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Is it for this they ftudy? to grow pale,
A fpark, like thee, of the man-killing trade,
The doctor heard him, exercis'd his skill
Do I not fee your dropfy belly fwell?
Your yellow fkin?-No more of that; I'm well.
That ftood betwixt a fair eftate and me,
And, doctor, I may live to bury thee.
Thou tell'ft me, I look ill; and thou look'ft worse.
Bathes and gets drunk; then bathes and drinks again:
And his teeth chatter, and his eye-balls roll:
His heels ftretch'd out, and pointing to the gate :
They hoist him on the bier, and deal the dole:
And there 's an end of a luxurious fool.
But what's thy fulfome parable to me?
My body is from all diseases free:
Or lay thy hand upon my naked heart,
I grant this true but, ftill, the deadly wound
Some coarfe cold fallad is before thee fet;
These are not dishes for thy dainty tooth:
As fields of corn, that rife in bearded ears.
With foam upon thy lips and sparkling eyes,
Would fwear thou wert the madder of the two.
OUR author, living in the time of Nero, was contemporary and friend to the noble Poet Lucan both of them were fufficiently fenfible, with all good men, how unfkilfully he managed the commonwealth: and perhaps might guefs at his future tyranny, by fome paffages, during the latter part of his first five years; though he broke not out into his great exceffes, while he was reftrained by the counfels and authority of Seneca. Lucan has not fpared him in the poem of his Pharfalia; for his very complimest Jooked afquint as well as Nero. Perfius has been bolder, but with caution likewife. For here, in the perfon of young Alcibiades, he arraigns his ambition of meddling with ftate-affairs, without judgment or experience. It is probable that he makes Seneca, in this fatire, fuftain the part of Socrates, under a borrowed name. And, withal, difcovers fome fecret vices of Nero, concerning his luft, his drunkenness, and his effeminacy, which had not yet
arrived to public notice. He alfo reprehends the flattery of his courtiers, who endeavoured to make all his vices pass for virtues. Covetoufnefs was undoubtedly none of his faults; but it is here described as a veil cast over the true meaning of the poet, which was to fatirize his prodigality and voluptuousness; to which he makes a tranfition. I find no inftance in hiftory of that emperor's being a Pathique, though Perfius feems to brand him with it. From the two dialogues of Plato, both called Alcibiades, the poet took the arguments of the fecond and third fatires, but he inverted the order of them for the third fatire is taken from the first of thofe dialogues.
The commentators, before Cafaubon, were ignorant of our author's fecret meaning; and thought he had only written against young noblemen in general, who were too forward in afpiring to public magiftracy: but this excellent fcholiaft has unraveled the whole mystery; and made it apparent, that the fting of this fatire was particularly aimed at Nero.
HOE'ER thou art, whose forward years are bent
Hear, firft, what Socrates of old has faid
To the lov'd youth, whom he at Athens bred.
Our fecond hope, my Alcibiades,