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Whose trivial art was never try'd above
The brave 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
Where Romulus was bred, and Quintius born,
Whose shining plough-thare was in furrows worn,
Met by his trembling wife, returning home,
And rustically joy'd, as chief of Rome:
She wip'd the sweat from the dictator's brow ;
And o'er his back his, robe did rudely throw ;
The ličtors bore in state their lord's triumphant
Some love to hear the fuftian poet roar;
And some on antiquated authors pore :
Rummage for fense ; and think those only good
Who labour most, and least are understood.
When thou shalt see the blear-ey'd fathers teach
Their sons, this harth and mouldy sort of speech;
or others, new affected ways to try,
Of wanton finoothness, female poetry ;
One would enquire from whence this motly stile
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 oftentation led,
When call'd before the bar, to save their head,
Bring trifling tropes, inftead of folid sense :
And mind their figures more than their defence.
Are pleas’d to hear their thick-skull’d judges cry,
Well mov’d, oh finely said, and decently :
Theft (says th' 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, he llurs his crimes :
" He robb’d not, but he borrow'd from the poor;
" And took but with intention to restore."
He lards with flourishes his long harangue;
'Tis fine, say’lt thou ; what, to be prais'd, and hang?
Effeminate Roman, shall such stuff prevail
To tickle thee, and make thee wag thy tail ?
Say, should a shipwreck'd sailor sing lis woe,
Would'st thou be mov’d to pity, or bestow
An alıns? What's more preposterous than to see
A merry beggar ? Mirth in misery?
Perfius. He seems a trap, for charity; to lay :
And cons, by night, his lesson for the day.
Friend. But to raw numbers, and unfinish'd verse, Sweet found is added now, to make it terse : “ 'Tis tagg'd with rhyme, like Berecynthian Atys, “ The mid-part chimes with art, which never flat is. “ The dolphin brave, that cuts the liquid wave, " Or he who in his line, can chine the long-ribb’d
Perfius. All this is doggrel stuff.
Friend. What if I bring A nobler verse ? “ Arms and the man I sing." Perhus. Why name you Virgil with such fops as there? ly great, and must for ever please :
Nor fierce, but awful, in his manly page;
Bold in his strength, but sober in his rage.
Friend. What poems think you soft? and to be read With languishing regards, and bended head ?
Persius. " Their crooked horns the Mimallonian
" With blasts inspir’d; and Bassaris who New
“ The scornful calf, with sword advanc'd on high,
“ Made from his neck his haughty head to fly.
“. And Mänas, when, with ivy bridles bound,
“ She led the spotted lynx, then Evion rung around;
“ Evion from woods and floods repairing echo's
Could such rude lines a Roman mouth become,
Were any manly greatness left in Rome ?
Mænas and Atys in the mouth were bred;
And never hatch'd within the labouring lead :
No blood from bitten nails those
But churnd, like spittle, from the lips they flew.
Friend. '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 barrd against a bitter flout:
Snarl, if you please, but you shall snarl without.
Expect such pay as railing rhymes deferve,
Y' are in a very hopeful way to starve.
Perfius. Rather than so, uncenfur'd let them be; All, all is admirably well, for me.
My harmless rhyme shall ‘fcape the dire disgrace
Of common-shoars, and every pissing-place.
Two painted serpents fall, 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 never fear'd the times,
But lash'd the city, and dissected crimes. -
Mutius and Lupus both by name he brought;
He mouth'd them, and betwixt his grinders caught.
Unlike in method, with conceal”d design,
Did crafty Horace his low numbers join':
And, with a fly infinuating grace,
Laugh’d at his friend, and look'd him in the face :
Would raise a blush, where fecret vice he found;
And tickle, while he gently prob’d the wound.
With seeming innocence the crowd beguild;
But made the desperate paffes when he smil'd.
Could he do this, and is my Muse control'd
By servile awe ? Born free, and not be bold ?
At least, I H dig a hole within the ground;
And to the trusty earth commit the found :
The reeds fall tell you what the poet fears,
“ King Midas has a Inout, and asses ears."
This mean conceit, this darling mystery,
Which thou think'st nothing, friend, thou halt not
Nor will I change for all the flashy wit,
That flattering Libeo, in his Iliads, writ.
Thou, if there be a thou in this base town,
ress with angry Eupolis, to frown ;
He, who, with bold Cratinus, is inspir’d
With zeal, and equal indignation fir’d:
Who, at enormous villainy, turns pale,
And steers against it with a full-blown fail,
Like Aristophanes, let him but smile
On this my honest work, though writ in homely stile :
And if two lines or three in all the vein
Appear less droffy, 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;
Point at the tatter'd coat, and ragged shoe :
Lay Nature's failings to their charge, and jeer
The dim weak eye-light, wh
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 :
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