171 pars magna Italiae est, si uerum admittimus, in qua
nemo togam sumit nisi mortuus. ipsa dierum
festorum herboso colitur si quando theatro
maiestas tandemque redit ad pulpita notum
exodium, cum personae pallentis hiatum
There’s many a part of Italy ’tis said,
Where none assume the toga, but the dead:
There, when the toil forgone and annual play,
Mark, from the rest, some high and solemn day,
To theatres of turf the rusticks throng,
Charm’d with the farce which charm’d their sires so long;
While the pale infant, of the mask in dread,
Hides, in his mother’s breast, his little head.
No modes of dress high birth distinguish THERE;
All ranks, all orders, the same habit wear,
And the dread Aedile’s dignity is known,
O sacred badge! by his white vest alone.
BUT HERE, beyond our power, array’d we go,
In all the gay varieties of show;
And when our purse supplies the charge no more,
Borrow, unblushing, from our neighbour’s store:
Such is the reigning vice; and so we flaunt,
Proud in distress, and prodigal in want!
Briefly, my friend, here all are slaves to gold,
And words, and smiles, and every thing is sold.
What will you give for Cossus’ nod? how high
The silent notice of Veiento buy?
—One favourite youth is shaved, another shorn;
And, while to Jove the precious spoil is borne,
Clients are tax’d for offerings, and, (yet more,
To gall their patience, ) from their little store,
Constrain’d to swell the minion’s ample hoard,
And bribe the page, for leave to bribe his lord.
Who fears the crash of houses in retreat?
At simple Gabii, bleak Praeneste’s seat,
Volsinium’s craggy heights, embower’d in wood,
Or Tibur, beetling o’er prone Anio’s flood?
While half the city here by shores is staid,
And feeble cramps, that lend a treacherous aid:
For thus the stewards patch the riven wall,
Thus prop the mansion, tottering to its fall;
176 in gremio matris formidat rusticus infans,
aequales habitus illic similesque uidebis
orchestram et populum; clari uelamen honoris
sufficiunt tunicae summis aedilibus albae.
hic ultra uires habitus nitor, hic aliquid plus
181 quam satis est interdum aliena sumitur arca.
commune id uitium est: hic uiuimus ambitiosa
paupertate omnes. quid te moror? omnia Romae
cum pretio. quid das, ut Cossum aliquando salutes,
ut te respiciat clauso Veiiento labello?
186 ille metit barbam, crinem hic deponit amati;
plena domus libis uenalibus: accipe et istud
fermentum tibi habe. praestare tributa clientes
cogimur et cultis augere peculia seruis.
quis timet aut timuit gelida Praeneste ruinam
191 aut positis nemorosa inter iuga Volsiniis aut
simplicibus Gabiis aut proni Tiburis arce?
nos urbem colimus tenui tibicine fultam
magna parte sui; nam sic labentibus obstat
uilicus et, ueteris rimae cum texit hiatum,
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