Dryden's Works Vol. 13 (of 18) by Dryden, John


















Essay on Satire; addressed to Charles, Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, 3

The First Satire of Juvenal, 119

The Third Satire of Juvenal, 130

The Sixth Satire of Juvenal, 148

The Tenth Satire of Juvenal, 178

The Sixteenth Satire of Juvenal, 198


The First Satire of Persius, 205 Notes, 217

The Second Satire of Persius, 221 Notes, 227

The Third Satire of Persius, 230 Notes, 239

The Fourth Satire of Persius, 242 Notes, 248

The Fifth Satire of Persius, inscribed to the Rev. Dr Busby, 251 Notes, 262

The Sixth Satire of Persius, 267 Notes, 274


Names of Subscribers to the Cuts of Virgil, 283

Recommendatory Poems on the Translation of Virgil, 289

The Life of Publius Virgilius Maro, by William Walsh, 297


Dedication of the Pastorals, to Lord Clifford, Baron of Chudleigh, 337

Preface to the Pastorals, with a short defence of Virgil, by William Walsh, 345

Pastoral I. or Tityrus and Meliboeus, 369

II. or Alexis, 374

III. or Palæmon, 378

IV. or Pollio, 386

V. or Daphnis, 391

VI. or Silenus, 397

VII. or Meliboeus, 402

VIII. or Pharmaceutria, 407

IX. or Lycidas and Mæris, 413

X. or Gallus, 417











The wishes and desires of all good men, which have attended your lordship from your first appearance in the world, are at length accomplished, from your obtaining those honours and dignities which you have so long deserved. There are no factions, though irreconcileable to one another, that are not united in their affection to you, and the respect they pay you. They are equally pleased in your prosperity, and would be equally concerned in your afflictions. Titus Vespasian was not more the delight of human kind. The universal empire made him only more known, and more powerful, but could not make him more beloved. He had greater ability of doing good, but your inclination to it is not less; and though you could not extend your beneficence to so many persons, yet you have lost as few days as that excellent emperor; and never had his complaint to make when you went to bed, that the sun had shone upon you in vain, when you had the opportunity of relieving some unhappy man. This, my lord, has justly acquired you as many friends as there are persons who have the honour to be known to you. Mere acquaintance you have none; you have drawn them all into a nearer line; and they who have conversed with you are for ever after inviolably yours. This is a truth so generally acknowledged, that it needs no proof: it is of the nature of a first principle, which is received as soon as it is proposed; and needs not the reformation which Descartes used to his; for we doubt not, neither can we properly say, we think we admire and love you above all other men; there is a certainty in the proposition, and we know it. With the same assurance I can say, you neither have enemies, nor can scarce have any; for they who have never heard of you, can neither love or hate you; and they who have, can have no other notion of you, than that which they receive from the public, that you are the best of men. After this, my testimony can be of no farther use, than to declare it to be day-light at high-noon; and all who have the benefit of sight, can look up as well, and see the sun.

It is true, I have one privilege which is almost particular to myself, that I saw you in the east at your first arising above the hemisphere: I was as soon sensible as any man of that light, when it was but just shooting out, and beginning to travel upwards to the meridian. I made my early addresses to your lordship, in my "Essay of Dramatic Poetry;" and therein bespoke you to the world, wherein I have the right of a first discoverer.[2] When I was myself in the rudiments of my poetry, without name or reputation in the world, having rather the ambition of a writer, than the skill; when I was drawing the outlines of an art, without any living master to instruct me in it; an art which had been better praised than studied here in England, wherein Shakespeare, who created the stage among us, had rather written happily, than knowingly and justly, and Jonson, who, by studying Horace, had been acquainted with the rules, yet seemed to envy to posterity that knowledge, and, like an inventor of some useful art, to make a monopoly of his learning; when thus, as I may say, before the use of the load-stone, or knowledge of the compass, I was sailing in a vast ocean, without other help than the pole-star of the ancients, and the rules of the French stage amongst the moderns, which are extremely different from ours, by reason of their opposite taste; yet even then, I had the presumption to dedicate to your lordship--a very unfinished piece, I must confess, and which only can be excused by the little experience of the author, and the modesty of the title--"An Essay." Yet I was stronger in prophecy than I was in criticism; I was inspired to foretell you to mankind, as the restorer of poetry, the greatest genius, the truest judge, and the best patron.

Good sense and good nature are never separated, though the ignorant world has thought otherwise. Good nature, by which I mean beneficence and candour, is the product of right reason; which of necessity will give allowance to the failings of others, by considering that there is nothing perfect in mankind; and by distinguishing that which comes nearest to excellency, though not absolutely free from faults, will certainly produce a candour in the judge. It is incident to an elevated understanding, like your lordship's, to find out the errors of other men; but it is your prerogative to pardon them; to look with pleasure on those things, which are somewhat congenial, and of a remote kindred to your own conceptions; and to forgive the many failings of those, who, with their wretched art, cannot arrive to those heights that you possess, from a happy, abundant, and native genius: which are as inborn to you, as they were to Shakespeare; and, for aught I know, to Homer; in either of whom we find all arts and sciences, all moral and natural philosophy, without knowing that they ever studied them.

There is not an English writer this day living, who is not perfectly convinced, that your lordship excels all others in all the several parts of poetry which you have undertaken to adorn. The most vain, and the most ambitious of our age, have not dared to assume so much, as the competitors of Themistocles: they have yielded the first place without dispute; and have been arrogantly content to be esteemed as second to your lordship; and even that also, with a _longo, sed proximi intervallo_. If there have been, or are any, who go farther in their self-conceit, they must be very singular in their opinion; they must be like the officer in a play, who was called Captain, Lieutenant, and Company. The world will easily conclude, whether such unattended generals can ever be capable of making a revolution in Parnassus.

I will not attempt, in this place, to say any thing particular of your Lyric Poems, though they are the delight and wonder of this age, and will be the envy of the next.[3] The subject of this book confines me to satire; and in that, an author of your own quality, (whose ashes I will not disturb,) has given you all the commendation which his self-sufficiency could afford to any man: "The best good man, with the worst-natured muse."[4] In that character, methinks, I am reading Jonson's verses to the memory of Shakespeare; an insolent, sparing, and invidious panegyric: where good nature, the most godlike commendation of a man, is only attributed to your person, and denied to your writings; for they are every where so full of candour, that, like Horace, you only expose the follies of men, without arraigning their vices; and in this excel him, that you add that pointedness of thought, which is visibly wanting in our great Roman. There is more of salt in all your verses, than I have seen in any of the moderns, or even of the ancients; but you have been sparing of the gall, by which means you have pleased all readers, and offended none. Donne alone, of all our countrymen, had your talent; but was not happy enough to arrive at your versification; and were he translated into numbers, and English, he would yet be wanting in the dignity of expression. That which is the prime virtue, and chief ornament, of Virgil, which distinguishes him from the rest of writers, is so conspicuous in your verses, that it casts a shadow on all your contemporaries; we cannot be seen, or but obscurely, while you are present. You equal Donne in the variety, multiplicity, and choice of thoughts; you excel him in the manner and the words. I read you both with the same admiration, but not with the same delight. He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love. In this (if I may be pardoned for so bold a truth) Mr Cowley has copied him to a fault; so great a one, in my opinion, that it throws his Mistress infinitely below his Pindarics, and his latter compositions, which are undoubtedly the best of his poems, and the most correct. For my own part, I must avow it freely to the world, that I never attempted any thing in satire, wherein I have not studied your writings as the most perfect model. I have continually laid them before me; and the greatest commendation, which my own partiality can give to my productions, is, that they are copies, and no farther to be allowed, than as they have something more or less of the original. Some few touches of your lordship, some secret graces which I have endeavoured to express after your manner, have made whole poems of mine to pass with approbation; but take your verses altogether, and they are inimitable. If therefore I have not written better, it is because you have not written more. You have not set me sufficient copy to transcribe; and I cannot add one letter of my own invention, of which I have not the example there.

It is a general complaint against your lordship, and I must have leave to upbraid you with it, that, because you need not write, you will not. Mankind, that wishes you so well in all things that relate to your prosperity, have their intervals of wishing for themselves, and are within a little of grudging you the fulness of your fortune: they would be more malicious if you used it not so well, and with so much generosity.

Fame is in itself a real good, if we may believe Cicero, who was perhaps too fond of it; but even fame, as Virgil tells us, acquires strength by going forward. Let Epicurus give indolency as an attribute to his gods, and place in it the happiness of the blest; the divinity which we worship has given us not only a precept against it, but his own example to the contrary. The world, my lord, would be content to allow you a seventh day for rest; or if you thought that hard upon you, we would not refuse you half your time: if you came out, like some great monarch, to take a town but once a year, as it were for your diversion, though you had no need to extend your territories. In short, if you were a bad, or, which is worse, an indifferent poet, we would thank you for our own quiet, and not expose you to the want of yours. But when you are so great and so successful, and when we have that necessity of your writing, that we cannot subsist entirely without it, any more (I may almost say) than the world without the daily course of ordinary providence, methinks this argument might prevail with you, my lord, to forego a little of your repose for the public benefit. It is not that you are under any force of working daily miracles, to prove your being; but now and then somewhat of extraordinary, that is, any thing of your production, is requisite to refresh your character.

This, I think, my lord, is a sufficient reproach to you; and should I carry it as far as mankind would authorise me, would be little less than satire. And, indeed, a provocation is almost necessary, in behalf of the world, that you might be induced sometimes to write; and in relation to a multitude of scribblers, who daily pester the world with their insufferable stuff, that they might be discouraged from writing any more. I complain not of their lampoons and libels, though I have been the public mark for many years. I am vindictive enough to have repelled force by force, if I could imagine that any of them had ever reached me; but they either shot at rovers,[5] and therefore missed, or their powder was so weak, that I might safely stand them, at the nearest distance. I answered not the "Rehearsal," because I knew the author sat to himself when he drew the picture, and was the very Bayes of his own farce: because also I knew, that my betters[6] were more concerned than I was in that satire: and, lastly, because Mr Smith and Mr Johnson, the main pillars of it, were two such languishing gentlemen in their conversation, that I could liken them to nothing but to their own relations, those noble characters of men of wit and pleasure about the town. The like considerations have hindered me from dealing with the lamentable companions of their prose and doggrel. I am so far from defending my poetry against them, that I will not so much as expose theirs. And for my morals, if they are not proof against their attacks, let me be thought by posterity, what those authors would be thought, if any memory of them, or of their writings, could endure so long as to another age. But these dull makers of lampoons, as harmless as they have been to me, are yet of dangerous example to the public. Some witty men may perhaps succeed to their designs, and, mixing sense with malice, blast the reputation of the most innocent amongst men, and the most virtuous amongst women.

Heaven be praised, our common libellers are as free from the imputation of wit as of morality; and therefore whatever mischief they have designed, they have performed but little of it. Yet these ill writers, in all justice, ought themselves to be exposed; as Persius has given us a fair example in his first satire, which is levelled particularly at them;[7] and none is so fit to correct their faults, as he who is not only clear from any in his own writings, but is also so just, that he will never defame the good; and is armed with the power of verse, to punish and make examples of the bad. But of this I shall have occasion to speak further, when I come to give the definition and character of true satires.

In the mean time, as a counsellor bred up in the knowledge of the municipal and statute laws, may honestly inform a just prince how far his prerogative extends; so I may be allowed to tell your lordship, who, by an undisputed title, are the king of poets, what an extent of power you have, and how lawfully you may exercise it, over the petulant scribblers of this age. As lord chamberlain, I know, you are absolute by your office, in all that belongs to the decency and good manners of the stage. You can banish from thence scurrility and profaneness, and restrain the licentious insolence of poets, and their actors, in all things that shock the public quiet, or the reputation of private persons, under the notion of humour. But I mean not the authority, which is annexed to your office; I speak of that only which is inborn and inherent to your person; what is produced in you by an excellent wit, a masterly and commanding genius over all writers: whereby you are empowered, when you please, to give the final decision of wit; to put your stamp on all that ought to pass for current; and set a brand of reprobation on clipped poetry, and false coin. A shilling dipped in the Bath may go for gold amongst the ignorant, but the sceptres on the guineas show the difference.[8] That your lordship is formed by nature for this supremacy, I could easily prove, (were it not already granted by the world,) from the distinguishing character of your writing: which is so visible to me, that I never could be imposed on to receive for yours, what was written by any others; or to mistake your genuine poetry for their spurious productions. I can farther add, with truth, (though not without some vanity in saying it,) that in the same paper, written by divers hands, whereof your lordship's was only part, I could separate your gold from their copper; and though I could not give back to every author his own brass, (for there is not the same rule for distinguishing betwixt bad and bad, as betwixt ill and excellently good,) yet I never failed of knowing what was yours, and what was not; and was absolutely certain, that this, or the other part, was positively yours, and could not possibly be written by any other.

True it is, that some bad poems, though not all, carry their owners' marks about them. There is some peculiar awkwardness, false grammar, imperfect sense, or, at the least, obscurity; some brand or other on this buttock, or that ear, that it is notorious who are the owners of the cattle, though they should not sign it with their names. But your lordship, on the contrary, is distinguished, not only by the excellency of your thoughts, but by your style and manner of expressing them. A painter, judging of some admirable piece, may affirm, with certainty, that it was of Holbein, or Vandyck; but vulgar designs, and common draughts, are easily mistaken, and misapplied. Thus, by my long study of your lordship, I am arrived at the knowledge of your particular manner. In the good poems of other men, like those artists, I can only say, this is like the draught of such a one, or like the colouring of another. In short, I can only be sure, that it is the hand of a good master; but in your performances, it is scarcely possible for me to be deceived. If you write in your strength, you stand revealed at the first view; and should you write under it, you cannot avoid some peculiar graces, which only cost me a second consideration to discover you: for I may say it, with all the severity of truth, that every line of yours is precious. Your lordship's only fault is, that you have not written more; unless I could add another, and that yet greater, but I fear for the public the accusation would not be true,--that you have written, and out of a vicious modesty will not publish.

Virgil has confined his works within the compass of eighteen thousand lines, and has not treated many subjects; yet he ever had, and ever will have, the reputation of the best poet. Martial says of him, that he could have excelled Varius in tragedy, and Horace in lyric poetry, but out of deference to his friends, he attempted neither.[9]

The same prevalence of genius is in your lordship, but the world cannot pardon your concealing it on the same consideration; because we have neither a living Varius, nor a Horace, in whose excellencies, both of poems, odes, and satires, you had equalled them, if our language had not yielded to the Roman majesty, and length of time had not added a reverence to the works of Horace. For good sense is the same in all or most ages; and course of time rather improves nature, than impairs her. What has been, may be again: another Homer, and another Virgil, may possibly arise from those very causes which produced the first; though it would be impudence to affirm, that any such have yet appeared.

It is manifest, that some particular ages have been more happy than others in the production of great men, in all sorts of arts and sciences; as that of Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and the rest, for stage poetry amongst the Greeks; that of Augustus, for heroic, lyric, dramatic, elegiac, and indeed all sorts of poetry, in the persons of Virgil, Horace, Varius, Ovid, and many others; especially if we take into that century the latter end of the commonwealth, wherein we find Varo, Lucretius, and Catullus; and at the same time lived Cicero, and Sallust, and Cæsar. A famous age in modern times, for learning in every kind, was that of Lorenzo de Medici, and his son Leo the Tenth; wherein painting was revived, and poetry flourished, and the Greek language was restored.

Examples in all these are obvious: but what I would infer is this; that in such an age, it is possible some great genius may arise, to equal any of the ancients; abating only for the language. For great contemporaries whet and cultivate each other; and mutual borrowing, and commerce, makes the common riches of learning, as it does of the civil government.

But suppose that Homer and Virgil were the only of their species, and that nature was so much worn out in producing them, that she is never able to bear the like again, yet the example only holds in heroic poetry: in tragedy and satire, I offer myself to maintain against some of our modern critics, that this age and the last, particularly in England, have excelled the ancients in both those kinds; and I would instance in Shakespeare of the former, of your lordship in the latter sort.[10]

Thus I might safely confine myself to my native country; but if I would only cross the seas, I might find in France a living Horace and a Juvenal, in the person of the admirable Boileau; whose numbers are excellent, whose expressions are noble, whose thoughts are just, whose language is pure, whose satire is pointed, and whose sense is close; what he borrows from the ancients, he repays with usury of his own, in coin as good, and almost as universally valuable: for, setting prejudice and partiality apart, though he is our enemy, the stamp of a Louis, the patron of all arts, is not much inferior to the medal of an Augustus Cæsar. Let this be said without entering into the interests of factions and parties, and relating only to the bounty of that king to men of learning and merit; a praise so just, that even we, who are his enemies, cannot refuse it to him.

Now if it may be permitted me to go back again to the consideration of epic poetry, I have confessed, that no man hitherto has reached, or so much as approached, to the excellencies of Homer, or of Virgil; I must farther add, that Statius, the best versificator next to Virgil, knew not how to design after him, though he had the model in his eye; that Lucan is wanting both in design and subject, and is besides too full of heat and affectation; that amongst the moderns, Ariosto neither designed justly, nor observed any unity of action, or compass of time, or moderation in the vastness of his draught: his style is luxurious, without majesty or decency, and his adventures without the compass of nature and possibility. Tasso, whose design was regular, and who observed the rules of unity in time and place more closely than Virgil, yet was not so happy in his action; he confesses himself to have been too lyrical, that is, to have written beneath the dignity of heroic verse, in his Episodes of Sophronia, Erminia, and Armida. His story is not so pleasing as Ariosto's; he is too flatulent sometimes, and sometimes too dry; many times unequal, and almost always forced; and, besides, is full of conceipts, points of epigram, and witticisms; all which are not only below the dignity of heroic verse, but contrary to its nature: Virgil and Homer have not one of them. And those who are guilty of so boyish an ambition in so grave a subject, are so far from being considered as heroic poets, that they ought to be turned down from Homer to the Anthologia, from Virgil to Martial and Owen's Epigrams, and from Spenser to Flecno; that is, from the top to the bottom of all poetry. But to return to Tasso: he borrows from the invention of Boiardo, and in his alteration of his poem, which is infinitely for the worse, imitates Homer so very servilely, that (for example) he gives the king of Jerusalem fifty sons, only because Homer had bestowed the like number on king Priam; he kills the youngest in the same manner, and has provided his hero with a Patroclus, under another name, only to bring him back to the wars, when his friend was killed.[11] The French have performed nothing in this kind which is not far below those two Italians, and subject to a thousand more reflections, without examining their St Lewis, their Pucelle, or their Alarique.[12] The English have only to boast of Spenser and Milton, who neither of them wanted either genius or learning to have been perfect poets, and yet both of them are liable to many censures. For there is no uniformity in the design of Spenser: he aims at the accomplishment of no one action; he raises up a hero for every one of his adventures; and endows each of them with some particular moral virtue, which renders them all equal, without subordination, or preference. Every one is most valiant in his own legend: only we must do him that justice to observe, that magnanimity, which is the character of Prince Arthur, shines throughout the whole poem; and succours the rest, when they are in distress. The original of every knight was then living in the court of Queen Elizabeth; and he attributed to each of them that virtue, which he thought was most conspicuous in them; an ingenious piece of flattery, though it turned not much to his account. Had he lived to finish his poem, in the six remaining legends, it had certainly been more of a piece; but could not have been perfect, because the model was not true. But Prince Arthur, or his chief patron Sir Philip Sydney, whom he intended to make happy by the marriage of his Gloriana, dying before him, deprived the poet both of means and spirit to accomplish his design.[13] For the rest, his obsolete language,[14] and the ill choice of his stanza, are faults but of the second magnitude; for, notwithstanding the first, he is still intelligible, at least after a little practice; and for the last, he is the more to be admired, that, labouring under such a difficulty, his verses are so numerous, so various, and so harmonious, that only Virgil, whom he professedly imitated, has surpassed him among the Romans; and only Mr Waller among the English.

As for Mr Milton, whom we all admire with so much justice, his subject is not that of an heroic poem, properly so called. His design is the losing of our happiness; his event is not prosperous, like that of all other epic works; his heavenly machines are many, and his human persons are but two. But I will not take Mr Rymer's work out of his hands: he has promised the world a critique on that author;[15] wherein, though he will not allow his poem for heroic, I hope he will grant us, that his thoughts are elevated, his words sounding, and that no man has so happily copied the manner of Homer, or so copiously translated his Grecisms, and the Latin elegancies of Virgil. It is true, he runs into a flat of thought, sometimes for a hundred lines together, but it is when he has got into a track of scripture. His antiquated words were his choice, not his necessity; for therein he imitated Spenser, as Spenser did Chaucer. And though, perhaps, the love of their masters may have transported both too far, in the frequent use of them, yet, in my opinion, obsolete words may then be laudably revived, when either they are more sounding, or more significant, than those in practice; and when their obscurity is taken away, by joining other words to them, which clear the sense; according to the rule of Horace, for the admission of new words.[16] But in both cases a moderation is to be observed in the use of them: for unnecessary coinage, as well as unnecessary revival, runs into affectation; a fault to be avoided on either hand. Neither will I justify Milton for his blank verse, though I may excuse him, by the example of Hannibal Caro, and other Italians, who have used it; for whatever causes he alleges for the abolishing of rhyme, (which I have not now the leisure to examine,) his own particular reason is plainly this, that rhyme was not his talent; he had neither the ease of doing it, nor the graces of it; which is manifest in his "Juvenilia," or verses written in his youth, where his rhyme is always constrained and forced, and comes hardly from him, at an age when the soul is most pliant, and the passion of love makes almost every man a rhymer, though not a poet.

By this time, my lord, I doubt not but that you wonder, why I have run off from my bias so long together, and made so tedious a digression from satire to heroic poetry. But if you will not excuse it, by the tattling quality of age, which, as Sir William D'Avenant says, is always narrative, yet I hope the usefulness of what I have to say on this subject will qualify the remoteness of it; and this is the last time I will commit the crime of prefaces, or trouble the world with my notions of any thing that relates to verse.[17] I have then, as you see, observed the failings of many great wits amongst the moderns, who have attempted to write an epic poem. Besides these, or the like animadversions of them by other men, there is yet a farther reason given, why they cannot possibly succeed so well as the ancients, even though we could allow them not to be inferior, either in genius or learning, or the tongue in which they write, or all those other wonderful qualifications which are necessary to the forming of a true accomplished heroic poet. The fault is laid on our religion; they say, that Christianity is not capable of those embellishments which are afforded in the belief of those ancient heathens.

And it is true, that, in the severe notions of our faith, the fortitude of a Christian consists in patience, and suffering, for the love of God, whatever hardships can befall in the world; not in any great attempts, or in performance of those enterprizes which the poets call heroic, and which are commonly the effects of interest, ostentation, pride, and worldly honour: that humility and resignation are our prime virtues; and that these include no action, but that of the soul; when as, on the contrary, an heroic poem requires to its necessary design, and as its last perfection, some great action of war, the accomplishment of some extraordinary undertaking; which requires the strength and vigour of the body, the duty of a soldier, the capacity and prudence of a general, and, in short, as much, or more, of the active virtue, than the suffering. But to this the answer is very obvious. God has placed us in our several stations; the virtues of a private Christian are patience, obedience, submission, and the like; but those of a magistrate, or general, or a king, are prudence, counsel, active fortitude, coercive power, awful command, and the exercise of magnanimity, as well as justice. So that this objection hinders not, but that an epic poem, or the heroic action of some great commander, enterprized for the common good, and honour of the Christian cause, and executed happily, may be as well written now, as it was of old by the heathens; provided the poet be endued with the same talents; and the language, though not of equal dignity, yet as near approaching to it, as our modern barbarism will allow; which is all that can be expected from our own, or any other now extant, though more refined; and therefore we are to rest contented with that only inferiority, which is not possibly to be remedied.

I wish I could as easily remove that other difficulty which yet remains. It is objected by a great French critic, as well as an admirable poet, yet living, and whom I have mentioned with that honour which his merit exacts from me, I mean Boileau, that the machines of our Christian religion, in heroic poetry, are much more feeble to support that weight than those of heathenism. Their doctrine, grounded as it was on ridiculous fables, was yet the belief of the two victorious monarchies, the Grecian and Roman. Their gods did not only interest themselves in the event of wars, (which is the effect of a superior providence,) but also espoused the several parties, in a visible corporeal descent, managed their intrigues, and fought their battles sometimes in opposition to each other: though Virgil (more discreet than Homer in that last particular) has contented himself with the partiality of his deities, their favours, their counsels or commands, to those whose cause they had espoused, without bringing them to the outrageousness of blows. Now, our religion (says he) is deprived of the greatest part of those machines; at least the most shining in epic poetry. Though St Michael, in Ariosto, seeks out Discord, to send her among the Pagans, and finds her in a convent of friars, where peace should reign, which indeed is fine satire; and Satan, in Tasso, excites Solyman to an attempt by night on the Christian camp, and brings an host of devils to his assistance; yet the archangel, in the former example, when Discord was restive, and would not be drawn from her beloved monastery with fair words, has the whip-hand of her, drags her out with many stripes, sets her, on God's name, about her business, and makes her know the difference of strength betwixt a nuncio of heaven, and a minister of hell. The same angel, in the latter instance from Tasso, (as if God had never another messenger belonging to the court, but was confined like Jupiter to Mercury, and Juno to Iris,) when he sees his time, that is, when half of the Christians are already killed, and all the rest are in a fair way to be routed, stickles betwixt the remainders of God's host, and the race of fiends; pulls the devils backward by the tails, and drives them from their quarry; or otherwise the whole business had miscarried, and Jerusalem remained untaken. This, says Boileau, is a very unequal match for the poor devils, who are sure to come by the worst of it in the combat; for nothing is more easy, than for an Almighty Power to bring his old rebels to reason, when he pleases. Consequently, what pleasure, what entertainment, can be raised from so pitiful a machine, where we see the success of the battle from the very beginning of it; unless that, as we are Christians, we are glad that we have gotten God on our side, to maul our enemies, when we cannot do the work ourselves? For, if the poet had given the faithful more courage, which had cost him nothing, or at least have made them exceed the Turks in number, he might have gained the victory for us Christians, without interesting heaven in the quarrel, and that with as much ease, and as little credit to the conqueror, as when a party of a hundred soldiers defeats another which consists only of fifty.

This, my lord, I confess, is such an argument against our modern poetry, as cannot be answered by those mediums which have been used. We cannot hitherto boast, that our religion has furnished us with any such machines, as have made the strength and beauty of the ancient buildings.

But what if I venture to advance an invention of my own, to supply the manifest defect of our new writers? I am sufficiently sensible of my weakness; and it is not very probable that I should succeed in such a project, whereof I have not had the least hint from any of my predecessors, the poets, or any of their seconds and coadjutors, the critics. Yet we see the art of war is improved in sieges, and new instruments of death are invented daily; something new in philosophy, and the mechanics, is discovered almost every year; and the science of former ages is improved by the succeeding. I will not detain you with a long preamble to that, which better judges will, perhaps, conclude to be little worth.

It is this, in short--that Christian poets have not hitherto been acquainted with their own strength. If they had searched the Old Testament as they ought, they might there have found the machines which are proper for their work; and those more certain in their effect, than it may be the New Testament is, in the rules sufficient for salvation. The perusing of one chapter in the prophecy of Daniel, and accommodating what there they find with the principles of Platonic philosophy, as it is now christianized, would have made the ministry of angels as strong an engine, for the working up heroic poetry, in our religion, as that of the ancients has been to raise theirs by all the fables of their gods, which were only received for truths by the most ignorant and weakest of the people.[18]

It is a doctrine almost universally received by Christians, as well Protestants as Catholics, that there are guardian angels, appointed by God Almighty, as his vicegerents, for the protection and government of cities, provinces, kingdoms, and monarchies; and those as well of heathens, as of true believers. All this is so plainly proved from those texts of Daniel, that it admits of no farther controversy. The prince of the Persians, and that other of the Grecians, are granted to be the guardians and protecting ministers of those empires. It cannot be denied, that they were opposite, and resisted one another. St Michael is mentioned by his name as the patron of the Jews,[19] and is now taken by the Christians, as the protector-general of our religion. These tutelar genii, who presided over the several people and regions committed to their charge, were watchful over them for good, as far as their commissions could possibly extend. The general purpose, and design of all, was certainly the service of their Great Creator. But it is an undoubted truth, that, for ends best known to the Almighty Majesty of heaven, his providential designs for the benefit of his creatures, for the debasing and punishing of some nations, and the exaltation and temporal reward of others, were not wholly known to these his ministers; else why those factious quarrels, controversies, and battles amongst themselves, when they were all united in the same design, the service and honour of their common master? But being instructed only in the general, and zealous of the main design; and, as finite beings, not admitted into the secrets of government, the last resorts of providence, or capable of discovering the final purposes of God, who can work good out of evil as he pleases, and irresistibly sways all manner of events on earth, directing them finally for the best, to his creation in general, and to the ultimate end of his own glory in particular; they must, of necessity, be sometimes ignorant of the means conducing to those ends, in which alone they can jar and oppose each other. One angel, as we may suppose--the Prince of Persia, as he is called, judging, that it would be more for God's honour, and the benefit of his people, that the Median and Persian monarchy, which delivered them from the Babylonish captivity, should still be uppermost; and the patron of the Grecians, to whom the will of God might be more particularly revealed, contending, on the other side, for the rise of Alexander and his successors, who were appointed to punish the backsliding Jews, and thereby to put them in mind of their offences, that they might repent, and become more virtuous, and more observant of the law revealed. But how far these controversies, and appearing enmities, of those glorious creatures may be carried; how these oppositions may be best managed, and by what means conducted, is not my business to show or determine; these things must be left to the invention and judgement of the poet: if any of so happy a genius be now living, or any future age can produce a man, who, being conversant in the philosophy of Plato, as it is now accommodated to Christian use, (for, as Virgil gives us to understand by his example, that is the only proper, of all others, for an epic poem,) who, to his natural endowments, of a large invention, a ripe judgment, and a strong memory, has joined the knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences, and particularly moral philosophy, the mathematics, geography, and history, and with all these qualifications is born a poet; knows, and can practise the variety of numbers, and is master of the language in which he writes;--if such a man, I say, be now arisen, or shall arise, I am vain enough to think, that I have proposed a model to him, by which he may build a nobler, a more beautiful, and more perfect poem, than any yet extant since the ancients.

There is another part of these machines yet wanting; but, by what I have said, it would have been easily supplied by a judicious writer. He could not have failed to add the opposition of ill spirits to the good; they have also their design, ever opposite to that of heaven; and this alone has hitherto been the practice of the moderns: but this imperfect system, if I may call it such, which I have given, will infinitely advance and carry farther that hypothesis of the evil spirits contending with the good. For, being so much weaker, since their fall, than those blessed beings, they are yet supposed to have a permitted power from God of acting ill, as, from their own depraved nature, they have always the will of designing it. A great testimony of which we find in holy writ, when God Almighty suffered Satan to appear in the holy synod of the angels, (a thing not hitherto drawn into example by any of the poets,) and also gave him power over all things belonging to his servant Job, excepting only life.

Now, what these wicked spirits cannot compass, by the vast disproportion of their forces to those of the superior beings, they may, by their fraud and cunning, carry farther, in a seeming league, confederacy, or subserviency to the designs of some good angel, as far as consists with his purity to suffer such an aid, the end of which may possibly be disguised, and concealed from his finite knowledge. This is, indeed, to suppose a great error in such a being: yet since a devil can appear like an angel of light; since craft and malice may sometimes blind, for a while, a more perfect understanding; and, lastly, since Milton has given us an example of the like nature, when Satan, appearing like a cherub to Uriel, the intelligence of the sun, circumvented him even in his own province, and passed only for a curious traveller through those new-created regions, that he might observe therein the workmanship of God, and praise him in his works,--I know not why, upon the same supposition, or some other, a fiend may not deceive a creature of more excellency than himself, but yet a creature; at least, by the connivance, or tacit permission, of the Omniscient Being.

Thus, my lord, I have, as briefly as I could, given your lordship, and by you the world, a rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my imagination, and what I had intended to have put in practice, (though far unable for the attempt of such a poem,) and to have left the stage, (to which my genius never much inclined me,) for a work which would have taken up my life in the performance of it. This, too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged. Of two subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful whether I should choose that of King Arthur conquering the Saxons, which, being farther distant in time, gives the greater scope to my invention; or that of Edward, the Black Prince, in subduing Spain, and restoring it to the lawful prince, though a great tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel: which, for the compass of time, including only the expedition of one year; for the greatness of the action, and its answerable event; for the magnanimity of the English hero, opposed to the ingratitude of the person whom he restored; and for the many beautiful episodes, which I had interwoven with the principal design, together with the characters of the chiefest English persons; (wherein, after Virgil and Spenser, I would have taken occasion to represent my living friends and patrons of the noblest families, and also shadowed the events of future ages, in the succession of our imperial line,)--with these helps, and those of the machines, which I have mentioned, I might perhaps have done as well as some of my predecessors, or at least chalked out a way for others to amend my errors in a like design; but being encouraged only with fair words by King Charles II., my little salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future subsistence, I was then discouraged in the beginning of my attempt; and now age has overtaken me, and want, a more insufferable evil, through the change of the times, has wholly disenabled me. Though I must ever acknowledge, to the honour of your lordship, and the eternal memory of your charity, that, since this revolution, wherein I have patiently suffered the ruin of my small fortune, and the loss of that poor subsistence which I had from two kings, whom I had served more faithfully than profitably to myself,--then your lordship was pleased, out of no other motive but your own nobleness, without any desert of mine, or the least solicitation from me, to make me a most bountiful present, which, at that time, when I was most in want of it, came most seasonably and unexpectedly to my relief. That favour, my lord, is of itself sufficient to bind any grateful man to a perpetual acknowledgment, and to all the future service, which one of my mean condition can ever be able to perform. May the Almighty God return it for me, both in blessing you here, and rewarding you hereafter! I must not presume to defend the cause for which I now suffer, because your lordship is engaged against it; but the more you are so, the greater is my obligation to you, for your laying aside all the considerations of factions and parties, to do an action of pure disinterested charity. This is one amongst many of your shining qualities, which distinguish you from others of your rank. But let me add a farther truth, that, without these ties of gratitude, and abstracting from them all, I have a most particular inclination to honour you; and, if it were not too bold an expression, to say, I love you. It is no shame to be a poet, though it is to be a bad one. Augustus Cæsar of old, and Cardinal Richlieu of late, would willingly have been such; and David and Solomon were such. You who, without flattery, are the best of the present age in England, and would have been so, had you been born in any other country, will receive more honour in future ages, by that one excellency, than by all those honours to which your birth has entitled you, or your merits have acquired you.

_Ne, fortè, pudori Sit tibi Musa lyræ solers, et cantor Apollo._

I have formerly said in this epistle, that I could distinguish your writings from those of any others; it is now time to clear myself from any imputation of self-conceit on that subject. I assume not to myself any particular lights in this discovery; they are such only as are obvious to every man of sense and judgment, who loves poetry, and understands it. Your thoughts are always so remote from the common way of thinking, that they are, as I may say, of another species, than the conceptions of other poets; yet you go not out of nature for any of them. Gold is never bred upon the surface of the ground, but lies so hidden, and so deep, that the mines of it are seldom found; but the force of waters casts it out from the bowels of mountains, and exposes it amongst the sands of rivers; giving us of her bounty, what we could not hope for by our search. This success attends your lordship's thoughts, which would look like chance, if it were not perpetual, and always of the same tenor. If I grant that there is care in it, it is such a care as would be ineffectual and fruitless in other men. It is the _curiosa felicitas_ which Petronius ascribes to Horace in his Odes. We have not wherewithal to imagine so strongly, so justly, and so pleasantly; in short, if we have the same knowledge, we cannot draw out of it the same quintessence; we cannot give it such a turn, such a propriety, and such a beauty; something is deficient in the manner, or the words, but more in the nobleness of our conception. Yet when you have finished all, and it appears in its full lustre, when the diamond is not only found, but the roughness smoothed, when it is cut into a form, and set in gold, then we cannot but acknowledge, that it is the perfect work of art and nature; and every one will be so vain, to think he himself could have performed the like, until he attempts it. It is just the description that Horace makes of such a finished piece: it appears so easy,

----_Ut sibi quivis Speret idem, sudet multum, frustraque laboret, Ausus idem._

And, besides all this, it is your lordship's particular talent to lay your thoughts so close together, that, were they closer, they would be crowded, and even a due connection would be wanting. We are not kept in expectation of two good lines, which are to come after a long parenthesis of twenty bad; which is the April poetry of other writers, a mixture of rain and sunshine by fits: you are always bright, even almost to a fault, by reason of the excess. There is continual abundance, a magazine of thought, and yet a perpetual variety of entertainment; which creates such an appetite in your reader, that he is not cloyed with any thing, but satisfied with all. It is that which the Romans call, _cæna dubia_; where there is such plenty, yet withal so much diversity, and so good order, that the choice is difficult betwixt one excellency and another; and yet the conclusion, by a due climax, is evermore the best; that is, as a conclusion ought to be, ever the most proper for its place. See, my lord, whether I have not studied your lordship with some application; and, since you are so modest that you will not be judge and party, I appeal to the whole world, if I have not drawn your picture to a great degree of likeness, though it is but in miniature, and that some of the best features are yet wanting. Yet what I have done is enough to distinguish you from any other, which is the proposition that I took upon me to demonstrate.

And now, my lord, to apply what I have said to my present business. The Satires of Juvenal and Persius appearing in this new English dress, cannot so properly be inscribed to any man as to your lordship, who are the first of the age in that way of writing. Your lordship, amongst many other favours, has given me your permission for this address; and you have particularly encouraged me by your perusal and approbation of the Sixth and Tenth Satires of Juvenal, as I have translated them. My fellow-labourers have likewise commissioned me, to perform, in their behalf, this office of a dedication to you; and will acknowledge, with all possible respect and gratitude, your acceptance of their work. Some of them have the honour to be known to your lordship already; and they who have not yet that happiness, desire it now. Be pleased to receive our common endeavours with your wonted candour, without entitling you to the protection of our common failings in so difficult an undertaking. And allow me your patience, if it be not already tired with this long epistle, to give you, from the best authors, the origin, the antiquity, the growth, the change, and the completement of satire among the Romans; to describe, if not define, the nature of that poem, with its several qualifications and virtues, together with the several sorts of it; to compare the excellencies of Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, and show the particular manners of their satires; and, lastly, to give an account of this new way of version, which is attempted in our performance: all which, according to the weakness of my ability, and the best lights which I can get from others, shall be the subject of my following discourse.

The most perfect work of poetry, says our master Aristotle, is tragedy. His reason is, because it is the most united; being more severely confined within the rules of action, time, and place. The action is entire, of a piece, and one, without episodes; the time limited to a natural day; and the place circumscribed at least within the compass of one town, or city. Being exactly proportioned thus, and uniform in all its parts, the mind is more capable of comprehending the whole beauty of it without distraction.

But, after all these advantages, an heroic poem is certainly the greatest work of human nature. The beauties and perfections of the other are but mechanical; those of the epic are more noble: though Homer has limited his place to Troy, and the fields about it; his actions to forty-eight natural days, whereof twelve are holidays, or cessation from business, during the funeral of Patroclus.--To proceed; the action of the epic is greater; the extention of time enlarges the pleasure of the reader, and the episodes give it more ornament, and more variety. The instruction is equal; but the first is only instructive, the latter forms a hero, and a prince.

If it signifies any thing which of them is of the more ancient family, the best and most absolute heroic poem was written by Homer long before tragedy was invented. But if we consider the natural endowments, and acquired parts, which are necessary to make an accomplished writer in either kind, tragedy requires a less and more confined knowledge; moderate learning, and observation of the rules, is sufficient, if a genius be not wanting. But in an epic poet, one who is worthy of that name, besides an universal genius, is required universal learning, together with all those qualities and acquisitions which I have named above, and as many more as I have, through haste or negligence, omitted. And, after all, he must have exactly studied Homer and Virgil, as his patterns; Aristotle and Horace, as his guides; and Vida and Bossu, as their commentators; with many others, both Italian and French critics, which I want leisure here to recommend.

In a word, what I have to say in relation to this subject, which does not particularly concern satire, is, that the greatness of an heroic poem, beyond that of a tragedy, may easily be discovered, by observing how few have attempted that work in comparison to those who have written dramas; and, of those few, how small a number have succeeded. But leaving the critics, on either side, to contend about the preference due to this or that sort of poetry, I will hasten to my present business, which is the antiquity and origin of satire, according to those informations which I have received from the learned Casaubon, Heinsius, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the Dauphin's Juvenal; to which I shall add some observations of my own.

There has been a long dispute among the modern critics, whether the Romans derived their satire from the Grecians, or first invented it themselves. Julius Scaliger, and Heinsius, are of the first opinion; Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and the publisher of the Dauphin's Juvenal, maintain the latter. If we take satire in the general signification of the word, as it is used in all modern languages, for an invective, it is certain that it is almost as old as verse; and though hymns, which are praises of God, may be allowed to have been before it, yet the defamation of others was not long after it. After God had cursed Adam and Eve in Paradise, the husband and wife excused themselves, by laying the blame on one another; and gave a beginning to those conjugal dialogues in prose, which the poets have perfected in verse. The third chapter of Job is one of the first instances of this poem in holy scripture; unless we will take it higher, from the latter end of the second, where his wife advises him to curse his Maker.

This original, I confess, is not much to the honour of satire; but here it was nature, and that depraved: when it became an art, it bore better fruit. Only we have learnt thus much already, that scoffs and revilings are of the growth of all nations: and, consequently, that neither the Greek poets borrowed from other people their art of railing, neither needed the Romans to take it from them. But, considering satire as a species of poetry, here the war begins amongst the critics. Scaliger, the father, will have it descend from Greece to Rome; and derives the word satire from _Satyrus_, that mixed kind of animal, or, as the ancients thought him, rural god, made up betwixt a man and a goat; with a human head, hooked nose, pouting lips, a bunch, or struma, under the chin, pricked ears, and upright horns; the body shagged with hair, especially from the waist, and ending in a goat, with the legs and feet of that creature. But Casaubon, and his followers, with reason, condemn this derivation; and prove, that from _Satyrus_, the word _satira_, as it signifies a poem, cannot possibly descend. For _satira_ is not properly a substantive, but an adjective; to which the word _lanx_ (in English, a charger, or large platter) is understood; so that the Greek poem, made according to the manners of a Satyr, and expressing his qualities, must properly be called satyrical, and not satire. And thus far it is allowed that the Grecians had such poems; but that they were wholly different in species from that to which the Romans gave the name of satire.

Aristotle divides all poetry, in relation to the progress of it, into nature without art, art begun, and art completed. Mankind, even the most barbarous, have the seeds of poetry implanted in them. The first specimen of it was certainly shown in the praises of the Deity, and prayers to him; and as they are of natural obligation, so they are likewise of divine institution: which Milton observing, introduces Adam and Eve every morning adoring God in hymns and prayers. The first poetry was thus begun, in the wild notes of natural poetry, before the invention of feet, and measures. The Grecians and Romans had no other original of their poetry. Festivals and holidays soon succeeded to private worship, and we need not doubt but they were enjoined by the true God to his own people, as they were afterwards imitated by the heathens; who, by the light of reason, knew they were to invoke some superior Being in their necessities, and to thank him for his benefits. Thus, the Grecian holidays were celebrated with offerings to Bacchus, and Ceres, and other deities, to whose bounty they supposed they were owing for their corn and wine, and other helps of life; and the ancient Romans, as Horace tells us, paid their thanks to mother Earth, or Vesta, to Silvanus, and their Genius, in the same manner. But as all festivals have a double reason of their institution, the first of religion, the other of recreation, for the unbending of our minds, so both the Grecians and Romans agreed, after their sacrifices were performed, to spend the remainder of the day in sports and merriments; amongst which, songs and dances, and that which they called wit, (for want of knowing better,) were the chiefest entertainments. The Grecians had a notion of Satyrs, whom I have already described; and taking them, and the Sileni, that is, the young Satyrs and the old, for the tutors, attendants, and humble companions of their Bacchus, habited themselves like those rural deities, and imitated them in their rustic dances, to which they joined songs, with some sort of rude harmony, but without certain numbers; and to these they added a kind of chorus.

The Romans, also, (as nature is the same in all places,) though they knew nothing of those Grecian demi-gods, nor had any communication with Greece, yet had certain young men, who, at their festivals, danced and sung, after their uncouth manner, to a certain kind of verse, which they called Saturnian. What it was, we have no certain light from antiquity to discover; but we may conclude, that, like the Grecian, it was void of art, or, at least, with very feeble beginnings of it. Those ancient Romans, at these holidays, which were a mixture of devotion and debauchery, had a custom of reproaching each other with their faults, in a sort of extempore poetry, or rather of tunable hobbling verse; and they answered in the same kind of gross raillery; their wit and their music being of a piece. The Grecians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the same, in the persons of their petulant Satyrs. But I am afraid he mistakes the matter, and confounds the singing and dancing of the Satyrs, with the rustical entertainments of the first Romans. The reason of my opinion is this; that Casaubon, finding little light from antiquity of these beginnings of poetry amongst the Grecians, but only these representations of Satyrs, who carried canisters and cornucopias full of several fruits in their hands, and danced with them at their public feasts; and afterwards reading Horace, who makes mention of his homely Romans jesting at one another in the same kind of solemnities, might suppose those wanton Satyrs did the same; and especially because Horace possibly might seem to him, to have shown the original of all poetry in general, including the Grecians as well as Romans; though it is plainly otherwise, that he only described the beginning, and first rudiments, of poetry in his own country. The verses are these, which he cites from the First Epistle of the Second Book, which was written to Augustus:

_Agricolæ prisci, fortes, parvoque beati, Condita post frumenta, levantes tempore festo Corpus, et ipsum animum spe finis dura ferentem, Cum sociis operum, et pueris, et conjuge fidâ, Tellurem porco, Silvanum lacte piabant; Floribus et vino Genium memorem brevis ævi. Fescennina per hunc inventa licentia morem Versibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit._

Our brawny clowns, of old, who turned the soil, Content with little, and inured to toil, At harvest-home, with mirth and country cheer, Restored their bodies for another year; Refreshed their spirits, and renewed their hope Of such a future feast, and future crop. Then, with their fellow-joggers of the ploughs, Their little children, and their faithful spouse, A sow they slew to Vesta's deity, And kindly milk, Silvanus, poured to thee; With flowers, and wine, their Genius they adored; A short life, and a merry, was the word. From flowing cups, defaming rhymes ensue, And at each other homely taunts they threw.

Yet since it is a hard conjecture, that so great a man as Casaubon should misapply what Horace writ concerning ancient Rome, to the ceremonies and manners of ancient Greece, I will not insist on this opinion; but rather judge in general, that since all poetry had its original from religion, that of the Grecians and Rome had the same beginning. Both were invented at festivals of thanksgiving, and both were prosecuted with mirth and raillery, and rudiments of verses: amongst the Greeks, by those who represented Satyrs; and amongst the Romans, by real clowns.

For, indeed, when I am reading Casaubon on these two subjects, methinks I hear the same story told twice over with very little alteration. Of which Dacier taking notice, in his interpretation of the Latin verses which I have translated, says plainly, that the beginning of poetry was the same, with a small variety, in both countries; and that the mother of it, in all nations, was devotion. But, what is yet more wonderful, that most learned critic takes notice also, in his illustrations on the First Epistle of the Second Book, that as the poetry of the Romans, and that of the Grecians, had the same beginning, (at feasts and thanksgiving, as it has been observed,) and the old comedy of the Greeks, which was invective, and the satire of the Romans, which was of the same nature, were begun on the very same occasion, so the fortune of both, in process of time, was just the same; the old comedy of the Grecians was forbidden, for its too much licence in exposing of particular persons; and the rude satire of the Romans was also punished by a law of the Decemviri, as Horace tells us, in these words:

_Libertasque recurrentes accepta per annos Lusit amabiliter; donec jam sævus apertam In rabiem verti coepit jocus, et per honestas Ire domos impune minax: doluere cruento Dente lacessiti; fuit intactis quoque cura Conditione super communi: quinetiam lex, Poenaque lata, malo quæ nollet carmine quenquam Describi: vertere modum, formidine fustis Ad benedicendum delectandumque redacti._

The law of the Decemviri was this: _Siquis occentassit malum carmen, sive condidisit, quod infamiam faxit, flagitiumve alteri, capital esto_.--A strange likeness, and barely possible; but the critics being all of the same opinion, it becomes me to be silent, and to submit to better judgments than my own.

But, to return to the Grecians, from whose satiric dramas the elder Scaliger and Heinsius will have the Roman satire to proceed, I am to take a view of them first, and see if there be any such descent from them as those authors have pretended.

Thespis, or whoever he were that invented tragedy, (for authors differ,) mingled with them a chorus and dances of Satyrs, which had before been used in the celebration of their festivals; and there they were ever afterwards retained. The character of them was also kept, which was mirth and wantonness; and this was given, I suppose, to the folly of the common audience, who soon grow weary of good sense, and, as we daily see in our own age and country, are apt to forsake poetry, and still ready to return to buffoonery and farce. From hence it came, that, in the Olympic games, where the poets contended for four prizes, the satiric tragedy was the last of them; for, in the rest, the Satyrs were excluded from the chorus. Among the plays of Euripides which are yet remaining, there is one of these SATYRICS, which is called "The Cyclops;" in which we may see the nature of those poems, and from thence conclude, what likeness they have to the Roman SATIRE.

The story of this Cyclops, whose name was Polyphemus, so famous in the Grecian fables, was, that Ulysses, who, with his company, was driven on the coast of Sicily, where those Cyclops inhabited, coming to ask relief from Silenus, and the Satyrs, who were herdsmen to that one-eyed giant, was kindly received by them, and entertained; till, being perceived by Polyphemus, they were made prisoners against the rites of hospitality, (for which Ulysses eloquently pleaded,) were afterwards put down into the den, and some of them devoured; after which Ulysses, having made him drunk, when he was asleep, thrust a great firebrand into his eye, and so, revenging his dead followers, escaped with the remaining party of the living; and Silenus and the Satyrs were freed from their servitude under Polyphemus, and remitted to their first liberty of attending and accompanying their patron, Bacchus.

This was the subject of the tragedy; which, being one of those that end with a happy event, is therefore, by Aristotle, judged below the other sort, whose success is unfortunate. Notwithstanding which, the Satyrs, who were part of the _dramatis personæ_, as well as the whole chorus, were properly introduced into the nature of the poem, which is mixed of farce and tragedy. The adventure of Ulysses was to entertain the judging part of the audience; and the uncouth persons of Silenus, and the Satyrs, to divert the common people with their gross railleries.

Your lordship has perceived by this time, that this SATIRIC tragedy, and the Roman SATIRE, have little resemblance in any of their features. The very kinds are different; for what has a pastoral tragedy to do with a paper of verses satirically written? The character and raillery of the Satyrs is the only thing that could pretend to a likeness, were Scaliger and Heinsius alive to maintain their opinion. And the first farces of the Romans, which were the rudiments of their poetry, were written before they had any communication with the Greeks, or indeed any knowledge of that people.

And here it will be proper to give the definition of the Greek satyric poem from Casaubon, before I leave this subject. "The SATIRIC," says he, "is a dramatic poem, annexed to a tragedy, having a chorus, which consists of Satyrs. The persons represented in it are illustrious men; the action of it is great; the style is partly serious, and partly jocular; and the event of the action most commonly is happy."

The Grecians, besides these SATIRIC tragedies, had another kind of poem, which they called Silli, which were more of kin to the Roman satire. Those Silli were indeed invective poems, but of a different species from the Roman poems of Ennius, Pacuvius, Lucilius, Horace, and the rest of their successors. They were so called, says Casaubon in one place, from Silenus, the foster-father of Bacchus; but, in another place, bethinking himself better, he derives their name, #apo tou sillainein#, from their scoffing and petulancy. From some fragments of the Silli, written by Timon, we may find, that they were satiric poems, full of parodies; that is, of verses patched up from great poets, and turned into another sense than their author intended them. Such, amongst the Romans, is the famous Cento of Ausonius; where the words are Virgil's, but, by applying them to another sense, they are made a relation of a wedding-night; and the act of consummation fulsomely described in the very words of the most modest amongst all poets. Of the same manner are our songs, which are turned into burlesque, and the serious words of the author perverted into a ridiculous meaning. Thus in Timon's Silli the words are generally those of Homer, and the tragic poets; but he applies them, satirically, to some customs and kinds of philosophy, which he arraigns. But the Romans, not using any of these parodies in their satires,--sometimes, indeed, repeating verses of other men, as Persius cites some of Nero's, but not turning them into another meaning,--the Silli cannot be supposed to be the original of Roman satire. To these Silli, consisting of parodies, we may properly add the satires which were written against particular persons; such as were the Iambics of Archilochus against Lycambes, which Horace undoubtedly imitated in some of his Odes and Epodes, whose titles bear sufficient witness of it. I might also name the invective of Ovid against Ibis, and many others; but these are the under-wood of satire, rather than the timber-trees: they are not of general extension, as reaching only to some individual person. And Horace seems to have purged himself from those splenetic reflections in those Odes and Epodes, before he undertook the noble work of Satires, which were properly so called.

Thus, my lord, I have at length disengaged myself from those antiquities of Greece; and have proved, I hope, from the best critics, that the Roman satire was not borrowed from thence, but of their own manufacture. I am now almost gotten into my depth; at least, by the help of Dacier, I am swimming towards it. Not that I will promise always to follow him, any more than he follows Casaubon; but to keep him in my eye, as my best and truest guide; and where I think he may possibly mislead me, there to have recourse to my own lights, as I expect that others should do by me.

Quintilian says, in plain words, _Satira quidem tota nostra est_; and Horace had said the same thing before him, speaking of his predecessor in that sort of poetry,--_Et Græcis intacti carminis auctor_. Nothing can be clearer than the opinion of the poet, and the orator, both the best critics of the two best ages of the Roman empire, that satire was wholly of Latin growth, and not transplanted to Rome from Athens.[20] Yet, as I have said, Scaliger, the father, according to his custom, that is, insolently enough, contradicts them both; and gives no better reason, than the derivation of _satyrus_ from #sathy#, _salacitas_; and so, from the lechery of those fauns, thinks he has sufficiently proved, that satire is derived from them: as if wantonness and lubricity were essential to that sort of poem, which ought to be avoided in it. His other allegation, which I have already mentioned, is as pitiful; that the Satyrs carried platters and canisters full of fruit in their hands. If they had entered empty-handed, had they been ever the less Satyrs? Or were the fruits and flowers, which they offered, any thing of kin to satire? Or any argument that this poem was originally Grecian? Casaubon judged better, and his opinion is grounded on sure authority, that satire was derived from _satura_, a Roman word, which signifies--full and abundant, and full also of variety, in which nothing is wanting to its due perfection. It is thus, says Dacier, that we say--a full colour, when the wool has taken the whole tincture, and drunk in as much of the dye as it can receive. According to this derivation, from _satur_ comes _satura_, or _satyra_, according to the new spelling; as _optumus_ and _maxumus_ are now spelled _optimus_ and _maximus_. _Satura_, as I have formerly noted, is an adjective, and relates to the word _lanx_ which is understood; and this _lanx_, in English a charger, or large platter, was yearly filled with all sorts of fruits, which were offered to the gods at their festivals, as the _premices_, or first gatherings. These offerings of several sorts thus mingled, it is true, were not unknown to the Grecians, who called them #pankarpon thysian#, a sacrifice of all sorts of fruits; and #panpermian#, when they offered all kinds of grain.

Virgil has mentioned these sacrifices in his "Georgics:"

_Lancibus et pandis fumantia reddimus exta_:

and in another place, _lancesque et liba feremus_: that is, We offer the smoaking entrails in great platters, and we will offer the chargers and the cakes.

The word _satura_ has been afterwards applied to many other sort of mixtures; as Festus calls it a kind of _olla_, or hotchpotch, made of several sorts of meats. Laws were also called _leges saturæ_, when they were of several heads and titles, like our tacked bills of parliament: and _per saturam legem ferre_, in the Roman senate, was to carry a law without telling the senators, or counting voices, when they were in haste. Sallust uses the word,--_per saturam sententias exquirere_; when the majority was visible on one side. From hence it may probably be conjectured, that the Discourses, or Satires, of Ennius, Lucilius, and Horace, as we now call them, took their name; because they are full of various matters, and are also written on various subjects, as Porphyrius says. But Dacier affirms, that it is not immediately from thence that these satires are so called; for that name had been used formerly for other things, which bore a nearer resemblance to those discourses of Horace. In explaining of which, continues Dacier, a method is to be pursued, of which Casaubon himself has never thought, and which will put all things into so clear a light, that no farther room will be left for the least dispute.

During the space of almost four hundred years, since the building of their city, the Romans had never known any entertainments of the stage. Chance and jollity first found out those verses which they called _Saturnian_, and _Fescennine_; or rather human nature, which is inclined to poetry, first produced them, rude and barbarous, and unpolished, as all other operations of the soul are in their beginnings, before they are cultivated with art and study. However, in occasions of merriment they were first practised; and this rough-cast unhewn poetry was instead of stage-plays, for the space of an hundred and twenty years together. They were made _extempore_, and were, as the French call them, _impromptùs_; for which the Tarsians of old were much renowned; and we see the daily examples of them in the Italian farces of Harlequin and Scaramucha. Such was the poetry of that savage people, before it was turned into numbers, and the harmony of verse. Little of the Saturnian verses is now remaining; we only know from authors, that they were nearer prose than poetry, without feet, or measure. They were #enrythmoi#, but not #emmetroi#. Perhaps they might be used in the solemn part of their ceremonies; and the Fescennine, which were invented after them, in the afternoon's debauchery, because they were scoffing and obscene.

The Fescennine and Saturnian were the same; for as they were called Saturnian from their ancientness, when Saturn reigned in Italy, they were also called Fescennine, from Fescennia, a town in the same country, where they were first practised. The actors, with a gross and rustic kind of raillery, reproached each other with their failings; and at the same time were nothing sparing of it to their audience. Somewhat of this custom was afterwards retained in the Saturnalia, or feasts of Saturn, celebrated in December; at least all kind of freedom in speech was then allowed to slaves, even against their masters; and we are not without some imitation of it in our Christmas gambols. Soldiers also used those Fescennine verses, after measure and numbers had been added to them, at the triumph of their generals: of which we have an example, in the triumph of Julius Cæsar over Gaul, in these expressions: _Cæsar Gallias subegit, Nicomedes Cæsarem. Ecce Cæsar nunc triumphat, qui subegit Gallias: Nicomedes non triumphat, qui subegit Cæsarem_. The vapours of wine made those first satirical poets amongst the Romans; which, says Dacier, we cannot better represent, than by imagining a company of clowns on a holiday, dancing lubberly, and upbraiding one another, in _extempore_ doggrel, with their defects and vices, and the stories that were told of them in bake houses and barbers' shops.

When they began to be somewhat better bred, and were entering, as I may say, into the first rudiments of civil conversation, they left these hedge-notes for another sort of poem, somewhat polished, which was also full of pleasant raillery, but without any mixture of obscenity. This sort of poetry appeared under the name of satire, because of its variety; and this satire was adorned with compositions of music, and with dances; but lascivious postures were banished from it. In the Tuscan language, says Livy, the word _hister_ signifies a player; and therefore those actors, which were first brought from Etruria to Rome, on occasion of a pestilence, when the Romans were admonished to avert the anger of the Gods by plays, in the year _ab urbe condita_ CCCXC.,--those actors, I say, were therefore called _histriones_; and that name has since remained, not only to actors Roman born, but to all others of every nation. They played not the former _extempore_ stuff of Fescennine verses, or clownish jests; but what they acted was a kind of civil, cleanly farce, with music and dances, and motions that were proper to the subject.

In this condition Livius Andronicus found the stage, when he attempted first, instead of farces, to supply it with a nobler entertainment of tragedies and comedies. This man was a Grecian born, and being made a slave by Livius Salinator, and brought to Rome, had the education of his patron's children committed to him; which trust he discharged so much to the satisfaction of his master, that he gave him his liberty.

Andronicus, thus become a freeman of Rome, added to his own name that of Livius his master; and, as I observed, was the first author of a regular play in that commonwealth. Being already instructed, in his native country, in the manners and decencies of the Athenian theatre, and conversant in the _Archæa Comoedia_, or old comedy of Aristophanes, and the rest of the Grecian poets, he took from that model his own designing of plays for the Roman stage; the first of which was represented in the year CCCCCXIV., since the building of Rome, as Tully, from the commentaries of Atticus, has assured us: it was after the end of the first Punic war, the year before Ennius was born. Dacier has not carried the matter altogether thus far; he only says, that one Livius Andronicus was the first stage-poet at Rome. But I will adventure on this hint, to advance another proposition, which I hope the learned will approve. And though we have not any thing of Andronicus remaining to justify my conjecture, yet it is exceedingly probable, that, having read the works of those Grecian wits, his countrymen, he imitated not only the ground work, but also the manner of their writing; and how grave soever his tragedies might be, yet, in his comedies, he expressed the way of Aristophanes, Eupolis, and the rest, which was to call some persons by their own names, and to expose their defects to the laughter of the people: the examples of which we have in the forementioned Aristophanes, who turned the wise Socrates into ridicule, and is also very free with the management of Cleon, Alcibiades, and other ministers of the Athenian government. Now, if this be granted, we may easily suppose, that the first hint of satirical plays on the Roman stage was given by the Greeks: not from the Satirica, for that has been reasonably exploded in the former part of this discourse: but from their old comedy, which was imitated first by Livius Andronicus. And then Quintilian and Horace must be cautiously interpreted, where they affirm, that satire is wholly Roman, and a sort of verse, which was not touched on by the Grecians. The reconcilement of my opinion to the standard of their judgment is not, however, very difficult, since they spoke of satire, not as in its first elements, but as it was formed into a separate work; begun by Ennius, pursued by Lucilius, and completed afterwards by Horace. The proof depends only on this _postulatum_,--that the comedies of Andronicus, which were imitations of the Greek, were also imitations of their railleries, and reflections on particular persons. For, if this be granted me, which is a most probable supposition, it is easy to infer, that the first light which was given to the Roman theatrical satire, was from the plays of Livius Andronicus; which will be more manifestly discovered, when I come to speak of Ennius. In the meantime I will return to Dacier.

The people, says he, ran in crowds to these new entertainments of Andronicus, as to pieces which were more noble in their kind, and more perfect than their former satires, which for some time they neglected and abandoned. But not long after, they took them up again, and then they joined them to their comedies; playing them at the end of every drama, as the French continue at this day to act their farces, in the nature of a separate entertainment from their tragedies. But more particularly they were joined to the _Atellane_ fables, says Casaubon; which were plays invented by the Osci. Those fables, says Valerius Maximus, out of Livy, were tempered with the Italian severity, and free from any note of infamy, or obsceneness; and, as an old commentator of Juvenal affirms, the _Exodiarii_, which were singers and dancers, entered to entertain the people with light songs, and mimical gestures, that they might not go away oppressed with melancholy, from those serious pieces of the theatre. So that the ancient satire of the Romans was in _extempore_ reproaches; the next was farce, which was brought from Tuscany; to that succeeded the plays of Andronicus, from the old comedy of the Grecians; and out of all these sprung two several branches of new Roman satire, like different scions from the same root, which I shall prove with as much brevity as the subject will allow.

A year after Andronicus had opened the Roman stage with his new dramas, Ennius was born; who, when he was grown to man's estate, having seriously considered the genius of the people, and how eagerly they followed the first satires, thought it would be worth his pains to refine upon the project, and to write Satires, not to be acted on the theatre, but read. He preserved the ground-work of their pleasantry, their venom, and their raillery on particular persons, and general vices; and by this means, avoiding the danger of any ill success in a public representation, he hoped to be as well received in the cabinet, as Andronicus had been upon the stage. The event was answerable to his expectation. He made discourses in several sorts of verse, varied often in the same paper; retaining still in the title their original name of Satire. Both in relation to the subjects, and the variety of matters contained in them, the Satires of Horace are entirely like them; only Ennius, as I said, confines not himself to one sort of verse, as Horace does; but, taking example from the Greeks, and even from Homer himself in his MARGITES, which is a kind of Satire, as Scaliger observes, gives himself the licence, when one sort of numbers comes not easily, to run into another, as his fancy dictates. For he makes no difficulty to mingle hexameter with iambick trimeters, or with trochaick tetrameters; as appears by those fragments which are yet remaining of him. Horace has thought him worthy to be copied; inserting many things of his into his own Satires, as Virgil has done into his Æneids.

Here we have Dacier making out that Ennius was the first satirist in that way of writing, which was of his invention; that is, satire abstracted from the stage, and new modelled into papers of verses on several subjects. But he will have Ennius take the ground-work of satire from the first farces of the Romans, rather than from the formed plays of Livius Andronicus, which were copied from the Grecian comedies. It may possibly be so; but Dacier knows no more of it than I do. And it seems to me the more probable opinion, that he rather imitated the fine railleries of the Greeks, which he saw in the pieces of Andronicus, than the coarseness of his old countrymen, in their clownish extemporary way of jeering.

