« PreviousContinue »
Then, grant we that Sejanus went astray
In every wish, and knew not how to pray:
For he who grasp'd the world's exhausted store
Yet never had enough, but wish'd for more,
Rais'd a top heavy tower, of monstrous height,
Which, mouldering, crush'd him underneath the
What did the mighty Pompey's fall beget? [weight.
It ruin'd him, who, greater than the great,
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 declin'd 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 these orators, so much renown'd,
In their own depths of eloquence were drown'd:
The hand and head were never lost, of those
Who dealt in doggrel, or who punn'd in prose.
"Fortune foretun'd the dying notes of Rome:
Till I, thy consul sole, consol'd thy doom.”
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 fatally divine,
Which is inscrib'd 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 sway'd the state
Of Athens, found a more propitious fate.
Whom, born beneath a boding horoscope,
His sire, the blear-ey'd Vulcan of a shop,
From Mars's forge, sent to Minerva's schools,
To learn th' 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-fall'n 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;
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 chase of fame, by few pursu'd, 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 Hapnibal within the balance lay; And tell how many pounds his ashes weigh;
Whom Afric was not able to contain,
Whose length runs level with th' 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 Pyrenæans 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 head-long 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 display'd."
Ask what a face belong'd to his high fame;
His picture scarcely would deserve a frame:
A sign-post dauber would disdain to paint
The one-ey'd hero on his elephant.
Now what's his end, O charming glory! say
What rare fifth act to crown his huffing play?
In one deciding battle overcome,
He flies, is banish'd from his native home:
Begs refuge in a foreign court, and there
Attends, his mean petition to prefer;
Repuls'd by surly grooms, who wait before
The sleeping tyrant's interdicted door.
[sign'd, What wondrous sorts of death has Heaven deDistinguish'd from the herd of human kind, For so untam'd, so turbulent a mind! Nor swords at hand, nor hissing darts afar, Are doom'd 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 suffic'd not Alexander's mind; Coop'd up, he seem'd in earth and seas confin'd: And, struggling, stretch'd his restless limbs about The narrow globe, to find a passage out. Yet, enter'd in' the brick-built town, he try'd 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,
Cut from the continent, and sail'd about;
Seas hid with navies, chariots passing o'er
The channel, on a bridge from shore to sbore:
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 browsy 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 Folian prison under ground);
What god so mean, ev'n he who points the way,
So merciless a tyrant to obey!
But how return'd he, let us ask again?
In a poor skiff he pass'd the bloody main,
Chok'd with the slaughter'd bodies of his train
For fame he pray'd, but let th' event declare
He had no mighty pena'worth of his prayer.
"Jove grant ure length of life, and years good
Heap on my bended 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,
Deform'd, unfeatur'd, and a skin of buff.
A stitch-fall'n cheek, that hangs below the jaw;
Such wrinkles, as a skilful hand would draw
For an old grandam 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 unarm'd to mumble meat in vain.
Besides th' eternal drivel, that supplies
The dropping beard, from nostrils, mouth and eyes.
His wife and children loath him, and what's worse,
Himself does his offensive carrion curse!
Flatterers forsake him too; for who would kill
Himself, to be remember'd in a will?
His taste not only pall'd to wine and meat,
But to the relish of a nobler treat.
Those senses lost, behold a new defeat,
The soul dislodging from another seat.
What music, or enchanting voice, can chear
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' th' day, or such a lord's at hand :
The little blood that creeps within his veins,
Is but just warm'd in a hot fever's pains.
In fine, he wears no limb about him sound:
With sores and sicknesses beleaguer'd 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 rais'd the weekly bills.
What provinces by Basilus were spoil'd,
What herds of heirs by guardians are beguil'd:
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 shoulders' 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, cramm'd by others' hands;
ne, who at sight of supper open'd wide
fis jaws before, and whetted grinders try'd;
Vow only yawns, and waits to be supply'd:
ike 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 decay'd are worse! fis servants' names he has forgotten quite; Knows not his friend who supp'd with him last night. Not ev❜n the children he begot and bred; Or his will knows them not: for, in their stead, n form of law, a common hackney-jade, ole heir, for secret services, is made:
lewd and such a batter'd brothel-whore, hat she defies all comers, at her door. Well, yet suppose his senses are his own, le lives to be chief mourner for his son: Before his face his wife and brother burns; te 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 throng'd with daily biers ;
And liveries of black for length of years.
Next to the raven's age, the Pylian king
Was longest liv'd of any two-legg'd thing;
Blest, to defraud the grave so long, to mount
His number'd years, and on his right hand count;
Three hundred seasons, guzzling must of wine:
But, hold a while, and hear himself repine
At fate's unequal laws; and at the clue [drew.
Which, merciless in length, the midmost sister
When his brave son upon the funeral pyre
He saw extended, and his beard on fire;
He turn'd, and weeping, ask'd his friends, what crime
Had curs'd his age to this unhappy time?
Thus mourn'd old Peleus for Achilles slain,
And thus Ulysses' father did complain,
How fortunate an end had Priam made,
Amongst 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 inurn'd,
And by his loyal daughters truly mourn'd!
Had Heaven so blest him, he had dy'd before
The fatal fleet of Sparta Paris bore.
But mark what age produc'd; he liv'd to see
His town in flames, his falling monarchy:
In fine, the feeble sire, reduc'd 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.
At least he dy'd a man; his queen surviv'd;
To howl, and in a barking body liv'd.
I hasten to our own; nor will relate
Great Mithridates, and rich Croesus' fate;
Whom Solon wisely counsel'd to attend
The name of happy, till he knew his end.
That Marius was an exile, that he fled,
Was ta'en, in ruin'd Carthage begg'd 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 crown'd,
When he had led the Cimbrian captives round
The Roman streets; descending from his state,
In that blest hour he should have begg'd his fate
Then, then, he might have dy'd of all admir'd,
And his triumphant soul with shouts expir'd.
Campania, fortune's malice to prevent,
To Pompey an indulgent favour sent:
But public prayers impos'd on Heaven, to give
Their much-lov'd leader an unkind reprieve.
The city's fate and his conspir'd to save
The head, reserv'd for an Egyptian slave.
Cethegus, though a traitor to the state,
And tortur'd, 'scap'd this ignominious fate:
And Sergius, who a bad cause bravely try'd,
All of a piece, and undiminish'd, dy'd.
To Venus the fond mother makes a prayer,
That all her sons and daughters may be fair:
True, for the boys á mumbling vow she sends;
But for the girls, the vaulted temple rends:
They must be finish'd pieces: 'tis allow'd
Diana's beauty made Latona proud :
And pleas'd, 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 would her fate bestow
On Rutila; and change her faultless make
For the foul rumple of her carnel-back.
But, for his mother's boy the beau, what frights
His parents have by day, what anxious nights!
Form, join'd 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:
Infus'd into his soul a sober grace,
And blush'd 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;) Ev'n with a parent, where persuasions fail, Money is impudent, and will prevail.
We never read of such a tyrant king Who gelt a boy deform'd, 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-barr'd: but both his sexes well became. Go, boast your Springal, by his beauty curst To ills; nor think I have declar'd 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 try'd 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'd-fac'd Uurival'd, shall a beauteous dame enjoy: Not so, one more fallacious, rich, and old, Outbids, and buys her pleasure for her gold; Now he must moil and drudge, for one he loaths; 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 shunn'd th' embraces of his father's wife? And was not th' other stripling fore'd to fly, Who coldly did his patron's queen deny ; And pleaded laws of hospitality?
The ladies charg'd them home, and turn'd the tale, With shame they redden'd, 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, gives advice;
Wed Cæsar's wife, or die; the choice is nice.
Her comet-eyes she darts on every grace;
And takes a fatal liking to his face.
Adorn'd with bridal pomp she sits in state;
The public notaries and aruspex wait:
The genial bed is in the garden drest:
The portion paid, and every rite exprest,
Which in a Roman marriage is profest.
'Tis no stol'n 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 depriv'd 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 lov'd ourselves but half so well!
We, blindly by our headstrong 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;
Th' 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 confin'd
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, harden'd to sustain
The load of life, and exercis'd 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 worship'd by the wise; But, set aloft by fools, usurps the skies.
