« PreviousContinue »
Dead wine, that stinks of the borrachio, fup
Death talks behind thee, and each flying hour
Speak; wilt thou Avarice, or Pleasure, chuse
Nor think, when once thou haft refifted one,
She knows her man, and, when you rant and fwear,
On holidays may tell, that such a feat was done:
Thy fuperftition too may claim a share : When flowers are strew'd, and lamps in order plac'd, And windows with illuminations grac❜d, On Herod's day; when sparkling bowls go round, And tunnies tails in favoury fauce are drown'd, Thou mutter't prayers obscene; nor dost refuse The fasts and fabbaths of the curtail'd Jews. Then a crack'd egg-fhell thy fick fancy frights, Befides the childifh fear of walking sprights. Of o'ergrown gelding priests thou art afraid; The timbrel, and the fquintifego maid Of Ifis, awe thee: left the Gods, for fin, Should, with a fwelling dropfy, stuff thy skin: Unless three garlick-heads the curse avert, Eaten each morn, devoutly, next thy heart.
Preach this among the brawny guards, fay'st thou,
PER SIU S.
THIS fixth fatire treats an admirable common-place of moral philofophy; of the true ufe of riches. They certainly are intended, by the power who beftows them, as inftruments and helps of living commodiously ourselves; and of adminiftering to the wants of others, who are oppressed by fortune. There are two extremes in the opinions of men concerning them. One error, though on the right hand, yet a great one, is, that they are no helps to a virtuous life; the other places all our happinefs in the acquifition and poffeffion of them; and this is, undoubtedly, the worse extreme. The mean betwixt thefe, is the opinion of the Stoicks; which is, that riches may be useful to the leading
a virtuous life; in cafe we rightly understand how to give according to right reafon; and how to receive what is given us by others. The virtue of giving well, is called liberality: and it is of this virtue that Perfius writes in this fatire; wherein he not only fhews the lawful use of riches, but also fharply inveighs against the vices which are opposed to it; and especially of thofe, which confift in the defects of giving or spending; or in the abuse of riches. He writes to Cæfius Baffus his friend, and a poet also. Enquires first of his health and studies; and afterwards informs him of his own, and where he is now refident. He gives an account of himself, that he is endeavouring, by little and little, to wear off his vices; and particularly, that he is combating ambition, and the defire of wealth. He dwells upon the latter vice: and, being fenfible that few men either defire or ufe riches as they ought, he endeavours to convince them of their folly; which is the main defign of the whole fatire.
THE SIXTH SATIRE. TO CESIUS BASSUS, A LYRIC POET.
HAS winter caus'd thee, friend, to change thy feat,
And feek in Sabine air a warm retreat?
Say, doft thou yet the Roman harp command?
A a 3