But besides this, it is universally granted, that Ennius, though an Italian, was excellently learned in the Greek language. His verses were stuffed with fragments of it, even to a fault; and he himself believed, according to the Pythagorean opinion, that the soul of Homer was transfused into him; which Persius observes, in his Sixth Satire:--_Postquam destertuit esse Mæonides_. But this being only the private opinion of so inconsiderable a man as I am, I leave it to the farther disquisition of the critics, if they think it worth their notice. Most evident it is, that whether he imitated the Roman farce, or the Greek comedies, he is to be acknowledged for the first author of Roman satire, as it is properly so called, and distinguished from any sort of stage-play.

Of Pacuvius, who succeeded him, there is little to be said, because there is so little remaining of him; only that he is taken to be the nephew of Ennius, his sister's son; that in probability he was instructed by his uncle, in his way of satire, which we are told he has copied: but what advances he made we know not.

Lucilius came into the world, when Pacuvius flourished most. He also made satires after the manner of Ennius, but he gave them a more graceful turn, and endeavoured to imitate more closely the _vetus comoedia_ of the Greeks, of the which the old original Roman satire had no idea, till the time of Livius Andronicus. And though Horace seems to have made Lucilius the first author of satire in verse amongst the Romans, in these words,--

----_Quid? cum est Lucilius ausus Primus in hunc, operis componere carmina morem_,--

he is only thus to be understood; that Lucilius had given a more graceful turn to the satire of Ennius and Pacuvius, not that he invented a new satire of his own: and Quintilian seems to explain this passage of Horace in these words: _Satira quidem tota nostra est; in quâ primus insignem laudem adeptus est Lucilius_.

Thus, both Horace and Quintilian give a kind of primacy of honour to Lucilius, amongst the Latin satirists.[21] For, as the Roman language grew more refined, so much more capable it was of receiving the Grecian beauties, in his time. Horace and Quintilian could mean no more, than that Lucilius writ better than Ennius and Pacuvius; and on the same account we prefer Horace to Lucilius. Both of them imitated the old Greek comedy; and so did Ennius and Pacuvius before them. The polishing of the Latin tongue, in the succession of times, made the only difference; and Horace himself, in two of his Satires, written purposely on this subject, thinks the Romans of his age were too partial in their commendations of Lucilius; who writ not only loosely, and muddily, with little art, and much less care, but also in a time when the Latin tongue was not yet sufficiently purged from the dregs of barbarism; and many significant and sounding words, which the Romans wanted, were not admitted even in the times of Lucretius and Cicero, of which both complain.

But to proceed:--Dacier justly taxes Casaubon, saying, that the Satires of Lucilius were wholly different in specie, from those of Ennius and Pacuvius. Casaubon was led into that mistake by Diomedes the grammarian, who in effect says this: "Satire amongst the Romans, but not amongst the Greeks, was a biting invective poem, made after the model of the ancient comedy, for the reprehension of vices; such as were the poems of Lucilius, of Horace, and of Persius. But in former times, the name of Satire was given to poems, which were composed of several sorts of verses, such as were made by Ennius and Pacuvius; more fully expressing the etymology of the word satire, from _satura_, which we have observed." Here it is manifest, that Diomedes makes a specifical distinction betwixt the Satires of Ennius, and those of Lucilius. But this, as we say in English, is only a distinction without a difference; for the reason of it is ridiculous, and absolutely false. This was that which cozened honest Casaubon, who, relying on Diomedes, had not sufficiently examined the origin and nature of those two satires; which were entirely the same, both in the matter and the form: for all that Lucilius performed beyond his predecessors, Ennius and Pacuvius, was only the adding of more politeness, and more salt, without any change in the substance of the poem. And though Lucilius put not together in the same satire several sorts of verses, as Ennius did, yet he composed several satires, of several sorts of verses, and mingled them with Greek verses: one poem consisted only of hexameters, and another was entirely of iambicks; a third of trochaicks; as is visible by the fragments yet remaining of his works. In short, if the Satires of Lucilius are therefore said to be wholly different from those of Ennius, because he added much more of beauty and polishing to his own poems, than are to be found in those before him, it will follow from hence, that the Satires of Horace are wholly different from those of Lucilius, because Horace has not less surpassed Lucilius in the elegancy of his writing, than Lucilius surpassed Ennius in the turn and ornament of his. This passage of Diomedes has also drawn Dousa, the son, into the same error of Casaubon, which I say, not to expose the little failings of those judicious men, but only to make it appear, with how much diffidence and caution we are to read their works, when they treat a subject of so much obscurity, and so very ancient, as is this of satire.

Having thus brought down the history of Satire from its original to the times of Horace, and shown the several changes of it, I should here discover some of those graces which Horace added to it, but that I think it will be more proper to defer that undertaking, till I make the comparison betwixt him and Juvenal. In the mean while, following the order of time, it will be necessary to say somewhat of another kind of satire, which also was descended from the ancients; it is that which we call the Varronian satire, (but which Varro himself calls the Menippean,) because Varro, the most learned of the Romans, was the first author of it, who imitated, in his works, the manner of Menippus the Gadarenian, who professed the philosophy of the Cynicks.

This sort of satire was not only composed of several sorts of verse, like those of Ennius, but was also mixed with prose; and Greek was sprinkled amongst the Latin. Quintilian, after he had spoken of the satire of Lucilius, adds what follows; "There is another and former kind of satire, composed by Terentius Varro, the most learned of the Romans; in which he was not satisfied alone with mingling in it several sorts of verse." The only difficulty of this passage is, that Quintilian tells us, that this satire of Varro was of a former kind. For how can we possibly imagine this to be, since Varro, who was contemporary to Cicero, must consequently be after Lucilius? But Quintilian meant not, that the satire of Varro was in order of time before Lucilius; he would only give us to understand, that the Varronian satire, with mixture of several sorts of verses, was more after the manner of Ennius and Pacuvius, than that of Lucilius, who was more severe, and more correct; and gave himself less liberty in the mixture of his verses in the same poem.

We have nothing remaining of those Varronian satires, excepting some inconsiderable fragments, and those for the most part much corrupted. The titles of many of them are indeed preserved, and they are generally double; from whence, at least, we may understand, how many various subjects were treated by that author. Tully, in his "Academics," introduces Varro himself giving us some light concerning the scope and design of those works. Wherein, after he had shown his reasons why he did not _ex professo_ write of philosophy, he adds what follows: "Notwithstanding," says he, "that those pieces of mine, wherein I have imitated Menippus, though I have not translated him, are sprinkled with a kind of mirth and gaiety, yet many things are there inserted, which are drawn from the very entrails of philosophy, and many things severely argued; which I have mingled with pleasantries on purpose, that they may more easily go down with the common sort of unlearned readers." The rest of the sentence is so lame, that we can only make thus much out of it,--that in the composition of his satires, he so tempered philology with philosophy, that his work was a mixture of them both.[22] And Tully himself confirms us in this opinion, when a little after he addresses himself to Varro in these words:--"And you yourself have composed a most elegant and complete poem; you have begun philosophy in many places; sufficient to incite us, though too little to instruct us." Thus it appears, that Varro was one of those writers whom they called #spoudogeloioi#, studious of laughter; and that, as learned as he was, his business was more to divert his reader, than to teach him. And he entitled his own satires--Menippean; not that Menippus had written any satires, (for his were either dialogues or epistles,) but that Varro imitated his style, his manner, his facetiousness. All that we know farther of Menippus and his writings, which are wholly lost, is, that by some he is esteemed, as, amongst the rest, by Varro; by others he is noted of cynical impudence, and obscenity: that he was much given to those parodies, which I have already mentioned; that is, he often quoted the verses of Homer and the tragic poets, and turned their serious meaning into something that was ridiculous; whereas Varro's satires are by Tully called absolute, and most elegant, and various poems. Lucian, who was emulous of this Menippus, seems to have imitated both his manners and his style in many of his dialogues; where Menippus himself is often introduced as a speaker in them, and as a perpetual buffoon; particularly his character is expressed in the beginning of that dialogue, which is called #Nekyomantia#. But Varro, in imitating him, avoids his impudence and filthiness, and only expresses his witty pleasantry.

This we may believe for certain,--that as his subjects were various, so most of them were tales or stories of his own invention. Which is also manifest from antiquity, by those authors who are acknowledged to have written Varronian satires, in imitation of his; of whom the chief is Petronius Arbiter, whose satire, they say, is now printed in Holland, wholly recovered, and made complete: when it is made public, it will easily be seen by any one sentence, whether it be supposititious, or genuine.[23] Many of Lucian's dialogues may also properly be called Varronian satires, particularly his True History; and consequently the "Golden Ass" of Apuleius, which is taken from him. Of the same stamp is the mock deification of Claudius, by Seneca: and the Symposium or "Cæsars" of Julian, the Emperor. Amongst the moderns, we may reckon the "Encomium Moriæ" of Erasmus, Barclay's "Euphormio," and a volume of German authors, which my ingenious friend, Mr Charles Killegrew, once lent me.[24] In the English, I remember none which are mixed with prose, as Varro's were; but of the same kind is "Mother Hubbard's Tale" in Spenser; and (if it be not too vain to mention any thing of my own,) the poems of "Absalom" and "Mac Flecnoe."[25]

This is what I have to say in general of satire: only, as Dacier has observed before me, we may take notice, that the word satire is of a more general signification in Latin, than in French, or English. For amongst the Romans it was not only used for those discourses which decried vice, or exposed folly, but for others also, where virtue was recommended. But in our modern languages we apply it only to invective poems, where the very name of satire is formidable to those persons, who would appear to the world what they are not in themselves; for in English, to say satire, is to mean reflection, as we use that word in the worst sense; or as the French call it, more properly, _medisance_. In the criticism of spelling, it ought to be with _i_, and not with _y_, to distinguish its true derivation from _satura_, not from _satyrus_. And if this be so, then it is false spelled throughout this book; for here it is written SATYR: which having not considered at the first, I thought it not worth correcting afterwards. But the French are more nice, and never spell it any other way than SATIRE.

I am now arrived at the most difficult part of my undertaking, which is, to compare Horace with Juvenal and Persius. It is observed by Rigaltius, in his preface before Juvenal, written to Thuanus, that these three poets have all their particular partisans, and favourers. Every commentator, as he has taken pains with any of them, thinks himself obliged to prefer his author to the other two; to find out their failings, and decry them, that he may make room for his own darling.[26] Such is the partiality of mankind, to set up that interest which they have once espoused, though it be to the prejudice of truth, morality, and common justice; and especially in the productions of the brain. As authors generally think themselves the best poets, because they cannot go out of themselves to judge sincerely of their betters; so it is with critics, who, having first taken a liking to one of these poets, proceed to comment on him, and to illustrate him; after which, they fall in love with their own labours, to that degree of blind fondness, that at length they defend and exalt their author, not so much for his sake as for their own. It is a folly of the same nature, with that of the Romans themselves, in the games of the Circus. The spectators were divided in their factions, betwixt the Veneti and the Prasini; some were for the charioteer in blue, and some for him in green. The colours themselves were but a fancy; but when once a man had taken pains to set out those of his party, and had been at the trouble of procuring voices for them, the case was altered; he was concerned for his own labour, and that so earnestly, that disputes and quarrels, animosities, commotions, and bloodshed, often happened; and in the declension of the Grecian empire, the very sovereigns themselves engaged in it, even when the barbarians were at their doors; and stickled for the preference of colours, when the safety of their people was in question. I am now myself on the brink of the same precipice; I have spent some time on the translation of Juvenal and Persius; and it behoves me to be wary, lest, for that reason, I should be partial to them, or take a prejudice against Horace. Yet, on the other side, I would not be like some of our judges, who would give the cause for a poor man, right or wrong; for though that be an error on the better hand, yet it is still a partiality: and a rich man, unheard, cannot be concluded an oppressor. I remember a saying of King Charles II. on Sir Matthew Hale, (who was doubtless an uncorrupt and upright man,) that his servants were sure to be cast on a trial, which was heard before him; not that he thought the judge was possibly to be bribed, but that his integrity might be too scrupulous; and that the causes of the crown were always suspicious, when the privileges of subjects were concerned.[27]

It had been much fairer, if the modern critics, who have embarked in the quarrels of their favourite authors, had rather given to each his proper due; without taking from another's heap, to raise their own. There is praise enough for each of them in particular, without encroaching on his fellows, and detracting from them, or enriching themselves with the spoils of others. But to come to particulars. Heinsius and Dacier are the most principal of those, who raise Horace above Juvenal and Persius. Scaliger the father, Rigaltius, and many others, debase Horace, that they may set up Juvenal; and Casaubon,[28] who is almost single, throws dirt on Juvenal and Horace, that he may exalt Persius, whom he understood particularly well, and better than any of his former commentators; even Stelluti, who succeeded him. I will begin with him, who, in my opinion, defends the weakest cause, which is that of Persius; and labouring, as Tacitus professes of his own writing, to divest myself of partiality, or prejudice, consider Persius, not as a poet whom I have wholly translated, and who has cost me more labour and time than Juvenal, but according to what I judge to be his own merit; which I think not equal, in the main, to that of Juvenal or Horace, and yet in some things to be preferred to both of them.

First, then, for the verse; neither Casaubon himself, nor any for him, can defend either his numbers, or the purity of his Latin. Casaubon gives this point for lost, and pretends not to justify either the measures, or the words of Persius; he is evidently beneath Horace and Juvenal in both.

Then, as his verse is scabrous, and hobbling, and his words not every where well chosen, the purity of Latin being more corrupted than in the time of Juvenal,[29] and consequently of Horace, who writ when the language was in the height of its perfection, so his diction is hard, his figures are generally too bold and daring, and his tropes, particularly his metaphors, insufferably strained.

In the third place, notwithstanding all the diligence of Casaubon, Stelluti, and a Scotch gentleman,[30] whom I have heard extremely commended for his illustrations of him, yet he is still obscure: whether he affected not to be understood, but with difficulty; or whether the fear of his safety under Nero compelled him to this darkness in some places; or that it was occasioned by his close way of thinking, and the brevity of his style, and crowding of his figures; or lastly, whether, after so long a time, many of his words have been corrupted, and many customs, and stories relating to them, lost to us: whether some of these reasons, or all, concurred to render him so cloudy, we may be bold to affirm, that the best of commentators can but guess at his meaning, in many passages; and none can be certain that he has divined rightly.

After all, he was a young man, like his friend and contemporary Lucan; both of them men of extraordinary parts, and great acquired knowledge, considering their youth:[31] But neither of them had arrived to that maturity of judgment, which is necessary to the accomplishing of a formed poet. And this consideration, as, on the one hand, it lays some imperfections to their charge, so, on the other side, it is a candid excuse for those failings, which are incident to youth and inexperience; and we have more reason to wonder how they, who died before the thirtieth year of their age, could write so well, and think so strongly, than to accuse them of those faults, from which human nature, and more especially in youth, can never possibly be exempted.

To consider Persius yet more closely: he rather insulted over vice and folly, than exposed them, like Juvenal and Horace; and as chaste and modest as he is esteemed, it cannot be denied, but that in some places he is broad and fulsome, as the latter verses of the fourth Satire, and of the sixth, sufficiently witnessed. And it is to be believed that he who commits the same crime often, and without necessity, cannot but do it with some kind of pleasure.

To come to a conclusion: he is manifestly below Horace, because he borrows most of his greatest beauties from him; and Casaubon is so far from denying this, that he has written a treatise purposely concerning it; wherein he shews a multitude of his translations from Horace, and his imitations of him, for the credit of his author; which he calls _Imitatio Horatiana_.[32]

To these defects, which I casually observed, while I was translating this author, Scaliger has added others; he calls him, in plain terms, a silly writer, and a trifler, full of ostentation of his learning, and, after all, unworthy to come into competition with Juvenal and Horace.

After such terrible accusations, it is time to hear what his patron Casaubon can allege in his defence. Instead of answering, he excuses for the most part; and, when he cannot, accuses others of the same crimes. He deals with Scaliger, as a modest scholar with a master. He compliments him with so much reverence, that one would swear he feared him as much at least as he respected him. Scaliger will not allow Persius to have any wit; Casaubon interprets this in the mildest sense, and confesses his author was not good at turning things into a pleasant ridicule; or, in other words, that he was not a laughable writer. That he was _ineptus_, indeed, but that was _non aptissimus ad jocandum_; but that he was ostentatious of his learning, that, by Scaliger's good favour, he denies. Persius shewed his learning, but was no boaster of it; he did _ostendere_, but not _ostentare_; and so, he says, did Scaliger:--where, methinks, Casaubon turns it handsomely upon that supercilious critic, and silently insinuates that he himself was sufficiently vain-glorious, and a boaster of his own knowledge. All the writings of this venerable censor, continues Casaubon, which are #chrysou chrysotera#, more golden than gold itself, are every where smelling of that thyme, which, like a bee, he has gathered from ancient authors; but far be ostentation and vain-glory from a gentleman so well born, and so nobly educated as Scaliger. But, says Scaliger, he is so obscure, that he has got himself the name of Scotinus, a dark writer; now, says Casaubon, it is a wonder to me that any thing could be obscure to the divine wit of Scaliger, from which nothing could be hidden. This is indeed a strong compliment, but no defence; and Casaubon, who could not but be sensible of his author's blind side, thinks it time to abandon a post that was untenable. He acknowledges that Persius is obscure in some places; but so is Plato, so is Thucydides; so are Pindar, Theocritus, and Aristophanes, amongst the Greek poets; and even Horace and Juvenal, he might have added, amongst the Romans. The truth is, Persius is not sometimes, but generally, obscure; and therefore Casaubon, at last, is forced to excuse him, by alledging that it was _se defendendo_, for fear of Nero; and that he was commanded to write so cloudily by Cornutus,[33] in virtue of holy obedience to his master. I cannot help my own opinion; I think Cornutus needed not to have read many lectures to him on that subject. Persius was an apt scholar; and when he was bidden to be obscure in some places, where his life and safety were in question, took the same counsel for all his books; and never afterwards wrote ten lines together clearly. Casaubon, being upon this chapter, has not failed, we may be sure, of making a compliment to his own dear comment. If Persius, says he, be in himself obscure, yet my interpretation has made him intelligible. There is no question but he deserves that praise, which he has given to himself; but the nature of the thing, as Lucretius says, will not admit of a perfect explanation. Besides many examples which I could urge, the very last verse of his last satire, upon which he particularly values himself in his preface, is not yet sufficiently explicated. It is true, Holyday has endeavoured to justify his construction; but Stelluti is against it; and, for my part, I can have but a very dark notion of it. As for the chastity of his thoughts, Casaubon denies not but that one particular passage, in the fourth satire, _At si unctus cesses_, &c. is not only the most obscure, but the most obscene of all his works. I understood it; but for that reason turned it over. In defence of his boisterous metaphors, he quotes Longinus, who accounts them as instruments of the sublime; fit to move and stir up the affections, particularly in narration. To which it may be replied, that where the trope is far fetched and hard, it is fit for nothing but to puzzle the understanding; and may be reckoned amongst those things of Demosthenes which Æschines called #thaumata#, not #rhêmata#, that is, prodigies, not words. It must be granted to Casaubon, that the knowledge of many things is lost in our modern ages, which were of familiar notice to the ancients; and that satire is a poem of a difficult nature in itself, and is not written to vulgar readers: and through the relation which it has to comedy, the frequent change of persons makes the sense perplexed, when we can but divine who it is that speaks; whether Persius himself, or his friend and monitor; or, in some places, a third person. But Casaubon comes back always to himself, and concludes, that if Persius had not been obscure, there had been no need of him for an interpreter. Yet when he had once enjoined himself so hard a task, he then considered the Greek proverb, that he must #chelônes phagein ê mê phagein#, either eat the whole snail, or let it quite alone; and so he went through with his laborious task, as I have done with my difficult translation.

Thus far, my lord, you see it has gone very hard with Persius: I think he cannot be allowed to stand in competition either with Juvenal or Horace. Yet for once I will venture to be so vain, as to affirm, that none of his hard metaphors, or forced expressions, are in my translation. But more of this in its proper place, where I shall say somewhat in particular, of our general performance, in making these two authors English. In the mean time, I think myself obliged to give Persius his undoubted due, and to acquaint the world, with Casaubon, in what he has equalled, and in what excelled, his two competitors.

A man who is resolved to praise an author, with any appearance of justice, must be sure to take him on the strongest side, and where he is least liable to exceptions. He is therefore obliged to chuse his mediums accordingly. Casaubon, who saw that Persius could not laugh with a becoming grace, that he was not made for jesting, and that a merry conceit was not his talent, turned his feather, like an Indian, to another light, that he might give it the better gloss. Moral doctrine, says he, and urbanity, or well-mannered wit, are the two things which constitute the Roman satire; but of the two, that which is most essential to this poem, and is, as it were, the very soul which animates it, is the scourging of vice, and exhortation to virtue. Thus wit, for a good reason, is already almost out of doors; and allowed only for an instrument, a kind of tool, or a weapon, as he calls it, of which the satirist makes use in the compassing of his design. The end and aim of our three rivals is consequently the same. But by what methods they have prosecuted their intention, is farther to be considered. Satire is of the nature of moral philosophy, as being instructive: he, therefore, who instructs most usefully, will carry the palm from his two antagonists. The philosophy in which Persius was educated, and which he professes through his whole book, is the Stoick; the most noble, most generous, most beneficial to human kind, amongst all the sects, who have given us the rules of ethics, thereby to form a severe virtue in the soul; to raise in us an undaunted courage against the assaults of fortune; to esteem as nothing the things that are without us, because they are not in our power; not to value riches, beauty, honours, fame, or health, any farther than as conveniencies, and so many helps to living as we ought, and doing good in our generation: in short, to be always happy, while we possess our minds with a good conscience, are free from the slavery of vices, and conform our actions and conversations to the rules of right reason. See here, my lord, an epitome of Epictetus; the doctrine of Zeno, and the education of our Persius: and this he expressed, not only in all his satires, but in the manner of his life. I will not lessen this commendation of the Stoick philosophy, by giving you an account of some absurdities in their doctrine, and some perhaps impieties, if we consider them by the standard of christian faith. Persius has fallen into none of them; and therefore is free from those imputations. What he teaches might be taught from pulpits, with more profit to the audience, than all the nice speculations of divinity, and controversies concerning faith; which are more for the profit of the shepherd, than for the edification of the flock. Passions, interest, ambition, and all their bloody consequences of discord, and of war, are banished from this doctrine. Here is nothing proposed but the quiet and tranquillity of the mind; virtue lodged at home, and afterwards diffused in her general effects, to the improvement and good of human kind. And therefore I wonder not that the present Bishop of Salisbury[34] has recommended this our author, and the Tenth Satire of Juvenal, in his Pastoral Letter, to the serious perusal and practice of the divines in his diocese, as the best common-places for their sermons, as the store-houses and magazines of moral virtues, from whence they may draw out, as they have occasion, all manner of assistance for the accomplishment of a virtuous life, which the stoicks have assigned for the great end and perfection of mankind. Herein then it is, that Persius has excelled both Juvenal and Horace. He sticks to his own philosophy; he shifts not sides, like Horace, who is sometimes an Epicurean, sometimes a Stoick, sometimes an Eclectic, as his present humour leads him; nor declaims like Juvenal against vices, more like an orator, than a philosopher. Persius is every where the same; true to the dogmas of his master. What he has learnt, he teaches vehemently; and what he teaches, that he practises himself. There is a spirit of sincerity in all he says; you may easily discern that he is in earnest, and is persuaded of that truth which he inculcates. In this I am of opinion that he excels Horace, who is commonly in jest, and laughs while he instructs; and is equal to Juvenal, who was as honest and serious as Persius, and more he could not be.

Hitherto I have followed Casaubon, and enlarged upon him, because I am satisfied that he says no more than truth; the rest is almost all frivolous. For he says that Horace, being the son of a tax-gatherer, or a collector, as we call it, smells every where of the meanness of his birth and education: his conceipts are vulgar, like the subjects of his satires; that he does _plebeium sapere_, and writes not with that elevation, which becomes a satirist: that Persius, being nobly born, and of an opulent family, had likewise the advantage of a better master; Cornutus being the most learned of his time, a man of the most holy life, the chief of the Stoick sect at Rome, and not only a great philosopher, but a poet himself, and in probability a coadjutor of Persius: that, as for Juvenal, he was long a declaimer, came late to poetry, and has not been much conversant in philosophy.

It is granted that the father of Horace was _libertinus_, that is, one degree removed from his grandfather, who had been once a slave. But Horace, speaking of him, gives him the best character of a father, which I ever read in history; and I wish a witty friend of mine, now living, had such another.[35] He bred him in the best school, and with the best company of young noblemen; and Horace, by his gratitude to his memory, gives a certain testimony that his education was ingenuous. After this, he formed himself abroad, by the conversation of great men. Brutus found him at Athens, and was so pleased with him, that he took him thence into the army, and made him _tribunus militum_, a colonel in a legion, which was the preferment of an old soldier. All this was before his acquaintance with Mecænas, and his introduction into the court of Augustus, and the familiarity of that great emperor; which, had he not been well-bred before, had been enough to civilize his conversation, and render him accomplished and knowing in all the arts of complacency and good behaviour; and, in short, an agreeable companion for the retired hours and privacies of a favourite, who was first minister. So that, upon the whole matter, Persius may be acknowledged to be equal with him in those respects, though better born, and Juvenal inferior to both. If the advantage be any where, it is on the side of Horace; as much as the court of Augustus Cæsar was superior to that of Nero. As for the subjects which they treated, it will appear hereafter, that Horace writ not vulgarly on vulgar subjects, nor always chose them. His style is constantly accommodated to his subject, either high or low. If his fault be too much lowness, that of Persius is the fault of the hardness of his metaphors, and obscurity: and so they are equal in the failings of their style; where Juvenal manifestly triumphs over both of them.

The comparison betwixt Horace and Juvenal is more difficult; because their forces were more equal. A dispute has always been, and ever will continue, betwixt the favourers of the two poets. _Non nostrum est tantas componere lites._ I shall only venture to give my own opinion, and leave it for better judges to determine. If it be only argued in general, which of them was the better poet, the victory is already gained on the side of Horace. Virgil himself must yield to him in the delicacy of his turns, his choice of words, and perhaps the purity of his Latin. He who says that Pindar is inimitable, is himself inimitable in his Odes. But the contention betwixt these two great masters, is for the prize of Satire; in which controversy, all the Odes and Epodes of Horace are to stand excluded. I say this, because Horace has written many of them satyrically, against his private enemies; yet these, if justly considered, are somewhat of the nature of the Greek Silli, which were invectives against particular sects and persons. But Horace has purged himself of this choler, before he entered on those discourses, which are more properly called the Roman Satire. He has not now to do with a Lyce, a Canidia, a Cassius Severus, or a Menas; but is to correct the vices and the follies of his time, and to give the rules of a happy and virtuous life. In a word, that former sort of satire, which is known in England by the name of lampoon, is a dangerous sort of weapon, and for the most part unlawful. We have no moral right on the reputation of other men. It is taking from them what we cannot restore to them. There are only two reasons, for which we may be permitted to write lampoons; and I will not promise that they can always justify us. The first is revenge, when we have been affronted in the same nature, or have been any ways notoriously abused, and can make ourselves no other reparation. And yet we know, that, in christian charity, all offences are to be forgiven, as we expect the like pardon for those which we daily commit against Almighty God. And this consideration has often made me tremble when I was saying our Saviour's prayer; for the plain condition of the forgiveness which we beg, is the pardoning of others the offences which they have done to us; for which reason I have many times avoided the commission of that fault, even when I have been notoriously provoked. Let not this, my lord, pass for vanity in me; for it is truth. More libels have been written against me, than almost any man now living; and I had reason on my side, to have defended my own innocence. I speak not of my poetry, which I have wholly given up to the critics: let them use it as they please: posterity, perhaps, may be more favourable to me; for interest and passion will lie buried in another age, and partiality and prejudice be forgotten. I speak of my morals, which have been sufficiently aspersed: that only sort of reputation ought to be dear to every honest man, and is to me. But let the world witness for me, that I have been often wanting to myself in that particular; I have seldom answered any scurrilous lampoon, when it was in my power to have exposed my enemies: and, being naturally vindicative, have suffered in silence, and possessed my soul in quiet.

Any thing, though never so little, which a man speaks of himself, in my opinion, is still too much; and therefore I will wave this subject, and proceed to give the second reason which may justify a poet when he writes against a particular person; and that is, when he is become a public nuisance. All those, whom Horace in his Satires, and Persius and Juvenal have mentioned in theirs, with a brand of infamy, are wholly such. It is an action of virtue to make examples of vicious men. They may and ought to be upbraided with their crimes and follies; both for their amendment, if they are not yet incorrigible, and for the terror of others, to hinder them from falling into those enormities, which they see are so severely punished in the persons of others. The first reason was only an excuse for revenge; but this second is absolutely of a poet's office to perform: but how few lampooners are now living, who are capable of this duty![36] When they come in my way, it is impossible sometimes to avoid reading them. But, good God! how remote they are, in common justice, from the choice of such persons as are the proper subject of satire! And how little wit they bring for the support of their injustice! The weaker sex is their most ordinary theme; and the best and fairest are sure to be the most severely handled. Amongst men, those who are prosperously unjust, are entitled to panegyric; but afflicted virtue is insolently stabbed with all manner of reproaches; no decency is considered, no fulsomeness omitted; no venom is wanting, as far as dulness can supply it: for there is a perpetual dearth of wit; a barrenness of good sense and entertainment. The neglect of the readers will soon put an end to this sort of scribbling. There can be no pleasantry where there is no wit; no impression can be made, where there is no truth for the foundation. To conclude: they are like the fruits of the earth in this unnatural season; the corn which held up its head is spoiled with rankness; but the greater part of the harvest is laid along, and little of good income and wholesome nourishment is received into the barns. This is almost a digression, I confess to your lordship; but a just indignation forced it from me. Now I have removed this rubbish, I will return to the comparison of Juvenal and Horace.

I would willingly divide the palm betwixt them, upon the two heads of profit and delight, which are the two ends of poetry in general. It must be granted, by the favourers of Juvenal, that Horace is the more copious and profitable in his instructions of human life; but, in my particular opinion, which I set not up for a standard to better judgements, Juvenal is the more delightful author. I am profited by both, I am pleased with both; but I owe more to Horace for my instruction, and more to Juvenal for my pleasure. This, as I said, is my particular taste of these two authors: they who will have either of them to excel the other in both qualities, can scarce give better reasons for their opinion than I for mine. But all unbiassed readers will conclude, that my moderation is not to be condemned: to such impartial men I must appeal; for they who have already formed their judgment, may justly stand suspected of prejudice; and though all who are my readers will set up to be my judges, I enter my _caveat_ against them, that they ought not so much as to be of my jury; or, if they be admitted, it is but reason that they should first hear what I have to urge in the defence of my opinion.

That Horace is somewhat the better instructor of the two, is proved from hence,--that his instructions are more general, Juvenal's more limited. So that, granting that the counsels which they give are equally good for moral use, Horace, who gives the most various advice, and most applicable to all occasions which can occur to us in the course of our lives,--as including in his discourses, not only all the rules of morality, but also of civil conversation,--is undoubtedly to be preferred to him who is more circumscribed in his instructions, makes them to fewer people, and on fewer occasions, than the other. I may be pardoned for using an old saying, since it is true, and to the purpose: _Bonum quò communis, eò melius_. Juvenal, excepting only his first Satire, is in all the rest confined to the exposing of some particular vice; that he lashes, and there he sticks. His sentences are truly shining and instructive; but they are sprinkled here and there. Horace is teaching us in every line, and is perpetually moral: he had found out the skill of Virgil, to hide his sentences; to give you the virtue of them, without shewing them in their full extent; which is the ostentation of a poet, and not his art: and this Petronius charges on the authors of his time, as a vice of writing which was then growing on the age: _ne sententiæ extra corpus orationis emineant_: he would have them weaved into the body of the work, and not appear embossed upon it, and striking directly on the reader's view. Folly was the proper quarry of Horace, and not vice; and as there are but few notoriously wicked men, in comparison with a shoal of fools and fops, so it is a harder thing to make a man wise than to make him honest; for the will is only to be reclaimed in the one, but the understanding is to be informed in the other. There are blind sides and follies, even in the professors of moral philosophy; and there is not any one sect of them that Horace has not exposed: which, as it was not the design of Juvenal, who was wholly employed in lashing vices, some of them the most enormous that can be imagined, so, perhaps, it was not so much his talent.

_Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus amico Tangit, et admissus circum præcordia ludit._

This was the commendation which Persius gave him: where, by _vitium_, he means those little vices which we call follies, the defects of human understanding, or, at most, the peccadillos of life, rather than the tragical vices, to which men are hurried by their unruly passions and exorbitant desires. But, in the word _omne_, which is universal, he concludes with me, that the divine wit of Horace left nothing untouched; that he entered into the inmost recesses of nature; found out the imperfections even of the most wise and grave, as well as of the common people; discovering, even in the great Trebatius, to whom he addresses the first Satire, his hunting after business, and following the court, as well as in the persecutor Crispinus, his impertinence and importunity. It is true, he exposes Crispinus openly, as a common nuisance; but he rallies the other, as a friend, more finely. The exhortations of Persius are confined to noblemen; and the stoick philosophy is that alone which he recommends to them; Juvenal exhorts to particular virtues, as they are opposed to those vices against which he declaims; but Horace laughs to shame all follies, and insinuates virtue, rather by familiar examples than by the severity of precepts.

This last consideration seems to incline the balance on the side of Horace, and to give him the preference to Juvenal, not only in profit, but in pleasure. But, after all, I must confess, that the delight which Horace gives me is but languishing. Be pleased still to understand, that I speak of my own taste only: he may ravish other men; but I am too stupid and insensible to be tickled. Where he barely grins himself, and, as Scaliger says, only shows his white teeth, he cannot provoke me to any laughter. His urbanity, that is, his good manners, are to be commended, but his wit is faint; and his salt, if I may dare to say so, almost insipid. Juvenal is of a more vigorous and masculine wit; he gives me as much pleasure as I can bear; he fully satisfies my expectation; he treats his subject home: his spleen is raised, and he raises mine: I have the pleasure of concernment in all he says; he drives his reader along with him; and when he is at the end of his way, I willingly stop with him. If he went another stage, it would be too far; it would make a journey of a progress, and turn delight into fatigue. When he gives over, it is a sign the subject is exhausted, and the wit of man can carry it no farther. If a fault can be justly found in him, it is, that he is sometimes too luxuriant, too redundant; says more than he needs, like my friend the _Plain-Dealer_,[37] but never more than pleases. Add to this, that his thoughts are as just as those of Horace, and much more elevated. His expressions are sonorous and more noble; his verse more numerous, and his words are suitable to his thoughts, sublime and lofty. All these contribute to the pleasure of the reader; and the greater the soul of him who reads, his transports are the greater. Horace is always on the amble, Juvenal on the gallop; but his way is perpetually on carpet-ground. He goes with more impetuosity than Horace, but as securely; and the swiftness adds a more lively agitation to the spirits. The low style of Horace is according to his subject, that is, generally grovelling. I question not but he could have raised it; for the first epistle of the second book, which he writes to Augustus, (a most instructive satire concerning poetry,) is of so much dignity in the words, and of so much elegancy in the numbers, that the author plainly shows, the _sermo pedestris_, in his other Satires, was rather his choice than his necessity. He was a rival to Lucilius, his predecessor, and was resolved to surpass him in his own manner. Lucilius, as we see by his remaining fragments, minded neither his style, nor his numbers, nor his purity of words, nor his run of verse. Horace therefore copes with him in that humble way of satire, writes under his own force, and carries a dead-weight, that he may match his competitor in the race. This, I imagine, was the chief reason why he minded only the clearness of his satire, and the cleanness of expression, without ascending to those heights to which his own vigour might have carried him. But, limiting his desires only to the conquest of Lucilius, he had his ends of his rival, who lived before him; but made way for a new conquest over himself, by Juvenal, his successor. He could not give an equal pleasure to his reader, because he used not equal instruments. The fault was in the tools, and not in the workman. But versification and numbers are the greatest pleasures of poetry: Virgil knew it, and practised both so happily, that, for aught I know, his greatest excellency is in his diction. In all other parts of poetry, he is faultless; but in this he placed his chief perfection. And give me leave, my lord, since I have here an apt occasion, to say, that Virgil could have written sharper satires than either Horace or Juvenal, if he would have employed his talent that way. I will produce a verse and half of his, in one of his Eclogues, to justify my opinion; and with commas after every word, to show, that he has given almost as many lashes as he has written syllables: it is against a bad poet, whose ill verses he describes:

----_non tu, in triviis, indocte, solebas Stridenti, miserum, stipulâ, disperdere carmen?_

But, to return to my purpose. When there is any thing deficient in numbers and sound, the reader is uneasy and unsatisfied; he wants something of his complement, desires somewhat which he finds not: and this being the manifest defect of Horace, it is no wonder that, finding it supplied in Juvenal, we are more delighted with him. And, besides this, the sauce of Juvenal is more poignant, to create in us an appetite of reading him. The meat of Horace is more nourishing; but the cookery of Juvenal more exquisite: so that, granting Horace to be the more general philosopher, we cannot deny that Juvenal was the greater poet, I mean in satire. His thoughts are sharper; his indignation against vice is more vehement; his spirit has more of the commonwealth genius; he treats tyranny, and all the vices attending it, as they deserve, with the utmost rigour: and consequently, a noble soul is better pleased with a zealous vindicator of Roman liberty, than with a temporising poet, a well-mannered court-slave, and a man who is often afraid of laughing in the right place; who is ever decent, because he is naturally servile. After all, Horace had the disadvantage of the times in which he lived; they were better for the man, but worse for the satirist. It is generally said, that those enormous vices which were practised under the reign of Domitian, were unknown in the time of Augustus Cæsar; that therefore Juvenal had a larger field than Horace. Little follies were out of doors, when oppression was to be scourged instead of avarice: it was no longer time to turn into ridicule the false opinions of philosophers, when the Roman liberty was to be asserted. There was more need of a Brutus in Domitian's days, to redeem or mend, than of a Horace, if he had then been living, to laugh at a fly-catcher.[38] This reflection at the same time excuses Horace, but exalts Juvenal.--I have ended, before I was aware, the comparison of Horace and Juvenal, upon the topics of instruction and delight; and, indeed, I may safely here conclude that common-place; for, if we make Horace our minister of state in satire, and Juvenal of our private pleasures, I think the latter has no ill bargain of it. Let profit have the pre-eminence of honour, in the end of poetry. Pleasure, though but the second in degree, is the first in favour. And who would not chuse to be loved better, rather than to be more esteemed? But I am entered already upon another topic, which concerns the particular merits of these two satirists. However, I will pursue my business where I left it, and carry it farther than that common observation of the several ages in which these authors flourished.

When Horace writ his Satires, the monarchy of his Cæsar was in its newness, and the government but just made easy to the conquered people. They could not possibly have forgotten the usurpation of that prince upon their freedom, nor the violent methods which he had used, in the compassing that vast design: they yet remembered his proscriptions, and the slaughter of so many noble Romans, their defenders: amongst the rest, that horrible action of his, when he forced Livia from the arms of her husband, who was constrained to see her married, as Dion relates the story, and, big with child as she was, conveyed to the bed of his insulting rival. The same Dion Cassius gives us another instance of the crime before mentioned; that Cornelius Sisenna being reproached, in full senate, with the licentious conduct of his wife, returned this answer, "that he had married her by the counsel of Augustus;" intimating, says my author, that Augustus had obliged him to that marriage, that he might, under that covert, have the more free access to her. His adulteries were still before their eyes: but they must be patient where they had not power. In other things that emperor was moderate enough: propriety was generally secured; and the people entertained with public shows and donatives, to make them more easily digest their lost liberty. But Augustus, who was conscious to himself of so many crimes which he had committed, thought, in the first place, to provide for his own reputation, by making an edict against Lampoons and Satires, and the authors of those defamatory writings, which my author Tacitus, from the law-term, calls _famosos libellos_.

In the first book of his Annals, he gives the following account of it, in these words: _Primus Augustus cognitionem de famosis libellis, specie legis ejus, tractavit; commotus Cassii Severi libidine, quâ viros fæminasque illustres, procacibus scriptis diffamaverat_. Thus in English: "Augustus was the first, who under the colour of that law took cognisance of lampoons; being provoked to it, by the petulancy of Cassius Severus, who had defamed many illustrious persons of both sexes, in his writings." The law to which Tacitus refers, was _Lex læsæ Majestatis_; commonly called, for the sake of brevity, _Majestas_; or, as we say, high treason. He means not, that this law had not been enacted formerly: for it had been made by the Decemviri, and was inscribed amongst the rest in the Twelve Tables; to prevent the aspersion of the Roman majesty, either of the people themselves, or their religion, or their magistrates: and the infringement of it was capital; that is, the offender was whipt to death, with the _fasces_, which were borne before their chief officers of Rome. But Augustus was the first, who restored that intermitted law. By the words, _under colour of that law_, he insinuates that Augustus caused it to be executed, on pretence of those libels, which were written by Cassius Severus, against the nobility; but, in truth, to save himself from such defamatory verses. Suetonius likewise makes mention of it thus: _Sparsos de se in curiâ famosos libellos, nec expavit, et magnâ curâ redarguit. Ac ne requisitis quidem auctoribus, id modo censuit, cognoscendum posthac de iis qui libellos aut carmina ad infamiam cujuspiam sub alieno nomine edant_. "Augustus was not afraid of libels," says that author; "yet he took all care imaginable to have them answered; and then decreed, that for the time to come, the authors of them should be punished." But Aurelius makes it yet more clear, according to my sense, that this emperor for his own sake durst not permit them: _Fecit id Augustus in speciem, et quasi gratificaretur populo Romano, et primoribus urbis; sed revera ut sibi consuleret: nam habuit in animo, comprimere nimiam quorundam procacitatem in loquendo, à quâ nec ipse exemptus fuit. Nam suo nomine compescere erat invidiosum, sub alieno facile et utile. Ergo specie legis tractavit, quasi populi Romani majestas infamaretur._ This, I think, is a sufficient comment on that passage of Tacitus. I will add only by the way, that the whole family of the Cæsars, and all their relations, were included in the law; because the majesty of the Romans, in the time of the empire, was wholly in that house; _omnia Cæsar erat_: they were all accounted sacred who belonged to him. As for Cassius Severus, he was contemporary with Horace; and was the same poet against whom he writes in his Epodes, under this title, _In Cassium Severum maledicum poetam_; perhaps intending to kill two crows, according to our proverb, with one stone, and revenge both himself and his emperor together.

From hence I may reasonably conclude, that Augustus, who was not altogether so good as he was wise, had some by-respect in the enacting of this law; for to do any thing for nothing, was not his maxim. Horace, as he was a courtier, complied with the interest of his master; and, avoiding the lashing of greater crimes, confined himself to the ridiculing of petty vices and common follies; excepting only some reserved cases, in his Odes and Epodes, of his own particular quarrels, which either with permission of the magistrate, or without it, every man will revenge, though I say not that he should; for _prior læsit_ is a good excuse in the civil law, if christianity had not taught us to forgive. However, he was not the proper man to arraign great vices, at least if the stories which we hear of him are true,--that he practised some, which I will not here mention, out of honour to him. It was not for a Clodius to accuse adulterers, especially when Augustus was of that number; so that though his age was not exempted from the worst of villanies, there was no freedom left to reprehend them by reason of the edict; and our poet was not fit to represent them in an odious character, because himself was dipt in the same actions. Upon this account, without farther insisting on the different tempers of Juvenal and Horace, I conclude, that the subjects which Horace chose for satire, are of a lower nature than those of which Juvenal has written.

Thus I have treated, in a new method, the comparison betwixt Horace, Juvenal, and Persius; somewhat of their particular manner belonging to all of them is yet remaining to be considered. Persius was grave, and particularly opposed his gravity to lewdness, which was the predominant vice in Nero's court, at the time when he published his Satires, which was before that emperor fell into the excess of cruelty. Horace was a mild admonisher, a court-satirist, fit for the gentle times of Augustus, and more fit, for the reasons which I have already given. Juvenal was as proper for his times, as they for theirs; his was an age that deserved a more severe chastisement; vices were more gross and open, more flagitious, more encouraged by the example of a tyrant, and more protected by his authority. Therefore, wheresoever Juvenal mentions Nero, he means Domitian, whom he dares not attack in his own person, but scourges him by proxy. Heinsius urges in praise of Horace, that, according to the ancient art and law of satire, it should be nearer to comedy than tragedy; not declaiming against vice, but only laughing at it. Neither Persius nor Juvenal were ignorant of this, for they had both studied Horace. And the thing itself is plainly true. But as they had read Horace, they had likewise read Lucilius, of whom Persius says,--_secuit urbem; ... et genuinum fregit in illis_; meaning Mutius and Lupus; and Juvenal also mentions him in these words:

_Ense velut stricto, quoties Lucilius ardens Infremuit, rubet auditor, cui frigida mens est Criminibus, tacitâ sudant præcordia culpa_.

So that they thought the imitation of Lucilius was more proper to their purpose than that of Horace. "They changed satire, (says Holyday) but they changed it for the better; for the business being to reform great vices, chastisement goes farther than admonition; whereas a perpetual grin, like that of Horace, does rather anger than amend a man."

Thus far that learned critic, Barten Holyday,[39] whose interpretation and illustrations of Juvenal are as excellent, as the verse of his translation and his English are lame and pitiful. For it is not enough to give us the meaning of a poet, which I acknowledge him to have performed most faithfully, but he must also imitate his genius, and his numbers, as far as the English will come up to the elegance of the original. In few words, it is only for a poet to translate a poem. Holyday and Stapylton[40] had not enough considered this, when they attempted Juvenal: but I forbear reflections; only I beg leave to take notice of this sentence, where Holyday says, "a perpetual grin, like that of Horace, rather angers than amends a man." I cannot give him up the manner of Horace in low satire so easily. Let the chastisement of Juvenal be never so necessary for his new kind of satire; let him declaim as wittily and sharply as he pleases; yet still the nicest and most delicate touches of satire consist in fine raillery. This, my lord, is your particular talent, to which even Juvenal could not arrive. It is not reading, it is not imitation of an author, which can produce this fineness; it must be inborn; it must proceed from a genius, and particular way of thinking, which is not to be taught; and therefore not to be imitated by him who has it not from nature. How easy is it to call rogue and villain, and that wittily! But how hard to make a man appear a fool, a blockhead, or a knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms! To spare the grossness of the names, and to do the thing yet more severely, is to draw a full face, and to make the nose and cheeks stand out, and yet not to employ any depth of shadowing. This is the mystery of that noble trade, which yet no master can teach to his apprentice; he may give the rules, but the scholar is never the nearer in his practice. Neither is it true, that this fineness of raillery is offensive. A witty man is tickled while he is hurt in this manner, and a fool feels it not. The occasion of an offence may possibly be given, but he cannot take it. If it be granted, that in effect this way does more mischief; that a man is secretly wounded, and though he be not sensible himself, yet the malicious world will find it out for him; yet there is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly butchering of a man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body, and leaves it standing in its place. A man may be capable, as Jack Ketch's[41] wife said of his servant, of a plain piece of work, a bare hanging; but to make a malefactor die sweetly, was only belonging to her husband. I wish I could apply it to myself, if the reader would be kind enough to think it belongs to me. The character of Zimri in my "Absalom," is, in my opinion, worth the whole poem: it is not bloody, but it is ridiculous enough; and he, for whom it was intended, was too witty to resent it as an injury.[42] If I had railed, I might have suffered for it justly; but I managed my own work more happily, perhaps more dexterously. I avoided the mention of great crimes, and applied myself to the representing of blind-sides, and little extravagancies; to which, the wittier a man is, he is generally the more obnoxious. It succeeded as I wished; the jest went round, and he was laughed at in his turn who began the frolic.

And thus, my lord, you see I have preferred the manner of Horace, and of your lordship, in this kind of satire, to that of Juvenal, and I think, reasonably. Holyday ought not to have arraigned so great an author, for that which was his excellency and his merit: or if he did, on such a palpable mistake, he might expect that some one might possibly arise, either in his own time, or after him, to rectify his error, and restore to Horace that commendation, of which he has so unjustly robbed him. And let the manes of Juvenal forgive me, if I say, that this way of Horace was the best for amending manners, as it is the most difficult. His was an _ense rescindendum_; but that of Horace was a pleasant cure, with all the limbs preserved entire; and, as our mountebanks tell us in their bills, without keeping the patient within doors for a day. What they promise only, Horace has effectually performed: yet I contradict not the proposition which I formerly advanced. Juvenal's times required a more painful kind of operation; but if he had lived in the age of Horace, I must needs affirm, that he had it not about him. He took the method which was prescribed him by his own genius, which was sharp and eager; he could not rally, but he could declaim; and as his provocations were great, he has revenged them tragically. This notwithstanding, I am to say another word, which, as true as it is, will yet displease the partial admirers of our Horace. I have hinted it before, but it is time for me now to speak more plainly.

This manner of Horace is indeed the best; but Horace has not executed it altogether so happily, at least not often. The manner of Juvenal is confessed to be inferior to the former, but Juvenal has excelled him in his performance. Juvenal has railed more wittily than Horace has rallied. Horace means to make his readers laugh, but he is not sure of his experiment. Juvenal always intends to move your indignation, and he always brings about his purpose. Horace, for aught I know, might have tickled the people of his age; but amongst the moderns he is not so successful. They, who say he entertains so pleasantly, may perhaps value themselves on the quickness of their own understandings, that they can see a jest farther off than other men; they may find occasion of laughter in the wit-battle of the two buffoons, Sarmentus and Cicerrus; and hold their sides for fear of bursting, when Rupilius and Persius are scolding. For my own part, I can only like the characters of all four, which are judiciously given; but for my heart I cannot so much as smile at their insipid raillery. I see not why Persius should call upon Brutus to revenge him on his adversary; and that because he had killed Julius Cæsar, for endeavouring to be a king, therefore he should be desired to murder Rupilius, only because his name was Mr King.[43] A miserable clench, in my opinion, for Horace to record: I have heard honest Mr Swan[44] make many a better, and yet have had the grace to hold my countenance. But it may be puns were then in fashion, as they were wit in the sermons of the last age, and in the court of King Charles II. I am sorry to say it, for the sake of Horace; but certain it is, he has no fine palate who can feed so heartily on garbage.

But I have already wearied myself, and doubt not but I have tired your lordship's patience, with this long, rambling, and, I fear, trivial discourse. Upon the one half of the merits, that is, pleasure, I cannot but conclude that Juvenal was the better satirist. They, who will descend into his particular praises, may find them at large in the Dissertation of the learned Rigaltius to Thuanus. As for Persius, I have given the reasons why I think him inferior to both of them; yet I have one thing to add on that subject.

Barten Holyday, who translated both Juvenal and Persius, has made this distinction betwixt them, which is no less true than witty,--that in Persius the difficulty is to find a meaning, in Juvenal to chuse a meaning: so crabbed is Persius, and so copious is Juvenal; so much the understanding is employed in one, and so much the judgment in the other; so difficult it is to find any sense in the former, and the best sense of the latter.

If, on the other side, any one suppose I have commended Horace below his merit, when I have allowed him but the second place, I desire him to consider, if Juvenal, a man of excellent natural endowments, besides the advantages of diligence and study, and coming after him, and building upon his foundations, might not probably, with all these helps, surpass him; and whether it be any dishonour to Horace to be thus surpassed, since no art or science is at once begun and perfected, but that it must pass first through many hands, and even through several ages. If Lucilius could add to Ennius, and Horace to Lucilius, why, without any diminution to the fame of Horace, might not Juvenal give the last perfection to that work? Or, rather, what disreputation is it to Horace, that Juvenal excels in the tragical satire, as Horace does in the comical? I have read over attentively both Heinsius and Dacier, in their commendations of Horace; but I can find no more in either of them, for the preference of him to Juvenal, than the instructive part; the part of wisdom, and not that of pleasure; which, therefore, is here allowed him, notwithstanding what Scaliger and Rigaltius have pleaded to the contrary for Juvenal. And, to show that I am impartial, I will here translate what Dacier has said on that subject.

"I cannot give a more just idea of the two books of Satires made by Horace, than by comparing them to the statues of the Sileni, to which Alcibiades compares Socrates in the Symposium. They were figures, which had nothing of agreeable, nothing of beauty, on their outside; but when any one took the pains to open them, and search into them, he there found the figures of all the deities. So, in the shape that Horace presents himself to us in his Satires, we see nothing, at the first view, which deserves our attention: it seems that he is rather an amusement for children, than for the serious consideration of men. But, when we take away his crust, and that which hides him from our sight, when we discover him to the bottom, then we find all the divinities in a full assembly; that is to say, all the virtues which ought to be the continual exercise of those, who seriously endeavour to correct their vices."

It is easy to observe, that Dacier, in this noble similitude, has confined the praise of his author wholly to the instructive part; the commendation turns on this, and so does that which follows.

"In these two books of satire, it is the business of Horace to instruct us how to combat our vices, to regulate our passions, to follow nature, to give bounds to our desires, to distinguish betwixt truth and falsehood, and betwixt our conceptions of things, and things themselves; to come back from our prejudicate opinions, to understand exactly the principles and motives of all our actions; and to avoid the ridicule, into which all men necessarily fall, who are intoxicated with those notions which they have received from their masters, and which they obstinately retain, without examining whether or no they be founded on right reason.

"In a word, he labours to render us happy in relation to ourselves; agreeable and faithful to our friends; and discreet, serviceable, and well-bred, in relation to those with whom we are obliged to live, and to converse. To make his figures intelligible, to conduct his readers through the labyrinth of some perplexed sentence, or obscure parenthesis, is no great matter; and, as Epictetus says, there is nothing of beauty in all this, or what is worthy of a prudent man. The principal business, and which is of most importance to us, is to show the use, the reason, and the proof of his precepts.

"They who endeavour not to correct themselves, according to so exact a model, are just like the patients who have open before them a book of admirable receipts for their diseases, and please themselves with reading it, without comprehending the nature of the remedies, or how to apply them to their cure."

Let Horace go off with these encomiums, which he has so well deserved.

To conclude the contention betwixt our three poets, I will use the words of Virgil, in his fifth Æneid, where Æneas proposes the rewards of the foot-race to the three first who should reach the goal.

----_Tres præmia primi Accipient, flavâque caput nectentur olivâ._

Let these three ancients be preferred to all the moderns, as first arriving at the goal; let them all be crowned, as victors, with the wreath that properly belongs to satire; but, after that, with this distinction amongst themselves,

_Primus equum phaleris insignem victor habeto._

Let Juvenal ride first in triumph;

_Alter Amazoniam pharetram, plenamque sagittis Threiciis, lato quam circumplectitur auro Balteus, et tereti subnectit fibula gemmâ._

Let Horace, who is the second, and but just the second, carry off the quivers and the arrows, as the badges of his satire, and the golden belt, and the diamond button;

_Tertius Argolico hoc clypeo contentus abito._

And let Persius, the last of the first three worthies, be contented with this Grecian shield, and with victory, not only over all the Grecians, who were ignorant of the Roman satire, but over all the moderns in succeeding ages, excepting Boileau and your lordship.

And thus I have given the history of Satire, and derived it as far as from Ennius to your lordship; that is, from its first rudiments of barbarity to its last polishing and perfection; which is, with Virgil, in his address to Augustus,--

----_Nomen famâ tot ferre per annos, Tithoni primâ quot abest ab origine Cæsar._

I said only from Ennius; but I may safely carry it higher, as far as Livius Andronicus, who, as I have said formerly, taught the first play at Rome, in the year _ab urbe condita_ CCCCCXIV. I have since desired my learned friend, Mr Maidwell,[45] to compute the difference of times, betwixt Aristophanes and Livius Andronicus; and he assures me, from the best chronologers, that "Plutus," the last of Aristophanes's plays, was represented at Athens, in the year of the 97th Olympiad; which agrees with the year _urbis conditæ_ CCCLXIV. So that the difference of years betwixt Aristophanes and Andronicus is 150; from whence I have probably deduced, that Livius Andronicus, who was a Grecian, had read the plays of the old comedy, which were satirical, and also of the new; for Menander was fifty years before him, which must needs be a great light to him in his own plays, that were of the satirical nature. That the Romans had farces before this it is true; but then they had no communication with Greece; so that Andronicus was the first who wrote after the manner of the old comedy in his plays: he was imitated by Ennius, about thirty years afterwards. Though the former writ fables, the latter, speaking properly, began the Roman satire; according to that description, which Juvenal gives of it in his first:

_Quicquid agunt homines, votum, timor, ira, voluptas, Gaudia, discursus, nostri est farrago libelli._

This is that in which I have made bold to differ from Casaubon, Rigaltius, Dacier, and indeed from all the modern critics,--that not Ennius, but Andronicus was the first, who, by the _Archæa Comoedia_ of the Greeks, added many beauties to the first rude and barbarous Roman satire: which sort of poem, though we had not derived from Rome, yet nature teaches it mankind in all ages, and in every country.

It is but necessary, that after so much has been said of Satire, some definition of it should be given. Heinsius, in his "Dissertations on Horace," makes it for me, in these words: "Satire is a kind of poetry, without a series of action, invented for the purging of our minds; in which human vices, ignorance, and errors, and all things besides, which are produced from them in every man, are severely reprehended; partly dramatically, partly simply, and sometimes in both kinds of speaking; but, for the most part, figuratively, and occultly; consisting in a low familiar way, chiefly in a sharp and pungent manner of speech; but partly, also, in a facetious and civil way of jesting; by which either hatred, or laughter, or indignation, is moved."--Where I cannot but observe, that this obscure and perplexed definition, or rather description, of satire, is wholly accommodated to the Horatian way; and excluding the works of Juvenal and Persius, as foreign from that kind of poem. The clause in the beginning of it ("without a series of action") distinguishes satire properly from stage-plays, which are all of one action, and one continued series of action. The end or scope of satire is to purge the passions; so far it is common to the satires of Juvenal and Persius. The rest which follows is also generally belonging to all three; till he comes upon us, with the excluding clause--"consisting in a low familiar way of speech,"--which is the proper character of Horace; and from which, the other two, for their honour be it spoken, are far distant. But how come lowness of style, and the familiarity of words, to be so much the propriety of satire, that without them a poet can be no more a satirist, than without risibility he can be a man? Is the fault of Horace to be made the virtue and standing rule of this poem? Is the _grande sophos_[46] of Persius, and the sublimity of Juvenal, to be circumscribed with the meanness of words and vulgarity of expression? If Horace refused the pains of numbers, and the loftiness of figures, are they bound to follow so ill a precedent? Let him walk a-foot, with his pad in his hand, for his own pleasure; but let not them be accounted no poets, who chuse to mount, and show their horsemanship. Holyday is not afraid to say, that there was never such a fall, as from his Odes to his Satires, and that he, injuriously to himself, untuned his harp. The majestic way of Persius and Juvenal was new when they began it, but it is old to us; and what poems have not, with time, received an alteration in their fashion? "which alteration," says Holyday, "is to after times as good a warrant as the first." Has not Virgil changed the manners of Homer's heroes in his Æneid? Certainly he has, and for the better: for Virgil's age was more civilized, and better bred; and he writ according to the politeness of Rome, under the reign of Augustus Cæsar, not to the rudeness of Agamemnon's age, or the times of Homer. Why should we offer to confine free spirits to one form, when we cannot so much as confine our bodies to one fashion of apparel? Would not Donne's satires, which abound with so much wit, appear more charming, if he had taken care of his words, and of his numbers? But he followed Horace so very close, that of necessity he must fall with him; and I may safely say it of this present age, that if we are not so great wits as Donne, yet, certainly, we are better poets.

But I have said enough, and it may be too much, on this subject. Will your lordship be pleased to prolong my audience, only so far, till I tell you my own trivial thoughts, how a modern satire should be made. I will not deviate in the least from the precepts and examples of the ancients, who were always our best masters. I will only illustrate them, and discover some of the hidden beauties in their designs, that we thereby may form our own in imitation of them. Will you please but to observe, that Persius, the least in dignity of all the three, has notwithstanding been the first, who has discovered to us this important secret, in the designing of a perfect satire,--that it ought only to treat of one subject;--to be confined to one particular theme; or, at least, to one principally. If other vices occur in the management of the chief, they should only be transiently lashed, and not be insisted on, so as to make the design double. As in a play of the English fashion, which we call a tragi-comedy, there is to be but one main design; and though there be an underplot, or second walk of comical characters and adventures, yet they are subservient to the chief fable, carried along under it, and helping to it; so that the drama may not seem a monster with two heads. Thus, the Copernican system of the planets makes the moon to be moved by the motion of the earth, and carried about her orb, as a dependent of her's. Mascardi, in his discourse of the _Doppia favola_, or double tale in plays, gives an instance of it in the famous pastoral of Guarini, called _Il Pastor Fido_; where Corisca and the Satyr are the under parts; yet we may observe, that Corisca is brought into the body of the plot, and made subservient to it. It is certain, that the divine wit of Horace was not ignorant of this rule,--that a play, though it consists of many parts, must yet be one in the action, and must drive on the accomplishment of one design; for he gives this very precept,--_Sit quodvis simplex duntaxat et unum_; yet he seems not much to mind it in his Satires, many of them consisting of more arguments than one; and the second without dependence on the first. Casaubon has observed this before me, in his preference of Persius to Horace; and will have his own beloved author to be the first who found out and introduced this method of confining himself to one subject. I know it may be urged in defence of Horace, that this unity is not necessary; because the very word _satura_ signifies a dish plentifully stored with all variety of fruit and grains. Yet Juvenal, who calls his poems a _farrago_, which is a word of the same signification with _satura_, has chosen to follow the same method of Persius, and not of Horace; and Boileau, whose example alone is a sufficient authority, has wholly confined himself, in all his satires, to this unity of design. That variety, which is not to be found in any one satire, is, at least, in many, written on several occasions. And if variety be of absolute necessity in every one of them, according to the etymology of the word, yet it may arise naturally from one subject, as it is diversely treated, in the several subordinate branches of it, all relating to the chief. It may be illustrated accordingly with variety of examples in the subdivisions of it, and with as many precepts as there are members of it; which, altogether, may complete that _olla_, or hotchpotch, which is properly a satire.

Under this unity of theme, or subject, is comprehended another rule for perfecting the design of true satire. The poet is bound, and that _ex officio_, to give his reader some one precept of moral virtue, and to caution him against some one particular vice or folly. Other virtues, subordinate to the first, may be recommended under that chief head; and other vices or follies may be scourged, besides that which he principally intends. But he is chiefly to inculcate one virtue, and insist on that. Thus Juvenal, in every satire excepting the first, ties himself to one principal instructive point, or to the shunning of moral evil. Even in the sixth, which seems only an arraignment of the whole sex of womankind, there is a latent admonition to avoid ill women, by showing how very few, who are virtuous and good, are to be found amongst them. But this, though the wittiest of all his satires, has yet the least of truth or instruction in it. He has run himself into his old declamatory way, and almost forgotten that he was now setting up for a moral poet.

Persius is never wanting to us in some profitable doctrine, and in exposing the opposite vices to it. His kind of philosophy is one, which is the stoick; and every satire is a comment on one particular dogma of that sect, unless we will except the first, which is against bad writers; and yet even there he forgets not the precepts of the Porch. In general, all virtues are every where to be praised and recommended to practice; and all vices to be reprehended, and made either odious or ridiculous; or else there is a fundamental error in the whole design.

I have already declared who are the only persons that are the adequate object of private satire, and who they are that may properly be exposed by name for public examples of vices and follies; and therefore I will trouble your lordship no farther with them. Of the best and finest manner of satire, I have said enough in the comparison betwixt Juvenal and Horace: it is that sharp, well-mannered way of laughing a folly out of countenance, of which your lordship is the best master in this age. I will proceed to the versification, which is most proper for it, and add somewhat to what I have said already on that subject. The sort of verse which is called burlesque, consisting of eight syllables, or four feet, is that which our excellent Hudibras has chosen. I ought to have mentioned him before, when I spoke of Donne: but by a slip of an old man's memory he was forgotten. The worth of his poem is too well known to need my commendation, and he is above my censure. His satire is of the Varronian kind, though unmixed with prose. The choice of his numbers is suitable enough to his design, as he has managed it; but in any other hand, the shortness of his verse, and the quick returns of rhyme, had debased the dignity of style. And besides, the double rhyme, (a necessary companion of burlesque writing,) is not so proper for manly satire; for it turns earnest too much to jest, and gives us a boyish kind of pleasure. It tickles aukwardly with a kind of pain, to the best sort of readers: we are pleased ungratefully, and, if I may say so, against our liking. We thank him not for giving us that unseasonable delight, when we know he could have given us a better, and more solid. He might have left that task to others, who, not being able to put in thought, can only make us grin with the excrescence of a word of two or three syllables in the close. It is, indeed, below so great a master to make use of such a little instrument.[47] But his good sense is perpetually shining through all he writes; it affords us not the time of finding faults. We pass through the levity of his rhyme, and are immediately carried into some admirable useful thought. After all, he has chosen this kind of verse, and has written the best in it: and had he taken another, he would always have excelled: as we say of a court-favourite, that whatsoever his office be, he still makes it uppermost, and most beneficial to himself.

The quickness of your imagination, my lord, has already prevented me; and you know before-hand, that I would prefer the verse of ten syllables, which we call the English heroic, to that of eight. This is truly my opinion; for this sort of number is more roomy; the thought can turn itself with greater ease in a larger compass. When the rhyme comes too thick upon us, it straitens the expression; we are thinking of the close, when we should be employed in adorning the thought. It makes a poet giddy with turning in a space too narrow for his imagination; he loses many beauties, without gaining one advantage. For a burlesque rhyme I have already concluded to be none; or, if it were, it is more easily purchased in ten syllables than in eight. In both occasions it is as in a tennis-court, when the strokes of greater force are given, when we strike out and play at length. Tassoni and Boileau have left us the best examples of this way, in the "Secchia Rapita," and the "Lutrin;" and next them Merlin Cocaius in his "Baldus." I will speak only of the two former, because the last is written in Latin verse. The "Secchia Rapita" is an Italian poem, a satire of the Varronian kind. It is written in the stanza of eight, which is their measure for heroic verse. The words are stately, the numbers smooth, the turn both of thoughts and words is happy. The first six lines of the stanza seem majestical and severe; but the two last turn them all into a pleasant ridicule. Boileau, if I am not much deceived, has modelled from hence his famous "Lutrin." He had read the burlesque poetry of Scarron,[48] with some kind of indignation, as witty as it was, and found nothing in France that was worthy of his imitation; but he copied the Italian so well, that his own may pass for an original. He writes it in the French heroic verse, and calls it an heroic poem; his subject is trivial, but his verse is noble. I doubt not but he had Virgil in his eye, for we find many admirable imitations of him, and some parodies; as particularly this passage in the fourth of the Æneids:

_Nec tibi diva parens, generis nec Dardanus auctor, Perfide; sed duris genuit te cautibus horrens Caucasus; Hyrcanæque admorûnt ubera tigres_:

which he thus translates, keeping to the words, but altering the sense:

Non, ton pere a Paris, ne fut point boulanger: Et tu n'es point du sang de Gervais, l'horloger: Ta mere ne fut point la maitresse d'un coché; Caucase dans ses flancs te forma d'une roché: Une tigresse affreuse, en quelque antre écarté, Te fit, avec son lait, succer sa cruauté.

And, as Virgil in his fourth Georgick, of the Bees, perpetually raises the lowness of his subject, by the loftiness of his words, and ennobles it by comparisons drawn from empires, and from monarchs;--

_Admiranda tibi levium spectacula rerum, Magnanimosque duces, totiusque ordine gentis Mores et studia, et populos, et proelia dicam._

And again:

_At genus immortale manet; multosque per annos Stat fortuna domus, et avi numerantur avorum;_--

we see Boileau pursuing him in the same flights, and scarcely yielding to his master. This, I think, my lord, to be the most beautiful, and most noble kind of satire. Here is the majesty of the heroic, finely mixed with the venom of the other; and raising the delight which otherwise would be flat and vulgar, by the sublimity of the expression. I could say somewhat more of the delicacy of this and some other of his satires; but it might turn to his prejudice, if it were carried back to France.

I have given your lordship but this bare hint, in what verse and in what manner this sort of satire may be best managed. Had I time, I could enlarge on the beautiful turns of words and thoughts, which are as requisite in this, as in heroic poetry itself, of which the satire is undoubtedly a species. With these beautiful turns, I confess myself to have been unacquainted, till about twenty years ago, in a conversation which I had with that noble wit of Scotland, Sir George Mackenzie,[49] he asked me why I did not imitate in my verses the turns of Mr Waller and Sir John Denham; of which he repeated many to me. I had often read with pleasure, and with some profit, those two fathers of our English poetry; but had not seriously enough considered those beauties which give the last perfection to their works. Some sprinklings of this kind I had also formerly in my plays; but they were casual, and not designed. But this hint, thus seasonably given me, first made me sensible of my own wants, and brought me afterwards to seek for the supply of them in other English authors. I looked over the darling of my youth, the famous Cowley; there I found, instead of them, the points of wit, and quirks of epigram, even in the "Davideis," an heroic poem, which is of an opposite nature to those puerilities; but no elegant turns either on the word or on the thought. Then I consulted a greater genius, (without offence to the manes of that noble author,) I mean Milton; but as he endeavours every where to express Homer, whose age had not arrived to that fineness, I found in him a true sublimity, lofty thoughts, which were cloathed with admirable Grecisms, and ancient words, which he had been digging from the mines of Chaucer and Spenser, and which, with all their rusticity, had somewhat of venerable in them. But I found not there neither that for which I looked. At last I had recourse to his master, Spenser, the author of that immortal poem, called the "Fairy Queen;" and there I met with that which I had been looking for so long in vain. Spenser had studied Virgil to as much advantage as Milton had done Homer; and amongst the rest of his excellencies had copied that. Looking farther into the Italian, I found Tasso had done the same; nay more, that all the sonnets in that language are on the turn of the first thought; which Mr Walsh, in his late ingenious preface to his poems, has observed. In short, Virgil and Ovid are the two principal fountains of them in Latin poetry. And the French at this day are so fond of them, that they judge them to be the first beauties: _delicate et bien tourné_, are the highest commendations which they bestow, on somewhat which they think a master-piece.

An example of the turn on words, amongst a thousand others, is that in the last book of Ovid's "Metamorphoses:"

_Heu! quantum scelus est, in viscera, viscera condi! Congestoque avidum pinguescere corpore corpus; Alteriusque animantem animantis vivere leto._

An example on the turn both of thoughts and words, is to be found in Catullus, in the complaint of Ariadne, when she was left by Theseus;

_Tum jam nulla viro juranti fæmina credat; Nulla viri speret sermones esse fideles; Qui, dum aliquid cupiens animus prægestit apisci, Nil metuunt jurare, nihil promittere parcunt: Sed simul ac cupidæ mentis satiata libido est, Dicta nihil metuere, nihil perjuria curant._

An extraordinary turn upon the words, is that in Ovid's "Epistolæ Heroidum," of Sappho to Phaon.

_Si, nisi quæ formâ poterit te digna videri, Nulla futura tua est, nulla futura tua est._

Lastly: A turn, which I cannot say is absolutely on words, for the thought turns with them, is in the fourth Georgick of Virgil; where Orpheus is to receive his wife from hell, on express condition not to look on her till she was come on earth:

_Cùm subita incautum dementia cepit amantem; Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere Manes._

I will not burthen your lordship with more of them; for I write to a master who understands them better than myself. But I may safely conclude them to be great beauties.--I might descend also to the mechanic beauties of heroic verse; but we have yet no English _prosodia_, not so much as a tolerable dictionary, or a grammar; so that our language is in a manner barbarous; and what government will encourage any one, or more, who are capable of refining it, I know not: but nothing under a public expence can go through with it. And I rather fear a declination of the language, than hope an advancement of it in the present age.

I am still speaking to you, my lord, though, in all probability, you are already out of hearing. Nothing, which my meanness can produce, is worthy of this long attention. But I am come to the last petition of Abraham; if there be ten righteous lines, in this vast preface, spare it for their sake; and also spare the next city, because it is but a little one.

I would excuse the performance of this translation, if it were all my own; but the better, though not the greater part, being the work of some gentlemen, who have succeeded very happily in their undertaking, let their excellencies atone for my imperfections, and those of my sons. I have perused some of the satires, which are done by other hands; and they seem to me as perfect in their kind, as any thing I have seen in English verse. The common way which we have taken, is not a literal translation, but a kind of paraphrase; or somewhat, which is yet more loose, betwixt a paraphrase and imitation. It was not possible for us, or any men, to have made it pleasant any other way. If rendering the exact sense of those authors, almost line for line, had been our business, Barten Holyday had done it already to our hands: and, by the help of his learned notes and illustrations, not only Juvenal and Persius, but, what yet is more obscure, his own verses, might be understood.

But he wrote for fame, and wrote to scholars: we write only for the pleasure and entertainment of those gentlemen and ladies, who, though they are not scholars, are not ignorant: persons of understanding and good sense, who, not having been conversant in the original, or at least not having made Latin verse so much their business as to be critics in it, would be glad to find, if the wit of our two great authors be answerable to their fame and reputation in the world. We have, therefore, endeavoured to give the public all the satisfaction we are able in this kind.

And if we are not altogether so faithful to our author, as our predecessors Holyday and Stapylton, yet we may challenge to ourselves this praise, that we shall be far more pleasing to our readers. We have followed our authors at greater distance, though not step by step, as they have done: for oftentimes they have gone so close, that they have trod on the heels of Juvenal and Persius, and hurt them by their too near approach. A noble author would not be pursued too close by a translator. We lose his spirit, when we think to take his body. The grosser part remains with us, but the soul is flown away in some noble expression, or some delicate turn of words, or thought. Thus Holyday, who made this way his choice, seized the meaning of Juvenal; but the poetry has always escaped him.

They who will not grant me, that pleasure is one of the ends of poetry, but that it is only a means of compassing the only end, which is instruction, must yet allow, that, without the means of pleasure, the instruction is but a bare and dry philosophy: a crude preparation of morals, which we may have from Aristotle and Epictetus, with more profit than from any poet. Neither Holyday nor Stapylton have imitated Juvenal in the poetical part of him--his diction and his elocution. Nor had they been poets, as neither of them were, yet, in the way they took, it was impossible for them to have succeeded in the poetic part.

The English verse, which we call heroic, consists of no more than ten syllables; the Latin hexameter sometimes rises to seventeen; as, for example, this verse in Virgil:

_Pulverulenta putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum._

Here is the difference of no less than seven syllables in a line, betwixt the English and the Latin. Now the medium of these is about fourteen syllables; because the dactyle is a more frequent foot in hexameters than the spondee. But Holyday, without considering that he wrote with the disadvantage of four syllables less in every verse, endeavours to make one of his lines to comprehend the sense of one of Juvenal's. According to the falsity of the proposition was the success. He was forced to crowd his verse with ill-sounding monosyllables, of which our barbarous language affords him a wild plenty; and by that means he arrived at his pedantic end, which was to make a literal translation. His verses have nothing of verse in them, but only the worst part of it--the rhyme; and that, into the bargain, is far from good. But, which is more intolerable, by cramming his ill-chosen, and worse-sounding monosyllables so close together, the very sense which he endeavours to explain, is become more obscure than that of his author; so that Holyday himself cannot be understood, without as large a commentary as that which he makes on his two authors. For my own part, I can make a shift to find the meaning of Juvenal without his notes: but his translation is more difficult than his author. And I find beauties in the Latin to recompense my pains; but, in Holyday and Stapylton, my ears, in the first place, are mortally offended; and then their sense is so perplexed, that I return to the original, as the more pleasing task, as well as the more easy.[50]

This must be said for our translation, that, if we give not the whole sense of Juvenal, yet we give the most considerable part of it: we give it, in general, so clearly, that few notes are sufficient to make us intelligible. We make our author at least appear in a poetic dress. We have actually made him more sounding, and more elegant, than he was before in English; and have endeavoured to make him speak that kind of English, which he would have spoken had he lived in England, and had written to this age. If sometimes any of us (and it is but seldom) make him express the customs and manners of our native country rather than of Rome, it is, either when there was some kind of analogy betwixt their customs and ours, or when, to make him more easy to vulgar understandings, we give him those manners which are familiar to us. But I defend not this innovation, it is enough if I can excuse it. For, to speak sincerely, the manners of nations and ages are not to be confounded; we should either make them English, or leave them Roman. If this can neither be defended nor excused, let it be pardoned at least, because it is acknowledged; and so much the more easily, as being a fault which is never committed without some pleasure to the reader.

Thus, my lord, having troubled you with a tedious visit, the best manners will be shewn in the least ceremony. I will slip away while your back is turned, and while you are otherwise employed; with great confusion for having entertained you so long with this discourse, and for having no other recompence to make you, than the worthy labours of my fellow-undertakers in this work, and the thankful acknowledgments, prayers, and perpetual good wishes, of,

MY LORD, Your Lordship's Most obliged, most humble, And most obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN. _Aug. 18, 1692._


[1] Our author's connection with this witty and accomplished nobleman is fully traced in Dryden's Life. He was created Earl of Middlesex in 1675, and after the Revolution became Lord Chamberlain, and a knight of the garter. Dryden alludes to these last honours in the commencement of the dedication, which was prefixed to a version of the Satires of Juvenal by our author and others, published in 1693.

[2] See Introduction to the "Essay on Dramatic Poetry."

[3] These Lyrical Pieces, after all, are only a few smooth songs, where wit is sufficiently overbalanced by indecency.

[4] Alluding to Rochester's well-known couplet:

For pointed satire I would Buckhurst chuse; The best good man, with the worst-natured muse.

_Allusion to Horace's 10th Satire, Book I._

The satires of Lord Dorset seem to have consisted in short lampoons, if we may judge of those which have been probably lost, from such as are known to us. His mock "Address to Mr Edward Howard, on his incomparable and incomprehensible Poem, called the British Princes;" another to the same on his plays; a lampoon on an Irish lady; and one on Lady Dorchester,--are the only satires of his lordship's which have been handed down to us. He probably wrote other light occasional pieces of the same nature.

[5] Shooting at rovers, in archery, is opposed to shooting at butts: In the former exercise the bowman shoots at random, merely to show how far he can send an arrow.

[6] Probably meaning Sir Robert Howard, with whom our author was now reconciled, and perhaps Sir William D'Avenant.

[7] The First Satire of Persius is doubtless levelled against bad poets; but that author rather engages in the defence of satire, opposed to the silly or bombastic verses of his contemporaries, than in censuring freedoms used with private characters.

[8] The four sceptres were placed saltier-wise upon the reverse of guineas, till the gold coinage of his present majesty.


_Sic Maro nec Calabri tentavit carmina Flacci, Pindaricos posset cum superare modos; Et Vario cessit Romani laude cothurni, Cum posset tragico fortius ore loqui._

MART. _lib. VIII. epig. XVIII._

[10] "Would it be imagined," says Dr Johnson, "that, of this rival to antiquity, all the satires were little personal invectives, and that his longest composition was a song of eleven stanzas? The blame, however, of this exaggerated praise falls on the encomiast, not upon the author; whose performances are, what they pretend to be, the effusions of a man of wit; gay, vigorous, and airy."

[11] Dryden's recollection seems here deficient. There is, no doubt, a close imitation of the Iliad throughout the Jerusalem; but the death of the Swedish Prince was so far from being the motive of Rinaldo's return to the wars, that Rinaldo seems never to have heard either of that person or of his fate until he was delivered from the garden of Armida, and on his voyage to join Godfrey's army.

[12] Epic poems by Le Moyne, Chapelain, and Scuderi; of which it may be enough to say, that they are in the stale, weary, flat, and unprofitable taste of all French heroics.

[13] This passage is certainly inaccurate in one particular, and probably in the rest. Sir Philip Sydney was killed at the battle of Zutphen, 16th October, 1586, and the "Faery Queen" was then only commenced. For, in a dialogue written by Bryskett, as Mr Malone conjectures, betwixt 1584 and 1586, Spenser is introduced describing himself as having undertaken a work in heroical verse, under the title of a "Faerie Queene;" and it is clear that he continued to labour in that task till 1594, when we learn, from his 80th sonnet, that he had just composed six books:

After so long a race as I have run Through Faery Land, which those six books compile, Give leave to rest me, being half foredonne, And gather to myself new breath awhile; Then, as a steed refreshed after toyle, Out of my prison will I break anew, And stoutly will that second work assoyle, With strong endevour, and attention due.

It was not, therefore, the death of Sir Philip Sydney which deprived him of spirit to continue his captivating poem, since the greater part was written after that event; but the poet's domestic misfortunes, occasioned by Tyrone's rebellion, which seem at once to have ruined his fortune, and broken his heart. See TODD'S _Life of Spenser_, and MALONE'S Note on this passage.

It seems unlikely, that Sydney was Spenser's Prince Arthur. Upton more justly considers Leicester, a worthless character, but the favourite of Gloriana, (Queen Elizabeth,) and who aspired to share her bed and throne, as depicted under that character. See TODD'S _Spenser_, Vol. I. Life, p. clxviii.

[14] This was a charge brought against Spenser so early as the days of Ben Jonson; who says, in his Discoveries, "Spenser, in affecting the ancients, writ no language; yet I would have him read for his matter, but as Virgil read Ennius." This has been generally supposed to apply only to Spenser's "Pastorals;" but as in these he imitates rather a coarse and provincial than an obsolete dialect, the limitation of Jonson's censure is probably imaginary. It is probable, that, as the style of poetry in the latter part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and in that of her successor, had become laboured and ornate, Spenser's imitations of the old metrical romances had to his contemporaries an antique air of rude and naked simplicity, although his "Faery Queen" seems more intelligible to us than the compositions of Jonson himself. Dryden, whose charge was afterwards echoed by Pope, probably adopted it without very accurate investigation. Our idea of what is ancient does not necessarily imply obscurity; on the contrary, I am afraid that to modern ears the style of Addison sounds more antiquated than that of Dr Johnson; so that simplicity may produce the same effect as unintelligibility.

[15] Mr Rymer, who was pleased to call himself a critic, had promised to favour the public with "some reflections on that Paradise Lost of Milton, which some are pleased to call a poem, and to assert rhime against the slender sophistry wherewith he attacks it." But this promise, which is given in the end of his "Remarks on the Tragedies of the last Age," he never filled up the measure of his presumption, by attempting to fulfil.


_Dixeris egregie, notum si callida verbum Reddiderit junctura novum_----

This passage, as our author observes, (p. 221. vol. iv.) is variously construed by expositors; and the meaning which he there adopts, that of "applying received words to a new signification," seems fully as probable as that adopted in the text. Mr Malone has given the opinions of Hurd, Beattie, and De Nores, upon this disputed passage.

[17] This resolution our author fortunately did not adhere to.

[18] The passages of Scripture, on which Dryden founds his idea of the machinery of guardian angels, are the following, which I insert for the benefit of such readers as may not have at hand the old-fashioned book in which they occur.

"Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision; for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face towards the ground.

"And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands: And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And, when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for, as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me. And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not; peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And, when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince."--Dan. x. 5-21.

It may, however, be doubted, whether any poetical use could be made of the guardian angels here mentioned; since our ideas of their powers are too obscure and indefinite to afford any scope for description.

[19] In the beginning of the 12th chapter, as well as in the passage quoted, Michael is distinguished as "the great prince which standeth up for the children of Daniel's people."

[20] I shall imitate my predecessor, Mr Malone, in presenting the reader with Spanheim's summary of the notes of distinction between the Greek satirical drama, and the satirical poetry of the Romans.

"La premiére différence, qui est içi à remarquer et dont on ne peut disconvenir, c'est que les Satyres ou poëmes satyriques des Grecs, etoient des piéces dramatiques, ou de théatre; ce qu'on ne peut point dire des Satires Romaines, prises dans tous ces trois genres, dont je viens de parler, et auxquelles on a appliqué ce mot. Il y auroit peut-être plus de sujet d'en douter, à l'égard de ces premiéres Satires des anciens Romains, dont il a été fait mention, et dont il ne nous est rien resté, si les passages de deux auteurs Latins et de T. Live entre autres, qui en parlent, ne marquoient en termes exprès, qu'elles avoient précedé parmi eux les piéces dramatiques, et etoient en effet d'une autre espéce. D'ou vient aussi, que les Latins, quand ils font mention de la poësie Grecque, et d'ailleurs se contentent de donner aux premiéres ce nom de _poëme_, comme Ciceron le donne aux Satires de Varron, et d'autres un nom pareil à celles de Lucilius ou d'Horace.

"La seconde différence entre les poëmes satyriques des Grecs, et les Satires des Latins, vient de ce qu'il y a même quelque diversité dans le nom, laquelle ne paroit pas autrement dans les langues vulgaires. C'est qu'en effet les Grecs donnoient aux leurs le nom de Satyrus ou Satiri, de Satyriques, de piéces Satyriques, par rapport, s'entend, aux Satyres, ces hostes de bois, et ces compagnons de Baccus, qui y jouoient leur rôle: et d'ou vient aussi, qu'Horace, comme nous avons déja vû, les appelle _agrestes Satyros_, et ceux, qui en étoient les auteurs, du nom de _Satyrorum Scriptor._ Au lieu que les Romains ont dit _Satira_ ou _Satura_ de ces poëmes, auxquels ils en ont appliqué et restraint le nom; que leurs auteurs et leurs grammairiens donnent une autre origine, et une autre signification de ce mot, comme celle d'un mélange de plusieurs fruits de la terre, ou bien de plusieurs mets dans un plat; delà celle d'un mélange de plusieurs loix comprises dans une, ou enfin la signification d'un poëme mêlé de plusieurs choses.

"La troisiéme différence entre ces mêmes Satires et les piéces satyriques des Grecs est, qu'en effet l'introduction des Silénes et des Satyres, qui composoient les choeurs de ces derniéres, etoient tellement de leur essence, que sans eux elles ne pouvoient plus porter le nom de _Satyres_. Tellement qu'Horace, parlant entre autres de la nature de ces Satyres ou poëmes satyriques des Grecs, s'arrête a montrer, en quelle maniére on y doit faire parler Siléne, ou les Satyres; ce qu'on leur doit faire éviter ou observer. Ce qu'l n'auroit pas fait avec tant de soin, s'il avoit cru, que la présence des Satyres ne fut pas de la nature et de l'essence, comme je viens de dire, de ces sortes de piéces, qui en portoient le nom.

"C'est à quoi on peut ajouter l'action de ces mêmes Satyres, et qui etoient propres aux piéces, qui en portoient le nom. C'est qu'en effet les danses etoient si fort de leur essence, que non seulement Aristote, comme nous avons déja veu, joint ensemble la _poësie satyrique et faite pour la danse_; mais qu'un autre auteur Grec [_Lucianus_ #peri orchêseôs#] parle nommément des trois différentes sortes de danses attachés au théatre, _la tragique, la comique, et la satyrique_. D'où vient aussi, comme il le remarque ailleurs, que les Satires en prirent le nom de _Sicynnistes_; c'est à dire d'une sorte de danse, qui leur etoit particuliére, comme on peut voir entre autres de ce qu'en dit Siléne dans le Cyclope, à la veuë des Satyres; et ainsi d'ou on peut assés comprendre la force de l'épithéte de _saltantes Satyros_, que Virgile leur donne en quelque endroit; ou de ce qu'Horace, dans sa premiére Ode, parle des danses des Nymphes et des Satyres, _Nympharumque leues cum Satyris chori_. Tout cela, comme chacun voit, n'avoit aucun raport avec les Satires Romaines, et il n'est pas nécessaire, d'en dire davantage, pour le faire entendre.

"La quatriéme différence resulte des sujets assés divers des uns et des autres. Les Satyres des Grecs, comme il a déja été remarqué, et qu'on peut juger par les titres, qui nous en restent, prenoient d'ordinaire, non seulement des sujets connus, mais fabuleux; ce qui fait dire là-dessus à Horace, _ex noto carmen fictum sequar_; des heros, par exemple, ou des demi-dieux des siécles passés, à quoi le même poëte venoit de faire allusion. Les Satires Romaines, comme leurs auteurs en parlent eux-mêmes, et qu'ils le pratiquent, s'attachoient á reprendre les vices ou les erreurs de leur siécle et de leur patrie; à y jouer des particuliers de Rome, un Mutius entre autres, et un Lupus, avec Lucilius; un Milonius et un Nomentanus, avec Horace; un Crispinus et un Locustus, avec Juvenal; c'est à dire des gens, qui nous seroient peu connus aujourdhui, sans la mention, qu'ils ont trouvé à propos d'en faire dans leurs satires.

"La cinquiéme différence paroit encore dans la maniére, de laquelle les uns et les autres traitent leurs sujets, et dans le but principal, qu'ils s'y proposent. Celui de la poësie satyrique des Grecs, etoit de tourner en ridicule des actions sérieuses, comme l'enseigne le même Horace, _vertere seria ludo_; de travêstir pour ce sujet leurs dieux ou leurs héros, d'en changer le caractére, selon le besoin; de faire par exemple d'un Achille un homme mol, suivant qu'un autre poëte Latin y fait allusion, _Nec nocet autori, qui mollem fecit Achillem_. C'étoit en un mot leur but principal, de rire et de plaisanter; et d'ou vient non seulement le mot de _Risus_, comme il a déja été remarqué, qu'on a appliqué à ces sortes d'ouvrages, mais aussi ceux en Grec de _jeux_, ou même de jouëts, et de _joci_ en Latin, comme fait encore Horace, où il parle de l'auteur tragique, qui parmi les Grecs fut le premier, qui composa de ces piéces satyriques, et suivant qu'il dit, _incolumi gravitate jocum tentavit_. Nons pouvons même comprendre de ce qu'il ajoute dans la suite et des epithétes, que d'autres leur donnent de ris obscénes, que cette gravité, avec laquelle on avoit d'abord temperé ces sortes d'ouvrages, en fut bannie dans la suite; que les régles de la pudeur n'y furent guéres observées; et qu'on en fit des spectacles assés conformes à l'humeur et à la conduite de tels acteurs que des satires petulans ou _protervi_, comme Horace les appelle sur ce même sujet. Et c'est à quoi contribuerent d'ailleurs leurs danses et leurs postures, dont il à été parlé, de même que celles des pantomimes parmi les Romains. Au lieu que les Satires Romaines, temoin celles qui nous restent, et á qui d'ailleurs ce nom est demeuré comme propre et attaché, avoient moins pour but de plaisanter que d'exciter ou de l'indignation, ou de la haine, _facit indignatio versum_, ou du mépris; qu'elles s'attachent plus à reprendre et à mordre, qu'à faire rire ou à folâtrer. D'ou vient aussi le nom de _poëme medisant_, que les grammairiens leur donnent, ou celui de _vers mordans_, comme en parle Ovide dans un passage, où je trouve qu'il se défend de n'avoir point écrit de Satyres.

_Non ego mordaci distrinxi carmine quemquam, Nec meus ullius crimina versus habet._

"Je ne touche pas enfin la différence, qu'on pourroit encore alléguer de la composition diverse des unes et des autres; les Satires Romaines, dont il est ici proprement question et qui ont été conservées jusques à nous, ayant été écrites en vers héroiques, et les poëmes satyriques des Grecs en vers jambiques. Ce qui devroit néanmoins être d'autant plus remarqué, qu'Horace ne trouve point d'autre différence entre l'inventeur des Satires Romaines et les auteurs de l'ancienne comédie, comme Cratinus et Eupolis, si non que les Satires du premier étoient écrites dans un autre genre de vers."--See Baron SPANHEIM'S Dissertation, _Sur les_ Cesars _de_ Julien, _et en général sur les ouvrages satyriques des Anciens_, prefixed to his translation of Julian's work, Amsterdam, 1728, 4to. and Malone's "Dryden," Vol. IV. p. 130.

[21] Horace, in the beginning of the Fourth Satire of his First Book, introduces Lucilius as imitating the ancient Greek comedians:

_Hinc omnis pendet Lucilius, hosce secutus, Mutatis tantum pedibus numerisque; facetus, Emunctæ naris, durus componere versus. Nam fuit hoc vitiosus: in hora sæpe ducentos, Ut magnum, versus dictabat stans pede in uno. Cum flueret lutulentus, erat quod tollere velles; Garrulus, atque piger scribendi ferre laborem; Scribendi recte; nam ut multum, non moror._--

Towards the end of the Tenth Satire, the poet resumes the subject, and vindicates his character of Lucilius against those who had accused him of too much severity towards the ancient satirist; and again accuses him of carelessness, though he acknowledges his superiority to the more ancient models:

----_fuerit Lucilius, inquam, Comis et urbanus; fuerit limatior idem, Quam rudis, et Græcis intacti carminis auctor, Quamque poetarum seniorum turba: Sed ille, Si foret hoc nostrum fato dilatus in ævum, Detereret sibi multa: recideret omne, quod ultra Perfectum traheretur: et in versu faciendo Sæpe caput scaberet, vivos et roderet ungues._

[22] The original runs thus: "_Et tamen in illis veteribus nostris quæ Menippum imitati, non interpretati, quadam hilaritate conspersimus, multa admis admista ex intima philosophia, multa dicta dialectice, quæ quo facilius minus docti intelligerent jucunditate quadam ad legendum invitati; in laudationibus, in iis ipsis antiquitatum proæmiis, philosophice scribere voluimus si modo consecuti sumus_."--Academic lib. iii. sect. 2. The sense of the last clause seems to be, that Varro had attempted, even in panegyrics, and studied imitations of the ancient satirists, to write philosophically, although he modestly affects to doubt of his having been able to accomplish his purpose.

[23] This pretended continuation of Petronius Arbiter was published at Paris in 1693, and proved to be a forgery by one Nodot, a Frenchman.

[24] Perhaps the Satires of Raübner.

[25] From this classification we may infer, that Dryden's idea of a Varronian satire was, that, instead of being merely didactic, it comprehended a fable or series of imaginary and ludicrous incidents, in which the author engaged the objects of his satire. Such being his definition, it is surprising he should have forgotten Hudibras, the best satire of this kind that perhaps ever was written; but this he afterwards apologizes for, as a slip of an old man's memory.

[26] _Horatii Persiique Satyras Isaacus Casaubonus et Daniel Heinsius certatim laudibus extulere, ac Persium ille suum tantopere adornavit, ut nihil Horatio, nihil Juvenali præter indignationem reliquisse videatur; hic verò Horatium curiosè considerando tam admirabilem esse docuit, ut plerisque jam in Persio nimia Stoici supercilii morositas jure displiceat. Juvenalis ingenium ambo quidem certè laudaverunt, sic tamen ut in eo sæpe etiam Rhetoricæ arrogantiæ quasi lasciviam, ac denique declamationem potiùs quàm Satyram esse pronunciaverunt._

[27] North has left the following account of this great lawyer's prejudices. "He was an upright judge, if taken within himself; and when he appeared, as he often did, and really was, partial, his inclination or prejudice, insensibly to himself, drew his judgment aside. His bias lay strangely for, and against, characters and denominations; and sometimes, the very habits of persons. If one party was a courtier, and well dressed, and the other a sort of puritan, with a black cap and plain clothes, he insensibly thought the justice of the cause with the latter. If the dissenting, or anti-court party was at the back of a cause, he was very seldom impartial; and the loyalists had always a great disadvantage before him. And he ever sat hard upon his lordship, in his practice, in causes of that nature, as may be observed in the cases of Cuts and Pickering, just before, and of Soams and Bernardiston elsewhere, related. It is said he was once caught. A courtier, who had a cause to be tried before him, got one to go to him, as from the king, to speak for favour to his adversary, and so carried his point; for the Chief Justice could not think any person to be in the right, that came so unduly recommended." _Life of Lord Keeper Guilford_, p. 61.

[28] Casaubon published an edition of "Persius," with notes, and a commentary. Francesco Stelluti's version was published at Rome in 1630.

[29] This is a strange mistake in an author, who translated Persius entirely, and great part of Juvenal. The satires of Persius were written during the reign of Nero, and those of Juvenal in that of Domitian. This error is the more extraordinary, as Dryden mentions, a little lower, the very emperors under whom these poets flourished.

[30] David Wedderburn of Aberdeen, whose edition of "Persius," with a commentary, was published in 8vo. at Amsterdam, 1664.

[31] Persius died in his 30th year, in the 8th year of Nero's reign. Lucan died before he was twenty-seven.

[32] Casaubon's edition is accompanied, "_Cum Persiana Horatii imitatione_."

[33] A Stoic philosopher to whom Persius addresses his 5th Satire.

[34] The famous Gilbert Burnet, the Buzzard of our author's "Hind and Panther," but for whom he seems now disposed to entertain some respect.

[35] Dryden alludes to the beautiful description which Horace has given of his father's paternal and watchful affection in the 6th Satire of the 1st Book. Wycherley, the friend for whom he wishes a father of equal tenderness, after having been gayest of the gay, applauded by theatres, and the object of a monarch's jealousy, was finally thrown into jail for debt, and lay there seven long years, his father refusing him any assistance. And, although in 1697, he was probably at liberty, for King James had interposed in his favour and paid a great part of his debts, he continued to labour under pecuniary embarrassments untill his father's death and even after he had succeeded to his entailed property.

[36] The abuse of personal satires, or lampoons, as they were called, was carried to a prodigious extent in the days of Dryden, when every man of fashion was obliged to write verses; and those who had neither poetry nor wit, had recourse to ribaldry and libelling. Some observations on these lampoons may be found prefixed to the Epistle to Julian, among the pieces ascribed to Dryden.

[37] Wycherley, author of the witty comedy so called.

[38] The precise dates of Juvenal's birth and death are disputed; but it is certain he flourished under Domitian, famous for his cruelty against men and insects. Juvenal was banished by the tyrant, in consequence of reflecting upon the actor Paris. He is generally said to have died of grief; but Lepsius contends, that he survived even the accession of Hadrian.

[39] The learned Barten Holyday was born at Oxford, in the end of the 16th century. Wood says, he was second to none for his poetry and sublime fancy, and brings in witness his "smooth translation of rough Persius," made before he was twenty years of age. He wrote a play called "Technogamia, or the Marriage of the Arts," which was acted at Christ Church College, before James I., and, though extremely dull and pedantic, was ill received by his Majesty. Holyday's version of Juvenal was not published till after his death, when, in 1673, it was inscribed to the dean and canons of Christ Church. As he had adopted the desperate resolution of comprising every Latin line within an English one, the modern reader has often reason to complain, with the embarrassed gentleman in the "Critic," that the interpreter is the harder to be understood of the two.

[40] Sir Robert Stapylton, a gentleman of an ancient family in Yorkshire, who followed the fortune of Charles I. in the civil war, besides several plays and poems, published a version of Juvenal, under the title of "The manners of Men described in sixteen Satires by Juvenal." There are two editions, the first published in 1647, and the last and most perfect in 1660. Sir Robert Stapylton died in 1669. His verse is as harsh and uncouth as that of Holyday, who indeed charged him with plagiary; though one would have thought the nature of the commodity would have set theft at defiance.

[41] I presume, this celebrated finisher of the law, who bequeathed his name to his successors in office, was a contemporary of our poet. In the time of the rebellion, that operator was called Gregory, and is supposed, with some probability, to have beheaded Charles I. See the evidence for the prisoner in Hulet's trial after the Restoration. _State Trials_, Vol. II. p. 388.

[42] This is a strange averment, considering the "Reflections upon Absalom and Achitophel, by a Person of Honour," in composing and publishing which, the Duke of Buckingham, our author's Zimri, shewed much resentment and very little wit. See Vol. IX. p. 272.


_Persius exclamat, Per magnos, Brute, deos te Oro, qui regis consueris tollere, cur non Hunc Regem jugulas? Operum hoc mihi crede tuorum est._

HOR. Satire 8. Lib. I.

[44] This gentleman, who was as great a gambler as a punster, regaled with his quibbles the minor class of the frequenters of Will's coffee-house, who, having neither wit enough to entitle them to mix with the critics who associated with Dryden, and were called _The Witty Club_, or gravity enough to discuss politics with those who formed the Grave Club, were content to laugh heartily at the puns and conundrums of Captain Swan.

[45] Mr Lewis Maidwell, the author of a comedy called "The Generous Enemies," represented by the Duke's company 1680. In the prologue, as Mr Malone informs us, there is an allusion to Rochester's mean assault on Dryden:

Who dares be witty now, and with just rage Disturb the vice and follies of the age? With knaves and fools, satire's a dangerous fault; They will not let you rub their sores with salt: Else _Rose street ambuscades_ shall break your head, And life in verse shall lay the poet dead.

It is only farther known of this gentleman, that he was a friend of Shadwell, who gave him the epilogue for his comedy, and that he taught a private school.

[46] The Roman exclamation of high contentment at a recitation, like our _bravo! bravissimo!_

[47] Dryden, in his Epistle to Sir George Etherege, has shewn, however, how completely he was master even of a measure he despised.

[48] Scarron's _Virgile Travesti_.

[49] Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh was lord advocate for Scotland, during the reigns of Charles II. and his successor. His works are voluminous, and upon various subjects, but chiefly historical and juridical. He left, however, one poem called "Cælia's Country-house," and some essays on moral subjects. The memory of Sir George Mackenzie is not in high estimation as a lawyer, and his having been the agent of the crown, during the cruel persecution of the fanatical Cameronians, renders him still execrated among the common people of Scotland. But he was an accomplished scholar, of lively talents, and ready elocution, and very well deserved the appellation of a "noble wit of Scotland."

[50] In illustration of Holyday's miserable success in his desperate attempt, we need only take the lines with which he opens:

Shall I be still an auditor, and ne'er Repay that have so often had mine eare Vexed with hoarse Codrus Theseads? shall one sweat While his gownd comique sceane he does repeat, Another while his elegies soft strain The reader? and shall not I vex them again? Shall mighty Telephus be unrequited, That spends a day in being all recited? Or volume-swoln Orestes, that does fill The margin of an ample booke; yet still, As if the book were mad too, is extended Upon the very back, nor yet is ended.






_The Poet gives us first a kind of humorous reason for his writing: that being provoked by hearing so many ill poets rehearse their works, he does himself justice on them, by giving them as bad as they bring. But since no man will rank himself with ill writers, it is easy to conclude, that if such wretches could draw an audience, he thought it no hard matter to excel them, and gain a greater esteem with the public. Next, he informs us more openly, why he rather addicts himself to satire than any other kind of poetry. And here he discovers, that it is not so much his indignation to ill poets as to ill men, which has prompted him to write. He, therefore, gives us a summary and general view of the vices and follies reigning in his time. So that this first satire is the natural ground-work of all the rest. Herein he confines himself to no one subject, but strikes indifferently at all men in his way. In every following satire he has chosen some particular moral which he would inculcate; and lashes some particular vice or folly, (an art with which our lampooners are not much acquainted). But our poet being desirous to reform his own age, and not daring to attempt it by an overt-act of naming living persons, inveighs only against those who were infamous in the times immediately preceding his, whereby he not only gives a fair warning to great men, that their memory lies at the mercy of future poets and historians, but also, with a finer stroke of his pen, brands even the living, and personates them under dead men's names._

_I have avoided, as much as I could possibly, the borrowed learning of marginal notes and illustrations, and for that reason have translated this satire somewhat largely; and freely own, (if it be a fault,) that I have likewise omitted most of the proper names, because I thought they would not much edify the reader. To conclude, if in two or three places I have deserted all the commentators, it is because I thought they first deserted my author, or at least have left him in so much obscurity, that too much room is left for guessing._

Still shall I hear, and never quit the score, Stunned with hoarse Codrus'[51] Theseid, o'er and o'er? Shall this man's elegies and t'other's play Unpunished murder a long summer's day? Huge Telephus,[52] a formidable page, Cries vengeance; and Orestes'[53] bulky rage, Unsatisfied with margins closely writ, Foams o'er the covers, and not finished yet. No man can take a more familiar note Of his own home, than I of Vulcan's grott, Or Mars his grove,[54] or hollow winds that blow From Ætna's top, or tortured ghosts below. I know by rote the famed exploits of Greece, The Centaurs' fury, and the Golden Fleece; Through the thick shades the eternal scribbler bawls, And shakes the statues on their pedestals. The best and worst[55] on the same theme employs His muse, and plagues us with an equal noise. Provoked by these incorrigible fools, I left declaiming in pedantic schools; Where, with men-boys, I strove to get renown, Advising Sylla to a private gown.[56] But, since the world with writing is possest, } I'll versify in spite; and do my best, } To make as much waste paper as the rest. } But why I lift aloft the satire's rod, And tread the path which famed Lucilius[57] trod, Attend the causes which my muse have led:-- When sapless eunuchs mount the marriage-bed; When mannish Mævia,[58] that two-handed whore, Astride on horseback hunts the Tuscan boar; When all our lords are by his wealth outvied, Whose razor on my callow beard was tried;[59] When I behold the spawn of conquered Nile, Crispinus, both in birth and manners vile,[60] Pacing in pomp, with cloak of Tyrian dye, Changed oft a-day for needless luxury; And finding oft occasion to be fanned, Ambitious to produce his lady-hand; Charged with light summer-rings his fingers sweat,[61] Unable to support a gem of weight: Such fulsome objects meeting every where, 'Tis hard to write, but harder to forbear. To view so lewd a town, and to refrain, What hoops of iron could my spleen contain! When pleading Matho, borne abroad for air,[62] With his fat paunch fills his new-fashioned chair, And after him the wretch in pomp conveyed, Whose evidence his lord and friend betrayed, And but the wished occasion does attend } From the poor nobles the last spoils to rend, } Whom even spies dread as their superior fiend, } And bribe with presents; or, when presents fail, They send their prostituted wives for bail: When night-performance holds the place of merit, And brawn and back the next of kin disherit; (For such good parts are in preferment's way,) The rich old madam never fails to pay Her legacies, by nature's standard given, One gains an ounce, another gains eleven: A dear-bought bargain, all things duly weighed, For which their thrice concocted blood is paid. With looks as wan, as he who in the brake At unawares has trod upon a snake; Or played at Lyons a declaiming prize, For which the vanquished rhetorician dies.[63] What indignation boils within my veins, } When perjured guardians, proud with impious gains, } Choke up the streets, too narrow for their trains! } Whose wards, by want betrayed, to crimes are led Too foul to name, too fulsome to be read! When he who pilled his province 'scapes the laws, And keeps his money, though he lost his cause; His fine begged off, contemns his infamy, Can rise at twelve, and get him drunk ere three; Enjoys his exile, and, condemned in vain, Leaves thee, prevailing province, to complain.[64] Such villanies roused Horace into wrath; And tis more noble to pursue his path,[65] Than an old tale of Diomede to repeat, } Or labouring after Hercules to sweat, } Or wandering in the winding maze of Crete; } Or with the winged smith aloft to fly, Or fluttering perish with his foolish boy. With what impatience must the muse behold The wife, by her procuring husband sold? For though the law makes null the adulterer's deed Of lands to her, the cuckold may succeed, Who his taught eyes up to the ceiling throws, And sleeps all over but his wakeful nose. When he dares hope a colonel's command, Whose coursers kept, ran out his father's land; Who yet a stripling, Nero's chariot drove, } Whirled o'er the streets, while his vain master strove } With boasted art to please his eunuch love[66] } Would it not make a modest author dare To draw his table-book within the square, And fill with notes, when, lolling at his ease, Mecænas-like,[67] the happy rogue he sees Borne by six wearied slaves in open view, Who cancelled an old will, and forged a new; Made wealthy at the small expence of signing With a wet seal, and a fresh interlining? The lady, next, requires a lashing line, Who squeezed a toad into her husband's wine: So well the fashionable medicine thrives, That now 'tis practised even by country wives; Poisoning, without regard of fame or fear, And spotted corpse are frequent on the bier. Wouldst thou to honours and preferments climb? Be bold in mischief, dare some mighty crime, Which dungeons, death, or banishment deserves; For virtue is but dryly praised, and starves. Great men to great crimes owe their plate embost, } Fair palaces, and furniture of cost, } And high commands; a sneaking sin is lost. } Who can behold that rank old letcher keep His son's corrupted wife, and hope to sleep?[68] Or that male-harlot, or that unfledged boy, Eager to sin, before he can enjoy? If nature could not, anger would indite Such woful stuff as I or Sh----ll[69] write. Count from the time, since old Deucalion's boat, Raised by the flood, did on Parnassus float,[70] And, scarcely mooring on the cliff, implored An oracle how man might be restored; When softened stones and vital breath ensued, And virgins naked were by lovers viewed; What ever since that golden age was done, What human kind desires, and what they shun; Rage, passions, pleasures, impotence of will, Shall this satirical collection fill. What age so large a crop of vices bore, Or when was avarice extended more? When were the dice with more profusion thrown? The well-filled fob not emptied now alone, But gamesters for whole patrimonies play; The steward brings the deeds which must convey The lost estate: what more than madness reigns, When one short sitting many hundreds drains, And not enough is left him to supply } Board-wages, or a footman's livery? } What age so many summer-seats did see? } Or which of our forefathers fared so well, As on seven dishes at a private meal? Clients of old were feasted; now, a poor Divided dole is dealt at the outward door; Which by the hungry rout is soon dispatched: The paltry largess, too, severely watched, Ere given; and every face observed with care, That no intruding guest usurp a share. Known, you receive; the crier calls aloud } Our old nobility of Trojan blood, } Who gape among the crowd for their precarious food. } The prætor's and the tribune's voice is heard; The freedman jostles, and will be preferred; First come, first served, he cries; and I, in spite Of your great lordships, will maintain my right; Though born a slave, though my torn ears are bored,[71] 'Tis not the birth, 'tis money makes the lord. The rents of five fair houses I receive; What greater honours can the purple give? The poor patrician is reduced to keep, In melancholy walks, a grazier's sheep: Not Pallus nor Licinius[72] had my treasure; Then let the sacred tribunes wait my leisure. Once a poor rogue, 'tis true, I trod the street, And trudged to Rome upon my naked feet: Gold is the greatest God; though yet we see No temples raised to money's majesty; No altars fuming to her power divine, Such as to valour, peace, and virtue shine, And faith, and concord; where the stork on high[73] } Seems to salute her infant progeny, } Presaging pious love with her auspicious cry.-- } But since our knights and senators account, To what their sordid begging vails amount, Judge what a wretched share the poor attends, Whose whole subsistence on those alms depends! Their household fire, their raiment, and their food, Prevented by those harpies;[74] when a wood Of litters thick besiege the donor's gate, And begging lords and teeming ladies wait The promised dole; nay, some have learned the trick To beg for absent persons; feign them sick, Close mewed in their sedans, for fear of air; } And for their wives produce an empty chair. } This is my spouse; dispatch her with her share; } 'Tis Galla.--Let her ladyship but peep.-- No, sir, 'tis pity to disturb her sleep.[75] Such fine employments our whole days divide: The salutations of the morning tide Call up the sun; those ended, to the hall We wait the patron, hear the lawyers bawl; Then to the statues; where amidst the race } Of conquering Rome, some Arab shows his face, } Inscribed with titles, and profanes the place;[76] } Fit to be pissed against, and somewhat more. The great man, home conducted, shuts his door. Old clients, wearied out with fruitless care, Dismiss their hopes of eating, and despair; Though much against the grain, forced to retire, Buy roots for supper, and provide a fire. 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, } And, mounted high on downy chariots, throw } Disdainful glances on the crowd below? } Be silent, and beware, if such you see; 'Tis defamation but to say, That's he! Against bold Turnus the great Trojan arm, Amidst their strokes the poet gets no harm: Achilles may in epic verse be slain, And none of all his myrmidons complain: Hylas may drop his pitcher, none will cry, Not if he drown himself for company; But when Lucilius brandishes his pen, And flashes in the face of guilty men, A cold sweat stands in drops on every part, And rage succeeds to tears, revenge to smart.[77] Muse, be advised; 'tis past considering time, When entered once the dangerous lists of rhime; Since none the living villains dare implead, Arraign them in the persons of the dead.


[51] Codrus, or it may be Cordus, a bad poet, who wrote the life and actions of Theseus.--[This and almost all the following notes are taken from Dryden's first edition. Those which are supplied by the present Editor, are distinguished by the letter E.]

[52] The name of a tragedy.

[53] Another tragedy.

[54] Some commentators take this grove to be a place where poets were used to repeat their works to the people; but more probably, both this and Vulcan's grott, or cave, and the rest of the places and names here mentioned, are only meant for the common places of Homer in his Iliads and Odyssies.

[55] That is, the best and the worst poets.

[56] This was one of the themes given in the schools of rhetoricians, in the deliberative kind; whether Sylla should lay down the supreme power of dictatorship, or still keep it?

[57] Lucilius, the first satirist of the Romans, who wrote long before Horace.

[58] Mævia, a name put for any impudent or mannish woman.

[59] Juvenal's barber, now grown wealthy.

[60] Crispinus, an Egyptian slave; now, by his riches, transformed into a nobleman.

[61] The Romans were grown so effeminate in Juvenal's time, that they wore light rings in the summer, and heavier in the winter.

[62] Matho, a famous lawyer, mentioned in other places by Juvenal and Martial.

[63] Lyons, a city in France, where annual sacrifices and games were made in honour of Augustus Cæsar.

[64] Here the poet complains, that the governors of provinces being accused for their unjust exactions, though they were condemned at their trials, yet got off by bribery.

[65] Horace, who wrote satires; it is more noble, says our author, to imitate him in that way, than to write the labours of Hercules, the sufferings of Diomedes and his followers, or the flight of Dædalus, who made the Labyrinth, and the death of his son Icarus.

[66] Nero married Sporus, an eunuch; though it may be, the poet meant Nero's mistress in man's apparel.

[67] Mecænas is often taxed by Seneca and others for his effeminacy.

[68] The meaning is, that the very consideration of such a crime will hinder a virtuous man from taking his repose.

[69] Shadwell, our author's old enemy.--E.

[70] Deucalion and Pyrrha, when the world was drowned, escaped to the top of Mount Parnassus, and were commanded to restore mankind, by throwing stones over their heads; the stones he threw became men, and those she threw became women.

[71] The ears of all slaves were bored, as a mark of their servitude; which custom is still usual in the East Indies, and in other parts, even for whole nations, who bore prodigious holes in their ears, and wear vast weights at them.

[72] Pallus, a slave freed by Claudius Cæsar, and raised by his favour to great riches. Licinius was another wealthy freedman belonging to Augustus.

[73] Perhaps the storks were used to build on the top of the temple dedicated to Concord.

[74] He calls the Roman knights, &c. harpies, or devourers. In those days, the rich made doles intended for the poor; but the great were either so covetous, or so needy, that they came in their litters to demand their shares of the largess; and thereby prevented, and consequently starved, the poor.

[75] The meaning is, that noblemen would cause empty litters to be carried to the giver's door, pretending their wives were within them. "'Tis Galla," that is, my wife; the next words, "Let her ladyship but peep," are of the servant who distributes the dole; "Let me see her, that I may be sure she is within the litter." The husband answers, "She is asleep, and to open the litter would disturb her rest."

[76] The poet here tells you how the idle passed their time; in going first to the levees of the great; then to the hall, that is, to the temple of Apollo, to hear the lawyers plead; then to the market-place of Augustus, where the statues of the famous Romans were set in ranks on pedestals; amongst which statues were seen those of foreigners, such as Arabs, &c. who, for no desert, but only on account of their wealth or favour, were placed amongst the noblest.

[77] 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.






_The story of this satire speaks itself. Umbritius, the supposed friend of Juvenal, and himself a poet, is leaving Rome, and retiring to Cumæ. 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, } I like the solitary seat he chose, } In quiet Cumæ[78] fixing his repose: } Where, far from noisy Rome, secure he lives, And one more citizen to Sybil gives; The road to Baiæ,[79] and that soft recess Which all the gods with all their bounty bless; Though I in Prochyta[80] with greater ease Could live, than in a street of palaces. What scene so desert, or so full of fright, } As towering houses, tumbling in the night, } And Rome on fire beheld by its own blazing light? } But worse than all the clattering tiles, and worse Than thousand padders, is the poet's curse; Rogues, that in dog-days cannot rhyme forbear,[81] But without mercy read, and make you hear. Now while my friend, just ready to depart, Was packing all his goods in one poor cart, He stopt a little at the Conduit-gate, Where Numa modelled once the Roman state,[82] In mighty councils with his nymph retired;[83] Though now the sacred shades and founts are hired By banished Jews, who their whole wealth can lay In a small basket, on a wisp of hay;[84] Yet such our avarice is, that every tree Pays for his head, nor sleep itself is free; Nor place, nor persons, now are sacred held, From their own grove the muses are expelled. Into this lonely vale our steps we bend, I and my sullen discontented friend; The marble caves and aqueducts we view; But how adulterate now, and different from the true! How much more beauteous had the fountain been Embellished with her first created green, Where crystal streams through living turf had run, Contented with an urn of native stone! Then thus Umbritius, with an angry frown, And looking back on this degenerate town:-- Since noble arts in Rome have no support, And ragged virtue not a friend at court, No profit rises from the ungrateful stage, My poverty encreasing with my age; 'Tis time to give my just disdain a vent, And, cursing, leave so base a government. Where Dædalus his borrowed wings laid by,[85] To that obscure retreat I chuse to fly: While yet few furrows on my face are seen, } While I walk upright, and old age is green, } And Lachesis has somewhat left to spin.[86] } Now, now 'tis time to quit this cursed place, And hide from villains my too honest face: Here let Arturius live,[87] and such as he; Such manners will with such a town agree. Knaves, who in full assemblies have the knack Of turning truth to lies, and white to black, Can hire large houses, and oppress the poor By farmed excise; can cleanse the common-shore, And rent the fishery; can bear the dead, } And teach their eyes dissembled tears to shed; } All this for gain; for gain they sell their very head. } These fellows (see what fortune's power can do!) Were once the minstrels of a country show; Followed the prizes through each paltry town, By trumpet-cheeks and bloated faces known. But now, grown rich, on drunken holidays, At their own costs exhibit public plays; Where, influenced by the rabble's bloody will, With thumbs bent back, they popularly kill.[88] From thence returned, their sordid avarice rakes In excrements again, and hires the jakes. Why hire they not the town, not every thing, Since such as they have fortune in a string, Who, for her pleasure, can her fools advance, And toss them topmost on the wheel of chance? What's Rome to me, what business have I there? I who can neither lie, nor falsely swear? Nor praise my patron's undeserving rhymes, Nor yet comply with him, nor with his times? Unskilled in schemes by planets to foreshow, Like canting rascals, how the wars will go: I neither will, nor can, prognosticate To the young gaping heir, his father's fate; Nor in the entrails of a toad have pried, Nor carried bawdy presents to a bride: For want of these town-virtues, thus alone I go, conducted on my way by none; Like a dead member from the body rent, Maimed, and unuseful to the government. Who now is loved, but he who loves the times, Conscious of close intrigues, and dipt in crimes, Labouring with secrets which his bosom burn, Yet never must to public light return? They get reward alone, who can betray; For keeping honest counsels none will pay. He who can Verres[89] when he will accuse, The purse of Verres may at pleasure use: But let not all the gold which Tagus hides, And pays the sea in tributary tides,[90] Be bribe sufficient to corrupt thy breast, Or violate with dreams thy peaceful rest. Great men with jealous eyes the friend behold, Whose secrecy they purchase with their gold. I haste to tell thee,--nor shall shame oppose,-- What confidents our wealthy Romans chose; And whom I must abhor: to speak my mind, I hate, in Rome, a Grecian town to find; To see the scum of Greece transplanted here, Received like gods, is what I cannot bear. Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound; Obscene Orontes,[91] diving under ground, Conveys his wealth to Tyber's hungry shores, And fattens Italy with foreign whores: Hither their crooked harps and customs come; All find receipt in hospitable Rome. The barbarous harlots crowd the public place:-- } Go, fools, and purchase an unclean embrace; } The painted mitre court, and the more painted face. } Old Romulus,[92] and father Mars, look down! } Your herdsman primitive, your homely clown, } Is turned a beau in a loose tawdry gown. } His once unkem'd and horrid locks, behold 'Stilling sweet oil; his neck enchained with gold; Aping the foreigners in every dress, Which, bought at greater cost, becomes him less. Meantime they wisely leave their native land; From Sycion, Samos, and from Alaband, And Amydon, to Rome they swarm in shoals: So sweet and easy is the gain from fools. Poor refugees at first, they purchase here; And, soon as denizened, they domineer; Grow to the great, a flattering, servile rout, Work themselves inward, and their patrons out. Quick-witted, brazen-faced, with fluent tongues, Patient of labours, and dissembling wrongs. Riddle me this, and guess him if you can, Who bears a nation in a single man? A cook, a conjurer, a rhetorician, } A painter, pedant, a geometrician, } A dancer on the ropes, and a physician; } All things the hungry Greek exactly knows, And bid him go to heaven, to heaven he goes. In short, no Scythian, Moor, or Thracian born, But in that town which arms and arts adorn.[93] Shall he be placed above me at the board, In purple clothed, and lolling like a lord? Shall he before me sign, whom t'other day } A small-craft vessel hither did convey, } Where, stowed with prunes, and rotten figs, he lay? } How little is the privilege become Of being born a citizen of Rome! The Greeks get all by fulsome flatteries; A most peculiar stroke they have at lies. They make a wit of their insipid friend, His blubber-lips and beetle-brows commend, His long crane-neck and narrow shoulders praise,-- You'd think they were describing Hercules. A creaking voice for a clear treble goes; Though harsher than a cock, that treads and crows. We can as grossly praise; but, to our grief, No flattery but from Grecians gains belief. Besides these qualities, we must agree, They mimic better on the stage than we: The wife, the whore, the shepherdess, they play, In such a free, and such a graceful way, That we believe a very woman shown, And fancy something underneath the gown. But not Antiochus, nor Stratocles,[94] } Our ears and ravished eyes can only please; } The nation is composed of such as these. } All Greece is one comedian; laugh, and they Return it louder than an ass can bray; Grieve, and they grieve; if you weep silently, } There seems a silent echo in their eye; } They cannot mourn like you, but they can cry. } Call for a fire, their winter clothes they take; Begin but you to shiver, and they shake; In frost and snow, if you complain of heat, They rub the unsweating brow, and swear they sweat. We live not on the square with such as these; Such are our betters who can better please; Who day and night are like a looking-glass, Still ready to reflect their patron's face; The panegyric hand, and lifted eye, Prepared for some new piece of flattery. Even nastiness occasions will afford; They praise a belching, or well-pissing lord. Besides, there's nothing sacred, nothing free From bold attempts of their rank lechery. Through the whole family their labours run; } The daughter is debauched, the wife is won; } Nor 'scapes the bridegroom, or the blooming son. } If none they find for their lewd purpose fit, They with the walls and very floors commit. They search the secrets of the house, and so Are worshipped there, and feared for what they know. And, now we talk of Grecians, cast a view } On what, in schools, their men of morals do. } A rigid stoick his own pupil slew; } A friend, against a friend of his own cloth, Turned evidence, and murdered on his oath.[95] What room is left for Romans in a town Where Grecians rule, and cloaks controul the gown? Some Diphilus, or some Protogenes,[96] Look sharply out, our senators to seize; Engross them wholly, by their native art, And fear no rivals in their bubbles' heart: One drop of poison in my patron's ear, One slight suggestion of a senseless fear, Infused with cunning, serves to ruin me; Disgraced, and banished from the family. In vain forgotten services I boast; My long dependence in an hour is lost. Look round the world, what country will appear, Where friends are left with greater ease than here? At Rome (nor think me partial to the poor) All offices of ours are out of door: In vain we rise, and to the levees run; My lord himself is up before, and gone: The prætor bids his lictors mend their pace, Lest his colleague outstrip him in the race. The childless matrons are, long since, awake, And for affronts the tardy visits take. 'Tis frequent here to see a free-born son On the left hand of a rich hireling run; Because the wealthy rogue can throw away, For half a brace of bouts, a tribune's pay; But you, poor sinner, though you love the vice, And like the whore, demur upon the price; And, frighted with the wicked sum, forbear To lend a hand, and help her from the chair. Produce a witness of unblemished life, Holy as Numa, or as Numa's wife, Or him who bid the unhallowed flames retire, And snatched the trembling goddess from the fire;[97] The question is not put how far extends His piety, but what he yearly spends; Quick, to the business; how he lives and eats; How largely gives; how splendidly he treats; How many thousand acres feed his sheep; What are his rents; what servants does he keep? The account is soon cast up; the judges rate Our credit in the court by our estate. Swear by our gods, or those the Greeks adore, Thou art as sure forsworn, as thou art poor: The poor must gain their bread by perjury; } And e'en the gods, that other means deny, } In conscience must absolve them, when they lie. } Add, that the rich have still a gibe in store, And will be monstrous witty on the poor; For the torn surtout and the tattered vest, The wretch and all his wardrobe, are a jest; The greasy gown, sullied with often turning, Gives a good hint, to say,--The man's in mourning; Or, if the shoe be ripped, or patches put,-- He's wounded! see the plaister on his foot. Want is the scorn of every wealthy fool, And wit in rags is turned to ridicule. Pack hence, and from the covered benches rise, (The master of the ceremonies cries,) This is no place for you, whose small estate Is not the value of the settled rate; The sons of happy punks, the pandar's heir, } Are privileged to sit in triumph there, } To clap the first, and rule the theatre. } Up to the galleries, for shame, retreat; For, by the Roscian law,[98] the poor can claim no seat.-- Who ever brought to his rich daughter's bed, The man that polled but twelve pence for his head? Who ever named a poor man for his heir, Or called him to assist the judging chair? The poor were wise, who, by the rich oppressed, Withdrew, and sought a secret place of rest.[99] Once they did well, to free themselves from scorn; But had done better, never to return. Rarely they rise by virtue's aid, who lie Plunged in the depth of helpless poverty. At Rome 'tis worse, where house-rent by the year, } And servants' bellies, cost so devilish dear, } And tavern-bills run high for hungry cheer. } To drink or eat in earthen-ware we scorn, } Which cheaply country-cupboards does adorn, } And coarse blue hoods on holidays are worn. } Some distant parts of Italy are known, Where none but only dead men wear a gown;[100] On theatres of turf, in homely state, Old plays they act, old feasts they celebrate; The same rude song returns upon the crowd, And, by tradition, is for wit allowed. The mimic yearly gives the same delights; And in the mother's arms the clownish infant frights. Their habits (undistinguished by degree) } Are plain, alike; the same simplicity, } Both on the stage, and in the pit, you see. } In his white cloak the magistrate appears; The country bumpkin the same livery wears. But here attired beyond our purse we go, For useless ornament and flaunting show; We take on trust, in purple robes to shine, And poor, are yet ambitious to be fine. This is a common vice, though all things here Are sold, and sold unconscionably dear. What will you give that Cossus[101] may but view Your face, and in the crowd distinguish you; May take your incense like a gracious God, And answer only with a civil nod? To please our patrons, in this vicious age, We make our entrance by the favourite page; Shave his first down, and when he polls his hair, The consecrated locks to temples bear; Pay tributary cracknels, which he sells, And with our offerings help to raise his vails. Who fears in country-towns a house's fall, Or to be caught betwixt a riven wall? But we inhabit a weak city here, Which buttresses and props but scarcely bear; And 'tis the village-mason's daily calling, To keep the world's metropolis from falling, To cleanse the gutters, and the chinks to close, And, for one night, secure his lord's repose. At Cumæ we can sleep quite round the year, Nor falls, nor fires, nor nightly dangers fear; While rolling flames from Roman turrets fly, And the pale citizens for buckets cry. Thy neighbour has removed his wretched store, Few hands will rid the lumber of the poor; Thy own third story smokes, while thou, supine, Art drenched in fumes of undigested wine. For if the lowest floors already burn, Cock-lofts and garrets soon will take the turn, Where thy tame pigeons next the tiles were bred,[102] Which, in their nests unsafe, are timely fled. Codrus[103] had but one bed, so short to boot, That his short wife's short legs hung dangling out; His cupboard's head six earthen pitchers graced, Beneath them was his trusty tankard placed; And, to support this noble plate, there lay A bending Chiron cast from honest clay; His few Greek books a rotten chest contained, Whose covers much of mouldiness complained; Where mice and rats devoured poetic bread, And with heroic verse luxuriously were fed. 'Tis true, poor Codrus nothing had to boast, And yet poor Codrus all that nothing lost; Begged naked through the streets of wealthy Rome, And found not one to feed, or take him home. But, if the palace of Arturius burn, The nobles change their clothes, the matrons mourn; The city-prætor will no pleadings hear; } The very name of fire we hate and fear, } And look aghast, as if the Gauls were here. } While yet it burns, the officious nation flies, Some to condole, and some to bring supplies. One sends him marble to rebuild, and one White naked statues of the Parian stone, The work of Polyclete, that seem to live; While others images for altars give; One books and skreens, and Pallas to the breast; Another bags of gold, and he gives best. Childless Arturius, vastly rich before, Thus, by his losses, multiplies his store; Suspected for accomplice to the fire, That burnt his palace but to build it higher. But, could you be content to bid adieu To the dear playhouse, and the players too, Sweet country-seats are purchased every where, } With lands and gardens, at less price than here } You hire a darksome dog-hole by the year. } A small convenience decently prepared, A shallow well, that rises in your yard, That spreads his easy crystal streams around, And waters all the pretty spot of ground. There, love the fork, thy garden cultivate, And give thy frugal friends a Pythagorean treat;[104] 'Tis somewhat to be lord of some small ground, In which a lizard may, at least, turn round. 'Tis frequent here, for want of sleep, to die, } Which fumes of undigested feasts deny, } And, with imperfect heat, in languid stomachs fry. } What house secure from noise the poor can keep, When even the rich can scarce afford to sleep? So dear it costs to purchase rest in Rome, And hence the sources of diseases come. The drover, who his fellow-drover meets In narrow passages of winding streets; The waggoners, that curse their standing teams, Would wake even drowsy Drusus from his dreams. And yet the wealthy will not brook delay, But sweep above our heads, and make their way, In lofty litters borne, and read and write, Or sleep at ease, the shutters make it night; Yet still he reaches first the public place. The press before him stops the client's pace; The crowd that follows crush his panting sides, And trip his heels; he walks not, but he rides. One elbows him, one jostles in the shole, A rafter breaks his head, or chairman's pole; Stocking'd with loads of fat town-dirt he goes, } And some rogue-soldier, with his hob-nailed shoes, } Indents his legs behind in bloody rows. } See, with what smoke our doles we celebrate: } A hundred guests, invited, walk in state; } A hundred hungry slaves, with their Dutch kitchens, wait. } Huge pans the wretches on their heads must bear, Which scarce gigantic Corbulo[105] could rear; Yet they must walk upright beneath the load, Nay run, and, running, blow the sparkling flames abroad. Their coats, from botching newly brought, are torn. Unwieldy timber-trees, in waggons borne, Stretched at their length, beyond their carriage lie, That nod, and threaten ruin from on high; For, should their axle break, its overthrow } Would crush, and pound to dust, the crowd below; } Nor friends their friends, nor sires their sons could know; } Nor limbs, nor bones, nor carcase, would remain, But a mashed heap, a hotchpotch of the slain; One vast destruction; not the soul alone, But bodies, like the soul, invisible are flown. Meantime, unknowing of their fellow's fate, The servants wash the platter, scower the plate, Then blow the fire, with puffing cheeks, and lay } The rubbers, and the bathing-sheets display, } And oil them first; and each is handy in his way. } But he, for whom this busy care they take, Poor ghost! is wandering by the Stygian lake; Affrighted with the ferryman's grim face, New to the horrors of that uncouth place, His passage begs, with unregarded prayer, And wants two farthings to discharge his fare. Return we to the dangers of the night.-- And, first, behold our houses' dreadful height; From whence come broken potsherds tumbling down, } And leaky ware from garret-windows thrown; } Well may they break our heads, that mark the flinty stone. } 'Tis want of sense to sup abroad too late, Unless thou first hast settled thy estate; As many fates attend thy steps to meet, As there are waking windows in the street. Bless the good Gods, and think thy chance is rare, To have a piss-pot only for thy share. The scouring drunkard, if he does not fight Before his bed-time, takes no rest that night; Passing the tedious hours in greater pain Than stern Achilles, when his friend was slain; 'Tis so ridiculous, but so true withal, A bully cannot sleep without a brawl. Yet, though his youthful blood be fired with wine, He wants not wit the danger to decline; Is cautious to avoid the coach and six, And on the lacquies will no quarrel fix. His train of flambeaux, and embroidered coat, May privilege my lord to walk secure on foot; But me, who must by moon-light homeward bend, Or lighted only with a candle's end, Poor me he fights, if that be fighting, where He only cudgels, and I only bear. He stands, and bids me stand; I must abide, For he's the stronger, and is drunk beside. Where did you whet your knife to-night, he cries, And shred the leeks that in your stomach rise? Whose windy beans have stuft your guts, and where Have your black thumbs been dipt in vinegar? With what companion-cobler have you fed, On old ox-cheeks, or he-goat's tougher head? What, are you dumb? Quick, with your answer, quick, Before my foot salutes you with a kick. Say, in what nasty cellar, under ground, Or what church-porch, your rogueship may be found?-- Answer, or answer not, 'tis all the same, He lays me on, and makes me bear the blame. Before the bar for beating him you come; This is a poor man's liberty in Rome. You beg his pardon; happy to retreat With some remaining teeth, to chew your meat. Nor is this all; for when, retired, you think To sleep securely, when the candles wink, When every door with iron chains is barred, And roaring taverns are no longer heard; The ruffian robbers, by no justice awed, And unpaid cut-throat soldiers, are abroad; Those venal souls, who, hardened in each ill, To save complaints and prosecution, kill. Chased from their woods and bogs, the padders come } To this vast city, as their native home, } To live at ease, and safely skulk in Rome. } The forge in fetters only is employed; Our iron mines exhausted and destroyed In shackles; for these villains scarce allow Goads for the teams, and plough-shares for the plough. Oh, happy ages of our ancestors, Beneath the kings and tribunitial powers! One jail did all their criminals restrain, Which now the walls of Rome can scarce contain. More I could say, more causes I could show For my departure, but the sun is low; The waggoner grows weary of my stay, And whips his horses forwards on their way. Farewell! and when, like me, o'erwhelmed with care, } You to your own Aquinam[106] shall repair, } To take a mouthful of sweet country air, } Be mindful of your friend; and send me word, What joys your fountains and cool shades afford. Then, to assist your satires, I will come, And add new venom when you write of Rome.


