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Τ Η Ε

FIRST SATIRE

OF

PE R S I U S.

Argument of the PROLOGUE to the First Satire:

The desgn of the author was to conceal his name and

quality. He lived in the dangerous times of the tyrant Nero ; and aims particularly at him in most of his satires. For which reason, though he was a Roman knight, and of a plentiful fortune, he would appear in this prologue but a beggarly poet, who writes for bread. After this, be breaks into the business of tbe first satire; which is chiefly to decry the poetry then in fashion, and the impudence of those who were endeavouring to pass their stuff" upon the world.

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PROLOGUE

TO THE

FIRST

S A T IR E.

I

Never did on cleft Parnafsus dream,

Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream Nor can remember when my brain infpir'd, Was, by the Muses, into madness für'd. My share in pale Pyrene I resign; And claim no part in all the mighty Nine. Statues, with winding ivy crown'd, belong To nobler poets, for a nobler song: Heedless of verfe, and hopeless of the crown, Scarce half a wit, and more than half a clown, Before the shrinellay my rugged numbers down. Who taught the parrot human notes to try, Or with a voice endu'd the chatt"ring pye ? 'Twas witty want, fierce hunger to appease: Want taught their masters, and their mafters these. Let gain, that gilded bait, be hung on high, The hungry witlings have it in their eye; Pyes, crows, and daws, poetic presents bring: You say they squeak; but they will swear they fing.

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Argument of the First Satire.
I need not repeat, that the chief aim of the author

is against bad poets in this fatire. But I must
add, that he includes also bad orators, who began
at that time (as Petronius in the beginning of his
book tells us) to enervate manly eloquence, by tropes
and

figures, ill placed and worse applied. Amongst the poets, Perfius covertly strikes at Nero ; some of whose verses be recites with scorn and indignation. He also takes notice of the noblemen and their abominable poetry, who in the luxury of their fortunes, set up for wits and judges. The satire is in dialogue,' betwixt the author and his friend or monitor ; who dissuades him from this dangerous attempt of exposing great men. But Perhus, who is of a free spirit, and has not forgotten that Rome was once a commonwealth, breaks through all those dificulties, and boldly arraigns the false judgment of the age in which he lives. The reader may observe that our poet was a stoick philosopher ; and that all his moral sentences, both here and in all the rest of his satires, are drawn from the dogmas of that feet.

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THE

F I R S T SĄ T Į R E.

In Dialogue betwixt the Poet and his

FRIEND or MONITOR.

PERSIU S.

OW anxious are our cares, and yet how vain
The bent of our desires !

Friend. Thy spleen contain:
For none will read thy fatires.

Perhus. This to me? Friend. None; or what's next to none, but two

or three,
'Tis hard, I grant,

Perfus. 'Tis nothing; I can bear
That paltry scriblers have the public ear:
That this vast universal fool, the town,

Labeo's stuff, and cry me down.
They damn themselves; nor will my Muse descend
To clap with such, who fools and knaves commend:
Their smiles and censures are to me the famę:
I care not what they praise, or what they blame,
In full assemblies let the crowd prevail :
I wçigh no merit by the common sçale,

Should cry up

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