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CORNUTUS.

Nature is ever various in her frame: Each has a different will, and few the fame: The greedy merchants, led by lucre, run To the parch'd Indies, and the rifing fun; 70 From thence hot pepper, and rich drugs they bear,

Bartering for fpices their Italian ware ;
The lazy glutton fafe at home will keep,
Indulge his floth, and batten with his sleep:
One bribes for high preferments in the state; 75
A fecond fhakes the box, and fits up late:
Another shakes the bed, diffolving there,
Till knots upon his gouty joints appear,
And chalk is in his crippled fingers found;
Rots like a dodderd oak, and piecemeal falls to

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ground;

Then his lewd follies he would late repent; And his past years, that in a mift were spent.

PERSIUS.

But thou art pale, in nightly studies, grown, To make the Stoick inftitutes thy own;

Thou long, with ftudious care, haft till'd our

youth,

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And fown our well-purg'd ears with wholesome

truth.

Ver. 84. Zeno was the great mafter of the Stoick philofophy, and Cleanthes was fecond to him in reputation. Cornutus, who was mafter or tutor to Perfius, was of the fame school.

From thee both old and young, with profit,

learn

The bounds of good and evil to difcern.

CORNUTUS.

Unhappy he who does this work adjourn, And to to-morrow would the fearch delay: 90 His lazy morrow will be like to-day.

PERSIUS.

But is one day of eafe too much to borrow?

CORNUTUS.

Yes, fure: for yefterday was once to-morrow. That yesterday is gone, and nothing gain'd: And all thy fruitlefs days will thus be drain'd; 95 For thou haft more to-morrows yet to ask, And wilt be ever to begin thy task ; Who, like the hindmoft chariot-wheels, art curft, Still to be near, but ne'er to reach the first.

O freedom! firft delight of human kind! 100 Not that which bondmen from their masters find,

The privilege of doles; not yet to inscribe
Their names in this or t'other Roman tribe:

Ver. 102. When a flave was made free, he had the privilege of a Roman born, which was to have a fhare in the donatives or doles of bread, &c. which were diftributed by the magiftrates amongst the people.

Ver. 103. The Roman people was diftributed into feveral tribes: he who was made free was enrolled into fome one of them, and thereupon enjoyed the common privileges of a Roman

citizen.

That falfe enfranchisement with eafe is found:
Slaves are made citizens by turning round. 105
How, replies one, can any be more free?
Here's Dama, once a groom of low degree,
Not worth a farthing, and a fot beside;
So true a rogue, for lying's fake he ly'd:
But, with a turn, a freeman he became;
Now Marcus Dama is his worship's name.
Good gods! who would refuse to lend a fum,
If wealthy Marcus furety will become !
Marcus is made a judge, and for a proof
Of certain truth, He faid it, is enough.
A will is to be prov'd; put in your claim;
"Tis clear, if Marcus has fubfcrib'd his name.
This is true liberty, as I believe;

What can we farther from our caps receive,
Than as we please without controul to live?
Not more to noble Brutus could belong.
Hold, fays the Stoick, your affumption's wrong:

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Ver. 105. The master, who intended to infranchise a slave, carried him before the city prætor, and turned him round, using thefe words, "I will that this man be free."

Ver. 111. Slaves had only one name before their freedom; after it they were admitted to a Prænomen, like our christened names; fo Dama is now called Marcus Dama.

Ver. 117. At the proof of a teftament, the magiftrates were to fubfcribe their names, as allowing the legality of the will.

Ver. 118. Slaves, when they were fet free, had a cap given them, in fign of their liberty.

Ver. 121. Brutus freed the Roman people from the tyranny of the Tarquins, and changed the form of the government into a glorious commonwealth.

I grant true freedom you have well defin'd:
But, living as you lift, and to your mind,
Are loosely tack'd, and must be left behind. 125
What! fince the prætor did my fetters loose,
And left me freely at my own dispose,
May I not live without controul and awe,
Excepting ftill the letter of the law?

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Hear me with patience, while thy mind I free From thofe fond notions of falfe liberty : 'Tis not the prætor's province to bestow True freedom; nor to teach mankind to know What to ourselves, or to our friends, we owe. He could not fet thee free from cares and strife, Nor give the reins to a lewd vicious life : As well he for an afs a harp might string, Which is against the reafon of the thing ; For reafon ftill is whispering in your ear, Where you are fure to fail, the attempt forbear. No need of public fanctions this to bind, 141 Which Nature has implanted in the mind: Not to pursue the work, to which we're not defign'd.

Unfkill'd in hellebore, if thou should'st try To mix it, and mistake the quantity, The rules of phyfic would against thee cry.

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Ver. 129. The text of the Roman laws was written in red letters, which was called the Rubrick, translated here, in more general words, "The Letter of the Law."

The high-thoo'd ploughman, should he quit` the land,

To take the pilot's rudder in his hand,
Artless of stars, and of the moving fand,

The gods would leave him to the wayes and wind,

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And think all fhame was loft in human kind. Tell me, my friend, from whence hadft thou the skill,

So nicely to diftinguish good from ill?
Or by the found to judge of gold and brass,
What piece is tinkers' metal, what will pafs? 155
And what thou art to follow, what to fly,
This to condemn, and that to ratify?
When to be bountiful, and when to fpare,
But never craving, or opprefs'd with care?
The baits of gifts, and money to despise,
And look on wealth with undefiring eyes?
When thou canst truly call thefe virtues thine,
Be wife and free, by heaven's confent, and mine.
But thou, who lately of the common ftrain,
Wert one of us, if ftill thou doft retain

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The fame ill habits, the fame follies too,
Glofs'd over only with a faint-like thow,
Then I refume the freedom which I gave,
Still thou art bound to vice, and still a slave.
Thou can'ft not wag thy finger, or begin
"The leaft light motion, but it tends to fin.'

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