[78] Cumæ, a small city in Campania, near Puteoli, or Puzzolo, as it is called. The habitation of the Cumæan Sybil.

[79] Baiæ, another little town in Campania, near the sea: a pleasant place.

[80] Prochyta, a small barren island belonging to the kingdom of Naples.

[81] The poets in Juvenal's time used to rehearse their poetry in August.

[82] Numa, the second king of Rome, who made their laws, and instituted their religion.

[83] Ægeria, a nymph, or goddess, with whom Numa feigned to converse by night; and to be instructed by her, in modelling his superstitions.

[84] 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._

Her goods a basket, and old hay her bed; She strolls, and telling fortunes, gains her bread.--EDITOR.

[85] Dædalus, in his flight from Crete, alighted at Cumæ.

[86] 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.

[87] Arturius means any debauched wicked fellow, who gains by the times.

[88] In a prize of sword-players, when one of the fencers had the other at his mercy, the vanquished party implored the clemency of the spectators. If they thought he deserved it not, they held up their thumbs, and bent them backwards in sign of death.

[89] Verres, præter in Sicily, contemporary with Cicero, by whom accused of oppressing the province, he was condemned: his name is used here for any rich vicious man.

[90] Tagus, a famous river in Spain, which discharges itself into the ocean near Lisbon, in Portugal. It was held of old to be full of golden sands.

[91] Orontes, the greatest river of Syria. The poet here puts the river for the inhabitants of Syria.

[92] Romulus was the first king of Rome, and son of Mars, as the poets feign. The first Romans were herdsmen.

[93] Athens, of which Pallas, the Goddess of Arms and Arts, was patroness.

[94] Antiochus and Stratocles, two famous Grecian mimics, or actors, in the poet's time.

[95] Publius Egnatius, a stoick, falsely accused Bareas Soranus, as Tacitus tells us.

[96] Grecians living in Rome.

[97] Lucius Metellus, the high priest, who, when the temple of Vesta was on fire, saved the Palladium.

[98] Roscius, a tribune, ordered the distinction of places at public shows, betwixt the noblemen of Rome and the plebeians.

[99] Alluding to the secession of the Plebeians to the Mons Sacer, or Sacred Hill, as it was called, when they were persecuted by the aristocracy. This very extraordinary resignation of their faculty, on the part of the common people, was not singular in the Roman history. It argues a much more inconsiderable population than the ancient writers would have us believe. EDITOR.

[100] The meaning is, that men in some parts of Italy never wore a gown, the usual habit of the Romans, till they were buried in one.

[101] Any wealthy man.

[102] The Romans used to breed their tame pigeons in their garrets.

[103] Codrus, a learned man, very poor: by his books, supposed to be a poet; for, in all probability, the heroic verses here mentioned, which rats and mice devoured, were Homer's works.

[104] Herbs, roots, fruits, and sallads.

[105] Corbulo was a famous general, in Nero's time, who conquered Armenia, and was afterwards put to death by that tyrant, when he was in Greece, in reward of his great services. His stature was not only tall above the ordinary size, but he was also proportionably strong.

[106] The birth-place of Juvenal.






_This Satire, of almost double length to any of the rest, is a bitter invective against the fair sex. It is, indeed, a common-place, from whence all the moderns have notoriously stolen their sharpest railleries. In his other satires, the poet has only glanced on some particular women, and generally scourged the men; but this he reserved wholly for the ladies. How they had offended him, I know not; but, upon the whole matter, he is not to be excused for imputing to all, the vices of some few amongst them. Neither was it generously done of him, to attack the weakest, as well as the fairest, part of the creation; neither do I know what moral he could reasonably draw from it. It could not be to avoid the whole sex, if all had been true which he alleges against them; for that had been to put an end to human kind. And to bid us beware of their artifices, is a kind of silent acknowledgment, that they have more wit than men; which turns the satire upon us, and particularly upon the poet, who thereby makes a compliment, where he meant a libel. If he intended only to exercise his wit, he has forfeited his judgment, by making the one half of his readers his mortal enemies; and amongst the men, all the happy lovers, by their own experience, will disprove his accusations. The whole world must allow this to be the wittiest of his satires; and truly he had need of all his parts, to maintain, with so much violence, so unjust a charge. I am satisfied he will bring but few over to his opinion; and on that consideration chiefly I ventured to trans late him. Though there wanted not another reason, which was, that no one else would undertake it; at least, Sir C. S., who could have done more right to the author, after a long delay, at length absolutely refused so ungrateful an employment; and every one will grant, that the work must have been imperfect and lame, if it had appeared without one of the principal members belonging to it. Let the poet, therefore, bear the blame of his own invention; and let me satisfy the world, that I am not of his opinion. Whatever his Roman ladies were, the English are free from all his imputations. They will read with wonder and abhorrence the vices of an age, which was the most infamous of any on record. They will bless themselves when they behold those examples, related of Domitian's time; they will give back to antiquity those monsters it produced, and believe, with reason, that the species of those women is extinguished, or, at least, that they were never here propagated. I may safely, therefore, proceed to the argument of a satire, which is no way relating to them; and first observe, that my author makes their lust the most heroic of their vices; the rest are in a manner but digression. He skims them over, but he dwells on this; when he seems to have taken his last leave of it, on the sudden he returns to it: It is one branch of it in Hippia, another in Messalina, but lust is the main body of the tree. He begins with this text in the first line, and takes it up, with intermissions, to the end of the chapter. Every vice is a loader, but that is a ten. The fillers, or intermediate parts, are--their revenge; their contrivances of secret crimes; their arts to hide them; their wit to excuse them; and their impudence to own them, when they can no longer be kept secret. Then the persons to whom they are most addicted, and on whom they commonly bestow the last favours, as stage-players, fiddlers, singing-boys, and fencers. Those who pass for chaste amongst them, are not really so; but only, for their vast doweries, are rather suffered, than loved, by their own husbands. That they are imperious, domineering, scolding wives; set up for learning, and criticism in poetry; but are false judges: Love to speak Greek, (which was then the fashionable tongue, as French is now with us). That they plead causes at the bar, and play prizes at the bear-garden: That they are gossips and newsmongers; wrangle with their neighbours abroad, and beat their servants at home: That they lie-in for new faces once a month; are sluttish with their husbands in private, and paint and dress in public for their lovers: That they deal with Jews, diviners, and fortune-tellers; learn the arts of miscarrying and barrenness; buy children, and produce them for their own; murder their husbands' sons, if they stand in their way to his estate, and make their adulterers his heirs. From hence the poet proceeds to show the occasions of all these vices, their original, and how they were introduced in Rome by peace, wealth, and luxury. In conclusion, if we will take the word of our malicious author, bad women are the general standing rule; and the good, but some few exceptions to it._

In Saturn's reign, at Nature's early birth, There was that thing called Chastity on earth; When in a narrow cave, their common shade, The sheep, the shepherds, and their gods were laid; When reeds, and leaves, and hides of beasts, were spread, } By mountain-housewives, for their homely bed, } And mossy pillows raised, for the rude husband's head. } Unlike the niceness of our modern dames, (Affected nymphs, with new-affected names,) The Cynthias, and the Lesbias of our years, Who for a sparrow's death dissolve in tears, Those first unpolished matrons, big and bold, Gave suck to infants of gigantic mould; Rough as their savage lords, who ranged the wood, And, fat with acorns, belched their windy food. For when the world was buxom, fresh, and young, Her sons were undebauched, and therefore strong; And whether born in kindly beds of earth, Or struggling from the teeming oaks to birth, Or from what other atoms they begun, No sires they had, or, if a sire, the sun. Some thin remains of chastity appeared Even under Jove,[107] but Jove without a beard; Before the servile Greeks had learnt to swear By heads of kings; while yet the bounteous year Her common fruits in open plains exposed; Ere thieves were feared, or gardens were inclosed. At length uneasy Justice upwards flew, And both the sisters to the stars withdrew;[108] From that old æra whoring did begin, So venerably ancient is the sin. Adulterers next invade the nuptial state, And marriage-beds creaked with a foreign weight; All other ills did iron times adorn, But whores and silver in one age were born. Yet thou, they say, for marriage dost provide; Is this an age to buckle with a bride? They say thy hair the curling art is taught, The wedding-ring perhaps already bought; A sober man like thee to change his life! What fury would possess thee with a wife? Art thou of every other death bereft, No knife, no ratsbane, no kind halter left? (For every noose compared to her's is cheap.) Is there no city-bridge from whence to leap? Would'st thou become her drudge, who dost enjoy A better sort of bedfellow, thy boy? He keeps thee not awake with nightly brawls, Nor, with a begged reward, thy pleasure palls; Nor, with insatiate heavings, calls for more, When all thy spirits were drained out before. But still Ursidius courts the marriage-bait, Longs for a son to settle his estate, And takes no gifts, though every gaping heir Would gladly grease the rich old bachelor. What revolution can appear so strange, As such a lecher such a life to change? A rank, notorious whoremaster, to choose To thrust his neck into the marriage-noose? He who so often, in a dreadful fright, Had, in a coffer, 'scaped the jealous cuckold's sight; That he, to wedlock dotingly betrayed, Should hope, in this lewd town, to find a maid!-- The man's grown mad! to ease his frantic pain, Run for the surgeon, breathe the middle vein; But let a heifer, with gilt horns, be led To Juno, regent of the marriage-bed; And let him every deity adore, } If his new bride prove not an arrant whore, } In head, and tail, and every other pore. } On Ceres' feast,[109] restrained from their delight, Few matrons there, but curse the tedious night; Few whom their fathers dare salute, such lust Their kisses have, and come with such a gust. With ivy now adorn thy doors, and wed; Such is thy bride, and such thy genial bed. Think'st thou one man is for one woman meant? She sooner with one eye would be content. And yet, 'tis noised, a maid did once appear In some small village, though fame says not where. 'Tis possible; but sure no man she found; 'Twas desart all about her father's ground. And yet some lustful God might there make bold; Are Jove and Mars grown impotent and old? Many a fair nymph has in a cave been spread, And much good love without a feather-bed. Whither would'st thou, to chuse a wife, resort, The park, the mall, the playhouse, or the court? Which way soever thy adventures fall, Secure alike of chastity in all. One sees a dancing-master capering high, And raves, and pisses, with pure extacy; Another does with all his motions move, And gapes, and grins, as in the feat of love; A third is charmed with the new opera notes, Admires the song, but on the singer dotes. The country lady in the box appears, } Softly she warbles over all she hears, } And sucks in passion both at eyes and ears. } The rest (when now the long vacation's come, The noisy hall and theatres grown dumb) Their memories to refresh, and cheer their hearts, In borrowed breeches, act the players' parts. The poor, that scarce have wherewithal to eat, Will pinch, to make the singing-boy a treat; The rich, to buy him, will refuse no price, And stretch his quail-pipe, till they crack his voice. Tragedians, acting love, for lust are sought, Though but the parrots of a poet's thought. The pleading lawyer, though for counsel used, In chamber-practice often is refused. Still thou wilt have a wife, and father heirs, The product of concurring theatres. Perhaps a fencer did thy brows adorn, And a young swordsman to thy lands is born. Thus Hippia loathed her old patrician lord, And left him for a brother of the sword. To wondering Pharos[110] with her love she fled, To show one monster more than Afric bred; Forgetting house and husband left behind, } Even children too, she sails before the wind; } False to them all, but constant to her kind. } But, stranger yet, and harder to conceive, She could the playhouse and the players leave. Born of rich parentage, and nicely bred, She lodged on down, and in a damask bed; Yet daring now the dangers of the deep, On a hard mattress is content to sleep. Ere this, 'tis true, she did her fame expose; But that great ladies with great ease can lose. The tender nymph could the rude ocean bear, So much her lust was stronger than her fear. But had some honest cause her passage prest, The smallest hardship had disturbed her breast. Each inconvenience makes their virtue cold; But womankind in ills is ever bold. Were she to follow her own lord to sea, What doubts and scruples would she raise to stay? Her stomach sick, and her head giddy grows, The tar and pitch are nauseous to her nose; But in love's voyage nothing can offend, Women are never sea-sick with a friend. Amidst the crew she walks upon the board, } She eats, she drinks, she handles every cord; } And if she spews, 'tis thinking of her lord. } Now ask, for whom her friends and fame she lost? What youth, what beauty, could the adulterer boast? What was the face, for which she could sustain To be called mistress to so base a man? The gallant of his days had known the best; } Deep scars were seen indented on his breast, } And all his battered limbs required their needful rest; } A promontory wen, with grisly grace, Stood high upon the handle of his face: His blear-eyes ran in gutters to his chin; His beard was stubble, and his cheeks were thin. But 'twas his fencing did her fancy move; 'Tis arms, and blood, and cruelty, they love. But should he quit his trade, and sheath his sword, Her lover would begin to be her lord. This was a private crime; but you shall hear What fruits the sacred brows of monarchs bear:[111] The good old sluggard but began to snore, When, from his side, up rose the imperial whore; She, who preferred the pleasures of the night To pomps, that are but impotent delight, Strode from the palace, with an eager pace, To cope with a more masculine embrace. Muffled she marched, like Juno in a cloud, Of all her train but one poor wench allowed; One whom in secret-service she could trust, The rival and companion of her lust. To the known brothel-house she takes her way, } And for a nasty room gives double pay; } That room in which the rankest harlot lay. } Prepared for fight, expectingly she lies, With heaving breasts, and with desiring eyes. Still as one drops, another takes his place, And, baffled, still succeeds to like disgrace. At length, when friendly darkness is expired, And every strumpet from her cell retired, She lags behind and, lingering at the gate, With a repining sigh submits to fate; All filth without, and all a fire within, Tired with the toil, unsated with the sin. Old Cæsar's bed the modest matron seeks, The steam of lamps still hanging on her cheeks In ropy smut; thus foul, and thus bedight, She brings him back the product of the night. Now, should I sing what poisons they provide, With all their trumpery of charms beside, And all their arts of death,--it would be known, Lust is the smallest sin the sex can own. Cæsinia still, they say, is guiltless found } Of every vice, by her own lord renowned; } And well she may, she brought ten thousand pound. } She brought him wherewithal to be called chaste; His tongue is tied in golden fetters fast: He sighs, adores, and courts her every hour; Who would not do as much for such a dower? She writes love-letters to the youth in grace, Nay, tips the wink before the cuckold's face; And might do more, her portion makes it good; Wealth has the privilege of widowhood.[112] These truths with his example you disprove, Who with his wife is monstrously in love: But know him better; for I heard him swear, 'Tis not that she's his wife, but that she's fair. Let her but have three wrinkles in her face, Let her eyes lessen, and her skin unbrace, Soon you will hear the saucy steward say,-- Pack up with all your trinkets, and away; You grow offensive both at bed and board; Your betters must be had to please my lord. Meantime she's absolute upon the throne, And, knowing time is precious, loses none. She must have flocks of sheep, with wool more fine Than silk, and vineyards of the noblest wine; Whole droves of pages for her train she craves, And sweeps the prisons for attending slaves. In short, whatever in her eyes can come, Or others have abroad, she wants at home. When winter shuts the seas, and fleecy snows Make houses white, she to the merchant goes; Rich crystals of the rock she takes up there, Huge agate vases, and old china ware; Then Berenice's ring[113] her finger proves, More precious made by her incestuous loves, And infamously dear; a brother's bribe, Even God's anointed, and of Judah's tribe; Where barefoot they approach the sacred shrine, And think it only sin to feed on swine. But is none worthy to be made a wife } In all this town? Suppose her free from strife, } Rich, fair, and fruitful, of unblemished life; } Chaste as the Sabines, whose prevailing charms, Dismissed their husbands' and their brothers' arms; Grant her, besides, of noble blood, that ran In ancient veins, ere heraldry began; Suppose all these, and take a poet's word, A black swan is not half so rare a bird. A wife, so hung with virtues, such a freight, What mortal shoulders could support the weight! Some country girl, scarce to a curtsey bred, Would I much rather than Cornelia[114] wed; If supercilious, haughty, proud, and vain, She brought her father's triumphs in her train. Away with all your Carthaginian state; } Let vanquished Hannibal without doors wait, } Too burly, and too big, to pass my narrow gate. } O Pæan! cries Amphion,[115] bend thy bow } Against my wife, and let my children go!-- } But sullen Pæan shoots at sons and mothers too. } His Niobe and all his boys he lost; Even her, who did her numerous offspring boast, As fair and fruitful as the sow that carried The thirty pigs, at one large litter farrowed.[116] What beauty, or what chastity, can bear So great a price, if, stately and severe, She still insults, and you must still adore? Grant that the honey's much, the gall is more. Upbraided with the virtues she displays, Seven hours in twelve you loath the wife you praise. Some faults, though small, intolerable grow; For what so nauseous and affected too, As those that think they due perfection want, Who have not learnt to lisp the Grecian cant?[117] In Greece, their whole accomplishments they seek: Their fashion, breeding, language, must be Greek; But, raw in all that does to Rome belong, They scorn to cultivate their mother-tongue. In Greek they flatter, all their fears they speak; Tell all their secrets; nay, they scold in Greek: Even in the feat of love, they use that tongue. Such affectations may become the young; But thou, old hag, of three score years and three, Is showing of thy parts in Greek for thee? #Zôê kai psychê!# All those tender words The momentary trembling bliss affords; The kind soft murmurs of the private sheets Are bawdy, while thou speak'st in public streets. Those words have fingers; and their force is such, They raise the dead, and mount him with a touch. But all provocatives from thee are vain; No blandishment the slackened nerve can strain. If then thy lawful spouse thou canst not love, What reason should thy mind to marriage move? Why all the charges of the nuptial feast, Wine and deserts, and sweet-meats to digest? The endowing gold that buys the dear delight, Given for thy first and only happy night? If thou art thus uxoriously inclined, To bear thy bondage with a willing mind, Prepare thy neck, and put it in the yoke; But for no mercy from thy woman look. For though, perhaps, she loves with equal fires, To absolute dominion she aspires, Joys in the spoils, and triumphs o'er thy purse; The better husband makes the wife the worse. Nothing is thine to give, or sell, or buy, } All offices of ancient friendship die, } Nor hast thou leave to make a legacy.[118] } By thy imperious wife thou art bereft A privilege, to pimps and panders left; Thy testament's her will; where she prefers } Her ruffians, drudges, and adulterers, } Adopting all thy rivals for thy heirs. } Go drag that slave to death!--Your reason? why Should the poor innocent be doomed to die? What proofs? For, when man's life is in debate, The judge can ne'er too long deliberate.-- Call'st thou that slave a man? the wife replies; Proved, or unproved, the crime, the villain dies. I have the sovereign power to save, or kill, And give no other reason but my will.-- Thus the she-tyrant reigns, till, pleased with change, Her wild affections to new empires range; Another subject-husband she desires; Divorced from him, she to the first retires, While the last wedding-feast is scarcely o'er, And garlands hang yet green upon the door. So still the reckoning rises; and appears In total sum, eight husbands in five years. The title for a tomb-stone might be fit, But that it would too commonly be writ. Her mother living, hope no quiet day; } She sharpens her, instructs her how to flay } Her husband bare, and then divides the prey. } She takes love-letters, with a crafty smile, And, in her daughter's answer, mends the style. In vain the husband sets his watchful spies; She cheats their cunning, or she bribes their eyes. The doctor's called; the daughter, taught the trick, Pretends to faint, and in full health is sick. The panting stallion, at the closet-door, Hears the consult, and wishes it were o'er. Canst thou, in reason, hope, a bawd so known, Should teach her other manners than her own? Her interest is in all the advice she gives; 'Tis on the daughter's rents the mother lives. No cause is tried at the litigious bar, But women plaintiffs or defendants are; They form the process, all the briefs they write, } The topics furnish, and the pleas indict, } And teach the toothless lawyer how to bite. } They turn viragos too; the wrestler's toil They try, and smear the naked limbs with oil; Against the post their wicker shields they crush, Flourish the sword, and at the flastron push. Of every exercise the mannish crew Fulfils the parts, and oft excels us too; Prepared not only in feigned fights to engage, But rout the gladiators on the stage. What sense of shame in such a breast can lie, Inured to arms, and her own sex to fly? Yet to be wholly man she would disclaim; } To quit her tenfold pleasure at the game, } For frothy praises and an empty name. } Oh what a decent sight 'tis to behold All thy wife's magazine by auction sold! The belt, the crested plume, the several suits Of armour, and the Spanish leather boots! Yet these are they, that cannot bear the heat Of figured silks, and under sarcenet sweat. Behold the strutting Amazonian whore, She stands in guard with her right foot before; Her coats tucked up, and all her motions just, She stamps, and then cries,--Hah! at every thrust; But laugh to see her, tired with many a bout, Call for the pot, and like a man piss out. The ghosts of ancient Romans, should they rise, Would grin to see their daughters play a prize. Besides, what endless brawls by wives are bred? The curtain-lecture makes a mournful bed. Then, when she has thee sure within the sheets, Her cry begins, and the whole day repeats. Conscious of crimes herself, she teazes first; Thy servants are accused; thy whore is curst; She acts the jealous, and at will she cries; For womens' tears are but the sweat of eyes. Poor cuckold fool! thou think'st that love sincere, And sucks between her lips the falling tear; But search her cabinet, and thou shalt find Each tiller there with love-epistles lined. Suppose her taken in a close embrace, } This you would think so manifest a case, } No rhetoric could defend, no impudence outface; } And yet even then she cries,--The marriage-vow A mental reservation must allow; And there's a silent bargain still implied, } The parties should be pleased on either side, } And both may for their private needs provide. } Though men yourselves, and women us you call, Yet _homo_ is a common name for all.-- There's nothing bolder than a woman caught; Guilt gives them courage to maintain their fault. You ask, from whence proceed these monstrous crimes? Once poor, and therefore chaste, in former times Our matrons were; no luxury found room, In low-roofed houses, and bare walls of loam; Their hands with labour hardened while 'twas light, And frugal sleep supplied the quiet night; While pinched with want, their hunger held them straight, When Hannibal was hovering at the gate: But wanton now, and lolling at our ease, We suffer all the inveterate ills of peace, And wasteful riot; whose destructive charms, Revenge the vanquished world of our victorious arms. No crime, no lustful postures are unknown, Since Poverty, our guardian god, is gone; Pride, laziness, and all luxurious arts, Pour, like a deluge, in from foreign parts: Since gold obscene, and silver found the way, } Strange fashions, with strange bullion, to convey, } And our plain simple manners to betray. } What care our drunken dames to whom they spread? Wine no distinction makes of tail or head. Who lewdly dancing at a midnight ball, For hot eringoes and fat oysters call: Full brimmers to their fuddled noses thrust, Brimmers, the last provocatives of lust; When vapours to their swimming brains advance, And double tapers on the table dance. Now think what bawdy dialogues they have, What Tullia talks to her confiding slave, At Modesty's old statue; when by night They make a stand, and from their litters light; The good man early to the levee goes, And treads the nasty paddle of his spouse. The secrets of the goddess named the Good,[119] Are even by boys and barbers understood; Where the rank matrons, dancing to the pipe, Gig with their bums, and are for action ripe; With music raised, they spread abroad their hair, And toss their heads like an enamoured mare; Laufella lays her garland by, and proves The mimic lechery of manly loves. Ranked with the lady the cheap sinner lies; For here not blood, but virtue, gives the prize. Nothing is feigned in this venereal strife; 'Tis downright lust, and acted to the life. So full, so fierce, so vigorous, and so strong, That looking on would make old Nestor young. Impatient of delay, a general sound, } An universal groan of lust goes round; } For then, and only then, the sex sincere is found. } Now is the time of action; now begin, They cry, and let the lusty lovers in. The whoresons are asleep; then bring the slaves, And watermen, a race of strong-backed knaves. I wish, at least, our sacred rites were free From those pollutions of obscenity: But 'tis well known what singer,[120] how disguised, A lewd audacious action enterprized; Into the fair, with women mixed, he went, Armed with a huge two-handed instrument; A grateful present to those holy choirs, Where the mouse, guilty of his sex, retires, And even male pictures modestly are veiled: Yet no profaneness in that age prevailed; No scoffers at religious rites were found, Though now at every altar they abound. I hear your cautious counsel; you would say, Keep close your women under lock and key:-- But, who shall keep those keepers? Women, nurst In craft; begin with those, and bribe them first. The sex is turned all whore; they love the game, And mistresses and maids are both the same. The poor Ogulnia, on the poet's day, Will borrow clothes and chair to see the play; She, who before had mortgaged her estate, And pawned the last remaining piece of plate. Some are reduced their utmost shifts to try; But women have no shame of poverty. They live beyond their stint, as if their store The more exhausted, would encrease the more: Some men, instructed by the labouring ant, Provide against the extremities of want; But womankind, that never knows a mean, Down to the dregs their sinking fortune drain: Hourly they give, and spend, and waste, and wear, And think no pleasure can be bought too dear. There are, who in soft eunuchs place their bliss, To shun the scrubbing of a bearded kiss, And 'scape abortion; but their solid joy Is when the page, already past a boy, Is caponed late, and to the gelder shown, With his two-pounders to perfection grown; When all the navel-string could give, appears; All but the beard, and that's the barber's loss, not theirs. Seen from afar, and famous for his ware, He struts into the bath among the fair; The admiring crew to their devotions fall, And, kneeling, on their new Priapus call. Kerved for his lady's use, with her he lies; And let him drudge for her, if thou art wise, Rather than trust him with thy favourite boy; He proffers death, in proffering to enjoy. If songs they love, the singer's voice they force Beyond his compass, 'till his quail-pipe's hoarse. His lute and lyre with their embrace is worn; With knots they trim it, and with gems adorn; Run over all the strings, and kiss the case, And make love to it in the master's place. A certain lady once, of high degree, To Janus vowed, and Vesta's deity, That Pollio[121] might, in singing, win the prize; Pollio, the dear, the darling of her eyes: She prayed, and bribed; what could she more have done For a sick husband, or an only son? With her face veiled, and heaving up her hands, The shameless suppliant at the altar stands; The forms of prayer she solemnly pursues, And, pale with fear, the offered entrails views. Answer, ye powers; for, if you heard her vow, Your godships, sure, had little else to do. This is not all; for actors[122] they implore; An impudence unknown to heaven before. The Aruspex,[123] tired with this religious rout, Is forced to stand so long, he gets the gout. But suffer not thy wife abroad to roam: If she loves singing, let her sing at home; Not strut in streets with Amazonian pace, For that's to cuckold thee before thy face. Their endless itch of news comes next in play; They vent their own, and hear what others say; Know what in Thrace, or what in France is done; The intrigues betwixt the stepdame and the son; Tell who loves who, what favours some partake, And who is jilted for another's sake; What pregnant widow in what month was made; How oft she did, and, doing, what she said. She first beholds the raging comet rise, Knows whom it threatens, and what lands destroys; Still for the newest news she lies in wait, And takes reports just entering at the gate. Wrecks, floods, and fires, whatever she can meet, She spreads, and is the fame of every street. This is a grievance; but the next is worse; A very judgment, and her neighbours' curse; For, if their barking dog disturb her ease, No prayer can bend her, no excuse appease. The unmannered malefactor is arraigned; But first the master, who the cur maintained, Must feel the scourge. By night she leaves her bed, By night her bathing equipage is led, That marching armies a less noise create; She moves in tumult, and she sweats in state. Meanwhile, her guests their appetites must keep; Some gape for hunger, and some gasp for sleep. At length she comes, all flushed; but ere she sup, } Swallows a swinging preparation-cup, } And then, to clear her stomach, spews it up. } The deluge-vomit all the floor o'erflows, And the sour savour nauseates every nose. She drinks again, again she spews a lake; Her wretched husband sees, and dares not speak; But mutters many a curse against his wife, And damns himself for choosing such a life. But of all plagues, the greatest is untold; The book-learned wife, in Greek and Latin bold; The critic-dame, who at her table sits, } Homer and Virgil quotes, and weighs their wits, } And pities Dido's agonizing fits. } She has so far the ascendant of the board, The prating pedant puts not in one word; The man of law is non-plust in his suit, Nay, every other female tongue is mute. Hammers, and beating anvils, you would swear, And Vulcan, with his whole militia, there. Tabors and trumpets, cease; for she alone Is able to redeem the labouring moon.[124] Even wit's a burthen, when it talks too long; But she, who has no continence of tongue, Should walk in breeches, and should wear a beard, And mix among the philosophic herd. O what a midnight curse has he, whose side Is pestered with a mood and figure bride! Let mine, ye gods! (if such must be my fate,) No logic learn, nor history translate, But rather be a quiet, humble fool; I hate a wife to whom I go to school, Who climbs the grammar-tree, distinctly knows Where noun, and verb, and participle grows; Corrects her country-neighbour; and, a-bed, For breaking Priscian's breaks her husband's head.[125] The gaudy gossip, when she's set agog, In jewels drest, and at each ear a bob, Goes flaunting out, and, in her trim of pride, Thinks all she says or does is justified. When poor, she's scarce a tolerable evil; But rich, and fine, a wife's a very devil. She duly, once a month, renews her face; Meantime, it lies in daub, and hid in grease. Those are the husband's nights; she craves her due, He takes fat kisses, and is stuck in glue. But to the loved adulterer when she steers, Fresh from the bath, in brightness she appears: For him the rich Arabia sweats her gum, } And precious oils from distant Indies come, } How haggardly soe'er she looks at home. } The eclipse then vanishes, and all her face Is opened, and restored to every grace; The crust removed, her cheeks, as smooth as silk, Are polished with a wash of asses milk; And should she to the farthest north be sent, A train of these[126] attend her banishment. But hadst thou seen her plaistered up before, 'Twas so unlike a face, it seemed a sore. 'Tis worth our while, to know what all the day They do, and how they pass their time away; For, if o'er-night the husband has been slack, } Or counterfeited sleep, and turned his back, } Next day, be sure, the servants go to wrack. } The chamber-maid and dresser are called whores, The page is stript, and beaten out of doors; The whole house suffers for the master's crime, And he himself is warned to wake another time. She hires tormentors by the year; she treats Her visitors, and talks, but still she beats; Beats while she paints her face, surveys her gown, Casts up the day's account, and still beats on: Tired out, at length, with an outrageous tone, She bids them in the devil's name be gone. Compared with such a proud, insulting dame, Sicilian tyrants[127] may renounce their name. For, if she hastes abroad to take the air, Or goes to Isis' church, (the bawdy house of prayer,) She hurries all her handmaids to the task; Her head, alone, will twenty dressers ask. Psecas, the chief, with breast and shoulders bare, Trembling, considers every sacred hair; If any straggler from his rank be found, A pinch must for the mortal sin compound. Psecas is not in fault; but in the glass, The dame's offended at her own ill face. That maid is banished; and another girl, More dexterous, manages the comb and curl. The rest are summoned on a point so nice, And, first, the grave old woman gives advice; The next is called, and so the turn goes round, As each for age, or wisdom, is renowned: Such counsel, such deliberate care they take, As if her life and honour lay at stake: With curls on curls, they build her head before, And mount it with a formidable tower. A giantess she seems; but look behind, And then she dwindles to the pigmy kind. Duck-legged, short-waisted, such a dwarf she is, That she must rise on tip-toes for a kiss. Meanwhile, her husband's whole estate is spent! He may go bare, while she receives his rent. She minds him not; she lives not as a wife, But, like a bawling neighbour, full of strife: Near him in this alone, that she extends Her hate to all his servants and his friends. Bellona's priests,[128] an eunuch at their head, About the streets a mad procession lead; The venerable gelding, large, and high, O'erlooks the herd of his inferior fry. His aukward clergymen about him prance, And beat the timbrels to their mystic dance; Guiltless of testicles, they tear their throats, And squeak, in treble, their unmanly notes. Meanwhile, his cheeks the mitred prophet swells, And dire presages of the year foretels; Unless with eggs (his priestly hire) they haste To expiate, and avert the autumnal blast; And add beside a murrey-coloured vest,[129] Which, in their places, may receive the pest, And, thrown into the flood, their crimes may bear, To purge the unlucky omens of the year. The astonished matrons pay, before the rest; That sex is still obnoxious to the priest. Through ye they beat, and plunge into the stream, If so the God has warned them in a dream. Weak in their limbs, but in devotion strong, } On their bare hands and feet they crawl along } A whole field's length, the laughter of the throng. } Should Io (Io's priest, I mean) command A pilgrimage to Meroe's burning sand, Through deserts they would seek the secret spring, And holy water for lustration bring. How can they pay their priests too much respect, Who trade with heaven, and earthly gains neglect! With him domestic gods discourse by night; By day, attended by his choir in white, The bald pate tribe runs madding through the street, And smile to see with how much ease they cheat. The ghostly sire forgives the wife's delights, Who sins, through frailty, on forbidden nights, And tempts her husband in the holy time, When carnal pleasure is a mortal crime. The sweating image shakes his head, but he, With mumbled prayers, atones the deity. The pious priesthood the fat goose receive, And, they once bribed, the godhead must forgive. No sooner these remove, but full of fear, A gipsey Jewess whispers in your ear, And begs an alms; an high-priest's daughter she, } Versed in their Talmud, and divinity, } And prophesies beneath a shady tree. } Her goods a basket, and old hay her bed, She strolls, and, telling fortunes, gains her bread: Farthings, and some small monies, are her fees; Yet she interprets all your dreams for these, Foretels the estate, when the rich uncle dies, And sees a sweetheart in the sacrifice. Such toys, a pigeon's entrails can disclose, Which yet the Armenian augur far outgoes; In dogs, a victim more obscene, he rakes; And murdered infants for inspection takes: For gain his impious practice he pursues; For gain will his accomplices accuse. More credit yet is to Chaldeans[130] given; What they foretel, is deemed the voice of heaven. Their answers, as from Hammon's altar, come; Since now the Delphian oracles are dumb, And mankind, ignorant of future fate, Believes what fond astrologers relate. Of these the most in vogue is he, who, sent Beyond seas, is returned from banishment; His art who to aspiring Otho[131] sold, And sure succession to the crown foretold; For his esteem is in his exile placed; The more believed, the more he was disgraced. No astrologic wizard honour gains, Who has not oft been banished, or in chains. He gets renown, who, to the halter near, But narrowly escapes, and buys it dear. From him your wife enquires the planets' will, When the black jaundice shall her mother kill; Her sister's and her uncle's end would know, But, first, consults his art, when you shall go; And,--what's the greatest gift that heaven can give,-- If after her the adulterer shall live. She neither knows, nor cares to know, the rest, If Mars and Saturn[132] shall the world infest; Or Jove and Venus, with their friendly rays, Will interpose, and bring us better days. Beware the woman too, and shun her sight, Who in these studies does herself delight, By whom a greasy almanack is born, With often handling, like chaft amber worn: Not now consulting, but consulted, she Of the twelve houses, and their lords, is free. She, if the scheme a fatal journey show, Stays safe at home, but lets her husband go. If but a mile she travel out of town, The planetary hour must first be known, And lucky moment; if her eye but aches, Or itches, its decumbiture she takes; No nourishment receives in her disease, But what the stars and Ptolemy[133] shall please. The middle sort, who have not much to spare, } To chiromancers' cheaper art repair, } Who clap the pretty palm, to make the lines more fair. } But the rich matron, who has more to give, Her answers from the Brachman[134] will receive; Skilled in the globe and sphere, he gravely stands, And, with his compass, measures seas and lands. The poorest of the sex have still an itch To know their fortunes, equal to the rich. The dairy-maid enquires, if she shall take The trusty tailor, and the cook forsake. Yet these, though poor, the pain of childbed bear, And without nurses their own infants rear: You seldom hear of the rich mantle spread For the babe, born in the great lady's bed. Such is the power of herbs, such arts they use To make them barren, or their fruit to lose. But thou, whatever slops she will have bought, Be thankful, and supply the deadly draught; Help her to make man-slaughter; let her bleed, And never want for savin at her need. For, if she holds till her nine months be run, Thou may'st be father to an Ethiop's son;[135] A boy, who, ready gotten to thy hands, By law is to inherit all thy lands; One of that hue, that, should he cross the way, His omen would discolour all the day.[136] I pass the foundling by, a race unknown, At doors exposed, whom matrons make their own; And into noble families advance A nameless issue, the blind work of chance. Indulgent fortune does her care employ, And, smiling, broods upon the naked boy: Her garment spreads, and laps him in the fold, And covers with her wings from nightly cold: Gives him her blessing, puts him in a way, Sets up the farce, and laughs at her own play. Him she promotes; she favours him alone, And makes provision for him as her own. The craving wife the force of magic tries, And filters for the unable husband buys; The potion works not on the part designed, But turns his brains, and stupifies his mind. The sotted moon-calf gapes, and, staring on, Sees his own business by another done: A long oblivion, a benumbing frost, Constrains his head, and yesterday is lost. Some nimbler juice would make him foam and rave, Like that Cæsonia[137] to her Caius gave, Who, plucking from the forehead of the foal His mother's love,[138] infused it in the bowl; The boiling blood ran hissing in his veins, Till the mad vapour mounted to his brains. The Thunderer was not half so much on fire, When Juno's girdle kindled his desire. What woman will not use the poisoning trade, When Cæsar's wife the precedent has made? Let Agrippina's mushroom[139] be forgot, Given to a slavering, old, unuseful sot; That only closed the driv'ling dotard's eyes, And sent his godhead downward to the skies; But this fierce potion calls for fire and sword, Nor spares the commons, when it strikes the lord. So many mischiefs were in one combined; So much one single poisoner cost mankind. If step-dames seek their sons-in-law to kill, 'Tis venial trespass--let them have their will; But let the child, entrusted to the care Of his own mother, of her bread beware; Beware the food she reaches with her hand,-- The morsel is intended for thy land. Thy tutor be thy taster, ere thou eat; There's poison in thy drink and in thy meat. You think this feigned; the satire, in a rage, Struts in the buskins of the tragic stage; Forgets his business is to laugh and bite, And will of deaths and dire revenges write. Would it were all a fable that you read! But Drymon's wife[140] pleads guilty to the deed. I, she confesses, in the fact was caught, Two sons dispatching at one deadly draught. What, two! two sons, thou viper, in one day! Yes, seven, she cries, if seven were in my way. Medea's legend is no more a lie, Our age adds credit to antiquity. Great ills, we grant, in former times did reign, And murders then were done, but not for gain. Less admiration to great crimes is due, Which they through wrath, or through revenge pursue; For, weak of reason, impotent of will, The sex is hurried headlong into ill; And like a cliff, from its foundations torn By raging earthquakes, into seas is borne. But those are fiends, who crimes from thought begin, And, cool in mischief, meditate the sin. They read the example of a pious wife, Redeeming, with her own, her husband's life; Yet if the laws did that exchange afford, Would save their lap-dog sooner than their lord. Where'er you walk the Belides[141] you meet, And Clytemnestras grow in every street; But here's the difference,--Agamemnon's wife Was a gross butcher with a bloody knife; But murder now is to perfection grown, And subtle poisons are employed alone; Unless some antidote prevents their arts, And lines with balsam all the nobler parts. In such a case, reserved for such a need, Rather than fail, the dagger does the deed.


[107] When Jove had driven his father into banishment, the Silver Age began, according to the poets.

[108] The poet makes Justice and Chastity sisters; and says, that they fled to heaven together, and left earth for ever.

[109] When the Roman women were forbidden to bed with their husbands.

[110] She fled to Egypt, which wondered at the enormity of her crime.

[111] He tells the famous story of Messalina, wife to the Emperor Claudius.

[112] His meaning is, that a wife, who brings a large dowry, may do what she pleases, and has all the privileges of a widow.

[113] A ring of great price, which Herod Agrippa gave to his sister Berenice. He was king of the Jews, but tributary to the Romans.

[114] Cornelia was mother to the Gracchi, of the family of the Cornelii, from whence Scipio the African was descended, who triumphed over Hannibal.

[115] He alludes to the known fable of Niobe, in Ovid. Amphion was her husband. Pæan was Apollo; who with his arrows killed her children, because she boasted that she was more fruitful than Latona, Apollo's mother.

[116] He alludes to the white sow in Virgil, who farrowed thirty pigs.

[117] Women then learned Greek, as ours speak French.

[118] All the Romans, even the most inferior, and most infamous sort of them, had the power of making wills.

[119] The _Bona Dea_, or Good Goddess, at whose feasts no men were to be present.

[120] He alludes to the story of P. Clodius, who, disguised in the habit of a singing woman, went into the house of Cæsar, where the feast of the Good Goddess was celebrated, to find an opportunity with Cæsar's wife, Pompeia.

[121] A famous singing boy.

[122] That such an actor, whom they love, might obtain the prize.

[123] He who inspects the entrails of the sacrifice, and from thence foretels the success of the prayer.

[124] The ancients endeavoured to help the moon, during an eclipse, by sounding trumpets.

[125] A woman-grammarian, who corrects her husband for speaking false Latin, which is called breaking Priscian's head.

[126] _i. e._ of the milk asses.

[127] Sicilian tyrants were grown to a proverb, in Latin, for their cruelty.

[128] Bellona's priests were a sort of fortune-tellers; and their high priest an eunuch.

[129] A garment was given to the priest, which he threw, or was supposed to throw, into the river; and that, they thought, bore all the sins of the people, which were drowned with it.

[130] Chaldeans are thought to have been the first astrologers.

[131] Otho succeeded Galba in the empire, which was foretold him by an astrologer.

[132] Mars and Saturn are the two unfortunate planets; Jupiter and Venus the two fortunate.

[133] A famous astrologer; an Egyptian.

[134] The Brachmans are Indian philosophers, who remain to this day; and hold, after Pythagoras, the translation of souls from one body to another.

[135] Juvenal's meaning is, help her to any kind of slops which may cause her to miscarry, for fear she may be brought to bed of a black Moor, which thou, being her husband, art bound to father; and that bastard may, by law, inherit thy estate.

[136] The Romans thought it ominous to see a black Moor in the morning, if he were the first man they met.

[137] Cæsonia, wife to Caius Caligula, the great tyrant. It is said she gave him a love-potion, which, flying up into his head, distracted him, and was the occasion of his committing so many acts of cruelty.

[138] The hippomanes, a fleshy excrescence, which the ancients supposed grew in the forehead of a foal, and which the mare bites off when it is born. It was supposed to be a sovereign ingredient in philtres. EDITOR.

[139] Agrippina was the mother of the tyrant Nero, who poisoned her husband Claudius, that Nero might succeed, who was her son, and not Britannicus, who was the son of Claudius, by a former wife.

[140] The widow of Drymon poisoned her sons, that she might succeed to their estate: This was done in the poet's time, or just before it.

[141] The Belides were fifty sisters, married to fifty young men, their cousin-germans; and killed them all on their wedding-night, excepting Hipermnestra, who saved her husband Linus.






_The Poet's design, in this divine Satire, is, to represent the various wishes and desires of mankind, and to set out the folly of them. He runs through all the several heads, of riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial achievements, long life, and beauty; and gives instances in each, how frequently they have proved the ruin of those that owned them. He concludes, therefore, that, since we generally choose so ill for ourselves, we should do better to leave it to the gods to make the choice for us. All we can safely ask of heaven, lies within a very small compass--it is but health of body and mind; and if we have these, it is not much matter what we want besides; for we have already enough to make us happy._

Look round the habitable world, how few Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue. How void of reason are our hopes and fears! What in the conduct of our life appears So well designed, so luckily begun, But when we have our wish, we wish undone? Whole houses, of their whole desires possest, Are often ruined at their own request. In wars and peace things hurtful we require, When made obnoxious to our own desire. With laurels some have fatally been crowned; } Some, who the depths of eloquence have found, } In that unnavigable stream were drowned. } The brawny fool, who did his vigour boast; In that presuming confidence was lost;[142] But more have been by avarice opprest, And heaps of money crowded in the chest: Unwieldy sums of wealth, which higher mount Than files of marshalled figures can account; To which the stores of Croesus, in the scale, } Would look like little dolphins, when they sail } In the vast shadow of the British whale. } For this, in Nero's arbitrary time, When virtue was a guilt, and wealth a crime, A troop of cut-throat guards were sent to seize The rich men's goods, and gut their palaces: The mob, commissioned by the government, Are seldom to an empty garret sent. The fearful passenger, who travels late, Charged with the carriage of a paltry plate, Shakes at the moonshine shadow of a rush, And sees a red-coat rise from every bush; The beggar sings, even when he sees the place Beset with thieves, and never mends his pace. Of all the vows, the first and chief request Of each, is--to be richer than the rest: And yet no doubts the poor man's draught controul, He dreads no poison in his homely bowl; Then fear the deadly drug, when gems divine Enchase the cup, and sparkle in the wine. Will you not now the pair of sages praise, Who the same end pursued by several ways? One pitied, one contemned, the woeful times; One laughed at follies, one lamented crimes. Laughter is easy; but the wonder lies, What stores of brine supplied the weeper's eyes. Democritus could feed his spleen, and shake His sides and shoulders, till he felt them ache; Though in his country town no lictors were, Nor rods, nor axe, nor tribune, did appear; Nor all the foppish gravity of show, Which cunning magistrates on crowds bestow. What had he done, had he beheld on high Our prætor seated in mock majesty; His chariot rolling o'er the dusty place, While, with dumb pride, and a set formal face, He moves, in the dull ceremonial track, With Jove's embroidered coat upon his back! A suit of hangings had not more opprest His shoulders, than that long laborious vest; A heavy gewgaw, called a crown, that spread About his temples, drowned his narrow head, And would have crushed it with the massy freight, But that a sweating slave sustained the weight; A slave, in the same chariot seen to ride, To mortify the mighty madman's pride. Add now the imperial eagle, raised on high, With golden beak, the mark of majesty; Trumpets before, and on the left and right A cavalcade of nobles, all in white; In their own natures false and flattering tribes, But made his friends by places and by bribes. In his own age, Democritus could find Sufficient cause to laugh at human kind: Learn from so great a wit; a land of bogs, With ditches fenced, a heaven fat with fogs, May form a spirit fit to sway the state, And make the neighbouring monarchs fear their fate. He laughs at all the vulgar cares and fears; At their vain triumphs, and their vainer tears: An equal temper in his mind he found, When fortune flattered him, and when she frowned. 'Tis plain, from hence, that what our vows request Are hurtful things, or useless at the best. Some ask for envied power; which public hate Pursues, and hurries headlong to their fate: Down go the titles; and the statue crowned, Is by base hands in the next river drowned. The guiltless horses, and the chariot wheel, The same effects of vulgar fury feel: The smith prepares his hammer for the stroke, While the lung'd bellows hissing fire provoke. Sejanus, almost first of Roman names,[143] The great Sejanus crackles in the flames: Formed in the forge, the pliant brass is laid } On anvils; and of head and limbs are made, } Pans, cans, and piss-pots, a whole kitchen trade. } Adorn your doors with laurels; and a bull, Milk white, and large, lead to the Capitol; Sejanus with a rope is dragged along, The sport and laughter of the giddy throng! Good Lord! they cry, what Ethiop lips he has; How foul a snout, and what a hanging face! By heaven, I never could endure his sight! But say, how came his monstrous crimes to light? What is the charge, and who the evidence, (The saviour of the nation and the prince?) Nothing of this; but our old Cæsar sent A noisy letter to his parliament. Nay, sirs, if Cæsar writ, I ask no more; He's guilty, and the question's out of door. How goes the mob? (for that's a mighty thing,) When the king's trump, the mob are for the king: They follow fortune, and the common cry Is still against the rogue condemned to die. But the same very mob, that rascal crowd, Had cried Sejanus, with a shout as loud, Had his designs (by fortune's favour blest) Succeeded, and the prince's age opprest. But long, long since, the times have changed their face, The people grown degenerate and base; Not suffered now the freedom of their choice To make their magistrates, and sell their voice. Our wise forefathers, great by sea and land, Had once the power and absolute command; All offices of trust themselves disposed; Raised whom they pleased, and whom they pleased deposed: But we, who give our native rights away, And our enslaved posterity betray, Are now reduced to beg an alms, and go On holidays to see a puppet-show. There was a damned design, cries one, no doubt, For warrants are already issued out: I met Brutidius in a mortal fright, He's dipt for certain, and plays least in sight; I fear the rage of our offended prince, Who thinks the senate slack in his defence. Come, let us haste, our loyal zeal to show, And spurn the wretched corpse of Cæsar's foe: But let our slaves be present there; lest they Accuse their masters, and for gain betray.-- Such were the whispers of those jealous times, About Sejanus' punishment and crimes. Now, tell me truly, wouldst thou change thy fate, To be, like him, first minister of state? To have thy levees crowded with resort, Of a depending, gaping, servile court; Dispose all honours of the sword and gown, Grace with a nod, and ruin with a frown; To hold thy prince in pupillage, and sway That monarch, whom the mastered world obey? While he, intent on secret lusts alone, Lives to himself, abandoning the throne; Cooped in a narrow isle,[144] observing dreams With flattering wizards, and erecting schemes! I well believe thou wouldst be great as he, For every man's a fool to that degree: All wish the dire prerogative to kill; Even they would have the power, who want the will: But wouldst thou have thy wishes understood, To take the bad together with the good? Wouldst thou not rather choose a small renown, To be the mayor of some poor paltry town; Bigly to look, and barbarously to speak; To pound false weights, and scanty measures break? Then, grant we that Sejanus went astray In every wish, and knew not how to pray; For he, who grasped the world's exhausted store, Yet never had enough, but wished for more, Raised a top-heavy tower, of monstrous height, Which, mouldering, crushed him underneath the weight. What did the mighty Pompey's fall beget, And ruined him, who, greater than the Great,[145] The stubborn pride of Roman nobles broke, And bent their haughty necks beneath his yoke: What else but his immoderate lust of power, Prayers made and granted in a luckless hour? For few usurpers to the shades descend By a dry death, or with a quiet end. The boy, who scarce has paid his entrance down To his proud pedant, or declined a noun, (So small an elf, that, when the days are foul, He and his satchel must be borne to school,) Yet prays, and hopes, and aims at nothing less, To prove a Tully, or Demosthenes: But both those orators, so much renowned, In their own depths of eloquence were drowned:[146] The hand and head were never lost of those Who dealt in doggrel, or who punned in prose. "Fortune foretuned the dying notes of Rome, Till I, thy consul sole, consoled thy doom."[147] His fate had crept below the lifted swords, Had all his malice been to murder words. I rather would be Mævius, thrash for rhymes Like his, the scorn and scandal of the times, Than that Philippic[148], fatally divine, Which is inscribed the second, should be mine. Nor he, the wonder of the Grecian throng, Who drove them with the torrent of his tongue, Who shook the theatres, and swayed the state Of Athens, found a more propitious fate. Whom, born beneath a boding horoscope, His sire, the blear-eyed Vulcan of a shop, From Mars his forge, sent to Minerva's schools, To learn the unlucky art of wheedling fools. With itch of honour, and opinion vain, All things beyond their native worth we strain; The spoils of war, brought to Feretrian Jove, An empty coat of armour hung above The conqueror's chariot and in triumph borne, A streamer from a boarded galley torn, A chap-fallen beaver loosely hanging by The cloven helm, an arch of victory; On whose high convex sits a captive foe, And, sighing, casts a mournful look below;[149]-- Of every nation each illustrious name, Such toys as these have cheated into fame; Exchanging solid quiet, to obtain The windy satisfaction of the brain. So much the thirst of honour fires the blood; So many would be great, so few be good: For who would Virtue for herself regard, Or wed, without the portion of reward? Yet this mad chace of fame, by few pursued, Has drawn destruction on the multitude; This avarice of praise in times to come, Those long inscriptions crowded on the tomb; Should some wild fig-tree take her native bent, And heave below the gaudy monument, Would crack the marble titles, and disperse The characters of all the lying verse. For sepulchres themselves must crumbling fall In time's abyss, the common grave of all. Great Hannibal within the balance lay, And tell how many pounds his ashes weigh; Whom Afric was not able to contain, Whose length runs level with the Atlantic main, And wearies fruitful Nilus, to convey His sun-beat waters by so long a way; Which Ethiopia's double clime divides, And elephants in other mountains hides. Spain first he won, the Pyreneans past, And steepy Alps, the mounds that nature cast; And with corroding juices, as he went, A passage through the living rocks he rent: Then, like a torrent rolling from on high, He pours his headlong rage on Italy, In three victorious battles over-run; Yet, still uneasy, cries,--There's nothing done, Till level with the ground their gates are laid, And Punic flags on Roman towers displayed. Ask what a face belonged to this high fame, His picture scarcely would deserve a frame: A sign-post dauber would disdain to paint The one-eyed hero on his elephant. Now, what's his end, O charming Glory! say, What rare fifth act to crown this huffing play? In one deciding battle overcome, He flies, is banished from his native home; Begs refuge in a foreign court, and there Attends, his mean petition to prefer; Repulsed by surly grooms, who wait before The sleeping tyrant's interdicted door. What wonderous sort of death has heaven designed, } Distinguished from the herd of human kind, } For so untamed, so turbulent a mind? } Nor swords at hand, nor hissing darts afar, Are doomed to avenge the tedious bloody war; But poison, drawn through a ring's hollow plate, Must finish him--a sucking infant's fate. Go, climb the rugged Alps, ambitious fool, To please the boys, and be a theme at school. One world sufficed not Alexander's mind; Cooped up, he seemed in earth and seas confined, And, struggling, stretched his restless limbs about The narrow globe, to find a passage out: Yet entered in the brick-built town,[150] he tried The tomb, and found the strait dimensions wide. Death only this mysterious truth unfolds, The mighty soul how small a body holds. Old Greece a tale of Athos would make out,[151] Cut from the continent, and sailed about; Seas hid with navies, chariots passing o'er The channel, on a bridge from shore to shore: Rivers, whose depth no sharp beholder sees, Drunk at an army's dinner to the lees; With a long legend of romantic things, Which in his cups the bowsy poet sings. But how did he return, this haughty brave, Who whipt the winds, and made the sea his slave? (Though Neptune took unkindly to be bound, } And Eurus never such hard usage found } In his Æolian prison under ground;) } What god so mean, even he who points the way,[152] So merciless a tyrant to obey! But how returned he, let us ask again? } In a poor skiff he passed the bloody main, } Choked with the slaughtered bodies of his train. } For fame he prayed, but let the event declare He had no mighty penn'worth of his prayer. Jove, grant me length of life, and years good store Heap on my bending back! I ask no more.-- Both sick and healthful, old and young, conspire In this one silly mischievous desire. Mistaken blessing, which old age they call, 'Tis a long, nasty, darksome hospital: A ropy chain of rheums; a visage rough, Deformed, unfeatured, and a skin of buff; A stitch-fallen cheek, that hangs below the jaw; Such wrinkles as a skilful hand would draw For an old grandame ape, when, with a grace, She sits at squat, and scrubs her leathern face. In youth, distinctions infinite abound; No shape, or feature, just alike are found; The fair, the black, the feeble, and the strong: } But the same foulness does to age belong. } The self-same palsy, both in limbs and tongue; } The skull and forehead one bald barren plain, And gums unarmed to mumble meat in vain; Besides, the eternal drivel, that supplies The dropping beard, from nostrils, mouth, and eyes. His wife and children lothe him, and, what's worse, Himself does his offensive carrion curse! Flatterers forsake him too; for who would kill Himself, to be remembered in a will? His taste not only pall'd to wine and meat, But to the relish of a nobler treat. The limber nerve, in vain provoked to rise, Inglorious from the field of battle flies; Poor feeble dotard! how could he advance With his blue head-piece, and his broken lance? Add, that, endeavouring still, without effect, A lust more sordid justly we suspect. Those senses lost, behold a new defeat, The soul dislodging from another seat. What music, or enchanting voice, can cheer A stupid, old, impenetrable ear? No matter in what place, or what degree Of the full theatre he sits to see; Cornets and trumpets cannot reach his ear; Under an actor's nose he's never near. His boy must bawl, to make him understand The hour o'the day, or such a lord's at hand; The little blood that creeps within his veins, Is but just warmed in a hot fever's pains. In fine, he wears no limb about him sound, With sores and sicknesses beleaguered round Ask me their names, I sooner could relate How many drudges on salt Hippia wait; What crowds of patients the town doctor kills, Or how, last fall, he raised the weekly bills; What provinces by Basilus were spoiled; What herds of heirs by guardians are beguiled; How many bouts a-day that bitch has tried; How many boys that pedagogue can ride; What lands and lordships for their owner know My quondam barber, but his worship now. This dotard of his broken back complains; One his legs fail, and one his shoulder pains: Another is of both his eyes bereft, And envies who has one for aiming left; A fifth, with trembling lips expecting stands As in his childhood, crammed by others hands; One, who at sight of supper opened wide } His jaws before, and whetted grinders tried, } Now only yawns, and waits to be supplied; } Like a young swallow, when, with weary wings, Expected food her fasting mother brings. His loss of members is a heavy curse, But all his faculties decayed, a worse. His servants' names he has forgotten quite; Knows not his friend who supped with him last night: Not even the children he begot and bred; Or his will knows them not; for, in their stead, In form of law, a common hackney jade, Sole heir, for secret services, is made: So lewd, and such a battered brothel whore, That she defies all comers at her door. Well, yet suppose his senses are his own, He lives to be chief mourner for his son: Before his face, his wife and brother burns; He numbers all his kindred in their urns. These are the fines he pays for living long, And dragging tedious age in his own wrong; Griefs always green, a household still in tears, } Sad pomps, a threshold thronged with daily biers, } And liveries of black for length of years. } Next to the raven's age, the Pylian king[153] Was longest lived of any two-legged thing. Blest, to defraud the grave so long, to mount His numbered years, and on his right hand count![154] Three hundred seasons, guzzling must of wine!-- But hold a while, and hear himself repine At fate's unequal laws, and at the clue Which, merciless in length, the midmost sister drew.[155] When his brave son upon the funeral pyre He saw extended, and his beard on fire, He turned, and, weeping, asked his friends, what crime Had cursed his age to this unhappy time? Thus mourned old Peleus for Achilles slain, And thus Ulysses' father did complain. How fortunate an end had Priam made, Among his ancestors a mighty shade, While Troy yet stood; when Hector, with the race Of royal bastards, might his funeral grace; Amidst the tears of Trojan dames inurned, And by his loyal daughters truly mourned! Had heaven so blest him, he had died before The fatal fleet to Sparta Paris bore: But mark what age produced,--he lived to see His town in flames, his falling monarchy. In fine, the feeble sire, reduced by fate, To change his sceptre for a sword, too late, His last effort before Jove's altar tries, A soldier half, and half a sacrifice: Falls like an ox that waits the coming blow, Old and unprofitable to the plough.[156] At least he died a man; his queen survived, To howl, and in a barking body lived.[157] I hasten to our own; nor will relate Great Mithridates,[158] and rich Croesus' fate;[159] Whom Solon wisely counselled to attend The name of happy, till he knew his end. That Marius was an exile, that he fled, Was ta'en, in ruined Carthage begged his bread; All these were owing to a life too long: For whom had Rome beheld so happy, young? High in his chariot, and with laurel crowned, When he had led the Cimbrian captives round The Roman streets, descending from his state, In that blest hour he should have begged his fate; Then, then, he might have died of all admired, And his triumphant soul with shouts expired. Campania, Fortune's malice to prevent, To Pompey an indulgent fever sent; But public prayers imposed on heaven to give Their much loved leader an unkind reprieve; The city's fate and his conspired to save The head reserved for an Egyptian slave.[160] Cethegus, though a traitor to the state, And tortured, 'scaped this ignominious fate;[161] And Sergius, who a bad cause bravely tried, All of a piece, and undiminished, died.[162] To Venus, the fond mother makes a prayer, That all her sons and daughters may be fair: True, for the boys a mumbling vow she sends, But for the girls the vaulted temple rends: They must be finished pieces; 'tis allowed Diana's beauty made Latona proud, And pleased to see the wondering people pray To the new-rising sister of the day. And yet Lucretia's fate would bar that vow; And fair Virginia[163] would her fate bestow On Rutila, and change her faultless make For the foul rumple of her camel back. But, for his mother's boy, the beau, what frights His parents have by day, what anxious nights! Form joined with virtue is a sight too rare; Chaste is no epithet to suit with fair. Suppose the same traditionary strain Of rigid manners in the house remain; Inveterate truth, an old plain Sabine's heart; Suppose that nature too has done her part, Infused into his soul a sober grace, And blushed a modest blood into his face, (For nature is a better guardian far Than saucy pedants, or dull tutors are;) Yet still the youth must ne'er arrive at man, (So much almighty bribes and presents can;) Even with a parent, where persuasions fail, Money is impudent, and will prevail. We never read of such a tyrant king, Who gelt a boy deformed, to hear him sing; Nor Nero, in his more luxurious rage, E'er made a mistress of an ugly page: Sporus, his spouse, nor crooked was, nor lame, } With mountain back, and belly, from the game } Cross-barred; but both his sexes well became. } Go, boast your Springal, by his beauty curst To ills, nor think I have declared the worst; His form procures him journey-work; a strife Betwixt town-madams, and the merchant's wife: Guess, when he undertakes this public war, What furious beasts offended cuckolds are. Adulterers are with dangers round beset; Born under Mars, they cannot 'scape the net; And, from revengeful husbands, oft have tried Worse handling than severest laws provide: One stabs, one slashes, one, with cruel art, Makes colon suffer for the peccant part. But your Endymion, your smooth smock-faced boy, Unrivalled, shall a beauteous dame enjoy. Not so: one more salacious, rich, and old, Outbids, and buys her pleasure for her gold: Now, he must moil, and drudge, for one he lothes; She keeps him high in equipage and clothes; She pawns her jewels, and her rich attire, And thinks the workman worthy of his hire. In all things else immoral, stingy, mean, But, in her lusts, a conscionable quean. She may be handsome, yet be chaste, you say;-- Good observator, not so fast away; Did it not cost the modest youth his life, Who shunned the embraces of his father's wife?[164] And was not t'other stripling forced to fly, } Who coldly did his patron's queen deny, } And pleaded laws of hospitality?[165] } The ladies charged them home, and turned the tale; With shame they reddened, and with spite grew pale. 'Tis dangerous to deny the longing dame; She loses pity, who has lost her shame. Now Silius wants thy counsel, give advice; Wed Cæsar's wife, or die--the choice is nice.[166] Her comet-eyes she darts on every grace, And takes a fatal liking to his face. Adorned with bridal pomp, she sits in state; The public notaries and Aruspex wait; The genial bed is in the garden dressed, } The portion paid, and every rite expressed, } Which in a Roman marriage is professed. } 'Tis no stolen wedding this; rejecting awe, She scorns to marry, but in form of law: In this moot case, your judgment to refuse Is present death, besides the night you lose: If you consent, 'tis hardly worth your pain, A day or two of anxious life you gain; Till loud reports through all the town have past, And reach the prince--for cuckolds hear the last. Indulge thy pleasure, youth, and take thy swing, For not to take is but the self-same thing; Inevitable death before thee lies, But looks more kindly through a lady's eyes. What then remains? are we deprived of will; Must we not wish, for fear of wishing ill? Receive my counsel, and securely move;-- Intrust thy fortune to the powers above; Leave them to manage for thee, and to grant What their unerring wisdom sees thee want: In goodness, as in greatness, they excel; Ah, that we loved ourselves but half so well! We, blindly by our head-strong passions led, Are hot for action, and desire to wed; Then wish for heirs; but to the gods alone } Our future offspring, and our wives, are known; } The audacious strumpet, and ungracious son. } Yet, not to rob the priests of pious gain, That altars be not wholly built in vain, Forgive the gods the rest, and stand confined To health of body, and content of mind; A soul, that can securely death defy, And count it nature's privilege to die; Serene and manly, hardened to sustain The load of life, and exercised in pain; Guiltless of hate, and proof against desire, That all things weighs, and nothing can admire; That dares prefer the toils of Hercules, To dalliance, banquet, and ignoble ease. The path to peace is virtue: what I show, Thyself may freely on thyself bestow; Fortune was never worshipped by the wise, But, set aloft by fools, usurps the skies.


[142] Milo, of Crotona; who, for a trial of his strength, going to rend an oak, perished in the attempt; for his arms were caught in the trunk of it, and he was devoured by wild beasts.

[143] Sejanus was Tiberius's first favourite; and, while he continued so, had the highest marks of honour bestowed on him. Statues and triumphal chariots were every where erected to him. But, as soon as he fell into disgrace with the emperor, these were all immediately dismounted; and the senate and common people insulted over him as meanly as they had fawned on him before.

[144] The island of Caprea, which lies about a league out at sea from the Campanian shore, was the scene of Tiberius's pleasures in the latter part of his reign. There he lived, for some years, with diviners, soothsayers, and worse company; and from thence dispatched all his orders to the senate.

[145] Julius Cæsar, who got the better of Pompey, that was styled, The Great.

[146] Demosthenes and Tully both died for their oratory; Demosthenes gave himself poison, to avoid being carried to Antipater, one of Alexander's captains, who had then made himself master of Athens. Tully was murdered by M. Antony's order, in return for those invectives he made against him.

[147] The Latin of this couplet is a famous verse of Tully's, in which he sets out the happiness of his own consulship, famous for the vanity and the ill poetry of it; for Tully, as he had a good deal of the one, so he had no great share of the other.

[148] The orations of Tully against M. Antony were styled by him "Philippics," in imitation of Demosthenes; who had given that name before to those he made against Philip of Macedon.

[149] This is a mock account of a Roman triumph.

[150] Babylon, where Alexander died.

[151] Xerxes is represented in history after a very romantic manner: affecting fame beyond measure, and doing the most extravagant things to compass it. Mount Athos made a prodigious promontory in the Ægean Sea; he is said to have cut a channel through it, and to have sailed round it. He made a bridge of boats over the Hellespont, where it was three miles broad; and ordered a whipping for the winds and seas, because they had once crossed his designs; as we have a very solemn account of it in Herodotus. But, after all these vain boasts, he was shamefully beaten by Themistocles at Salamis; and returned home, leaving most of his fleet behind him.

[152] Mercury, who was a god of the lowest size, and employed always in errands between heaven and hell, and mortals used him accordingly; for his statues were anciently placed where roads met, with directions on the fingers of them, pointing out the several ways to travellers.

[153] Nestor, king of Pylus; who was three hundred years old, according to Homer's account; at least as he is understood by his expositors.

[154] The ancients counted by their fingers; their left hands served them till they came up to an hundred; after that they used their right, to express all greater numbers.

[155] The Fates were three sisters, who had all some peculiar business assigned them by the poets, in relation to the lives of men. The first held the distaff, the second spun the thread, and the third cut it.

[156] Whilst Troy was sacked by the Greeks, old king Priam is said to have buckled on his armour to oppose them; which he had no sooner done, but he was met by Pyrrhus, and slain before the altar of Jupiter, in his own palace; as we have the story finely told in Virgil's second Æneid.

[157] Hecuba, his queen, escaped the swords of the Grecians, and outlived him. It seems, she behaved herself so fiercely and uneasily to her husband's murderers, while she lived, that the poets thought fit to turn her into a bitch when she died.

[158] Mithridates, after he had disputed the empire of the world for forty years together, with the Romans, was at last deprived of life and empire by Pompey the Great.

[159] Croesus, in the midst of his prosperity, making his boast to Solon, how happy he was, received this answer from the wise man,--that no one could pronounce himself happy, till he saw what his end should be. The truth of this Croesus found, when he was put in chains by Cyrus, and condemned to die.

[160] Pompey, in the midst of his glory, fell into a dangerous fit of sickness, at Naples. A great many cities then made public supplications for him. He recovered; was beaten at Pharsalia; fled to Ptolemy, king of Egypt; and, instead of receiving protection at his court, had his head struck off by his order, to please Cæsar.

[161] Cethegus was one that conspired with Catiline, and was put to death by the senate.

[162] Sergius Catiline died fighting.

[163] Virginia was killed by her own father, to prevent her being exposed to the lust of Appius Claudius, who had ill designs upon her. The story at large is in Livy's third book; and it is a remarkable one, as it gave occasion to the putting down the power of the Decemviri, of whom Appius was one.

[164] Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, was loved by his mother-in-law, Phædria; but he not complying with her, she procured his death.

[165] Bellerophon, the son of King Glaucus, residing some time at the court of Pætus, king of the Argives, the queen, Sthenobæa, fell in love with him; but he refusing her, she turned the accusation upon him, and he narrowly escaped Pætus's vengeance.

[166] Messalina, wife to the emperor Claudius, infamous for her lewdness. She set her eyes upon C. Silius, a fine youth; forced him to quit his own wife, and marry her, with all the formalities of a wedding, whilst Claudius Cæsar was sacrificing at Hostia. Upon his return, he put both Silius and her to death.






_The Poet in this satire proves, that the condition of a soldier is much better than that of a countryman; first, because a countryman, however affronted, provoked, and struck himself, dares not strike a soldier, who is only to be judged by a court-martial; and, by the law of Camillus, which obliges him not to quarrel without the trenches, he is also assured to have a speedy hearing, and quick dispatch; whereas, the townsman, or peasant, is delayed in his suit by frivolous pretences, and not sure of justice when he is heard in the court. The soldier is also privileged to make a will, and to give away his estate, which he got in war, to whom he pleases, without consideration of parentage, or relations, which is denied to all other Romans. This satire was written by Juvenal, when he was a commander in Egypt: it is certainly his, though I think it not finished. And if it be well observed, you will find he intended an invective against a standing army._

What vast prerogatives, my Gallus, are Accruing to the mighty man of war! For if into a lucky camp I light, } Though raw in arms, and yet afraid to fight, } Befriend me my good stars, and all goes right. } One happy hour is to a soldier better, Than mother Juno's[167] recommending letter, Or Venus, when to Mars she would prefer My suit, and own the kindness done to her.[168] See what our common privileges are; As, first, no saucy citizen shall dare To strike a soldier, nor, when struck, resent The wrong, for fear of farther punishment. Not though his teeth are beaten out, his eyes Hang by a string, in bumps his forehead rise, Shall he presume to mention his disgrace, Or beg amends for his demolished face. A booted judge shall sit to try his cause, Not by the statute, but by martial laws; Which old Camillus ordered, to confine The brawls of soldiers to the trench and line: A wise provision; and from thence 'tis clear, That officers a soldier's cause should hear; And taking cognizance of wrongs received, An honest man may hope to be relieved. So far 'tis well; but with a general cry, The regiment will rise in mutiny, The freedom of their fellow-rogue demand, And, if refused, will threaten to disband. Withdraw thy action, and depart in peace, The remedy is worse than the disease. This cause is worthy him, who in the hall Would for his fee, and for his client, bawl:[169] But would'st thou, friend, who hast two legs alone, (Which, heaven be praised, thou yet may'st call thy own,) Would'st thou to run the gauntlet these expose To a whole company of hob-nailed shoes?[170] Sure the good-breeding of wise citizens Should teach them more good-nature to their shins. Besides, whom canst thou think so much thy friend, Who dares appear thy business to defend? Dry up thy tears, and pocket up the abuse, } Nor put thy friend to make a bad excuse; } The judge cries out, "Your evidence produce." } Will he, who saw the soldier's mutton-fist, And saw thee mauled, appear within the list, To witness truth? When I see one so brave, The dead, think I, are risen from the grave; And with their long spade beards, and matted hair, Our honest ancestors are come to take the air. Against a clown, with more security, A witness may be brought to swear a lie, Than, though his evidence be full and fair, To vouch a truth against a man of war. More benefits remain, and claimed as rights, Which are a standing army's perquisites. If any rogue vexatious suits advance Against me for my known inheritance, Enter by violence my fruitful grounds, Or take the sacred land-mark[171] from my bounds, Those bounds, which with procession and with prayer, And offered cakes, have been my annual care; Or if my debtors do not keep their day, Deny their hands, and then refuse to pay; I must with patience all the terms attend, Among the common causes that depend, Till mine is called; and that long-looked-for day Is still encumbered with some new delay; Perhaps the cloth of state is only spread,[172] Some of the quorum may be sick a-bed; That judge is hot, and doffs his gown, while this O'er night was bowsy, and goes out to piss: So many rubs appear, the time is gone For hearing, and the tedious suit goes on; But buft and beltmen never know these cares, No time, nor trick of law, their action bars: Their cause they to an easier issue put; They will be heard, or they lug out, and cut. Another branch of their revenue still } Remains, beyond their boundless right to kill,-- } Their father yet alive, impowered to make a will.[173] } For what their prowess gained, the law declares Is to themselves alone, and to their heirs: No share of that goes back to the begetter, But if the son fights well, and plunders better, Like stout Coranus, his old shaking sire Does a remembrance in his will desire, Inquisitive of fights, and longs in vain To find him in the number of the slain: But still he lives, and rising by the war, Enjoys his gains, and has enough to spare; For 'tis a noble general's prudent part To cherish valour, and reward desert; Let him be daub'd with lace, live high, and whore; Sometimes be lousy, but be never poor.


[167] Juno was mother to Mars, the god of war; Venus was his mistress.

[168] Camillus, (who being first banished by his ungrateful countrymen the Romans, afterwards returned, and freed them from the Gauls,) made a law, which prohibited the soldiers from quarrelling without the camp, lest upon that pretence they might happen to be absent when they ought to be on duty.

[169] The poet names a Modenese lawyer, whom he calls Vagellius, who was so impudent, that he would plead any cause, right or wrong, without shame or fear.

[170] The Roman soldiers wore plates of iron under their shoes, or stuck them with nails, as countrymen do now.

[171] Land-marks were used by the Romans, almost in the same manner as now; and as we go once a year in procession about the bounds of parishes, and renew them, so they offered cakes upon the stone, or land-mark.

[172] The courts of judicature were hung, and spread, as with us; but spread only before the hundred judges were to sit, and judge public causes, which were called by lot.

[173] The Roman soldiers had the privilege of making a will, in their father's life-time, of what they had purchased in the wars, as being no part of their patrimony. By this will, they had power of excluding their own parents, and giving the estate so gotten to whom they pleased: Therefore, says the poet, Coranus, (a soldier contemporary with Juvenal, who had raised his fortune by the wars,) was courted by his own father, to make him his heir.










_The design of the author was to conceal his name and quality. He lived in the dangerous times of the tyrant Nero, and aims particularly at him in most of his Satires. For which reason, though he was a Roman knight, and of a plentiful fortune, he would appear in this Prologue but a beggarly poet, who writes for bread. After this, he breaks into the business of the First Satire; which is chiefly to decry the poetry then in fashion, and the impudence of those who were endeavouring to pass their stuff upon the world._




I never did on cleft Parnassus dream, Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;[174] Nor can remember when my brain, inspired, Was by the Muses into madness fired. My share in pale Pyrene[175] I resign, And claim no part in all the mighty Nine. Statues, with winding ivy crowned,[176] belong To nobler poets, for a nobler song; Heedless of verse, and hopeless of the crown, } Scarce half a wit, and more than half a clown, } Before the shrine[177] I lay my rugged numbers down. } Who taught the parrot human notes to try, Or with a voice endued the chattering pye? 'Twas witty Want, fierce hunger to appease; Want taught their masters, and their masters these. Let gain, that gilded bait, be hung on high, The hungry witlings have it in their eye; Pyes, crows, and daws, poetic presents bring; You say they squeak, but they will swear they sing.






_I need not repeat, that the chief aim of the author is against bad poets in this Satire. But I must add, that he includes also bad orators, who began at that time (as Petronius in the beginning of his book tells us) to enervate manly eloquence by tropes and figures, ill placed, and worse applied. Amongst the poets, Persius covertly strikes at Nero; some of whose verses he recites with scorn and indignation. He also takes notice of the noblemen, and their abominable poetry, who, in the luxury of their fortunes, set up for wits and judges. The Satire is in dialogue betwixt the author, and his friend, or monitor; who dissuades him from this dangerous attempt of exposing great men. But Persius, who is of a free spirit, and has not forgotten that Rome was once a commonwealth, breaks through all those difficulties, and boldly arraigns the false judgment of the age in which he lives. The reader may observe, that our poet was a Stoic philosopher; and that all his moral sentences, both here and in all the rest of his Satires, are drawn from the dogmas of that sect._


How anxious are our cares, and yet how vain The bent of our desires!


Thy spleen contain; For none will read thy satires.?


This to me?


None, or, what's next to none, but two or three. 'Tis hard, I grant.


'Tis nothing; I can bear, That paltry scribblers have the public ear; That this vast universal fool, the town, Should cry up Labeo's stuff,[178] and cry me down. They damn themselves; nor will my muse descend To clap with such, who fools and knaves commend: Their smiles and censures are to me the same; I care not what they praise, or what they blame. In full assemblies let the crowd prevail; I weigh no merit by the common scale. The conscience is the test of every mind; "Seek not thyself, without thyself, to find." But where's that Roman----Somewhat I would say, But fear----let fear, for once, to truth give way. Truth lends the Stoic courage; when I look On human acts, and read in Nature's book, From the first pastimes of our infant age, To elder cares, and man's severer page; When stern as tutors, and as uncles hard, We lash the pupil, and defraud the ward, Then, then I say--or would say, if I durst-- But, thus provoked, I must speak out, or burst.


Once more forbear.


I cannot rule my spleen; My scorn rebels, and tickles me within. First, to begin at home:--Our authors write In lonely rooms, secured from public sight; Whether in prose, or verse, 'tis all the same, The prose is fustian, and the numbers lame; All noise, and empty pomp, a storm of words, Labouring with sound, that little sense affords. They comb, and then they order every hair; } A gown, or white, or scoured to whiteness, wear, } A birth-day jewel bobbing at their ear;[179] } Next, gargle well their throats; and, thus prepared, They mount, a God's name, to be seen and heard; From their high scaffold, with a trumpet cheek, And ogling all their audience ere they speak. The nauseous nobles, even the chief of Rome, With gaping mouths to these rehearsals come, And pant with pleasure, when some lusty line The marrow pierces, and invades the chine; At open fulsome bawdry they rejoice, And slimy jests applaud with broken voice. Base prostitute! thus dost thou gain thy bread? Thus dost thou feed their ears, and thus art fed? At his own filthy stuff he grins and brays, And gives the sign where he expects their praise. Why have I learned, sayst thou, if thus confined, I choke the noble vigour of my mind? Know, my wild fig-tree, which in rocks is bred, Will split the quarry, and shoot out the head.[180] Fine fruits of learning! old ambitious fool, Darest thou apply that adage of the school, As if 'tis nothing worth that lies concealed, And "science is not science till revealed?" Oh, but 'tis brave to be admired, to see The crowd, with pointing fingers, cry,--That's he; That's he, whose wonderous poem is become A lecture for the noble youth of Rome! Who, by their fathers, is at feasts renowned, And often quoted when the bowls go round. Full gorged and flushed, they wantonly rehearse, And add to wine the luxury of verse. One, clad in purple, not to lose his time, Eats and recites some lamentable rhyme; Some senseless Phillis, in a broken note, Snuffling at nose, and croaking in his throat. Then graciously the mellow audience nod; Is not the immortal author made a god? Are not his manes blest, such praise to have? Lies not the turf more lightly on his grave? And roses (while his loud applause they sing) Stand ready from his sepulchre to spring? All these, you cry, but light objections are, Mere malice, and you drive the jest too far: For does there breathe a man, who can reject A general fame, and his own lines neglect? In cedar tablets[181] worthy to appear, } That need not fish, or frankincense, to fear? } Thou, whom I make the adverse part to bear, } Be answered thus:--If I by chance succeed In what I write, (and that's a chance indeed,) Know, I am not so stupid, or so hard, Not to feel praise, or fame's deserved reward; But this I cannot grant, that thy applause Is my work's ultimate, or only cause. Prudence can ne'er propose so mean a prize; For mark what vanity within it lies. Like Labeo's Iliads, in whose verse is found Nothing but trifling care, and empty sound; Such little elegies as nobles write, Who would be poets, in Apollo's spite. Them and their woeful works the Muse defies; Products of citron beds,[182] and golden canopies. To give thee all thy due, thou hast the heart } To make a supper, with a fine desert, } And to thy thread-bare friend a cast old suit impart. } Thus bribed, thou thus bespeak'st him--Tell me, friend, (For I love truth, nor can plain speech offend,) What says the world of me and of my muse? The poor dare nothing tell but flattering news; But shall I speak? Thy verse is wretched rhyme, And all thy labours are but loss of time. Thy strutting belly swells, thy paunch is high; Thou writ'st not, but thou pissest poetry. All authors to their own defects are blind; Hadst thou but, Janus-like,[183] a face behind, To see the people, what splay-mouths they make; To mark their fingers, pointed at thy back; Their tongues lolled out, a foot beyond the pitch, When most athirst, of an Apulian bitch: But noble scribblers are with flattery fed, For none dare find their faults, who eat their bread. To pass the poets of patrician blood, What is't the common reader takes for good? The verse in fashion is, when numbers flow, Soft without sense, and without spirit slow; So smooth and equal, that no sight can find The rivet, where the polished piece was joined; So even all, with such a steady view, As if he shut one eye to level true. Whether the vulgar vice his satire stings, The people's riots, or the rage of kings, The gentle poet is alike in all; His reader hopes no rise, and fears no fall.


Hourly we see some raw pin-feathered thing Attempt to mount, and fights and heroes sing; Who for false quantities was whipt at school But t'other day, and breaking grammar-rule; Whose trivial art was never tried above The bare description of a native grove; Who knows not how to praise the country store, } The feasts, the baskets, nor the fatted boar, } Nor paint the flowery fields that paint themselves before; } Where Romulus was bred, and Quintius born,[184] Whose shining plough-share was in furrows worn, Met by his trembling wife returning home, And rustically joyed, as chief of Rome: She wiped the sweat from the Dictator's brow, } And o'er his back his robe did rudely throw; } The lictors bore in state their lord's triumphant plough. } Some love to hear the fustian poet roar, And some on antiquated authors pore; Rummage for sense, and think those only good Who labour most, and least are understood. When thou shalt see the blear-eyed fathers teach Their sons this harsh and mouldy sort of speech, Or others new affected ways to try, Of wanton smoothness, female poetry; One would enquire from whence this motley style Did first our Roman purity defile. For our old dotards cannot keep their seat, But leap and catch at all that's obsolete. Others, by foolish ostentation led, When called before the bar, to save their head, Bring trifling tropes, instead of solid sense, And mind their figures more than their defence; Are pleased to hear their thick-skulled judges cry, Well moved, oh finely said, and decently! Theft (says the accuser) to thy charge I lay, O Pedius: what does gentle Pedius say? Studious to please the genius of the times, With periods, points, and tropes,[185] he slurs his crimes: "He robbed not, but he borrowed from the poor, And took but with intention to restore." He lards with flourishes his long harangue; 'Tis fine, say'st thou;--what, to be praised, and hang? Effeminate Roman, shall such stuff prevail To tickle thee, and make thee wag thy tail? Say, should a shipwrecked sailor sing his woe, Wouldst thou be moved to pity, or bestow An alms? What's more preposterous than to see A merry beggar? Mirth in misery?


He seems a trap for charity to lay, And cons, by night, his lesson for the day.


But to raw numbers, and unfinished verse, Sweet sound is added now, to make it terse: "'Tis tagged with rhyme, like Berecynthian Atys, The mid-part chimes with art, which never flat is.[186] The dolphin brave, that cuts the liquid wave, Or he who in his line can chine the long-ribbed Appennine."


All this is doggrel stuff.


What if I bring A nobler verse? "Arms and the man I sing."


Why name you Virgil with such fops as these? He's truly great, and must for ever please: Not fierce, but aweful, is his manly page; Bold is his strength, but sober is his rage.


What poems think you soft, and to be read With languishing regards, and bending head?


"Their crooked horns the Mimallonian crew With blasts inspired;[187] and Bassaris, who slew The scornful calf, with sword advanced on high, Made from his neck his haughty head to fly: And Mænas, when with ivy bridles bound, } She led the spotted lynx, then Evion rung around; } Evion from woods and floods repairing echo's sound." } Could such rude lines a Roman mouth become, Were any manly greatness left in Rome? Mænas and Atys[188] in the mouth were bred, And never hatched within the labouring head; No blood from bitten nails those poems drew, But churned, like spittle, from the lips they flew.


'Tis fustian all; 'tis execrably bad; But if they will be fools, must you be mad? Your satires, let me tell you, are too fierce; The great will never bear so blunt a verse. Their doors are barred against a bitter flout; Snarl, if you please, but you shall snarl without. Expect such pay as railing rhymes deserve; You're in a very hopeful way to starve.


Rather than so, uncensured let them be; All, all is admirably well, for me. My harmless rhyme shall 'scape the dire disgrace Of common-shoars, and every pissing-place. Two painted serpents[189] shall on high appear; 'Tis holy ground; you must not urine here. This shall be writ, to fright the fry away, Who draw their little baubles when they play. Yet old Lucilius[190] never feared the times, But lashed the city, and dissected crimes. Mutius and Lupus both by name he brought; He mouthed them, and betwixt his grinders caught. Unlike in method, with concealed design, Did crafty Horace his low numbers join; And, with a sly insinuating grace, Laughed at his friend, and looked him in the face; Would raise a blush where secret vice he found, And tickle while he gently probed the wound; With seeming innocence the crowd beguiled, But made the desperate passes when he smiled. Could he do this, and is my muse controuled By servile awe? Born free, and not be bold? At least, I'll dig a hole within the ground, And to the trusty earth commit the sound; The reeds shall tell you what the poet fears, "King Midas has a snout, and asses ears."[191] This mean conceit, this darling mystery, Which thou think'st nothing, friend, thou shalt not buy; Nor will I change for all the flashy wit, That flattering Labeo in his Iliads writ. Thou, if there be a thou in this base town, Who dares, with angry Eupolis, to frown; He who, with bold Cratinus, is inspired With zeal,[192] and equal indignation fired; Who at enormous villainy turns pale, And steers against it with a full-blown sail, Like Aristophanes, let him but smile On this my honest work, though writ in homely style; And if two lines or three in all the vein Appear less drossy, read those 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,[193] Point at the tattered coat, and ragged shoe; Lay nature's failings to their charge, and jeer The dim weak eye-sight when the mind is clear; When thou thyself, thus insolent in state, Art but, perhaps, some country magistrate, Whose power extends no farther than to speak Big on the bench, and scanty weights to break. Him also for my censor I disdain, Who thinks all science, as all virtue, vain; Who counts geometry, and numbers toys, And with his foot the sacred dust destroys;[194] Whose pleasure is to see a strumpet tear A cynick's beard, and lug him by the hair. Such all the morning to the pleadings run; } But when the business of the day is done, } On dice, and drink, and drabs, they spend their afternoon. }


[174] Parnassus and Helicon were hills consecrated to the Muses, and the supposed place of their abode. Parnassus was forked on the top; and from Helicon ran a stream, the spring of which was called the Muses' well.

[175] Pyrene, a fountain in Corinth, consecrated also to the Muses.

[176] The statues of the poets were crowned with ivy about their brows.

[177] Before the shrine; that is, before the shrine of Apollo, in his temple at Rome, called the Palatine.

[178] Note I.

[179] Note II.

[180] Note III.

[181] Note IV.

[182] Note V.

[183] Note VI.

[184] Note VII.

[185] Note VIII.

[186] Note IX.

[187] Note X.

[188] Note XI.

[189] Note XII.

[190] Note XIII.

[191] Note XIV.

[192] Note XV.

[193] Note XVI.

[194] Note XVII.





Note I.

_Should cry up Labeo's stuff, and cry me down._--P. 208.

Nothing is remaining of Atticus Labeo (so he is called by the learned Casaubon); nor is he mentioned by any other poet, besides Persius. Casaubon, from an old commentator on Persius, says, that he made a very foolish translation of Homer's Iliads.

Note II.

_They comb, and then they order every hair; A gown, or white, or scoured to whiteness, wear; A birth-day jewel bobbing at their ear._--P. 209.

He describes a poet, preparing himself to rehearse his works in public, which was commonly performed in August. A room was hired, or lent, by some friend; a scaffold was raised, and a pulpit placed for him who was to hold forth; who borrowed a new gown, or scoured his old one, and adorned his ears with jewels, &c.

Note III.

_Know, my wild fig-tree, which in rocks is bred, Will split the quarry, and shoot out the head._--P. 209.

Trees of that kind grow wild in many parts of Italy, and make their way through rocks, sometimes splitting the tomb-stones.

Note IV.

_In cedar tablets worthy to appear._--P. 210.

The Romans wrote on cedar and cypress tables, in regard of the duration of the wood. Ill verses might justly be afraid of frankincense; for the papers in which they were written, were fit for nothing but to wrap it up.

Note V.

_Products of citron beds._--P. 210.

Writings of noblemen, whose bedsteads were of the wood of citron.

Note VI.

_Hadst thou but, Janus-like, a face behind._--P. 211.

Janus was the first king of Italy, who refuged Saturn when he was expelled, by his son Jupiter, from Crete (or, as we now call it, Candia). From his name the first month of the year is called January. He was pictured with two faces, one before and one behind; as regarding the past time and the future. Some of the mythologists think he was Noah, for the reason given above.

Note VII.

_Where Romulus was bred, and Quintius born._--P. 212.

He speaks of the country in the foregoing verses; the praises of which are the most easy theme for poets, but which a bad poet cannot naturally describe: then he makes a digression to Romulus, the first king of Rome, who had a rustical education; and enlarges upon Quintius Cincinnatus, a Roman senator, who was called from the plough to be dictator of Rome.

Note VIII.

_With periods, points, and tropes, he slurs his crimes._ P. 213.

Persius here names antitheses, or seeming contradictions; which, in this place, are meant for rhetorical flourishes, as I think, with Casaubon.

Note IX.

_'Tis tagged with rhyme, like Berecynthian Atys, The mid-part chimes with art, which never flat is._ P. 213.

Foolish verses of Nero, which the poet repeats; and which cannot be translated, properly, into English.

Note X.

_Their crooked horns the Mimallonian crew With blasts inspired._--P. 214.

Other verses of Nero, that were mere bombast. I only note, that the repetition of these and the former verses of Nero, might justly give the poet a caution to conceal his name.

Note XI.

_Mænas and Atys._--P. 214.

Poems on the Mænades, who were priestesses of Bacchus; and of Atys, who made himself an eunuch to attend on the sacrifices of Cybele, called Berecynthia by the poets. She was mother of the gods.

Note XII.

_Two painted serpents shall on high appear._--P. 215.

Two snakes, twined with each other, were painted on the walls, by the ancients, to show the place was holy.

Note XIII.

_Old Lucilius._--P. 215.

Lucilius wrote long before Horace, who imitates his manner of satire, but far excels him in the design.

Note XIV.

_King Midas has a snout, and asses ears._--P. 215.

The story is vulgar, that Midas, king of Phrygia, was made judge betwixt Apollo and Pan, who was the best musician: he gave the prize to Pan; and Apollo, in revenge, gave him asses ears. He wore his hair long to hide them; but his barber discovering them, and not daring to divulge the secret, dug a hole in the ground, and whispered into it: the place was marshy; and, when the reeds grew up, they repeated the words which were spoken by the barber. By Midas, the poet meant Nero.

Note XV.

_Who dares, with angry Eupolis, to frown; He who, with bold Cratinus, is inspired With zeal._--P. 215.

Eupolis and Cratinus, as also Aristophanes, mentioned afterwards, were all Athenian poets; who wrote that sort of comedy which was called the Old Comedy, where the people were named who were satirized by those authors.

Note XVI.

_Who fortune's fault upon the poor can throw._--P. 216.

The people of Rome, in the time of Persius, were apt to scorn the Grecian philosophers, particularly the Cynics and Stoics, who were the poorest of them.

Note XVII.

_Who counts geometry, and numbers toys, And with his foot the sacred dust destroys._--P. 216.

Arithmetic and geometry were taught on floors, which were strewed with dust, or sand; in which the numbers and diagrams were made and drawn, which they might strike out at pleasure.









_This Satire contains a most grave and philosophical argument, concerning prayers and wishes. Undoubtedly it gave occasion to Juvenal's tenth satire; 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 occasions, prayers were made, and sacrifices offered by the native. Persius, commending, first, the purity of his friend's vows, descends to the impious and immoral requests of others. The satire is divided into three parts. The first is the exordium to Macrinus, which the poet confines within the compass of four verses: the second relates to the matter of the prayers and vows, and an enumeration of those things, wherein men commonly sinned against right reason, and offended in their requests: the third part consists in showing the repugnances of those prayers and wishes, to those of other men, and inconsistencies with themselves. He shows the original of these vows, and sharply inveighs against them; and, lastly, not only corrects the false opinion of mankind concerning them, but gives the true doctrine of all addresses made to heaven, and how they may be made acceptable to the powers above, in excellent precepts, and more worthy of a Christian than a Heathen._

Let this auspicious morning be exprest With a white stone,[195] distinguished 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 soul, Till thy wit sparkle, like the cheerful bowl. Pray; for thy prayers the test of heaven will bear, Nor need'st thou take the gods aside to hear; While others, even the mighty men of Rome, Big swelled with mischief, to the temples come, And in low murmurs, and with costly smoke, Heaven's help to prosper their black vows, invoke: So boldly to the gods mankind reveal What from each other they, for shame, conceal. Give me good fame, ye powers, and make me just; 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 son, great Hercules, That once thy bounteous deity would please To guide my rake upon the chinking sound Of some vast treasure, hidden under ground![196] O were my pupil fairly knocked o' the head, I should possess the estate if he were dead! He's so far gone with rickets, and with the evil, That one small dose would send him to the devil. This is my neighbour Nerius his third spouse, Of whom in happy time he rids his house; But my eternal wife!--Grant, heaven, I may Survive to see 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 the obscenities of night away.[197] But, pr'ythee, tell me, ('tis a small request,) With what ill thoughts of Jove art thou possest? Wouldst thou prefer him to some man? Suppose I dipped among the worst, and Staius chose? Which of the two would thy wise head declare The trustier tutor to an orphan heir? Or, put it thus:--Unfold to Staius, straight, What to Jove's ear thou didst impart of late: He'll stare, and O, good Jupiter! will cry, Canst thou indulge him in this villainy? And think'st thou Jove himself with patience then Can hear a prayer condemned by wicked men? That, void of care, he lolls supine in state, And leaves his business to be done by fate, Because his thunder splits some burly tree, And is not darted at thy house and thee; Or that his vengeance falls not at the time, Just at the perpetration of thy crime, And makes thee a sad object of our eyes, Fit for Ergenna's prayer and sacrifice?[198] What well-fed offering to appease the God, What powerful present to procure a nod, Hast thou in store? What bribe hast thou prepared, To pull him, thus unpunished, by the beard? Our superstitions with our life begin;[199] The obscene old grandam, or the next of kin, The new-born infant from the cradle takes, And, first, of spittle a lustration 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 muttered prayer, That heaven would make him some rich miser's heir, Lucky to ladies, and in time a king; Which to ensure, she adds a length of navel-string. But no fond nurse is fit to make a prayer, And Jove, if Jove be wise, will never hear; Not though she prays in white, with lifted hands. A body made of brass the crone demands For her loved nursling, strung with nerves of wire, Tough to the last, and with no toil to tire; Unconscionable vows, which, when we use, We teach the gods, in reason, to refuse. Suppose they were indulgent to thy wish, Yet the fat entrails in the spacious dish Would stop the grant; the very over-care And nauseous pomp, would hinder half the prayer. Thou hop'st with sacrifice of oxen slain To compass wealth, and bribe the god of gain To give thee flocks and herds, with large increase; Fool! to expect them from a bullock's grease! And think'st that when the fattened flames aspire, Thou see'st the accomplishment of thy desire! Now, now, my bearded harvest gilds the plain, } The scanty folds can scarce my sheep contain, } And showers of gold come pouring in amain! } Thus dreams the wretch, and vainly thus dreams on, Till his lank purse declares his money gone. Should I present them with rare figured plate, Or gold as rich in workmanship as weight; O how thy rising heart would throb and beat, And thy left side, with trembling pleasure, sweat! Thou measur'st by thyself the powers divine; Thy gods are burnished gold, and silver is their shrine. The puny godlings of inferior race, Whose humble statues are content with brass, Should some of these, in visions purged from phlegm, Foretel events, or in a morning dream;[200] Even those 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 brass,[201] or Numa's earthen ware;[202] Or vestal urns, in each religious rite; This wicked gold has put them all to flight. O souls, in whom no heavenly fire is found, Fat minds, and ever grovelling on the ground! We bring our manners to the blest abodes, And think what pleases us must please the gods. Of oil and cassia one the ingredients takes, And, of the mixture, a rich ointment makes; Another finds the way to dye in grain, And makes Calabrian wool[203] receive the Tyrian stain; Or from the shells their orient treasure takes, Or for their golden ore in rivers rakes, Then melts the mass. All these are vanities, Yet still some profit from their pains may rise: But tell me, priest, if I may be so bold, What are the gods the better for this gold? The wretch, that offers from his wealthy store These presents, bribes the powers to give him more; As maids to Venus offer baby-toys,[204] To bless the marriage-bed with girls and boys. But let us for the gods a gift prepare, Which the great man's great chargers cannot bear; A soul, where laws, both human and divine, In practice more than speculation shine; A genuine virtue, of a vigorous kind, Pure in the last recesses of the mind: When with such offerings to the gods I come, A cake, thus given, is worth a hecatomb.[205]


[195] Note I.

[196] Note II.

[197] Note III.

[198] Note IV.

[199] Note V.

[200] Note VI.

[201] Note VII.

[202] Note VIII.

[203] Note IX.

[204] Note X.

[205] Note XI.





Note I.

_Let this auspicious morning be exprest With a white stone._----P. 222.

The Romans were used to mark their fortunate days, or any thing that luckily befel them, with a white stone, which they had from the island Creta, and their unfortunate with a coal.

Note II.

----_Great Hercules, That once thy bounteous deity would please To guide my rake upon the chinking sound Of some vast treasure, hidden under ground._--P. 222.

Hercules was thought to have the key and power of bestowing all hidden treasure.

Note III.

_In Tyber ducking thrice, by break of day, To wash the obscenities of night away._--P. 223.

The ancients thought themselves tainted and polluted by night itself, as well as bad dreams in the night; and therefore purified themselves by washing their heads and hands every morning, which custom the Turks observe to this day.

Note IV.

_Fit for Ergenna's prayer and sacrifice_.--P. 223.

When any one was thunderstruck, the soothsayer (who is here called Ergenna) immediately repaired to the place, to expiate the displeasure of the gods, by sacrificing two sheep.

Note V.

_Our superstitions with our life begin_.--P. 223.

The poet laughs at the superstitious ceremonies which the old women made use of in their lustration, or purification days, when they named their children, which was done on the eighth day to females, and on the ninth to males.

Note VI.

_Should some of these, in visions purged from phlegm, Foretel events, or in a morning dream._--P. 225.

It was the opinion both of Grecians and Romans, that the gods, in visions and dreams, often revealed to their favourites a cure for their diseases, and sometimes those of others. Thus Alexander dreamed of an herb which cured Ptolemy. These gods were principally Apollo and Esculapius; but, in aftertimes, the same virtue and good-will was attributed to Isis and Osiris. Which brings to my remembrance an odd passage in Sir Thomas Brown's Religio Medici, or in his Vulgar Errors; the sense whereof is, that we are beholden, for many of our discoveries in physic, to the courteous revelation of spirits. By the expression, of "visions purged from phlegm," our author means such dreams or visions as proceed not from natural causes, or humours of the body, but such as are sent from heaven; and are, therefore, certain remedies.

Note VII.

_The priests in temples, now no longer care For Saturn's brass._--P. 225.

Brazen vessels, in which the public treasures of the Romans were kept: it may be the poet means only old vessels, which were called #Kronia#, from the Greek name of Saturn. Note also, that the Roman treasury was in the temple of Saturn.

Note VIII.

----_Or Numa's earthen ware._--P. 225.

Under Numa, the second king of Rome, and for a long time after him, the holy vessels for sacrifice were of earthen-ware; according to the superstitious rites which were introduced by the same Numa: though afterwards, when Memmius had taken Corinth, and Paulus Emilius had conquered Macedonia, luxury began amongst the Romans, and then their utensils of devotion were of gold and silver, &c.

Note IX.

_And makes Calabrian wool, &c._--P. 225.

The wool of Calabria was of the finest sort in Italy, as Juvenal also tells us. The Tyrian stain is the purple colour dyed at Tyrus; and I suppose, but dare not positively affirm, that the richest of that dye was nearest our crimson, and not scarlet, or that other colour more approaching to the blue. I have not room to justify my conjecture.

Note X.

_As maids to Venus offer baby-toys._--P. 225.

Those baby-toys were little babies, or poppets, as we call them; in Latin, pupæ; which the girls, when they came to the age of puberty, or child bearing, offered to Venus; as the boys, at fourteen or fifteen, offered their _bullæ_, or bosses.

Note XI.

_A cake, thus given, is worth a hecatomb._--P. 226.

A cake of barley, or coarse wheat-meal, with the bran in it. The meaning is, that God is pleased with the pure and spotless heart of the offerer, and not with the riches of the offering. Laberius, in the fragments of his "Mimes," has a verse like this--_Puras, Deus, non plenas aspicit manus_.--What I had forgotten before, in its due place, I must here tell the reader, that the first half of this satire was translated by one of my sons, now in Italy; but I thought so well of it, that I let it pass without any alteration.






_Our author has made two Satires concerning study, the first and the third: the first related to men; this to young students, whom he desired to be educated in the Stoic philosophy. He himself sustains the person of the master, or preceptor, in this admirable Satire, where he upbraids the youth of sloth, and negligence in learning. Yet he begins with one scholar reproaching his fellow-students with late rising to their books. After which, he takes upon him the other part of the teacher; and, addressing himself particularly to young noblemen, tells them, that, by reason of their high birth, and the great possessions of their fathers, they are careless of adorning their minds with precepts of moral philosophy: and, withal, inculcates to them the miseries which will attend them in the whole course of their life, if they do not apply themselves betimes to the knowledge of virtue, and the end of their creation, which he pathetically insinuates to them. The title of this satire, in some ancient manuscripts, was, "the Reproach of Idleness;" though in others of the scholiasts it is inscribed, "Against the Luxury and Vices of the Rich." In both of which, the intention of the poet is pursued, but principally in the former._

[I remember I translated this satire when I was a king's scholar at Westminster school, for a Thursday-night's exercise; and believe, that it, and many other of my exercises of this nature in English verse, are still in the hands of my learned master, the Rev. Dr Busby.]

Is this thy daily course? The glaring sun } Breaks in at every chink; the cattle run } To shades, and noon-tide rays of summer shun; } Yet plunged in sloth we lie, and snore supine, As filled with fumes of undigested wine. This grave advice some sober student bears, And loudly rings it in his fellow's ears. The yawning youth, scarce half awake, essays 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 so late! My clothes, make haste!--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 ass can stretch his throat. With much ado, his book before him laid, And parchment with the smoother side displayed,[206] He takes the papers; lays them down again, And with unwilling fingers tries the pen. Some peevish quarrel straight he strives to pick, His quill writes double, or his ink's too thick; Infuse more water,--now 'tis grown so thin, It sinks, nor can the characters be seen. O wretch, and still more wretched every day! Are mortals born to sleep their lives away? Go back to what thy infancy began, Thou, who wert never meant to be a man; Eat pap and spoon-meat, for thy gewgaws cry; Be sullen, and refuse the lullaby. No more accuse thy pen; but charge the crime On native sloth, and negligence of time. Think'st thou thy master, or thy friends, to cheat? Fool, 'tis thyself, and that's a worse deceit. Beware the public laughter of the town; Thou spring'st a leak already in thy crown; A flaw is in thy ill-baked vessel found; 'Tis hollow, and returns a jarring sound. Yet thy moist clay is pliant to command, Unwrought, and easy to the potter's hand: Now take the mould; now bend thy mind to feel The first sharp motions of the forming wheel. But thou hast land; a country seat, secure By a just title; costly furniture; A fuming pan thy Lares to appease:[207] What need of learning when a man's at ease? If this be not enough to swell thy soul, Then please thy pride, and search the herald's roll, Where thou shalt find thy famous pedigree } Drawn from the root of some old Tuscan tree,[208] } And thou, a thousand off, a fool of long degree; } Who, clad in purple, can'st thy censor greet,[209] And loudly call him cousin in the street. Such pageantry be to the people shown: There boast thy horse's trappings, and thy own. I know thee to thy bottom, from within Thy shallow centre, to the utmost skin: Dost thou not blush to live so like a beast, So trim, so dissolute, so loosely drest? But 'tis in vain; the wretch is drenched too deep, His soul is stupid, and his heart asleep; Fattened in vice, so callous, and so gross, He sins, and sees not, senseless of his loss. Down goes the wretch at once, unskilled to swim, Hopeless to bubble up, and reach the water's brim. Great father of the gods, when for our crimes Thou send'st some heavy judgment on the times; Some tyrant-king, the terror of his age, The type, and true vicegerent of thy rage; Thus punish him: set virtue in his sight, With all her charms, adorned with all her graces bright; But set her distant, make him pale to see His gains outweighed by lost felicity! Sicilian tortures, and the brazen bull,[210] Are emblems, rather than express the full Of what he feels; yet what he fears is more: The wretch, who, sitting at his plenteous board, Looked up, and viewed on high the pointed sword Hang o'er his head, and hanging by a twine, Did with less dread, and more securely dine.[211] Even in his sleep he starts, and fears the knife, And, trembling, in his arms takes his accomplice wife; Down, down he goes; and from his darling friend Conceals the woes his guilty dreams portend. When I was young, I, like a lazy fool, Would blear my eyes with oil, to stay from school: Averse from pains, and loth to learn the part Of Cato, dying with a dauntless heart; Though much my master that stern virtue praised, Which o'er the vanquisher the vanquished raised; And my pleased father came with pride to see His boy defend the Roman liberty. But then my study was to cog the dice, And dexterously to throw the lucky sice; To shun ames-ace, that swept my stakes away, } And watch the box, for fear they should convey } False bones, and put upon me in the play; } Careful, besides, the whirling top to whip, And drive her giddy, till she fell asleep. Thy years are ripe, nor art thou yet to learn What's good or ill, and both their ends discern: Thou in the Stoic-porch,[212] severely bred, Hast heard the dogmas of great Zeno read; Where on the walls, by Polygnotus' hand, The conquered Medians in trunk-breeches stand;[213] Where the shorn youth to midnight lectures rise, Roused from their slumbers to be early wise; Where the coarse cake, and homely husks of beans, From pampering riot the young stomach weans; And where the Samian Y directs thy steps to run To Virtue's narrow steep, and broad-way Vice to shun.[214] And yet thou snor'st, thou draw'st thy drunken breath, Sour with debauch, and sleep'st the sleep of death: Thy chaps are fallen, and thy frame disjoined; Thy body is dissolved as is thy mind. Hast thou not yet proposed some certain end, To which thy life, thy every act, may tend? Hast thou no mark, at which to bend thy bow? Or, like a boy, pursuest the carrion crow With pellets, and with stones, from tree to tree, A fruitless toil, and livest _extempore_? Watch the disease in time; for when within The dropsy rages, and extends the skin, In vain for hellebore the patient cries, And fees the doctor, but too late is wise; Too late, for cure he proffers half his wealth; Conquest and Guibbons[215] cannot give him health. Learn, wretches, learn the motions of the mind, } Why you were made, for what you were designed, } And the great moral end of human kind. } Study thyself, what rank, or what degree, The wise Creator has ordained for thee; And all the offices of that estate Perform, and with thy prudence guide thy fate. Pray justly to be heard, nor more desire Than what the decencies of life require. Learn what thou owest thy country, and thy friend; What's requisite to spare, and what to spend: Learn this; and after, envy not the store Of the greased advocate, that grinds the poor; Fat fees[216] from the defended Umbrian draws, And only gains the wealthy client's cause; To whom the Marsians more provision send, Than he and all his family can spend. Gammons, that give a relish to the taste, And potted fowl, and fish come in so fast, That ere the first is out, the second stinks, And mouldy mother gathers on the brinks. But here some captain of the land, or fleet, Stout of his hands, but of a soldier's wit, Cries,--I have sense to serve my turn in store, And he's a rascal who pretends to more. Damn me, whate'er those book-learned blockheads say, Solon's the veriest fool in all the play. Top-heavy drones, and always looking down, (As over ballasted within the crown,) Muttering betwixt their lips some mystic thing, Which, well examined, is flat conjuring; Mere madmen's dreams; for what the schools have taught, } Is only this, that nothing can be brought } From nothing, and what is can ne'er be turned to nought. } Is it for this they study? to grow pale, And miss the pleasures of a glorious meal? For this, in rags accoutered, are they seen, And made the may-game of the public spleen?-- Proceed, my friend, and rail; but hear me tell A story, which is just thy parallel:-- A spark, like thee, of the man-killing trade, Fell sick, and thus to his physician said,-- Methinks I am not right in every part; I feel a kind of trembling at my heart, My pulse unequal, and my breath is strong, Besides a filthy fur upon my tongue. The doctor heard him, exercised his skill, And after bade him for four days be still. Three days he took good counsel, and began To mend, and look like a recovering man; The fourth he could not hold from drink, but sends His boy to one of his old trusty friends, Adjuring him, by all the powers divine, } To pity his distress, who could not dine } Without a flaggon of his healing wine. } He drinks a swilling draught; and, lined within, Will supple in the bath his outward skin: Whom should he find but his physician there, Who wisely bade him once again beware. Sir, you look wan, you hardly draw your breath; Drinking is dangerous, and the bath is death. 'Tis nothing, says the fool; but, says the friend, This nothing, sir, will bring you to your end. Do I not see your dropsy belly swell? Your yellow skin?--No more of that; I'm well. I have already buried two or three } That stood betwixt a fair estate and me, } And, doctor, I may live to bury thee. } Thou tell'st me, I look ill; and thou look'st worse. I've done, says the physician; take your course. The laughing sot, like all unthinking men, Bathes, and gets drunk; then bathes, and drinks again: His throat half throttled with corrupted phlegm, And breathing through his jaws a belching steam, Amidst his cups with fainting shivering seized, His limbs disjointed, and all o'er diseased, His hand refuses to sustain the bowl, } And his teeth chatter, and his eye-balls roll, } Till with his meat he vomits out his soul; } Then trumpets, torches, and a tedious crew Of hireling mourners, for his funeral due. Our dear departed brother lies in state, } His heels stretched out, and pointing to the gate;[217] } And slaves, now manumized, on their dead master wait. } They hoist him on the bier, and deal the dole, And there's an end of a luxurious fool. But what's thy fulsome parable to me? My body is from all diseases free; My temperate pulse does regularly beat; } Feel, and be satisfied, my hands and feet: } These are not cold, nor those opprest with heat. } Or lay thy hand upon my naked heart, And thou shalt find me hale in every part. I grant this true; but still the deadly wound Is in thy soul, 'tis there thou art not sound. Say, when thou see'st a heap of tempting gold, Or a more tempting harlot dost behold; Then, when she casts on thee a side-long glance, Then try thy heart, and tell me if it dance. Some coarse cold sallad is before thee set; } Bread with the bran, perhaps, and broken meat; } Fall on, and try thy appetite to eat. } These are not dishes for thy dainty tooth: What, hast thou got an ulcer in thy mouth? Why stand'st thou picking? Is thy palate sore, That bete and radishes will make thee roar? Such is the unequal temper of thy mind, Thy passions in extremes, and unconfined; Thy hair so bristles with unmanly fears, As fields of corn, that rise in bearded ears; And when thy cheeks with flushing fury glow, } The rage of boiling cauldrons is more slow, } When fed with fuel and with flames below. } With foam upon thy lips and sparkling eyes, Thou say'st, and dost, in such outrageous wise, That mad Orestes,[218] if he saw the show, Would swear thou wert the madder of the two.


[206] Note I.

[207] Note II.

[208] Note III.

[209] Note IV.

[210] Note V.

[211] Note VI.

[212] Note VII.

[213] Note VIII.

[214] Note IX.

[215] Two learned physicians of the period. Dryden mentions Guibbons more than once, as a friend.

[216] Note X.

[217] Note XI.

[218] Note XII.





Note I.

_And parchment with the smoother side displayed._--P. 231.

The students used to write their notes on parchments; the inside, on which they wrote, was white; the other side was hairy, and commonly yellow. Quintilian reproves this custom, and advises rather table-books, lined with wax, and a stile, like that we use in our vellum table-books, as more easy.

Note II.

_A fuming-pan thy Lares to appease._--P. 232.

Before eating, it was customary to cut off some part of the meat, which was first put into a pan, or little dish, then into the fire, as an offering to the household gods: this they called a Libation.

Note III.

_Drawn from the root of some old Tuscan tree._--P. 232.

The Tuscans were accounted of most ancient nobility. Horace observes this in most of his compliments to Mæcenas, who was derived from the old kings of Tuscany; now the dominion of the Great Duke.

Note IV.

_Who, clad in purple, canst thy censor greet._--P. 232.

The Roman knights, attired in the robe called _trabea_, were summoned by the censor to appear before him, and to salute him in passing by, as their names were called over. They led their horses in their hand. See more of this in Pompey's Life, written by Plutarch.

Note V.

_Sicilian tortures, and the brazen bull._--P. 233.

Some of the Sicilian kings were so great tyrants, that the name is become proverbial. The brazen bull is a known story of Phalaris, one of those tyrants, who, when Perillus, a famous artist, had presented him with a bull of that metal hollowed within, which, when the condemned person was inclosed in it, would render the sound of a bull's roaring, caused the workman to make the first experiment,--_docuitque suum mugire juvencum_.

Note VI.

_The wretch, who, sitting at his plenteous board, Looked up, and viewed on high the pointed sword._--P. 233.

He alludes to the story of Damocles, a flatterer of one of those Sicilian tyrants, namely Dionysius. Damocles had infinitely extolled the happiness of kings: Dionysius, to convince him of the contrary, invited him to a feast, and clothed him in purple; but caused a sword, with the point downward, to be hung over his head by a silken twine; which, when he perceived, he could eat nothing of the delicates that were set before him.

Note VII.

_Thou in the Stoic-porch, severely bred._--P. 233.

The Stoics taught their philosophy under a porticus, to secure their scholars from the weather. Zeno was the chief of that sect.

Note VIII.

_Where on the walls, by Polygnotus' hand, The conquered Medians in trunk-breeches stand._--P. 233.

Polygnotus, a famous painter, who drew the pictures of the Medes and Persians, conquered by Miltiades, Themistocles, and other Athenian captains, on the walls of the portico, in their natural habits.

Note IX.

_And where the Samian Y directs thy steps to run To Virtue's narrow steep, and broad-way Vice to shun._ P. 234.

Pythagoras, of Samos, made the allusion of the Y, or Greek _upsilon_, to Vice and Virtue. One side of the letter being broad, characters Vice, to which the ascent is wide and easy; the other side represents Virtue, to which the passage is strait and difficult; and perhaps our Saviour might also allude to this, in those noted words of the evangelist, "The way to heaven," &c.

Note X.

_Fat fees from the defended Umbrian draws._--P. 235.

Casaubon here notes, that, among all the Romans, who were brought up to learning, few, besides the orators or lawyers, grew rich.

Note XI.

_His heels stretched out, and pointing to the gate._ P. 237.

The Romans were buried without the city; for which reason, the poet says, that the dead man's heels were stretched out towards the gate.

Note XII.

----_Mad Orestes._--P. 238.

Orestes was son to Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Agamemnon, at his return from the Trojan wars, was slain by Ægysthus, the adulterer of Clytemnestra. Orestes, to revenge his father's death, slew both Ægysthus and his mother; for which he was punished with madness by the Eumenides, or Furies, who continually haunted him.






_Our author, living in the time of Nero, was contemporary and friend to the noble poet Lucan. Both of them were sufficiently sensible, with all good men, how unskilfully he managed the commonwealth; and perhaps might guess at his future tyranny, by some passages, during the latter part of his first five years; though he broke not out into his great excesses, while he was restrained by the counsels and authority of Seneca. Lucan has not spared him in the poem of his Pharsalia; for his very compliment looked asquint, as well as Nero.[219] Persius has been bolder, but with caution likewise. For here, in the person of young Alcibiades, he arraigns his ambition of meddling with state-affairs without judgment, or experience. It is probable, that he makes Seneca, in this satire, sustain the part of Socrates, under a borrowed name; and, withal, discovers some secret vices of Nero, concerning his lust, his drunkenness, find his effeminacy, which had not yet arrived to public notice. He also reprehends the flattery of his courtiers, who endeavoured to make all his vices pass for virtues. Covetousness 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 satirize his prodigality and voluptuousness; to which he makes a transition. I find no instance in history of that emperor's being a Pathic, though Persius seems to brand him with it. From the two dialogues of Plato, both called "Alcibiades," the poet took the arguments of the second and third satires; but he inverted the order of them, for the third satire is taken from the first of those dialogues._

_The commentators before Casaubon were ignorant of our author's secret meaning; and thought he had only written against young noblemen in general, who were too forward in aspiring to public magistracy; but this excellent scholiast has unravelled the whole mystery, and made it apparent, that the sting of the satire was particularly aimed at Nero._

Whoe'er thou art, whose forward years are bent On state affairs, to guide the government; Hear first what Socrates[220] of old has said To the loved youth, whom he at Athens bred. Tell me, thou pupil to great Pericles, Our second hope, my Alcibiades,[221] What are the grounds from whence thou dost prepare To undertake, so young, so vast a care? Perhaps thy wit; (a chance not often heard, That parts and prudence should prevent the beard;) 'Tis seldom seen, that senators so young Know when to speak, and when to hold their tongue. Sure thou art born to some peculiar fate, When the mad people rise against the state, To look them into duty, and command An awful silence with thy lifted hand; Then to bespeak them thus:--Athenians, know Against right reason all your counsels go; This is not fair, nor profitable that, Nor t'other question proper for debate.-- But thou, no doubt, can'st set the business right, And give each argument its proper weight; Know'st, with an equal hand, to hold the scale; } Seest where the reasons pinch, and where they fail, } And where exceptions o'er the general rule prevail; } And, taught by inspiration, in a trice, Can'st punish crimes,[222] and brand offending vice. Leave, leave to fathom such high points as these, Nor be ambitious, e'er thy time, to please, Unseasonably wise; till age and cares Have formed thy soul to manage great affairs. Thy face, thy shape, thy outside, are but vain; } Thou hast not strength such labours to sustain; } Drink hellebore,[223] my boy; drink deep, and purge thy brain. } What aim'st thou at, and whither tends thy care, } In what thy utmost good? Delicious fare; } And then, to sun thyself in open air. } Hold, hold; are all thy empty wishes such? A good old woman would have said as much. But thou art nobly born: 'tis true; go boast Thy pedigree, the thing thou valuest most: Besides, thou art a beau; what's that, my child? A fop, well drest, extravagant, and wild: She that cries herbs, has less impertinence, And in her calling more of common sense. None, none descends into himself, to find The secret imperfections of his mind; But every one is eagle-eyed, to see Another's faults, and his deformity. Say, dost thou know Vectidius?[224]--Who? the wretch Whose lands beyond the Sabines largely stretch; Cover the country, that a sailing kite Can scarce o'er fly them in a day and night; Him dost thou mean, who, spite of all his store, Is ever craving, and will still be poor? Who cheats for half-pence, and who doffs his coat, To save a farthing in a ferry-boat? Ever a glutton at another's cost, But in whose kitchen dwells perpetual frost? Who eats and drinks with his domestic slaves, A verier hind than any of his knaves? Born with the curse and anger of the gods, And that indulgent genius he defrauds? At harvest-home, and on the shearing-day, When he should thanks to Pan and Pales pay, And better Ceres,[225] trembling to approach The little barrel, which he fears to broach; He 'says the wimble, often draws it back, And deals to thirsty servants but a smack. To a short meal he makes a tedious grace, Before the barley-pudding comes in place: Then bids fall on; himself, for saving charges, A peeled sliced onion eats, and tipples verjuice.-- Thus fares the drudge: but thou, whose life's a dream Of lazy pleasures, takest a worse extreme. 'Tis all thy business, business how to shun; To bask thy naked body in the sun; Suppling thy stiffened joints with fragrant oil: Then, in thy spacious garden walk a while, To suck the moisture up, and soak it in; And this, thou think'st, but vainly think'st, unseen. But know, thou art observed; and there are those, Who, if they durst, would all thy secret sins expose; The depilation of thy modest part; } Thy catamite, the darling of thy heart, } His engine-hand, and every lewder art, } When, prone to bear, and patient to receive, Thou tak'st the pleasure which thou canst not give. With odorous oil thy head and hair are sleek, And then thou kemb'st the tuzzes on thy cheek; Of these thy barbers take a costly care, While thy salt tail is overgrown with hair. Not all thy pincers, nor unmanly arts, Can smooth the roughness of thy shameful parts. Not five, the strongest that the Circus breeds,[226] From the rank soil can root those wicked weeds, Though suppled first with soap, to ease thy pain; The stubborn fern springs up, and sprouts again. Thus others we with defamations wound, While they stab us, and so the jest goes round. Vain are thy hopes, to 'scape censorious eyes; Truth will appear through all the thin disguise: Thou hast an ulcer which no leach can heal, Though thy broad shoulder-belt the wound conceal. Say thou art sound and hale in every part, We know, we know thee rotten at thy heart. We know thee sullen, impotent, and proud: Nor canst thou cheat thy nerve, who cheat'st the crowd.-- But when they praise me in the neighbourhood, When the pleased people take me for a god, Shall I refuse their incense? Not receive The loud applauses which the vulgar give?-- If thou dost wealth with longing eyes behold, And greedily art gaping after gold; If some alluring girl, in gliding by, } Shall tip the wink, with a lascivious eye, } And thou, with a consenting glance, reply; } If thou thy own solicitor become, And bidst arise the lumpish pendulum; If thy lewd lust provokes an empty storm, And prompts to more than nature can perform; If, with thy guards, thou scour'st the streets by night, And dost in murders, rapes, and spoils delight;[227] Please not thyself, the flattering crowd to hear, 'Tis fulsome stuff to feed thy itching ear. Reject the nauseous praises of the times; Give thy base poets back their cobled rhimes: Survey thy soul, not what thou dost appear, But what thou art, and find the beggar there.[228]


[219] The compliment, at the opening of the Pharsalia, has been thought sarcastic. It certainly sounds so in modern ears: if Nero could only attain empire by civil war, as the gods by that of the giants, then says the poet,

----_Scelera ipsa nefasque Hac mercede placent_.----

[220] Note I.

[221] Note II.

[222] Note III.

[223] Note IV.

[224] Note V.

[225] Note VI.

[226] Note VII.

[227] Note VIII.

[228] Note IX.





Note I.

_Socrates._--P. 243.

Socrates, whom the oracle of Delphos praised as the wisest man of his age, lived in the time of the Peloponnesian war. He, finding the uncertainty of natural philosophy, applied himself wholly to the moral. He was master to Xenophon and Plato, and to many of the Athenian young noblemen; amongst the rest to Alcibiades, the most lovely youth then living; afterwards a famous captain, whose life is written by Plutarch.

Note II.

_Tell me, thou pupil to great Pericles, Our second hope, my Alcibiades._--P. 243.

Pericles was tutor, or rather overseer, of the will of Clinias, father to Alcibiades. While Pericles lived, who was a wise man, and an excellent orator, as well as a great general, the Athenians had the better of the war.

Note III.

_Can'st punish crimes._--P. 244.

That is, by death. When the judges would condemn a malefactor, they cast their votes into an urn; as, according to the modern custom, a balloting-box. If the suffrages were marked with #Theta#, they signified the sentence of death to the offender; as being the first letter of #Thanatos#, which, in English, is death.

Note IV.

_Drink hellebore._--P. 244.

The poet would say, that such an ignorant young man, as he here describes, is fitter to be governed himself than to govern others. He therefore advises him to drink hellebore, which purges the brain.

Note V.

_Say, dost thou know Vectidius?_--P. 245.

The name of Vectidius is here used appellatively, to signify any rich covetous man, though perhaps there might be a man of that name then living. I have translated this passage paraphrastically, and loosely; and leave it for those to look on, who are not unlike the picture.

Note VI.

_When he should thanks to Pan and Pales pay, And better Ceres._--P. 245.

Pan, the god of shepherds, and Pales, the goddess presiding over rural affairs; whom Virgil invocates in the beginning of his second Georgic. I give the epithet of _better_ to Ceres, because she first taught the use of corn for bread, as the poets tell us; men, in the first rude ages, feeding only on acorns, or mast, instead of bread.

Note VII.

_Not five, the strongest that the Circus breeds._--P. 246.

The learned Holyday (who has made us amends for his bad poetry in this and the rest of these satires, with his excellent illustrations), here tells us, from good authority, that the number five does not allude to the five fingers of one man, but to five strong men, such as were skilful in the five robust exercises then in practice at Rome, and were performed in the circus, or public place ordained for them. These five he reckons up in this manner: 1. The Cæstus, or Whirlbatts, described by Virgil in his fifth Æneid; and this was the most dangerous of all the rest. The 2d was the foot-race. The 3d, the discus; like the throwing a weighty ball; a sport now used in Cornwall, and other parts of England; we may see it daily practised in Red-Lyon Fields. The 4th, was the Saltus, or Leaping; and the 5th, wrestling naked, and besmeared with oil. They who practised in these five manly exercises were called #Pentathloi#.

Note VIII.

_If, with thy guards, thou scour'st the streets by night, And dost in murders, rapes, and spoils, delight._--P. 247.

Persius durst not have been so bold with Nero as I dare now; and therefore there is only an intimation of that in him which I publicly speak: I mean, of Nero's walking the streets by night in disguise, and committing all sorts of outrages, for which he was sometimes well beaten.

Note IX.

_Not what thou dost appear, But what thou art, and find the beggar there._--P. 247.

Look into thyself, and examine thy own conscience; there thou shalt find, that, how wealthy soever thou appearest to the world, yet thou art but a beggar; because thou art destitute of all virtues, which are the riches of the soul. This also was a paradox of the Stoic school.










