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66 Or he who in his line,

“ Can chime the long-rib Apennine."
PERSIUS. All this is dogrel stuff.

FRIEND. What if I bring
A nobler verse ? • Arms and the man I sing."

PERSIUS.Why name youVirgil with such fops as these!
He's truly great, and must for ever please;
Not fierce, but awful in his manly page,
Bold in his strength, but sober in his rage.

FRIEND. What poems think you soft? and to be read With languishing regards, and bending head ?

Per, « Their crooked horns the Mimallonian crew w.66 With blasts inspir’d: and Bassaris, who llew -66 The scornful calf, with sword advanc'd on high, -366 Made from his neck his haughty head to fly.

06 And Mænas, when with ivy bridles bound, mai. 66 She led the spotted Lynx, then Evion rung around, --66 Evion from woods and floods repairing echoes found.

The verses marked with commas are Nero's, and it is no wonder that men of so delicate a taste as Lucan and Persius could not digest them, though made by an emperor.

About this time the world was grown weary of Nero, for a thousand monstrous cruelties of his life, and the continued abuse of the imperial power. Rome had groaned long under the weight of them, till at length several of the first rank, headed by Piso, formed a conspiracy to rid the world of that abandoned > wretch, Lucan hated him upon a double score ; as


his country's enemy and his own, and went heartily into the design. When it was just ripe for execution, it came to be discovered by some of the accomplicee, and Lucan was found among the first of the conspirators. They were condemned to die, and Lucan had the choice of the manner of his death. Upon this occasion some authors have taxed him with an action, which, if true, had been an eternal stain upon his name, that, to save his life, he informed against his mother. This story seems to me to be a meer calumny, and invented only to detract from his fame. It is certainly the most unlikely thing in the world, considering the whole conduct of his life, and that noble scheme of philosophy and morals he had imbibed from “his infancy, and which shines in every page of his Pharsalia. It is probable, Nero himself, or some of his flatterers, might invent the story, to blacken his rival to posterity; and some unwary authors have afterwards taken it up on trust, without examining into the truth of it. We have several fragments of his life, where this particular is not to be found ; and, which makes it still the more improbable to me, the writers that mention it, have tacked to it another: calumny yet more improbable, that he accused her sunjustly. As this accufation contradicts the whole tenor of his life, so it does the manner of his deatha It is universally agreed, that, having chose to have the arteries of his arms and legs opened in a hot bath, he supped chearfully with his friends, and then, taking leave of them with the greatest tranquillity of mind


and the highest contempt of death, went into the batli, and submitted to the operation. When he found the extremities of his body growing cold, and death's - last alarm in every part, he called to mind a passage of his own in the IXth Book of the Pharfalia, which he repeated to the standers-by, with the fame grace and accent, with which he used to declaim in public, and immediately expired, in the 27th year of his age, and tenth of Nero. The passage was that where he describes a soldier of Cato's dying much after the same manner, being bit by a serpent, and is thus tranilated by Mr. Rowe: 6 So the warın blood at once from every part * Ran purple poison down,and drain’d the fainting heart. Ć Blood falls for tears, and o'er his mournful face “ The ruddy drops their tainted paslage trace. " Where-e'er the liquid juices find a way, 66 There streams of blood, there crimson rivers itray. 6 His mouth and gushing nostrils pour a flood, " And ev’n the pores ouse out the trickling blood; “ In the red deluge, all the parts lie drown’d, “ And the whole body seems one bleeding wound.”

He was buried in his garden at Rome; and there was lately to be seen, in the church of Santo Paulo, an ancient marble with the following inscription : MARCO ANNAEO LVCANO CORDVBENSI POETAE,

BENEFICIO NERONIS, FAMA SERVATA. This inscription, if done by Nero's order, shows, that, even in spite of himself, he paid a secret homaye

to Lucan's genius and virtue, and would have atoned in fome measure for the injuries and the death he gave him. But he needed no marble or inscription to perpetuate his memory; his Pharsalia will out-live all these.

Lucan wrote several books, that have perished by the injury of time, and of which nothing remains but the titles. The first we are told he wrote, was a Poem on the Combat between Achilles and Hector, and Priam's redeeming his Son's Body, which, it is said, he wrote before he had attained eleven


of a

age. The rest were, The Descent of Orpheus into Hell; The burning of Rome, in which he is said not to have spared Nero that set it on fire; and a Poem in Praise of his Wife Polla Argentaria. He wrote likewise several Books of Saturnalia; ten Books of Silve'; an imperfect Tragedy of Medea; a Poem upon the burning of Troy, and the Fate of Priam; to which fome have added the Panegyric to Calphurnius Piso, yet extant, whieh I can hardly believe is his, but of a later age. But the Book he staked his fame on was his Pharsalia ; the only one that now remains, and which Nero's cruelty has left us imperfect in respect of what it would have been, if he had lived to finish it.

Statius in his Sylvæ gives us the catalogue of Lucan's works in an elegant manner, introducing the Muse Calliope accosting him to this purpose : « When thou art scarce past the age of childhood “ (says Calliope to Lucan) thou shalt play with the

66. valour

66 valour of Achilles, and Hector's skill in driving 66 of a chariot. Thou shalt draw Priam at the feet 56 of his unrelenting Conqueror, begging the dead

body of his darling fon. Thou shalti set open the

gates of hell for Eurydice, and thy Orphetis shall 56 have the preference in a full theatre, in spite of: 66 Nero's envy ;” aliuding to the dispute for the prize between him and Nero, where the piece exhibited by Lucan was Orpheus's descent into hell.

« Thou 6 shalt relate (continues Calliope) that fame which “ the execrable tyrant kindled, to lay in alhes the... 66 mistress of the world ; nor shalt thou be filent in " the praises that are justly due to thy beloved wife ; 66 and when thou hast attained to riper years, thou « shalt sing, in a lofty strain, the fatal fields of Philippi,66 white with Roman bones, the dreadful battle of “ Pharsalia, and the thundering wars of that great óc captain, who, by the renown of his arms, merited “ to be inrolled among the gods. In that work “ (continues Calliope) thou shalt paint, in nevera fading colours, the auftere virtues of Cato, who « fcorned to out-live the liberties of his country; and. " the fate of Pompey, once the darling of Rome. 6. Thou shalt, like a true Roman, weep over the « crime of the young tyrant Ptolemy, and shalt 6 raise to Pompey, by the power of thy eloquence, “ a higher monument than the Egyptian pyramids. 6 The poetry of Ennius (adds Calliope) and the or learned fire of Lucretius, the one that conducted $6 the Argonauts through such valt feas to the con


66 quest

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