Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SATIRE: 16, by DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS



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SATIRE: 16, by            
First Line: What vast prerogatives, my gallus, are
Last Line: Sometimes be lowzy, but be never poor.
Alternate Author Name(s): Juvenal
Subject(s): Country Life; Soldiers


WHAT vast Prerogatives, my Gallus, are
Accrewing to the mighty Man of War!
For, if into a lucky Camp I light,
Tho raw in Arms, and yet afraid to Fight,
Befriend me, my good Stars, and all goes right:)
One Happy Hour is to a Souldier better,
Than Mother Juno's recommending Letter,
Or Venus, when to Mars she wou'd prefer
My Suit, and own the Kindness done to Her.
See what Our Common Priviledges are:
As first no Sawcy Citizen shall dare
To strike a Souldier, nor when struck, resent
The wrong, for fear of farther Punishment:
Not tho his Teeth are beaten out, his Eyes
Hang by a String, in Bumps his Fore-head rise,
Shall He presume to mention his Disgrace,
Or Beg amends for his demolish'd Face.
A Booted Judge shall sit to try his Cause,
Not by the Statute, but by Martial-Laws;
Which old Camillus order'd, to confine
The Brawls of Souldiers to the Trench and Line:
A Wise Provision; and from thence 'tis clear,
That Officers a Souldiers Cause shou'd hear:
And taking cognizance of Wrongs receiv'd,
An Honest Man may hope to be reliev'd.
So far 'tis well: But with a General cry,
The Regiment will rise in Mutiny,
The Freedom of Their Fellow Rogue demand,
And, if refus'd, will threaten to Disband.
Withdraw thy Action, and depart in Peace;
The Remedy is worse than the Disease:
This Cause is worthy him, who in the Hall
Wou'd for his Fee, and for his Client bawl:
But wou'dst Thou Friend who hast two legs alone,
(Which Heav'n be prais'd, Thou yet may'st call Thy own,)
Wou'dst Thou to run the Gauntlet these expose
To a whole Company of Hob-nail'd Shoos?
Sure the good Breeding of Wise Citizens
Shou'd teach 'em more good Nature to their Shins.
Besides, whom can'st Thou think so much thy Friend,
Who dares appear thy Business to defend?
Dry up thy Tears, and Pocket up th' Abuse,
Nor put thy Friend to make a bad excuse:
The Judge cries out, Your Evidence produce.
Will He, who saw the Souldier's Mutton Fist,
And saw Thee maul'd, appear within the List;
To witness Truth? When I see one so Brave,
The Dead, think I, are risen from the Grave;
And with their long Spade Beards and Matted Hair,
Our honest Ancestors are come to take the Air.
Against a Clown, with more security,
A Witness may be brought to swear a Lye,
Than, tho his Evidence be Full and Fair,
To vouch a Truth against a Man of War.
More Benefits remain, and claim'd as Rights,
Which are a standing Armies Perquisites.
If any Rogue vexatious Suits advance
Against me for my known Inheritance,
Enter by Violence my Fruitful Grounds,
Or take the Sacred Land-Mark from my Bounds,
Those Bounds which with Procession and with Pray'r,
And Offer'd Cakes, have been my Annual care:
or if my Debtors do not keep their day,
Deny their Hands, and then refuse to pay;
I must with Patience all the Terms attend,
Among the common Causes that depend
Till mine is call'd; and that long look'd for day
Is still encumber'd with some new delay:
Perhaps the Cloath of State is only spred,
Some of the Quorum may be Sick a Bed;
That Judge is Hot, and do'ffs his Gown, while this
O're night was Bowsy, and goes out to Piss:
So many Rubs appear, the time is gone
For hearing, and the tedious Suit goes on:
But Buff, and Belt-Men never know these Cares,
No Time, nor Trick of Law, their Action Bars:
Their Cause They to an easier issue put:
They will be heard, or They lug out, and cut.
Another Branch of their Revenue still
Remains beyond their boundless Right to kill,
Their Father yet alive, impow'r'd to make a Will.
For, what their Prowess Gain'd, the Law declares
Is to themselves alone, and to their Heirs:
No share of that goes back to the begettor,
But if the Son fights well, and Plunders better,
Like stout Coranus, his old shaking Sire
Does a Remembrance in his Will desire:
Inquisitive of Fights, and longs in vain
To find him in the Number of the Slain:
But still he lives, and rising by the War,
Enjoyes his Gains, and has enough to spare:
For 'tis a Noble General's Prudent part
To cherish Valour, and reward Desert:
Let him be dawb'd with Lace, live High, and Whore;
Sometimes be Lowzy, but be never Poor.





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