« السابقةمتابعة »
P. Who builds a church to God, and not to
Behold what blessings wealth to life can lend ! And see what comfort it affords our end. In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half
hung, The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung, On once a flock-bed, but repair’d with straw, With tape-tied curtains, never meant to draw, The George and Garter dangling from that bed Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red, Great Villiers lies—alas ! how chang’d from him, That life of pleasure and that soul of whim !
5 See note 6 p. 120.
6 The talented and dissolute George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who, having squandered his immense wealth, died at the house of one of his tenants in Yorkshire, in the misery here described.
Gallant and gay, in Cliveden's proud alcove,
His Grace's fate sage Cutler8 could foresee,
hairs his reverend temples crown'd; 'Twas very want that sold them for two pound. What e'en denied a cordial at his end, Banish'd the doctor, and expell’d the friend? What but a want, which you perhaps think mad, Yet numbers feel,—the want of what he had !
7 The infamous Countess of Shrewsbury, whose lord the Duke of Buckingham killed in a duel on her account, and who is reported to have held the Duke's horses, disguised as a page, during the combat.
8 Sir John Cutler, notorious for his miserly habits. VOL. II.
Cutler and Brutus dying both exclaim, “ Virtue ! and wealth! what are ye but a name !”
Say, for such worth are other worlds prepar'd ? Or are they both in this their own reward ? A knotty point ! to which we now proceed. But you are tir’d—I'll tell a tale-B. Agreed. 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 The surge, and plunge his father in the deep; Then full against his Cornish lands they roar, And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks, He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes. “ Live like yourself,” was soon my lady's word; And lo! two puddings smok’d upon the board.
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 shower 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 counting-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 ;