Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SATIRE: 3, by AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SATIRE: 3, by                
First Line: Is this thy daily course? The glaring sun
Last Line: Wou'ds wear thou wert the madder of the two.
Alternate Author Name(s): Persius
Subject(s): Schools; Students

Is this thy daily course? The glaring Sun
Breaks in at ev'ry Chink: The Cattle run
To Shades, and Noon-tide Rays of Summer shun.
Yet plung d in Sloth we lye; and snore supine,
As fill d with Fumes of undigested Wine.
This grave Advice some sober Student bears;
And loudly rings it in his Fellows Ears.
The yawning Youth, scarce half awake, essays
His lazy Limbs and dozy Head to raise:
Then rubs his gummy Eyes, and scrubs his Pate;
And cries I thought it had not been so late:
My Cloaths; make haste: why when! if none be near,
He mutters first, and then begins to swear:
And brays aloud, with a more clam'rous note,
Than an Arcadian Ass can stretch his throat.
With much ado, his Book before him laid,
And Parchment with the smoother side display'd;
He takes the Papers; lays 'em down agen;
And, with unwilling Fingers, tries the Pen:
Some peevish quarrel straight he strives to pick,
His Quill writes double, or his Ink's too thick;
Infuse more water; now 'tis grown so thin
It sinks, nor can the Character be seen.
O Wretch, and still more wretched ev'ry day!
Are Mortals born to sleep their lives away?
Go back to what thy Infancy began,
Thou who wert never meant to be a Man:
Eat Pap and Spoon-meat; for thy Guwgaws cry:
Be sullen, and refuse the Lullaby.
No more accuse thy Pen: but charge the Crime
On Native Sloth, and negligence of time.
Think'st thou thy Master, or thy Friends, to cheat?
Fool, 'tis thy self, and that's a worse deceit.
Beware the publick Laughter of the Town;
Thou spring'st a Leak already in thy Crown.
A flaw is in thy ill-bak'd Vessel found;
'Tis hollow, and returns a jarring sound.
Yet, thy moist Clay is pliant to Command;
Unwrought, and easie to the Potter's hand:
Now take the Mold; now bend thy Mind to feel
The first sharp Motions of the Forming Wheel.
But thou hast Land; a Country Seat, secure
By a just Title; costly Furniture;
A Fuming-Pan thy Lares to appease:
What need of Learning when a Man's at ease?
If this be not enough to swell thy Soul,
Then please thy Pride, and search the Herald's Roll,
Where thou shalt find thy famous Pedigree
Drawn from the Root of some old Thuscan Tree;
And thou, a Thousand off, a Fool of long Degree;
Who, clad in Purple, canst thy Censor greet;
And, loudly, call him Cousin, in the Street.
Such Pageantry be to the People shown;
There boast thy Horse's Trappings, and thy own:
I know thee to thy Bottom; from within
Thy shallow Centre, to thy outmost Skin:
Dost thou not blush to live so like a Beast,
So trim, so dissolute, so loosely drest?
But 'tis in vain: The Wretch is drench'd too deep;
His Soul is stupid, and his Heart asleep;
Fatten'd in Vice; so callous, and so gross,
He sins, and sees not; senseless of his Loss.
Down goes the Wretch at once, unskill'd to swim,
Hopeless to bubble up, and reach the Water's Brim.
Great Father of the Gods, when, for our Crimes,
Thou send'st some heavy Judgment on the Times;
Some Tyrant-King, the Terrour of his Age,
The Type, and true Vicegerent of thy Rage;
Thus punish him: Set Virtue in his Sight,
With all her Charms adorn'd; with all her Graces bright:
But set her distant, make him pale to see
His Gains out-weigh'd by lost Felicity!
Sicilian Tortures and the Brazen Bull,
Are Emblems, rather than express the Full
Of what he feels: Yet what he fears, is more:
The Wretch, who sitting at his plenteous Board,
Look'd up, and view'd on high the pointed Sword
Hang o'er his Head, and hanging by a Twine,
Did with less Dread, and more securely Dine.
