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Such, all the morning, to the pleadings run;
This fatire contains a most grave and philofophical argument, concerning prayers and wishes. Undoubtedly it gave occafion to Juvenal's tenth Jatire ; and both of them had their original from one of Plato's dialogues, called the Second Alcibiades. Our author has induced it with great mystery of art, by taking his rife from the birth-day of his friend; on which occafions, prayers were made, and facrifices offered by the native. Perfius commending the purity of his friend's vs, defcends to the impious and immoral requests of others. The fatire is divided into three parts: the first is the exordium to Macrinus, which the poet confines within the compafs of four verfes. The second relates to the matter of the prayers and v.ws, and an enumeration of thofe things, wherein men com
monly finned against right reason, and offended in their requests. The third part confifts in shewing the repugnances of those prayers and wishes, to thofe of other men, and inconfiftencies with themfelves. He fhews the original of these vows, and fharply inveighs against them: and laftly, not only corrects the falle opinion of mankind concerning them, but gives the true doctrine of all addrefes made to heaven, and how they may be made acceptable to the Powers above, in excellent precepts, and more worthy of a Chriftian than a Heathen.
Dedicated to his friend PLOTIUS MACRINUS, on his birth-day.
ET this aufpicious morning be exprest With a white stone, diftinguish'd from the rest: White as thy fame, and as thy honour clear; And let new joys attend on thy new added year. Indulge thy genius, and o'erflow thy foul, Till thy wit sparkle, like the chearful bowl. Pray; for thy pray'rs the test of heav'n will bear; Nor need'st thou take the Gods afide, to hear:
While others, ev'n the mighty men of Rome, Big fwell'd with mischief, to the temples come; And in low murmurs, and with coftly smoke, Heav'n's help, to profper their black vows invoke. So boldly to the Gods mankind reveal
What from each other they, for fhame, conceal.
O were my pupil fairly knock'd o' th' head; I should poffefs th' eftate, if he were dead! He's fo far gone with rickets, and with th' evil, That one fmall dose will fend him to the devil.
This is my neighbour Nerius his third spouse, Of whom in happy time he rids his house. But my eternal wife!--Grant heav'n I may Survive to see the fellow of this day! Thus, that thou mayft the better bring about Thy wishes, thou art wickedly devout:
In Tyber ducking thrice, by break of day,
But pr'ythee tell me, ('tis a small request)
Can hear a pray'r condemn'd by wicked men?