Page images

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.

NOTES. sition of the picture, and the stance of false Taste, viz. an too natural postures of its fe- injudicious choice in imitation, male figures.

he gives (in the epithet emIbid. Verrio or Laguerre.] ploy’d) the suggestion of anVerrio (Antonio)painted many other, which is an injudicious cielings, &c. at Windsor, manner of it. For those difHampton-court, &c. and La- agreeable objects which, when guerre at Blenheim-castle, and painted, give pleasure; if coother places. P.

loured after nature, in relief, VER. 150. Who never men- become shocking, as a toad, or tions Hell to ears polite.] This dead carcase in wax-work: yet is a fact; a reverend Dean these things are the delight of preaching at Court, threatned all people of bad Taste. Howthe finner with punishment in ever, the Ornament itfelf pre

a place which he thought it tends to science, and would “not decent to name in fo justify its use by antiquity, tho’

polite an assembly.” P. it betrays the most miserable

VER. 153. Taxes the in- ignorance of it. The Serpent congruity of Ornaments (tho' amongst the ancients, was sasometimes practised by the an. cred, and full of venerable mycients) where an open mouth steries. Now things do not ejects the water into a foun- excite ideas so much according tain, or where the shocking to their own natural impres. images of ferpents, &c. are fions, as by fictitious ones, ariintroduced in Grotto's or Buf- sing from foreign and accidenfets. P.

tal combinations ; consequentVER. 153. The rich Buffet ly the view of this animal raised well colour'd Serpents grace,]

in them nothing of that abhorThe circumstance of being well. rence which it is wont to do colour'd Ihews this ornament in us; but, on the contrary, not only to be very absurd, but very agreeable sensations, corvery odious too ; and has a pe- respondent to those foreign alloculiar beauty, as, in one in- ciations. Hence, and more eMORAL ESSAY S. 287 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.

NOTES. specially, because the Serpent scription) because the Roman was the peculiar Symbol of writers of the purest times scruhealth, it became an extreme pled to employ it ; but, in its proper ornament to the genial stead, used an improper, that rooms of the ancients. In the is, a figurative word, or othermean time, we who are strangers wise a circumlocution But to all this fuperftition, yet make had he considered that it was ourselves liable to one much their Superstition of lucky and more absurd, which is, idoliz- unlucky words which occafion'd ing the very fashions that arose this delicacy, he must have seen from it. But if these pretenders that a Chriftian writer, in a to Taste can so widely mistake, Christian inscription, acted with it is no wonder that those who

great judgment in avoiding so pretend to none, I mean the senseless an affectation of, what verbal Critics, should a little he miscalls, clasical expreffion. hallucinate in this matter. I VER. 155. Is this a dinner, remember, when the short La- &c.] The proud Festivals of tin inscription on Shakespear's some men are here set forth to monument was first set up, and ridicule, where pride destroys in the very style of elegant and the ease, and formal regularity simple antiquity, the News- all the pleasurable enjoyment papers were full of these small of the entertainment. P. critics; in which the only ob. Ver. 156. -- a Hecatoml] fervation that looked like learn. Alluding to the hundred foorsteps ing, was founded in this igno- before. rance of Taste and Antiquity. VER. 160. Sancho's dread One of these Critics objected Doctor] See Don Quixote, to the word Mors (in the in. I chap. xlvä. P.

Between each Act the trembling salvers ring, 161
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 past so ill.

Yet hence the Poor are cloath'd, the Hungry fed; Health to himself, and to his Infants bread

170 The Lab'rer bears : What his hard Heart denies, His charitable Vanity supplies.

Another age shall fee the golden Ear Imbrown the Slope, and nod on the Parterre,

COMMENTARY. 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 ftands; and a nuisance to the neighbourhood round about, filling it

with imitating fools.

NOTES. Ver. 169. Yet hence the pence more than a good one. . Pcor &c.] The Moral of the This recurs to what is laid whole, where Providence down in Book i. Epist. II. is justified in giving Wealth x 230-7, and in the Epistle to those who squander it in this preceding this, $ 161, &c. P. manner. A bad Taste employs more hands, and diffuses Ex- &c.] Had the Poet lived but

VER. 173

Another age

Deep Harvests bury all his pride has plann’d, 175 And laughing Ceres re-affume the land.

Who then shall grace, or who improve the Soil ? Who plants like BATHURST, or who builds like


COMMENTARY. 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 y 172 to 177.) Nothing abfurd or wrong is exempt from the jurisdiction of Time, which is always sure to do full justice on it;

Another age fall see the golden Ear
Imbrown the Slope, and nod on the Parterre,
Deep Harvests bury all his pride has plann'd,

And laughing Ceres re-assume the land.
For the prerogative of

Time mall make it grow, is only due to the designs of true Tafte joined to Use: And

'Tis Use alone that fanctifies Expence ; and nothing but the fanctity 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 falfe.

III. VER. 177. Who then Mall grace, &c.] We come now to the third and last part, (from y 176 to the end) and, as in the first, the poet had given examples of wrong judged Magnificence, in

NOTES. three Years longer, he had seen great beauty of this line is an this prophecy fulfilled.

instance of the art peculiar to VER. 176. And laughing our poet; by which he has so Ceres re-asume the land.] The | disposed a trite classical figure,


'Tis Use alone that fanctifies Expence,
And Splendor borrows all her rays from Sense. 180

His Father's Acres who enjoys in peace, ,
Or makes his Neighbours glad, if he encrease :
Whose chearful Tenants bless their yearly toil,
Yet to their Lord owe more than to the soil

[ocr errors]

COMMENTARY. things of Taste without Sense; and, in the second, an example of others without either Sense or Taste; so the third is employed in 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 truly noble person whose amiable Character bore so conspicuous a part in the foregoing.

Who then fall 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 fpecies of Magnificence, he artfully insinuates, that tho', 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


NOTES. as not only to make it do its

to make it do its rays from sense.) Here the poet, vulgar office, of representing to make the examples of good very plentiful harvest, but also Taste the better understood, into assume the Image of Na- troduces them with a summary ture, re-establishing herself in of his Precepts in these two her rights, and mocking the sublime lines : for, the consultvain efforts of false magnifi-ing Use is beginning with Sense; cence, which would keep her and the making Splendor or out of them,

Taste borrow all its rays from Ver. 179, 180. Tis Use thence, is going on wiih Sense, alone that fanctifies Extence, after she has led us up to Talte. And Spendor borrows all her 1. The art of this can never be

« PreviousContinue »