Ev'n in his Sleep he starts, and fears the Knife,
And, trembling, in his Arms, takes his Accomplice Wife:
Down, down he goes; and from his Darling-Friend
Conceals the Woes his guilty Dreams portend.
When I was young, I, like a lazy Fool,
Wou'd blear my Eyes with Oyl to stay from School:
Averse from Pains, and loath to learn the Part
Of Cato, dying with a dauntless Heart:
Though much my Master that stern Virtue prais'd,
Which, o'er the Vanquisher, the Vanquish'd rais'd;
And my pleas'd Father came, with Pride, to see
His Boy defend the Roman Liberty.
But then my Study was to Cog the Dice,
And dext'rously to throw the lucky Sice:
To shun Ames-Ace, that swept my Stakes away;
And watch the Box, for fear they shou'd convey
False Bones, and put upon me in the Play.
Careful, besides, the Whirling Top to whip,
And drive her giddy, till she fell asleep.
Thy Years are ripe, nor art thou yet to learn
What's good or Ill, and both their Ends discern:
Thou, in the Stoick Porch, severely bred,
Hast heard the Dogma's of great Zeno read:
Where on the Walls, by Polignotus Hand,
The Conquer'd Medians in Trunk-Breeches stand:
Where the Shorn Youth to Midnight-Lectures rise,
Rous'd from their Slumbers, to be early wise:
Where the coarse Cake, and homely Husks of Beans,
From pamp'ring Riot the young Stomach weans:
And where the Samian Y directs thy Steps to run
To Virtue's Narrow Steep, and Broad-way Vice to shun.
And yet thou snor'st; thou draw'st thy Drunken Breath,
Sour with Debauch; and sleep'st the Sleep of Death.
Thy Chaps are fallen, and thy Frame dis-joy'd:
Thy Body as dissolv'd as is thy Mind.
Hast thou not, yet, propos'd some certain End,
To which thy Life, thy ev'ry Act may tend?
Hast thou no Mark, at which to bend thy Bow?
Or like a Boy pursu'st the Carrion Crow
With Pellets, and with Stones from Tree to Tree:
A fruitless Toil, and livest Extempore?
Watch the Disease in time: For, when within
The Dropsy rages, and extends the Skin,
In vain for Hellebore the patient Cries,
And Fees the Doctor; but too late is wise:
Too late, for Cure, he proffers half his Wealth:
Conquest and Guibbons cannot give him Health.
Learn Wretches; learn the Motions of the Mind,
Why you were made, for what you were design'd;
And the great Moral End of Humane Kind.
Study thy self, What Rank, or what degree
The wise Creator has ordain'd for thee:
And all the Offices of that Estate
Perform; and with thy Prudence guide thy Fate.
Pray justly, to be heard: Nor more desire
Than what the Decencies of Life require.
Learn what thou ow'st thy Country, and thy Friend;
What's requisite to spare, and what to spend:
Learn this; and after, envy not the store
Of the Greaz'd Advocate, that Grinds the Poor:
Fat Fees from the defended Umbrian draws;
And only gains the wealthy Clients Cause;
To whom the Marsians more Provision send,
Than he and all his Family can spend.
Gammons, that give a relish to the taste,
And potted Fowl, and Fish come in so fast,
That, e're the first is out, the second stinks:
And mouldy Mother gathers on the brinks.
But, here, some Captain of the Land, or Fleet,
Stout of his hands, but of a Souldiers Wit;
Cries, I have sense to serve my turn, in store;
And he's a Rascal who pretends to more.
Dammee, what-e're those Book-learn'd Blockheads say,
Solon's the veriest Fool in all the Play.
Top-heavy Drones, and always looking down
(As over-Ballasted within the Crown!)
Mutt'ring, betwixt their Lips, some Mystick thing,
Which, well examin'd, is flat Conjuring,
Mere Madmen's Dreams: For, what the Schools have taught
Is only this, that nothing can be brought
From nothing; and what is, can ne're be turn'd to nought.
