Item of the Day: The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis. Translated into English Verse. By Mr. Dryden, and Several other Eminent Hands. Together with the Satires of Aulus Persius Flaccus. Made English by Mr. Dryden. With Explanatory Notes at the end of Each Satire. To which is prefix’d a Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire. Dedicated to the Right Honourable Charles Earl of Dorset, &c., By Mr. Dryden. London, Printed for Jacob Tonson at the Judge’s-Head in Chancery-Lane, near Fleetstreet. M DC XCIII. Where you may have Compleat Sets of Mr. Dryden’s Works, in Four Volumes in Quarto, the Plays being put in the order they were Written.
The Third Satyr of Juvenal, Translated into English Verse by Mr. Dryden.
Argument of the Third Satyr.
The Story of this Satyr speaks it self. Umbritius, the suppos’d Friend of Juvenal, and himself a Poet, is leaving Rome; and retiring to Cumae. 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 Inconveniencies which arise from 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 Satyr is particularly shown, in Common Places; and drawing in as many Vices, as cou’d naturally fall into the compass of it.
The THIRD SATYR.
Griev’d tho I am, an Ancient Friend to lose,
I like the Solitary Seat he chose:
In quiet Cumae fixing his Repose:
Where, far from Noisy Rome secure he Lives,
And one more Citizen to Sybil Gives.
The Road to Bajae, and that soft Recess
Which all the Gods with all their Bounty bless.
Tho I in Prochyta which greater ease
Cou’d live, than in a Street of Palaces.
What Scene so Desart, or s full of Fright,
As tow’ring Houses tumbling in the Night,
And Rome on Fire beheld by its own Blazing Light?
But worse than all, the clatt’ring Tiles; and worse
Than thousand Padders, is the Poet’s Curse.
Rogues that in Dog-days cannot Rhime forbear;
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 stopp’d a little at the Conduit-Gate,
Where Numa modell’d one the Roman State,
In Mighty Councels with his Nymphs retir’d:
Though now the Sacred Shades and Founts are hir’d
By Banish’d Jews, who their whole Wealth can lay
In a small Basket, on a Wisp of Hay;
Yet such our Avarice is, that every Tree
Pays for his Head; not Sleep it self is free:
Nor Place, nor Persons now are Sacred held,
From their own Grove the Muses are expell’d.
Into this lonely Vale our Steps we bend,
I and my sullen discontented Friend:
The Marble Caves, and Aquaeducts we view;
But how Adult’rate now, and different from the true!
How much more Beauteous had the Fountain been
Embellish’t with her first Created Green,
Where Crystal Streams through living Turf had run,
Contented with an Urn of Native Stone!
Then thus Umbricius, (with an Angry Frown,
And looking back on this degen’rate Town,)
Since Noble Arts in Rome have no support,
And ragged Virtue not a Friend at Court,
No Profit rises from th’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 Dedalus his borrow’d Wings laid by,
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.
Now, now ’tis time to quit this cursed place;
And hide from Villains my too honest Face:
Here let Arturius live, 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 farm’d Excise, and cleanse the Common-shoare;
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 pow’r can do)
Were once the Minstrels of a Country Show:
Follow’d the Prizes through each paltry Town,
By Trumpet-Cheeks, and Bloated Faces known.
But now, grown rich, on drunken Holy-days,
At their own Costs exhibit Publick Plays;
Where influenc’d by the Rabble’s bloody will,
With Thumbs bent back, they popularly kill.
From thence return’d, their sordid Avarice rakes
In Excrements again, and hires the Jakes.
Why hire they not the Town, not ev’ry thing,
Since such as they have Fortune in a String?
Who, for her pleasure, can her Fools advance;
And toss ’em topmost on the Wheel of Chance.
What’s Rome to me, what bus’ness have I there,
I who can neither Lye nor falsly Swear?
Nor Praise my Patron’s underserving Rhimes,
Nor yet comply with him, nor with his Times;
Unskill’d 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 pry’d,
Nor carry’d 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;
Maim’d and unuseful to the Government.
Who now is lov’d, but he who loves the Times,
Conscious of close Intrigues, and dipt in Crimes:
Lab’ring with Secrets which his Bosom burn,
Yet never must to publick light return;
They get Reward alone who can Betray:
For keeping honest Counsels none will pay.
He who can Verres, 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,
Be Bribe sufficient to corrupt thy Breast;
Or violate with Dreams thy peaceful rest.
Great Men with jealous Eyes the Freind behold,
Whose secrecy they purchase with their Gold.
I haste to tell thee, nor shall some oppose,
What Confidents our Wealthy Romans chose:
And whom I most abhor: To speak my Mind,
I hate, in Rome, a Grecian Town to find:
To see the Scum of Greece transplanted here,
Receiv’d like Gods, is what I cannot bear.
