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And, with a fly infinuating grace,

Laugh'd at his friend, and look'd him in the face:
Would raife a blush, where fecret vice he found;
And tickle, while he gently prob'd the wound.
With feeming innocence the crowd beguil'd;
But made the defperate paffes when he fmil'd.
Could he do this, and is my Mufe controll'd
By fervile awe? Born free, and not be bold?
At least, I'll dig a hole within the ground;
And to the trufty earth commit the found:
The reeds fhall tell you what the poet fears,
King 6 Midas has a fnout, and ass's ears.'
This mean conceit, this darling mystery,


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Which thou think'ft nothing, friend, thou shalt not buy, Nor will I change for all the flashy wit,

That flatt'ring Labeo in his Iliads writ.

7 Thou, if there be a thou in this base town,
Who dares, with angry Eupolis, to frown ;
He, who, with bold Cratinus, is infpir'd
With zeal, and equal indignation fir'd:
Who, at enormous villany, turns pale,
And steers against it with a full-blown fail,
Like Ariftophanes, let him but fmile

On this my honeft work, tho' writ in homely stile:
And if two lines or three in all the vein

Appear lefs droffy, read those lines again.

6 King Midas, &c. The ftory is vulgar, that Midas king of Phrygia was made judge betwixt Apollo and Pan, who was the beft mufician: He gave the prize to Pan; and Apollo in revenge gave him afs's ears. He wore his hair long to hide them; but his barber difcovering them, and not daring to divulge the fecret, dug a hole in the ground, and whifpered into it: The place was maríhy; and when the reeds grew up, they repeated the words which were spoken by the barber. By Midas the poet meant Nero.

7 Eupolis and Cratinus, as alfo Ariftophanes mentioned afterwards, were all Athenian poets; who wrote that fort of comedy, which was called the old comedy, where the people were named, who were fatirized by thofe authors.


May they perform their author's juft intent,
Glow in thy ears, and in thy breast ferment.
But from the reading of my book and me,
Be far, ye foes of virtuous poverty:

Who 8 fortune's fault upon the poor can throw ;
Point at the tatter'd coat, and ragged fhoe:
Lay nature's failings to their charge, and jeer
The dim weak eye-fight, when the mind is clear,
When thou thyfelf, thus infolent in ftate,
Art but, perhaps, fome country magiftrate;
Whose pow'r extends no farther than to speak
Big on the bench, and fcanty weights to break.
Him, alfo, for my cenfor I difdain,

Who thinks all fcience, as all virtue vain ;
Who counts geometry, and numbers, toys;
And, 9 with his foot, the facred duft destroys:
Whofe pleasure is to fee a ftrumpet tear
A Cynick's beard, and lug him by the hair.
Such, all the morning, to the pleadings run;
But when the bus'nefs of the day is done,

On dice, and drink, and drabs, they spend their after


8 Who fortune's faults, &c. The people of Rome in the time of Perfius, were apt to fcorn the Grecian philofophers, particularly the cynics and ftoics, who were the poorest of them.

9 And with his foot, &c. Arithmetick and geometry were taught on floors, which were ftrewed with duft or fand; in which the numbers and diagrams were made and drawn, which they might frike out again.







This fatire contains a moft grave and philofophical argument, concerning prayers and wishes. Undoubtedly it gave occafion to Juvenal's tenth fatire; and both of them had their original from one of Plato's dialogues, called the Second Alcibiades. Our author has induced it with great mystery of art, by taking his rife from the birth-day of his friend; on which occafions, prayers were made, and facrifices offered by the native. Perfius commending the purity of his friend's vows, defcends to the impious and immoral requests of others. The fatire is divided into three parts: the firft is the exordium to Macrinus, which the poet confines within the compafs of four verfes. The fecond relates to the matter of the prayers and vows, and an enumeration of those things, wherein men commonly finned against right reason, and offended in their requests. The third part confifts in fhewing the repugnances of thofe prayers and wifkes, to thofe of other men, and inconfiftencies with themselves. He fhews the original of thefe vows, and fharply inveighs against them and lastly, not only corrects the falje opinion of mankind concerning them, but gives the true doctrine of all addreffes made to heaven, and how they may be made acceptable to the Powers above, in excellent precepts, and more worthy of a Chriftian than a Heathen.




Dedicated to his friend PLOTIUS MACRINUS, on his birth-day.


ET this aufpicious morning be exprest

With a white ftone, diftinguifh'd from the reft:
White as thy fame, and as thy honour clear;
And let new joys attend on thy new added year.
Indulge thy genius, and o'erflow thy foul,
Till thy wit fparkle, like the chearful bowl.
Pray; for thy pray'rs the teft of heaven will bear;
Nor need'ft thou take the Gods afide, to hear:
While others, ev'n the mighty men of Rome,
Big fwell'd with mifchief, to the temples come;
And in low murmurs, and with coftly fioke,
Heav'n's help, to profper their black vows invoke.
So boldly to the Gods mankind reveal

What from each other they, for fhame, conceal.
Give me good fame, ye Pow'rs, and make me jult :
Thus much the rogue to public ears will truft:
In private then :-When wilt thou, mighty Jove,
My wealthy uncle from this world remove?
Or-O thou Thund'rer's fon, great 2 Hercules,
That once thy bounteous Deity would pleafe
To guide my rake, upon the chinking found
Of fome vaft treasure hidden under ground!

O were my pupil fairly knock'd o' th' head;
I fhould poffefs th' eftate, if he were dead!

1 White flone. The Romans were fed to mark their fortunate days, or any thing that luckily befel 'em, with a white stone which they had from the island Creta; and their unfortunate with a coal. 2 Hercules was thought to have the key and power of bestowing all hidden treasure.


He's fo far gone with rickets, and with th' evil,
That one fmall dofe will fend him to the devil.
This is my neighbour Nerius his third spouse,
Of whom in happy time he rids his house.
But my eternal wife!—Grant heav'n I may
Survive to fee the fellow of this day!
Thus, that thou mayft the better bring about
Thy wishes, thou art wickedly devout:
In Tyber ducking thrice, by break of day,
To wash th' obfcenities of 3 night away.
But pr'ythee tell me, ('tis a small requeft)
With what ill thoughts of Jove art thou possest ?
Wouldst thou prefer him to some man? Suppofe
I dipp'd among the worst, and Staius chofe?
Which of the two would thy wife head declare
The truftier tutor to an orphan heir ?
Or, put it thus :-Unfold to Staius, freight,
What to Jove's ear thou didft impart of late:
He'll ftare, and, O good Jupiter! will cry;
Can't thou indulge him in this villany!

And think'ft thou, Jove himself, with patience then
Can hear a pray'r condemn'd by wicked men ?
That, void of care, he lolls fupine in ftate,
And leaves his bus'ness to be done by fate?
Because his thunder fplits fome burley tree,
And is not darted at thy house and thee?
Or that his vengeance falls not at the time,
Juft at the perpetration of thy crime:
And makes thee a fad object of our eyes,
Fit for 4 Ergenna's pray'r and facrifice?

3 The ancients thought themselves tainted and polluted by night itself, as well as bad dreams in the night, and therefore purified themfelves by washing their heads and hands every morning; which custom the Turks obferve to this day.

4 When any one was thunderstruck; the foothfayer (who is here called Ergenna) immediately repaired to the place, to expiate the difpleasure of the gods, by facrificing two sheep.


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