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Meantime his lordship lolls within at ease, Pampering his paunch with foreign rarities; Both sea and land are ransacked for the feast, And his own gut the sole invited guest. Such plate, such tables, dishes dressed so well, That whole estates are swallowed at a meal. Even parasites are banished from his board; (At once a sordid and luxurious lord ;) Prodigious throat, for which whole boars are drest; (A creature formed to furnish out a feast.) But present punishment pursues his maw, When, surfeited and swelled, the peacock raw He bears into the bath; whence want of breath, Repletions, apoplex, intestate death. His fate makes table-talk, divulged with scorn, And he, a jest, into his grave is borne.
No age can go beyond us ; future times Can add no farther to the present crimes. Our sons but the same things can wish and do; Vice is at stand, and at the highest flow. Then, Satire, spread thy sails, take all the winds
can blow! Some may, perhaps, demand what muse can yield Sufficient strength for such a spacious field? From whence can be derived so large a vein, Bold truths to speak, and spoken to maintain, When godlike freedom is so far bereft The noble mind, that scarce the name is left? Ere scandalum magnatum was begot, No matter if the great forgave or not; But if that honest licence now you take, If into rogues omnipotent you rake, Death is your doom, impaled upon a stake; Smeared o'er with wax, and set on fire, to light The streets, and make a dreadful blaze by night.
Shall they, who drenched three uncles in a draught Of poisonous juice, be then in triumph brought,
Make lanes among the people where they go,
* A poet may safely write an heroic poem, such as that of Virgil, who describes the duel of Turnus and Æneas; or of Homer, who writes of Achilles and Hector; or the death of Hylas, the catamite of Hercules, who, stooping for water, dropt his pitcher, and fell into the well after it: but it is dangerous to write satire, like Lucilius.
JU V E NAL.
The story of this satire speaks itself. Umbritius, the supposed
friend of Juvenal, and himself a poet, is leaving Rome, and retiring to Cuma. Our author accompanies him out of town. Before they take leave of each other, Umbritius tells his friend the reasons which oblige him to lead a private life, in an obscure place. He complains, that an honest man cannot get his bread at Rome; that none but flatterers make their fortunes there ; that Grecians, and other foreigners, raise themselves by those sordid arts which he describes, and against which he bitterly inveighs. He reckons up the several inconveniences which arise from a city life, and the many dangers which attend it ; upbraids the noblemen with covetousness, for not rewarding good poets ; and arraigns the government for starving them. The great art of this satire is particularly shown in common-places ; and drawing in as many vices, as could naturally fall into the compass of it.
Grieved though I am an ancient friend to lose,
* Cumæ, a small city in Campania, near Puteoli, or Puzzolo, as it is called. The habitation of the Cumæan Sybil.
Where, far from noisy Rome, secure he lives,
Now while my friend, just ready to depart,
Baiæ, another little town in Campania, near the sea : pleasant place.
+ Prochyta, a small barren island belonging to the kingdom of Naples.
| The poets in Juvenal's time used to rehearse their poetry in August.
Numa, the second king of Rome, who made their laws, and instituted their religion.
1 Ægeria, a nymph, or goddess, with whom Numa feigned to converse by night; and to be instructed by her, in modelling his superstitions.
ll We have a similar account of the accommodation of these vagabond Israelites, in the Sixth Satire, where the prophetic Jewess plies her customers :
-cophino, fænoque relicto.
Yet such our avarice is, that every tree
Then thus Umbritius, with an angry frown,
* Dædalus, in his fight from Crete, alighted at Cumæ.
+ Lachesis is one of the three destinies, whose office was to spin the life of every man; as it was of Clotho to hold the distaff, and Atropos to cut the thread.