Page images

If then with what I have I'm satisfy'd, Grant me this Boon, kind Mercury, beside; Protect me as of old, be gracious yet, And fatten all my Stock, but that of Wit! When, fick of Town, I leave imperial Rome, And climb the breezy Heights of Tufculum, What can my leisure Hours like Satire please ? The chiding Numbers flow with careless Ease. For mad Ambition poisons not my Mind; Nor shrinks my Body at the gross South Wind, Nor do I Autumn's fickly Season dread, When 5 Proserpine makes Profit of the Dead.

6 O gentle Father of the Morning, hear, Or Janus, if that better please thine Ear; From thee the Labours of the busy Throng Commence, be thou the Prelude of my Song ! First, then, for luckless Me thou hast decreed Some Bail to give ; Urge, urge,' thou cry'st,

; * ”

thy Speed; · Let none prevent thee in the friendly Deed.' The Case requires it, I must needs obey ; Whether the wintry Sun contracts the Day In Circlet small, with Snow and Storm severe, Or raging Boreas desolates the Year. This Bail(my Bane) pronounc'd distinct and loud, I haften back, and, bustling through the Crowd, Press on the tardy; till, provok’d to Spleen, One cries aloud, What does this Madman mean?

• While

K 2

“While to Mecenas thus you hafte to pay • Your Court, you shove your Betters in the Way.' These Taunts, I own, my Breast with Transport

fill : But when I reach the high 7 Esquilian Hill, I'm worry'd with an hundred People's Prayers, Begging my Interest for their own Affairs. Rofcius,' says one, 'desires in Court you'll meet, • To-morrow in the Morning, juft at eight.' Another bawls, The Secretaries pray,

On grand Affairs, your Presence here To-day.' « I humbly beg, good Sir, you'd be so kind • To get this Warrant by Macenas fign’d.' “ I'll try to serve you,” though I tell the Man ; Urgent he answers, · If you will, you can.'

Eight rolling Years are nearly at an End, Since first Macenas deign’d to call me Friend; Oft took me in his Chariot; and, in short, Would ask important Questions of this Sort; • Pray, what's the Hour? Which in your Choice

takes place, .8 The Swordsman Syrus, or the Blade of Thrace?

The Mornings now are piercing cold and chill, * And on th' Unwary noxious Damps distill.' Such weighty Secrets as the World may hear, And safe are trusted in a leaky Ear. Yet all the while with these high Honours crown'd, Envy beheld my Happiness, and frown'd.

69 This

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"This Son of Fortune,' would the Spiteful fay, Sat lately with Mecenas at the Play, And met him in the Field of Mars To-day.' Should fome ftrange Rumour fly about the Street, I'm stopp'd and ask'd by every one I meet : · Pray, good Sir, (for you live among the Great, And can inform us,) are the Dacians beat?' 16. I have not heard one Tittle, I protest.” • Ah! Sir, you grow so close, and love to jest.' “Sir, I know nothing, as I hope to live.”

Well, Sir, but tell us, Will Augustus give "The Farms he promis'd to his martial Bands (In the Sicilian or Italian Lands?' And though I still protest, and vow, and swear, I'm quite a Stranger to the whole Affair, Amaz'd, they think me grown profoundly lly; No Mortal ever was so close as I.

Consum'd in Trifles, thus the golden Day Not without ardent Wishes steals away; 10 When shall I see my peaceful Country Farm, My Fancy when with ancient Authors charm? Or, lull'd to Sleep, the Cares of Life elude In sweet Oblivion of Sollicitude ? Oh for those Beans which my own Fields provide ! Deem'd by Pythagoras to Man ally'd ; The favoury Pulse serv'd up in Platters nice, And Herbs high-relish'd with the Bacon-Slice ! Oh tranquil Nights in pleafing Converse spent, Ambrofial Suppers that might Gods content!

K 3


When with my chosen Friends (delicious Treat!)
Before the Houshold Deities we eat;
The Slaves themselves regale on choiceft Meat.
Free from 11 mad Laws, we fit reclin'd at Ease,
And drink as much, or little, as we please.
Some quaff large Bumpers that expand the Soul,
And some grow mellow with a moderate Bowl.
12 We never talk of this Man's House or Vill,
Or whether 13 Lepas dances well or ill;
But of those Duties which ourselves we owe,
And which ’tis quite a Scandal not to know:
As whether Wealth or Virtue can impart
The truest Pleasure to the human Heart :
What ihould direct us in our Choice of Friends,
Their own pure Merit, or our private Ends:
14. What we may deem, if rightly understood,
Man's sovereign Bliss, his chief, his only Good.

Mean-time my Friend, old Cervius, never fails
To chear our Converse with his pithy Tales:
Praise but Arellius, or his ill-got Store,
His Fable thus begins: 15 In Days of yore,
A Country Mouse within his homely Cave
A Treat to one of Note, a Courtier, gave ;
A good plain Mouse our Host, who lov'd to spare
Those Heaps of Forage he had glean'd with Care;
Yet on Occafion would his Soul unbend,
And feast with Hospitality his Friend :
He brought wild Oats and Vetches from his Hoard;
Dry'd Grapes and Scraps of Bacon grac'd theBoard:

[ocr errors]



In Hopes, no doubt, by such a various Treat,
To tempt the dainty Traveller to eat.
Squat on fresh Chaff, the Master of the Feast
Left all the choicest Viands for his Guest,
Nor one nice Morsel for himself would spare,
But gnaw'd coarse Grain, or nibbled at a Tare.
At length their slender Dinner finish'd quite,
Thus to the Rustic spoke the Mouse polite :

How can my Friend a wretched Being drag « On the bleak Summit of this airy Crag ?

Say, do you still prefer this barbarous Den To polish'd Cities ? Savages to Men?

Come, come with Me, nor longer here abide ; • I'll be your Friend, your Comrade, and your

Guide. ( 16 Since all must die that draw this vital Breath,

Nor great nor small can thun the Shafts of Death;
"'Tis ours to sport in Pleasures while we may ;
For ever mindful of Life's little Day.'
Thefe weighty Reasons sway'd the Country .

And light of Heart he sally'd from his House,
Resolv'd to travel with this courtly Spark,
And gain the City when securely dark.

17 Now Midnight hover'd o'er this earthly Ball,
When our small Gentry reach'd a stately Hall,
Where brightly glowing, stain'd with Tyrian Dye,
On Ivory Couches richest Carpets lie ;
K 4


« PreviousContinue »