_The judicious Casaubon, in his proem to this Satire, tells us, that Aristophanes, the grammarian, being asked, what poem of Archilochus' Iambics he preferred before the rest; answered, the longest. His answer may justly be applied to this Fifth Satire; which, being of a greater length than any of the rest, is also by far the most instructive. For this reason I have selected it from all the others, and inscribed it to my learned master, Dr Busby; to whom I am not only obliged myself for the best part of my own education, and that of my two sons; but have also received from him the first and truest taste of Persius. May he be pleased to find, in this translation, the gratitude, or at least some small acknowledgment, of his unworthy scholar, at the distance of forty-two years from the time when I departed from under his tuition. This Satire consists of two distinct parts: The first contains the praises of the stoic philosopher, Cornutus, master and tutor to our Persius; it also declares the love and piety of Persius to his well-deserving master; and the mutual friendship which continued betwixt them, after Persius was now grown a man; as also his exhortation to young noblemen, that they would enter themselves into his institution. From hence he makes an artful transition into the second part of his subject; wherein he first complains of the sloth of scholars, and afterwards persuades them to the pursuit of their true liberty. Here our author excellently treats that paradox of the Stoics, which affirms, that the wise or virtuous man is only free, and that all vicious men are naturally slaves; and, in the illustration of this dogma, he takes up the remaining part of this inimitable Satire._


Of ancient use to poets it belongs, To wish themselves an hundred mouths and tongues: Whether to the well-lunged tragedian's rage They recommend their labours of the stage, Or sing the Parthian, when transfixed he lies, Wrenching the Roman javelin from his thighs.


And why would'st thou these mighty morsels chuse, Of words unchewed, and fit to choke the muse? Let fustian poets with their stuff begone, And suck the mists that hang o'er Helicon; When Progne,[229] or Thyestes'[230] feast they write; And, for the mouthing actor, verse indite. Thou neither like a bellows swell'st thy face, As if thou wert to blow the burning mass Of melting ore; nor canst thou strain thy throat, Or murmur in an undistinguished note, Like rolling thunder, till it breaks the cloud, And rattling nonsense is discharged aloud. Soft elocution does thy style renown, And the sweet accents of the peaceful gown: Gentle or sharp, according to thy choice, To laugh at follies, or to lash at vice. Hence draw thy theme, and to the stage permit Raw-head and bloody-bones, and hands and feet, Ragouts for Tereus or Thyestes drest; 'Tis task enough for thee t' expose a Roman feast.


'Tis not, indeed, my talent to engage In lofty trifles, or to swell my page With wind and noise; but freely to impart, As to a friend, the secrets of my heart, And, in familiar speech, to let thee know How much I love thee, and how much I owe. Knock on my heart; for thou hast skill to find } If it sound solid, or be filled with wind; } And, through the veil of words, thou view'st the naked mind. } For this a hundred voices I desire, To tell thee what an hundred tongues would tire, Yet never could be worthily exprest,-- How deeply thou art seated in my breast. When first my childish robe[231] resigned the charge, And left me, unconfined, to live at large; When now my golden bulla (hung on high } To household gods) declared me past a boy, } And my white shield proclaimed my liberty;[232] } When, with my wild companions, I could roll From street to street, and sin without controul; Just at that age, when manhood set me free, I then deposed myself, and left the reins to thee; On thy wise bosom I reposed my head, And by my better Socrates was bred.[233] Then thy straight rule set virtue in my sight, The crooked line reforming by the right. My reason took the bent of thy command, Was formed and polished by thy skilful hand; Long summer-days thy precepts I rehearse, And winter-nights were short in our converse; One was our labour, one was our repose, One frugal supper did our studies close. Sure on our birth some friendly planet shone; And, as our souls, our horoscope[234] was one: Whether the mounting Twins[235] did heaven adorn, Or with the rising Balance[236] we were born; Both have the same impressions from above. And both have Saturn's rage, repelled by Jove.[237] What star I know not, but some star, I find, Has given thee an ascendant o'er my mind.


Nature is ever various in her frame; Each has a different will, and few the same. The greedy merchants, led by lucre, run To the parched Indies, and the rising sun; From thence hot pepper and rich drugs they bear, Bartering for spices their Italian ware; The lazy glutton, safe at home, will keep, Indulge his sloth, and batten with his sleep: One bribes for high preferments in the state; A second shakes the box, and sits up late; Another shakes the bed, dissolving there, Till knots upon his gouty joints appear, And chalk is in his crippled fingers found; Rots, like a doddered oak, and piecemeal falls to ground; Then his lewd follies he would late repent, And his past years, that in a mist were spent.


But thou art pale in nightly studies grown, To make the Stoic institutes thy own:[238] Thou long, with studious care, hast tilled our youth, And sown our well-purged ears with wholesome truth. From thee both old and young with profit learn } The bounds of good and evil to discern. }


Unhappy he who does this work adjourn, } And to to-morrow would the search delay; His lazy morrow will be like to-day.


But is one day of ease too much to borrow?


Yes, sure; for yesterday was once to-morrow. That yesterday is gone, and nothing gained, And all thy fruitless days will thus be drained; For thou hast more to-morrows yet to ask, And wilt be ever to begin thy task; Who, like the hindmost chariot-wheels, art curst, Still to be near, but ne'er to reach the first. O freedom, first delight of human kind! Not that which bondmen from their masters find, The privilege of doles;[239] nor yet to inscribe Their names in this or t'other Roman tribe;[240] That false enfranchisement with ease is found, Slaves are made citizens by turning round.[241] How, replies one, can any be more free? Here's Dama, once a groom of low degree, Not worth a farthing, and a sot beside, So true a rogue, for lying's sake he lied; But, with a turn, a freeman he became, Now Marcus Dama is his worship's name.[242] Good gods! who would refuse to lend a sum, If wealthy Marcus surety will become! Marcus is made a judge, and for a proof Of certain truth, "He said it," is enough. A will is to be proved;--put in your claim;-- 'Tis clear, if Marcus has subscribed his name.[243] This is true liberty, as I believe; } What farther can we from our caps receive, } Than as we please without controul to live?[244] } Not more to noble Brutus[245] could belong. Hold, says the Stoic, your assumption's wrong: I grant true freedom you have well defined: } But, living as you list, and to your mind, } Are loosely tacked, and must be left behind.-- } What! since the prætor did my fetters loose, And left me freely at my own dispose, May I not live without controul or awe, Excepting still the letter of the law?--[246] Hear me with patience, while thy mind I free From those fond notions of false liberty: 'Tis not the prætor's province to bestow } True freedom; nor to teach mankind to know } What to ourselves, or to our friends, we owe. } He could not set thee free from cares and strife, Nor give the reins to a lewd vicious life: As well he for an ass a harp might string, Which is against the reason of the thing; For reason still is whispering in your ear, Where you are sure to fail, the attempt forbear. No need of public sanctions this to bind, } Which nature has implanted in the mind,-- } Not to pursue the work, to which we're not designed. } Unskilled in hellebore, if thou should'st try } To mix it, and mistake the quantity, } The rules of physic would against thee cry. } The high-shoe'd ploughman, should he quit the land, } To take the pilot's rudder in his hand, } Artless of stars, and of the moving sand, } No need of public sanctions this to bind, } Which nature has implanted in the mind,-- } Not to pursue the work, to which we're not designed. } Unskilled in hellebore, if thou should'st try } To mix it, and mistake the quantity, } The rules of physic would against thee cry. } The high-shoe'd ploughman, should he quit the land, } To take the pilot's rudder in his hand, } Artless of stars, and of the moving sand, } The gods would leave him to the waves and wind, And think all shame was lost in human kind. Tell me, my friend, from whence had'st thou the skill, So nicely to distinguish good from ill? Or by the sound to judge of gold and brass, What piece is tinkers' metal, what will pass? And what thou art to follow, what to fly, This to condemn, and that to ratify? When to be bountiful, and when to spare, But never craving, or oppressed with care? The baits of gifts, and money to despise, And look on wealth with undesiring eyes? When thou canst truly call these virtues thine, Be wise and free, by heaven's consent and mine. But thou, who lately of the common strain Wert one of us, if still thou dost retain The same ill habits, the same follies too, Glossed over only with a saint-like show, Then I resume the freedom which I gave; Still thou art bound to vice, and still a slave. Thou canst not wag thy finger, or begin "The least light motion, but it tends to sin." How's this? Not wag my finger, he replies? } No, friend; nor fuming gums, nor sacrifice, } Can ever make a madman free, or wise. } "Virtue and vice are never in one soul; A man is wholly wise, or wholly is a fool."[247] A heavy bumpkin, taught with daily care, Can never dance three steps with a becoming air.


In spite of this, my freedom still remains.


Free! what, and fettered with so many chains? Canst thou no other master understand Than him that freed thee by the prætor's wand?[248] Should he, who was thy lord, command thee now, With a harsh voice, and supercilious brow, To servile duties, thou would'st fear no more; The gallows and the whip are out of door. But if thy passions lord it in thy breast, Art thou not still a slave, and still opprest? Whether alone, or in thy harlot's lap, When thou would'st take a lazy morning's nap, Up, up, says Avarice;--thou snor'st again, Stretchest thy limbs, and yawn'st, but all in vain; The tyrant Lucre no denial takes; At his command the unwilling sluggard wakes. What must I do? he cries:--What? says his lord; Why rise, make ready, and go straight aboard; With fish, from Euxine seas, thy vessel freight; Flax, castor, Coan wines, the precious weight Of pepper, and Sabæan incense, take, } With thy own hands, from the tired camel's back, } And with post haste thy running markets make. } Be sure to turn the penny; lie and swear, 'Tis wholesome sin:--but Jove, thou say'st, will hear:-- Swear, fool, or starve; for the dilemma's even: A tradesman thou, and hope to go to heaven! Resolved for sea, the slaves thy baggage pack, Each saddled with his burden on his back; Nothing retards thy voyage now, unless Thy other lord forbids, Voluptuousness: And he may ask this civil question,--Friend, What dost thou make a shipboard? to what end? Art thou of Bethlem's noble college free, Stark, staring mad, that thou would'st tempt the sea? Cubbed in a cabin, on a mattress laid, On a brown george, with lousy swobbers fed, Dead wine, that stinks of the borrachio, sup From a foul jack,[249] or greasy maple-cup? Say, would'st thou bear all this, to raise thy store From six i'the hundred, to six hundred more? Indulge, and to thy genius freely give; For, not to live at ease, is not to live; Death stalks behind thee, and each flying hour Does some loose remnant of thy life devour. Live, while thou liv'st; for death will make us all A name, a nothing but an old wife's tale. Speak; wilt thou Avarice, or Pleasure, chuse To be thy lord? Take one, and one refuse. But both by turns the rule of thee will have, And thou betwixt them both wilt be a slave. Nor think when once thou hast resisted one, That all thy marks of servitude are gone: The struggling grey-hound gnaws his leash in vain; If, when 'tis broken, still he drags the chain. Says Phædria to his man,[250] Believe me, friend, To this uneasy love I'll put an end: Shall I run out of all? My friends' disgrace, And be the first lewd unthrift of my race? Shall I the neighbours nightly rest invade At her deaf doors, with some vile serenade?-- Well hast thou freed thyself, his man replies, Go, thank the gods, and offer sacrifice.-- Ah, says the youth, if we unkindly part, Will not the poor fond creature break her heart?-- Weak soul! and blindly to destruction led! She break her heart! she'll sooner break your head. She knows her man, and when you rant and swear, Can draw you to her with a single hair.-- But shall I not return? Now, when she sues! Shall I my own and her desires refuse?-- Sir, take your course; but my advice is plain: Once freed, 'tis madness to resume your chain. Ay; there's the man, who, loosed from lust and pelf, Less to the prætor owes than to himself. But write him down a slave, who, humbly proud, With presents begs preferments from the crowd;[251] That early suppliant, who salutes the tribes, And sets the mob to scramble for his bribes, That some old dotard, sitting in the sun, On holidays may tell, that such a feat was done: In future times this will be counted rare. Thy superstition too may claim a share: When flowers are strewed, and lamps in order placed, And windows with illuminations graced, On Herod's day;[252] when sparkling bowls go round, And tunny's tails in savoury sauce are drowned, Thou mutter'st prayers obscene; nor dost refuse The fasts and sabbaths of the curtailed Jews. Then a cracked egg-shell thy sick fancy frights,[253] Besides the childish fear of walking sprites. Of o'ergrown gelding priests thou art afraid; The timbrel, and the squintifego maid Of Isis, awe thee; lest the gods for sin, Should with a swelling dropsy stuff thy skin: Unless three garlic heads the curse avert, Eaten each morn devoutly next thy heart. Preach this among the brawny guards, say'st thou, And see if they thy doctrine will allow: The dull, fat captain, with a hound's deep throat, Would bellow out a laugh in a bass note, And prize a hundred Zeno's just as much As a clipt sixpence, or a schilling Dutch.


[229] Note I.

[230] Note II.

[231] Note III.

[232] Note IV.

[233] Note V.

[234] Note VI.

[235] Gemini.

[236] Libra.

[237] Note VII.

[238] Note VIII.

[239] Note IX.

[240] Note X.

[241] Note XI.

[242] Note XII.

[243] Note XIII.

[244] Note XIV.

[245] Note XV.

[246] Note XVI.

[247] Note XVII.

[248] Note XVIII.

[249] A leathern pitcher, called a black jack, used by our homely ancestors for quaffing their ale. E.

[250] Note XIX.

[251] Note XX.

[252] Note XXI.

[253] Note XXII.





Note I.

_Progne._--P. 252.

Progne was wife to Tereus, king of Thracia. Tereus fell in love with Philomela, sister to Progne, ravished her, and cut out her tongue; in revenge of which, Progne killed Itys, her own son by Tereus, and served him up at a feast, to be eaten by his father.

Note II.

_Thyestes._--P. 252.

Thyestes and Atreus were brothers, both kings. Atreus, to revenge himself of his unnatural brother, killed the sons of Thyestes, and invited him to eat them.

Note III.

_When first my childish robe resigned the charge._--P. 253.

By the childish robe, is meant the Proetexta, or first gowns which the Roman children of quality wore. These were welted with purple; and on those welts were fastened the bullæ, or little bells; which, when they came to the age of puberty, were hung up, and consecrated to the Lares, or Household Gods.

Note IV.

_And my white shield proclaimed my liberty._--P. 253.

The first shields which the Roman youths wore were white, and without any impress or device on them, to shew they had yet achieved nothing in the wars.

Note V.

_And by my better Socrates was bred._--P. 253.

Socrates, by the oracle, was declared to be the wisest of mankind: he instructed many of the Athenian young noblemen in morality, and amongst the rest Alcibiades.

Note VI.

_Sure on our birth some friendly planet shone; And, as our souls, our horoscope was one._--P. 254.

Astrologers divide the heaven into twelve parts, according to the number of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The sign, or constellation, which rises in the east at the birth of any man, is called the Ascendant: Persius therefore judges, that Cornutus and he had the same, or a like nativity.

Note VII.

_And both have Saturn's rage, repelled by Jove._--P. 254.

Astrologers have an axiom, that whatsoever Saturn ties is loosed by Jupiter. They account Saturn to be a planet of a malevolent nature, and Jupiter of a propitious influence.

Note VIII.

_The Stoic institutes._--P. 255.

Zeno was the great master of the Stoic philosophy; and Cleanthes was second to him in reputation. Cornutus, who was master or tutor to Persius, was of the same school.

Note IX.

_Not that which bondmen from their masters find, The privilege of doles._--P. 255.

When a slave was made free, he had the privilege of a Roman born, which was to have a share in the donatives, or doles of bread, &c. which were distributed by the magistrates among the people.

Note X.

----_Nor yet to inscribe Their names in this or t'other Roman tribe._--P. 255.

The Roman people was distributed into several tribes. He who was made free was enrolled into some one of them; and thereupon enjoyed the common privileges of a Roman citizen.

Note XI.

_Slaves are made citizens by turning round._--P. 255.

The master, who intended to enfranchize a slave, carried him before the city prætor, and turned him round, using these words, "I will that this man be free."

Note XII.

_Now Marcus Dama is his worship's name._--P. 256.

Slaves had only one name before their freedom; after it they were admitted to a prænomen, like our christened names: so Dama is now called Marcus Dama.

Note XIII.

_A will is to be proved;--put in your claim;-- 'Tis clear, if Marcus has subscribed his name._--P. 256.

At the proof of a testament, the magistrates were to subscribe their names, as allowing the legality of the will.

Note XIV.

_What farther can we from our caps receive, Than as we please without controul to live._--P. 256.

Slaves, when they were set free, had a cap given them, in sign of their liberty.

Note XV.

_Noble Brutus._--P. 256.

Brutus freed the Roman people from the tyranny of the Tarquins, and changed the form of the government into a glorious commonwealth.

Note XVI.

_Excepting still the letter of the law._--P. 256.

The text of the Roman laws was written in red letters, which was called the Rubric; translated here, in more general words, "The letter of the law."

Note XVII.

_Virtue and vice are never in one soul; A man is wholly wise, or wholly is a fool._--P. 257.

The Stoics held this paradox, that any one vice, or notorious folly, which they called madness, hindered a man from being virtuous; that a man was of a piece, without a mixture, either wholly vicious, or good; one virtue or vice, according to them, including all the rest.


----_Him that freed thee by the prætor's wand._--P. 258.

The prætor held a wand in his hand, with which he softly struck the slave on the head, when he declared him free.

Note XIX.

----_Says Phædria to his man._--P. 259.

This alludes to the play of Terence, called "The Eunuch;" which was excellently imitated of late in English, by Sir Charles Sedley.[254] In the first scene of that comedy, Phædria was introduced with his man, Pamphilus, discoursing, whether he should leave his mistress Thais, or return to her, now that she had invited him.

Note XX.

_But write him down a slave, who, humbly proud, With presents begs preferments from the crowd._--P. 260.

He who sued for any office amongst the Romans, was called a candidate, because he wore a white gown; and sometimes chalked it, to make it appear whiter. He rose early, and went to the levees of those who headed the people; saluted also the tribes severally, when they were gathered together to chuse their magistrates; and distributed a largess amongst them, to engage them for their voices; much resembling our elections of Parliamentmen.

Note XXI.

----_On Herod's day._--P. 260.

The commentators are divided what Herod this was, whom our author mentions; whether Herod the Great, whose birth-day might possibly be celebrated, after his death, by the Herodians, a sect amongst the Jews, who thought him their Messiah; or Herod Agrippa, living in the author's time, and after it. The latter seems the more probable opinion.

Note XXII.

_Then a cracked egg-shell thy sick fancy frights._--P. 260.

The ancients had a superstition, contrary to ours, concerning egg-shells: they thought, that if an egg-shell were cracked, or a hole bored in the bottom of it, they were subject to the power of sorcery. We as vainly break the bottom of an egg-shell, and cross it when we have eaten the egg, lest some hag should make use of it in bewitching us, or sailing over the sea in it, if it were whole. The rest of the priests of Isis, and her one-eyed or squinting priestess, is more largely treated in the sixth satire of Juvenal, where the superstitions of women are related.


[254] In the play called "Bellamira, or the Mistress."









_This Sixth Satire treats an admirable common-place of moral philosophy, of the true use of riches. They are certainly intended by the Power who bestows them, as instruments and helps of living commodiously ourselves; and of administering 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 happiness in the acquisition and possession of them; and this is undoubtedly the worse extreme. The mean betwixt these, is the opinion of the Stoics, which is, that riches may be useful to the leading a virtuous life; in case we rightly understand how to give according to right reason, 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 Persius writes in this satire, wherein he not only shows the lawful use of riches, but also sharply inveighs against the vices which are opposed to it; and especially of those, which consist in the defects of giving, or spending, or in the abuse of riches. He writes to Cæsius Bassus, 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 resident. 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 desire of wealth. He dwells upon the latter vice; and being sensible, that few men either desire, or use, riches as they ought, he endeavours to convince them of their folly, which is the main design of the whole satire._

Has winter caused thee, friend, to change thy seat,[255] And seek in Sabine air a warm retreat? Say, dost thou yet the Roman harp command? Do the strings answer to thy noble hand? Great master of the muse, inspired to sing The beauties of the first created spring; The pedigree of nature to rehearse, And sound the Maker's work, in equal verse; Now sporting on thy lyre the loves of youth,[256] Now virtuous age, and venerable truth; Expressing justly Sappho's wanton art Of odes, and Pindar's more majestic part. For me, my warmer constitution wants More cold, than our Ligurian winter grants; And therefore to my native shores retired, I view the coast old Ennius once admired; Where clifts on either side their points display, } And, after opening in an ampler way, } Afford the pleasing prospect of the bay. } 'Tis worth your while, O Romans, to regard The port of Luna, says our learned bard; Who in a drunken dream beheld his soul The fifth within the transmigrating roll;[257] Which first a peacock, then Euphorbus was, } Then Homer next, and next Pythagoras; } And, last of all the line, did into Ennius pass. } Secure and free from business of the state, And more secure of what the vulgar prate, Here I enjoy my private thoughts, nor care What rots for sheep the southern winds prepare; Survey the neighbouring fields, and not repine, When I behold a larger crop than mine: To see a beggar's brat in riches flow, Adds not a wrinkle to my even brow; Nor, envious at the sight, will I forbear My plenteous bowl, nor bate my bounteous cheer; Nor yet unseal the dregs of wine that stink Of cask, nor in a nasty flaggon drink; Let others stuff their guts with homely fare, } For men of different inclinations are, } Though born perhaps beneath one common star. } In minds and manners twins opposed we see In the same sign, almost the same degree: One, frugal, on his birth-day fears to dine, } Does at a penny's cost in herbs repine, } And hardly dares to dip his fingers in the brine; } Prepared as priest of his own rites to stand, He sprinkles pepper with a sparing hand. His jolly brother, opposite in sense, } Laughs at his thrift; and, lavish of expence, } Quaffs, crams, and guttles, in his own defence. } For me, I'll use my own, and take my share, Yet will not turbots for my slaves prepare; Nor be so nice in taste myself to know If what I swallow be a thrush, or no. Live on thy annual income, spend thy store, } And freely grind from thy full threshing floor; } Next harvest promises as much, or more. } Thus I would live; but friendship's holy band, } And offices of kindness, hold my hand: } My friend is shipwrecked on the Brutian strand,[258] } His riches in the Ionian main are lost, And he himself stands shivering on the coast; Where, destitute of help, forlorn and bare, He wearies the deaf gods with fruitless prayer. Their images, the relics of the wreck, Torn from the naked poop, are tided back By the wild waves, and, rudely thrown ashore, Lie impotent, nor can themselves restore; The vessel sticks, and shews her opened side, And on her shattered mast the mews in triumph ride. From thy new hope, and from thy growing store, Now lend assistance, and relieve the poor;[259] Come, do a noble act of charity, A pittance of thy land will set him free. Let him not bear the badges of a wreck, Nor beg with a blue table on his back;[260] Nor tell me, that thy frowning heir will say, 'Tis mine that wealth thou squander'st thus away: What is't to thee, if he neglect thy urn? Or without spices lets thy body burn?[261] If odours to thy ashes he refuse, Or buys corrupted cassia from the Jews? All these, the wiser Bestius will reply, Are empty pomp, and dead-men's luxury: We never knew this vain expence before The effeminated Grecians brought it o'er: Now toys and trifles from their Athens come, And dates and pepper have unsinewed Rome. Our sweating hinds their sallads now defile, Infecting homely herbs with fragrant oil. But to thy fortune be not thou a slave; For what hast thou to fear beyond the grave? And thou, who gap'st for my estate, draw near; For I would whisper somewhat in thy ear. Hear'st thou the news, my friend? the express is come, With laurelled letters, from the camp to Rome: Cæsar salutes the queen and senate thus:-- My arms are on the Rhine victorious.[262] From mourning altars sweep the dust away, Cease fasting, and proclaim a fat thanksgiving-day. The goodly empress,[263] jollily inclined, Is to the welcome bearer wonderous kind; And, setting her good housewifery aside, Prepares for all the pageantry of pride. The captive Germans, of gigantic size,[264] Are ranked in order, and are clad in frize: The spoils of kings, and conquered camps we boast, Their arms in trophies hang on the triumphal post. Now for so many glorious actions done In foreign parts, and mighty battles won; For peace at home, and for the public wealth, I mean to crown a bowl to Cæsar's health. Besides, in gratitude for such high matters, Know I have vowed two hundred gladiators.[265] Say, would'st thou hinder me from this expence? I disinherit thee, if thou dar'st take offence. Yet more, a public largess I design Of oil and pies, to make the people dine; Controul me not, for fear I change my will. And yet methinks I hear thee grumbling still,-- You give as if you were the Persian king; Your land does not so large revenues bring. Well, on my terms thou wilt not be my heir? If thou car'st little, less shall be my care. Were none of all my father's sisters left; Nay, were I of my mother's kin bereft; None by an uncle's or a grandame's side, Yet I could some adopted heir provide. I need but take my journey half a day } From haughty Rome, and at Aricia stay, } Where fortune throws poor Manius in my way. } Him will I choose:--What him, of humble birth, Obscure, a foundling, and a son of earth-- Obscure! Why, pr'ythee, what am I? I know My father, grandsire, and great-grandsire too: If farther I derive my pedigree, I can but guess beyond the fourth degree. The rest of my forgotten ancestors Were sons of earth, like him, or sons of whores. Yet why should'st thou, old covetous wretch, aspire To be my heir, who might'st have been my sire? In nature's race, should'st thou demand of me My torch, when I in course run after thee?[266] Think I approach thee, like the god of gain, With wings on head and heels, as poets feign: Thy moderate fortune from my gift receive; Now fairly take it, or as fairly leave. But take it as it is, and ask no more-- What, when thou hast embezzled all thy store? Where's all thy father left?--'Tis true, I grant, Some I have mortgaged to supply my want: The legacies of Tadius too are flown, All spent, and on the self-same errand gone.-- How little then to my poor share will fall!-- Little indeed; but yet that little's all. Nor tell me, in a dying father's tone,-- Be careful still of the main chance, my son; Put out thy principal in trusty hands, Live on the use, and never dip thy lands: But yet what's left for me?--What's left, my friend! Ask that again, and all the rest I spend. Is not my fortune at my own command? Pour oil, and pour it with a plenteous hand Upon my sallads, boy: shall I be fed With sodden nettles, and a singed sow's head? 'Tis holiday, provide me better cheer; 'Tis holiday, and shall be round the year. Shall I my household gods and genius cheat, To make him rich, who grudges me my meat, That he may loll at ease, and, pampered high, When I am laid, may feed on giblet-pie, And, when his throbbing lust extends the vein, Have wherewithal his whores to entertain? Shall I in homespun cloth be clad, that he His paunch in triumph may before him see? Go, miser, go; for lucre sell thy soul; Truck wares for wares, and trudge from pole to pole, That men may say, when thou art dead and gone, See what a vast estate he left his son! How large a family of brawny knaves, Well fed, and fat as Cappadocian slaves![267] Increase thy wealth, and double all thy store; } 'Tis done; now double that, and swell the score; } To every thousand add ten thousand more. } Then say, Chrysippus,[268] thou who would'st confine Thy heap, where I shall put an end to mine.


[255] Note I.

[256] Note II.

[257] Note III.

[258] Note IV.

[259] Note V.

[260] Note VI.

[261] Note VII.

[262] Note VIII.

[263] Note IX.

[264] Note X.

[265] Note XI.

[266] Note XII.

[267] Note XIII.

[268] Note XIV.





Note I.

_Has winter caused thee, friend, to change thy seat, And seek in Sabine air a warm retreat._--P. 268.

All the studious, and particularly the poets, about the end of August, began to set themselves on work, refraining from writing during the heats of the summer. They wrote by night, and sat up the greatest part of it; for which reason the product of their studies was called their elucubrations, or nightly labours. They who had country-seats retired to them while they studied, as Persius did to his, which was near the port of the Moon in Etruria; and Bassus to his, which was in the country of the Sabines, nearer Rome.

Note II.

_Now sporting on thy lyre the loves of youth._--P. 268.

This proves Cæsius Bassus to have been a lyric poet. It is said of him, that by an eruption of the flaming mountain Vesuvius, near which the greatest part of his fortune lay, he was burnt himself, together with all his writings.

Note III.

_Who in a drunken dream beheld his soul The fifth within the transmigrating roll._--P. 269.

I call it a drunken dream of Ennius; not that my author, in this place, gives me any encouragement for the epithet, but because Horace, and all who mention Ennius, say he was an excessive drinker of wine. In a dream, or vision, call you it which you please, he thought it was revealed to him, that the soul of Pythagoras was transmigrated into him; as Pythagoras before him believed, that himself had been Euphorbus in the wars of Troy. Commentators differ in placing the order of this soul, and who had it first. I have here given it to the peacock; because it looks more according to the order of nature, that it should lodge in a creature of an inferior species, and so by gradation rise to the informing of a man. And Persius favours me, by saying, that Ennius was the fifth from the Pythagorean peacock.

Note IV.

_My friend is shipwrecked on the Brutian strand._--P. 270.

Perhaps this is only a fine transition of the poet, to introduce the business of the satire; and not that any such accident had happened to one of the friends of Persius. But, however, this is the most poetical description of any in our author; and since he and Lucan were so great friends, I know not but Lucan might help him in two or three of these verses, which seem to be written in his style; certain it is, that besides this description of a shipwreck, and two lines more, which are at the end of the second satire, our poet has written nothing elegantly. I will, therefore, transcribe both the passages, to justify my opinion. The following are the last verses, saving one, of the second satire:

_Compositum jus, fasque animi; sanctosque recessus Mentis, et incoctum generoso pectus honesto._

The others are those in this present satire, which are subjoined:

----_trabe rupta, Bruttia Saxa Prendit amicus inops, remque omnem, surdaque vota Condidit Ionio: jacet ipse in littore; et una Ingentes de puppe Dei: jamque obvia mergis Costa ratis laceræ._----

Note V.

_From thy new hope, and from thy growing store, Now lend assistance, and relieve the poor._--P. 270.

The Latin is, _Nunc et de cespite vivo, frange aliquid_. Casaubon only opposes the _cespes vivus_, which, word for word, is the living turf, to the harvest, or annual income; I suppose the poet rather means, sell a piece of land already sown, and give the money of it to my friend, who has lost all by shipwreck; that is, do not stay till thou hast reaped, but help him immediately, as his wants require.

Note VI.

_Nor beg with a blue table on his back._--P. 270.

Holyday translates it a green table: the sense is the same; for the table was painted of the sea-colour, which the shipwrecked person carried on his back, expressing his losses, thereby to excite the charity of the spectators.

Note VII.

_Or without spices lets thy body burn._--P. 270.

The bodies of the rich, before they were burnt, were embalmed with spices; or rather spices were put into the urn with the relics of the ashes. Our author here names cinnamum and cassia, which cassia was sophisticated with cherry-gum, and probably enough by the Jews, who adulterate all things which they sell. But whether the ancients were acquainted with the spices of the Molucca Islands, Ceylon, and other parts of the Indies, or whether their pepper and cinnamon, &c. were the same with ours, is another question. As for nutmegs and mace, it is plain that the Latin names for them are modern.

Note VIII.

_Cæsar salutes the queen and senate thus:-- My arms are on the Rhine victorious._--P. 271.

The Cæsar, here mentioned, is Caius Caligula, who affected to triumph over the Germans, whom he never conquered, as he did over the Britons; and accordingly sent letters, wrapt about with laurels, to the senate and the Empress Cæsonia, whom I here call queen; though I know that name was not used amongst the Romans; but the word empress would not stand in that verse, for which reason I adjourned it to another. The dust, which was to be swept away from the altars, was either the ashes which were left there after the last sacrifice for victory, or might perhaps mean the dust or ashes which were left on the altars since some former defeat of the Romans by the Germans; after which overthrow, the altars had been neglected.

Note IX.

_The goodly empress._--P. 271.

Cæsonia, wife to Caius Caligula, who afterwards, in the reign of Claudius, was proposed, but ineffectually, to be married to him, after he had executed Messalina for adultery.

Note X.

_The captive Germans, of gigantic size, Are ranked in order, and are clad in frize._--P. 271.

He means only such as were to pass for Germans in the triumph, large-bodied men, as they are still, whom the empress clothed new with coarse garments, for the greater ostentation of the victory.

Note XI.

_Know, I have vowed two hundred gladiators._--P. 271.

A hundred pair of gladiators were beyond the purse of a private man to give; therefore this is only a threatening to his heir, that he could do what he pleased with his estate.

Note XII.

----_Shouldst thou demand of me My torch, when I in course run after thee._--P. 272.

Why shouldst thou, who art an old fellow, hope to outlive me, and be my heir, who am much younger? He who was first in the course or race, delivered the torch, which he carried, to him who was second.

Note XIII.

_Well fed, and fat as Cappadocian slaves._--P. 273.

Who were famous for their lustiness, and being, as we call it, in good liking. They were set on a stall when they were exposed to sale, to show the good habit of their body; and made to play tricks before the buyers, to show their activity and strength.

Note XIV.

_Then say, Chrysippus._--P. 273.

Chrysippus, the Stoic, invented a kind of argument, consisting of more than three propositions, which is called _sorites_, or a heap. But as Chrysippus could never bring his propositions to a certain stint, so neither can a covetous man bring his craving desires to any certain measure of riches, beyond which he could not wish for any more.






This great work was undertaken by Dryden, in 1694, and published, by subscription, in 1697. One hundred and one subscribers gave five guineas each to furnish the engravings for the work; if indeed this was any thing more than a genteel pretext for increasing the profit of the author; for Spence has informed us, that the old plates used for Ogleby's "Virgil," were retouched for that of his great successor. Another class of subscribers, two hundred and fifty-two in number, contributed two guineas each. As the names of those who encouraged this great national labour have some claim to distinction, the reader will find, prefixed to this edition, an accurate copy of both lists, as they stand in the first folio edition. On 28th June, 1697, the following advertisement appeared in the London Gazette:

"The Works of Virgil; containing his Pastorals, Georgics, and Eneis, translated into English verse, by Mr Dryden, and adorned with one hundred cuts, will be finished this week, and be ready next week to be delivered, as subscribed for, in quires, upon bringing the receipt for the first payment, and paying the second. Printed for Jacob Tonson, &c."

In 1709, Tonson published a second edition of Dryden's "Virgil," with the plates reduced, in three volumes, 8vo; and various others have since appeared. In 1803, a new edition was given to the public, revised and corrected by Henry Carey, LL.D. This is so correct, that, although it has been uniformly compared with the original edition of Tonson, I have thought it advisable to follow the modern editor in some corrections of the punctuation and reading. In other cases, where I have adhered to the folio, I have placed Dr Carey's alteration at the bottom of the page. It is hardly worth while to notice, that there is a slight alteration of the arrangement of Dryden's prolegomena; the Dedication to the "Pastorals" being placed immediately before that class of poems, instead of preceding the Life, as in the original folio. Dryden's Notes and Observations, which, in the original, are printed together at the end of the work, are, in this edition, dispersed and subjoined to the different Books containing the passages to which they refer.








1. Lord Chancellor 2. Lord Privy Seal 3. Earl of Dorset 4. Lord Buckhurst 5. Earl of Abingdon 6. Lord Viscount Cholmondely 7. Lord Herbert of Cherbury. 8. Lord Clifford 9. Marq. of Hartington 10. The Hon. Mr Ch. Mountague


11. Sir Tho. Trevor 12. Sir John Hawles 13. Joseph Jeakyl, Esq. 14. Tho. Vernon, Esq. 15. Will. Dobyns, Esq.


16. Sir Will. Bower 17. Gilbert Dolbin, Esq. 18. Geo. London, Esq. 19. John Loving, Esq. 20. Will. Walsh, Esq.


21. Duke of Richmond 22. Sir J. Isham, Bart. 23. Sir Tho. Mompesson 24. John Dormer, Esq. 25. Frederick Tylney, Esq.


26. Richard Norton, Esq. 27. Sir Will. Trumbull 28. Sir Barth. Shower 29. Symon Harcourt, Esq. 30. John Granvill, Esq.


31. Prince George of Denmark 32. Princess Ann of Denmark 33. Duchess of Ormond 34. Countess of Exeter 35. Countess-Dowager of Winchelsea 36. Marchioness of Normanby


37. Duke of Somerset 38. Earl of Salisbury 39. Earl of Inchiqueen 40. Earl of Orrery 41. Lord Viscount Dunbar 42. Countess-Dowager of Northampton


43. Earl of Darby 44. Bishop of Durham 45. Bishop of Ossery 46. Dr John Mountague 47. Dr Brown 48. Dr Guibbons


49. Earl of Exeter 50. Lady Giffard 51. Lord Clifford 52. John Walkaden, Esq. 53. Henry Tasburgh Esq. 54. Mrs Ann Brownlow


55. Duke of St Albans 56. Earl of Torrington 57. Anth. Hamond, Esq. 58. Henry St Johns, Esq. 59. Steph. Waller, LL.D. 60. Duke of Glocester 61. Edmond Waller, Esq.


62. Earl of Denbigh 63. Sir Tho. Dyke, Bart. 64. Mrs Ann Bayner 65. John Lewknor, Esq. 66. Sir Fleetwood Shepherd 67. John Poultney, Esq. 68. John Knight, Esq. 69. Robert Harley, Esq.


70. Earl of Rumney 71. Anthony Henley, Esq. 72. George Stepney, Esq. 73. Coll. Tho. Farringdon 74. Lady Mary Sackvill 75. Charles Fox, Esq.


76. Earl of Ailesbury 77. The Hon. Mr Robert Bruce 78. Christopher Rich, Esq. 79. Sir Godfrey Kneller


80. Earl of Sunderland 81. Thomas Foley, Esq. 82. Col. Geo. Cholmondly 83. Sir John Percival, Bart. 84. Col. Christopher Codrington 85. Mr John Closterman.


86. Lord Visc. Fitzharding 87. Sir Robert Howard 88. Sir John Leuson Gore, Bart. 89. Sir Charles Orby 90. Tho. Hopkins, Esq.


91. Duke of Shrewsbury 92. Sir W. Kirkham Blount, Bart. 93. John Noell, Esq. 94. Marquis of Normanby 95. Lord Berkley 96. Arthur Manwareing, Esq.


97. Earl of Chesterfield 98. Brigadier Fitzpatrick 99. Dr Tho. Hobbs 100. Lord Guilford 101. Duke of Ormond




Lord Ashley Sir James Ash, Bart. Sir James Ash, Bart. Sir Francis Andrew, Bart. Charles Adderley, Esq. Mrs Ann Ash Edw. Ash, Esq. Mr Francis Atterbury Sam. Atkins, Esq. Tho. Austen, Esq. Ro. Austen, Esq.


Earl of Bullingbrook Sir Ed. Bettenson, Bart. Sir Tho. Pope Blount, Bart. Sir John Bolles Sir Will. Bowes Will. Blathwayt, Esq. Secretary of War Will. Barlow, Esq. Peregrine Bertye, Esq. Will. Bridgman, Esq. Orlando Bridgman, Esq. Will. Bridges, Esq. Char. Bloodworth, Esq. The Hon. Henry Boyl, Esq. Rich. Boyl, Esq. Chidley Brook, Esq. Will. Bromley, Esq. of Warwickshire Mich. Bruneau, Esq. Tho. Bulkley, Esq. Theoph. Butler, Esq. Capt. John Berkeley Mr Jo. Bowes, Prebend. of Durham Mr Jeremiah Ball Mr John Ball Mr Richard Banks Mrs Elizabeth Barry Mr Beckford Mr Tho. Betterton Mrs Catharine Blount Mr Bond Mr Bond Mrs Ann Bracegirdle Mr Samuel Brockenborough Mrs Elizabeth Brown Mr Moses Bruche Mr Lancelot Burton


Earl of Clarendon Lord Henry Cavendish Lord Clifford Lord Coningsby Lord Cutts Lady Chudleigh, of the West The Hon. Char. Cornwallis, son to the Lord Cornwallis Sir Walt. Clarges, Bart. Sir Ro. Cotton Sir Will. Cooper The Hon. Will. Cheyney James Calthorp, Esq. Charles Chamberlayn, Esq. Edmond Clifford, Esq. Charles Cocks, Esq. Tho. Coel, Esq. Tho. Coke, Esq. Hugh Colville, Esq. Jo. Crawley, Esq. Courtney Crocker, Esq. Henry Curwyn, Esq. Capt. James Conoway Mr Will Claret Mr John Claney Mr Will Congreve Mr Henry Cook Mr Will. Cooper Mrs Elizabeth Creede


Duchess of Devonshire Paul Docmenique, Esq. Mountague Drake, Esq. Will. Draper, Esq. Mr Mich. Dahl Mr Davenport Mr Will. Delawn Mrs Dorothy Draycot Mr Edward Dryden


Earl of Essex Sir Edw. Ernle Will. Elson, Esq. Tho. Elyot, Esq. Thomas Earl, Major-General


Sir Edm. Fettiplace, Bart. Sir Will. Forester Sir James Forbys Lady Mary Fenwick The Hon. Col. Finch The Hon. Doctour Finch The Hon. Will. Fielding Rich. Franklin, Postmaster, Esq. Charles Fergesen, Esq. Com. of the Navy Doctor Fuller, D. of Lincoln Henry Farmer, Esq. Tho. Finch, Esq. Tho. Frewin, Esq. Mr George Finch


Sir Bevill Granvill, Bart. Oliver St George, Esq. Tho Gifford, Esq. Rich. Goulston, Esq. Richard Graham, Esq. Fergus Grahme, Esq. Will. Grove, Esq. Dr Gath, M.D. Mr George Goulding Mr Grinlin Guibbons


Lord Archibald Hamilton Lord Hide Sir Richard Haddock Sir Christop. Hales, Bart. Sir Tho. Hussey Rob. Harley, Esq. Rob. Henley, Esq. M.P. Will. Hewer, Esq. Rodger Hewet, Esq. He. Heveningham, Esq. John Holdworthy, Esq. Matt Holdworthy, Esq. Nath. Hornby, Esq. The Hon. Bern Howard Craven Howard, Esq. Mansel Howe, Esq. Sam. Hunter, Esq. Mr Edward Hastwell Mr Nich. Hawksmore Mr Whitfeild Hayter Mr Peter Henriques Mr Ro. Huckwell


John James, Esq. William Jenkins, Esq. Sam. Jones, Esq. Mr Edw. Jefferyes


Jos. Keally, Esq. Coll. James Kendall Dr Knipe Mr Mich. Kinkead


Sir Berkely Lucy, Bart. Lady Jane Leveson Gower Tho. Langley, Esq. Patrick Lamb, Esq. Will. Latton, Esq. James Long, of Draycot, Esq. Will. Lownds, Esq. Dennis Lydal, Esq. Mr Char. Longueville.


Charles Mannours, Esq. Tho. Mansel, Esq. Bussy Mansel, Esq. Will. Martyn, Esq. Henry Maxwell, Esq. Charles Mein, Esq. Rich. Minshul, Esq. Ro. Molesworth, Esq. The Hon. Henry Mordaunt George Moult, Esq. Christoph. Mountague, Esq. Walter Moyl, Esq. Mr Charles Marbury Mr Chistoph. Metcalf Mrs Monneux


Lord Norris Henry Neville, Esq. Will. Norris, Esq. Mr Will. Nicoll


Ro. Orme, Esq. Dr Oliver, M.D. Mr Mich. Owen


The Right Hon. Charles Earl of Peterborough Sir Henry Pechy, Bart. Sir John Phillips, Bart. Sir John Pykering, Bart. Sir John Parsons Ro. Palmer, Esq. Guy Palmes, Esq. Ben. Parry, Esq. Sam. Pepys, Esq. James Petre, Esq. Will. Pezeley, Esq. Craven Peyton, Esq. John Pitts, Esq. Will. Plowden of Plowden, Esq. Mr Theoph. Pykering, Prebend of Durham Coll. Will. Parsons Capt. Phillips Capt. Pitts Mr Daniel Peck


Duchess of Richmond Earl of Radnor Lord Ranelagh Tho. Rawlings, Esq. Will. Rider, Esq. Francis Roberts, Esq. Mr Rose


Lord Spencer Sir Tho. Skipwith, Bart. Sir John Seymour Sir Charles Skrimpshire J. Scroop of Danby, Esq. Ralph Sheldon, Com. Warw. Esq. Edw. Sheldon, Esq. John Smith, Esq. James Sothern, Esq. The Hon. James Stanley, Esq. Ro. Stopford, Esq. The Hon. Major-Gen. Edward Sackville Col. J. Stanhope Col. Strangways Mr James Seamer Mr William Seeks Mr Joseph Sherwood Mr Laurence Smith Mr Tho. Southern Mr Paris Slaughter Mr Lancelot Stepney


Sir John Trevillion, Bart. Sir Edm. Turner Henry Temple, Esq. Ashburnam Toll, Esq. Sam. Travers, Esq. John Tucker, Esq. Major-Gen. Charles Trelawney Major-Gen. Trelawney Col. John Tidcomb Col. Trelawney Mr George Townsend Mr Tho. Tyldesley Mr Tyndall


John Verney, Esq. Henry Vernon, Esq. James Vernon, Esq.


Lord Marquis of Winchester Earl of Weymouth Lady Windham Sir John Walter, Bart. Sir John Woodhouse, Bart. Sir Francis Windham James Ward, Esq. Will. Wardour, jun. Esq. Will. Welby, Esq. Will. Weld, Esq. Th. Brome Whorwood, Esq. Salw. Winnington, Esq. Col. Cornelius Wood Mrs Mary Walter Mr Leonard Wessel






Whene'er great Virgil's lofty verse I see, The pompous scene charms my admiring eye. There different beauties in perfection meet; The thoughts as proper, as the numbers sweet; And, when wild Fancy mounts a daring height, Judgment steps in, and moderates her flight. Wisely he manages his wealthy store, Still says enough, and yet implies still more: For, though the weighty sense be closely wrought, The reader's left to improve the pleasing thought. Hence we despaired to see an English dress Should e'er his nervous energy express; For who could that in fettered rhyme inclose, Which, without loss, can scarce be told in prose? But you, great Sir, his manly genius raise, And make your copy share an equal praise. Oh! how I see thee, in soft scenes of love, Renew those passions he alone could move! Here Cupid's charms are with new art exprest, And pale Eliza leaves her peaceful rest-- Leaves her Elysium, as if glad to live, } To love, and wish, to sigh, despair, and grieve, } And die again for him that would again deceive. } Nor does the mighty Trojan less appear Than Mars himself, amidst the storms of war. Now his fierce eyes with double fury glow, And a new dread attends the impending blow: The Daunian chiefs their eager rage abate, And, though unwounded, seem to feel their fate. Long the rude fury of an ignorant age, With barbarous spite, profaned his sacred page. The heavy Dutchmen, with laborious toil, Wrested his sense, and cramped his vigorous style. No time, no pains, the drudging pedants spare, But still his shoulders must the burden bear; While, through the mazes of their comments led, We learn, not what he writes, but what they read. Yet, through these shades of undistinguished night, Appeared some glimmering intervals of light; Till mangled by a vile translating sect, Like babes by witches _in effigie_ rackt: Till Ogleby, mature in dulness, rose, And Holbourn doggrel, and low chiming prose, His strength and beauty did at once depose. But now the magic spell is at an end, Since even the dead, in you, have found a friend. You free the bard from rude oppressors' power, And grace his verse with charms unknown before. He, doubly thus obliged, must doubting stand, Which chiefly should his gratitude command-- Whether should claim the tribute of his heart, The patron's bounty, or the poet's art. Alike with wonder and delight we viewed The Roman genius in thy verse renewed: We saw thee raise soft Ovid's amorous fire, And fit the tuneful Horace to thy lyre: We saw new gall embitter Juvenal's pen, And crabbed Persius made politely plain. Virgil alone was thought too great a task-- What you could scarce perform, or we durst ask; A task, which Waller's Muse could ne'er engage; A task, too hard for Denham's stronger rage. Sure of success, they some slight sallies tried; But the fenced coast their bold attempts defied: With fear, their o'ermatched forces back they drew, Quitting the province Fate reserved for you. In vain thus Philip did the Persians storm; A work his son was destined to perform. O! had Roscommon[269] lived to hail the day, And sing loud Pæans through the crowded way, When you in Roman majesty appear, Which none know better, and none come so near; The happy author would with wonder see, His rules were only prophecies of thee: And, were he now to give translators light, He'd bid them only read thy work, and write. For this great task, our loud applause is due; We own old favours, but must press for new: Th' expecting world demands one labour more; And thy loved Homer does thy aid implore, To right his injured works, and set them free From the lewd rhymes of grovelling Ogleby. Then shall his verse in graceful pomp appear, Nor will his birth renew the ancient jar: On those Greek cities we shall look with scorn, And in our Britain think the poet born.






We read, how dreams and visions heretofore The prophet and the poet could inspire, And make them in unusual rapture soar, With rage divine, and with poetic fire.


O could I find it now!--Would Virgil's shade But for a while vouchsafe to bear the light, To grace my numbers, and that Muse to aid, Who sings the poet that has done him right.


It long has been this sacred author's fate, To lie at every dull translator's will: Long, long his Muse has groaned beneath the weight Of mangling Ogleby's presumptuous quill.


Dryden, at last, in his defence arose: The father now is righted by the son; And, while his Muse endeavours to disclose That poet's beauties, she declares her own.


In your smooth pompous numbers drest, each line, Each thought, betrays such a majestic touch, He could not, had he finished his design, Have wished it better, or have done so much.


You, like his hero, though yourself were free, And disentangled from the war of wit-- You, who secure might others' danger see, And safe from all malicious censure sit--


Yet, because sacred Virgil's noble Muse, O'erlaid by fools, was ready to expire, To risk your fame again, you boldly chuse, Or to redeem, or perish with your sire.


Even first and last, we owe him half to you: For, that his Æneids missed their threatened fate, Was--that his friends by some prediction knew, Hereafter, who, correcting, should translate.


But hold, my Muse! thy needless flight restrain, Unless, like him, thou could'st a verse indite: To think his fancy to describe, is vain, Since nothing can discover light, but light.


'Tis want of genius that does more deny; 'Tis fear my praise should make your glory less; And, therefore, like the modest painter, I Must draw the veil, where I cannot express.




No undisputed monarch governed yet, With universal sway, the realms of wit: Nature could never such expence afford; Each several province owned a several lord. A poet then had his poetic wife, One Muse embraced, and married for his life. By the stale thing his appetite was cloyed, His fancy lessened, and his fire destroyed. But Nature, grown extravagantly kind, With all her treasures did adorn your mind; The different powers were then united found, And you wit's universal monarch crowned. Your mighty sway your great desert secures; And every Muse and every Grace is yours. To none confined, by turns you all enjoy: Sated with this, you to another fly, So, sultan-like, in your seraglio stand, While wishing Muses wait for your command; Thus no decay, no want of vigour, find: Sublime your fancy, boundless is your mind. Not all the blasts of Time can do you wrong-- Young, spite of age--in spite of weakness, strong. Time, like Alcides, strikes you to the ground; You, like Antæus, from each fall rebound.






'Tis said, that Phidias gave such living grace To the carved image of a beauteous face, That the cold marble might even seem to be The life--and the true life, the imagery.

You pass that artist, Sir, and all his powers, Making the best of Roman poets ours, With such effect, we know not which to call The imitation, which the original.

What Virgil lent, you pay in equal weight; The charming beauty of the coin no less; And such the majesty of your impress, You seem the very author you translate.

'Tis certain, were he now alive with us, And did revolving destiny constrain To dress his thoughts in English o'er again, Himself could write no otherwise than thus.

His old encomium never did appear So true as now: "Romans and Greeks, submit! Something of late is in our language writ, More nobly great than the famed Iliads were."






As flowers, transplanted from a southern sky, But hardly bear, or in the raising die, Missing their native sun,--at best retain But a faint odour, and but live with pain; So Roman poetry, by moderns taught, } Wanting the warmth with which its author wrote, } Is a dead image, and a worthless draught. } While we transfuse, the nimble spirit flies, Escapes unseen, evaporates, and dies. Who then attempts to shew the ancients' wit, Must copy with the genius that they writ: Whence we conclude from thy translated song, So just, so warm, so smooth, and yet so strong, Thou heavenly charmer! soul of harmony! That all their geniuses revived in thee. Thy trumpet sounds: the dead are raised to light; New-born they rise, and take to heaven their flight; Deck'd in thy verse, as clad with rays, they shine, All glorified, immortal, and divine. As Britain, in rich soil abounding wide, Furnished for use, for luxury, and pride, Yet spreads her wanton sails on every shore, For foreign wealth, insatiate still of more; To her own wool, the silks of Asia joins, And to her plenteous harvests, Indian mines; So Dryden, not contented with the fame Of his own works, though an immortal name---- To lands remote he sends his learned Muse, The noblest seeds of foreign wit to chuse. Feasting our sense so many various ways, Say, is't thy bounty, or thy thirst of praise, That, by comparing others, all might see, Who most excelled, are yet excelled by thee?



[269] Essay of Translated Verse, p. 26.






Virgil was born at Mantua, which city was built no less than three hundred years before Rome, and was the capital of the New Hetruria, as himself, no less antiquary than poet, assures us. His birth is said to have happened in the first consulship of Pompey the Great, and Licinius Crassus: but, since the relater of this presently after contradicts himself, and Virgil's manner of addressing to Octavius implies a greater difference of age than that of seven years, as appears by his First Pastoral, and other places, it is reasonable to set the date of it something backward; and the writer of his Life having no certain memorials to work upon, seems to have pitched upon the two most illustrious consuls he could find about that time, to signalize the birth of so eminent a man. But it is beyond all question, that he was born on or near the 15th of October, which day was kept festival in honour of his memory by the Latin, as the birth-day of Homer was by the Greek poets. And so near a resemblance there is betwixt the lives of these two famous epic writers, that Virgil seems to have followed the fortune of the other, as well as the subject and manner of his writing. For Homer is said to have been of very mean parents, such as got their bread by day-labour; so is Virgil. Homer is said to be base-born; so is Virgil. The former to have been born in the open air, in a ditch, or by the bank of a river; so is the latter. There was a poplar planted near the place of Virgil's birth, which suddenly grew up to an unusual height and bulk, and to which the superstitious neighbourhood attributed marvellous virtue: Homer had his poplar too, as Herodotus relates, which was visited with great veneration. Homer is described by one of the ancients to have been of a slovenly and neglected mien and habit; so was Virgil. Both were of a very delicate and sickly constitution; both addicted to travel, and the study of astrology; both had their compositions usurped by others; both envied and traduced during their lives. We know not so much as the true names of either of them with any exactness; for the critics are not yet agreed how the word _Virgil_ should be written, and of Homer's name there is no certainty at all. Whosoever shall consider this parallel in so many particulars, (and more might be added,) would be inclined to think, that either the same stars ruled strongly at the nativities of them both; or, what is a great deal more probable, that the Latin grammarians, wanting materials for the former part of Virgil's life, after the legendary fashion, supplied it out of Herodotus; and, like ill face-painters, not being able to hit the true features, endeavoured to make amends by a great deal of impertinent landscape and drapery.

Without troubling the reader with needless quotations now, or afterwards, the most probable opinion is, that Virgil was the son of a servant, or assistant, to a wandering astrologer, who practised physic: for _medicus_, _magus_, as Juvenal observes, usually went together; and this course of life was followed by a great many Greeks and Syrians, of one of which nations it seems not improbable that Virgil's father was. Nor could a man of that profession have chosen a fitter place to settle in, than that most superstitious tract of Italy, which, by her ridiculous rites and ceremonies, as much enslaved the Romans, as the Romans did the Hetrurians by their arms. This man, therefore, having got together some money, which stock he improved by his skill in planting and husbandry, had the good fortune, at last, to marry his master's daughter, by whom he had Virgil: and this woman seems, by her mother's side, to have been of good extraction; for she was nearly related to Quintilius Varus, whom Paterculus assures us to have been of an illustrious, though not patrician, family; and there is honourable mention made of it in the history of the second Carthaginian war. It is certain, that they gave him very good education; to which they were inclined, not so much by the dreams of his mother, and those presages which Donatus relates, as by the early indications which he gave of a sweet disposition and excellent wit. He passed the first seven years of his life at Mantua, not seventeen, as Scaliger miscorrects his author; for the _initia ætatis_ can hardly be supposed to extend so far. From thence he removed to Cremona, a noble Roman colony, and afterwards to Milan; in all which places, he prosecuted his studies with great application. He read over all the best Latin and Greek authors; for which he had convenience by the no remote distance of Marseilles, that famous Greek colony, which maintained its politeness and purity of language in the midst of all those barbarous nations amongst which it was seated; and some tincture of the latter seems to have descended from them down to the modern French. He frequented the most eminent professors of the Epicurean philosophy, which was then much in vogue, and will be always, in declining and sickly states.[271] But, finding no satisfactory account from his master Syron, he passed over to the Academic school; to which he adhered the rest of his life, and deserved, from a great emperor, the title of--_The Plato of Poets_. He composed at leisure hours a great number of verses on various subjects; and, desirous rather of a great than early fame, he permitted his kinsman and fellow-student, Varus, to derive the honour of one of his tragedies to himself. Glory, neglected in proper time and place, returns often with large increase: and so he found it; for Varus afterwards proved a great instrument of his rise. In short, it was here that he formed the plan, and collected the materials, of all those excellent pieces which he afterwards finished, or was forced to leave less perfect by his death. But, whether it were the unwholesomeness of his native air, of which he somewhere complains; or his too great abstinence, and night-watchings at his study, to which he was always addicted, as Augustus observes; or possibly the hopes of improving himself by travel--he resolved to remove to the more southern tract of Italy; and it was hardly possible for him not to take Rome in his way, as is evident to any one who shall cast an eye on the map of Italy. And therefore the late French editor of his works is mistaken, when he asserts, that he never saw Rome till he came to petition for his estate. He gained the acquaintance of the master of the horse to Octavius, and cured a great many diseases of horses, by methods they had never heard of. It fell out, at the same time, that a very fine colt, which promised great strength and speed, was presented to Octavius; Virgil assured them, that he came of a faulty mare, and would prove a jade: Upon trial, it was found as he had said. His judgment proved right in several other instances; which was the more surprising, because the Romans knew least of natural causes of any civilized nation in the world; and those meteors and prodigies, which cost them incredible sums to expiate, might easily have been accounted for by no very profound naturalist. It is no wonder, therefore, that Virgil was in so great reputation, as to be at last introduced to Octavius himself. That prince was then at variance with Marc Antony, who vexed him with a great many libelling letters, in which he reproaches him with the baseness of his parentage, that he came of a scrivener, a rope-maker, and a baker, as Suetonius tells us. Octavius finding that Virgil had passed so exact a judgment upon the breed of dogs and horses, thought that he possibly might be able to give him some light concerning his own. He took him into his closet, where they continued in private a considerable time. Virgil was a great mathematician; which, in the sense of those times, took in astrology; and, if there be any thing in that art, (which I can hardly believe,) if that be true which the ingenious De la Chambre asserts confidently, that, from the marks on the body, the configuration of the planets at a nativity may be gathered, and the marks might be told by knowing the nativity, never had one of those artists a fairer opportunity to show his skill than Virgil now had; for Octavius had moles upon his body, exactly resembling the constellation called _Ursa Major_. But Virgil had other helps; the predictions of Cicero and Catulus,[272] and that vote of the senate had gone abroad, that no child, born at Rome in the year of his nativity, should be bred up, because the seers assured them that an emperor was born that year. Besides this, Virgil had heard of the Assyrian and Egyptian prophecies, (which, in truth, were no other but the Jewish,) that about that time a great king was to come into the world. Himself takes notice of them, (Æn. VI.) where he uses a very significant word, now in all liturgies, _hujus in adventu_; so in another place, _adventu propiore Dei_.

At his foreseen approach already quake Assyrian kingdoms, and Mæotis' lake; Nile hears him knocking at his seven-fold gate.

Every one knows whence this was taken. It was rather a mistake than impiety in Virgil, to apply these prophecies, which belonged to the Saviour of the world, to the person of Octavius; it being a usual piece of flattery, for near a hundred years together, to attribute them to their emperors and other great men. Upon the whole matter, it is very probable, that Virgil predicted to him the empire at this time. And it will appear yet the more, if we consider, that he assures him of his being received into the number of the gods, in his First Pastoral, long before the thing came to pass; which prediction seems grounded upon his former mistake. This was a secret not to be divulged at that time; and therefore it is no wonder that the slight story in Donatus was given abroad to palliate the matter. But certain it is, that Octavius dismissed him with great marks of esteem, and earnestly recommended the protection of Virgil's affairs to Pollio, then lieutenant of the Cisalpine Gaul, where Virgil's patrimony lay. This Pollio, from a mean original, became one of the most considerable persons of his time; a good general, orator, statesman, historian, poet, and favourer of learned men; above all, he was a man of honour in those critical times. He had joined with Octavius and Antony in revenging the barbarous assassination of Julius Cæsar; when they two were at variance, he would neither follow Antony, whose courses he detested, nor join with Octavius against him, out of a grateful sense of some former obligations. Augustus, who thought it his interest to oblige men of principles, notwithstanding this, received him afterwards into favour, and promoted him to the highest honours. And thus much I thought fit to say of Pollio, because he was one of Virgil's greatest friends. Being therefore eased of domestic cares, he pursues his journey to Naples. The charming situation of that place, and view of the beautiful villas of the Roman nobility, equaling the magnificence of the greatest kings; the neighbourhood of Baiæ, whither the sick resorted for recovery, and the statesman when he was politicly sick; whither the wanton went for pleasure, and witty men for good company; the wholesomeness of the air, and improving conversation, the best air of all, contributed not only to the re-establishing his health, but to the forming of his style, and rendering him master of that happy turn of verse, in which he much surpasses all the Latins, and, in a less advantageous language, equals even Homer himself. He proposed to use his talent in poetry, only for scaffolding to build a convenient fortune, that he might prosecute, with less interruption, those nobler studies to which his elevated genius led him, and which he describes in these admirable lines:

_Me vero primum dulces ante omnia Musæ, Quarum sacra fero ingenti percussus amore, Accipiant; cælique vias, et sidera, monstrent, Defectus Solis varios, Lunæque labores; Unde tremor terris_, &c.

But the current of that martial age, by some strange antiperistasis, drove so violently towards poetry, that he was at last carried down with the stream; for not only the young nobility, but Octavius, and Pollio, Cicero in his old age, Julius Cæsar, and the stoical Brutus, a little before, would needs be tampering with the Muses. The two latter had taken great care to have their poems curiously bound, and lodged in the most famous libraries; but neither the sacredness of those places, nor the greatness of their names, could preserve ill poetry. Quitting therefore the study of the law, after having pleaded but one cause with indifferent success, he resolved to push his fortune this way, which he seems to have discontinued for some time; and that may be the reason why the _Culex_, his first pastoral now extant, has little besides the novelty of the subject, and the moral of the fable, which contains an exhortation to gratitude, to recommend it. Had it been as correct as his other pieces, nothing more proper and pertinent could have at that time been addressed to the young Octavius; for, the year in which he presented it, probably at Baiæ, seems to be the very same in which that prince consented (though with seeming reluctance) to the death of Cicero, under whose consulship he was born, the preserver of his life, and chief instrument of his advancement. There is no reason to question its being genuine, as the late French editor does; its meanness, in comparison of Virgil's other works, (which is that writer's only objection,) confutes himself; for Martial, who certainly saw the true copy, speaks of it with contempt; and yet that pastoral equals, at least, the address to the Dauphin, which is prefixed to the late edition. Octavius, to unbend his mind from application to public business, took frequent turns to Baiæ, and Sicily, where he composed his poem called _Sicelides_, which Virgil seems to allude to in the pastoral beginning _Sicelides Musæ_. This gave him opportunity of refreshing that prince's memory of him; and about that time he wrote his _Ætna_. Soon after he seems to have made a voyage to Athens, and at his return presented his _Ceiris_, a more elaborate piece, to the noble and eloquent Messala. The forementioned author groundlessly taxes this as supposititious; for, besides other critical marks, there are no less than fifty or sixty verses, altered, indeed, and polished, which he inserted in the Pastorals, according to his fashion; and from thence they were called _Eclogues_, or _Select Bucolics_: we thought fit to use a title more intelligible, the reason of the other being ceased; and we are supported by Virgil's own authority, who expressly calls them _carmina pastorum_. The French editor is again mistaken, in asserting, that the _Ceiris_ is borrowed from the ninth of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_: he might have more reasonably conjectured it to be taken from Parthenius, the Greek poet, from whom Ovid borrowed a great part of his work. But it is indeed taken from neither, but from that learned, unfortunate poet, Apollonius Rhodius, to whom Virgil is more indebted than to any other Greek writer, excepting Homer. The reader will be satisfied of this, if he consults that author in his own language; for the translation is a great deal more obscure than the original.

