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Whose chearful Tenants bless their yearly toil, Yet to their Lord owe more than to the soil ;
COMMENTARY. a true Tafte, 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 Plaring, the private advantage of the neighbourhood is first promoted, till, by time, it riles up to a public benefit:
Whose ample Lawns are not asham'd to feed
But future buildings, future Navies grow, · On the contrary, the wonders of Architecture ought first to te beslowed on the public:
Bid Harbors open, public Ways extend,
The Molę projected break the roaring main. And when the public has been properly accommodated and adorned, then, and not till then, te works of private Magnificence may take place. This was the order observ'd by those two great Empires, from whom we received all we have of this polite art: We do not read of any Magnificence in the private builde ings of Greece or Rome, till the generosity of their public spirit had adorned the State with Temples, Emporiums, Council. houses, Common-Porticos, Baths, and Theatres.
NOTES. make the examples of good Taste the better understood, introduces them with a summary of his Precepts in these two fublime lines : for, the consulting Use is beginning with Sense; and the making Spiendor or Taste borrow all its rays from thence, is going on with Sense, after she has led us up to Tafte. The art of this can never be sufficiently admired. 'But the Expression is equal to the Thought. This fanctifying of expence gives
, us the idea of something consecrated and set apart for sacred ufes ; and indeed, it is the idea under which it may be properly considered ; For wealth employed according to the intention of Providence, is its true confecration; and the real uscs of humanity were certainly first in its intention.
Whose ample Lawns are not asham'd to feed 185
NOTE s. VER. 195, 197, &c.] 'Till Kings - Bid Harbors open, &c.] The poet after having touched upon the proper objects of Magnificence and Expence, in the private works of great men, comes to those great and public works which become a prince. This Poem was published in the year 1732, when some of the new-built churches, by the act of Queen Anne, were ready to fall, being founded in boggy land (which is satirically alluded to in our author's imitation of Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. 2.
Shall half the new-built Churches round thee fall) others were vilely executed, thro' fraudulent cabals between undertakers, officers, &c. Dagenham-breach had done very great mischiefs ; many of the Highways throughout England were hardly paffable; and most of thole which were repaired by Turnpikes were made jobs for private lucre, and infamously executed, even to the entrance of London itself: The prod
Bid the broad Arch the dang’rous Flood contain,
NOTES. posal of building a Bridge at Westminster had been petition'd against and rejected ; but in two years after the publication of this poem, an Act for building a Bridge pass’d thro' both houses. After many debates in the committee, the execution was left to the carpenter above-mentioned, who would have made it a wooden one; to which our author alludes in these lines,
Who builds a Bridge that never drove a pile ?
Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile. See the notes on that place. P,
MORAL ESSAY S.
E P I S T L E V.
To Mr. ADDISON.
Occasion’d by his Dialogues on Medals.
E E the wild Waste of all-devouring years!
How Rome her own fad Sepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very
Tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
NOTES. THIS was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was sometime before he was Secretary of State ; but not published till Mr. Tickell's Edition of his works; at which time the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720. P.
Epist. V.) As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of Avarice and Profufion; and the fourth took up one particular
l; branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third; fo this treats of one circumstance of that Vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth.
Imperial wonders rais’d on Nations spoild, 5
NOTES. VER. 6. Whore mix'd with flaves the groaning Martyr toild:) The inattentive reader might wonder how this circumstance came to find a place here. But let him compare it with y 13, 14, and he will see the Reason,
Barbarian blindness, Chriftian zeal confpire,
And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. For the Slaves mentioned in the 6th line were of the same nation with the Barbarians in the 13th : and the Christians in the 13th, the Successors of the Martyrs in the 6th : Providence ordaining, that these fhould ruin what those were so in uriously employed in rearing : for the poet never loseth fight of his great principle.
Ver. 9. Fánes, which admiring Gods with pride survey,] These Gods were the then Tyrants of Rome, to whom the Empire raised Temples. The epithet, admiring, conveys a strong ridicule ; that passion, in the opinion of Philofophy, always conveying the ideas of ignorance and misery.
Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici,
Solaque quæ poflit facere et fervare beatum. Admiration implying our ignorance of other things ; pride, our ignorance of ourselves.