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Of o'ergrown gelding priests thou art afraid :
Preach this among the brawny guards, fay'st
And see if they thy doctrine will allow :
fhould make use of it in bewitching us, or failing over the sea in it if it were whole. The rest, of the priests of Isis, and her one-eyed or squinting priesters, is more largely treated in the Sixth Satire of Juvenal, where the fuperftitions of women are related.
This fixth satire treats an admirable common-place
of Moral Philosophy; Of the true Use of Riches. They are certainly intended, by the Power who bestows them, as instruments and helps of living commodiously ourselves, and of administering to the wants of others who are oppressed by fortune. There are two extremes in the opinions of men concerning them. One error, though on the right hand, yet a great one, is, That they are no helps to a virtuous life; The other places all our happiness in the acquistion and poleson of them; and this is, undoubtedly, the worse extreme. The mean betwixt these, is the opinion of the Stoicks; which is, That riches may be useful to the leading a virtuous life; in case we rightly understand 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 satire; wherein he not only shews the lawful use of riches, but also Sharply inveighs against the vices which are opposed to it ; and especially of those, which confijt in the defects of giving or spending, or in the abuse of riches. He writes to Casus Bassus, his friend, and a poet also. Enquires first of his health and studies; 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 defre of wealth. He dwells upon the latter vice ; and being sensible that few men either desire or use riches as they ought, he endeavours to convince them of their folly ; which is the main design of the whole satire.
A LYRIC POET.
Has winter caus'd thee, friend, to change
thy seat, And seek, in Sabine air, a warm retreat? Say, dost thou yet the Roman harp command? Do the strings 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.
Ver. 2. 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 sate up the greatest part of it; for which reason, the product of their studies was called their Elucubrations, or nightly labours. They who had country-feats retired to them wbile they studied; as Perfius did to his, which was near the Port of the Moon in Etruria ; and Baflus to his, which was in the country of the Sabines, nearer Rome. VOL. IV.