« FöregåendeFortsätt »
virtue that Perfius writes in this fatire; wherein be not only fhews the lawful ufe of riches, but also Sharply inveighs against the vices which are op= pofed to it; and especially of those, which confift in the defects of giving or spending; or in the abufe of riches. He writes to Cafius Baffus bis friend, and a poet also. Enquires first of his health and ftudies; and afterwards informs him of his own, and where he is now refident. He gives an account of himself, that he is endeavour, ing by little and little to wear off his vices; and particularly, that he is combating ambition, and the defire of wealth. He dwells upon the latter vice: and being fenfible that few men either defire or ufe riches as they ought, he endeavours to convince them of their folly; which is the main defign of the whole fatire,
TO CESIUS BASSUS, a Lyric Poet,
AS winter caus'd thee, friend, to change
And feek in Sabine air a warm retreat?
Say, do'st thou yet the Roman harp command?
Do the ftrings anfwer to thy noble hand?
Great master of the mufe, infpir'd to fing
The beauties of the first created fpring;
The pedigree of nature to rehearse,
And found the Maker's work, in equal verse.
Now fporting on thy lyre the loves of youth.
Now virtuous age, and venerable truth;
Expreffing juftly Sappho's wanton art
Of odes, and Pindar's more majestic part.
For me, my warmer conftitution wants
More cold, than our Ligurian winter grants;
And therefore to my native shoars retir'd,
I view the coaft old Ennius once admir'd;
Where clifts on either fides their points dif-
And, after, opening in an ampler way,
Afford the pleafing profpect of the bay.
"Tis worth your while, O Romans, to regard
The port of Luna fays our learned bard;
Who in a drunken dream beheld his foul
The fifth within the tranfmigrating roll;
Which first a peacock, then Euphorbus was,
Then Homer next, and next Pythagoras;
And laft of all the line did into Ennius pafs.
Secure and free from bufinefs of the state;
And more fecure of what the vulgar prate,
Here I enjoy my private thoughts; nor care
What rots for sheep the fouthern winds prepare:
Survey the neighb'ring fields, and not repine,
When I behold a larger crop than mine:
To fee a beggar's brat in riches flow,
Adds not a wrinkle to my even brow;
Nor, envious at the fight, will I forbear
My plenteous bowl, nor bate my bounteous cheer.
Nor yet unfeal the dregs of wine that stink
Of cafk; nor in a nasty flaggon drink;
Let others stuff their guts with homely fare;
For men of diff'rent inclinations are;
Tho born perhaps beneath one common star.
In minds and manners twins oppos'd we fee
In the fame fign, almoft the fame degree:
One, frugal, on his birth-day fears to dine;
Does at a penny's coft in herbs repine,
And hardly dares to dip his fingers in the brine.
Prepar'd as prieft of his own rites to stand,
He sprinkles pepper with a sparing hand.
His jolly brother, oppofite in fenfe,
Laughs at his thrift; and lavish of expence,
Quaffs, crams, and guttles, in his own defence.
For me, I'll ufe my own; and také my share;
Yet will not turbots for my flaves prepare ;
Nor be fo nice in taste myself to know
If what I fwallow be a thrush, or no.
Live on thy annual income; spend thy store;
And freely grind, from thy full threshing-floor;
Next harvest promises as much, or more.
Thus I would live: but friendship's holy band,
And offices of kindness hold my hand:
My friend is shipwreck'd on the Brutian strand,
His riches in th' Ionian main are loft;
And he himself stands fhiv'ring on the coaft;
Where, deftitute of help, forlorn and bare,
He wearies the deaf Gods with fruitless pray'r.
Their images, the relicks of the wrack,
Torn from the naked poop, are tided back
By the wild waves, and rudely thrown ashore,
Lie impotent; nor can themselves restore.
The vessel sticks, and shews her open'd fide,
And on her shatter'd maft the mews in triumph ride.
From thy new hope, and from thy growing store,
Now lend affiftance, and relieve the poor.
Come; do a noble act of charity;
A pittance of thy land will fet him free.
Let him not bear the badges of a wreck,
Nor beg with a blue table on his back:
Nor tell me that thy frowning heir will fay,
"Tis mine that wealth thou fquander'ft thus away;
What is't to thee, if he neglect thy urn,
Or without fpices lets thy body burn?
If odours to thy afhes he refuse,
Or buys corrupted caffia from the Jews?
All these, the wifer Beftius will reply,
Are empty pomp, and dead-men's luxury:
We never knew this vain expence, before
Th' effeminated Grecians brought it o'er :
Now toys and trifles from their Athens come;
And dates and pepper have unfinew'd Rome.
Our sweating hinds their fallads, now, defile,
Infecting homely herbs with fragrant oil.
But, to thy fortune be not thou a flave:
For what haft thou to fear beyond the grave?
And thou who gap'ft for my eftate, draw near;
For I would whisper fomewhat in thy ear.
Hear'ft thou the news, my friend? th' exprefs is
With laurell'd letters from the camp to Rome:
Cæfar falutes the queen and fenate thus:
My arms are on the Rhine victorious.
From mourning altars fweep the duft away:
Ceafe fafting, and proclaim a fat thanksgiving day,
The goodly emprefs, jollily inclin'd,
Is to the welcome bearer wondrous kind: