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$ And think'ft thou, Jove himself, with patience then
Can hear a prayer condemn'd by wicked men?
That, void of care, he lolls fupine in state,
And leaves his bufinefs to be done by fate?
Because his thunder splits fome burley-tree,
And is not darted at thy house and thee?
Or that his vengeance falls not at the time,
Juft at the perpetration of thy crime :
And makes thee a fad object of our eyes,
Fit for Ergenna's prayer and sacrifice?
What well-fed offering to appease the God,
What powerful prefent to procure a nod,
Haft thou in ftore? What bribe haft thou prepar'd,
To pull him, thus unpunish'd, by the beard?
Our fuperftitions with our life begin :
Th' obfcene old grandam, or the next of kin,
The new-born infant from the cradle takes,
And firft of spittle a luftration makes:
Then in the spawl her middle-finger dips,
Anoints the temples, forehead, and the lips,
Pretending force of magic to prevent,
By virtue of her nasty excrement.
Then dandles him with many a mutter'd prayer
That heaven would make him fome rich mifer's heir, Lucky to ladies, and in time a king;
Which to enfure, fhe adds a length of navel-string. But no fond nurfe is fit to make a prayer :
And Jove, if Jove be wife, will never hear;
Not though the prays in white, with lifted hands:
A body made of brafs the crone demands
For her lov'd nurfling, ftrung with nerves of wire,
Tough to the last, and with no toil to tire:
Unconscionable vows, which when we ufe,
We teach the Gods, in reason, to refuse.
Suppose they were indulgent to thy with:
Yet the fat entrails, in the fpacious dish,
Would ftop the grant: the very over-care
And nauseous pomp, would hinder half the prayer.
Thou hop'st with facrifice of oxen flain
To compafs wealth, and bribe the God of gain,
To give thee flocks and herds, with large increase;
Fool to expect them from a bullock's greafe!
And think'ft that, when the fatten'd flames afpire,
Thou feeft th' accomplishment of thy desire!
Now, now, my bearded harvest gilds the plain,
The fcanty folds can fcarce my fheep contain,
And showers of gold come pouring in amain !
Thus dreams the wretch, and vainly thus dream's on,
Till his lank purfe declares his money gone.
Should I prefent them with rare figur'd plate,
Or gold as rich in workmanship as weight;
O how thy rifing heart would throb and beat,
And thy left fide, with trembling pleasure, sweat!
Thou measur'ft by thyself the Powers Divine;
Thy Gods are burnish'd gold, and filver is their shrine.
Thy puny Godlings of inferior race,
Whofe humble ftatues are content with brafs,
Should fome of thefe, in vifions purg'd from phlegm, Foretel events, or in a morning dream;
Ev'n thofe thou would'st in veneration hold;
And, if not faces, give them beards of gold.
The priests in temples, now, no longer care
For Saturn's brafs, or Numa's earthen-ware;
Or veftal urns, in each religious rite:
This wicked gold has put them all to flight.
O fouls, in whom no heavenly fire is found,
Fat minds, and ever groveling on the ground!
We bring our manners to the bleft abodes,
And think what pleafes us muft pleafe the Gods.
Of oil and caffia one th' ingredients takes,
And, of the mixture, a rich ointment makes:
Another finds the way to dye in grain;
And makes Calabrian wool receive the Tyrian ftain;
Or from the thells their orient treafure takes,
Or, for their golden ore, in rivers rakes;
Then melts the mafs: all these are vanities!
Yet ftill fome profit from their pains may rife:
But tell me, prieft, if I may be fo bold,
What are the Gods the better for this gold?
The wretch that offers from his wealthy ftore
Thefe prefents, bribes the Powers to give him more:
As maids to Venus offer baby-toys,
To blefs the marriage-bed with girls and boys.
But let us for the Gods a gift prepare,
Which the great man's great charges cannot bear:
A foul, where laws both human and divine,
In practice more than fpeculation fhine:
A genuine virtue, of a vigorous kind,
Pure in the laft receffes of the mind:
When with fuch offerings to the Gods I come,
A cake, thus given, is worth a hecatomb.
OUR author has made two fatires concerning study; the firft and the third: the firft related to men; this to young ftudents, whom he defired to be educated in the ftoick philofophy: he himself sustains the person of the master, or præceptor, in this admirable fatire; where he upbraids the youth of floth, and negligence in learning. Yet he begins with one scholar reproaching his fellow-ftudents with late rifing to their books. After which he takes upon him the other part of the teacher. And addreffing himself particularly to young noblemen, tells them, that by reason of their high birth, and the great poffeffions of their fathers, they are careless of adorning their minds with precepts of moral philofophy: and withal, inculcates to them the miferies which will attend them in the whole courfe of their life, if they do not apply themselves betimes to the knowledge of virtue, and the end of
their creation, which he pathetically infinuates to them. The title of this fatire, in fome ancient manuscripts, was "The Reproach of Idlene's;" though in others of the fcholiafts it is infcribed, "Against the Luxury and Vices of the Rich." In both of which the intention of the poet is purfued; but principally in the former.
[I remember I tranflated this fatire, when I was a King's scholar at Westminster-fchool, for a Thurfday-night's exercife; and believe that it, and many other of my exercises of this nature, in English verfe, are ftill in the hands of my learned master, the reverend Doctor Busby.].
S this thy daily courfe? The glaring fun
Breaks in at every chink: the cattle run
To fhades, and noon-tide rays of fummer-fhun,
Yet plung'd in floth we lie; and fnore fupine,
As fill'd with fumes of indigested wine.
This grave advice fome fober ftudent bears; And loudly rings it in his fellow's ears. The yawning youth, fcarce half awake, effays His lazy limbs and dozy head to raise: Then rubs his gummy eyes, and scrubs his pate; And cries, I thought it had not been fo late: My cloaths make hafte: why then! if none be near, He mutters first, and then begins to swear: And brays aloud, with a more clamorous note, Than an Arcadian afs can ftretch his throat.