Nor Greeks alone, but Syrians here abound,
Obscene Orontes diving under Ground,
Conveys his Wealth to Tyber’s hungry Shoars,
And fattens Italy with Foreign Whores:
Hether their crooked Harps and Customs come;
All find Receipt in Hospitable Rome.
The Barbarous Harlots croud the Publick Place:
Go Fools, and purchase the unclean Embrace;
The painted Mitre court, and the more painted Face.
Old Romulus, and Father Mars look down,
Your Herdsman Primitive, your homely Clown
Is turn’s a Beau in a loose tawdry Gown.
His once unkem’d, and horrid Locks, behold
Stilling sweet Oul; his Neck inchain’d with Gold:
Aping the Foreigners, in ev’ry Dress;
Which, bought at greater cost, becomes him less.
Mean time they wisely leave their Native Land,
From Sycion, Samos, and from Alaband,
And Amydon, to Rome they Swarm in Shoals:
So Sweet and Easie is the Gain from Fools.
Poor Refugies at first, they purchase here:
Ans, soon as Denizen’d, they domineer.
Grow to the Great, a flatt’ring Servile Rout:
Work themselves inward, and their Patrons out.
Quick Witted, Brazen-fac’d, 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 Heav’n, to Heav’n he goes.
In short, no Scythian, Moor, or Thracian Born,
But in that Town which Arms and Arts adorn.
Shall he be plac’d above me at the Board,
In Purple Cloath’d, and lolling like a Lord?
Shall he before me sign, whom t’other Day
A small-craft Vessel hither did convey;
Where, stow’d with Prunes, and rotten Figs, he lay?
How little is the Priviledge become
Of being born a Citizen of Rome! […]
Item of the Day: Junius’ Letters (1772)
Full Title: The Letters of Junius. Vol. I. London: Printed for Henry Sampson Woodfall, in Pater Noster Row. MDCCLXXII. *
To Sir William Draper, Knight of the Bath.
An academical education has given you an unlimited command over the most beautiful figures of speech. Masks, hatchets, racks, and vipers, dance through your letters in all the mazes of metaphorical confusion. These are the gloomy companions of a disturbed imagination; the melancholy madness of poetry, without the inspiration. I will not contend with you in point of composition. You are a scholar, Sir William, and, if I am truly informed, you write Latin with almost as much purity as English. Suffer me then, for I am a plain, unlettered man, to continue that stile of interrogation, which suits my capacity, and to which, considering the readiness of your answers, you ought to have no objection. Even Mr. Bingley promises to answer, if put to the torture.
Do you then really think that, if i were to ask a most virtuous man whether he ever committed theft, or murder, it would disturb his peace of mind? Such a question might perhaps discompose the gravity of his muscles, but I believe it would little affect the tranquility of his conscience. Examine your own breast, Sir William, and you will discover, that reproaches and enquiries have no power to afflict either the man of unblemished integrity or the abandoned profligate. It is the middle compound character which alone is vulnerable: the man, who, without firmness enough to avoid a dishonourable action, has feeling enough to be ashamed of it.
I thank you for the hint of the decalogue, and shall take an opportunity of applying it to some of your most virtuous friends in both houses of parliament,
You seem to have dropped the affair of your regiment; so let it rest. When you are appointed to another, I dare say you will not sell it either for a gross sum, or for any annuity upon lives.
I am truly glad (for really, Sir William, I am not your enemy, nor did I begin this contest with you) that you have been able to clear yourself of a crime, though at the expence of the highest indiscretion. You say that your half-pay was given you by way of pension. I will not dwell upon the singularity of uniting in your own person two sorts of provisions, which in their own nature, and in all military and parliamentary views, are incompatible; but I call upon you to justiy that declaration, wherein you charge your ____ with having done an act in your favour notoriously against the law. The half-pay, both in Ireland and England, is appropriated by parliament; and if it be given to persons, who, like you, are legally incapable of holding it, it is a breach of law. It would have been more decent in you to have called this dishonourable transaction by its true name; a job to accomodate two persons, by particular interest and management of the castle. What sense must government have had of your services, when the rewards they have given you are only a disgrace to you!
And now, Sir William, I shall take my leave of you for ever. Motives, very different from any apprehension of your resentment, make it impossible you should ever know me. In truth, you have some reason to hold yourself indebted to me. From the lessons I have given, you may collect a profitable instruction for your future life. They will either teach you to regulate your conduct, as to be able to set the most malicious inquiries at defiance; or, if that be a lost hope, they will teach you prudence enough not to attract the public attention upon a character, which will only pass without censure, when it passes without observation.
* See previous entry on Junius for context and a biographical account at: https://18thcenturyreadingroom.wordpress.com/2006/03/06/item-of-the-day-junius-revisited-1769/
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Filed under 1770's, Political Commentary, Posted by Matthew Williams, Satire