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Lo, some are vellum, and the rest as good
And now the Chapel's silver bell you hear,
Ver. 138. but they are wood.] There is a flatness and insipidity in this couplet, much below the usual manner of our author. Young has been more sprightly and poignant on the same subject, Universal Passion, Sat. iii.- Warton.
Ver. 139. or Milton] Dr. Warton says, “ This is one of the few places in which our author seems to speak highly of Milton.” But he speaks more justly and poetically of him in his Paraphrase of an Ode of Horace, part of the ninth Ode of the fourth Book :
“ Tho' daring Milton sits sublime,
In Spenser native Muses play."— Bowles. Ver. 142.). The false taste in Music, improper to the subjects, as of light airs in churches, often practised by the organist, &c.—Pope.
Ver. 145.) And in Painting (from which even Italy is not free) of naked figures in churches, &c. which has obliged some Popes to put draperies on some of those of the best masters.- Pope.
Ver. 146. Where sprawl] This single verb has marked with felicity and force the distorted attitudes, the indecent subjects, the want of nature and grace so visible in the pieces of these two artists, employed to adorn our royal palaces and chapels. I cannot help thinking,” says Pope to Mr. Allen, in Letter lxxxix. “ and I know you will join with me, who have been making an altar-piece, that the zeal of the first reformers was ill-placed in removing pictures (that is to say, examples) out of churches ; and yet suffering epitaphs (that is to say, flatteries and false history) to be a burthen to church-walls, and the shame as well as derision of all honest men.” This is a sentiment, it may be said, of a papistical poet ; and yet it appears to be founded on good sense, and religion well understood. Notwithstanding the many just and well-founded arguments against Popery, yet I hope we may still, one day, see our places of worship beautified with proper ornaments, and the generosity and talents of our living artists perpetuated on the naked walls of St. Paul's. Warton.
It is not only in a national, but in a religious point of view, that I would here enforce the foregoing remarks of Dr. Warton. The introduction of paintings into our churches on proper subjects, and in proper situations, would not only open a new field for the arts in this country, where they are at present contined to the chance remuneration of private patronage, but would expand the feelings, and speak to the eye with no jess force than the preacher paints to the ear. With respect to any objections that might arise from picturesque representations being mistaken for objects of worship, the time is long gone by, and to allege them in the
On gilded clouds in fair expansion lie,
face. Is this a dinner? this a genial room?
155 No, 'tis a temple, and a hecatomb. A solemn sacrifice, perform'd in state, You drink by measure, and to minutes eat. So quick retires each flying course, you'd swear Sancho's dread Doctor and his wand were there. 160 Between each act the trembling salvers ring, From soup to sweet-wine, and God bless the King. In plenty starving, tantaliz’d in state, And complaisantly help'd to all I hate, Treated, caress’d, and tir’d, I take my leave, 165 Sick of his civil pride from morn to eve; I curse such lavish cost, and little skill, And swear no day was ever pass'd so ill.
present day would be perfectly ridiculous. As we have admitted works of sculpture into our places of worship, there seems no reason why the Sister-art should be deprived of the same privilege.
Ver. 146. Verrio or Laguerre,] Verrio (Antonio) painted many ceilings, &c. at Windsor, Hampton-Court, &c. Laguerre at Blenheim-castle, and other places.-Pope.
Ver. 150. Who never mentions hell to ears polite.] This is a fact. A reverend Dean, preaching at Court, threatened the sinner with punishment in “a place which he thought it not decent to name in so polite an assembly.”— Pope.
Ver. 153.] Taxes the incongruity of Ornaments (though sometimes practised by the ancients), where an open mouth ejects the water into a fountain, or where the shocking images of serpents, &c. are introduced into grottos or buffets.—Pope.
Ver. 155. Is this a dinner ? &c.] The proud festivals of some are here set forth to ridicule, where pride destroys the ease, and formal regularity all the pleasurable enjoyment, of the entertainment. - Pope.
Ver. 160. Sancho's dread Doctor,] See Don Quixote, chap. xlvii.Pope.
Yet hence the poor are clothed, the hungry fed; Health to himself, and to his infants bread
170 The labourer bears. What his hard heart denies, His charitable vanity supplies.
Another age shall see the golden ear Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre, Deep harvests bury all his pride has plann'd,
175 And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.
Ver. 173. Another age, &c.] But now a difficulty sticks with me (answers an objector); this load of evil still remains a monument of folly to future ages ; an incumbrance to the plain on which it stands; and a nuisance to the neighbourhood round about, filling it
with imitating fools.” For men are apt to take the example next at hand ; and aptest of all to take a bad one. No fear of that, replies the Poet (from ver. 172 to 177). Nothing absurd or wrong is exempt from the jurisdiction of Time ; which is always sure to do full justice on it :
“ Another age shall see the golden ear
Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.”
Time shall make it grow,” is only due to the designs of true Taste joined to use; and
“ 'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense ;” and nothing but the sanctity of that can arrest the justice of Time. And thus the second part concludes, which, consisting of an example of false taste in every attempt to magnificence, is full of concealed precepts for the true ; as the first part, which contains precepts for true taste, is full of examples of the false.
