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FIRST SATIR E.
Never did on cleft Parnaffus dream,
Nor tafte the facred Heliconian stream;
Heedlefs of verfe, and hopeless of the crown,
1 Parnaffus and Helicon were hills confecrated to the mufes ; and the fuppofed place of their abode. Parnaffus was forked on the top; and from Helicon ran a ftream, the fpring of which was called the mufes well.
2 Pyrene, a fountain in Corinth; confecrated alfo to the mufes. 3 The ftatues of the poets were crowned with ivy about their brows.
4 Before the forine; that is before the fhrine of Apollo, in his temple at Rome, called the Palatine.
Argument of the First Satire."
I need not repeat, that the chief aim of the author is against bad poets in this fatire. But I must add, that he includes alfo bad orators, who began at that time (as Petronius in the beginning of his book tells us) to enervate manly elaquence, by tropes and figures, ill placed and worse applied. Amongst the poets, Perfius covertly ftrikes at Nero; fome of whofe verses he recites with scorn and indignation. He also takes notice of the noblemen and their abominable poetry, who in the luxury of their fortunes, set up for wits and judges. The fatire is in dialogue, betwixt the author and his friend or monitor; who dissuades him from this dangerous attempt of expofing great men. But Perfius, who is of a free Spirit, and has not forgotten that Rome was once a commonwealth, breaks through all thofe difficulties, and boldly arraigns the falfe judgment of the age in which he lives. The reader may observe that our poet was a ftoick philosopher; and that all his moral sentences, both here and in all the reft of his fatires, are drawn from the dogmas of that feet.
FIRST SATIR È.
In Dialogue betwixt the POET and his FRIEND or MONITOR.
OW anxious are our cares, and yet
Friend. Thy fpleen contain:
Perfius. This to me?
For none will read thy fatires.
Friend. None; or what's next to none, but two or three.
"Tis hard, I grant.
Perfius. "Tis nothing; I can bear
That paltry fcriblers have the public ear:
Should cry up
I weigh no merit by the common scale.
I Nothing is remaining of Atticus Labeo, (fo he is called by the learned Cafaubon.) Nor is he mentioned by any other poet befides Perfius: Cafaubon, from an old commentator on Perfius, fays, that he made a very foolish translation of Homer's Iliad.
But where's that Roman ?---Somewhat I would fay,
Perfius. I cannot rule my spleen;
First, to begin at home; our authors write In lonely rooms, fecur'd from public fight; Whether in profe, or verfe, 'tis all the fame : The profe is fuftian, and the numbers lame. All noife, and empty pomp, a storm of words, Lab'ring with found, that little fenfe affords. They 2 comb, and then they order ev'ry hair : A gown, or white, or fcour'd to whiteness, wear: A birth-day jewel bobbing at their ear. Next, gargle well their throats, and thus prepar'd, They mount, a God's name, to be feen and heard. From their high scaffold, with a trumpet cheek, And ogling all their audience ere they speak. The nauseous nobles, ev'n the chief of Rome, With gaping mouths to thefe rehearsals come, And pant with pleasure, when fome lufty line The marrow pierces, and invades the chine. At open fulfom bawdry they rejoice, And flimy jeft applaud with broken voice.
2 He defcribes a poet preparing himself to rehearse his works in publick; which was commonly performed in Auguft. A room was hired or lent by some friend; a scaffold was raised, and a pulpit placed for him, who was to hold forth; who borrowed a new gown, or fcoured his old one; and adorned his ears with jewels, &c.
Base prostitute, thus doft thou gain thy bread ?
Know, my wild 3 fig-tree, which in rocks is bred,
The crowd, with pointing fingers, cry, That's he:
One, clad in purple, not to lose his time,
All these, you cry, but light objections are ;
3 Trees of that kind grow wild in many parts of Italy; and make their way through rocks: Sometimes splitting the tomb-ftones.