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But now, grown rich, on drunken holidays,
At their own cofts exhibit public plays :
Where influenc'd by the rabble's bloody will,
With ? thumbs bent back, they popularly kill.
From thence return'd, their fordid avarice rakes
In excrements again, and hires the jakes,
Why hire they not the town, not ev'ry thing,
Since such as they have fortune in a string ?
Who, for her pleasure, can her fools advance ;
And toss 'em topmoit on the wheel of chance.
What's Rome to me, what bus’ness have I there,
I who can neither lie nor falsely swear?
Nor praise my patrons undeserving rhimes,
Nor yet comply with him, nor with his times ;
Unskill'd in schemes by planets to foreshow,
Like canting rascals, how the wars will go:
I neither will, nor can prognosticate
To the young gaping heir, his father's fate :
Nor in the entrails of a toad have pry'd,
Nor carry'd bawdy presents to a bride :
For want of these town-virtues, thus, alone,
I go conducted on my way by none:
Like a dead member from the body rent;
Maim'd, and unuseful to the government.
Who now is lov’d, but he who loves the times,
Conscious of close intrigues, and dipt in crimes;
Lab'ring with secrets which his bosom burn,
Yet never must to public light return;
They get reward alone who can betray:
For keeping honest counsels none will pay.
I Witb thumbs bent back. In a prize of sword-players, when one of the fencers had the other at his mercy, the vanquished party implored the clemency of the spectators. If they thought he deferved it not, they held up their thumbs, and bent them backwards, in sign of death.
He who can 2 Verres when he will, accuse,
The purie of Verres may at pleasure use:
But let not all the gold which 3 Tagus hides,
And pays the sea in tributary tides,
Be bribe sufficient to corrupt the breast;
Or violate with dreams thy peaceful reft.
Great men with jealous eyes the friend behold,
Whofe fecrecy they purchase with their gold.
I hafte to tell thee, nor shall Mame oppose
What confidence our wealthy Romans chose :
And whom I most abhor: to speak my mind,
I hate, in Rome, a Grecian town to find :
To see the scum of Greece transplanted here,
Receiv'd like Gods, is what I cannot bear.
Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound,
Obscene 4 Orontes diving under ground,
Conveys his wealth to 5 Tyber's hungry shores,
And fattens Italy with foreign whores :
Hither their crooked harps and cuítoms come :
All find receipt in hospitable Rome.
The barbarous harlots crowd the publick place :
Go, fools, and purchase an unclean embrace;
The painted mitre court, and the more painted face.
Old 6 Romulus, and father Mars look down,
Your herdsman primitive, your homely clown
Is turn'd a beau in a loose tawdry gown.
His once unkem'd, and horrid locks, behold
Stilling sweet oil: his neck inchain’d with gold :
2 Verres, Prætor in Sicily, contemporary with Cicero ; by whom accused of oppreiling the province, he was condemned : his name is used here for any rich vicious maa.
3 Tagus, a famous river in Spain, which discharges itself into the ocean rear Lisbon in Portugal. It was held of old, to be full of golden sands.
4 Orontes, the greatest river of Syria : the poet here puts the river for the inhabitants of Syria.
5 Tyber; the river which runs by Rome.
6 Romulus ; first king of Rome; son of Mars, as the poets feign. The first Romans were originally herdímen.
Aping the foreigners in ev'ry dress ;
Which, bought at greater coft, becomes him lefs.
Mean time they wisely leave their native land,
From Sycion, Samos, and from Alaband,
And Amydon, to Rome they fwarm in fhoals:
So sweet and easy is the gain from fools.
Poor refugees at first, they purchase here :
And, soon as denizen’d, they domineer.
Grow to the great, a flatt'ring servile rout:
Work themselves inward, and their patrons out.
Quick-witted, brazen-fac’d, with Auent tongues,
Patient of labours, and diffembling wrongs.
Riddle me this, and guess him if you can,
Who bears a nation in a single man?
A cook, a conjurer, a rhetorician,
A painter, pedant, a geometrician,
A dancer on the ropes, and a physician.
