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And into noble families advance
A nameless issue, the blind work of chance.
Indulgent fortune does her care employ,
And, smiling, broods upon the naked boy :
Her garment spreads, and laps him in the fold,
And covers with her wings, from nightly cold:
Gives him her blessing; puts him in a way;
the farce, and laughs at her own play. Him the promotes ; lhe favours him alone, And makes provision for him, as her own.
The craving wife, the force of magic tries,
And philters for th’unable husband buys:
The potion works not on the
works not on the part design'd;
But turns his brains, and stupifies his mind.
The sotted moon-calf gapes, and staring on,
Sees his own bus'ness by another done:
A long oblivion, a benumming frost,
Constrains his head; and yesterday is loft:
Some nimbler juice would make him foam and
Like that Cæsonia to her Caius gave:
Who, plucking from the forehead of the fole
His mother's love, infus'd it in the bowl:
The boiling blood ran hissing in his veins,
Till the mad vapour mounted to his brains,
The Thund'rer was not half so much on fire,
When Juno's girdle kindled his desire.
What woman will not use the pois’ning trade,
When Cæsar's wife the precedent has made;
Let Agrippina's mushroom be forgot,
Giv'n to a slav'ring, old, unuseful fot;
That only clos'd the driv’ling dotard's eyes,
And sent his godhead downward to the skies.
But this fierce potion calls for fire and sword;
Nor spares the common, when it strikes the
mischiefs were in one combin'd; So much one single pois’ner cost mankind.
If stepdames seek their sons-in-law to kill,
'Tis venial trespass ; let them have their will:
But let the child, entrusted to the care
Of his own mother, of her bread beware:
Beware the food she reaches with her hand;
The morsel is intended for thy land.
Thy tutor be thy taster, ere thou eat;
There's poison in thy drink, and in thy meat.
You think this feign'd; the satire in a rage
Struts in the buskins of the tragic ftage,
Forgets his bus’ness is to laugh and bite ;
And will of deaths and dire revenges write. .
Would it were all a fable, that you read;
But Drymon's wife pleads guilty to the deed.'
I (The confesses) in the fact was caught,
Two fons dispatching at one deadly draught.
What two! Two fons, thou viper, in one day!
Yes, fev'n, she cries, if fev'n were in my way.
Medea’s legend is no more a lye;
adds credit to antiquity,
Great ills, we grant, in forıner times did reign,
And murders then were done: but not for gain.
Less admiration to great crimes is due,
Which they thro wrath, or thro revenge, pursue.
For, weak of reason, impotent of will,
The sex is hurry'd headlong into ill:
And, like a cliff from its foundation torn,
By raging earthquakes, into seas is born.
But those are fiends, who crimes from thought
And cool in mischief, meditate the fin.
They read th' example of a pious wife,
Redeeming, with her own, her husband's
Yet, if the laws did that exchange afford,
Would save their lap-dog sooner than their lord.
Where-e'er you walk, the Belides you meet;
And Clytemnestras grow in ev'ry street:
But here's the diff'rence ; Agamemnon's wife
Was a grofs butcher with a bloody knife;
But murder, now, is to perfection grown,
And subtle poisons are employ'd alone:
Unless some antidote prevents their arts,
And lines with balfam all the nobler parts :
In such a case, reserv'd for such a need,
Rather than fail, the dagger does the deed.
The poet's design, in this divine satire, is to represent
the various wishes and desires of mankind; and to set out the folly of them. He runs through all the several heads of riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial atchievements, long life, and beauty ; and gives instances, in each, how frequently they have proved the ruin of those that owned them. He concludes therefore, that since we generally chufe so ill for ourselves, we should do better to leave it to the Gods, to make the choice for us. All we can safely ask of heaven, lies within a very small compass. 'Tis but health of body and mind. And if we have these, it is not much matter what we want besides ; for we have already enough to make us happy.