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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 shipwrecked on the Brutian strand, *
His riches in the Ionian main are lost,
And he himself stands shivering on the coast;
Where, destitute of help, forlorn and bare,
He wearies the deaf gods with fruitless prayer.
Their images, the relics of the wreck,
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 opened side,
And on her shattered mast the mews in triumph ride.
From thy new hope, and from thy growing store,
Now lend assistance, and relieve the poor;t
Come, do a noble act of charity,
A pittance of thy land will set 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 say,
"Tis mine that wealth thou squander'st thus away:
What is't to thee, if he neglect thy urn?
Or without spices lets thy body burn? $
If odours to thy ashes he refuse,
Or buys corrupted cassia from the Jews?
All these, the wiser Bestius will reply,
Are empty pomp, and dead-men's luxury:
We never knew this vain expence before
The effeminated Grecians brought it o'er:
Now toys and trifles from their
Athens come, And dates and pepper have unsinewed Rome.
Our sweating hinds their sallads now defile,
Infecting homely herbs with fragrant oil.
But to thy fortune be not thou a slave;
For what hast thou to fear beyond the grave?:
And thou, who gap'st for my estate, draw near;
For I would whisper somewhat in thy ear.
Hear’st thou the news, my friend the
friend : the express is
With laurelled letters, from the camp to Rome :
Cæsar salutes the queen and senate thus :
My arms are on the Rhine victorious *
From mourning altars sweep the dust away,
Cease fasting, and proclaim a fat thanksgiving-day.
The goodly empress, † jollily inclined,
Is to the welcome bearer wonderous kind;
And, setting her good housewifery aside,
Prepares for all the pageantry of pride.
The captive Germans, of gigantic size, &
Are ranked in order, and are clad in frize :
The spoils of kings, and conquered camps we boast,
Their arms in trophies hang on the triumphal post.
Now for so many glorious actions done In foreign parts, and mighty battles won; For peace at home, and for the public wealth, I mean to crown a bowl to Cæsar's health. Besides, in gratitude for such high matters, Know I have vowed two hundred gladiators. § Say, would’st thou hinder me from this expence ? I disinherit thee, if thou dar’st take offence. Yet more, a public largess I design Of oil and pies, to make the people dine; Controul me not, for fear I change my will.
And yet methinks I hear thee grumbling still,You give as if you were the Persian king; Your
land does not so large revenues bring.
Well, on my terms thou wilt not be my heir?
If thou car'st little, less shall be my care.
Were none of all my father's sisters left;
Nay, were I of my mother's kin bereft;
None by an uncle's or a grandame's side,
Yet I could some adopted heir provide.
I need but take my journey half a day
From haughty Rome, and at Aricia stay,
Where fortune throws poor Manius in my way.
Him will I choose :—What him, of humble birth,
Obscure, a foundling, and a son of earth:-
Obscure! Why, pr’ythee, what am I? I know
My father, grandsire, and great-grandsire too:
If farther I derive my pedigree,
I can but guess beyond the fourth degree.
The rest of my forgotten ancestors
Were sons of earth, like him, or sons of whores.
Yet why should'st thou, old covetous wretch,
To be my heir, who might'st have been my sire?
In nature's race, should'st thou demand of me
My torch, when I in course run after thee? *
Think I approach thee, like the god of gain,
With wings on head and heels, as poets feign :
Thy moderate fortune from my gift receive;
Now fairly take it, or as fairly leave.
But take it as it is, and ask no more.-
What, when thou hast embezzled all thy store?
Where's all thy father left?'Tis true, I grant,
Some I have mortgaged to supply my want:
The legacies of Tadius too are flown,
All spent, and on the self-same errand
gone.. How little then to my poor share will fall !Little indeed; but yet that little's all.
Nor tell me, in a dying father's tone, —
Be careful still of the main chance, my son;
Put out thy principal in trusty hands,
Live on the use, and never dip thy lands :
what's left for me?—What's left, my friend !
Ask that again, and all the rest I spend.
Is not my fortune at my own command?
Pour oil, and pour it with a plenteous hand
Upon my sallads, boy: shall I be fed
With sodden nettles, and a singed sow's head?
'Tis holiday, provide me better cheer ;
'Tis holiday, and shall be round the year.
Shall I my household gods and genius cheat,
To make him rich, who grudges me my meat,
That he may loll at ease, and, pampered high,
When I am laid, may feed on giblet-pie,
And, when his throbbing lust extends the vein,
Have wherewithal his whores to entertain ?
Shall I in homespun cloth be clad, that he
His paunch in triumph may before him see?
Go, miser, go; for lucre sell thy soul; Truck wares for wares, and trudge from pole to pole, That men may say, when thou art dead and gone, See what a vast estate he left his son! How large a family of brawny knaves, Well fed, and fat as Cappadocian slaves! | Increase thy wealth, and double all thy store; 'Tis done; now double that, and swell the score, To every thousand add ten thousand more. Then say, Chrysippus, I thou who would'st confine Thy heap, where I shall put an end to mine.
TRANSLATIONS FROM PERSIUS.
Has winter caused thee, friend, to change thy seat,
And seek in Sabine air a warm retreat.-P. 268. All the studious, and particularly the poets, about the end of August, began to set themselves on work, refraining from writing during the heats of the summer. They wrote by night, and sat up the greatest part of it; for which reason the product of their studies was called their elucubrations, or nightly labours. They who had country-seats retired to them while they studied, as Persius did to his, which was near the port of the Moon in Etruria; and Bassus tu his, which was in the country of the Sabines, nearer Rome.
Note II. Now sporting on thy lyre the loves of youth.-P. 268. This proves Cæsius Bassus to have been a lyric poet. It is said of him, that by an eruption of the flaming mountain Vesuvius, near which the greatest part of his fortune lay, he was burnt himself, together with all his writings.