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Studious to please the genius of the times,
FRIEND. But to raw numbers, and unfinished verse, Sweet sound is added now, to make it terse: “ 'Tis tagged with rhymé, like Berecynthian Atys, “ The mid-part chimes with art, which never flat is.t “ The dolphin brave, that cuts the liquid wave, “ Or he who in his line can chine the long-ribbed Appennine.”
+ Note IX.
Not fierce, but aweful, is his manly page;
PERSIUS. “ Their crooked horns the Mimallonian crew “ With blasts inspired ;* and Bassaris, who slew “ The scornful calf, with sword advanced on high, “ Made from his neck his haughty head to fly: “And Mænas, when with ivy bridles bound, “She led the spotted lynx, then Evion rung around; “ Evion from woods and floods repairing echo's
sound.” Could such rude lines a Roman mouth become, Were any manly greatness left in Rome? Mænas and Atyst in the mouth were bred, And never hatched within the labouring head; No blood from bitten nails those poems drew, But churned, like spittle, from the lips they flew.
* Note X.
+ Note XI.
My harmless rhyme shall ’scape the dire disgrace
Yet old Lucilius f never feared the times,
Could he do this, and is my muse controuled By servile awe? Born free, and not be bold? At least, I'll dig a hole within the ground, And to the trusty earth commit the sound; The reeds shall tell you what the poet fears, “King Midas has a snout, and asses ears. This mean conceit, this darling mystery, Which thou think'st nothing, friend, thou shalt not
Thou, if there be a thou in this base town,
+ Note XIII. Note XIV.
Like Aristophanes, let him but smile
Him also for my censor I disdain, Who thinks all science, as all virtue, vain; Who counts geometry, and numbers toys, And with his foot the sacred dust destroys; Whose pleasure is to see a strumpet tear A Cynick’s beard, and lug him by the hair. Such all the morning to the pleadings run; But when the business of the day is done, On dice, and drink, and drabs, they spend their
+ Note XVI.
| Note XVII.
TRANSLATIONS FROM PERSIUS.
Note I. Should cry up Labeo's stuff, and cry me down.-P. 208. Nothing is remaining of Atticus Labeo (so he is called by the learned Casaubon); nor is he mentioned by any other poet, besides Persius. Casaubon, from an old commentator on Persius, says, that he made a very foolish translation of Homer's Iliads.
A birth-day jewel bobbing at their ear.---P. 209. He describes a poet, preparing himself to rehearse his works in public, which was commonly performed in August. A room was hired, or lent, by some friend ; a scaffold was raised, and a pulpit placed for him who was to hold forth ; who borrowed a new gown, or scoured his old one, and adorned his ears with jewels, &c.