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The extremes of evarice and profusion being treated of in the foregoing Epistle; this takes up one particular branch of the latter, the vanity of expense 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 philosophi. cal, makes it capable of being analysed in a much narrower com pass.
'Tis strange, the miser should his cares employ
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 taste :
Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats ;
Artists must choose his pictures, music, meats ;
He buys for Topham drawings and designs;
For Pembroke statues, dirty gods, and coins ;
Rare moukish manuscripts for Hearne alone,
Ana books for Mead, and butterflies from Sloane, 10
Think we all these are for himself? no more
Than his fine wife, alas ! or finer whore.
For what was Virro painted, built, and planted ?
Only to show how many tastes he wanted.
What brought sir Visto's ill-got wealth to waste?
Some demon whisper'd, • Visto ! have a taste."
Heaven visits with a taste the wealthy fool,
And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule.
See! sportive fate, to punish awkward pride,
Bids Bubo build, and sends him such a guide : 20
A standing sermon at each year's expense,
That never coxcomb reach'd magnificence !
You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse,
And pompous buildings once were things of use.
Yet shall, my lord, your just, your noble rules
Fill half the land with imitating fools;
Whose random drawings from your sheets shall take,
And if one beauty, many blunders make;
Load some vain church with old theatric state,
Turn arcs of Triumph to a garden gate ;
Reverse your ornaments, and hang them all
On some patch'd dog-hole eked with ends of wall,
Then clap four slices of pilaster on’t,
That laced with bits of rustic makes a front;
Shall call the winds through long arcades to roar,
Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;
Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
And if they starve, they starve by rules of art.
Oft have you hinted to your brother peer,
A certain truth which many buy too dear; 40
Something there is more needful than expense,
And something previous e’en to taste--tis sense ;
Good sense, which only is the gift of Heaven,
And, though no science, fairly worth the seven:
A light which in yourself you must perceive;
Jones and Le Notre have it not to give.
To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
To rear the column, or the arch to bend,
To swell the terrace, or to si k the grot;
In all, let nature never be forgot:
But treat the goddess like a modest fair,
Nor over-dress, nur leave her wholly bare ;
Let not each beauty every where be spied,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points who pleasingly confounds,
Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds.
Consult the genius of the piace in all;
That tells the waters or to rise or fall;
Or helps the ambitious bill the heavens to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,
Now breaks, or now directs, the intending lines,
Prints as you paint, and as you work designs.
Still follow sense, of every art the soul
Parts answering parts shall slide into a whole,
Spontaneous beauties all around advance,
Start e'en from difficulty, strike from chance :
Nature shall join you ; time shall make it grow
A work to wonder at-perhaps a Stow.
Without it, proud Versailles ! thy glory fa!ls ;
And Nero's terraces desert their walls :
The vast parterres a thousand hands shall make,
Lo! Cobham comes, and floats them with a lake :
Or cuts wide views through mountains to the plain,
You'll wish your hill or sheltered seat again.
E'en in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in a hermitage set Dr. Clarke.
Behold Villario's ten years toil complete,
His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet;
And wood supports the plain, the parts unite,
And strength of shade contends with strength of light;
A waving gloom the bloomy beds display,
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver quivering rills meander'd o'er
Enjoy them, you ! Villario can no more :
Tired of the scene parterres and fountains yield,
He finds at last he better likes a field.
Through his young woods how pleased Sabinus
Or sat delighted in the thickening shade,
With annual joy the reddening shoots to greet,
ER! Or see the stretching branches long to meet!
His son's fine taste an opener vista loves,
Foe to the Dryads of his father's groves !
One boundless green, or flourished carpet views,
With all the mournful family of yews :
The thriving plants ignoble broomsticks made,
Now sweep those alleys they were born to shade.
At Timon's villa let us pass a day,
Where all cries out, . What sums are thrown away!"
So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air, 101 1 Soft and agreeable come never there.
Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a drought
As brings all Brobdignag before your thought.
To compass this, his building is a town,
His pond an ocean, his parterre a down:
Who but must laugh, the master when he sees, .
A puny insect, shivering at a breeze !
Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around !
The whole a labour'd quarry above ground. 110
Two Cupids squirts before : a lake behind
Improves the keenness of the northern wind.
His gardens next your admiration call,
On every side you look, behold the wall!
No pleasing intricacies intervene,
No artful wildness to perplex the scene
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other.
The suffering eye inverted nature sees,
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees; 120
With here a fountain never to be play'd,
And there a summer-house that knows no shade ;
Here Amphitrite sails through myrtle bowers;
There gladiators fight, or die in flowers;
Unwater'd see the drooping sea-horse mourn,
And swallows roots in Nilus dusty urn.
My lord advances with majestic mien,
Smit with the mighty pleasure to be seen :
But soft-by regular approach--not yet-
First through the length of yon hot terrace sweat? 130
And when up ten steep slopes you've dragg'd your
Just at his study door he'll bless your eyes.
His study ! with what authors is it stored ?
In books, not authors, curious is my lord;
To all their dated backs he turns you round;
These Aldus printed, those Du Sueil has bound:
Lo some are vellum, and the rest as good,
For all his lordship knows, but they are wood.
For Locke or Milton, 'tis in vain to look ;
These shelves admit not any modern book. 140
And now the chapel's silver bell you hear,
That summons you to all the pride of prayer;
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to heaven.
On painted ceilings you devoutly stare,
Where sprawl the saints of Vei rio or Laguerre,
Or gilded clouds in fair expansion lie,
And bring all Paradise before your eye.
To rest, the cushion and soft dean invite,
Who never mentions hell to ears polite.
But hark! the chiming clocks to dinner call;
A hundred footsteps scrape the marble hall :
The rich buffet well-colour'd serpents grace,
And gaping Tritons spew to wash your face.