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THIS fixth fatire treats an admirable common-place
of moral philosophy; of the true use of riches. They certainly are intended, by the power who bestows them, as instruments and helps of living
commodioully ourselves; and of adminiftering 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 poffeffion of them; and this is, undoubtedly, the worse extreme. The mean betwixt these, is the opinion of the Stoicks; 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 shews the lawful use of riches, but also sharply inveighs against the vices which are opposed to it; and especially of those, which confift in the defects of giving or spending; or in the abuse of riches. He writes to Cæsius Bassus liis 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 fatire.
THE SI X T H S A T I R E.
HAS winter caus’d thee, friend, to change thy feams
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 Mufe, inspir'd to fing
The beauties of the firft-created spring :
The pedigree of Nature to rehearse,
And found the Maker's work, in equal verfe.
Now sporting on thy lyre the loves of youth,
Now virtuous age, and venerable truth;
Expreffing juftly Sappho's wanton art
Of odes, and Pindar's more majestic part.'
For me, my warmer conftitution wants
More cold, than our Ligurian winter grants ;
And therefore, to my native shores retir’d,
I view the coast old Ennius once admir'd;
Where clifts on either sides 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 fays our learned Bard;
Who in a drunken dream beheld his soul
The fifth within the transinigrating roll;
Which first a peacock, then Euphorbus was,
Then Homer next, and next Pythagoras;
And last of all the line did into Enpius pafs.
Secare 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 fight, 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 nafty 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 oppos'd we see
In the same fign, 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,
Prepar'd as priest of his own rites to stand,
He fprinkles 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
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 shipwreck'd on the Brutian strand,
His riches in th' lonian main are loit;
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 relies 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 news her open d fide,
And on her shatter'd mast the mews in triumph ride.
From thy new hope, and from thy growing store,
Now lend assistance, and relieve the poor.
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 :
Nor tell me that thy frowning heir will say,
Tis mine that wealth thou squander'ft thus away ;
What is ’t to thee, if he neglect thy urn,
Or without spices lets thy body burn?
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-mens luxury:
We never knew this vain expence, before
Th' effeminated Grecians brought it o'er :
Now toys and trifles from their Athens comę;
And dates and pepper have unfinew'd Rome.
Our sweating hinds their sallads, now, defile,
Infecting homely herbs with fragrant oil.
But to thy fortune be not thou a Nave :
For what hast thou to fear beyond the grave ?