Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

And what they please against the world design,
So Jupiter within him shine.

If of your pleasures and desires no end be found,
God to your cares and fears will set no bound.

What would content you? who can tell?
Ye fear so much to lose what ye have got,

As if ye lik'd it well:
Ye strive for more, as if ye lik'd it not.

Go, level hills, and fill up seas,
Spare nought that may your wanton fancy please;

But, trust me, when you have done all this, Much will be missing still, and much will be amiss.

VII.
OF AVARICE.

THERE are two sorts of avarice: the one is but of a. bastard kind, and that is, the rapacious appetite of gain; not for its own sake, but for the pleasure of refunding it immediately through all the channels of pride and luxury: the other is the true kind, and properly so called; which is a restless and insatiable desire of riches, not for any farther end or use, but only to hoard, and preserve, and perpetually increase them. The covetous man, of the first

VOL. III. T

kind, is like a greedy ostrich, which devours any metal; but it is with an intent to feed upon it, and, in effect, it makes a shift to digest and excern it. The second is like the foolish chou»h, which loves to steal money only to hide it. The first does much harm to mankind; and a little good too, to some few: the second does good to none; no, not to himself. The first can make no excuse to God, or angels, or rational men, for his actions: the second can give no reason or colour, not to the devil himself, for what he does $ he is a slave to Mammon without wages. The first makes a shift to be beloved; ay, and envied too by some people: the second is the universal object of hatred And contempt. There is no vice has been so pelted with good sentences, and especially by the poets, who have pursued it with stories, and fables, and allegories, and allusions; and moved, as we say, every stone to fling at it: among all which, I do not remember a more fine and gentleman-like correction, than that which was given it by one line of Ovid:

"Desunt luxuries multa, avaritise omnia."

Much is wanting to'luxury, all to avarice.

To which saying, I have a mind to add one member, and tender it thus,

Poverty wants some, luxury many, avarice all things.

Somebody * says of a virtuous and wise man, "that having nothing, he has all:" this is just his antipode, who, having all things, yet has nothing. He is a guardian eunuch to his beloved gold: "audivi eos amatores esse maximos, sed nil potesse." They are the fondest lovers, but impotent to enjoy.

And, oh, what man's condition can be worse
Than his, whom plenty starves, and blessings curse!
The beggars but a common fate deplore,
The rich poor man 's emphatically poor.

I wonder how it comes to pass, that there has never been any law made against him: against him do I say? I mean, for him: as there are publick provisions made for all other madmen} it is very reasonable that the king should appoint some persons (and I think the courtiers would not be against this proposition) to manage his estate during bis life (for his heirs commonly need not that care): and out of it to make it their business to see, that he should not want alimony befitting his condition, Avhich he could never get out of his own cruel fingers. We relieve idle vagrants, and counterfeit beggars; but have no care at all of these really poor men, who are, rnethinks, to be respectfully treated, in regard of their quality. I might be endless against them, but I am almost choked with the super-abundance of the matter; too much plenty impoverishes me, as it does them. 1 will conclude this odious subject with part of Horace's first satire, which take in his own familiar style:

* The author, well acquainted with the taste of his readers, would not disgust their delicacy by letting them know that this "somebody" was St. Paul, [2 Cor. vi. 10.]—though the sense *nd expression would have done honour to Plate. Hulo.

I admire, Maecenas, how it comes to pass,
That no man ever yet contented was,
Nor is, nor perhaps will be, with that state
In which his own choice plants him, or his fate.
Happy the merchant, the old soldier cries:
The merchant, beaten with tempestuous skies,
Happy the soldier! one half-hour to thee
Gives speedy death, or glorious victory:
The lawyer, knock'd up early from his rest
By restless clients, calls the peasant blest:
The peasant, when his labours ill succeed,
Envies the mouth, which only talk does feed.
'T is not.(I think you "ll say) that I want store
Of instances, if here I add no more;
"They are enough to reach, at least a mile,
Beyond long orator Fabius's style.
But hold, ye, whom no fortune e'er endears,
Gentlemen, malecontents, and mutineers,
Who bounteous Jove so often cruel call,
Behold, Jove's now resolved to please you all.

Thou soldier, be a merchant: merchant, thou
A soldier be: and, lawyer, to the plough.
Change all your stations straight: why do they stay?
The devil a man will change, now, when he may.
Were I in general Jove's abused case,
By Jove l 'd cudgel this rebellious race:
But he 's too good; be all, then, as ye were;
However, make the best of what ye are,
And in that state be cheerful and rejoice,
AVhich either was your fate, or was your choice.
No, they must labour yet, and sweat, and toil,
And very miserable be a while;
But't is with a design only to gain
AVhat may their age with plenteous ease maintain.
The prudent pismire does this lesson teach,
And industry to lazy mankind preach:
The little drudge does trot about and sweat,
Nor does he straight devour all he can get;
But in his temperate mouth carries it home
A stock for winter, which he knows must come.
And, when the rolling world to creatures here
Turns up the deform'd wrong-side of the year,
And shuts him in, with storms, and cold, and wet,
He cheerfully does his past labours eat:
O, does he so F your wise example, th' ant,
Does not, at all times, rest and plenty want;
But, weighing justly a mortal ant?s condition,
Divides his life 'twjxt labour and fruition.
Thee, neither heat, nor stprms, nor wet, nor cold,
JFrom thy unnatural diligence can withhold:

« PoprzedniaDalej »