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Laughter is easy; but the wonder lies,
What store of brine supply'd the weeper's eyes,
Dentocritus could feed his spleen, and make
His fides and shoulders till he felt 'em ake;
Tho’in his country-town no lictors were,
Nor rods, nor ax, nor tribune did appear :
Nor all the foppish gravity of show,
Which cunning magistrates on crowds beflow :
What had he done, had he beheld, on high,
Our prætor seated, in mock majesty;
His chariot rolling o'er the dusty place,
While, with dumb pride, and a set formal face,
He moves, in the dull ceremonial track,
With Jove's embroider'd coat upon his back:
A sute of hanginys had not more opprest
His shoulders, than that long, laborious veft :
A heavy gugaw, (call’d a crown,) that spread
About his temples, drown'd his narrow head ;
And would have crush'd it with the mafty freight,
But that a sweating flave fustain'd the weight:
A llave in the same chariot seen to ride,
To mortify the mighty madman's pride.
Add now th’imperial eagle, rais’d on high,
With golden beak (the mark of majesty)
Trựmpets before, and on the left and right,
A cavalcade of nobles, all in white :
In their own natures false and flatt’ring tribes,
But made his friends, by places and by bribes.
In his own age, Democritus could find
Sufficient cause to laugh at human kind:
Learn from so great a wit; a land of bogs
With ditches fenc'd, a heav'n fat with fogs,
May form a spirit fit to sway the state ;
And make the neighb’sing monarchs fear their fate.
He laughs at all the vulgar cares and fears ;
At their vain triumphs, and their vaines tears:
An equal temper in his mind he found,
When Fortune flatter'd him, and when the frown'd.
'Tis plain, from hence, that what our vows requeft,
Are hurtful things, or useless at the beft.
Some ask for envy'd pow'r; which public hate
Pursues, and hurries headlong to their fate :-
Down go the titles; and the statue crown'd,
Is by base hands in the nex river drown'd.
The guiltless horses and the chariot wheel,
The same effects of vulgar fury feel :
The smith prepares his hammer for the stroke,
While the long'd bellows hiffing fire provoke ;
Sejanus 2, almost first of Roman names,
The great Sejanus crackles in the flames :
Form'd in the forge, the pliant brass is laid
On anvils; and of head and limbs are made,
Pans, cans, and piss-pots, a whole kitchen-trade.
Adorn' your doors with laurels; and a bull,
Milk-white, and large, lead to the Capitol ;
Sejanus with a rope, is dragg'd along;
The sport and laughter of the giddy throng!
Good Lord, they cry, what Ethiop lips he has,
How foul a fnout, and what a hanging face?
By heav'n, I never could endure his fight;
But say, how came his monstrous crimes to light
What is the charge, and who the evidence,
(The saviour of the nation and the prince ?)
Nothing of this; but our old Cæsar fent
A noisy letter to his parliament:
Nay, firs, if Cæsar writ, I ak no more,
He's guilty; and the question's out of door.
2 Sejanus was Tiberius's first favourite ; and while he continued so, had the highest marks of honour bestowed on him; ftatues and triumphal chariots were every where erected to him : But as soon as he fell into disgrace with the emperor, these were all immediately dismounted ; and the senate and common people insulted over him as meanly, as they had fawned on him before.
How goes the mob? (for that's a mighty thing,)
When the king's trump, the mob are for the king :
They follow fortune, and the common cry
Is still against the rogue condemn’d to die.
But the same very mob, that rascal crowd,
Had cry'd Sejaņus, with a fhout as loud;
Had his designs (by fortune's favour bleft)
Succeeded, and the prince's age oppreit.
But long, long since, the times have chang'd their face,
The people grown degenerate and base :
Not suffer'd now the freedom of their choice,
To make their magistrates, and sell their voice.
Our wife fore-fathers, great by sea and land,
Had once the pow'r and absolute command ;
All offices of trust, themselves dispos'd;
Rais'd whom they pleas'd, and whom they pleas'd depos'd.
But we who give our native rights away,
And our enflav'd pofterity betray,
Are now reduc'd to beg an alms, and go.
