Wealth's Power. Poem by Ephelia

Wealth's Power.

How Happy was the World before men found
Those metals, Nature hid beneath the Ground!
All Necessary things She placed in View,
But this She wisely hid, because She knew
That it destructive to her work would be,
And jar the consort of her Harmony:
No sooner
was Found, but men began
To find new ways to Death, and cruel man
Made Swords, and Spears, and Bows, and Darts, which he
First used on Beast---------
Who fell the Victims of his Cruelty:
Pride, and Revenge, then Raged in every Soul,
And Fiery Passion, Reason did control.
But when those Mines were found which we call rich,
Because their Glitt'ring Beauty did bewitch
And please our cozened(1) Senses, then with more
Than mean(2) devotion, man did Gold adore:
Deluded man did then this Trifle call
The chiefest Good, that could to him befall:
How strangely, Frantic(3) man, didst thou mistake,
When of this trash thou didst an Idol make?
For though to it thou didst no Altars rear,
Its Zealous Votary(4) thou didst appear:
This fatal Poison was by Heaven hid
I'th' bowels of the earth, and when it did
By chance, i'th' Hesperian(5) Garden shoot above,
Heaven, (knowing how mischievous it would prove)
The passage did with watchful Dragons guard,
And made the way to misery, more hard
To pass, than that which led to Bliss:
But all in vain, for had Heaven hidden this
I'th' Verge of Hell, man would have fetched it thence,
And thought it a sufficient Recompense
For all his pains; but when he had attained,
This much desired Curse, he thought he'd gained
A Blessing Heav'n would Envy, but alas!
The worth, not in the Metal, but his Fancy was.
No Man did needless Merit now regard,
None Virtue sought, none Valor would reward,
None Learning valued, none poor Wit did mind,
None honoured Age, few were to Beauty kind;
All Gold adored, all Riches did Admire,
Beyond being Rich, no Man did now aspire.
Gold thus Advanced, and all things else neglected,
Justice deposed, and Wisdom disrespected;
They left the Earth to Wealth's more pow'rful sway,
And fled to Heaven, while Man did Gold obey:
Now Money reigned in chief, and sottish Man,
A slavish servitude to Wealth began;
Kingdoms to Rule, and Princes to Advise,
Men fondly chose the Rich, and not the Wise;
All loved the Man that had a good Estate,
And Poverty was cause enough to Hate;
The Rich might all things do, and Plaudits(6) have
For his worst Acts, but scarce the Poor could save
His best from Censure; now it might be said,
Wealth hid more Faults, than ever Folly made.
A Friend, though heretofore a Sacred Name,
Now, nothing but an empty Sound became;
For as Men's Riches did or Ebb, or Flow,
So less or more, their Friends did kindness show:
Honor, that flew such noble Flights before,
With gen'rous Pinions,(7) now no more could soar
Such Heights, but checked, to stoop did not disdain
T'a gilded Lure, and wear a Golden Chain:
Beauty, that all Men did for Heavenly hold,
Forgot its worth, and sold its self for Gold:
Nay Love, though more Divine than all the rest,
Became a Mercenary, or at best,
A mingled Compound of desire and wealth,
If any's better, 't must be had by Stealth:
Marriage is Love and Jointure mixed together,
And yet sometimes it happens that there's neither:
But Wit this glorious trifle did disdain,
Wealth strove to make it yield, but all in vain,
More noble Objects gen'rous Wit did choose
To employ its Thoughts, and did this Trash refuse.
Wealth threatened Wit it ever should be Poor,
Yet Wit the Golden Calf would not adore;
So when both saw their Labor was in vain,
They vowed to part, and never meet again.

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