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But all our praises why should lords engross?
B. Thrice happy man enabled to pursue
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; Ye little stars ! hide your diminish'd rays.
B. And what? no monument, inscription, stone, His race, his form, his name, almost unknown?
P. Who builds a church to God, and not to fame, Will never mark the marble with his name:
Go, search it there, where to be born and die,
In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half-hung,
His grace's fate sage Cutler could foresee, And well (he thought) advis'd 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? Thy life more wretched, Cutler! was confess'd; Arise, and tell me, was thy death more bless'd? Catler 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 his reverend temples crown'd;
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepard?
P. Where London's column, pointing at the skies Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies, There 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 solemniz'd the Lord's : Constant at Church and 'Change; his gains were sure; 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 ; But Satan now is wiser than of yore, And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd by the prince of air, the whirlwinds sweep
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks,
Live like yourself,' was, soon my lady's word;
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay An honest factor stole a gem away: He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit, So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit. Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought : I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat;
Where once I went to church I'll now go twiceAnd am so clear too of all other vice.'
The tempter saw his time; the work he plied; Stocks and subscriptions pour on every side, Till all the demon makes his full descent In one abundant show'r 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 employ'd the Sunday morn: Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life) 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.
A nymph of quality admires our knight; He marries, bows at court, and grows polite; Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair) The well-bred cuckolds in St. James's air : First for his son a gay commission buys, Who drinks, whores, fights, and in a duel dies : His daughter flaunts a viscount's tawdry wife; She bears a coronet and p-x for life. In Britain's senate he a seat obtains, And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains. My lady falls to play; so bad her chance, He must repair it; takes a bribe from France: The house impeach him ; Coningsby harangues; The court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs. Wife, son, and daughter, Satan ! are thy own, His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown: The devil and the king divide the prize, And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies.
OF THE USE OF RICHES.
PART II. 'T's 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 monkish manuscripts for Hearne alone, And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane, Think we all these are for himself? no more Than his fine wife, alas ! or finer whore.
For what has 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. Heav'n 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 : A standing sermon at each year's expence, 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; Who random drawings from your sheets shall take; And of 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 ek'd with ends of wall, Then clap four slices of pilaster on't, That lac'd with bits of rustic makes a front;