On holidays to see a puppet-show.
There was a damn'd design, cries one, no doubt;
For warrants are already iffued out:
I met Brutidius in a mortal fright;
He's dipt for certain, and plays leaft in fight:
I fear the rage of our offended prince,
Who thinks the senate flack in his defence!
Come let us hafte, our loyal zeal to show,
And spurn the wretched corps of Cæsar's foe :
But let our slaves be present there, left they
Accuse their masters, and for gain betray.
Such were the whispers of those jealous times,
About Sejanus' punishment and crimes.
Now tell me truly, wouldst thou change thy fate
To be, like him, firft minister of fate ?
To have thy levees crouded with resort,
Of a depending, gaping, servile court :
Dispose all honours of the sword and gown,
Grace with a nud, and ruin with a frown:
To hold thy prince in pupil age, and sway
That monarch, whom the matter'd world obey ?
While he intent on secret luft alone,
Lives to himself, abandoning the throne ;
Coop'd 3 in a narrow isle, observing dreams
With flattering wizards, and erecting schemes !
I well believe, thou wouldst be great as he ;
For ev'ry man's a fool to that degree i
All with the dire prerogative to kill;
Ev’n they would have the pow'r, who want the will:
But wouldit thou have thy wishes understood,
To take the bad together with the good,
Wouldi thou not rather chuse a small renown,
To be the may's of some poor paltry town,
Bigly to look, and barb'roully to speak;
To pound false weights, and scanty measures break?
Then, grant we that Sejanus went astray
In ev'ry with, and knew not how to pray :
For he who grasp'd the world's exhausted store
Yet dever had enough, but with’d for more,
Rais'd a top-heavy tow'r, of monstrous height,
Which mould'ring, cruth'd him underneath the weight,
What did the mighty Pompey's fall beget?
It ruin'd 4 him, who, greater than the Great,
The ftubborn pride of Roman nobles broke;
And bent their haughty necks beneath his yoke :
What else but his immoderate luft of pow'r,
Pray’rs made and granted in a luckless hour?
Thejlland of Caprea, which lies about a league out at sea from the Campanian thore, vas the scene of Tiberius's pleasures in the Jagger fart of his reign. There he lived for some years with diviners, foonfasers, and worse company And from thence dispatched all his orders to the senate.
4 Julius Cæfar, who got the better of Pompey that was stiled The Great.
For few usurpers to the fades descend
By a dry death, or with a quiet end.
The boy, who scarce has paid his entrance down
To his proud pedant, or declin’d a noun,
(So small an elf, that when the days are foul,
He and his fatchel must be borne to schools)
Yet prays, and hopes, and aims at nothing less,
To 5 prove a Tully, or Demofthenes :
But both those orators, so much renown'd,
In their own depths of eloquence were drown'd:
The hand and head were never loft, of those
Who dealt in dogrel, or who punnid in prose.
“ Fortune 6 foretan'd the dying notes of Rome :
" Till I, thy consul sole, consold thy doom.”
His fate had crept below the lifted swords,
Had all his malice been to murder words.
I rather would be Mævius, thrash for rhimes
Like his, the scorn and scandal of the times,
Than 7 that Philipique fatally divine,
Which is inscrib'd the second, should be mine.
Nor he, the wonder of the Grecian throng,
Who drove them with the torrent of his tongue,
Who shook the theatres and sway'd the state
Of Athens, found a more propitious fate.
Whom, born beneath a boding horoscope,
His fire, the blear-ey'd Vulcan of a fhop,
s Demofthenes and Tuily, both died for their oratory. Demofthenes gave himself poison, to avoid being carried to Antipater, one of Alexander's captains, who had then made him self master of Athens. Tully was murdered by M. Anthony's order, in return for those invectives he had made against him.
6 The Latin of this couplet is a famous verse of Tully's, in which he sets out the happiness of his own confulfhip; famou: for the vanity, and the ill poetry of it. For Tully, as he had a great deal of the one, so he had no great share of the other.
7 The orations of Tully, against M. Antony, were stiled by him Philippics, in imitation of Demoftenes, who had given that name before to chofe he made against Philip of Macedon,