AN EPISTLE To the Right Honourable RICHARD Earl of BURLINGTON.
1 'TIS strange, the Miser should his Cares imploy
2 To gain those Riches he can ne'er enjoy:
3 Is it less strange, the Prodigal should waste
4 His Wealth to purchase what he ne'er can taste?
5 Not for himself he sees, or hears, or eats;
6 Artists must chuse his Pictures, Music, Meats:
7 He buys for Topham Drawings and Designs,
8 For Fountain Statues, and for Curio Coins,
9 Rare Monkish Manuscripts for Hearne alone,
10 And Books for Mead, and Rarities for Sloan. [Page 6]
11 Think we all these are for himself? no more
12 Than his fine Wife (my Lord) or finer Whore.
13 For what has Virro painted, built, and planted?
14 Only to shew how many Tastes he wanted.
15 What brought Sir Shylock's ill-got Wealth to waste?
16 Some Daemon whisper'd, "Knights shou'd have a Taste."
17 Heav'n visits with a Taste the wealthy Fool,
18 And needs no Rod, but S—d with a Rule.
19 See sportive Fate, to punish aukward Pride,
20 Bids Babo build, and sends him such a Guide:
21 A standing Sermon! at each Year's expence,
22 That never Coxcomb reach'd Magnificence.
23 Oft have have you hinted to your Brother Peer,
24 A certain Truth, which many buy too dear:
25 Something there is, more needful than Expence,
26 And something previous ev'n to Taste — 'Tis Sense;
27 Good Sense, which only is the Gift of Heav'n,
28 And tho' no Science, fairly worth the Seven.
29 A Light, which in yourself you must perceive;
* Inigo Jones. Jones and†
† The famous Artist who design'd the best Gardens in France; and plann'd Greenwich and St. James's Parks, &c. Le Nôtre have it not to give.
31 To build, to plant, whatever you intend,
32 To rear the Column, or the Arch to bend,
33 To swell the Terras, or to sink the Grot;
34 In all, let Nature never be forgot.
35 Consult the Genius of the Place in all,
36 That tells the Waters or to rise, or fall,
37 Or helps th' ambitious Hill the Heav'ns to scale,
38 Or scoops in circling Theatres the Vale,
39 Calls in the Country, catches opening Glades,
40 Joins willing Woods, and varies Shades from Shades,
41 Now breaks, or now directs, th' intending Lines;
42 Paints as you plant, and as you work, Designs.
43 Begin with Sense, of ev'ry Art the Soul,
44 Parts answ'ring Parts, shall slide into a Whole,
45 Spontaneous Beauties all around advance,
46 Start, ev'n from Difficulty, strike, from Chance;
47 Nature shall join you; Time shall make it grow
48 A Work to wonder at — perhaps a*
* The Seat and Gardens of the Lord Viscount Cobham in Buckinghamshire. STOW.
