Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Loath talks behind thee, and each flying hour
Does some loose remnant of thy life devour.
Live, while thou liv'st; for death will make us all
A name, a nothing but an old wife's tale.

Speak? wilt thou Avarice, or Pleasure, chuse
To be thy lord ? Take one, and one refuse.
But both, by turns, the rule of thee will have;
And thou, betwixt 'em both, wilt be a slave.

Nor think when once thou hast refifted one,
That all thy marks of servitude are gone :
The struggling greyhound gnaws his leath in vain ;
If, when 'tis broken, ftill he drags the chain.

Says 3 Phædra to his man, Believe me, friend,
To this uneasy love I'll put an end :
Shall I run out of all ? My friends disgrace,
And be the first lewd unthrift of my race ?
Shall I the neighbours nightly rest invade.
At her deaf doors, with some vile serenade?
Well hast thou freed thyself, his man replies,
Go, thank the Gods, and offer sacrifice.
Ah, says the youth, if we unkindly part,
Will not the poor fond creature break her heart?
Weak soul! and blindly to destruction led !
She break her heart! she'll sooner break

your

head. She knows her man, and when you rant and swear, Can draw you to her, with a fingle hair. But shall I not return? Now, when the fues ! Shall I my own, and her desires refuse? Sir, take your course: but my advice is plain : Once freed, 'tis madness to resume your chain, ·

Ay; there's the man, who loos’di from lust and pelf, Less to the prætor owes,

than to himself. 3 This alludes to the play of Terence, calle! the Eunuch ; which was excellentiy imitated of late in English, by Sir Charles Sidley: In the first scene of that comeciy, Phædra was introduced with bis man Pamphilus, discouring whether he should leave his mitress Thais, or return to her, now thout the dad invited bin,

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But write him down a slave, who, humbly proud,
With presents begs preferments from the crowd ;
That early 4 suppliant who falutes the tribes,
And sets the mob to scramble for his bribes :
That some old dotard, fitting in the sun,
On holidays may tell, that such a feat was done :
In future times this will be counted rare.

Thy fuperftition too may claim a share:
When flow'rs are strew'd, and lamps in order plac'd,
And windows with illuminations grac’d,
On 5 Herod's day; when sparkling bowls go round,
And tunny's tails in favoury fauce are drown'd,
Thou mutter'it pray’rs obscene; nor doft refuse
Then a crack'd 6 egg-fhell thy fick fancy frights,

a
Besides the childish fear of walking sprights.
Of o'ergrown gelding priests thou art afraid ;
The timbrel, and the squintifego maid

4 He who sued for any office amongst the Romans, was called a candidate, because he wore a white gown; and sometimes chalked it, to make it appear whiter. He rose early, and went to the Levees of those who headed the people : saluted also the tribes severally, when they were gathered together, to chuse their magiftrates ; and distributed a largess amongst them, to engage them for their voices: much resembling our elections of Parliament-men.

5 The commentators are divided, what Herod this was whom our author mentions; whether Herod the Great, whose birth-day might be celebrated, after his death, by the Herodians, a sect among the jews, who thought him their Meffiah; or Herod Agrippa, living in che author's time, and after it. The latter seems the more probable opinion.

16 The ancients had a superstition, contrary to ours, concerning egg-shells: They thought that if an egg shell were cracked, or a hole bored in the bottom of it, they were subject to the power of sorcery: We as vainly break the botion of an egg-shell, and cross it, when we have eaten the egg, lest some hag should make use of it, in bewitching us, or failing over the sea in it, if it were whole.

The rest of the priests of Itis, and her one-eyed, or squinting priestess, is more largely treated in the fixth satire of Juvenal, where the fuperftitions of women are related,

Of

Of Ifis, awe thee : left the Gods for sin,
Should, with a swelling dropsy, fuff thy skin:
Unless three garlick heads the curse avert,
Eaten each morn, devoutly, next thy heart.

Preach this among the brawny guards, fay't thou,
And see if they thy doctrine will allow :
The dull fat captain, with a hound's deep throat,
Would bellow out a laugh, in a base note ;
And prize a hundred Zeno's just as much
As a clipt fixpence, or a schilling Dutch.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE

SIXTH SATIRE

OF

PERSIU S.

1une.

cerning them.

tream.

This fixth satire treats an admirable common- 2-place of moral

philosophy ; of the true uje of riches. They are certainly intended by the Power who bestows them, as instruments and helps of living commodiorlly ourselves; and of administering to the wants of others, who ore oppressed by ferThere are tuo extremes in the opinions oj men con

One error, though on the right hand, get a great one, is, that they are no helps to a virtuous life ; the other places ali our happiness in the acquisition and Diffion of them; and this is, undoubtedly, the worst ex

The mean betwixt theje, is the opinion of the Stoicks; which is, that riches may be useful 10 the leading a virtuous life; in case we rightly underjtand how to give according to right reason ; and how to receive what is given us by others. The virtue of giving well is called liberality : and it is of this virtue that Persius writes in this Jatire ; wherein he not only shews the lawful use of riches, but also fliarply inveighs against the vices which are opposed to it; and especially of thoje, which confif?s in the defecis of giving or spending; or in the abuse of riches. He writes 10 Cæfius Bafjus his friend, and a poet also. Enquires first of his health and fiudies; and afterwards informs him of his own, and where he is now resident. He gives an account of himself, that he is endeavouring by little and little to wear off his vices; and particularly, that he is combating ambition, and the desire of wealth. He dwells upon the latter vice : and bring jensible that few men either de fire or uje riches as they ought, he endeavours to convince them of their folly ; tuhich is the main design of the whole satire.

THE

Τ ΗΕ

SI X TH SAT IR E.

To CÆSIUS BASSus, a Lyric Poet.

AS winter caus'd thee, friend, to change thy feat,
HA

And seek in i Sabine air a warm retreat ?
Say, do'st thou yeț the Roman harp command?
Do the itrings answer to thy noble hand ?
Great master of the muse, inspir’d to sing
The beauties of the first created spring;
The pedigree of nature to rehearse,
And found the Maker's work, in equal verse.
Now 2 sporting on the lyre the loves of youth.
Now'virtuous age, and venerable truth;
Expreffing juftly Sappho's wanton art
Of odes, and Pindar's more majestic part.

For me, my warmer constitution wants
More cold, than our Ligurian winter grants ;
And therefore to my native shoars retir’d,
I view the coast old Ennius once admir'd;

i And seek, in Sabine air, &c. All the studious, and particularly the poets, about the end of August, began to set themselves on work: refraining from writing, during the heats of the summer. They wrote by night, and sat up the greatest part of it: For which reason the product of their studies, was called Elucubrations, or nightly labours. They who had country-seats, retired to them while they ftudied: As Perfius did to his, which was near the port of the moon in Etruria ; and Bassus to his which was in the country of the Sabines, nearer Rome.

2 Now Sporting on tby lyre, &c. This proves Cæfius Bassus to have been a lyrick poet : It is said of him, that by an eruption of the Aaming mountain Vesuvius, near which the greatest part of his fortune lay, he was burnt himself, together with all his writings.

Where

[ocr errors]

Z 2

« FöregåendeFortsätt »