Whilst Virgil thus enjoyed the sweets of a learned privacy, the troubles of Italy cut off his little subsistence; but, by a strange turn of human affairs, which ought to keep good men from ever despairing, the loss of his estate proved the effectual way of making his fortune. The occasion of it was this: Octavius, as himself relates, when he was but nineteen years of age, by a masterly stroke of policy, had gained the veteran legions into his service, and, by that step, outwitted all the republican senate. They grew now very clamorous for their pay; the treasury being exhausted, he was forced to make assignments upon land; and none but in Italy itself would content them. He pitched upon Cremona, as the most distant from Rome; but that not sufficing, he afterwards threw in part of the state of Mantua. Cremona was a rich and noble colony, settled a little before the invasion of Hannibal. During that tedious and bloody war, they had done several important services to the commonwealth; and, when eighteen other colonies, pleading poverty and depopulation, refused to contribute money, or to raise recruits, they of Cremona voluntarily paid a double quota of both. But past services are a fruitless plea; civil wars are one continued act of ingratitude. In vain did the miserable mothers, with their famishing infants in their arms, fill the streets with their numbers, and the air with lamentations; the craving legions were to be satisfied at any rate. Virgil, involved in the common calamity, had recourse to his old patron, Pollio; but he was, at this time, under a cloud; however, compassionating so worthy a man, not of a make to struggle through the world, he did what he could, and recommended him to Mæcenas, with whom he still kept a private correspondence. The name of this great man being much better known than one part of his character, the reader, I presume, will not be displeased if I supply it in this place.

Though he was of as deep reach, and easy dispatch of business, as any in his time, yet he designedly lived beneath his true character. Men had oftentimes meddled in public affairs, that they might have more ability to furnish for their pleasures: Mæcenas, by the honestest hypocrisy that ever was, pretended to a life of pleasure, that he might render more effectual service to his master. He seemed wholly to amuse himself with the diversions of the town, but, under that mask, was the greatest minister of his age. He would be carried in a careless, effeminate posture through the streets in his chair, even to the degree of a proverb; and yet there was not a cabal of ill-disposed persons which he had not early notice of, and that too in a city as large as London and Paris, and perhaps two or three more of the most populous, put together. No man better understood that art so necessary to the great--the art of declining envy. Being but of a gentleman's family, not patrician, he would not provoke the nobility by accepting invidious honours, but wisely satisfied himself, that he had the ear of Augustus, and the secret of the empire. He seems to have committed but one great fault, which was, the trusting a secret of high consequence to his wife; but his master, enough uxorious himself, made his own frailty more excusable, by generously forgiving that of his favourite: he kept, in all his greatness, exact measures with his friends; and, chusing them wisely, found, by experience, that good sense and gratitude are almost inseparable. This appears in Virgil and Horace. The former, besides the honour he did him to all posterity, re-toured his liberalities at his death; the other, whom Mæcenas recommended with his last breath, was too generous to stay behind, and enjoy the favour of Augustus; he only desired a place in his tomb, and to mingle his ashes with those of his deceased benefactor. But this was seventeen hundred years ago.[273] Virgil, thus powerfully supported, thought it mean to petition for himself alone, but resolutely solicits the cause of his whole country, and seems, at first, to have met with some encouragement; but, the matter cooling, he was forced to sit down contented with the grant of his own estate. He goes therefore to Mantua, produces his warrant to a captain of foot, whom he found in his house. Arius, who had eleven points of the law, and fierce[274] of the services he had rendered to Octavius, was so far from yielding possession, that, words growing betwixt them, he wounded him dangerously, forced him to fly, and at last to swim the river Mincius to save his life. Virgil, who used to say, that no virtue was so necessary as patience, was forced to drag a sick body half the length of Italy, back again to Rome, and by the way, probably, composed his Ninth Pastoral, which may seem to have been made up in haste, out of the fragments of some other pieces; and naturally enough represents the disorder of the poet's mind, by its disjointed fashion, though there be another reason to be given elsewhere of its want of connection. He handsomely states his case in that poem, and, with the pardonable resentments of injured innocence, not only claims Octavius's promise, but hints to him the uncertainty of human greatness and glory. All was taken in good part by that wise prince; at last effectual orders were given. About this time, he composed that admirable poem, which is set first, out of respect to Cæsar; for he does not seem either to have had leisure, or to have been in the humour of making so solemn an acknowledgment, till he was possessed of the benefit. And now he was in so great reputation and interest, that he resolved to give up his land to his parents, and himself to the court. His Pastorals were in such esteem, that Pollio, now again in high favour with Cæsar, desired him to reduce them into a volume. Some modern writer, that has a constant flux of verse, would stand amazed, how Virgil could employ three whole years in revising five or six hundred verses, most of which, probably, were made some time before; but there is more reason to wonder, how he could do it so soon in such perfection. A coarse stone is presently fashioned; but a diamond, of not many carats, is many weeks in sawing, and, in polishing, many more. He who put Virgil upon this, had a politic good end in it.

The continued civil wars had laid Italy almost waste; the ground was uncultivated and unstocked; upon which ensued such a famine and insurrection, that Cæsar hardly escaped being stoned at Rome; his ambition being looked upon by all parties as the principal occasion of it. He set himself therefore with great industry to promote country improvements; and Virgil was serviceable to his design, as the good Keeper of the Bees, Georg. iv.

_Tinnitusque cie, et Matris quate cymbala circum, Ipsæ consident._

That emperor afterwards thought it matter worthy a public inscription--


which seems to be the motive that induced Mæcenas to put him upon writing his Georgics, or books of husbandry: a design as new in Latin verse, as pastorals, before Virgil, were in Italy: which work took up seven of the most vigorous years of his life; for he was now, at least, thirty-four years of age; and here Virgil shines in his meridian. A great part of this work seems to have been rough-drawn before he left Mantua; for an ancient writer has observed, that the rules of husbandry, laid down in it, are better calculated for the soil of Mantua, than for the more sunny climate of Naples; near which place, and in Sicily, he finished it. But, lest his genius should be depressed by apprehensions of want, he had a good estate settled upon him, and a house in the pleasantest part of Rome; the principal furniture of which was a well-chosen library, which stood open to all comers of learning and merit: and what recommended the situation of it most, was the neighbourhood of his Mæcenas; and thus he could either visit Rome, or return to his privacy at Naples, through a pleasant road, adorned on each side with pieces of antiquity, of which he was so great a lover, and, in the intervals of them, seemed almost one continued street of three days' journey.

Cæsar, having now vanquished Sextus Pompeius, (a spring-tide of prosperities breaking in upon him, before he was ready to receive them as he ought,) fell sick of the _imperial evil_, the desire of being thought something more than man. Ambition is an infinite folly; when it has attained to the utmost pitch of human greatness, it soon falls to making pretensions upon heaven. The crafty Livia would needs be drawn in the habit of a priestess by the shrine of the new god; and this became a fashion not to be dispensed with amongst the ladies. The devotion was wonderous great amongst the Romans; for it was their interest, and, which sometimes avails more, it was the mode. Virgil, though he despised the heathen superstitions, and is so bold as to call Saturn and Janus by no better a name than that of _old men_, and might deserve the title of subverter of superstitions, as well as Varro, thought fit to follow the maxim of Plato his master, that every one should serve the gods after the usage of his own country; and therefore was not the last to present his incense, which was of too rich a composition for such an altar; and, by his address to Cæsar on this occasion, made an unhappy precedent to Lucan and other poets which came after him.--_Georg. i._ and _iii._ And this poem being now in great forwardness, Cæsar, who, in imitation of his predecessor Julius, never intermitted his studies in the camp, and much less in other places, refreshing himself by a short stay in a pleasant village of Campania would needs be entertained with the rehearsal of some part of it. Virgil recited with a marvellous grace, and sweet accent of voice, but his lungs failing him, Mæcenas himself supplied his place for what remained. Such a piece of condescension would now be very surprising; but it was no more than customary amongst friends, when learning passed for quality.[275] Lælius, the second man of Rome in his time, had done as much for that poet, out of whose dross Virgil would sometimes pick gold, as himself said, when one found him reading Ennius; (the like he did by some verses of Varro, and Pacuvius, Lucretius, and Cicero, which he inserted into his works.) But learned men then lived easy and familiarly with the great: Augustus himself would sometimes sit down betwixt Virgil and Horace, and say jestingly, that he sat betwixt sighing and tears, alluding to the asthma of one, and rheumatic eyes of the other. He would frequently correspond with them, and never leave a letter of theirs unanswered; nor were they under the constraint of formal superscriptions in the beginning, nor of violent superlatives at the close, of their letter: the invention of these is a modern refinement; in which this may be remarked, in passing, that "_humble servant_" is respect, but "_friend_" an affront; which notwithstanding implies the former, and a great deal more. Nor does true greatness lose by such familiarity; and those who have it not, as Mæcenas and Pollio had, are not to be accounted proud, but rather very discreet, in their reserves. Some playhouse beauties do wisely to be seen at a distance, and to have the lamps twinkle betwixt them and the spectators.

But now Cæsar, who, though he were none of the greatest soldiers, was certainly the greatest traveller, of a prince, that had ever been, (for which Virgil so dexterously compliments him, Æneid, vi.) takes a voyage to Egypt, and, having happily finished the war, reduces that mighty kingdom into the form of a province, over which he appointed Gallus his lieutenant. This is the same person to whom Virgil addresses his Tenth Pastoral; changing, in compliance to his request, his purpose of limiting them to the number of the Muses. The praises of this Gallus took up a considerable part of the Fourth Book of the Georgics, according to the general consent of antiquity: but Cæsar would have it put out; and yet the seam in the poem is still to be discerned; and the matter of Aristæus's recovering his bees might have been dispatched in less compass, without fetching the causes so far, or interesting so many gods and goddesses in that affair. Perhaps some readers may be inclined to think this, though very much laboured, not the most entertaining part of that work; so hard it is for the greatest masters to paint against their inclination. But Cæsar was contented, that he should be mentioned in the last Pastoral, because it might be taken for a satirical sort of commendation; and the character he there stands under, might help to excuse his cruelty, in putting an old servant to death for no very great crime.

And now having ended, as he begins his Georgics, with solemn mention of Cæsar, (an argument of his devotion to him,) he begins his _Æneïs_, according to the common account, being now turned of forty. But that work had been, in truth, the subject of much earlier meditation. Whilst he was working upon the first book of it, this passage, so very remarkable in history, fell out, in which Virgil had a great share.

Cæsar, about this time, either cloyed with glory, or terrified by the example of his predecessor, or to gain the credit of moderation with the people, or possibly to feel the pulse of his friends, deliberated whether he should retain the sovereign power, or restore the commonwealth. Agrippa, who was a very honest man, but whose view was of no great extent, advised him to the latter; but Mæcenas, who had thoroughly studied his master's temper, in an eloquent oration gave contrary advice. That emperor was too politic to commit the oversight of Cromwell, in a deliberation something resembling this. Cromwell had never been more desirous of the power, than he was afterwards of the title, of king; and there was nothing in which the heads of the parties, who were all his creatures, would not comply with him; but, by too vehement allegation of arguments against it, he, who had outwitted every body besides, at last outwitted himself by too deep dissimulation; for his council, thinking to make their court by assenting to his judgment, voted unanimously for him against his inclination; which surprised and troubled him to such a degree, that, as soon as he had got into his coach, he fell into a swoon.[276] But Cæsar knew his people better; and, his council being thus divided, he asked Virgil's advice. Thus a poet had the honour of determining the greatest point that ever was in debate, betwixt the son-in-law and favourite of Cæsar. Virgil delivered his opinion in words to this effect:

"The change of a popular into an absolute government has generally been of very ill consequence; for, betwixt the hatred of the people and injustice of the prince, it, of necessity, comes to pass, that they live in distrust, and mutual apprehensions. But, if the commons knew a just person, whom they entirely confided in, it would be for the advantage of all parties, that such a one should be their sovereign; wherefore, if you shall continue to administer justice impartially, as hitherto you have done, your power will prove safe to yourself, and beneficial to mankind." This excellent sentence, which seems taken out of Plato, (with whose writings the grammarians were not much acquainted, and therefore cannot reasonably be suspected of forgery in this matter,) contains the true state of affairs at that time: for the commonwealth maxims were now no longer practicable; the Romans had only the haughtiness of the old commonwealth left, without one of its virtues. And this sentence we find, almost in the same words, in the First Book of the "Æneïs," which at this time he was writing; and one might wonder that none of his commentators have taken notice of it. He compares a tempest to a popular insurrection, as Cicero had compared a sedition to a storm, a little before:

_Ac veluti, magno in populo, cum sæpe coorta est Seditio, sævitque animis ignobile vulgus, Jamque faces, et saxa volant; furor arma ministrat: Tum pietate gravem ac meritis si forte virum quem Conspexere, silent, arrectisque auribus adstant: Ille regit dictis animos, et pectora mulcet._

Piety and merit were the two great virtues which Virgil every where attributes to Augustus, and in which that prince, at least politicly, if not so truly, fixed his character, as appears by the _Marmor Ancyr._ and several of his medals. Franshemius, the learned supplementor of Livy, has inserted this relation into his history; nor is there any good reason, why Ruæus should account it fabulous. The title of a poet in those days did not abate, but heighten, the character of the gravest senator. Virgil was one of the best and wisest men of his time, and in so popular esteem, that one hundred thousand Romans rose when he came into the theatre, and paid him the same respect they used to Cæsar himself, as Tacitus assures us. And, if Augustus invited Horace to assist him in writing his letters, (and every body knows that the "_Rescripta Imperatorum_" were the laws of the empire,) Virgil might well deserve a place in the cabinet-council.

And now he prosecutes his "Æneïs," which had anciently the title of the "Imperial Poem," or "Roman History," and deservedly: for, though he were too artful a writer to set down events in exact historical order, for which Lucan is justly blamed; yet are all the most considerable affairs and persons of Rome comprised in this poem. He deduces the history of Italy from before Saturn to the reign of King Latinus; and reckons up the successors of Æneas, who reigned at Alba, for the space of three hundred years, down to the birth of Romulus; describes the persons and principal exploits of all the kings, to their expulsion, and the settling of the commonwealth. After this, he touches promiscuously the most remarkable occurrences at home and abroad, but insists more particularly upon the exploits of Augustus; insomuch that, though this assertion may appear at first a little surprising, he has in his works deduced the history of a considerable part of the world from its original, through the fabulous and heroic ages, through the monarchy and commonwealth of Rome, for the space of four thousand years, down to within less than forty of our Saviour's time, of whom he has preserved a most illustrious prophecy. Besides this, he points at many remarkable passages of history under feigned names: the destruction of Alba and Veii, under that of Troy; the star Venus, which, Varro says, guided Æneas in his voyage to Italy, in that verse,

_Matre deâ monstrante viam._

Romulus's lance taking root, and budding, is described in that passage concerning Polydorus, Æneïd, iii.

----_Confixum ferrea texit Telorum seges, et jaculis increvit acutis_--

The stratagem of the Trojans boring holes in their ships, and sinking them, lest the Latins should burn them, under that fable of their being transformed into sea-nymphs; and therefore the ancients had no such reason to condemn that fable as groundless and absurd. Cocles swimming the river Tyber, after the bridge was broken down behind him, is exactly painted in the four last verses of the ninth book, under the character of Turnus: Marius hiding himself in the morass of Minturnæ, under the person of Sinon:

_Limosoque lacu per noctem obscurus in ulvâ Delitui_.[277]

Those verses in the second book concerning Priam,

----_jacet ingens littore truncus, &c._

seem originally made upon Pompey the Great. He seems to touch the imperious and intriguing humour of the Empress Livia, under the character of Juno. The irresolute and weak Lepidus is well represented under the person of King Latinus; Augustus with the character of _Pont. Max._ under that of Æneas; and the rash courage (always unfortunate in Virgil) of Marc Antony, in Turnus; the railing eloquence of Cicero in his "Philippics" is well imitated in the oration of Drances; the dull faithful Agrippa, under the person of Achates; accordingly this character is flat: Achates kills but one man, and himself receives one slight wound, but neither says nor does any thing very considerable in the whole poem. Curio, who sold his country for about two hundred thousand pounds, is stigmatized in that verse,--

_Vendidit hic auro patriam, dominumque potentem Imposuit._

Livy relates, that, presently after the death of the two Scipios in Spain, when Martius took upon him the command, a blazing meteor shone around his head, to the astonishment of his soldiers. Virgil transfers this to Æneas:

_Lætasque vomunt duo tempora flammas._

It is strange, that the commentators have not taken notice of this. Thus the ill omen which happened a little before the battle of Thrasymen, when some of the centurions' lances took fire miraculously, is hinted in the like accident which befel Acestes, before the burning of the Trojan fleet in Sicily. The reader will easily find many more such instances. In other writers, there is often well-covered ignorance; in Virgil, concealed learning.

His silence of some illustrious persons is no less worth observation. He says nothing of Scævola, because he attempted to assassinate a king, though a declared enemy; nor of the younger Brutus; for he effected what the other endeavoured; nor of the younger Cato, because he was an implacable enemy of Julius Cæsar; nor could the mention of him be pleasing to Augustus; and that passage,

_His dantem jura Catonem_----

may relate to his office, as he was a very severe censor. Nor would he name Cicero, when the occasion of mentioning him came full in his way, when he speaks of Catiline; because he afterwards approved the murder of Cæsar, though the plotters were too wary to trust the orator with their design. Some other poets knew the art of speaking well; but Virgil, beyond this, knew the admirable secret, of being eloquently silent. Whatsoever was most curious in Fabius Pictor, Cato the elder, Varro, in the Egyptian antiquities, in the form of sacrifice, in the solemnities of making peace and war, is preserved in this poem. Rome is still above ground, and flourishing in Virgil. And all this he performs with admirable brevity. The "Æneïs" was once near twenty times bigger than he left it; so that he spent as much time in blotting out, as some moderns have done in writing whole volumes. But not one book has his finishing strokes. The sixth seems one of the most perfect, the which, after long entreaty, and sometimes threats, of Augustus, he was at last prevailed upon to recite. This fell out about four years before his own death: that of Marcellus, whom Cæsar designed for his successor, happened a little before this recital: Virgil therefore, with his usual dexterity, inserted his funeral panegyric in those admirable lines, beginning,

_O nate, ingentem luctum ne quære tuorum, &c._

His mother, the excellent Octavia, the best wife of the worst husband that ever was, to divert her grief, would be of the auditory. The poet artificially deferred the naming Marcellus, till their passions were raised to the highest; but the mention of it put both her and Augustus into such a passion of weeping, that they commanded him to proceed no further. Virgil answered, that he had already ended that passage. Some relate, that Octavia fainted away; but afterwards she presented the poet with two thousand one hundred pounds, odd money: a round sum for twenty-seven verses; but they were Virgil's. Another writer says, that, with a royal magnificence, she ordered him massy plate, unweighed, to a great value.

And now he took up a resolution of travelling into Greece, there to set the last hand to this work; proposing to devote the rest of his life to philosophy, which had been always his principal passion. He justly thought it a foolish figure for a grave man to be overtaken by death, whilst he was weighing the cadence of words, and measuring verses, unless necessity should constrain it, from which he was well secured by the liberality of that learned age. But he was not aware, that, whilst he allotted three years for the revising of his poem, he drew bills upon a failing bank: for, unhappily meeting Augustus at Athens, he thought himself obliged to wait upon him into Italy; but, being desirous to see all he could of the Greek antiquities, he fell into a languishing distemper at Megara. This, neglected at first, proved mortal. The agitation of the vessel (for it was now autumn, near the time of his birth,) brought him so low, that he could hardly reach Brindisi. In his sickness, he frequently, and with great importunity, called for his scrutoir, that he might burn his "Æneïs:" but, Augustus interposing by his royal authority, he made his last will, (of which something shall be said afterwards;) and, considering probably how much Homer had been disfigured by the arbitrary compilers of his works, obliged Tucca and Varius to add nothing, nor so much as fill up the breaks he left in his poem. He ordered that his bones should be carried to Naples, in which place he had passed the most agreeable part of his life. Augustus, not only as executor and friend, but according to the duty of the _Pontifex Maximus_, when a funeral happened in his family, took care himself to see the will punctually executed. He went out of the world with all that calmness of mind with which the ancient writer of his life says he came into it; making the inscription of his monument himself; for he began and ended his poetical compositions with an epitaph. And this he made, exactly according to the law of his master Plato on such occasions, without the least ostentation:

I sung flocks, tillage, heroes; Mantua gave Me life, Brundusium death, Naples a grave.





He was of a very swarthy complexion, which might proceed from the southern extraction of his father; tall and wide-shouldered, so that he may be thought to have described himself under the character of Musæus, whom he calls the best of poets--

----_Medium nam plurima turba Hunc habet, atque humeris extantem suspicit altis._

His sickliness, studies, and the troubles he met with, turned his hair gray before the usual time. He had a hesitation in his speech, as many other great men; it being rarely found that a very fluent elocution, and depth of judgment, meet in the same person: his aspect and behaviour rustic and ungraceful; and this defect was not likely to be rectified in the place where he first lived, nor afterwards, because the weakness of his stomach would not permit him to use his exercises. He was frequently troubled with the head-ach, and spitting of blood; spare of diet, and hardly drank any wine. Bashful to a fault; and, when people crowded to see him, he would slip into the next shop, or by-passage, to avoid them. As this character could not recommend him to the fair sex, he seems to have as little consideration for them as Euripides himself. There is hardly the character of one good woman to be found in his poems: he uses the word _mulier_ but once in the whole "Æneïs," then too by way of contempt, rendering literally a piece of a verse out of Homer. In his "Pastorals," he is full of invectives against love: in the "Georgics," he appropriates all the rage of it to the females. He makes Dido, who never deserved that character, lustful and revengeful to the utmost degree, so as to die devoting her lover to destruction; so changeable, that the Destinies themselves could not fix the time of her death; but Iris, the emblem of inconstancy, must determine it. Her sister is something worse.[278] He is so far from passing such a compliment upon Helen, as the grave old counsellor in Homer does, after nine years' war, when, upon the sight of her, he breaks out into this rapture, in the presence of king Priam:

None can the cause of these long wars despise; The cost bears no proportion to the prize: Majestic charms in every feature shine; Her air, her port, her accent, is divine. However, let the fatal beauty go, &c.

Virgil is so far from this complaisant humour, that his hero falls into an unmanly and ill-timed deliberation, whether he should not kill her in a church;[279] which directly contradicts what Deiphobus says of her, Æneid vi., in that place where every body tells the truth. He transfers the dogged silence of Ajax's ghost to that of Dido; though that be no very natural character to an injured lover, or a woman. He brings in the Trojan matrons setting their own fleet on fire, and running afterwards, like witches on their _sabbat_, into the woods. He bestows indeed some ornaments on the character of Camilla; but soon abates his favour, by calling her _aspera_ and _horrenda virgo_: he places her in the front of the line for an ill omen of the battle, as one of the ancients has observed. We may observe, on this occasion, it is an art peculiar to Virgil, to intimate the event by some preceding accident. He hardly ever describes the rising of the sun, but with some circumstance which fore-signifies the fortune of the day. For instance, when Æneas leaves Africa and Queen Dido, he thus describes the fatal morning:

_Tithoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile._

[And, for the remark, we stand indebted to the curious pencil of Pollio.] The Mourning Fields (Æneid vi.) are crowded with ladies of a lost reputation: hardly one man gets admittance; and that is Cæneus, for a very good reason. Latinus's queen is turbulent and ungovernable, and at last hangs herself: and the fair Lavinia is disobedient to the oracle, and to the king, and looks a little flickering after Turnus. I wonder at this the more, because Livy represents her as an excellent person, and who behaved herself with great wisdom in her regency during the minority of her son; so that the poet has done her wrong, and it reflects on her posterity. His goddesses make as ill a figure: Juno is always in a rage, and the Fury of heaven; Venus grows so unreasonably confident, as to ask her husband to forge arms for her bastard son, which were enough to provoke one of a more phlegmatic temper than Vulcan was. Notwithstanding all this raillery of Virgil's, he was certainly of a very amorous disposition, and has described all that is most delicate in the passion of love: but he conquered his natural inclination by the help of philosophy, and refined it into friendship, to which he was extremely sensible. The reader will admit of or reject the following conjecture, with the free leave of the writer, who will be equally pleased either way. Virgil had too great an opinion of the influence of the heavenly bodies: and, as an ancient writer says, he was born under the sign of Virgo; with which nativity he much pleased himself, and would exemplify her virtues in his life. Perhaps it was thence that he took his name of _Virgil_ and _Parthenias_, which does not necessarily signify _base-born_. Donatus and Servius, very good grammarians, give a quite contrary sense of it. He seems to make allusion to this original of his name in that passage,

_Illo Virgilium me tempore dulcis alebat Parthenope._

And this may serve to illustrate his compliment to Cæsar, in which he invites him into his own constellation,

Where, in the void of heaven, a place is free, Betwixt the Scorpion and the maid, for thee--

thus placing him betwixt Justice and Power, and in a neighbour mansion to his own; for Virgil supposed souls to ascend again to their proper and congenial stars. Being therefore of this humour, it is no wonder that he refused the embraces of the beautiful Plotia, when his indiscreet friend almost threw her into his arms.

But however he stood affected to the ladies, there is a dreadful accusation brought against him for the most unnatural of all vices, which, by the malignity of human nature, has found more credit in latter times than it did near his own. This took not its rise so much from the "Alexis," in which pastoral there is not one immodest word, as from a sort of ill-nature, that will not let any one be without the imputation of some vice; and principally because he was so strict a follower of Socrates and Plato. In order, therefore, to his vindication, I shall take the matter a little higher.

The Cretans were anciently much addicted to navigation, insomuch that it became a Greek proverb, (though omitted, I think, by the industrious Erasmus,) a _Cretan that does not know the sea_. Their neighbourhood gave them occasion of frequent commerce with the Phoenicians, that accursed people, who infected the western world with endless superstitions, and gross immoralities. From them it is probable that the Cretans learned this infamous passion, to which they were so much addicted, that Cicero remarks, in his book "_De Rep._" that it was "a disgrace for a young gentleman to be without lovers." Socrates, who was a great admirer of the Cretan constitutions, set his excellent wit to find out some good cause and use of this evil inclination, and therefore gives an account, wherefore beauty is to be loved, in the following passage; for I will not trouble the reader, weary perhaps already, with a long Greek quotation. "There is but one eternal, immutable, uniform beauty; in contemplation of which, our sovereign happiness does consist: and therefore a true lover considers beauty and proportion as so many steps and degrees, by which he may ascend from the particular to the general, from all that is lovely of feature, or regular in proportion, or charming in sound, to the general fountain of all perfection. And if you are so much transported with the sight of beautiful persons, as to wish neither to eat nor drink, but pass your whole life in their conversation; to what ecstasy would it raise you to behold the original beauty, not filled up with flesh and blood, or varnished with a fading mixture of colours, and the rest of mortal trifles and fooleries, but separate, unmixed, uniform, and divine," &c. Thus far Socrates, in a strain much beyond the "_Socrate Chrétien_" of Mr Balzac: and thus that admirable man loved his Phædon, his Charmides, and Theætetus; and thus Virgil loved his Alexander and Cebes, under the feigned name of Alexis: he received them illiterate, but returned them to their masters, the one a good poet, and the other an excellent grammarian. And, to prevent all possible misinterpretations, he warily inserted, into the liveliest episode in the whole "Æneïs," these words,

_Nisus amore pio pueri_----

and, in the sixth, "_Quique pii vates_." He seems fond of the words, _castus_, _pius_, _virgo_, and the compounds of it: and sometimes stretches the use of that word further than one would think he reasonably should have done, as when he attributes it to Pasiphaë herself.

Another vice he is taxed with, is avarice, because he died rich; and so indeed he did, in comparison of modern wealth. His estate amounts to near seventy-five thousand pounds of our money: but Donatus does not take notice of this as a thing extraordinary; nor was it esteemed so great a matter, when the cash of a great part of the world lay at Rome. Antony himself bestowed at once two thousand acres of land, in one of the best provinces of Italy, upon a ridiculous scribbler, who is named by Cicero and Virgil. A late cardinal used to purchase ill flattery at the expence of a hundred thousand crowns a year. But, besides Virgil's other benefactors, he was much in favour with Augustus, whose bounty to him had no limits, but such as the modesty of Virgil prescribed to it. Before he had made his own fortune, he settled his estate upon his parents and brothers; sent them yearly large sums, so that they lived in great plenty and respect; and, at his death, divided his estate betwixt duty and gratitude, leaving one half to his relations, and the other to Mæcenas, to Tucca, and Varius, and a considerable legacy to Augustus, who had introduced a politic fashion of being in every body's will; which alone was a fair revenue for a prince. Virgil shows his detestation of this vice, by placing in the front of the damned those who did not relieve their relations and friends; for the Romans hardly ever extended their liberality further; and therefore I do not remember to have met, in all the Latin poets, one character so noble as that short one in Homer:

#----Philos d' ên anthrôpoisi; Pantas gar phileesken.#

On the other hand, he gives a very advanced place in Elysium to good patriots, &c. observing, in all his poem, that rule so sacred among the Romans, "That there should be no art allowed, which did not tend to the improvement of the people in virtue." And this was the principle too of our excellent Mr Waller, who used to say, that he would raze any line out of his poems, which did not imply some motive to virtue: but he was unhappy in the choice of the subject of his admirable vein in poetry. The Countess of Carlisle was the Helen of her country. There is nothing in Pagan philosophy more true, more just, and regular, than Virgil's ethics; and it is hardly possible to sit down to the serious perusal of his works, but a man shall rise more disposed to virtue and goodness, as well as most agreeably entertained; the contrary to which disposition may happen sometimes upon the reading of Ovid, of Martial, and several other second-rate poets. But of the craft and tricking part of life, with which Homer abounds, there is nothing to be found in Virgil; and therefore Plato, who gives the former so many good words, perfumes, crowns, but at last complimentally banishes him his commonwealth, would have entreated Virgil to stay with him, (if they had lived in the same age,) and entrusted him with some important charge in his government. Thus was his life as chaste as his style; and those who can critic his poetry, can never find a blemish in his manners; and one would rather wish to have that purity of mind, which the satirist himself attributes to him; that friendly disposition, and evenness of temper, and patience, which he was master of in so eminent a degree, than to have the honour of being author of the "Æneïs," or even of the "Georgics" themselves.

Having therefore so little relish for the usual amusements of the world, he prosecuted his studies without any considerable interruption, during the whole course of his life, which one may reasonably conjecture to have been something longer than fifty-two years; and therefore it is no wonder that he became the most general scholar that Rome ever bred, unless some one should except Varro. Besides the exact knowledge of rural affairs, he understood medicine, to which profession he was designed by his parents. A curious florist; on which subject one would wish he had writ, as he once intended: so profound a naturalist, that he has solved more phenomena of nature upon sound principles, than Aristotle in his Physics: he studied geometry, the most opposite of all sciences to a poetic genius, and beauties of a lively imagination; but this promoted the order of his narrations, his propriety of language, and clearness of expression, for which he was justly called the _pillar of the Latin tongue_. This geometrical spirit was the cause, that, to fill up a verse, he would not insert one superfluous word; and therefore deserves that character which a noble and judicious writer has given him, "That he never says too little, nor too much."[280] Nor could any one ever fill up the verses he left imperfect. There is one supplied near the beginning of the First Book. Virgil left the verse thus,

----_Hic illius arma, Hic currus fuit_----

the rest is none of his.

He was so good a geographer, that he has not only left us the finest description of Italy that ever was, but, besides, was one of the few ancients who knew the true system of the earth, its being inhabited round about, under the torrid zone, and near the poles. Metrodorus, in his five books of the "Zones," justifies him from some exceptions made against him by astronomers. His rhetoric was in such general esteem, that lectures were read upon it in the reign of Tiberius, and the subject of declamations taken out of him. Pollio himself, and many other ancients, commented him. His esteem degenerated into a kind of superstition. The known story of Mr Cowley is an instance of it[281]. But the _sortes Virgilianæ_ were condemned by St Austin, and other casuists. Abienus, by an odd design, put all Virgil and Livy into iambic verse; and the pictures of those two were hung in the most honourable place of public libraries; and the design of taking them down, and destroying Virgil's works, was looked upon as one of the most extravagant amongst the many brutish phrenzies of Caligula.


[270] Knightly Chetwood, whom Dryden elsewhere terms "learned and every way excellent," (Vol. XIV. p. 49.) contributed to the Second Book of the Georgics those lines which contain the praises of Italy. Knightly Chetwood was born in 1652. He was a particular friend of Roscommon, and, being of Tory principles, he obtained high preferment in the church, and was nominated to the see of Bristol; but the Revolution prevented his instalment. In April 1707 he was made Dean of Gloucester, and died 11th. April, 1720.

The Life of Virgil has usually been ascribed to William Walsh, whose merits as a minor poet are now forgotten, but who still lives in the grateful strains of Pope, whose juvenile essays he encouraged, as well as in the encomium of Dryden, whom he patronised in age and adversity. I have left his name in possession of the Essay on the Pastorals, although it also was probably written by Dr Chetwood. See MALONE, Vol. III. p. 549.

[271] There is great justice in this observation. The prevalence of a system, founded in egotism and self-indulgence, which teaches, that pleasure was the greatest good, and pain the most intolerable evil, as surely indicates the downfal of the state, as the decay of morality.

[272] See _Suetonius_, Life of Octavius, chap. 94.

[273] Walsh might have found an hundred poets of his own time, who would have expressed themselves as warmly as Horace on a similar occasion. Our Dryden, for example:

Tell good Barzillai, thou canst sing no more; And tell thy soul, she should have fled before.

But neither Horace nor Dryden expected to die a day the sooner for these ardent expressions; and, in extolling the gratitude of the ancients at the expence of the moderns, Walsh only gives another instance of the cant which distinguishes his compositions.

[274] An affected Gallicism, for proud of the services.

[275] Certainly there was no age in Britain, where, if a prince chose to hear an author read his works, and his lungs happened to fail him, the favourite, if present, and capable, would not have been happy to have continued the recitation. This is one of those hackneyed compliments to the manners of antiquity, which are often paid without the least foundation.

[276] Walsh seems to have been but a slender historian. Oliver's council well knew his private wishes, but were determined to counteract them.

[277] Many of these resemblances, and particularly the last, seem extremely fanciful. The same may be said of most of those which follow; but this comes of seeing too far into a mill-stone.

[278] All this charge is greatly overstrained. The critic, in censuring poor Dido and her sister, totally forgets their very reasonable ground of provocation.

[279] The critic should have considered, that Troy was not actually blazing when the old counsellor pronounced his panegyric upon Helen's beauty.

[280] "Essay on Poetry," by Sheffield, Marquis of Normanby, originally Earl of Mulgrave, and afterwards Duke of Buckingham.

[281] The _sortes Virgilianæ_ were a sort of augury, drawn by dipping at random into the volume, and applying the line to which chance directed the finger, as an answer to the doubt propounded. Cowley seems to have been a firm believer in this kind of sooth-saying. When at Paris, and secretary to Lord Jermin, he writes to Bennet his opinion concerning the probability of concluding a treaty with the Scottish nation; and adds, "And, to tell you the truth, which I take to be an argument above all the rest, Virgil has told the same thing to that purpose." There is a story, that Charles I. and Lord Faulkland tried this sort of divination at Oxford concerning the issue of the civil war, and that the former lighted upon this ominous response:

----_Jacet ingens littore truncus, Avulsumque humeris caput, et sine nomine truncus._

Lord Faulkland drew an answer equally prophetic of his fate.

These follies seem to have been founded upon the vulgar idea still current at Naples, that Virgil was a magician. Gervas of Tilbury was an early propagator of this scandal, which was current during the middle ages, so that Naudæus thinks it necessary to apologize for Virgil, among other great men accused of necromancy. These legends formed the contents of a popular romance.








I have found it not more difficult to translate Virgil, than to find such patrons as I desire for my translation. For, though England is not wanting in a learned nobility, yet such are my unhappy circumstances, that they have confined me to a narrow choice.[283] To the greater part I have not the honour to be known; and to some of them I cannot show at present, by any public act, that grateful respect which I shall ever bear them in my heart. Yet I have no reason to complain of fortune, since, in the midst of that abundance, I could not possibly have chosen better, than the worthy son of so illustrious a father. He was the patron of my manhood, when I flourished in the opinion of the world; though with small advantage to my fortune, till he awakened the remembrance of my royal master. He was that Pollio, or that Varus,[284] who introduced me to Augustus: and, though he soon dismissed himself from state affairs, yet, in the short time of his administration, he shone so powerfully upon me, that, like the heat of a Russian summer, he ripened the fruits of poetry in a cold climate, and gave me wherewithal to subsist, at least, in the long winter which succeeded. What I now offer to your lordship, is the wretched remainder of a sickly age, worn out with study, and oppressed by fortune; without other support than the constancy and patience of a Christian. You, my lord, are yet in the flower of your youth, and may live to enjoy the benefits of the peace which is promised Europe: I can only hear of that blessing; for years, and, above all things, want of health, have shut me out from sharing in the happiness. The poets, who condemn their Tantalus to hell, had added to his torments, if they had placed him in Elysium, which is the proper emblem of my condition. The fruit and the water may reach my lips, but cannot enter; and, if they could, yet I want a palate as well as a digestion. But it is some kind of pleasure to me, to please those whom I respect; and I am not altogether out of hope, that these Pastorals of Virgil may give your lordship some delight, though made English by one who scarce remembers that passion which inspired my author when he wrote them. These were his first essay in poetry, if the "Ceiris"[285] was not his: and it was more excusable in him to describe love when he was young, than for me to translate him when I am old. He died at the age of fifty-two; and I began this work in my great climacteric. But, having perhaps a better constitution than my author, I have wronged him less, considering my circumstances, than those who have attempted him before, either in our own, or any modern language. And, though this version is not void of errors, yet it comforts me, that the faults of others are not worth finding. Mine are neither gross nor frequent in those Eclogues, wherein my master has raised himself above that humble style in which pastoral delights, and which, I must confess, is proper to the education and converse of shepherds: for he found the strength of his genius betimes, and was, even in his youth, preluding to his "Georgics" and his "Æneïs." He could not forbear to try his wings, though his pinions were not hardened to maintain a long laborious flight; yet sometimes they bore him to a pitch as lofty as ever he was able to reach afterwards. But, when he was admonished by his subject to descend, he came down gently, circling in the air, and singing, to the ground; like a lark, melodious in her mounting, and continuing her song till she alights, still preparing for a higher flight at her next sally, and tuning her voice to better music. The fourth, the sixth, and the eighth Pastorals, are clear evidences of this truth. In the three first, he contains himself within his bounds: but, addressing to Pollio, his great patron, and himself no vulgar poet, he no longer could restrain the freedom of his spirit, but began to assert his native character, which is sublimity--putting himself under the conduct of the same Cumæan Sibyl, whom afterwards he gave for a guide to his Æneas. It is true, he was sensible of his own boldness; and we know it by the _paulo majora_, which begins his fourth Eclogue. He remembered, like young Manlius, that he was forbidden to engage; but what avails an express command to a youthful courage, which presages victory in the attempt?[286] Encouraged with success, he proceeds farther in the sixth, and invades the province of philosophy. And, notwithstanding that Phoebus had forewarned him of singing wars, as he there confesses, yet he presumed, that the search of nature was as free to him as to Lucretius, who, at his age, explained it according to the principles of Epicurus. In his eighth Eclogue, he has innovated nothing; the former part of it being the complaint and despair of a forsaken lover; the latter, a charm of an enchantress, to renew a lost affection. But the complaint perhaps contains some topics which are above the condition of his persons; and our author seems to have made his herdsmen somewhat too learned for their profession: the charms are also of the same nature; but both were copied from Theocritus, and had received the applause of former ages in their original.

There is a kind of rusticity in all those pompous verses; somewhat of a holiday shepherd strutting in his country buskins. The like may be observed both in the "Pollio" and the "Silenus," where the similitudes are drawn from the woods and meadows. They seem to me to represent our poet betwixt a farmer and a courtier, when he left Mantua for Rome, and drest himself in his best habit to appear before his patron, somewhat too fine for the place from whence he came, and yet retaining part of its simplicity. In the ninth Pastoral, he collects some beautiful passages, which were scattered in Theocritus, which he could not insert into any of his former Eclogues, and yet was unwilling they should be lost. In all the rest, he is equal to his Sicilian master, and observes, like him, a just decorum both of the subject and the persons; as particularly in the third Pastoral, where one of his shepherds describes a bowl, or mazer, curiously carved:

_In medio duo signa: Conon, et quis fuit alter, Descripsit radio, totum qui gentibus orbem?_

He remembers only the name of Conon, and forgets the other on set purpose. Whether he means Anaximander, or Eudoxus, I dispute not; but he was certainly forgotten, to show his country swain was no great scholar.

After all, I must confess, that the boorish dialect of Theocritus has a secret charm in it, which the Roman language cannot imitate, though Virgil has drawn it down as low as possibly he could; as in the _cujum pecus_, and some other words, for which he was so unjustly blamed by the bad critics of his age, who could not see the beauties of that _merum rus_, which the poet described in those expressions. But Theocritus may justly be preferred as the original, without injury to Virgil, who modestly contents himself with the second place, and glories only in being the first who transplanted pastoral into his own country, and brought it there to bear as happily as the cherry-trees which Lucullus brought from Pontus.

Our own nation has produced a third poet in this kind, not inferior to the two former: for the "Shepherd's Kalendar" of Spenser is not to be matched in any modern language, not even by Tasso's "Aminta," which infinitely transcends Guarini's "Pastor Fido," as having more of nature in it, and being almost wholly clear from the wretched affectation of learning. I will say nothing of the "Piscatory Eclogues," because no modern Latin can bear criticism.[287] It is no wonder, that, rolling down, through so many barbarous ages, from the spring of Virgil, it bears along with it the filth and ordures of the Goths and Vandals. Neither will I mention Monsieur Fontenelle, the living glory of the French. It is enough for him to have excelled his master Lucian, without attempting to compare our miserable age with that of Virgil, or Theocritus. Let me only add, for his reputation,

----_Si Pergama dextrâ Defendi possint, etiam hâc defensa fuissent._

But Spenser, being master of our northern dialect, and skilled in Chaucer's English, has so exactly imitated the Doric of Theocritus, that his love is a perfect image of that passion which God infused into both sexes, before it was corrupted with the knowledge of arts, and the ceremonies of what we call good manners.

My lord, I know to whom I dedicate; and could not have been induced, by any motive, to put this part of Virgil, or any other, into unlearned hands. You have read him with pleasure, and, I dare say, with admiration, in the Latin, of which you are a master. You have added to your natural endowments, which, without flattery, are eminent, the superstructures of study, and the knowledge of good authors. Courage, probity, and humanity, are inherent in you. These virtues have ever been habitual to the ancient house of Cumberland, from whence you are descended, and of which our chronicles make so honourable mention in the long wars betwixt the rival families of York and Lancaster. Your forefathers have asserted the party which they chose till death, and died for its defence in the fields of battle. You have, besides, the fresh remembrance of your noble father, from whom you never can degenerate:

----_Nec imbellem feroces Progenerant aquilæ columbam._

It being almost morally impossible for you to be other than you are by kind, I need neither praise nor incite your virtue. You are acquainted with the Roman history, and know, without my information, that patronage and clientship always descended from the fathers to the sons, and that the same plebeian houses had recourse to the same patrician line which had formerly protected them, and followed their principles and fortunes to the last. So that I am your lordship's by descent, and part of your inheritance. And the natural inclination which I have to serve you, adds to your paternal right; for I was wholly yours from the first moment when I had the happiness and honour of being known to you. Be pleased therefore to accept the rudiments of Virgil's poetry, coarsely translated, I confess, but which yet retain some beauties of the author, which neither the barbarity of our language, nor my unskilfulness, could so much sully, but that they appear sometimes in the dim mirror which I hold before you. The subject is not unsuitable to your youth, which allows you yet to love, and is proper to your present scene of life. Rural recreations abroad, and books at home, are the innocent pleasures of a man who is early wise, and gives Fortune no more hold of him, than of necessity he must. It is good, on some occasions, to think before-hand as little as we can; to enjoy as much of the present as will not endanger our futurity; and to provide ourselves of the virtuoso's saddle, which will be sure to amble, when the world is upon the hardest trot. What I humbly offer to your lordship, is of this nature. I wish it pleasant, and am sure it is innocent. May you ever continue your esteem for Virgil, and not lessen it for the faults of his translator; who is, with all manner of respect and sense of gratitude,

My Lord, Your Lordship's Most humble and Most obedient servant, JOHN DRYDEN.


[282] This was the son of Lord Treasurer Clifford, a member of the Cabal administration, to whom our author dedicated "Amboyna." See Vol. V. p. 5. Hugh, Lord Clifford, died in 1730.

[283] Dryden alludes to his religion and politics. I presume, Hugh, Lord Clifford, was a Catholic, like his father, and entertained the hereditary attachment to the line of Stuart; thus falling within the narrow choice to which Dryden was limited.

[284] The well-known patrons of Virgil. It is disputed, which had the honour to present him to the emperor.

[285] One of the _Juvenilia_, or early poems, ascribed to Virgil.

[286] Manlius, contrary to the general orders of his father, Manlius Torquatus, engaged and slew the general of the Latins: his father caused his head to be struck off for disobedience.

[287] The author alludes to the Piscatoria of Sannazarius. They were published, with some other pieces of modern Latin poetry, by Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, in 1684. I do not pretend to judge of the purity of the style of Sannazarius, but surely the poetry is often beautiful. I doubt if Dryden was acquainted with the poems of Phineas Fletcher, whom honest Isaac Walton calls, "an excellent divine, and an excellent angler, and the author of excellent Piscatory Eclogues." They contain many passages fully equal to Spenser.











As the writings of greatest antiquity are in verse, so, of all sorts of poetry, pastorals seem the most ancient; being formed upon the model of the first innocence and simplicity, which the moderns, better to dispense themselves from imitating, have wisely thought fit to treat as fabulous, and impracticable. And yet they, by obeying the unsophisticated dictates of nature, enjoyed the most valuable blessings of life; a vigorous health of body, with a constant serenity and freedom of mind; whilst we, with all our fanciful refinements, can scarcely pass an autumn without some access of a fever, or a whole day, not ruffled by some unquiet passion. He was not then looked upon as a very old man, who reached to a greater number of years, than in these times an ancient family can reasonably pretend to; and we know the names of several, who saw and practised the world for a longer space of time, than we can read the account of in any one entire body of history. In short, they invented the most useful arts, pasturage, tillage, geometry, writing, music, astronomy, &c. whilst the moderns, like extravagant heirs made rich by their industry, ungratefully deride the good old gentleman who left them the estate. It is not therefore to be wondered at, that pastorals are fallen into disesteem, together with that fashion of life, upon which they were grounded. And methinks I see the reader already uneasy at this part of Virgil, counting the pages, and posting to the "Æneïs:" so delightful an entertainment is the very relation of public mischief and slaughter now become to mankind. And yet Virgil passed a much different judgment on his own works: he valued most this part, and his "Georgics," and depended upon them for his reputation with posterity; but censures himself in one of his letters to Augustus, for meddling with heroics, the invention of a degenerating age. This is the reason that the rules of pastoral are so little known, or studied. Aristotle, Horace, and the Essay of Poetry, take no notice of it; and Monsieur Boileau, one of the most accurate of the moderns, because he never loses the ancients out of his sight, bestows scarce half a page on it.

It is the design therefore of the few following pages, to clear this sort of writing from vulgar prejudices; to vindicate our author from some unjust imputations; to look into some of the rules of this sort of poetry, and enquire what sort of versification is most proper for it; in which point we are so much inferior to the ancients, that this consideration alone were enough to make some writers think as they ought, that is meanly, of their own performances.

As all sorts of poetry consist in imitation, pastoral is the _imitation of a Shepherd, considered under that character_. It is requisite therefore to be a little informed of the condition and qualification of these shepherds.

One of the ancients has observed truly, but satirically enough, that, "Mankind is the measure of every thing." And thus, by a gradual improvement of this mistake, we come to make our own age and country the rule and standard of others, and ourselves at last the measure of them all. We figure the ancient countrymen like our own, leading a painful life in poverty and contempt, without wit, or courage, or education. But men had quite different notions of these things, for the first four thousand years of the world. Health and strength were then in more esteem than the refinements of pleasure; and it was accounted a great deal more honourable to till the ground, or keep a flock of sheep, than to dissolve in wantonness and effeminating sloth.[288] Hunting has now an idea of quality joined to it, and is become the most important business in the life of a gentleman; anciently it was quite otherways.[289] Mr Fleury has severely remarked, that this extravagant passion for hunting is a strong proof of our Gothic extraction, and shews an affinity of humour with the savage Americans. The barbarous Franks and other Germans, (having neither corn nor wine of their own growth,) when they passed the Rhine, and possessed themselves of countries better cultivated, left the tillage of the land to the old proprietors; and afterwards continued to hazard their lives as freely for their diversion, as they had done before for their necessary subsistence. The English gave this usage the sacred stamp of fashion; and from hence it is that most of our terms of hunting are French.[290] The reader will, I hope, give me his pardon for my freedom on this subject, since an ill accident, occasioned by hunting, has kept England in pain, these several months together, for one of the best and greatest peers[291] which she has bred for some ages; no less illustrious for civil virtues and learning, than his ancestors were for all their victories in France.

But there are some prints still left of the ancient esteem for husbandry, and their plain fashion of life, in many of our surnames, and in the escutcheons of the most ancient families, even those of the greatest kings, the roses, the lilies, the thistle, &c. It is generally known, that one of the principal causes of the deposing of Mahomet the Fourth, was, that he would not allot part of the day to some manual labour, according to the law of Mahomet, and ancient practice of his predecessors. He that reflects on this, will be the less surprised to find that Charlemagne, eight hundred years ago, ordered his children to be instructed in some profession; and, eight hundred years yet higher, that Augustus wore no clothes but such as were made by the hands of the empress and her daughters; and Olympias did the same for Alexander the Great. Nor will he wonder, that the Romans, in great exigency, sent for their dictator from the plough, whose whole estate was but of four acres; too little a spot now for the orchard, or kitchen-garden, of a private gentleman. It is commonly known, that the founders of three the most renowned monarchies in the world were shepherds; and the subject of husbandry has been adorned by the writings and labour of more than twenty kings. It ought not therefore to be matter of surprise to a modern writer, that kings, the shepherds of the people in Homer, laid down their first rudiments in tending their mute subjects; nor that the wealth of Ulysses consisted in flocks and herds, the intendants over which were then in equal esteem with officers of state in latter times. And therefore Eumæus is called #dios hyphorbos# in Homer; not so much because Homer was a lover of a country life, to which he rather seems averse, but by reason of the dignity and greatness of his trust, and because he was the son of a king, stolen away, and sold by the Phoenician pirates; which the ingenious Mr Cowley seems not to have taken notice of. Nor will it seem strange, that the master of the horse to king Latinus, in the ninth Æneïd, was found in the homely employment of cleaving blocks, when news of the first skirmish betwixt the Trojans and Latins was brought to him.

Being therefore of such quality, they cannot be supposed so very ignorant and unpolished: the learning and good-breeding of the world was then in the hands of such people. He who was chosen by the consent of all parties to arbitrate so delicate an affair as, which was the fairest of the three celebrated beauties of heaven--he who had the address to debauch away Helen from her husband, her native country, and from a crown--understood what the French call by the too soft name of _galanterie_; he had accomplishments enough, how ill use soever he made of them. It seems, therefore, that M. Fontenelle had not duly considered the matter, when he reflected so severely upon Virgil, as if he had not observed the laws of decency in his Pastorals, in making shepherds speak to things beside their character, and above their capacity. He stands amazed, that shepherds should thunder out, as he expresses himself, the formation of the world, and that too according to the system of Epicurus. "In truth," says he, page 176, "I cannot tell what to make of this whole piece, (the sixth Pastoral.) I can neither comprehend the design of the author, nor the connection of the parts. First come the ideas of philosophy, and presently after those incoherent fables, &c." To expose him yet more, he subjoins, "It is Silenus himself who makes all this absurd discourse. Virgil says indeed, that he had drank too much the day before; perhaps the debauch hung in his head when he composed this poem," &c. Thus far M. Fontenelle, who, to the disgrace of reason, as himself ingenuously owns, first built his house, and then studied architecture; I mean, first composed his Eclogues, and then studied the rules. In answer to this, we may observe, first, that this very pastoral which he singles out to triumph over, was recited by a famous player on the Roman theatre, with marvellous applause; insomuch that Cicero, who had heard part of it only, ordered the whole to be rehearsed, and, struck with admiration of it, conferred then upon Virgil the glorious title of

_Magnæ spes altera Romæ._

Nor is it old Donatus only who relates this; we have the same account from another very credible and ancient author; so that here we have the judgment of Cicero, and the people of Rome, to confront the single opinion of this adventurous critic. A man ought to be well assured of his own abilities, before he attacks an author of established reputation. If Mr Fontenelle had perused the fragments of the Phoenician antiquity, traced the progress of learning through the ancient Greek writers, or so much as consulted his learned countryman Huetius, he would have found, (which falls out unluckily for him,) that a Chaldæan shepherd discovered to the Egyptians and Greeks the creation of the world. And what subject more fit for such a pastoral, than that great affair which was first notified to the world by one of that profession? Nor does it appear, (what he takes for granted,) that Virgil describes the original of the world according to the hypothesis of Epicurus. He was too well seen in antiquity to commit such a gross mistake; there is not the least mention of _chance_ in that whole passage, nor of the _clinamen principiorum_, so peculiar to Epicurus's hypothesis. Virgil had not only more piety, but was of too nice a judgment to introduce a god denying the power and providence of the Deity, and singing a hymn to the atoms and blind chance. On the contrary, his description agrees very well with that of Moses; and the eloquent commentator Dacier, who is so confident that Horace had perused the sacred history, might with greater reason have affirmed the same thing of Virgil; for, besides that famous passage in the sixth Æneïd, (by which this may be illustrated,) where the word _principio_ is used in the front of both by Moses and Virgil, and the seas are first mentioned, and the _spiritus intus alit_, which might not improbably, as M. Dacier would suggest, allude to the "_Spirit moving upon the face of the waters_;" but, omitting this parallel place, the successive formation of the world is evidently described in these words,

_Rerum paulatim sumere formas_:

And it is hardly possible to render more literally that verse of Moses, "_Let the waters be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear_," than in this of Virgil,

_Jam durare solum, et discludere Nerea ponto._

After this, the formation of the sun is described, (exactly in the Mosaical order,) and, next, the production of the first living creatures, and that too in a small number, (still in the same method,)

_Rara per ignotos errent animalia montes._

And here the foresaid author would probably remark, that Virgil keeps more exactly to the Mosaic system, than an ingenious writer, who will by no means allow mountains to be coeval with the world. Thus much will make it probable at least, that Virgil had Moses in his thoughts rather than Epicurus, when he composed this poem. But it is further remarkable, that this passage was taken from a song attributed to Apollo, who himself, too, unluckily had been a shepherd; and he took it from another yet more ancient, composed by the first inventor of music, and at that time a shepherd too; and this is one of the noblest fragments of Greek antiquity. And, because I cannot suppose the ingenious M. Fontenelle one of their number, who pretend to censure the Greeks, without being able to distinguish Greek from Ephesian characters, I shall here set down the lines from which Virgil took this passage, though none of the commentators have observed it:

#----eratê d' hoi hespeto phônê, Krainôn athanatous te theous, kai gaian eremnên, Hôs ta prôta genonto, kai hôs lache moiran hekastos#, &c.

Thus Linus too began his poem, as appears by a fragment of it preserved by Diogenes Laertius; and the like may be instanced in Musæus himself; so that our poet here, with great judgment, as always, follows the ancient custom of beginning their more solemn songs with the creation, and does it too most properly under the person of a shepherd. And thus the first and best employment of poetry was, to compose hymns in honour of the great Creator of the universe.

Few words will suffice to answer his other objections. He demands why those several transformations are mentioned in that poem:--And is not fable then the life and soul of poetry? Can himself assign a more proper subject of pastoral than the _Saturnia regna_, the age and scene of this kind of poetry? What theme more fit for the song of a god, or to imprint religious awe, than the omnipotent power of transforming the species of creatures at their pleasure? Their families lived in groves, near the clear springs; and what better warning could be given to the hopeful young shepherds, than that they should not gaze too much into the liquid dangerous looking-glass, for fear of being stolen by the water-nymphs, that is, falling and being drowned, as Hylas was? Pasiphaë's monstrous passion for a bull is certainly a subject enough fitted for bucolics. Can M. Fontenelle tax Silenus for fetching too far the transformation of the sisters of Phaëton into trees, when perhaps they sat at that very time under the hospitable shade of those alders and poplars--or the metamorphosis of Philomela into that ravishing bird, which makes the sweetest music of the groves? If he had looked into the ancient Greek writers, or so much as consulted honest Servius, he would have discovered, that, under the allegory of this drunkenness of Silenus, the refinement and exaltation of men's minds by philosophy was intended. But, if the author of these reflections can take such flights in his wine, it is almost pity that drunkenness should be a sin, or that he should ever want good store of burgundy and champaign. But indeed he seems not to have ever drank out of Silenus's tankard, when he composed either his Critique or Pastorals.

His censure on the fourth seems worse grounded than the other. It is entitled, in some ancient manuscripts, the "History of the Renovation of the World." He complains, that he "cannot understand what is meant by those many figurative expressions:" but, if he had consulted the younger Vossius's dissertation on this Pastoral, or read the excellent oration of the emperor Constantine, made French by a good pen of their own, he would have found there the plain interpretation of all those figurative expressions; and, withal, very strong proofs of the truth of the Christian religion; such as converted heathens, as Valerianus, and others. And, upon account of this piece, the most learned of all the Latin fathers calls Virgil a Christian, even before Christianity. Cicero takes notice of it in his books of Divination; and Virgil probably had put it in verse a considerable time before the edition of his Pastorals. Nor does he appropriate it to Pollio, or his son, but complimentally dates it from his consulship; and therefore some one, who had not so kind thoughts of M. Fontenelle as I, would be inclined to think him as bad a Catholic as critic in this place.

But, in respect to some books he has wrote since, I pass by a great part of this, and shall only touch briefly some of the rules of this sort of poem.

The first is, that an air of piety, upon all occasions, should be maintained in the whole poem. This appears in all the ancient Greek writers, as Homer, Hesiod, Aratus, &c. And Virgil is so exact in the observation of it, not only in this work, but in his "Æneïs" too, that a celebrated French writer taxes him for permitting Æneas to do nothing without the assistance of some god. But by this it appears, at least, that M. St Evremont is no Jansenist.

M. Fontenelle seems a little defective in this point: he brings in a pair of shepherdesses disputing very warmly, whether _Victoria_ be a goddess or a woman. Her great condescension and compassion, her affability and goodness, (none of the meanest attributes of the divinity,) pass for convincing arguments, that she could not possibly be a goddess.

_Les Déesses, toûjours fières et méprisantes, Ne rassureroient point les bergères tremblantes Par d'obligeans discours, des souris gracieux. Mais tu l'as vu: cette auguste personne, Qui vient de paroître en ces lieux, Prend soin de rassurer au moment qu'elle étonne; Sa bonté descendant sans peine jusqu' à nous._

In short, she has too many divine perfections to be a deity, and therefore she is a mortal; which was the thing to be proved. It is directly contrary to the practice of all ancient poets, as well as to the rules of decency and religion, to make such odious preferences. I am much surprised, therefore, that he should use such an argument as this:

_Cloris, as-tu vu des déesses Avoir un air si facile et si doux?_

Was not Aurora, and Venus, and Luna, and I know not how many more of the heathen deities, too easy of access to Tithonus, to Anchises, and to Endymion? Is there any thing more sparkish and better-humoured than Venus's accosting her son in the deserts of Libya? or than the behaviour of Pallas to Diomedes, one of the most perfect and admirable pieces of all the Iliads; where she condescends to _raillé_ him so agreeably; and, notwithstanding her severe virtue, and all the ensigns of majesty with which she so terribly adorns herself, condescends to ride with him in his chariot? But the Odysseys are full of greater instances of condescension than this.

This brings to mind that famous passage of Lucan, in which he prefers Cato to all the gods at once:

_Victrix causa diis placuit, sed victa Catoni_--

which Breboeuf has rendered so flatly, and which may be thus paraphrased:

Heaven meanly with the conqueror did comply; But Cato, rather than submit, would die.[292]

It is an unpardonable presumption in any sort of religion, to compliment their princes at the expence of their deities.

But, letting that pass, this whole Eclogue is but a long paraphrase of a trite verse in Virgil, and Homer;

_Nec vox hominem sonat: O Dea certe!_

So true is that remark of the admirable Earl of Roscommon, if applied to the Romans, rather, I fear, than to the English, since his own death:

----one sterling line, Drawn to French wire, would through whole pages shine.

Another rule is, that the characters should represent that ancient innocence, and unpractised plainness, which was then in the world. P. Rapin has gathered many instances of this out of Theocritus and Virgil; and the reader can do it as well as himself. But M. Fontenelle transgressed this rule, when he hid himself in the thicket to listen to the private discourse of the two shepherdesses. This is not only ill breeding at Versailles; the Arcadian shepherdesses themselves would have set their dogs upon one for such an unpardonable piece of rudeness.

A third rule is, that there should be some _ordonnance_, some design, or little plot, which may deserve the title of a pastoral scene. This is everywhere observed by Virgil, and particularly remarkable in the first Eclogue, the standard of all pastorals. A beautiful landscape presents itself to your view; a shepherd, with his flock around him, resting securely under a spreading beech, which furnished the first food to our ancestors; another in a quite different situation of mind and circumstances; the sun setting; the hospitality of the more fortunate shepherd, &c. And here M. Fontenelle seems not a little wanting.

A fourth rule, and of great importance in this delicate sort of writing, is, that there be choice diversity of subjects; that the Eclogue, like a beautiful prospect, should charm by its variety. Virgil is admirable in this point, and far surpasses Theocritus, as he does everywhere, when judgment and contrivance have the principal part. The subject of the first Pastoral is hinted above.

The Second contains the love of Corydon for Alexis, and the seasonable reproach he gives himself, that he left his vines half pruned, (which, according to the Roman rituals, derived a curse upon the fruit that grew upon it,) whilst he pursued an object undeserving his passion.

The Third, a sharp contention of two shepherds for the prize of poetry.

The Fourth contains the discourse of a shepherd comforting himself, in a declining age, that a better was ensuing.

The Fifth, a lamentation for a dead friend, the first draught of which is probably more ancient than any of the pastorals now extant; his brother being at first intended; but he afterwards makes his court to Augustus, by turning it into an apotheosis of Julius Cæsar.

The Sixth is the Silenus.

The Seventh, another poetical dispute, first composed at Mantua.

The Eighth is the description of a despairing lover, and a magical charm.

He sets the Ninth after all these, very modestly, because it was particular to himself; and here he would have ended that work, if Gallus had not prevailed upon him to add one more in his favour.

Thus curious was Virgil in diversifying his subjects. But M. Fontenelle is a great deal too uniform: begin where you please, the subject is still the same. We find it true what he says of himself,

_Toûjours, toûjours de l'amour._

He seems to take pastorals and love-verses for the same thing. Has human nature no other passion? Does not fear, ambition, avarice, pride, a capriccio of honour, and laziness itself, often triumph over love? But this passion does all, not only in pastorals, but in modern tragedies too. A hero can no more fight, or be sick, or die, than he can be born, without a woman. But dramatics have been composed in compliance to the humour of the age, and the prevailing inclination of the great, whose example has a more powerful influence, not only in the little court behind the scenes, but on the great theatre of the world. However, this inundation of love-verses is not so much an effect of their amorousness, as of immoderate self-love; this being the only sort of poetry, in which the writer can, not only without censure, but even with commendation, talk of himself. There is generally more of the passion of Narcissus, than concern for Chloris and Corinna, in this whole affair. Be pleased to look into almost any of those writers, and you shall meet everywhere that eternal _Moi_, which the admirable Pascal so judiciously condemns. Homer can never be enough admired for this one so particular quality, that he never speaks of himself, either in the Iliad or the Odysseys: and, if Horace had never told us his genealogy, but left it to the writer of his life, perhaps he had not been a loser by it. This consideration might induce those great critics, Varius and Tucca, to raze out the four first verses of the "Æneïs," in great measure, for the sake of that unlucky _Ille ego_. But extraordinary geniuses have a sort of prerogative, which may dispense them from laws, binding to subject wits. However, the ladies have the less reason to be pleased with those addresses, of which the poet takes the greater share to himself. Thus the beau presses into their dressing-room; but it is not so much to adore their fair eyes, as to adjust his own steenkirk and peruke, and set his countenance in their glass.

A fifth rule (which one may hope will not be contested) is, that the writer should show in his compositions some competent skill of the subject matter, that which makes the character of persons introduced. In this, as in all other points of learning, decency, and oeconomy of a poem, Virgil much excels his master Theocritus. The poet is better skilled in husbandry than those that get their bread by it. He describes the nature, the diseases, the remedies, the proper places, and seasons, of feeding, of watering their flocks; the furniture, diet, the lodging and pastimes, of his shepherds. But the persons brought in by M. Fontenelle are shepherds in masquerade, and handle their sheep-hook as aukwardly as they do their oaten reed. They saunter about with their _chers moutons_; but they relate as little to the business in hand, as the painter's dog, or a Dutch ship, does to the history designed. One would suspect some of them, that, instead of leading out their sheep into the plains of Mont-Brison and Marcilli, to the flowery banks of Lignon, or the Charante, they are driving directly _à la boucherie_, to make money of them. I hope hereafter M. Fontenelle will chuse his servants better.

