
Ver. 296. Eternal buckle takes in Parian stone.] The Poet ridicules the wretched taste of carving large periwigs on bustos, of which there are several vile examples in the tombs at Westminster, and elsewhere.—Pope.
The Register inrolls him with his poor,