86 quid quod adulandi gens prudentissima laudat
sermonem indocti, faciem deformis amici,
et longum inualidi collum ceruicibus aequat
Herculis Antaeum procul a tellure tenentis,
miratur uocem angustam, qua deterius nec
Our birthright now is lost,
And all our privilege, an empty boast!
For lo! where vers’d in every soothing art,
The wily Greek assails his patron’s heart,
Finds in each dull harangue an air, a grace,
And all Adonis in a Gorgon face;
Admires the voice that grates upon the ear,
Like the shrill scream of amorous chanticleer;
And equals the crane neck, and narrow chest,
To Hercules, when, straining his breast
The giant son of Earth, his every vein
Swells with the toil, and more with mortal pain.
We too can cringe as low and praise as warm,
But flattery from the Greeks alone can charm.
See! They step forth, and figure to the life,
The naked nymph, the mistress, or the wife,
So just, you view the very woman there,
And fancy all beneath the girdle bare!
No longer now, the favourites of the stage
Boast their exclusive power to charm the age;
The happy art with them a nation shares,
For lo! Their patron smiles, — they burst with mirth;
He weeps, they droop, the saddest souls on earth;
He calls for fire,— they court the mantle’s heat;
’Tis warm, he cries,— and they dissolve in sweat.
Ill match’d! —secure of victory they start,
Who, taught from youth to play a borrow’d part,
Can, with a glance, the rising passion trace,
And mould their own, to suit their patron’s face;
At deeds of shame their hands admiring raise,
And mad debauchery’s worst excesses praise.
Besides, no mound their raging lust restrains,
All ties it breaks, all sanctity profanes;
Wife, virgin-daughter, son unstain’d before,—
And, where these fail, they tempt the grandam hoar:
They notice every word, haunt every ear,
Your secrets learn, and fix you theirs from fear.
Turn to their schools; —yon gray professor see,
Smear’d with the sanguine stains of perfidy!
91 ille sonat quo mordetur gallina marito?
haec eadem licet et nobis laudare, sed illis
creditur. an melior cum Thaida sustinet aut cum
uxorem comoedus agit uel Dorida nullo
cultam palliolo? mulier nempe ipsa uidetur,
96 non persona, loqui: uacua et plana omnia dicas
infra uentriculum et tenui distantia rima.
nec tamen Antiochus nec erit mirabilis illic
aut Stratocles aut cum molli Demetrius Haemo:
natio comoeda est. rides, maiore cachinno
101 concutitur; flet, si lacrimas conspexit amici,
nec dolet; igniculum brumae si tempore poscas,
accipit endromidem; si dixeris "aestuo," sudat.
non sumus ergo pares: melior, qui semper et omni
nocte dieque potest aliena sumere uultum
106 a facie, iactare manus laudare paratus,
si bene ructauit, si rectum minxit amicus,
si trulla inuerso crepitum dedit aurea fundo.
praeterea sanctum nihil est ab inguine tutum,
non matrona laris, non filia uirgo, nec ipse
111 sponsus leuis adhuc, non filius ante pudicus.
horum si nihil est, auiam resupinat amici.
[scire uolunt secreta domus atque inde timeri.]
et quoniam coepit Graecorum mentio, transi
gymnasia atque audi facinus maioris abollae.
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