A sixth rule is, that, as the style ought to be natural, clear, and elegant, it should have some peculiar relish of the ancient fashion of writing. Parables in those times were frequently used, as they are still by the eastern nations; philosophical questions, ænigmas, &c.; and of this we find instances in the sacred writings, in Homer, contemporary with king David, in Herodotus, in the Greek tragedians. This piece of antiquity is imitated by Virgil with great judgment and discretion. He has proposed one riddle, which has never yet been solved by any of his commentators. Though he knew the rules of rhetoric as well as Cicero himself, he conceals that skill in his Pastorals, and keeps close to the character of antiquity. Nor ought the connections and transitions to be very strict and regular; this would give the Pastorals an air of novelty; and of this neglect of exact connections, we have instances in the writings of the ancient Chineses, of the Jews and Greeks, in Pindar, and other writers of dithyrambics, in the choruses of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. If M. Fontenelle and Ruæus had considered this, the one would have spared his critique of the sixth, and the other, his reflections upon the ninth Pastoral. The over-scrupulous care of connections makes the modern compositions oftentimes tedious and flat: and by the omission of them it comes to pass, that the _Pensées_ of the incomparable M. Pascal, and perhaps of M. Bruyère, are two of the most entertaining books which the modern French can boast of. Virgil, in this point, was not only faithful to the character of antiquity, but copies after Nature herself. Thus a meadow, where the beauties of the spring are profusely blended together, makes a more delightful prospect, than a curious _parterre_ of sorted flowers in our gardens: and we are much more transported with the beauty of the heavens, and admiration of their Creator, in a clear night, when we behold stars of all magnitudes promiscuously moving together, than if those glorious lights were ranked in their several orders, or reduced into the finest geometrical figures.

Another rule omitted by P. Rapin, as some of his are by me, (for I do not design an entire treatise in this preface,) is, that not only the sentences should be short and smart, (upon which account he justly blames the Italian and French, as too talkative,) but that the whole piece should be so too. Virgil transgressed this rule in his first Pastorals, (I mean those which he composed at Mantua,) but rectified the fault in his riper years. This appears by the _Culex_, which is as long as five of his Pastorals put together. The greater part of those he finished have less than a hundred verses; and but two of them exceed that number. But the "Silenus," which he seems to have designed for his master-piece, in which he introduces a god singing, and he, too, full of inspiration, (which is intended by that ebriety, which M. Fontenelle so unreasonably ridicules,) though it go through so vast a field of matter, and comprises the mythology of near two thousand years, consists but of fifty lines; so that its brevity is no less admirable, than the subject matter, the noble fashion of handling it, and the deity speaking. Virgil keeps up his characters in this respect too, with the strictest decency: for poetry and pastime was not the business of men's lives in those days, but only their seasonable recreation after necessary labours. And therefore the length of some of the modern Italian and English compositions is against the rules of this kind of poesy.

I shall add something very briefly, touching the versification of Pastorals, though it be a mortifying consideration to the moderns. Heroic verse, as it is commonly called, was used by the Greeks in this sort of poem, as very ancient and natural; lyrics, iambics, &c. being invented afterwards: but there is so great a difference in the numbers of which it may be compounded, that it may pass rather for a genus, than species, of verse. Whosoever shall compare the numbers of the three following verses, will quickly be sensible of the truth of this observation:

_Tityre, tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi_--

the first of the Georgics,

_Quid faciat lætas segetes, quo sidere terram_--

and of the Æneïs,

_Arma, virumque cano, Trojæ qui primus ab oris._

The sound of the verses is almost as different as the subjects. But the Greek writers of Pastoral usually limited themselves to the example of the first; which Virgil found so exceedingly difficult, that he quitted it, and left the honour of that part to Theocritus. It is indeed probable, that what we improperly call rhyme, is the most ancient sort of poetry; and learned men have given good arguments for it; and therefore a French historian commits a gross mistake, when he attributes that invention to a king of Gaul, as an English gentleman does, when he makes a Roman emperor the inventor of it. But the Greeks, who understood fully the force and power of numbers, soon grew weary of this childish sort of verse, as the younger Vossius justly calls it, and therefore those rhyming hexameters, which Plutarch observes in Homer himself, seem to be the remains of a barbarous age. Virgil had them in such abhorrence, that he would rather make a false syntax, than what we call a rhyme. Such a verse as this,

_Vir, precor_, uxori, _frater succurre_ sorori,

was passable in Ovid; but the nicer ears in Augustus's court could not pardon Virgil for

_At regina pyrâ...._

so that the principal ornament of modern poetry was accounted deformity by the Latins and Greeks. It was they who invented the different terminations of words, those happy compositions, those short monosyllables, those transpositions for the elegance of the sound and sense, which are wanting so much in modern languages. The French sometimes crowd together ten or twelve monosyllables into one disjointed verse. They may understand the nature of, but cannot imitate, those wonderful spondees of Pythagoras, by which he could suddenly pacify a man that was in a violent transport of anger; nor those swift numbers of the priests of Cybele, which had the force to enrage the most sedate and phlegmatic tempers. Nor can any modern put into his own language the energy of that single poem of Catullus,

_Super alta vectus Atys_, &c.

Latin is but a corrupt dialect of Greek; and the French, Spanish, and Italian, a corruption of Latin; and therefore a man might as well go about to persuade me that vinegar is a nobler liquor than wine, as that the modern compositions can be as graceful and harmonious as the Latin itself. The Greek tongue very naturally falls into iambics, and therefore the diligent reader may find six or seven-and-twenty of them in those accurate orations of Isocrates. The Latin as naturally falls into heroic; and therefore the beginning of Livy's History is half a hexameter, and that of Tacitus an entire one. The Roman historian[293], describing the glorious effort of a colonel to break through a brigade of the enemy's, just after the defeat at Cannæ, falls, unknowingly, into a verse not unworthy Virgil himself--

_Hæc ubi dicta dedit, stringit gladium, cuneoque Facto, per medios...._ &c.

Ours and the French can at best but fall into blank verse, which is a fault in prose. The misfortune indeed is common to us both; but we deserve more compassion, because we are not vain of our barbarities. As age brings men back into the state and infirmities of childhood, upon the fall of their empire, the Romans doted into rhyme, as appears sufficiently by the hymns of the Latin church; and yet a great deal of the French poetry does hardly deserve that poor title. I shall give an instance out of a poem which had the good luck to gain the prize in 1685; for the subject deserved a nobler pen:

_Tous les jours ce grand roy, des autres roys l' exemple, S'ouvre un nouveau chemin au faîte de ton temple_, &c.

The judicious Malherbe exploded this sort of verse near eighty years ago. Nor can I forbear wondering at that passage of a famous academician, in which he, most compassionately, excuses the ancients for their not being so exact in their compositions as the modern French, because they wanted a dictionary, of which the French are at last happily provided. If Demosthenes and Cicero had been so lucky as to have had a dictionary, and such a patron as cardinal Richelieu, perhaps they might have aspired to the honour of Balzac's legacy of ten pounds, _Le prix de l'éloquence_.

On the contrary, I dare assert, that there are hardly ten lines in either of those great orators, or even in the catalogue of Homer's ships, which are not more harmonious, more truly rhythmical, than most of the French or English sonnets; and therefore they lose, at least, one half of their native beauty by translation.

I cannot but add one remark on this occasion,--that the French verse is oftentimes not so much as rhyme, in the lowest sense; for the childish repetition of the same note cannot be called music. Such instances are infinite, as in the forecited poem:

épris trophée caché mépris Orphée cherché.

M. Boileau himself has a great deal of this #monotonia#, not by his own neglect, but purely by the faultiness and poverty of the French tongue. M. Fontenelle at last goes into the excessive paradoxes of M. Perrault, and boasts of the vast number of their excellent songs, preferring them to the Greek and Latin. But an ancient writer, of as good credit, has assured us, that seven lives would hardly suffice to read over the Greek odes; but a few weeks would be sufficient, if a man were so very idle as to read over all the French. In the mean time, I should be very glad to see a catalogue of but fifty of theirs with

Exact propriety of word and thought.[294]

Notwithstanding all the high encomiums and mutual gratulations which they give one another, (for I am far from censuring the whole of that illustrious society, to which the learned world is much obliged,) after all those golden dreams at the Louvre, that their pieces will be as much valued, ten or twelve ages hence, as the ancient Greek or Roman, I can no more get it into my head that they will last so long, than I could believe the learned Dr H----k [of the Royal Society,] if he should pretend to show me a butterfly, that had lived a thousand winters.

When M. Fontenelle wrote his Eclogues, he was so far from equalling Virgil, or Theocritus, that he had some pains to take before he could understand in what the principal beauty and graces of their writings do consist.

_Cum mortuis non nisi larvæ luctantur._


[288] There is a great deal of cant in this; there was just the same distinction in manners and knowledge between the clowns of Mantua and the courtiers of Augustus, as there is between persons of the same rank in modern times.

[289] Hunting was as much an exercise of the Roman youths as of our own; and this might be easily proved from Virgil, were it not a well known fact. It was the sport with which Dido entertained the Trojans; and the wish of Ascanius upon the occasion, was worthy of a Frank, or any other German.

[290] This is indistinctly expressed; but if the critic means to say, that the terms of hunting were put into French as the most fashionable language, he is mistaken. The hunting phrases still in use, are handed down to us from the Anglo-Norman barons, in whose time French was the only language spoken among those who were entitled to participate in an amusement to which the nobility claimed an exclusive privilege.

[291] The Duke of Shrewsbury.

[292] Most readers will be of opinion, that Walsh has rendered this celebrated passage not only flatly, but erroneously. His translation seems to infer, that the gods were in danger of dying, had they not _meanly_ complied with the conqueror. At any rate, the real compliment to Cato, which consists in weighing his sense of justice against that of the gods themselves, totally evaporates. Perhaps the following lines may express Lucan's meaning, though without the concise force of the original:

The victor was the care of partial Heaven, But to the conquered cause was Cato's suffrage given.

[293] Livy.

[294] Essay of Poetry.





_The occasion of the First Pastoral was this: When Augustus had settled himself in the Roman empire, that he might reward his veteran troops for their past service, he distributed among them all the lands that lay about Cremona and Mantua; turning out the right owners for having sided with his enemies. Virgil was a sufferer among the rest, who afterwards recovered his estate by Mæcenas's intercession; and, as an instance of his gratitude, composed the following Pastoral, where he sets out his own good fortune in the person of Tityrus, and the calamities of his Mantuan neighbours in the character of Meliboeus._


Beneath the shade which beechen boughs diffuse, You, Tityrus, entertain your sylvan muse. Round the wide world in banishment we roam, Forced from our pleasing fields and native home; While, stretched at ease, you sing your happy loves, And Amaryllis fills the shady groves.


These blessings, friend, a deity bestowed; For never can I deem him less than God. The tender firstlings of my woolly breed Shall on his holy altar often bleed. He gave my kine to graze the flowery plain, And to my pipe renewed the rural strain.


I envy not your fortune, but admire, That, while the raging sword and wasteful fire Destroy the wretched neighbourhood around, No hostile arms approach your happy ground. Far different is my fate; my feeble goats With pains I drive from their forsaken cotes: And this, you see, I scarcely drag along, Who, yeaning, on the rocks has left her young, The hope and promise of my failing fold. My loss, by dire portents, the gods foretold; For, had I not been blind, I might have seen:-- Yon riven oak, the fairest of the green, And the hoarse raven, on the blasted bough, By croaking from the left, presaged the coming blow. But tell me, Tityrus, what heavenly power Preserved your fortunes in that fatal hour?


Fool that I was, I thought imperial Rome } Like Mantua, where on market-days we come, } And thither drive our tender lambs from home. } So kids and whelps their sires and dams express, And so the great I measured by the less. But country towns, compared with her, appear Like shrubs, when lofty cypresses are near.


What great occasion called you hence to Rome?


Freedom, which came at length, though slow to come. Nor did my search of liberty begin, Till my black hairs were changed upon my chin; Nor Amaryllis would vouchsafe a look, Till Galatea's meaner bonds I broke. Till then a helpless, hopeless, homely swain, I sought not freedom, nor aspired to gain: Though many a victim from my folds was bought, And many a cheese to country markets brought, Yet all the little that I got, I spent, And still returned as empty as I went.


We stood amazed to see your mistress mourn, Unknowing that she pined for your return; We wondered why she kept her fruit so long, For whom so late the ungathered apples hung. But now the wonder ceases, since I see She kept them only, Tityrus, for thee; For thee the bubbling springs appeared to mourn, And whispering pines made vows for thy return.


What should I do?--While here I was enchained, No glimpse of godlike liberty remained; Nor could I hope, in any place but there, To find a god so present to my prayer. There first the youth of heavenly birth I viewed,[295] For whom our monthly victims are renewed. He heard my vows, and graciously decreed My grounds to be restored, my former flocks to feed.


O fortunate old man! whose farm remains-- } For you sufficient--and requites your pains; } Though rushes overspread the neighbouring plains, } Though here the marshy grounds approach your fields, And there the soil a stony harvest yields. Your teeming ewes shall no strange meadows try, Nor fear a rot from tainted company. Behold! yon bordering fence of sallow trees Is fraught with flowers, the flowers are fraught with bees; The busy bees, with a soft murmuring strain, Invite to gentle sleep the labouring swain. While, from the neighbouring rock, with rural songs, The pruner's voice the pleasing dream prolongs, Stock-doves and turtles tell their amorous pain, And, from the lofty elms, of love complain.


The inhabitants of seas and skies shall change, And fish on shore, and stags in air, shall range, The banished Parthian dwell on Arar's brink, And the blue German shall the Tigris drink, Ere I, forsaking gratitude and truth, Forget the figure of that godlike youth.


But we must beg our bread in climes unknown, Beneath the scorching or the freezing zone; And some to far Oaxis shall be sold, Or try the Libyan heat, or Scythian cold; The rest among the Britons be confined, A race of men from all the world disjoined. O! must the wretched exiles ever mourn, Nor, after length of rolling years, return? Are we condemned by fate's unjust decree, No more our houses and our homes to see? Or shall we mount again the rural throne, And rule the country kingdoms, once our own? Did we for these barbarians plant and sow? } On these, on these, our happy fields bestow? } Good heaven! what dire effects from civil discord flow! } Now let me graff my pears, and prune the vine; The fruit is theirs, the labour only mine. Farewell, my pastures, my paternal stock, My fruitful fields, and my more fruitful flock! No more, my goats, shall I behold you climb The steepy cliffs, or crop the flowery thyme! No more, extended in the grot below, Shall see you browzing on the mountain's brow The prickly shrubs; and after on the bare, Lean down the deep abyss, and hang in air. No more my sheep shall sip the morning dew; } No more my song shall please the rural crew: } Adieu, my tuneful pipe! and all the world, adieu! }


This night, at least, with me forget your care; Chesnuts, and curds and cream, shall be your fare: The carpet-ground shall be with leaves o'erspread, And boughs shall weave a covering for your head. For see yon sunny hill the shade extends, And curling smoke from cottages ascends.


[295] Virgil means Octavius Cæsar, heir to Julius, who perhaps had not arrived to his twentieth year, when Virgil saw him first. _Vide_ his Life. _Of heavenly birth_, or heavenly blood, because the Julian family was derived from Iülus, son to Æneas, and grandson to Venus.





_The commentators can by no means agree on the person of Alexis, but are all of opinion that some beautiful youth is meant by him, to whom Virgil here makes love, in Corydon's language and simplicity. His way of courtship is wholly pastoral: he complains of the boy's coyness; recommends himself for his beauty and skill in piping; invites the youth into the country, where he promises him the diversions of the place, with a suitable present of nuts and apples. But when he finds nothing will prevail, he resolves to quit his troublesome amour, and betake himself again to his former business._

Young Corydon, the unhappy shepherd swain, The fair Alexis loved, but loved in vain; And underneath the beechen shade, alone, Thus to the woods and mountains made his moan:-- Is this, unkind Alexis, my reward? And must I die unpitied, and unheard? Now the green lizard in the grove is laid, The sheep enjoy the coolness of the shade, And Thestylis wild thyme and garlic beats For harvest hinds, o'erspent with toil and heats; While in the scorching sun I trace in vain Thy flying footsteps o'er the burning plain. The creaking locusts with my voice conspire, They fried with heat, and I with fierce desire. How much more easy was it to sustain Proud Amaryllis, and her haughty reign, The scorns of young Menalcas, once my care, Though he was black, and thou art heavenly fair. Trust not too much to that enchanting face; Beauty's a charm, but soon the charm will pass. White lilies lie neglected on the plain, While dusky hyacinths for use remain. My passion is thy scorn; nor wilt thou know What wealth I have, what gifts I can bestow; What stores my dairies and my folds contain-- A thousand lambs, that wander on the plain; New milk, that all the winter never fails, And all the summer overflows the pails. Amphion sung not sweeter to his herd, When summoned stones the Theban turrets reared. Nor am I so deformed; for late I stood Upon the margin of the briny flood: The winds were still; and, if the glass be true, With Daphnis I may vie, though judged by you. O leave the noisy town! O come and see Our country cots, and live content with me! To wound the flying deer, and from their cotes With me to drive a-field the browzing goats; To pipe and sing, and, in our country strain, To copy, or perhaps contend with Pan. Pan taught to join with wax unequal reeds; Pan loves the shepherds, and their flocks he feeds. Nor scorn the pipe: Amyntas, to be taught, With all his kisses would my skill have bought. Of seven smooth joints a mellow pipe I have, Which with his dying breath Damoetas gave, And said,--"This, Corydon, I leave to thee; For only thou deserv'st it after me." His eyes Amyntas durst not upward lift; For much he grudged the praise, but more the gift. Besides, two kids, that in the valley strayed, I found by chance, and to my fold conveyed: They drain two bagging udders every day; And these shall be companions of thy play; Both fleck'd with white, the true Arcadian strain, Which Thestylis had often begged in vain: And she shall have them, if again she sues, Since you the giver and the gift refuse. Come to my longing arms, my lovely care! And take the presents which the nymphs prepare. White lilies in full canisters they bring, With all the glories of the purple spring. The daughters of the flood have searched the mead For violets pale, and cropp'd the poppy's head, The short narcissus[296] and fair daffodil, Pancies to please the sight, and cassia sweet to smell; And set soft hyacinths with iron blue, To shade marsh marigolds of shining hue; Some bound in order, others loosely strowed, To dress thy bower, and trim thy new abode. Myself will search our planted grounds at home, For downy peaches and the glossy plum; And thrash the chesnuts in the neighbouring grove, Such as my Amaryllis used to love. The laurel and the myrtle sweets agree, And both in nosegays shall be bound for thee. Ah, Corydon! ah, poor unhappy swain! Alexis will thy homely gifts disdain: Nor, should'st thou offer all thy little store, Will rich Iolas yield, but offer more. What have I done, to name that wealthy swain? So powerful are his presents, mine so mean! The boar, amidst my crystal streams, I bring; And southern winds to blast my flowery spring. Ah, cruel creature! whom dost thou despise? The gods, to live in woods, have left the skies; And godlike Paris, in the Idæan grove, To Priam's wealth preferred OEnone's love. In cities, which she built, let Pallas reign; Towers are for gods, but forests for the swain. The greedy lioness the wolf pursues, The wolf the kid, the wanton kid the browze; Alexis, thou art chased by Corydon: All follow several games, and each his own. See, from afar, the fields no longer smoke; The sweating steers, unharnessed from the yoke, Bring, as in triumph, back the crooked plough; The shadows lengthen as the sun goes low; Cool breezes now the raging heats remove: Ah, cruel heaven, that made no cure for love! I wish for balmy sleep, but wish in vain; Love has no bounds in pleasure, or in pain. What frenzy, shepherd, has thy soul possessed? Thy vineyard lies half pruned, and half undressed. Quench, Corydon, thy long unanswered fire! Mind what the common wants of life require; On willow twigs employ thy weaving care, And find an easier love, though not so fair.


[296] That is, of short continuance.






_Damoetas and Menalcas, after some smart strokes of country raillery, resolve to try who has the most skill at song; and accordingly make their neighbour, Palæmon, judge of their performances; who, after a full hearing of both parties, declares himself unfit for the decision of so weighty a controversy, and leaves the victory undetermined._


Ho, swain! what shepherd owns those ragged sheep?


Ægon's they are: he gave them me to keep.


Unhappy sheep, of an unhappy swain! } While he Neæra courts, but courts in vain, } And fears that I the damsel shall obtain. } Thou, varlet, dost thy master's gains devour; Thou milk'st his ewes, and often twice an hour; Of grass and fodder thou defraud'st the dams, And of their mothers' dugs the starving lambs.


Good words, young catamite, at least to men. We know who did your business, how, and when; And in what chapel too you played your prize, } And what the goats observed with leering eyes: } The nymphs were kind, and laughed; and there your safety lies. }


Yes, when I cropt the hedges of the leys, Cut Micon's tender vines, and stole the stays!


Or rather, when, beneath yon ancient oak, The bow of Daphnis, and the shafts, you broke, When the fair boy received the gift of right; And, but for mischief, you had died for spite.


What nonsense would the fool, thy master, prate, When thou, his knave, canst talk at such a rate! Did I not see you, rascal, did I not, When you lay snug to snap young Damon's goat? His mongrel barked; I ran to his relief, And cried,--"There, there he goes! stop, stop the thief!" Discovered, and defeated of your prey, You skulked behind the fence, and sneaked away.


An honest man may freely take his own: The goat was mine, by singing fairly won. A solemn match was made; he lost the prize. } Ask Damon, ask, if he the debt denies. } I think he dares not; if he does, he lies. }


Thou sing with him? thou booby!--Never pipe Was so profaned to touch that blubbered lip. Dunce at the best! in streets but scarce allowed To tickle, on thy straw, the stupid crowd.


To bring it to the trial, will you dare Our pipes, our skill, our voices, to compare? My brinded heifer to the stake I lay; Two thriving calves she suckles twice a day, And twice besides her beestings never fail To store the dairy with a brimming pail. Now back your singing with an equal stake.


That should be seen, if I had one to make. You know too well, I feed my father's flock; What can I wager from the common stock? A stepdame too I have, a cursed she, Who rules my hen-peck'd sire, and orders me. Both number twice a day the milky dams; And once she takes the tale of all the lambs. But, since you will be mad, and since you may Suspect my courage, if I should not lay, The pawn I proffer shall be full as good: Two bowls I have, well turned, of beechen wood; Both by divine Alcimedon were made; To neither of them yet the lip is laid. The lids are ivy; grapes in clusters lurk Beneath the carving of the curious work. Two figures on the sides embossed appear-- } Conon, and what's his name who made the sphere, } And shewed the seasons of the sliding year, } Instructed in his trade the labouring swain, And when to reap, and when to sow the grain?


And I have two, to match your pair, at home; The wood the same; from the same hand they come, (The kimbo handles seem with bear's foot carved,) And never yet to table have been served; Where Orpheus on his lyre laments his love, With beasts encompassed, and a dancing grove. But these, nor all the proffers you can make, Are worth the heifer which I set to stake.


No more delays, vain boaster, but begin! I prophesy before-hand, I shall win. Palæmon shall be judge how ill you rhyme: I'll teach you how to brag another time.


Rhymer, come on! and do the worst you can; I fear not you, nor yet a better man. With silence, neighbour, and attention, wait; For 'tis a business of a high debate.


Sing then; the shade affords a proper place, The trees are clothed with leaves, the fields with grass, The blossoms blow, the birds on bushes sing, And Nature has accomplished all the spring. The challenge to Damoetas shall belong; Menalcas shall sustain his under-song; Each in his turn your tuneful numbers bring, By turns the tuneful Muses love to sing.


From the great father of the gods above My Muse begins; for all is full of Jove: To Jove the care of heaven and earth belongs; My flocks he blesses, and he loves my songs.


Me Phoebus loves; for he my Muse inspires, And in her songs the warmth he gave requires. For him, the god of shepherds and their sheep,[297] My blushing hyacinths and my bays I keep.


My Phyllis me with pelted apples plies; } Then tripping to the woods the wanton hies, } And wishes to be seen before she flies. }


But fair Amyntas comes unasked to me, } And offers love, and sits upon my knee. } Not Delia to my dogs is known so well as he. }


To the dear mistress of my love-sick mind, Her swain a pretty present has designed: I saw two stock-doves billing, and ere long Will take the nest, and hers shall be the young.


Ten ruddy wildings in the wood I found, And stood on tip-toes, reaching from the ground: I sent Amyntas all my present store; And will, to-morrow, send as many more.

The lovely maid lay panting in my arms, And all she said and did was full of charms. Winds! on your wings to heaven her accents bear; Such words as heaven alone is fit to hear.


Ah! what avails it me, my love's delight, To call you mine, when absent from my sight? I hold the nets, while you pursue the prey, And must not share the dangers of the day.


I keep my birth-day; send my Phyllis home; At shearing-time, Iolas, you may come.


With Phyllis I am more in grace than you; } Her sorrow did my parting steps pursue: } "Adieu, my dear!" she said, "a long adieu!" }


The nightly wolf is baneful to the fold, Storms to the wheat, to buds the bitter cold; But, from my frowning fair, more ills I find, Than from the wolves, and storms, and winter-wind.


The kids with pleasure browze the bushy plain; The showers are grateful to the swelling grain; To teeming ewes the sallow's tender tree; But, more than all the world, my love to me.


Pollio my rural verse vouchsafes to read: A heifer, Muses, for your patron breed.


My Pollio writes himself:--a bull be bred, With spurning heels, and with a butting head.


Who Pollio loves, and who his Muse admires, Let Pollio's fortune crown his full desires. Let myrrh instead of thorn his fences fill, And showers of honey from his oaks distil.


Who hates not living Bavius, let him be (Dead Mævius!) damn'd to love thy works and thee! The same ill taste of sense would serve to join Dog-foxes in the yoke, and shear the swine.


Ye boys, who pluck the flowers, and spoil the spring, Beware the secret snake that shoots a sting.


Graze not too near the banks, my jolly sheep; The ground is false, the running streams are deep: See, they have caught the father of the flock, Who dries his fleece upon the neighbouring rock.


From rivers drive the kids, and sling your hook; Anon I'll wash them in the shallow brook.


To fold, my flock!--when milk is dried with heat, In vain the milkmaid tugs an empty teat.


How lank my bulls from plenteous pasture come! But love, that drains the herd, destroys the groom.


My flocks are free from love, yet look so thin, Their bones are barely covered with their skin. What magic has bewitched the woolly dams, And what ill eyes beheld the tender lambs?


Say, where the round of heaven, which all contains, } To three short ells on earth our sight restrains: } Tell that, and rise a Phoebus for thy pains. }


Nay, tell me first, in what new region springs A flower, that bears inscribed the names of kings; And thou shalt gain a present as divine As Phoebus' self; for Phyllis shall be thine.


So nice a difference in your singing lies, That both have won, or both deserved the prize. Rest equal happy both; and all who prove The bitter sweets, and pleasing pains, of love. Now dam the ditches, and the floods restrain; Their moisture has already drenched the plain.


[297] Phoebus, not Pan, is here called the god of shepherds. The poet alludes to the same story which he touches in the beginning of the Second Georgic, where he calls Phoebus the Amphrysian shepherd, because he fed the sheep and oxen of Admetus, with whom he was in love, on the hill Amphrysus.





_The Poet celebrates the birth-day of Saloninus, the son of Pollio, born in the consulship of his father, after the taking of Salonæ, a city in Dalmatia. Many of the verses are translated from one of the Sibyls, who prophesied of our Saviour's birth._

Sicilian Muse, begin a loftier strain! Though lowly shrubs, and trees that shade the plain, Delight not all; Sicilian Muse, prepare To make the vocal woods deserve a consul's care. The last great age, foretold by sacred rhymes, Renews its finished course: Saturnian times Roll round again; and mighty years, begun From their first orb, in radiant circles run. The base degenerate iron offspring ends; A golden progeny from heaven descends. O chaste Lucina! speed the mother's pains; And haste the glorious birth! thy own Apollo reigns! The lovely boy, with his auspicious face, } Shall Pollio's consulship and triumph grace; } Majestic months set out with him to their appointed race. } The father banished virtue shall restore, And crimes shall threat the guilty world no more. The son shall lead the life of gods, and be By gods and heroes seen, and gods and heroes see. The jarring nations he in peace shall bind, And with paternal virtues rule mankind. Unbidden earth shall wreathing ivy bring, } And fragrant herbs, (the promises of spring,) } As her first offerings to her infant king. } The goats with strutting dugs shall homeward speed, And lowing herds secure from lions feed. His cradle shall with rising flowers be crowned: The serpent's brood shall die; the sacred ground Shall weeds and poisonous plants refuse to bear; Each common bush shall Syrian roses wear. But when heroic verse his youth shall raise, And form it to hereditary praise, Unlaboured harvests shall the fields adorn, And clustered grapes shall blush on every thorn; The knotted oaks shall showers of honey weep; And through the matted grass the liquid gold shall creep. Yet, of old fraud some footsteps shall remain; The merchant still shall plough the deep for gain, Great cities shall with walls be compassed round, And sharpened shares shall vex the fruitful ground; Another Tiphys shall new seas explore; Another Argo land the chiefs upon the Iberian shore; Another Helen other wars create, And great Achilles urge the Trojan fate. But when to ripened manhood he shall grow, The greedy sailor shall the seas forego; No keel shall cut the waves for foreign ware, For every soil shall every product bear. The labouring hind his oxen shall disjoin; } No plough shall hurt the glebe, no pruning-hook the vine; } Nor wool shall in dissembled colours shine; } But the luxurious father of the fold, With native purple, and unborrowed gold, Beneath his pompous fleece shall proudly sweat; And under Tyrian robes the lamb shall bleat. The Fates, when they this happy web have spun, Shall bless the sacred clue, and bid it smoothly run. Mature in years, to ready honours move, O of celestial seed! O foster-son of Jove! See, labouring Nature calls thee to sustain The nodding frame of heaven, and earth, and main! See to their base restored, earth, seas, and air; And joyful ages, from behind, in crowding ranks appear. To sing thy praise, would heaven my breath prolong, Infusing spirits worthy such a song, Not Thracian Orpheus should transcend my lays, Nor Linus crowned with never-fading bays; Though each his heavenly parent should inspire; The Muse instruct the voice, and Phoebus tune the lyre. Should Pan contend in verse, and thou my theme, Arcadian judges should their god condemn. Begin, auspicious boy! to cast about Thy infant eyes, and, with a smile, thy mother single out.[298] Thy mother well deserves that short delight, The nauseous qualms of ten long months and travail to requite. Then smile! the frowning infant's doom is read; No god shall crown the board, nor goddess bless the bed.


[298] In Latin thus,

_Incipe, parve puer, risu cognoscere matrem_, &c.

I have translated the passage to this sense--that the infant, smiling on his mother, singles her out from the rest of the company about him. Erythræus, Bembus, and Joseph Scaliger, are of this opinion. Yet they and I may be mistaken; for, immediately after, we find these words, _cui non risere parentes_, which imply another sense, as if the parents smiled on the new-born infant; and that the babe on whom they vouchsafed not to smile, was born to ill fortune: for they tell a story, that, when Vulcan, the only son of Jupiter and Juno, came into the world, he was so hard-favoured, that both his parents frowned on him, and Jupiter threw him out of heaven: he fell on the island Lemnos, and was lame ever afterwards. The last line of the Pastoral seems to justify this sense:

_Nec Deus hunc mensâ, Dea nec dignata cubili est._

For, though he married Venus, yet his mother Juno was not present at the nuptials to bless them; as appears by his wife's incontinence. They say also, that he was banished from the banquets of the gods. If so, that punishment could be of no long continuance; for Homer makes him present at their feasts, and composing a quarrel betwixt his parents, with a bowl of nectar. The matter is of no great consequence; and therefore I adhere to my translation, for these two reasons: first, Virgil has his following line,

_Matri longa decem tulerunt fastidia menses_,

as if the infant's smiling on his mother was a reward to her for bearing him ten months in her body, four weeks longer than the usual time. Secondly, Catullus is cited by Joseph Scaliger, as favouring this opinion, in his Epithalamium of Manlius Torquatus:

_Torquatus, volo, parvolus, Matris e gremio suæ Porrigens teneras manus, Dulce rideat ad patrem_, &c.

What if I should steer betwixt the two extremes, and conclude, that the infant, who was to be happy, must not only smile on his parents, but also they on him? For Scaliger notes, that the infants who smiled not at their birth, were observed to be #agelastoi#, or sullen, (as I have translated it,) during all their life; and Servius, and almost all the modern commentators, affirm, that no child was thought fortunate, on whom his parents smiled not at his birth. I observe, farther, that the ancients thought the infant, who came into the world at the end of the tenth month, was born to some extraordinary fortune, good or bad. Such was the birth of the late prince of Condé's father, of whom his mother was not brought to bed, till almost eleven months were expired after his father's death; yet the college of physicians at Paris concluded he was lawfully begotten. My ingenious friend, Anthony Henley, Esq. desired me to make a note on this passage of Virgil; adding, (what I had not read,) that the Jews have been so superstitious, as to observe not only the first look or action of an infant, but also the first word which the parent, or any of the assistants, spoke after the birth; and from thence they gave a name to the child, alluding to it.





_Mopsus and Menalcas, two very expert shepherds at a song, begin one by consent to the memory of Daphnis, who is supposed by the best critics to represent Julius Cæsar. Mopsus laments his death; Menalcas proclaims his divinity; the whole eclogue consisting of an elegy and an apotheosis._


Since on the downs our flocks together feed, And since my voice can match your tuneful reed, Why sit we not beneath the grateful shade, Which hazles, intermixed with elms, have made?


Whether you please that sylvan scene to take, Where whistling winds uncertain shadows make; Or will you to the cooler cave succeed, Whose mouth the curling vines have overspread?


Your merit and your years command the choice; Amyntas only rivals you in voice.


What will not that presuming shepherd dare, Who thinks his voice with Phoebus may compare?


Begin you first; if either Alcon's praise, Or dying Phyllis, have inspired your lays; If her you mourn, or Codrus you commend, Begin, and Tityrus your flock shall tend.


Or shall I rather the sad verse repeat, Which on the beeches bark I lately writ? I writ, and sung betwixt. Now bring the swain, Whose voice you boast, and let him try the strain.


Such as the shrub to the tall olive shows, Or the pale swallow to the blushing rose; Such is his voice, if I can judge aright, Compared to thine, in sweetness and in height.


No more, but sit and hear the promised lay; The gloomy grotto makes a doubtful day. The nymphs about the breathless body wait Of Daphnis, and lament his cruel fate. The trees and floods were witness to their tears; At length the rumour reached his mother's ears. The wretched parent, with a pious haste, Came running, and his lifeless limbs embraced. She sighed, she sobbed; and, furious with despair, } She rent her garments, and she tore her hair, } Accusing all the gods, and every star. } The swains forgot their sheep, nor near the brink Of running waters brought their herds to drink. The thirsty cattle, of themselves, abstained From water, and their grassy fare disdained. The death of Daphnis woods and hills deplore; } They cast the sound to Libya's desert shore; } The Libyan lions hear, and hearing roar. } Fierce tigers Daphnis taught the yoke to bear, And first with curling ivy dressed the spear. Daphnis did rites to Bacchus first ordain, And holy revels for his reeling train. As vines the trees, as grapes the vines adorn, As bulls the herds, and fields the yellow corn; So bright a splendour, so divine a grace, The glorious Daphnis cast on his illustrious race. When envious Fate the godlike Daphnis took, Our guardian gods the fields and plains forsook; Pales no longer swelled the teeming grain, Nor Phoebus fed his oxen on the plain; No fruitful crop the sickly fields return, But oats and darnel choke the rising corn; And where the vales with violets once were crowned, Now knotty burrs and thorns disgrace the ground. Come, shepherds, come, and strow with leaves the plain; Such funeral rites your Daphnis did ordain. With cypress-boughs the crystal fountains hide, And softly let the running waters glide. A lasting monument to Daphnis raise, With this inscription to record his praise:-- "Daphnis, the fields' delight, the shepherds' love, Renowned on earth, and deified above; Whose flock excelled the fairest on the plains, But less than he himself surpassed the swains."


O heavenly poet! such thy verse appears, So sweet, so charming to my ravished ears, As to the weary swain, with cares opprest, Beneath the sylvan shade, refreshing rest; As to the feverish traveller, when first He finds a crystal stream to quench his thirst. In singing, as in piping, you excel; And scarce your master could perform so well. O fortunate young man! at least your lays Are next to his, and claim the second praise. Such as they are, my rural songs I join, To raise our Daphnis to the powers divine; For Daphnis was so good, to love whate'er was mine.


How is my soul with such a promise raised! For both the boy was worthy to be praised, And Stimicon has often made me long To hear, like him, so soft, so sweet a song.


Daphnis, the guest of heaven, with wondering eyes, Views, in the milky way, the starry skies, And far beneath him, from the shining sphere, Beholds the moving clouds, and rolling year. For this with cheerful cries the woods resound, } The purple spring arrays the various ground, } The nymphs and shepherds dance, and Pan himself is crowned. } The wolf no longer prowls for nightly spoils, Nor bird's the springes fear, nor stags the toils; For Daphnis reigns above, and deals from thence His mother's milder beams, and peaceful influence. The mountain-tops unshorn, the rocks, rejoice; The lowly shrubs partake of human voice. Assenting Nature, with a gracious nod, Proclaims him, and salutes the new-admitted god. Be still propitious, ever good to thine! Behold! four hallowed altars we design; And two to thee, and two to Phoebus rise; On both is offered annual sacrifice. The holy priests, at each returning year, Two bowls of milk, and two of oil, shall bear; And I myself the guests with friendly bowls will cheer. Two goblets will I crown with sparkling wine, } The generous vintage of the Chian vine: } These will I pour to thee, and make the nectar thine. } In winter shall the genial feast be made Before the fire; by summer, in the shade. Damoetas shall perform the rites divine, And Lyctian Ægon in the song shall join. Alphesiboeus, tripping, shall advance, And mimic Satyrs in his antic dance. When to the nymphs our annual rites we pay, And when our fields with victims we survey; While savage boars delight in shady woods, And finny fish inhabit in the floods; While bees on thyme, and locusts feed on dew-- Thy grateful swains these honours shall renew. Such honours as we pay to powers divine, To Bacchus and to Ceres, shall be thine. Such annual honours shall be given; and thou Shalt hear, and shalt condemn thy suppliants to their vow.


What present, worth thy verse, can Mopsus find? Not the soft whispers of the southern wind, That play through trembling trees, delight me more; Nor murmuring billows on the sounding shore, Nor winding streams, that through the valley glide, And the scarce-covered pebbles gently chide.


Receive you first this tuneful pipe, the same That played my Corydon's unhappy flame; The same that sung Neæra's conquering eyes, And, had the judge been just, had won the prize.


Accept from me this sheep-hook in exchange; The handle brass, the knobs in equal range. Antigenes, with kisses, often tried } To beg this present, in his beauty's pride, } When youth and love are hard to be denied. } But what I could refuse to his request, Is yours unasked, for you deserve it best.





_Two young shepherds, Chromis and Mnasylus, having been often promised a song by Silenus, chance to catch him asleep in this Pastoral; where they bind him hand and foot, and then claim his promise. Silenus, finding they would be put off no longer, begins his song, in which he describes the formation of the universe, and the original of animals, according to the Epicurean philosophy; and then runs through the most surprising transformations which have happened in Nature since her birth. This Pastoral was designed as a compliment to Syron the Epicurean, who instructed Virgil and Varus in the principles of that philosophy. Silenus acts as tutor, Chromis and Mnasylus as the two pupils._[299]

I first transferred to Rome Sicilian strains; Nor blushed the Doric Muse to dwell on Mantuan plains. But when I tried her tender voice, too young, And fighting kings and bloody battles sung, Apollo checked my pride, and bade me feed My fattening flocks, nor dare beyond the reed. Admonished thus, while every pen prepares To write thy praises, Varus, and thy wars, My pastoral Muse her humble tribute brings, And yet not wholly uninspired she sings; For all who read, and, reading, not disdain These rural poems, and their lowly strain, The name of Varus oft inscribed shall see } In every grove, and every vocal tree, } And all the sylvan reign shall sing of thee: } Thy name, to Phoebus and the Muses known, } Shall in the front of every page be shown; } For he, who sings thy praise, secures his own. } Proceed, my Muse!--Two Satyrs, on the ground, Stretched at his ease, their sire Silenus found. Dozed with his fumes, and heavy with his load, } They found him snoring in his dark abode, } And seized with youthful arms the drunken god. } His rosy wreath was dropt not long before, Borne by the tide of wine, and floating on the floor. His empty can, with ears half worn away, Was hung on high, to boast the triumph of the day. Invaded thus, for want of better bands, His garland they unstring, and bind his hands; For, by the fraudful god deluded long, They now resolve to have their promised song. Ægle came in, to make their party good-- The fairest Naïs of the neighbouring flood-- And, while he stares around with stupid eyes, His brows with berries, and his temples, dyes. He finds the fraud, and, with a smile, demands, On what design the boys had bound his hands. "Loose me," he cried, "'twas impudence to find A sleeping god; 'tis sacrilege to bind. To you the promised poem I will pay; The nymph shall be rewarded in her way." He raised his voice; and soon a numerous throng Of tripping Satyrs crowded to the song; And sylvan Fauns, and savage beasts, advanced; And nodding forests to the numbers danced. Not by Hæmonian hills the Thracian bard, } Nor awful Phoebus was on Pindus heard } With deeper silence, or with more regard. } He sung the secret seeds of Nature's frame; How seas, and earth, and air, and active flame, Fell through the mighty void, and, in their fall, Were blindly gathered in this goodly ball. The tender soil then, stiffening by degrees, Shut from the bounded earth the bounding seas. Then earth and ocean various forms disclose, And a new sun to the new world arose; And mists, condensed to clouds, obscure the sky; And clouds, dissolved, the thirsty ground supply. The rising trees the lofty mountains grace; } The lofty mountains feed the savage race, } Yet few, and strangers, in the unpeopled place. } From thence the birth of man the song pursued, And how the world was lost, and how renewed; The reign of Saturn, and the golden age; Prometheus' theft, and Jove's avenging rage; The cries of Argonauts for Hylas drowned, With whose repeated name the shores resound; Then mourns the madness of the Cretan queen,-- Happy for her if herds had never been. What fury, wretched woman, seized thy breast? The maids of Argos, (though, with rage possessed, Their imitated lowings filled the grove,) Yet shunned the guilt of thy preposterous love, Nor sought the youthful husband of the herd, } Though labouring yokes on their own necks they feared, } And felt for budding horns on their smooth foreheads reared. } Ah, wretched queen! you range the pathless wood, While on a flowery bank he chews the cud, Or sleeps in shades, or through the forest roves, And roars with anguish for his absent loves. "Ye nymphs, with toils his forest-walk surround, And trace his wandering footsteps on the ground. But, ah! perhaps my passion he disdains, And courts the milky mothers of the plains. We search the ungrateful fugitive abroad, While they at home sustain his happy load." He sung the lover's fraud; the longing maid, With golden fruit, like all the sex, betrayed; The sisters mourning for their brother's loss; Their bodies hid in barks, and furred with moss; How each a rising alder now appears, And o'er the Po distils her gummy tears: Then sung, how Gallus, by a Muse's hand, Was led and welcomed to the sacred strand; The senate rising to salute their guest; And Linus thus their gratitude expressed:-- "Receive this present, by the Muses made, The pipe on which the Ascræan pastor played; With which of old he charmed the savage train, And called the mountain-ashes to the plain. Sing thou, on this, thy Phoebus; and the wood Where once his fane of Parian marble stood: On this his ancient oracles rehearse, And with new numbers grace the god of verse." Why should I sing the double Scylla's fate? The first by love transformed, the last by hate-- A beauteous maid above; but magic arts With barking dogs deformed her nether parts: What vengeance on the passing fleet she poured, The master frighted, and the mates devoured. Then ravished Philomel the song exprest; The crime revealed; the sisters' cruel feast: And how in fields the lapwing Tereus reigns, The warbling nightingale in woods complains; While Procne makes on chimney-tops her moan, And hovers o'er the palace once her own. Whatever songs besides the Delphian god Had taught the laurels, and the Spartan flood, Silenus sung: the vales his voice rebound, And carry to the skies the sacred sound. And now the setting sun had warned the swain } To call his counted cattle from the plain: } Yet still the unwearied sire pursues the tuneful strain, } Till, unperceived, the heavens with stars were hung, And sudden night surprised the yet unfinished song.


[299] My Lord Roscommon's notes on this Pastoral are equal to his excellent translation of it; and thither I refer the reader.

The Eighth and Tenth Pastorals are already translated, to all manner of advantage, by my excellent friend Mr Stafford. So is the episode of Camilla, in the Eleventh Æneïd.





_Meliboeus here gives us the relation of a sharp poetical contest between Thyrsis and Corydon, at which he himself and Daphnis were present; who both declared for Corydon._

Beneath a holm, repaired two jolly swains, (Their sheep and goats together grazed the plains,) Both young Arcadians, both alike inspired To sing, and answer as the song required. Daphnis, as umpire, took the middle seat, And fortune thither led my weary feet; For, while I fenced my myrtles from the cold, The father of my flock had wandered from the fold. Of Daphnis I inquired: he, smiling, said, "Dismiss your fear;" and pointed where he fed: "And, if no greater cares disturb your mind, Sit here with us, in covert of the wind. Your lowing heifers, of their own accord, At watering time will seek the neighbouring ford. Here wanton Mincius winds along the meads, And shades his happy banks with bending reeds. And see, from yon old oak that mates the skies, How black the clouds of swarming bees arise." What should I do? nor was Alcippe nigh, Nor absent Phyllis could my care supply, To house, and feed by hand my weaning lambs, And drain the strutting udders of their dams. Great was the strife betwixt the singing swains; And I preferred my pleasure to my gains. Alternate rhyme the ready champions chose: These Corydon rehearsed, and Thyrsis those.


Ye Muses, ever fair, and ever young, Assist my numbers, and inspire my song. With all my Codrus, O! inspire my breast; For Codrus, after Phoebus, sings the best. Or, if my wishes have presumed too high, And stretched their bounds beyond mortality, The praise of artful numbers I resign, And hang my pipe upon the sacred pine.


Arcadian swains, your youthful poet crown With ivy-wreaths; though surly Codrus frown: Or, if he blast my Muse with envious praise, Then fence my brows with amulets of bays, Lest his ill arts, or his malicious tongue, Should poison, or bewitch my growing song.


These branches of a stag, this tusky boar (The first essay of arms untried before) Young Micon offers, Delia, to thy shrine: But, speed his hunting with thy power divine; Thy statue then of Parian stone shall stand; Thy legs in buskins with a purple band.


This bowl of milk, these cakes, (our country fare,) } For thee, Priapus, yearly we prepare, } Because a little garden is thy care; } But, if the falling lambs increase my fold, Thy marble statue shall be turned to gold.


Fair Galatea, with thy silver feet, O, whiter than the swan, and more than Hybla sweet! Tall as a poplar, taper as the bole! Come, charm thy shepherd, and restore my soul! Come, when my lated sheep at night return, And crown the silent hours, and stop the rosy morn!


May I become as abject in thy sight, As sea-weed on the shore, and black as night; Rough as a bur; deformed like him who chaws Sardinian herbage to contract his jaws; Such and so monstrous let thy swain appear, If one day's absence looks not like a year. Hence from the field, for shame! the flock deserves No better feeding while the shepherd starves.


Ye mossy springs, inviting easy sleep, Ye trees, whose leafy shades those mossy fountains keep, Defend my flock! The summer heats are near, And blossoms on the swelling vines appear.


With heapy fires our cheerful hearth is crowned; And firs for torches in the woods abound: We fear not more the winds, and wintry cold, Than streams the banks, or wolves the bleating fold.


Our woods, with juniper and chesnuts crowned, With falling fruits and berries paint the ground; And lavish Nature laughs, and strows her stores around: But, if Alexis from our mountains fly, Even running rivers leave their channels dry.


Parched are the plains, and frying is the field, Nor withering vines their juicy vintage yield: But, if returning Phyllis bless the plain, The grass revives, the woods are green again, And Jove descends in showers of kindly rain.


The poplar is by great Alcides worn; The brows of Phoebus his own bays adorn; The branching vine the jolly Bacchus loves; The Cyprian queen delights in myrtle groves; With hazle Phyllis crowns her flowing hair; } And, while she loves that common wreath to wear, } Nor bays, nor myrtle boughs, with hazle shall compare. }


The towering ash is fairest in the woods; In gardens pines, and poplars by the floods: But, if my Lycidas will ease my pains, And often visit our forsaken plains, To him the towering ash shall yield in woods, In gardens pines, and poplars by the floods.


These rhymes I did to memory commend, When vanquished Thyrsis did in vain contend; Since when, 'tis Corydon among the swains: Young Corydon without a rival reigns.





_This Pastoral contains the Songs of Damon and Alphesiboeus. The first of them bewails the loss of his mistress, and repines at the success of his rival Mopsus. The other repeats the charms of some enchantress, who endeavoured, by her spells and magic, to make Daphnis in love with her._

The mournful muse of two despairing swains, The love rejected, and the lovers' pains; To which the savage lynxes listening stood, The rivers stood on heaps, and stopped the running flood; The hungry herd the needful food refuse-- Of two despairing swains, I sing the mournful muse.

Great Pollio! thou, for whom thy Rome prepares The ready triumph of thy finished wars, Whether Timavus or the Illyrian coast, Whatever land or sea, thy presence boast; Is there an hour in fate reserved for me, To sing thy deeds in numbers worthy thee? In numbers like to thine, could I rehearse Thy lofty tragic scenes, thy laboured verse, The world another Sophocles in thee, Another Homer should behold in me. Amidst thy laurels let this ivy twine: Thine was my earliest muse; my latest shall be thine.

Scarce from the world the shades of night withdrew, Scarce were the flocks refreshed with morning dew, When Damon, stretched beneath an olive shade, And, wildly staring upwards, thus inveighed Against the conscious gods, and cursed the cruel maid:

"Star of the morning, why dost thou delay? Come, Lucifer, drive on the lagging day, While I my Nisa's perjured faith deplore,-- Witness, ye powers, by whom she falsely swore! The gods, alas! are witnesses in vain; Yet shall my dying breath to heaven complain. Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain.

"The pines of Mænalus, the vocal grove, Are ever full of verse, and full of love: They hear the hinds, they hear their god complain, Who suffered not the reeds to rise in vain Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain.

"Mopsus triumphs; he weds the willing fair. When such is Nisa's choice, what lover can despair? Now griffons join with mares; another age Shall see the hound and hind their thirst assuage, Promiscuous at the spring. Prepare the lights, O Mopsus! and perform the bridal rites. Scatter thy nuts among the scrambling boys: Thine is the night, and thine the nuptial joys. For thee the sun declines: O happy swain! Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain.

"O Nisa! justly to thy choice condemned! Whom hast thou taken, whom hast thou contemned? For him, thou hast refused my browzing herd, Scorned my thick eye brows, and my shaggy beard. Unhappy Damon sighs and sings in vain, } While Nisa thinks no god regards a lover's pain. } Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain. }

"I viewed thee first, (how fatal was the view!) And led thee where the ruddy wildings grew, High on the planted hedge, and wet with morning dew. Then scarce the bending branches I could win; The callow down began to clothe my chin. I saw; I perished; yet indulged my pain. Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain.

"I know thee, Love! in deserts thou wert bred, And at the dugs of savage tigers fed; Alien of birth, usurper of the plains! Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strains.

"Relentless Love the cruel mother led The blood of her unhappy babes to shed: Love lent the sword; the mother struck the blow; Inhuman she; but more inhuman thou: Alien of birth, usurper of the plains! Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strains.

"Old doting Nature, change thy course anew, And let the trembling lamb the wolf pursue; Let oaks now glitter with Hesperian fruit, And purple daffodils from alder shoot; Fat amber let the tamarisk distil, And hooting owls contend with swans in skill; Hoarse Tityrus strive with Orpheus in the woods, And challenge famed Arion on the floods. Or, oh! let Nature cease, and Chaos reign! Begin with me, my flute, the sweet Mænalian strain.

"Let earth be sea; and let the whelming tide The lifeless limbs of luckless Damon hide: Farewell, ye secret woods, and shady groves, Haunts of my youth, and conscious of my loves! From yon high cliff I plunge into the main; } Take the last present of thy dying swain; } And cease, my silent flute, the sweet Mænalian strain." }

Now take your turns, ye Muses, to rehearse His friend's complaints, and mighty magic verse:

"Bring running water; bind those altars round With fillets, and with vervain strow the ground: Make fat with frankincense the sacred fires, To re-inflame my Daphnis with desires. 'Tis done: we want but verse.--Restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms.

"Pale Phoebe, drawn by verse, from heaven descends; And Circe changed with charms Ulysses' friends. Verse breaks the ground, and penetrates the brake, And in the winding cavern splits the snake: Verse fires the frozen veins.--Restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms.

"Around his waxen image first I wind Three woollen fillets, of three colours joined; Thrice bind about his thrice-devoted head, Which round the sacred altar thrice is led. Unequal numbers please the gods.--My charms, Restore my Daphnis to my longing arms.

"Knit with three knots the fillets; knit them strait; Then say, 'These knots to love I consecrate.' Haste, Amaryllis, haste!--Restore, my charms, My lovely Daphnis to my longing arms. "As fire this figure hardens, made of clay, And this of wax with fire consumes away; Such let the soul of cruel Daphnis be-- Hard to the rest of women, soft to me. Crumble the sacred mole of salt and corn: Next in the fire the bays with brimstone burn; And, while it crackles in the sulphur, say, 'This I for Daphnis burn; thus Daphnis burn away! This laurel is his fate.'--Restore, my charms, My lovely Daphnis to my longing arms.

"As when the raging heifer, through the grove, Stung with desire, pursues her wandering love; Faint at the last, she seeks the weedy pools, To quench her thirst, and on the rushes rolls, Careless of night, unmindful to return; Such fruitless fires perfidious Daphnis burn, While I so scorn his love!--Restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms.

"These garments once were his, and left to me, The pledges of his promised loyalty, Which underneath my threshold I bestow: These pawns, O sacred earth! to me my Daphnis owe. As these were his, so mine is he.--My charms, Restore their lingering lord to my deluded arms.

"These poisonous plants, for magic use designed, (The noblest and the best of all the baneful kind,) Old Moeris brought me from the Politic strand, And culled the mischief of a bounteous land. Smeared with these powerful juices, on the plain, He howls a wolf among the hungry train; And oft the mighty necromancer boasts, With these, to call from tombs the stalking ghosts, And from the roots to tear the standing corn, Which, whirled aloft, to distant fields is borne: Such is the strength of spells.--Restore, my charms, My lingering Daphnis to my longing arms. "Bear out these ashes; cast them in the brook; Cast backwards o'er your head; nor turn your look: Since neither gods nor godlike verse can move, Break out, ye smothered fires, and kindle smothered love. Exert your utmost power, my lingering charms; And force my Daphnis to my longing arms.

"See while my last endeavours I delay, The walking ashes rise, and round our altars play! Run to the threshold, Amaryllis,--hark! Our Hylax opens, and begins to bark. Good heaven! may lovers what they wish believe? Or dream their wishes, and those dreams deceive? No more! my Daphnis comes! no more, my charms! He comes, he runs, he leaps, to my desiring arms."


[300] This Eighth Pastoral is copied by our author from two Bucolics of Theocritus. Spenser has followed both Virgil and Theocritus in the charms which he employs for curing Britomartis of her love. But he had also our poet's Ceiris in his eye; for there not only the enchantments are to be found, but also the very name of Britomartis.--DRYDEN.





_When Virgil, by the favour of Augustus, had recovered his patrimony near Mantua, and went in hope to take possession, he was in danger to be slain by Arius the centurion, to whom those lands were assigned by the Emperor, in reward of his service against Brutus and Cassius. This Pastoral therefore is filled with complaints of his hard usage; and the persons introduced are the bailiff of Virgil, Moeris, and his friend Lycidas._


Ho, Moeris! whither on thy way so fast? This leads to town.


O Lycidas! at last The time is come, I never thought to see, (Strange revolution for my farm and me!) When the grim captain in a surly tone Cries out, "Pack up, ye rascals, and be gone." Kicked out, we set the best face on't we could; } And these two kids, t'appease his angry mood, } I bear,--of which the Furies give him good! }


Your country friends were told another tale,-- That, from the sloping mountain to the vale, And doddered oak, and all the banks along, Menalcas saved his fortune with a song.


Such was the news, indeed; but songs and rhymes Prevail as much in these hard iron times, As would a plump of trembling fowl, that rise Against an eagle sousing from the skies. And, had not Phoebus warned me, by the croak Of an old raven from a hollow oak, To shun debate, Menalcas had been slain, And Moeris not survived him, to complain.


Now heaven defend! could barbarous rage induce The brutal son of Mars t'insult the sacred Muse? Who then should sing the nymphs? or who rehearse The waters gliding in a smoother verse? Or Amaryllis praise that heavenly lay, That shortened, as we went, our tedious way,-- "O Tityrus, tend my herd, and see them fed; To morning pastures, evening waters, led; And 'ware the Libyan ridgil's butting head."


Or what unfinished he to Varus read:-- "Thy name, O Varus, (if the kinder powers Preserve our plains, and shield the Mantuan towers, Obnoxious by Cremona's neighbouring crime,) The wings of swans, and stronger-pinioned rhyme, Shall raise aloft, and soaring bear above-- The immortal gift of gratitude to Jove."


Sing on, sing on; for I can ne'er be cloyed. So may thy swarms the baleful yew avoid; So may thy cows their burdened bags distend, And trees to goats their willing branches bend. Mean as I am, yet have the Muses made Me free, a member of the tuneful trade: At least the shepherds seem to like my lays; But I discern their flattery from their praise: I nor to Cinna's ears, nor Varus,' dare aspire, But gabble, like a goose, amidst the swan-like choir.


'Tis what I have been conning in my mind; Nor are they verses of a vulgar kind. "Come, Galatea! come! the seas forsake! What pleasures can the tides with their hoarse murmurs make? See, on the shore inhabits purple spring, Where nightingales their love-sick ditty sing: See, meads with purling streams, with flowers the ground, } The grottoes cool, with shady poplars crowned, } And creeping vines on arbours weaved around. } Come then, and leave the waves' tumultuous roar; Let the wild surges vainly beat the shore."


Or that sweet song I heard with such delight; The same you sung alone one starry night. The tune I still retain, but not the words.


"Why, Daphnis, dost thou search in old records, To know the seasons when the stars arise? See, Cæsar's lamp is lighted in the skies,-- The star, whose rays the blushing grapes adorn, And swell the kindly ripening ears of corn. Under this influence, graft the tender shoot; Thy children's children shall enjoy the fruit." The rest I have forgot; for cares and time Change all things, and untune my soul to rhyme. I could have once sung down a summer's sun; But now the chime of poetry is done: My voice grows hoarse; I feel the notes decay, As if the wolves had seen me first to-day. But these, and more than I to mind can bring, Menalcas has not yet forgot to sing.


Thy faint excuses but inflame me more: And now the waves roll silent to the shore; Husht winds the topmost branches scarcely bend, As if thy tuneful song they did attend: Already we have half our way o'ercome; Far off I can discern Bianor's tomb. Here, where the labourer's hands have formed a bower Of wreathing trees, in singing waste an hour. Rest here thy weary limbs; thy kids lay down: We've day before us yet to reach the town; Or if, ere night, the gathering clouds we fear, A song will help the beating storm to bear. And, that thou may'st not be too late abroad, Sing, and I'll ease thy shoulders of thy load.


Cease to request me;, let us mind our way: Another song requires another day. When good Menalcas comes, if he rejoice, And find a friend at court, I'll find a voice.


[301] In the Ninth Pastoral, Virgil has made a collection of many scattering passages, which he had translated from Theocritus; and here he has bound them into a nosegay.--DRYDEN.





_Gallus, a great patron of Virgil, and an excellent poet, was very deeply in love with one Cytheris, whom he calls Lycoris, and who had forsaken him for the company of a soldier. The poet therefore supposes his friend Gallus retired, in his height of melancholy, into the solitudes of Arcadia, (the celebrated scene of pastorals,) where he represents him in a very languishing condition, with all the rural deities about him, pitying his hard usage, and condoling his misfortune._

Thy sacred succour, Arethusa, bring, To crown my labour, ('tis the last I sing,) Which proud Lycoris may with pity view:-- } The Muse is mournful, though the numbers few. } Refuse me not a verse, to grief and Gallus due, } So may thy silver streams beneath the tide, Unmixed with briny seas, securely glide. Sing then my Gallus, and his hopeless vows; Sing, while my cattle crop the tender browze. The vocal grove shall answer to the sound, And echo, from the vales, the tuneful voice rebound. What lawns or woods with-held you from his aid, } Ye nymphs, when Gallus was to love betrayed, } To love, unpitied by the cruel maid? } Not steepy Pindus could retard your course, Nor cleft Parnassus, nor the Aonian source: Nothing, that owns the Muses, could suspend Your aid to Gallus:--Gallus is their friend. For him the lofty laurel stands in tears, And hung with humid pearls the lowly shrub appears. Mænalian pines the godlike swain bemoan, } When, spread beneath a rock, he sighed alone; } And cold Lycæus wept from every dropping stone. } The sheep surround their shepherd, as he lies: Blush not, sweet poet, nor the name despise. Along the streams, his flock Adonis fed; And yet the queen of beauty blest his bed. The swains and tardy neat-herds came, and last Menalcas, wet with beating winter mast. Wondering, they asked from whence arose thy flame. Yet more amazed, thy own Apollo came. Flushed were his cheeks, and glowing were his eyes: "Is she thy care? is she thy care?" he cries. "Thy false Lycoris flies thy love and thee, } And, for thy rival, tempts the raging sea, } The forms of horrid war, and heaven's inclemency." } Silvanus came: his brows a country crown Of fennel, and of nodding lilies, drown. Great Pan arrived; and we beheld him too, His cheeks and temples of vermilion hue. "Why, Gallus, this immoderate grief?" he cried, "Think'st thou that love with tears is satisfied? The meads are sooner drunk with morning dews, The bees with flowery shrubs, the goats with browze." Unmoved, and with dejected eyes, he mourned: He paused, and then these broken words returned:-- "'Tis past; and pity gives me no relief: But you, Arcadian swains, shall sing my grief, And on your hills my last complaints renew: So sad a song is only worthy you. How light would lie the turf upon my breast, If you my sufferings in your songs exprest! Ah! that your birth and business had been mine-- To pen the sheep, and press the swelling vine! Had Phyllis or Amyntas caused my pain, Or any nymph or shepherd on the plain, (Though Phyllis brown, though black Amyntas were, Are violets not sweet, because not fair?) Beneath the sallows and the shady vine, My loves had mixed their pliant limbs with mine: Phyllis with myrtle wreaths had crowned my hair, And soft Amyntas sung away my care. Come, see what pleasures in our plains abound; The woods, the fountains, and the flowery ground. As you are beauteous, were you half so true, Here could I live, and love, and die with only you. Now I to fighting fields am sent afar, And strive in winter camps with toils of war; While you, (alas, that I should find it so!) } To shun my sight, your native soil forego, } And climb the frozen Alps, and tread the eternal snow. } Ye frosts and snows, her tender body spare! Those are not limbs for icicles to tear. For me, the wilds and deserts are my choice; The Muses, once my care; my once harmonious voice. There will I sing, forsaken, and alone: The rocks and hollow caves shall echo to my moan. The rind of every plant her name shall know; And, as the rind extends, the love shall grow. Then on Arcadian mountains will I chase (Mixed with the woodland nymphs) the savage race; Nor cold shall hinder me, with horns and hounds To thrid the thickets, or to leap the mounds. And now methinks o'er steepy rocks I go, And rush through sounding woods, and bend the Parthian bow; As if with sports my sufferings I could ease, Or by my pains the god of love appease. My frenzy changes: I delight no more On mountain tops to chase the tusky boar: No game but hopeless love my thoughts pursue: Once more, ye nymphs, and songs, and sounding woods, adieu! Love alters not for us his hard decrees, Not though beneath the Thracian clime we freeze, Or Italy's indulgent heaven forego, And in mid-winter tread Sithonian snow; Or, when the barks of elms are scorched, we keep On Meroë's burning plains the Libyan sheep. In hell, and earth, and seas, and heaven above, Love conquers all; and we must yield to Love."

My Muses, here your sacred raptures end: The verse was what I owed my suffering friend. This while I sung, my sorrows I deceived, And bending osiers into baskets weaved. The song, because inspired by you, shall shine; And Gallus will approve, because 'tis mine-- Gallus, for whom my holy flames renew, Each hour, and every moment rise in view; As alders, in the spring, their boles extend, And heave so fiercely, that the bark they rend.

Now let us rise; for hoarseness oft invades The singer's voice, who sings beneath the shades. From juniper unwholesome dews distil, } That blast the sooty corn, the withering herbage kill. } Away, my goats, away! for you have browzed your fill. }


* * * * *

Edinburgh, Printed by James Ballantyne & Co.

Transcriber's Notes:

Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were corrected.

Punctuation normalized.

Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

Greek text is transliterated and enclosed in #number symbols#.