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Would it were all a fable, that

you But Drymon's wife pleads guilty to the deed. I (she confesses) in the fact was caught, Two fons dispatching at one deadly draught. 835 What two! two sons, thou viper, in one day! Yes, fev’n, she cries, if fev'n were in my way. Medea's legend is no more a lye ; One age

adds credit to antiquity. Great ills, we grant, in former times did reign, And murders then were done : but not for

gain. Less admiration to great crimes is due, Which they through wrath, or through revenge,

pursue. For, weak of reason, impotent of will, The sex is hurry'd headlong into ill: And, like a cliff from its foundations torn, By raging earthquakes, into seas is born. But those are fiends, who crimes from thought

begin : And, cool in mischief, meditate the sin. They read th' example of a pious wife, Redeeming, with her own, her husband's life; Yet, if the laws did that exchange afford, Would save their lap-dog sooner than their


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Ver. 833. The widow of Drymon poisoned her sons, that flies might fucceed to their estate: This was done either in the poet's time, or just before it.

Ver. 838. Medea, out of revenge to Jason who had forsaken her, killed the children which she had by him.

Where'er you walk, the Belides

you meet; And Clytemnestras grow in ev'ry street : But here's the difference ; Agamemnon's wife Was a gross butcher with a bloody knife ; But murder, now, is to perfection grown, And subtle poisons are employ'd alone: Unless fome antidote prevents their arts, And lines with balsam all the nobler parts : In such a case, reserv'd for such a need, Rather than fail, the dagger does the deed.


Ver. 854. the Belides] Who were fifty fisters, married to fifty young men, their cousin-germans; and killed them all on their wedding-night, excepting Hypermneftra, who saved her husband Linus.

Ver. 855. Clytemnestra] The wife of Agamemnon, who in favour to her adulterer Ægysthus, was consenting to his mure der.

Ver. 863. Rather than fail,] It will easily be understood, why it was impossible to make a single obfervation on this Sixth San tire, which, as he finely says in another place, is,

Too foul to name, too fulsome to be read. Yet Lud. Prateüs wrote long notes for the use of the Dauphin under the inspection of Boffuet.







The poet's design, in this divine fatire, is to repre

sent the various wishes and desires of mankind; and to set out the folly of them. He runs through all the several heads of riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial atchievements, long life, and beauty; and gives instances, in each, how frequently they have proved the ruin of those that owned them. He concludes therefore, that fince we generally chuse so ill for ourselves, we should do better to leave it to the gods, to make the choice for us. All we can safely ask of heaven, lies within a very small compass. 'Tis but health of body and mind. And if we have these, it is not much matter what we want besides; for we have already enough to make us happy.

LOOK round the habitable world, how few Know their own good; or knowing it, pursue.

Ver. 1. Look round] There is not perhaps in our language a poem of the moral and didactic species, written with more vigo.


How void of reason are our hopes and fears ! What in the conduct of our life

appears So well design'd, so luckily begun, But, when we have our wish, we wish undone ?

Whole houses, of their whole desires poffest, Are often ruin'd, at their own request. In wars, and peace, things hurtful we require, When made obnoxious to our own desire. .

With laurels fome have fatally been crown'd; Some, who the depths of eloquence have

found, In that unnavigable stream were drown’d.

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rous and strong sentiments, more penetrating and useful observations on life, in a di&tion remarkably close and compact, than the Vanity of Human Wishes, by Dr. Johnson, in imitation of this Tenth Satire of his favourite Juvenal. In point of sprightliness, and poignancy of wit and sarcasm, it may not be equal to his imitation of the Third; but indeed the nature and tone of the two pieces are essentially different; for here all is serious, folemn, and even devout. The evils of life are indeed aggravated and painted in the darkeft and most disagreeable colours; but such an unwarrantable representation was a favourite topic with our author, touched as he was with a morbid melancholy; but surely to magnify and dwell too much on these evils, is, after all, very false philosophy, and an affront to our most benevolent and bounteous Creator. Those who hold this uncomfortable and gloomy opinion, would do well to consider attentively what such men as Cudworth, Archbishop King, Hutchefon, and Balguy, have so strongly urged in confutation of this opinion of the prepollence of evil in the world. It may not be unpleasant to lay before the reader fome passages of Johnfon's Imitations, which feem particularly happy in the accommodation of modern facts and characters to the ancient; and we may imagine he put forth all his strength when he was to contend with Dryden. He certainly would not have fucceeded fo well if he had ever attempted to initate Horace.


The brawny fool, who did his vigour boast, In that presuming confidence was lost: But more have been by avarice opprest, And heaps of money crowded in the chest: Unwieldy fums of wealth, which higher mount Than files of marshall'd figures can account. To which the stores of Cræsus, in the scale, 20 Would look like little dolphins, when they fail In the vast shadow of the British whale. .

For this, in Nero's arbitrary time, When virtue was a guilt, and wealth a crime, A troop of cut-throat guards were sent to seize 25 The rich men's goods, and gut their palaces: The mob, commission'd by the government, Are feldom to an empty garret sent. The fearful passenger, who travels late, Charg'd with the carriage of a paltry plate, 30 Shakes at the moonshine shadow of a rush; And fees a red-coat rise from every bush : The beggar sings, ev’n when he sees the place Beset with thieves, and never mends his pace. .

Of all the vows, the first and chief request 35 Of each is, to be richer than the rest : And yet no doubts the poor man's draught

controul, He dreads no poison in his homely bowl,

Ver. 14. Milo, of Crotona, who, for a trial of his ftrength, going to rend an oak, perished in the attempt; for his arms were caught in the trunk of it, and he was devoured by wild beasts. VOL. IV.

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