Is it for this they study? to grow pale,
And miss the Pleasures of a Glorious Meal?
For this, in Rags accouter'd, they are seen,
And made the May-game of the publick spleen?
Proceed, my Friend, and rail: But hear me tell
A story, which is just thy Parallel.
A Spark, like thee, of the Man-killing Trade,
Fell sick; and thus to his Physician said:
Methinks I am not right in ev'ry part;
I feel a kind of trembling at my Heart:
My Pulse unequal, and my Breath is strong:
Besides, a filthy Fur upon my Tongue.
The Doctor heard him, exercis'd his skill:
And, after, bad him for four Days be still.
Three Days he took good Counsel, and began
To mend, and look like a recov'ring Man:
The fourth he cou'd not hold from Drink; but sends
His Boy to one of his old trusty Friends:
Adjuring him, by all the Pow'rs Divine,
To pity his Distress, who cou'd not Dine
Without a Flaggon of his healing Wine.
He drinks a swilling Draught: And, lin'd within,
Will supple, in the Bath, his outward skin:
Whom shou'd he find, but his Physician there,
Who, wisely, bad him once again beware.
Sir, you look Wan, you hardly draw your Breath;
Drinking is Dangerous, and the Bath is Death:
'Tis Nothing, says the Fool: But, says the friend,
This Nothing, Sir, will bring you to your end.
Do I not see your Dropsy-Belly swell?
Your yellow Skin? -- No more of that; I'm well.
I have already Buried two or three
That stood betwixt a fair Estate and me,
And, Doctor, I may live to Bury thee.
Thou tell'st me, I look ill; and thou look'st worse.
I've done, says the Physician; take your Course.
The laughing Sot, like all unthinking Men,
Baths and gets Drunk; then Baths and Drinks again:
His Throat half throtled with Corrupted Fleam,
And breathing through his Jaws a belching steam:
Amidst his Cups with fainting shiv'ring seiz'd,
His Limbs dis-jointed, and all o're diseas'd,
His hand refuses to sustain the bowl:
And his Teeth chatter, and his Eye-balls rowl:
Till, with his Meat, he vomits out his Soul:
Then, Trumpets, Torches, and a tedious Crew
Of Hireling Mourners, for his Funeral due.
Our Dear departed Brother lies in State,
His Heels stretch'd out, and pointing to the Gate:
And Slaves, now manumis'd, on their dead Master wait.
They hoyst him on the Bier, and deal the Dole;
And there's an end of a Luxurious Fool.
But, what's thy fulsom Parable to me?
My Body is from all Diseases free:
My temperate Pulse does regularly beat;
Feel, and be satisfi'd, my Hands and Feet:
These are not cold, nor those Opprest with heat.
Or lay thy hand upon my Naked Heart,
And thou shalt find me Hale in ev'ry part.
I grant this true: But, still, the deadly wound
Is in thy Soul; 'Tis there thou art not sound.
Say, when thou seest a heap of tempting Gold,
Or a more tempting Harlot do'st behold;
Then, when she casts on thee a side-long glance,
Then try thy Heart; and tell me if it Dance.
Some Course cold Salade is before thee set;
Bread, with the Bran perhaps, and broken Meat;
Fall on, and try thy Appetite to eat.
These are not Dishes for thy dainty Tooth:
What, hast thou got an Ulcer in thy Mouth?
Why stand'st thou picking? Is thy Pallat sore?
That Bete, and Radishes will make thee roar?
Such is th' unequal Temper of thy Mind;
Thy Passions in extreams, and unconfin'd:
Thy Hair so bristles with unmanly Fears,
As Fields of Corn, that rise in bearded Ears.
And, when thy Cheeks with flushing Fury glow,
The rage of boyling Caldrons is more slow;
When fed with fuel and with flames below.
With foam upon thy Lips, and sparkling Eyes,
Thousay'st and do'st in such out rageous wise:
That mad Oresles, if he saw the show,
Wou'ds wear thou wert the Madder of the Two.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net