Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

The Thund'rer was not half fo much on fire,
When Juno's girdle kindled his defire.
What woman will not use the pois'ning trade,
When Cæfar's wife the precedent has made;
Let Agrippina's mushroom be forgot,
Giv'n to a flav'ring, old, unuseful fot;
That only clos'd the driv'ling dotard's eyes,
And fent his godhead downward to the skies.
But this fierce potion calls for fire and sword;
Nor fpares the common, when it strikes the
lord.

many

So mifchiefs were in one combin'd;
So much one fingle pois'ner coft mankind.
If stepdames feek their fons-in-law to kill,
'Tis venial trefpafs; let them have their will:
But let the child, entrusted to the care
Of his own mother, of her bread beware:
Beware the food fhe reaches with her hand;
The morfel is intended for thy land.
Thy tutor be thy tafter, ere thou eat;
There's poifon in thy drink, and in thy meat.

You think this feign'd; the fatire in a rage
Struts in the bufkins of the tragic stage,
Forgets his bus'nefs is to laugh and bite;
And will of deaths and dire revenges write.

Would

Would it were all a fable, that you read;
But Drymon's wife pleads guilty to the deed.
I (fhe confeffes) in the fact was caught,
Two fons dispatching at one deadly draught.
What two! Two fons, thou viper, in one day!
Yes, fev'n, fhe cries, if fev'n were in my way.
Medea's legend is no more a lye;
One age adds credit to antiquity.

Great ills, we grant, in former times did reign,
And murders then were done: but not for gain.
Lefs admiration to great crimes is due,
Which they thro wrath, or thro revenge, pursue.
For, weak of reafon, impotent of will,
The fex is hurry'd headlong into ill:
And, like a cliff from its foundation torn,
By raging earthquakes, into feas is born.
But those are fiends, who crimes from thought
begin:

And cool in mischief, meditate the fin.
They read th' example of a pious wife,
Redeeming, with her own, her husband's life;
Yet, if the laws did that exchange afford,
Would fave their lap-dog fooner than their lord.
Where-e'er you walk, the Belides you meet;
And Clytemneftras grow in ev'ry street:

VOL. IV.

X

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 fubtle poifons are employ'd alone:
Unless fome antidote prevents their arts,
And lines with balfam all the nobler parts:
In fuch a cafe, referv'd for fuch a need,
Rather than fail, the dagger does the deed.

[ocr errors]

THE

TENTH SATIRE

OF

JUVENA L.

THE ARGUMENT.

The poet's defign, in this divine fatire, is to reprefent the various wishes and defires of mankind; and to fet out the folly of them. He runs through all the feveral beads of riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial atchievements, long life, and beauty; and gives inftances, in each, how frequently they have proved the ruin of thofe that owned them. He concludes therefore, that fince we generally chufe fo ill for ourselves, we should do better to leave it to the Gods, to make the choice for us. All we can fafely afk of heaven, lies within a very Small compass. 'Tis but health of body and mind. And if we have thefe, it is not much matter what we want befides; for we have already enough to make us happy.

L

or

OOK round the habitable world, how few Know their own good; or knowing it, pursue. How void of reafon are our hopes and fears! What in the conduct of our life appears So well defign'd, fo luckily begun,

But, when we have our wish, we wish undone?
Whole houses, of their whole defires poffeft,
Are often ruin'd, at their own request.

In wars,
and peace, things hurtful we require,
When made obnoxious to our own defire.

With laurels fome have fatally been crown'd; Some, who the depths of eloquence have found, In that unnavigable ftream were drown'd.

The brawny fool, who did his vigour boast; In that prefuming confidence was lost: But more have been by avarice oppreft, And heaps of money crowded in the cheft: Unwieldy fums of wealth, which higher mount Than files of marshall'd figures can account. To which the ftores of Cræfus, in the fcale, Would look like little dolphins, when they fail In the vast fhadow of the British whale.

}

For this, in Nero's arbitrary time, When virtue was a guilt, and wealth a crime, A troop of cut-throat guards were fent to seize The rich men's goods, and gut their palaces:

« FöregåendeFortsätt »