All things the hungry Greek exactly knows :
And bid him go to heav'n, to heav'n he goes.
In short, no Scythian, Moor, or Thracian born,
But 7 in that town which arms and arts adorn,
Shall he be plac'd above me at the board,
Ia purple cloath'd, and lolling like a lord ?
Shall he before me fign, whom t'other day
A small craft vessel hither did convey;
Where ftow'd with prunes, and rotten figs, he lay?
How little is the privilege become
Of being born a citizen of Rome!
The Greeks get all by fulsome flatteries ;
A most peculiar stroke they have at lies.
They make a wit of their infipid friend;
His blobber-lip, and beetle-brows commend ;
His long crane-neck, and narrow shoulders praise ;
You'd think they were describing Hercules.
7 But in that town, &c. He means Athens ; of which, Pallas the goddess of arms and arts was patronessa
A creaking voice for a clear trebble goes ;
Tho' harsher than a cock that treads and crows.
We can as grosly praise ; but, to our grief,
No flatt'ry but from Grecians gains belief..
Besides these qualities, we must agree
They mimic better on the stage than we :
The wife, the whore, the shepherdess they play,
In such a free, and such a graceful way,
That we believe a very woman Town,
And fancy fomething underneath the gown.
Eut not 8 Antiochus, nor Stratocles,
Our ears and ravish'd eyes can only please :
The nation is compos’d of such as these.
All Greece is one comedian : laugh, and they
Return it louder than an ass can bray :
Grieve, and they grieve; if you weep filently,
There seems a filent echo in their eye:
They cannot mourn like you, but they can cry.
Call for a fire, their winter cloaths they take :
Begin but you to shiver, and they make :
In frost and snow, if you complain of heat,
They rub th' unsweating brow, and swear they sweat-
We live not on the square with such as these,
Such are our betters who can better please :
Who day and night are like a looking-glass ;
Still ready to reflect their patron's face.
The panegyric hand, and lifted eye,
Prepar'd for some new piece of flattery.
Ev'n nastiness, occasions will afford;
They praise a belching, or well-pissing lord.
Besides, there's nothing sacred, nothing free
From bold attempts of their rank letchery.
Thro’ the whole family their labours run ;
The daughter is debauch'd, the wife is won :
Nor 'scapes the bridegroom, or the blooming fon.
8 Antiocbus and Stratocles, two famous Grecian mimicks, or actors, in the poet's time.
If none they find for their lewd purpose fit,
They with the walls and very floors commit.
They search the secrets of the house, and so
Are worshipp'd there, and fear'd for what they know.
And, now we talk of Grecians, cast a view
On what, in schools, their men of morals do;
A rigid 9 stoick his own pupil flew :
A friend, against a friend of his own cloth,
Turn'd evidence, and murder'd on his oath.
What room is left for Romans in a town
Where Grecians rule, and cloaks controul the gown?
Some i Diphilus, or fome Protogenes,
Look sharply out, our senators to seize :
Engrofs 'em wholly, by their native art,
And fear'd no rivals in their bubbles heart:
One drop of poison in my patron's ear,
One flight suggestion of a senseless fear,
Infus’d with cunning, serves to ruin me ;
Disgrac’d, and banish'd from the family.
In vain forgotten services I boast;
My long dependance in an hour is loft :
Look round the world, what country will appear,
Where friends are left with greater ease than heres
At Rome (nor think me partial to the poor)
All offices of ours are out of door :
In vain we rise, and to the levees run;
My lord himself is up, before, and gone:
bids his lictors mend their pace, Left his colleague outftrip him in the race: The childish matrons are, long since, awake; And, for affronts, the tardy visits take.
'Tis frequent, here, to see a free-born son On the left-hand of a rich hireling run ;
9 A rigid fcick, &c. Publius Ignatius, a stoick, falsy accused Bareas Sorenus, as Tacitus tells us. 1 Diphilus, and Protogenes, &c. were Grecians living in Rome.