Ver. 169. Yet hence the poor, &c.] This is the Moral of the whole ; where PROVIDENCE is justified in giving Riches to those who squander them in this manner. A bad taste employs more hands, and diffuses wealth more usefully than a good one.
This recurs to what is laid down in Book I. Ep. ii. ver. 230—7, and in the Epistle preceding this, ver. 161, &c.—Pope.
This reflection is very different from the flagitious principle of Mandeville, that private vices are public benefits. Of whom, says Hume very shrewdly, “ Is it not very inconsistent for an author to assert in one page, that moral distinctions are inventions of politicians for public interest ; and in the next page maintain that vice is advantageous to the public ?”Warton.
Ver. 173. Another age, &c.] Had the Poet lived but three years longer, he had seen his general prophecy against all ill-judged magnificence fulfilled in a very particular instance.—Warburton.
In the edition of 1751, this note ran thus : Had the poet lived three years longer he had seen this prophecy fulfilled :” which so plainly pointed at what had happened at Canons, that it was altered as it here stands.-Warton.
Ver. 176. And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.] The great beauty of
Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil ? Who plants like BATHURST, or who builds like BoYLE. "Tis use alone that sanctifies expense, And splendor borrows all her rays from sense. 180
Ver. 177. Who then shall grace, fc.] We come now to the third and last part (from ver. 176 to the end), and, as in the first, the Poet had given examples of wrong-judged Magnificence, in things of Taste, without Sense ; and, in the second, an example in others, without either Sense, or Taste ; so the third presents us with two examples of Magnificence in Planting and Building, where both Sense and Taste highly prevail. The one, in him to whom this Epistle is addressed ; and the other, in the noble person
whose amiable character bore so conspicuous a part in the foregoing :
“ Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil ?
Who plants like Bathurst, or who builds like Boyle.” Where, in the fine description he gives of these two species of Magnificence, he artfully insinuates, that though, when executed in a true Taste, the great end and aim of both be the same, viz. the general good in use or ornament; yet that their progress to this end is carried on in direct contrary courses ; that, in Planting and culture, the private advantage of the neighbourhood is first promoted, till, by time, it rises up to a public benefit :
Whose ample lawns are not asham'd to feed
But future buildings, future navies grow."
Bid temples, worthier of the God, ascend ;
The mole projected break the roaring main.” And when the public hath been properly accommodated and adorned, then; and not till then, the works of private Magnificence may take place. This was the order observed by those two great empires, from whom we received all we have of this polite art. We do not read of any magnificence in the private buildings of Greece or Rome, till the generosity of their public spirit had adorned the state with temples, emporiums, councilhouses, common porticos, baths, and theatres.
this line is an instance of the art peculiar to our Poet ; by which he has so disposed a trite classical figure, as not only to make it do its vulgar office, of representing a very plentiful harvest, but also to assume the personage of Nature, re-establishing herself in her rights, and mocking the vain efforts of magnificence, which would keep her out of them. -Warburton. Ver. 179, 180. 'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense,
And splendor borrows all her rays from sense.] Here the Poet, to make the examples of good taste the better understood, introduces them with a summary of his Precepts, in these two sublime lines ; for, the consulting Use is beginning with Sense, and the making Splendor or Taste borrow all its rays from thence, is going on with Sense, 185
His father's acres who enjoys in peace,
You too proceed ! make falling arts your care,
after she has led us up to Taste. The art of this disposition of the thought can never be sufficiently admired. But the expression is equal to the thought. This sanctifying of expense gives us the idea of something consecrated and set apart for sacred uses ; and indeed it is the idea under which it may be properly considered ; for wealth employed according to the intention of Providence is its true consecration ; and the real uses of humanity were certainly first in its intention.-Warburton.
Lord Chesterfield wrote the following lines, intending to show that Lord Burlington did not always attend to this rule of our Poet :
“ Possessid of one great hall for state,
Without one room to sleep or eat,
And all mankind, how ill you dwell.”—Warton. Ver. 191. You too proceed!] This is not fulsome adulation, but only such honest praise as the noble Lord, whom he addressed, strictly deserved ; who inherited all that love of science and useful knowledge for which his family has been so famous. The name of Boyle is indeed auspicious to literature. That sublime genius and good man, Bishop Berkeley, owed his preferment chiefly to this accomplished peer ; for it was he that recommended; him to the Duke of Grafton, in the year 1721, who took him over with him to Ireland when he was Lord Lieutenant, and promoted him to the Deanery of Derry in the year 1724. Berkeley gained the patronage and friendship of Lord Burlington, not only by his true politeness, and the peculiar charms of his conversation, which was exquisite, but by his profound and perfect skill in architecture ; an art which he had very particularly and accurately studied in Italy, when he went and continued abroad four years with Mr. Ashe, son of the Bishop of Clogher. With an insatiable and philosophic attention, Berkeley surveyed and examined every object of curiosity. He not only made the usual tour, but went over Apulia and Calabria, and even travelled on foot through Sicily, and drew up an account of that very classical ground ; which was lost in voyage to Naples, and cannot be sufficiently regretted. His generous project for erecting an university at Bermudas, the effort of a mind truly active, benevolent, and patriotic, is sufficiently known. -Warton. VOL. IV.