THE poet, in this satire, proves, that the condition of a soldier is much better than that of a country. man: first, because a countryman, howevet 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 s heard in the court: the soldier is also priv leged 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 satre was written by Juvenal, when he was a com mander 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 recommending letter,
Or Venus, when to Mars she would p efer
My suit, and own the kindness done to her.
See what our common privileges are:
As, first, no saucy citizen should 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 demolish'd faces
A booted judge shall sit to try his cause,
Not by the statute, but by martial laws;
Which old Camillus order'd, 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 bear:
And, taking cognizance of wrongs receiv'd,
An honest man may hope to be reliev'd.
So far 'tis well: but with a general cry,
The regiment will rise in mutiny,
The freedom of their fellow-rogue demand,
And, if refus'd, 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:
But wouldst thou, friend, who hast two legs alone,
(Which, Heaven be prais'd, thou yet may'st call
Would'st thou, to run the gauntlet, these expose
To a whole company of hob-nail'd shoes?
Sure the good-breeding of wise citizens
Should teach them more good-nature to their shins. Besides, whom can'st thou think so much thy friend,
Who dares appear thy business to defend ?
Dry up thy tears, and pocket up th' 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 maul'd, 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 claim'd 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 from my bounds, Those bounds, which with possession and with prayer,
And offer'd 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 call'd; and that long look'd-for day
Is still encumber'd with some new delay:
Perhaps the cloth of state is only spread,
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 buff and belt-meu 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, impower'd to take a will.
For, what their prowess gain'd 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.
TRANSLATIONS FROM PERSIUS.
ARGUMENT OF THE PROLOGUE TO THE FIRST
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 beggerly 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.
PROLOGUE TO THE FIRST SATIRE.
I NEVER did on cleft Parnassus dream,
Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;
Nor can remember when my brain inspir'd,
Was, by the Muses, into madness fir d.
My share in pale Pyrene I resign;
And claim no part in all the mighty Nine.
Statues, with winding ivy crown'd, 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 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.
ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST SATIRE.
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.
IN DIALOGUE BETWIXT THE POET AND HIS
FRIEND OR MONITOR.
How anxious are our cares, and yet how vain
The bent of our desires!
FRIEND. Thy spleen contain:
For none will read thy satires.
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 provok'd, I must speak out, or burst.
FRIEND. Once more forbear.
PERSIUS. I cannot rule my spleen:
My scorn rebels, and tickles me within.
First, to begin at home: our authors write
In lonely rooms, secur'd from public sight;
The prose is fustian, and the numbers lame.
Whether in prose, or verse, 'tis all the same:
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 scour'd to whiteness, wear:
Next, gargle well their throats, and thus prepar'd,
A birth-day jewel bobbing at their ear.
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, ev'n the chief of Rome,
With gaping mouths to these rehearsals come,
The marrow pierces, and invades the chine.
And pant with pleasure, when some lusty line
At open fulsome bawdry they rejoice,
And slimy jest 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 learn'd say'st thou, if, thus
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.
Fine fruits of learning! old ambitious fool,
Dar'st thou apply that adage of the school:
As if 'tis nothing worth that lies conceal'd,
And "science is not science till reveal'd ?"
Oh, but 'tis brave to be admir'd, to see
The crowd, with pointing fingers, cry, That's he:
That's he whose wondrous poem is become
A lecture for the noble youth of Rome!
Who, by their fathers, is at feasts renown'd ;
And often quoted when the bowls go round.
Full gorg'd and flush'd, they wantonly rehearse;
And add to wine the luxury of verse.
One, clad in purple, not to lose his time,
FRIEND. None; or what's next to none, but two Eats, and recites some lamentable rhyme :
PERSIUS. "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, and cry me down.
They damn themselves; nor will my Muse descend
To clap with such, who fools and knaves
Their smiles and censures are to me the same :
I care not what they praise, or what they blame.
In full assemblies let the crow prevail :
I weigh no merit by the common scale.
The conscience is the test of every mind;
"Seek not thyself, without thyself, to find."
Some senseless Phillis, in a broken note,
Snuffling at nose, and croaking in his throat:
Then graciously the mellow audience nod:
Is not th' 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 worthy to appear,
That need not fish, or frankincense, to fear?
Thou, whom I made the adverse part, to bear,