Sidor som bilder



Now 7 Silius wants thy counsel, gives advice; Wed Cæsar's wife, or die; the choice is nice. Her comet-eyes she darts on ev'ry grace ; And takes a fatal liking to his face, Adorn'd with bridal pomp she fits in state ; The public notaries and Aruspex wait : The genial bed is in the garden dreft: The portion paid, and ev'ry rite express’d, Which in a Roman marriage is profeft. 'Tis no stol'n wedding, this, rejecting awe, She scorns to marry, but in form of law : In this moot case, your judgment: to refuse Is present death, besides the night you lose : If you consent, 'tis hardly worth your pain ; A day or two of anxious life you gain : Till loud reports thro' all the town have past, And reach the prince : for cuckolds hear the last, Indulge thy pleasure, youth, and take thy swing ; For not to take is but the self-fame thing : Inevitable death before thee lies ; But looks more kindly thro' a lady's eyes.

What then remains ? Are we depriv'd of will, Muft we not wish, for fear of wishing ill ? Receive my counsel, and securely move ; Intrust thy fortune to the Pow'rs above. Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant What their unerring wisdom sees thee want: In goodness as in greatness they excel; Ah that we lov'd ourselves but half so well! We, blindly by our headstrong passions led, Are hot for action, and desire to wed;

[ocr errors]

7 Mefalina, wife to the emperor Claudius, infamous for her lewda ness. She set her eyes upon C. Silius, a fine youth ; forced him to quit his own wife, and marry her with all the formalities of a wedding, whilft Claudius Cæsar was sacrificing at Hoftia. Upon his return, he put both Silius and her to death,



Then wish for heirs : but to the Gods alone
Our future offspring, and our wives, are known;
Th’audacious itrumpet, and ungracious fon.

Yet not to rob the priests of pious gain,
That altars be not wholly built in vain ;
Forgive the Gods the rest, and stand confin'd
To health of body, and content of mind :
A foul, that can securely death defy,
And count it nature's privilege to die;
Serene and manly, harden'd to sustain
The load of life, and exercis’d in pain :
Guiltless of hate, and proof against desire ;
That all things weighs, and nothing can admire :
That dares prefer the toils of Hercules
To dalliance, banquet, and ignoble ease.

The path to peace is virtue : what I show,
Thyself may freely on thyself bestow :
Fortune was never worship'd by the wise ;
But, set aloft by fools, usurps the skies.




J U V E N A L.


The poet in this satire, proves, that the condition of a soldier

is much better than that of a country-man: first, because a country-man, however affronted, provoked, and struck himJelf, dares not strike a soldier ; who is only to be judged by a court-martial: and by the law of Camillus, which obliges him not to quarrel without the trenches, he is also ajured to bave aspeedy hearing, and quick dispatch: whereas the townsman or peasant is delayed in his suit by frivolous pretences, and not sure of justice when he is heard in the court. The Soldier is also privileged to make a will

, and to give away his estate, which he got in war, to whom he pleases, without consideration of parentage or relations; which is denied to all other Romans. This satire was written by Juvenal, when he was a commander in Ægypt: it is certainly his, though I think it not finished. And if it be well observed, you will find be intended an invective against a standing army.


HAT vast prerogatives, my Gallus, are


For, if into a lucky camp I light,

I Tho’raw in arms, and yet afraid to fight, Befriend me, my good stars, and all goes right: One happy hour is to a soldier better, Than mother 1 Juno's recommending letter, Or Venus, when to Mars she would prefer My suit, and own the kindness done to her. I Juno was mother to Mars the god of war: Venus was his mistress.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



See what our common privileges are :
As, first, no saucy citizen shall dare
To strike a soldier, nor when struck, resent
The wrong, for fear of farther punishment :
Not tho' his teeth are beaten out, his eyes
Hang by a ftring, in bumps his forehead rise,
Shall he presume to mention his disgrace,
Or beg amends for his demolish'd face.
A booted judge shall fit to try his cause,
Not by the statute, but by martial laws;
Which old 2 Camillus order'd, to confine
The brawls of soldiers to the trench and line :
A wise provision; and from thence 'tis clear,
That officers a soldier's cause should hear :
And taking cognizance of wrongs receiv'd,
An honest man may hope to be reliev'd.
So far 'tis well: but with a gen’ral cry,
The regiment will rise in mutiny,
The freedom of their fellow-rogue demand,
And, if refus'd, will threaten to disband.
Withdraw thy action, and depart in peace;
The remedy is worse than the disease :
This cause is worthy 3 him, who in the hall
Would for his fee, and for his client, bawl :
But would'it thou, friend, who hast two legs alone,
(Which, heav'n be prais’d, thou yet mayst call thy own)
Wouldīt thou to run the gantlet these expose
To a whole company of 4 hob-nail'd shoes?

2 Camillus (who being first banished, by his ungrateful countrymen the Romans, afterwards returned, and freed them from the Gauls,) made a law which prohibited the soldiers from quarrelling without the camp, left upon that pretence they might happen to be absent, when they ought to be on duty.

3 This cause is wortby bim, &c. The poet names a Modenese lawyer whom he calls Vagellius : who was so impudent that he would plead any cause, right or wrong, without shame or fear,

4 Hob-rail'd foes. The Roman soldiers wore plates of iron under their snoes, or ituck them with nails; as countrymen do now.



Sure the good-breeding of wise citizens
Should teach 'em more good-nature to their shins.

Besides whom canst thou think fo much thy friend,
Who dares appear thy business to defend ? .
Dry up thy tears and pocket up th’abuse,
Nor put thy friend to make a bad excuse :
The judge cries out, Your evidence produce.
Will he, who saw the soldier's mutton-fift,
And saw thee maul'd, appear within the lift,
To witness truth? When I see one so brave,
The dead, think I, are risen from the grave ;
And with their long spade beards, and matted hair,
Our honest ancestors are come to take the air.
Against a clown, with more security,
A witness may be brought to swear a lye,
Than, tho’his evidence be full and fair,
To vouch a truth against a man of war.

More benefits remain, and claim'd as rights, Which are a standing army's perquisites. If any rogue vexatious suits advance Against me for my known inheritance, Enter by violence my fruitful grounds, Or.take the sacred land-mark from my bounds, Those bounds, which with poffeffion and with pray'r, And 5 offer'd cakes, have been my annual care : Or if my debtors do not keep their day, Deny their hands, and then refuse to pay ; I must with patience all the terms attend, Among the common causes that depend, Till mine is call'd; and that long look'd-for day Is ftill encumber'd with fome new delay :

5 Land-marks were used by the Romans almost in the same manner as now: And as we go once a year in proceffion, about the bounds of parishes, and renew them, so they offered cakes upon the stone, or land-mark.


« FöregåendeFortsätt »