49 Without it, proud Versailles! thy Glory falls,
50 And Nero's Terrasses desert their Walls:[Page 8]
51 The vast Parterres a thousand hands shall make,
52 Lo! Bridgman comes, and floats them with a Lake:
53 Or cut wide Views thro' Mountains to the Plain,
54 You'll wish your Hill, and shelter'd Seat, again.
55 Behold Villario's ten-years Toil compleat,
56 His Quincunx darkens, his Espaliers meet,
57 The Wood supports the Plain; the Parts unite,
58 And strength of Shade contends with strength of Light;
59 His bloomy Beds a waving Glow display,
60 Blushing in bright Diversities of Day,
61 With silver-quiv'ring Rills maeander'd o'er —
62 — Enjoy them, you! Villario can no more,
63 Tir'd of the Scene Parterres and Fountains yield,
64 He finds at last he better likes a Field.
65 Thro' his young Woods how pleas'd Sabinus stray'd,
66 Or sate delighted in the thick'ning Shade,
67 With annual Joy the red'ning Shoots to greet,
68 And see the stretching Branches long to meet!
69 His Son's fine Taste an op'ner Vista loves,
70 Foe to the Dryads of his Father's Groves,[Page 9]
71 One boundless Green or flourish'd Carpet views,
72 With all the mournful Family of Yews;
73 The thriving Plants ignoble Broomsticks made
74 Now sweep those Allies they were born to shade.
75 Yet hence the Poor are cloth'd, the Hungry fed;
76 Health to himself, and to his Infants Bread
77 The Lab'rer bears; What thy hard Heart denies,
78 Thy charitable Vanity supplies.
79 Another Age shall see the golden Ear
80 Imbrown thy Slope, and nod on thy Parterre,
81 Deep Harvests bury all thy Pride has plann'd,
82 And laughing Ceres re-assume the Land.
83 At Timon's Villa let us pass a Day,
84 Where all cry out, "What Sums are thrown away!
85 So proud, so grand, of that stupendous Air,
86 Soft and Agreeable come never there.
87 Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a Draught
88 As brings all Brobdignag before your Thought:
89 To compass this, his Building is a Town,
90 His Pond an Ocean, his Parterre a Down;[Page 10]
91 Who but must laugh the Master when he sees?
92 A puny Insect, shiv'ring at a Breeze!
93 Lo! what huge Heaps of Littleness around!
94 The Whole, a labour'd Quarry above ground!
95 Two Cupids squirt before: A Lake behind
96 Improves the keenness of the Northern Wind.
97 His Gardens next your Admiration call,
98 On ev'ry side you look, behold the Wall!
99 No pleasing Intricacies intervene,
100 No artful Wildeness to perplex the Scene:
101 Grove nods at Grove, each Ally has a Brother,
102 And half the Platform just reflects the other.
103 The suff'ring Eye inverted Nature sees,
104 Trees cut to Statues, Statues thick as Trees,
105 With here a Fountain, never to be play'd,
106 And there a Summer-house, that knows no Shade.
107 Here Amphitrite sails thro' Myrtle bow'rs;
† The two famous Statues of the Gladiator pugnans, & Gladiator moriens. Gladiators fight, or die, in flow'rs;
109 Un-water'd see the drooping Sea-horse mourn,
110 And Swallows roost in Nilus' dusty Urn.
111 Behold! my Lord advances o'er the Green,
112 Smit with the mighty pleasure, to be seen:
113 But soft — by regular approach — not yet —
114 First thro' the length of yon hot Terras sweat,
115 And when up ten steep Slopes you've dragg'd your thighs,
116 Just at his Study-door he'll bless your Eyes.
117 His Study? with what Authors is it stor'd?
118 In Books, not Authors, curious is my Lord;
119 To all their dated Backs he turns you round,
120 These Aldus printed, those Du Suëil has bound.
121 Lo some are Vellom, and the rest as good
122 For all his Lordship knows, but they are Wood.
123 For Lock or Milton 'tis in vain to look,
124 These Shelves admit not any Modern book.
125 And now the Chappel's silver bell you hear,
126 That summons you to all the Pride of Pray'r:
127 Light Quirks of Musick, broken and uneven,
128 Make the Soul dance upon a Jig to Heaven.
129 On painted Cielings you devoutly stare,
130 Where sprawl the Saints of Verrio, or Laguerre,[Page 12]
131 On gilded Clouds in fair expansion lie,
132 And bring all Paradise before your Eye.
133 To Rest, the Cushion, and soft Dean invite,
134 Who never mentions Hell to Ears polite.
135 But hark! the chiming Clocks to Dinner call;
136 A hundred Footsteps scrape the marble Hall:
137 The rich Buffet well-colour'd Serpents grace,
138 And gaping Tritons spew to wash your Face.
139 Is this a Dinner? this a Genial Room?
140 No, 'tis a Temple, and a Hecatomb;
141 A solemn Sacrifice, perform'd in State,
142 You drink by Measure, and to Minutes eat.
143 So quick retires each flying Course, you'd swear
144 Sancho's dread Doctor and his Wand were there:
145 Between each Act the trembling Salvers ring,
146 From Soup to Sweetwine, and God bless the King.
147 In Plenty starving, tantaliz'd in State,
148 And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
149 Treated, caress'd, and tir'd, I take my leave,
150 Sick of his civil Pride, from Morn to Eve;[Page 13]
151 I curse such lavish Cost, and little Skill,
152 And swear, no Day was ever past so ill.
153 In you, my Lord, Taste sanctifies Expence,
154 For Splendor borrows all her Rays from Sense.
155 You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse,
156 And pompous Buildings once were things of use.
157 Just as they are, yet shall your noble Rules
158 Fill half the Land with Imitating Fools,
159 Who random Drawings from your Sheets shall take,
160 And of one Beauty many Blunders make;
161 Load some vain Church with old Theatric State;
162 Turn Arcs of Triumph to a Garden-gate;
163 Reverse your Ornaments, and hang them all
164 On some patch'd Doghole ek'd with Ends of Wall,
165 Then clap four slices of Pilaster on't,
166 And lac'd with bits of Rustic, 'tis a Front:
167 Shall call the Winds thro' long Arcades to roar,
168 Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;
169 Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
170 And if they starve, they starve by Rules of Art.
171 Yet thou proceed; be fallen Arts thy care,
172 Erect new Wonders, and the Old repair,
173 Jones and Palladio to themselves restore,
174 And be whate'er Vitruvius was before:
175 Till Kings call forth th' Idea's of thy Mind,
176 Proud to accomplish what such hands design'd,
177 Bid Harbors open, publick Ways extend,
178 And Temples, worthier of the God, ascend;
179 Bid the broad Arch the dang'rous Flood contain,
180 The Mole projected break the roaring Main;
181 Back to his bounds their subject Sea command,
182 And roll obedient Rivers thro' the Land:
183 These Honours, Peace to happy Britain brings,
184 These are Imperial Works, and worthy Kings.