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If thy lewd luft provokes an empty ftorm,
1 If with thy guards, &c. Perfius durft not have been fo bold with Nero, as I dare now; and therefore there is only an intimation of that in him, which I publickly speak: I mean of Nero's walking in the streets by night, in disguise, and committing all forts of outrages; for which he was fometimes well beaten.
2 Survey thy foul, &c. That is, look into thyfelf, and examine thy own confcience; there thou fhalt find, that how wealthy foever thou appeareft to the world, yet thou art but a beggar; because thou art deftitute of all virtues, which are the riches of the foul. This alfo was a paradox of the ftoick school.
The judicious Cafaubon, in his poem to this fatire, tells us, that Ariftophanes the grammarian being asked, what poem of Archilochus his Iambics he preferred before the rest; anfwered, the longeft. His anj-wer may justly be applied to this fifth fatire; which, being of a greater length than any of the reft, is also, by far, the most inftructive: for this reafon I have felected it from all the others, and infcribed it to my learned mafter, Dr. Busby; to which I am not only obliged myself for the best part of my own 'education, and that of my two fons; but have also received from him the first and trueft taste of Perfius. May he be pleafed to find in this tranflation, the gratitude, or at leaft fome fmall acknowledgment of his unworthy Scholar, at the diftance of twenty-four years, from the time when I departed from under his tuition.
This fatire confifts of two diftinct parts: the first contains the praises of the ftoick philofopher Cornutus, mafier and tutor to our Perfius. It alfo declares the love and piety of Perfius, to his well-deferving mafter; and the mutual friendship which continued betwixt them, after Perfius was now grown a man. As alfo his exhortation to young noblemen, that they would enter themfelves into his inftitution. From hence he makes an artful transition into the fecond part of his subject: wherein he first complains of the flath of jcholars, and afterwards perfuades them to the purfuit of their true liberty: bere our author excellently treats that paradox of the Stoicks, which affirms that the wife or virtuous man is only free; and that all vicious men are naturally flaves. And, in the illuftration of this dogma, he takes up the remaining part of this inimitable fatire. THE
Infcribed to the Reverend Dr. BUSBY.
The Speakers PERSIUS and CORNUTU s.
Fancient ufe to poets it belongs,
To wish themselves an hundred mouths and tongues: Whether to the well-lung'd tragedian's rage They recommend the labours of the stage, Or fing the Parthian, when transfix'd he lies, Wrenching the Roman jav'lin from his thighs. CORNUT U S.
And why wouldst thou these mighty morfels chufe, Of words unchew'd, and fit to choak the muse? Let fuftian poets with their ftuff be gone, And fuck the mifts that hang o'er Helicon; When Progne or 2 Thyeftes' feast they write; And, for the mouthing actor, verse indite, Thou neither, like a bellows, fwell'ft thy face, As if thou wert to blow the burning mafs
I Progne was wife to Tereus, king of Thracia: Tereus fell in love with Philomela, fifter to Progne, ravifhed her, and cut out her tongue : In revenge of which, Progne killed Itys, her own fon by Tereus; and ferved him up at a feast, to be eaten by his father.
2 Thyeftes and Atreus were brothers, both kings: Atreus, to revenge himself of his unnatural brother, killed the fons of Thyefles, and invited him to eat them.
Of melting ore; nor canft thou ftrain thy throat,
Hence draw thy theme, and to the stage permit
"Tis talk enough for thee t'expofe a Roman feast.
'Tis not, indeed, my talent to engage
And,thro' the veil of words, thou view'ft the naked mind..
To tell thee what a hundred tongues would tire ;
How deeply thou art feated in my breaft.
When firft my 3 childish robe refign'd the charge,
3 By the childish robe, is meant the Prætexta, or first gowns which the Roman children of quality wore: thefe were welted with purple; and on thofe welts were faftened the Bullæ, or little bells; which when they came to the age of Puberty, were hung up and confecrated to the Lares, or houshold gods.
4 The first fhields which the Roman youths wore, were white, and without any imprefs, or device on them, to fhew they had yet atchieved nothing in the wars.
When with my wild companions, I could rowl
Sure on our birth fome friendly planet fhone;
Nature is ever various in her frame:
5 Socrates, by the oracle, was declared to be the wifeft of mankind: He inftructed many of the Athenian young noblemen in morality, and amongst the reft Alcibiades.
6 Aftrologers divide the heaven into twelve parts, according to the number of the twelve figns of the zodiack: The fign or conftellation which rifes in the east, at the birth of any man, is called the afcendant: Perfius therefore judges, that Cornutus and he had the fame, or a like nativity,
7 The fign of Gemini.
8 The fign of Libra.
9 Aftrologers have an axiom, that whatfoever Saturn ties, is loofed by Jupiter: They account Saturn to be a planet of a malevolent nature, and Jupiter of a propitious influence,