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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 ftate ; 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 ftol'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, Must 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;
7 Mesalina, wife tò the emperor Claudius, infamous for her lewde 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
Yet not to rob the priests of pious gain,
The path to peace is virtue : what I show,
JU V E N A L.
THE ARGUMENT. The poet in this fatire, proves, that the condition of a soldier
is much better than that of a country-man: firfi, because a country-man, however affronted, provoked, and struck himself, 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 have aspeedy hearing, and quick dispatch: whereas the town|man or peasant is delayed in his fuit by frivolous pretences, and not sure of justice when he is heard in the court. The foldier 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 fuvenal, 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
Accruing to the mighty man of war ! For, if into a lucky camp I light, 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. 1 Juno was mother to Mars the god of war: Venus was his mistress.
See what our common privileges are :
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, lest 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. Ilob-naild moes. The Roman soldiers wore plates of iron under their shoes, or stuck them with nails; as countrymen do now.
Sure the good-breeding of wise citizens
Befides whom canst thou think so much thy friend,
More benefits remain, and claim'd as rights,
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.