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The Poet's design in this Satire, which deservedly holds the first rank among all performances of the kind, is to represent the various wishes and desires of mankind, and to shew the folly of them. He mentions riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial achievements, long life, and beauty, and gives instances of their having proved ruinous to the possessors of

OMNIBUS in terris, quæ sunt a Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangem, pauci dignoscere possunt
Vera bona, atque illis multum diversa, remotâ
Erroris nebulâ: quid enim ratione timemus,
Aut cupimus? quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te

*This satire has been always admired; Bishop Burnet goes so far, as to recommend it (together with Persius) to the serious perusal and practice of the divines in his diocese, as the best common places for their sermons, as the storehouses and magazines of moral virtues, from whence they may draw out, as they have occasion, all manner of assistance for the accomplishment of a virtuous life. The tenth Satire (says Crusius in his Lives of the Roman Poets) is inimitable for the excellence of its morality, and sublime sentiments.


Line 1. Gades] An island without the Streights of Gibraltar in the south part of Spain, divided from the continent by a small creek. Now called Cadiz, by corruption Cales.

2. The East.] Aurora, quasi aurea hora, from the golden-coloured splendour of day-break,) metonym. the East.

-Ganges.] The greatest river in the East, dividing India into two parts.

3-4. Cloud of error.] That veil of darkness and ignorance which is over the human mind, and hides from it, as it were, the faculty of perceiving our






them. He concludes, therefore, that we should leave it to the gods to make a choice for us, they knowing what is most for our good. All that we can safely ask is health of body and mind: possessed of these, we have enough to make us happy, and therefore it is not much matter what we want besides.

IN all lands, which are from Gades to

The East and the Ganges, few can distinguish

True good things, and those greatly different from them, the


Of error removed: for what, with reason do we fear,

Or desire? what do you contrive so prosperously, that you 5

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Conatus non pœniteat, votique peracti?
Evertêre domos totas optantibus ipsis
Di faciles. Nocitura togâ, nocitura petuntur
Militiâ. Torrens dicendi copia multis,
Et sua mortifera est facundia. Viribus ille
Confisus periit, admirandisque lacertis.
Sed plures nimiâ congesta pecunia curâ
Strangulat, et cuncta exsuperans patrimonia census,
Quanto delphinis balana Britannica major.
Temporibus diris igitur, jussuque Neronis,
Longinum, et magnos Senecæ prædivitis hortos
Clausit, et egregias Lateranorum obsidet ædes
Tota cohors: rarus venit in cœnacula miles.
Pauca licet portes argenti vascula puri,
Nocte iter ingressus, gladium contumque timebis,
Et motæ ad lunam trepidabis arundinis umbram.
Prima fere vota, et cunctis notissima templis,

body on which we stand-sometimes means the foundation of any thing-a plot for building;-so, in a moral sense, those conceptions and contrivances of the mind, which are the foundations of human action, on which men build for profit or happiness:-this seems to be its meaning here.

7. The easy gods, &c.] The gods, by yielding to the prayers and wishes of mankind, have often occasioned their ruin, by granting such things as in the end proved burtful. So that, in truth, men, by wishing for what appeared to them desirable, have, in effect, themselves wished their own destruction.

8. By the gown, &c.] Toga here being opposed to militia, may allude to the gown worn by the senators and magistrates of Rome; and so, by meton. signify their civil offices in the govern ment of the state.-q. d. Many have wished for a share in the government and administration of civil affairs, others for high rank and post of command in the army, each of which have been attended with damage to those who have eagerly sought after them.

9. A fluent copiousness, &c.] Many covet a great degree of eloquence; but how fatal has this proved to possessors of it! Witness Demosthenes and Cicero, who both came to violent deaths;-the




former driven, by the malice of his ene mies, to poison himself; the latter slain by order of M. Antony. See KEYS LER's Travels, vol. ii. p. 342, note.

10. To his strength, &c.] Alluding to Milo, the famous wrestler, born at Croton, in Italy, who, presuming too much on his great strength, would try whether he could not rend asunder a tree which was cleft as it grew in the forest; it yielded at first to his violence, but it closed presently again, and, catching his hands, held him till the wolves devoured him.

12. Destroys.] Lit. strangles. Met. ruins, destroys

The poet is here shewing, that, of all things which prove ruinous to the pos sessors, money, and especially an overgrown fortune, is one of the most fatal

and yet, with what care is this heaped together!

13. Exceeding, &c.] i. e. Beyond the rate of a common fortune.

14. A British whale.] A whale found in the British seas.

16. Longinus.] Cassius Longinus, put to death by Nero: his pretended crime was, that he had, in his chamber, an image of Cassius, one of Julius Cæsar's murderers; but that which really made him a delinquent was his great wealth, which the emperor seized.

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