Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SATIRE: 6, by AULUS PERSIUS FLACCUS



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SATIRE: 6, by            
First Line: Has winter caus'd thee, friend, to change thy seat
Last Line: Thy heap, where I shall put an end to mine.
Alternate Author Name(s): Persius
Subject(s): Virtue; Wealth; Riches; Fortunes


HAS Winter caus'd thee, Friend, to change thy Seat,
And seek, in Sabine Air, a warm retreat?
Say, do'st thou yet the Roman Harp command?
Do the Strings Answer to thy Noble hand?
Great Master of the Muse, inspir'd to Sing
The Beauties of the first Created Spring;
The Pedigree of Nature to rehearse;
And sound the Maker's Work, in equal Verse.
Now, sporting on thy Lyre the Loves of Youth,
Now Virtuous Age, and venerable Truth;
Expressing justly Sapho's wanton Art
Of Odes, and Pindar's more Majestick part.
For me, my warmer Constitution 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 side 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, says our Learned Bard:
Who, in a Drunken Dream, beheld his Soul
The Fifth within the Transmigrating roul;
Which first a Peacock, then Euphorbus was,
Then Homer next, and next Pythagoras;
And last of all the Line did into Ennius pass.
Secure 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 Neighb'ring Fields, and not repine,
When I behold a larger Crop than mine:
To see a Beggar's Brat in Riches flow,
Adds not a Wrinckle to my even Brow;
Nor, envious at the sight, will I forbear
My plentious Bowl, nor bate my bounteous Cheer:
Nor yet unseal the Dregs of Wine that stink
Of Cask; nor in a nasty Flaggon Drink;
Let others stuff their Guts with homely fare:
For Men of diff'rent Inclinations are;
Tho born, perhaps, beneath one common Star.
In minds and manners Twins oppos'd we see
In the same Sign, 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 sprinkles Pepper with a sparing hand.
His Jolly Brother, opposite in sence,
Laughs at his Thrift; and, lavish of Expence,
Quaffs, Crams, and Guttles, in his own defence.
For me, I'le use my own; and take my share;
Yet will not Turbots for my Slaves prepare:
Nor be so nice in taste my self 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 wou'd 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' Ionian Main are lost;
And he himself stands shiv'ring on the Coast;
Where, destitute of help, forlorn, and bare,
He wearies the Deaf Gods with Fruitless Pray'r.
Their Images, the Relicks of the Wrack,
Torn from the Naked Poop, are tided back,
By the Wild Waves, and rudely thrown ashore,
Lye impotent: Nor can themselves restore.
The Vessel sticks, and shows her open'd side,
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 Wrack
Nor beg with a blue Table on his back.
Nor tell me that thy frowning Heir will say,
'Tis mine that Wealth thou squander'st 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 Deadmen's Luxury:
We never knew this vain Expence, before
Th' effeminated Grecians brought it o're:
Now Toys and Trifles from their Athens come;
And Dates and Pepper have unsinnew'd Rome.
Our sweating Hinds their Sallads, now, defile,
Infecting homely Herbs with fragrant Oyl.
But, to thy Fortune be not thou a Slave;
For what hast thou to fear beyond the Grave?
And thou who gap'st for my Estate, draw near;
For I wou'd whisper somewhat in thy Ear.
Hear'st thou the News, my Friend? th' Express is come
With Laurell'd Letters from the Camp to Rome;
Caesar Salutes the Queen and Senate thus:
My Arms are, on the Rhine, Victorious.
From Mourning Altars sweep the Dust away:
Cease Fasting, and proclaim a Fat Thanksgiving Day.
The goodly Empress, Jollily inclin'd,
Is, to the welcome Bearer, wond'rous kind:
And, setting her Goodhousewifry aside,
Prepares for all the Pageantry of Pride.
The Captive Germans, of Gygantick size,
Are ranck'd in order, and are clad in frize:
The Spoils of Kings, and Conquer'd Camps we boast,
Their Arms in Trophies hang, on the Triumphal post.
Now, for so many Glorious Actions done
In Foreign parts, and mighty Battels won;
For Peace at Home, and for the publick Wealth,
I mean to Crown a Bowl to Caesar's Health:
Besides, in Gratitude for such high matters,
Know I have vow'd two hundred Gladiators.
Say, wou'dst thou hinder me from this Expence?
I Disinherit thee, if thou dar'st take Offence.
Yet more a publick Largess I design
Of Oyl and Pyes to make the People dine:
Controul me not, for fear I change my Will;
And yet methinks I hear thee grumbling still,
You give as if you were the Persian King;
Your Land does no such large Revenues bring.
Well; on my Terms thou wilt not be my Heir;
If thou car'st little, less shall be my care:
Were none of all my Father's Sisters left
Nay, were I of my Mother's Kin bereft;
None by an Uncle's or a Grandam's side
Yet I cou'd some adopted Heir provide.
I need but take my Journey half a day
From haughty Rome, and at Aricea stay,
Where Fortune throws poor Manius in my way.
Him will I chuse: What him, of humble Birth,
Obscure, a Foundling, and a Son of Earth?
Obscure! Why prithee what am I? I know
My Father, Grandsire, and great Grandsire too:
If farther I derive my Pedigree,
I can but guess beyond the fourth degree.
The rest of my forgotten Ancestors
Were Sons of Earth, like him, or Sons of Whores.
Yet why shou'd'st thou, old covetous Wretch, aspire
To be my Heir, who might'st have been my Sire?
In Nature's Race, shou'd'st thou demand of me
My Torch, when I in course run after thee?
Think I approach thee like the God of Gain,
With Wings on Head, and Heels, as Poets feign:
Thy mod'rate Fortune from my Gift receive;
Now fairly take it, or as fairly leave.
But take it as it is, and ask no more.
What, when thou hast embezel'd all thy store?
Where's all thy Father left? 'Tis true, I grant,
Some I have mortgag'd, to supply my want:
The Legacies of Tadius too are flown:
All spent, and on the selfsame Errand gone.
How little then to my poor share will fall?
Little indeed; but yet that little's all.
Nor tell me, in a dying Father's tone,
Be careful still of the main chance, my Son;
Put out the Principal, in trusty hands:
Live of the Use; and never dip thy Lands:
But yet what's left for me? What's left, my Friend!
Ask that again, and all the rest I spend.
Is not my Fortune at my own Command?
Pour Oyl; and pour it with a plenteous hand,
Upon my Sallads, Boy: Shall I be fed
With sodden Nettles, and a sing'd Sow's head?
'Tis Holyday; provide me better Cheer;
'Tis Holyday, and shall be round the Year.
Shall I my Household Gods, and Genius, cheat,
To make him rich, who grudges me my Meat,
That he may loll at ease; and pamper'd high,
When I am laid, may feed on Giblet Pye?
And when his throbbing Lust extends the Vein,
Have wherewithall his Whores to entertain?
Shall I in homespun Cloath be clad, that he
His Paunch in triumph may before him see?
Go Miser, go; for Lucre sell thy Soul;
Truck Wares for Wares, and trudge from Pole to Pole:
That Men may say, when thou art dead and gone,
See what a vast Estate he left his Son!
How large a Family of Brawny Knaves,
Well fed, and fat as Capadocian Slaves!
Increase thy Wealth, and double all thy Store;
'Tis done: Now double that, and swell the score;
To ev'ry thousand add ten thousand more.
Then say, Chrysippus, thou who wou'dst confine
Thy Heap, where I shall put an end to mine.




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