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the two dialogues of Plato, both called Alcibiades, the poet took the arguments of the second and third satires, but be inverted the order of them: for the third satire is taken
from the firft of those dialogues. The commentators before Calaubon, avere ignorant of our
author's secret meaning 5 and I bought he had only written against young noblemen in general, who were too forward in aspiring to public magiftracy: but this excellent scholiaff bas unravelled the whole mystery; and made it apparent, that the fing of this satire was particularly aimed at Nero.
Hoe'er thou art, whose forward years are bent
On ftate-affairs to guide the government;
Tell me, thou pupil to great 2 Pericles,
i Socrates, whom the oracle of Delphos praised as the wifeft maa of his age, lived in the time of the Peloponnesian war, He finding the uncertainty of natural philosophy, applied himself wholly to the moral. He was master to Xenophon and Plato; and to many of the Athenian young noblemen; among the rest, to Alcibiades, the moft lovely youth then living; afterwards a famous captain, whose life is written by Plutarch.
2 Pericles was tutor, or rather overseer of the will of Clinias, father to Alcibiades. While Pericles lived, who was a wise man, and an excellent orator, as well as a great general, the Athenians had the betier of the war.
Then to bespeak 'em thus : Athenians, know
Leave, leave to fathom such high points as these,
Hold, hold ; are all thy empty wishes such ?
3 Canft punish crimes, &c. That is, by death. When the judge would condemn a malefactor, they cast their votes into an urn, as, according to the modern custom, a ballotting-box. If the suffrages were marked with , they signified the sentence of death to the offender : as being the first letter of Oávaro, which in English is death,
4 Drink Hellebore, &c. The poet would say, that such an ignorant young man, as he here describes, is fitter to be governed himself, than to govern others : He therefore advises him to drink Hellebore, which purges the brain, VOL. IV.
She, that cries herbs, has lefs impertinence;
None, none descends into himself, to find
5 Say, defibou know Vectidius, &c. The name of Vectidius is here used appellatively to fignify any rich coveious man; though
perhaps there might be a man of that name then living. I have tranMaied this passage paraphrastically, and loofly; and leave it ior tbose to look on, who are not unlike the picture.
6. When he fou'd sharks, &c. Pan the god of shepherds, and Pales ihe gooidets presiding over rural affairs, whom Virgil invocates in the beginning of his second Georgick. I give the epithet of Better to Cres, because fe first taught the use of corn for bread, as the poets tell us. Men, in the first rude ages, feeding only on acorns, or inalt, insteau ci b:ead.
To a short meal he makes a tedious grace,
Thus fares the drudge: but thou, whose life's a dream
7 The depilation of thy modest part, &c. Our author here tasks Nero, covertly, with that effeminate cotton now used in Italy, and especially by Harlots, of smoothing their bellies, and taking off the hairs which grow about their secrets. In Nero's time they were pulled off with pincers; but now they use a pale, which applied to those parts, when it is removed, carries away with it those excrescencies.
S Not five the fliongeft, &c. The learned Holiday, (who has made us amends for his bad poetry in this and the rest of these fatires, with his excellent illustrations,) here tells us, froni good authority, that the number five does not allude to the Five Fingers of one man, who
Tho' suppled first with soap, to ease thy pain,
Thus others we with defamations wound,
But when they praise me, in the neighbourhood.
If thou doft wealth, with longing eyes, behold;
used them all, in taking off the hairs before mentioned; but to “ Five strong Men,” fuch as were skilful in the five robust exercises, then in practice at Rome, and were performed in the Circus, or públic place, ordained for them. These five he reckons up in this man. ner: 1 The Cæftus, or whirlbats, described by Virgil, in his fifth Æneid ; and this was the most dangerous of all the rest. The lecond was the Foot-race. The third the Discus, like the throwing a weighty ball; a Sport now used in Cornwall, and other parts of England; we may see it daily practised in Red-lion Fields. The fourth was the Saltus, or leaping : And the fifth Wreftling naked, and be a smeared with oil. They who were practised in theie five manly exercises, were called Elévtanov.
9 Tby nerve, &c. That is, canst nor deceive thy obscene part, which is weak, or impotent, though thou makest oftentation of thy performances with women,