« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
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 niost of his fatires. 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 fatire; which is chiefly to decry the poetry then in fashion, and the impuderice of those who were endeavouring to pass their stuff upon the world,
NEVER did on cleft Parnassus dream,
Nor taste the sacred Heliconian stream;
ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST SATIRE.
I NEED not repeat, that the chief aim of the au
thor is against bad poets in this fatire. But I mult 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 ; fome 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 stoick philosopher; and that all his moral sentences, both here and in all the rest of his fatires, are drawn from the dogmas of that feat.
SA T I R E.
In Dialogue betwixt the Poet and his friend
PER SIU s.
OW anxious are our cares, and yet low vain
Friend. Thy fpleen contain:
Perfus. This to me? Friend. None; or what's next to none, but two or three. 'Tis hard, I grant.
Perfius. 'Tis nothing; I can bear That paltry fcribblers 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 Mufe descend To clap with such, whọ fools and knaves commend: Their fmiles and cenfures 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.”