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My harmless rhyme fhall 'fcape the dire difgrace
Of common-fhoars, and every piffing-place.
Two painted ferpents fhall, on high, appear;
'Tis holy ground; you must not urine here.
This fhall be writ to fright the fry away,
Who draw their little baubles, when they play.
Yet old Lucilius never fear'd the times,
But lash'd the city, and diffected crimes.
Mutius and Lupus both by name he brought;
He mouth'd them, and betwixt his grinders caught.
Unlike in method, with conceal'd defign,
Did crafty Horace his low numbers join:
And, with a fly infinuating grace,
Laugh'd at his friend, and look'd him in the face:
Would raise a blufh, where fecret vice he found;
And tickle, while he gently prob'd the wound.
With feeming innocence the crowd beguil'd;
But made the defperate paffes when he fmil'd.
Could he do this, and is my Muse control'd
By fervile awe? Born free, and not be bold ?
At least, I'll dig a hole within the ground;
And to the trufty earth commit the found:
The reeds fhall tell you what the poet fears,
"King Midas has a fnout, and asses ears.”
This mean conceit, this darling mystery,
Which thou think'ft nothing, friend, thou shalt not
Nor will I change for all the flashy wit,
That flattering Libeo, in his Iliads, writ.
Thou, if there be a thou in this bafe town, Who dares, with angry Eupolis, to frown;
He, who, with bold Cratinus, is inspir'd
With zeal, and equal indignation fir'd:
Who, at enormous villainy, turns pale,
And fteers against it with a full-blown fail,
Like Ariftophanes, let him but smile
On this my honest work, though writ in homely ftile :
And if two lines or three in all the vein
Appear lefs droffy, read thofe lines again.
May they perform their author's just intent,
Glow in thy ears, and in thy breast ferment.
But from the reading of my book and me,
Be far, ye foes of virtuous poverty:
Who Fortune's fault upon the poor can throw;
Point at the tatter'd coat, and ragged fhoe:
Lay Nature's failings to their charge, and jeer
The dim weak eye-fight, when the mind is clear,
When thou thyself, thus infolent in ftate,
Art but, perhaps, fome country magiftrate:
Whose power extends no farther than to fpcak
Big on the bench, and fcanty weights to break.
Hin, alfo, for my cenfor I difdain,
Who thinks all fcience, as all virtue, vain ;
Who counts geometry, and numbers, toys;
And, with his foot, the facred duft deftroys:
Whofe pleasure is to fee a ftrumpet tear
A Cynick's beard, and lug him by the hair.
Such, all the morning, to the pleadings run;
But when the bufinefs of the day is done,
On dice, and drink, and drabs, they spend their
THIS fatire contains a moft grave and philofophical argument, concerning prayers and wishes. Undoubtedly it gave occafion to Juvenal's tenth fatire ; 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 rise 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 vows, descends to the impious and immoral requefts of others. The fatire is divided into three parts: the first is the exordium to Micrinus, which the poet confines within the compafs of four verfes. The fecond relates to the matter of the prayers and vows, and an enumeration of those things, wherein men commonly finned against right reason, and offended in their requests. The third part confifts in fhewing the repugnances of those prayers and wishes, to thofe of other men, and inconfiftencies
with themselves. He fhews the original of these vows, and harply inveighs against them and laftly, not only corrects the false opinion of mankind concerning them, but gives the true doctrine of all addrefles 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.
THE SECOND SATIR E.
Dedicated to his friend PLOTIUS MACRINUS, on his BIRTH-DAY.
ET this aufpicious morning be expreft
With a white ftone, distinguish'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 fparkle, like the chearful bowl. Pray; for thy prayers the test of heaven 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, Heaven's help, to profper their black vows, invoke. So boldly to the Gods mankind reveal What from each other they, for fhame, conceal.
Give me good fame, ye Powers, and make me juft:
Thus much the rogue to public ears will trust :
In private then : — When wilt thou, mighty Jove,
My wealthy uncle from this world remove?
Or-O thou Thunderer's fon, great Hercules,
That once thy bounteous Deity would please
To guide my rake, upon the chinking found
Of fome vaft treafure, hidden under ground!
O were my pupil fairly knock'd o' th' head;
I should poffefs th' estate, if he were dead!
He's so far gone with rickets, and with th' evil,
That one fmall dofe will fend him to the devil.
This is my neighbour Nerius 's third spouse,
Of whom in happy time he rids his house.
But my eternal wife! -Grant heaven I may
Survive to fee the fellow of this day!
Thus, that thou may'st the better bring about
Thy wishes, thou art wickedly devout :
In Tyber ducking thrice, by break of day,
To wash th' obfcenities of night away.
But pr'ythee tell me, ('tis a small request)
With what ill thoughts of Jove art thou poffeft?
Would't thou prefer him to fome man? Suppofe
I dipp'd among the worst, and Statius chose?
Which of the two would thy wife head declare
The trustier tutor to an orphan-heir?
Or, put it thus:- Unfold to Statius, ftreight,
What to Jove's ear thou didst impart of late:
He'll ftare, and, O good Jupiter! will cry;
Canft thou indulge him in this villainy!