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The guiltless horses, and the chariot wheel,
his hammer for the stroke,
Ver. 93. Sejanus was Tiberius's first favourite, and while he continued so had the highest marks of honour bestowed on bim: ftatues and triumphal chariots were every where erected to him ; but as soon as he fell into disgrace with the Emperor, these were all immediately dismounted, and the senate and common people insulted over hiin as meanly as they had fawned on him before. Ver. 91.
The great Sejanus] Modern history could not afford a more proper substitute for Sejanus, to exemplify the lamentable end of ambitious projects, than what Johnson has given us in the following lines, in the character and fute of Holley
In full-blown dignity fee Wolscy stand,
Dr. J. WARTON.
Form'd in the forge, the pliant brass is laid 95 On anvils ; and of head and limbs are made Pans, cans, and piss-pots, a whole kitchen
trade. Adorn your doors with laurels ; and a bull, Nilk white, and large, lead to the Capitol ; Sejanus with a rope is dragg'd along, The fport and laughter of the giddy throng ! Good Lord, they cry, what Ethiop lips he
has, How foul a snout, and what a hanging face ! By heaven, I never could endure his fight; But say, how came his monstrous crimes to
light? What is the charge, and who the evidence, (The saviour of the nation and the prince ?) Nothing of this ; but our old Cæfar sent A noisy letter to his parliament: Nay, Sirs, if Cæsar writ, I alk no more, He's guilty ; and the question's out of door. How goes
the mob? (for that's a mighty thing,) When the king's trump, the mob are for the
king : They follow fortune, and the common cry Is still against the rogue condemn’d to die. 115
But the same very mob, that rascal crowd, Had cry'd Sejanus, with a shout as loud ; Had his designs (by fortune’s favour blest) Succeeded, and the prince's age oppreft.
But long, long since, the times have chang’d their face,
120 The people grown degenerate and base; Not suffer'd now the freedom of their choice, To make their magiftrates, and sell their voice.
Our wife forefathers, great by sea and land, Had once the power and absolute command; 125 All offices of trust, themselves dispos’d; Rais'd whom they pleas'd, and whom they
pleas'd depos’d. But we, who give our native rights away, And our enslav'd pofterity betray, Are now reduc'd to beg an alms, and go On holidays to see a puppet-show. There was a damn'd design, cries one, no
doubt i For warrants are already itsued out : I met Brutidius in a mortal fright; He's dipt for certain, and plays least in sight; 155 I fear the rage of our offended prince, Who thinks the senate slack in his defence ! Come let us hafte, our loyal zeal to show, And spurn the wretched corps of Cæsar's foe : But let our Naves be present there, lest they 140 Accuse their masters, and for gain betray. Such were the whispers of those jealous times, About Sejanus' punishment and crimes.
Ver. 135. ideas,
plays least] One of his vulgar modern
Dr. J. WARTOX.
Now tell me truly, wouldst thou change thy
fate To be, like him, first minister of ftate ? To have thy levees crouded with resort, Of a depending, gaping, servile court: Dispose all honours of the sword and gown, Grace with a nod, and ruin with a frown: To hold thy prince in pupil-age, and fway 150 That monarch, whom the master'd world
obey ? While he, intent on fecret lufts alone, Lives to himself, abandoning the throne ; Coop'd in a narrow ifle, observing dreams With flattering wizards, and erecting fchemes !
I well believe, thou wouldst be great as he; For every man's a fool to that degree; All wish the dire prerogative to kill ; Ev’n they would have the power, who want the
will : But wouldst thou have thy wishes understood, To take the bad together with the good, 161 Wouldst thou not rather chuse a small renown, To be the mayor of fome poor paltry town,
Ver. 146. To have] Here are fix nervous and finished lines to atone for 135.
Dr. J. WARTON. Ver. 154. The island of Capreæ, which lies about a league out at sea from the Campanian Thore, was the scene of Tiberius's pleasures in the latter part of his reign. There he lived for some years with diviners, soothsayers, and worse company; and from thence dispatched all his orders to the fonate.
Bigly to look, and barbarously to speak i To pound false weights, and scanty measures break ?
165 Then, grant we that Sejanus went astray In ev'ry wish, and knew not how to pray: For he who grasp'd the world's exhausted store, Yet never had enough, but wish'd for more, Rais'd a top-heavy tower, of monstrous height, Which mould'ring, crush'd him underneath the
weight. What did the mighty Pompey's fall beget? It ruin’d him, who, greater than the Great, The stubborn pride of Roman nobles broke; And bent their haughty necks beneath his yoke: What else but his immoderate luft of power, 176 Prayers made and granted in a luckless hour ? For few usurpers to the shades descend By a dry death, or with a quiet end.
The boy, whofcarce has paid bis entrance down To his proud pedant, or decliu'd a noun, (So small an elf, that when the days are foul, He and his fatchel must be born to school,) Yet prays, and hopes, and aims at nothing less, To prove a Tully, or Demofthenes :
Ver. 173. Julius Cæsar, who got the better of Pompey, that
Ver. 185. Demosthenes and Tully both died for their ora. tory. Demofthenes gave himself poison to avoid being carried to Antipater, one of Alexander's captains, who had then made himfelt master of Athens. Tully was murdered by Mark An, thony's order, in return for those invectives he had made against him.
was ftiled the Great.