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Till all the dæmon makes his full descent,
Behold Sir Balaam, now a man of spirit,
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 px 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.
To Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington.
The vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality.
The abuse of the word Taste. That the first principle and foundation in this, as in every thing else, is good sense. The chief proof of it is to follow nature, even in works of mere luxury and elegance. Instanced in architecture and gardening, where all must be adapted to the genius and use of the place, and the beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it.
How men are disappointed in their most expensive undertakings for want of this true foundation, without which nothing can please long, if at all; and the best examples and rules will be but perverted into something burdensome and ridiculous. A description of the false taste of magnificence; the first grand error of which is to imagine that greatness consists in the size and dimension, instead of the proportion and harmony of the whole ; and the second, eitber in joining together parts incoherent, or, too minutely resembling, or, in the repetition of the same too frequently. A word or two of false taste in books, in music, in painting, even in preaching and prayer ; and, lastly, in entertaioments: yet Providence is justified in giving wealth to be squandered in this manner, since it is dispersed to the poor and laborious part of mankind. What are the proper objects of magnificence, and a proper field for the expence of great men. And, finally, the
great and public works which become a prince.
To gain those riches he can ne'er enjoy :
Rare monkish manuscripts for Hearne alone, And books for Mead, and butterflies for Sloane. Think we all these are for himself? no more Than bis 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 dæmon 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 aukward 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 opce 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; Shall call the winds thro' 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: Something there is more needful than expence, And something previous ev'n to taste-e'tis sense; Good sense, which only is the gift of Heav'n, And though no science, fairly worth the sevin; [ 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, kinni 1
To swell the terrace, or to sink the grot,
Consult the genius of the place in all,
Still follow sense, of every art the soul,
Without it, proud Versailles ! thy glory falls,
Behold Villario's ten years' toil complete, His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet; The wood supports the plain, the parts unite, And strength of shade contends withstrength of light; A waving glow the bloomy beds display, Blashing in bright diversities of day, With silver quivering rills meander'd o'er Enjoy them, you ! Villario can no more: Tir'd of the scene parterres and fountains yield, He finds at last he better likes a field.
Thro' his young woods how pleas'd Sabinus stray'd, Or sat delighted in the thickening shade, With annual joy the reddening shoots to greet, 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 flourish'd 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 cry out, “ What sums are thrown away." So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air, Soft and agreeable come never there. Greatness with Timon dwells in such a draught As brings all Brobdignag before your thought. To compass this his building is a town, His pond an ocean, his parterre a dowo'; 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. Two Cupids squirt before ; a lake behind Improves the keenness of the porthern 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 ; 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 toost in Nilus' dusty urn.
My lord advances with majestic mieu, Smit with the mighty pleasure to be seen: