Part 3 out of 3
and reserv'd a razor to defend his own person; on the other,
Tryphœna and her attendants advanc'd, armed with nothing but their
nails and tongues; which last supply'd the want of drums in their
army; when the pilot, crying out, threaten'd he wou'd leave the ship
to the mercy of the waves if they continued the bustle rais'd about
the lust of two or three vagabonds.
This did not in the least retard the fight; they pressing for revenge,
we for our lives: in short, many fell half dead on both sides; others
withdrew, as from greater armies, to be drest of their wounds; yet
this damps not the rage of either side.
Then the bold Gito, drawing out that part of him Tryphœna most
admired, clapt a bloody razor to't, and threaten'd to cut away the
cause of all our misfortunes, but Tryphœna did not faintly send to
prevent so cruel an act: I often offer'd at my throat too, but with as
little design to kill my self as Gito to do what he threaten'd: he the
more boldly handl'd his because he knew it to be the same blunt razor
he had us'd before; which made Tryphœna very apprehensive of his
Upon this, both sides drew up their ranks, when the pilot perceiving
how commical a war it was, with much ado was perswaded to let
Tryphœna dispatch an herald to capitulate: Articles immediately
according to the custom of countries being mutually agreed off on both
sides; Tryphœna snatcht an olive-branch, the ensign of peace, that
stuck to the image of prosperity pictur'd in the ship, and holding it
in the midst of us, thus addrest her self.
"What fury did these sudden broils engage,
How have their guiltless hands deserv'd your rage?
No Paris a stol'n dame to Troy conveys,
No witch Media here her brother slays:
But slighted love must needs resenting be:
And midst the waves who is the raging he
Now rob'd of arms that can attempt my fate?
By whom is simple death so little thought?
Let not your murderous rage out storm the seas,
And dangers of the angry waves increase."
When in a great heat Tryphœna had thus said, both armies stood
still a while, and reviving the treaty of peace, put a stop to the
war. Our captain Eumolpus prudently us'd the occasion of her
repentance, and having first severely chastiz'd Lycas, sign'd the
articles, which were as follow.
"Tryphœna, you do from the bottom of your heart, as you are in
perfect mind, promise never to complain of any injury you have
receiv'd from Gito; nor mention, upbraid him with, or study to revenge
directly or indirectly any action of his before this day; and to
prevent your forcing him to an unwilling compliance, be it further
agreed, that you never kiss, coll, or bring him to a closer hug,
without the forfeiture of 100 denarii: And for better security, that
you always pay your mony, before you have your ware.
"Item, you Lycas, from the bottom of your heart, as you are in perfect
mind; do promise never to reproach, or insultingly treat Encolpius,
either in words, or gestures: But, on the forfeiture of 200 denarii
for each time you abuse him, behind his back."
Conditions thus agreed on, we laid down our arms: And, least any
grudge might still remain, wipe off the memory of all things past, in
All quarrels expir'd in universal shouts, and a sumptuous banquet that
followed, spread equal mirth through the whole company: The vessel
rung with songs, the ensigns of their joy: and the occasion of a
sudden calm, gave other diversions: Here a little artist bob'd for
fish, that rising, seem'd with haste to meet their ruin: There another
draws the unwilling prey, that he had betray'd on the hook, with an
inviting bait: When looking up, we saw sea-birds sitting on the
sail-yard, about which, one skill'd in that art having plac'd
lime-twigs, made 'em his booty. Their downy feathers, the air whirl'd
about: The other, the sea vainly tost too and fro.
Now Lycas began to be friends with me: and Tryphœna, as a mark of
her love, threw the bottom of her wine upon Gito: At what time,
Eumolpus, quite drunk, aim'd at rallery on those that were bald and
branded; till having spent his life-less stock, he return'd to his
verses; and designing an elegy on the loss of hair, thus began.
Nature's chief ornament, the hair is lost,
Those vernal locks, feel winter's blast:
Now the bald temples mown their banish'd shade,
And bristles shine o' the sun-burnt head.
The joys, deceitful nature does first pay
Our age, it snatches first away.
Unhappy mortal, that but now
The lovely grace of hair, did'st know:
Bright as the sun's or Cynthia's beams,
Now worse than brass, and only seems
Like th' mushroom, that in gardens springs.
From sporting girls, you'll frighted run,
And that death will the sooner come:
Know that part of your head is gone.
He wou'd have condemn'd us to hear more, and I believe worse than the
former; if an attendant of Tryphœna, had not disturb'd him: who
taking Gito aside, dress'd him up in her mistresses tower; and to
restore him perfectly to his former figure, drawing false eye-brows
out of her patch-box, placed 'em so exactly, Nature might have
mistaken 'em for her own work.
At the sight of the true Gito, Tryphœna wept for joy: Who, not
before, cou'd hug him with so real a satisfaction.
I was glad to see his loss so well repair'd: Yet, often hid my head,
as sensible I appear'd with no common deformity, whom even Lycas
thought not worth speaking to: But 'twas not long e'er the same maid
came to my relief, and calling me aside, dress'd me in a peruke no
less agreeable: for being of golden locks, it rather improv'd my
But, Eumolpus, our advocate, and reconciler, to entertain the company,
and keep up the mirth, began to be pleasant on the inconstancy of
women: how forward they were to love, how soon they forgot their
sparks: and that no woman was so chast, but her untry'd lust, might be
rais'd to a fury: nor wou'd he bring instances from ancient tragedies,
or personages celebrated in antiquity: but entertain us, if we wou'd
please to hear, with a story within the circle of his own memory: upon
which the eyes and ears of all were devoted to him: who thus began.
"There was at Ephesus a lady, of so celebrated virtue, that the women
of neighbouring nations came to join their admiration with that of her
own country: This lady at the death of her husband not content with
tearing her hair, or beating her breast, those common expressions of
grief; but following him into the vault, where the body plac'd in a
monument, she, after the Græcian custom, watch'd the corps, and
whole nights and days continu'd weeping; the perswasions of parents
nor relations cou'd divert her grief, or make her take anything to
preserve life, the publick officers at last, she guarding the body for
'em, left the vault; and lamented by all for so singular an example of
grief, liv'd thus five days without eating.
"All left her but a faithful maid, who with tears supply'd her
afflicted lady, and as often as the lamp they had by, began to expire,
renew'd the light; by this time she became the talk of the whole town;
and all degrees of men confest, she was the only true example of love
"In the meantime there happening a trial of criminals, the condemn'd
were order'd to be crucify'd near the vault in which the lady was
weeping o're the corps of her late husband. The soldier that guarded
the bodies lest any might be taken from the cross and bury'd, the
night after observ'd a light in the vault, and hearing the groans of
some afflicted person, prest with a curiosity common to mankind, he
desired to know, who, or what it was? Upon which he enter'd the
vault, and seeing a very beautiful woman, amaz'd at first, he fancy'd
'twas a spirit, but viewing the dead body, and considering her tears
and torn face, he soon guest, as it was, that the lady cou'd not bear
the loss of her husband: he brings his supper with him into the vault,
and began to perswade the mournful lady not to continue her
unnecessary grief, nor with vain complaints consume her health: That
death was common to all men; and many other things he told her, that
use to restore afflicted persons to that calmness they before enjoy'd:
But she mov'd anew at the comfort a stranger offer'd, redoubl'd her
grief, and tearing her hair, cast it on the body that lay before her.
"The souldier however did not withdraw, but with the like invitations
offer'd her somewhat to eat, till her maid o'recome, I presume, by the
pleasing scent of the wine, no longer cou'd resist the soldier's
courtesie. When refresht with the entertainment she began to join her
perswasions to win her lady; 'and what advantage,' began she, 'wou'd
you reap in starving your self? in burying your self alive? What
wou'd it signifie to anticipate your fate?'
"'D'ye think departed souls will value it?'
"'Will you, madam, in spite of Fate, revive your husband? Or will you
shake off these vain complaints, the marks of our sex's weakness, and
enjoy the world while you may? The very body that lyes there might
make you envy life. We don't unwillingly obey when we're commanded to
eat or live.' The lady now dry with so long fasting, suffer'd her self
to be o'recome; nor was she less pleas'd with her entertainment, than
her maid, that first surrendered. You know with what thoughts
encouraging meats inspire young persons. With the same charms our
souldier had won her to be in love with life, he addrest himself as a
lover; nor did his person appear less agreeable to the chaste lady,
than his conversation; and the maid, to raise her opinion of him, thus
apply'd her self:
"And arm'd with pleasing love dare you ingage,
E're you consider in whose tents you are?"
"To make short; nor even in this cou'd the lady deny him any thing:
Thus our victorious souldier succeeded in both; she receiv'd his
imbraces; not only that night they struck up the bargain, but the next
and third day: Having shut the door of the vault, that if any of her
acquaintances or strangers had come out of curiosity to see her, they
might have believ'd the most chaste of all women, had expir'd on the
body of her husband. Our souldier was so taken with his beautiful
mistress, and the privacy of injoying her, that the little money he
was master of, he laid out for her entertainment, and, as soon as
'twas night, convey'd it into the vault.
"In the mean time the relations of one of the malefactors, finding the
body unguarded, drew it from the cross and bury'd it. The souldier
thus rob'd while he was in the vault, the next day, when he perceiv'd
one of the bodies gone, dreading the punishment, he told the lady what
had happened; and, added that with his sword he wou'd prevent the
judges sentence; if so be she wou'd please to give him burial, and
make that place at once the fatal monument of a lover and a husband.
"'The lady, not less merciful than chast; 'Nor wou'd Heaven allow,'
said she, 'that I shou'd at once feel the loss of the only two in the
world I hold most dear; I'd rather hang up the dead body of the one,
than be the wicked instrument of the other's death.' Upon which she
order'd her husband's body to be taken out of the coffin, and fixt to
the cross, in the room of that which was wanting: Our souldier pursued
the directions of the discreet lady, and the next day the people
wonder'd for what reason that body was hung on the cross."
The seamen were pleas'd with the story. Tryphœna not a little
asham'd, lovingly apply'd her cheek to Gito's, and hid her blushes:
but Lycas wore an air of displeasure, and knitting his brows, said he,
"if the governour had been a just man, he ought to have restor'd the
husband's body to his monument, and hung the woman on the cross." I
don't doubt it made him reflect on his own wife, and the whole scene
of our lust when we rob'd his vessel. But the articles he agreed to,
oblig'd him not to complain; and the mirth that ingag'd us gave him no
opportunity to vent his rage.
Tryphœna entertain'd her self in Gito's arms, pressing oft his neck
with eager kisses, and oft disposing his new ornament, to make it
appear more agreeable to his face.
At this I was not a little out of humour, and impatient of our new
league, cou'd neither eat nor drink any thing: but with side-looks
wisht a thousand curses on them both; every kiss and every look she
gave him, wounded me. Nor did I yet know whether I had more reason to
repent the loss of my mistress, or my comrade; he having rob'd me of
her; and she deluded him from my arms: Both were worse than death to
me. And to compleat my misery, neither Tryphœna spoke to me as her
acquaintance, and once grateful lover; nor did Gito think me worth
drinking to; or what's the least he cou'd, common discourse with him:
I believe he was tender of the new return of her favours, and afraid
to give her another occasion to fall out with him: Grief forc'd a
flood of tears from my eyes, and I stifl'd my complaints, till I was
ready to expire.
When Lycas perceiv'd how well, tho' in this trouble my yellow ornament
became me, he was inflam'd afresh; and viewing me with lovers eyes,
addressed himself as such, when laying aside the haughty brow of a
master, he put on the tender complacency of a friend: but his
endeavours were fruitless. At last meeting with an intire repulse,
his love turning to a fury, he endeavour'd to ravish the favours he
could not win by intreaty; at what time Tryphœna unexpectedly came
in, and observing his wantonness; in the greatest confusion he hid his
head, and ran from her.
Upon which the more lustful Tryphœna askt, and made me tell her,
what those wanton caresses meant; she was inspired with new heat at
the relation; and mindful of our old amours, offer'd to revive our
former commerce; but worn off my legs with those employments, I gave
her invitations but an ill return; yet she with all the desires of a
woman transported by her passion, threw her arms about me, and so
closely lockt me in her imbraces, I was forc'd to cry out; one of her
maids came in at the noise, and easily believing I wou'd force from
her the favours I had deny'd her mistress, rusht between, and loos'd
the bands: Tryphœna meeting with such a repulse, and even raging
with desire, took it more grievous at my hands, and with threats at
her going off, flew to Lycas; not only to raise his resentments
against me, but to join with him in pursuit of revenge.
By the way observe, I had formerly been well receiv'd by this
attendant of Tryphœna, when I maintain'd a commerce with her
mistress, upon that score she resented my converse with Tryphœna,
and deeply sighing, made me eager to know the occasion; when she,
stepping back, thus began, "If you had any sparks of the gentleman in
you, you'd value her no more than a common prostitute; if you were a
man you wou'd not descend to such a jakes." These thoughts not a
little disturb'd her; but I was asham'd of nothing more, than that
Eumolpus, suspecting the occasion, shou'd in his next verses make our
suppos'd quarrel the subject of his drollery; and lest my care to
avoid it shou'd prove no means of discovering it.
When I was contriving how to prevent his suspicion, Eumolpus himself
came in, already acquainted with what was done; for Tryphœna had
communicated her grief to Gito, and endeavour'd at his cost to
compensate the injury I had offer'd her. Upon which Eumolpus was on
fire, and the more, because her wantonness was an open breach of the
articles she had sign'd.
When the old doctor saw me, pitying my misfortune, he desir'd to know
the whole scene from my self; I freely told him of the gamesomeness of
the lewd Lycas, and Tryphœna's lustful assault, that he was already
well inform'd of; upon which, in a solemn oath, he swore to vindicate
our cause, and that Heaven was too just to suffer so many crimes to go
While we were thus ingag'd a storm arose; now thick clouds, and th'
inrag'd flood eclypst the day, the seamen fly to their posts as fast
as fear cou'd make 'em; and, pulling down the sails, leave the vessel
to the mercy of the tempest; for the uncertain winds made them
hopeless of any direct course; nor did the pilot know which way to
steer; sometimes the unguided ship was forc'd on the coast of Sicily,
often by contrary winds 'twas tost near Italy; and what was more
dangerous than all, on a sudden the gathering clouds spread such
horrid darkness all around, that the pilot cou'd not see over the
fore-castle; upon which all despair'd of safety; when Lycas threw
himself before me, and lifting up his trembling hands, "I beseech you
Encolpius," began he, "assist the distress'd, that is restore the
sacred vest and timbrel you took from the image of the goddess Isis;
be merciful as you are wont.'' At what time a whirlwind snatcht him
up, and threw him howling midst the flood, and soon a spiteful wave
just shew'd him us, and drew him back again.
Tryphœna, hastily taken up by her faithful attendants, and plac'd
with her chief goods in the skiff, avoided a most certain death.
I, lockt in Gito's arms, not without tears, cry'd out, "And this we
have merited of Heaven, that only death should joyn us; but even now I
fear fortune will be against it; for see the waves threaten to
o'erturn the vessel; and now the tempest comes to burst the lov'd
bands that unite us; therefore if you really love Encolpius, let's
kiss while we may, and snatch this last joy even in spite of our
When I had thus said, Gito threw off his mantle, and getting under
mine, thrust his head out at top to reach my lips; but that the most
malicious wave might not ravish us asunder, he girt himself to me with
the thong that bound his wallet; and "'tis some comfort," said he, "to
think that by this the sea will bear us longer e're it can divorce us
from each other's arms. Or, if in compassion it shou'd throw us on
the same shore, either the next that passes by wou'd give us a
monument of stone, that by the common laws of humanity he wou'd cast
upon us; or at least the angry waves, that seem to conspire our
separation, wou'd unwittingly bury us in one grave, with the sand
their rage wou'd vomit up." I was satisfy'd with my chain, and, as on
my death-bed, did now contentedly expect the coming hour.
In the mean time the tempest, acting the decrees of Fate, had rent all
the rigging from the vessel; no mast, no rudder left, not a rope or
plank, but an awkward shapeless body of a ship tost up and down the
The fisher-men that inhabited the sea-side, expecting a booty, in all
haste put out with their boats; but when they saw those in the vessel
that cou'd defend their own; they chang'd their design of pillaging to
After a salute on both sides, unwonted murmurs, lilre that of some
beast, labouring to get out, proceeded from beneath the master's
cabin; upon which, following the sound, we found Eumolpus sitting
alone, and in his hand a large scroll of paper that he was filling,
even to the margent, with verses; we all were amaz'd to see a man
amuse himself with poetry, at a time when he had reason to think each
minute wou'd be his last, and having drawn him, malcing a great noise,
from his hole, we endeavour'd to recover him from his frenzy; but he
was in such a heat to be disturb'd, that "'Sdeath," said he, "let me
make an end of this couplet, it finishes the poem;" on which I took
hold of the mad man, and order'd the still murmuring poet to be hall'd
When with some trouble we had got him on shore, we very pensively
enter'd one of the fishermen's huts, and howe're we feasted on our
meats the sea had corrupted, we had no comfortable night of 't.
The next day, as we were proposing how to bestow our selves, we
discover'd an human body floating on a little wave that made to shore:
I stood still concern'd, and began with more diligence to see, if what
was presented to our view was real.
When, finding it to be a man's: and "who knows," I cry'd out, "but
this wretch's wife, in some part of the world, secure at home, may
expect his coming; or perhaps a son, ignorant of the fatal storm, may
wait the wisht arrival of his father; who with so many kisses seal'd
his unwilling parting: These are our great designs! vain mortals swell
with promising hopes, yet there's the issue of them all! see the
mighty nothing how it's tost!"
When I had thus bemoan'd the wretch, as one unknown, the sea cast him
on land with his face, not much disfigur'd, toward Heaven; upon which
I made up to it, and easily knew that the but now terrible and
implacable Lycas was lying at my feet.
I could not restrain my tears; but, beating my breast, "Now where's,"
said I, "your rage? where your unruly passions? now you're expos'd a
prey to fish and beasts; and the poor shipwrackt wretch, with all his
boasted power, now has not one plank of the great ship he proudly
call'd his own. After this, let mortals flatter themselves with
golden dreams, let the weary miser heap up ill-got wealth for many
years; 'twas but yesterday this lifeless thing was priding in its
riches, and had fixt the very day he thought to return. How short,
alas! eyes the poor wretch of his design! but 'tis not the sea only we
should fear: one the wars deceive; another by some accidental ruin,
even at the altar, meets a grave; third by a fall in running
anticipates his arrival to the goal; eating oft kills the greedy; and
abstinence the temperate. If we rightly consider it in this sea of
life we may be shipwrackt every where; but we vainly lament the want
of burial to a wretch that's drowned; as if it concern'd the perishing
carcass, whether flames, worms, or fishes were its cannibals.
Whatever way you are consum'd, the end of all 's the same. But fish,
they object, will tear their bodies; as if their teeth were less
gentle than the flames; a punishment that we believe is the highest we
can inflict on slaves that have provok'd us; therefore what madness is
't to trouble our lives with the cares of our burial after we're dead;
when the best of us may meet the fate he vainly strives with so much
diligence to avoid?"
After these reflections, we perform'd the last office for the dead,
and tho' his enemies, honour'd him with a funeral pile; but while
Eumolpus was making an epitaph, his eyes roam'd here and there, to
find an image that might raise his fancy.
When we had willingly acquitted our selves of this piece of humanity
to Lycas, we pursu'd our design'd journey, and all in a sweat soon.
reacht the head of a neighbouring hill, from whence we discovered a
town seated on the top of a high mountain; we did not know it, till a
shepherd inform'd us 'twas Crotona; the most ancient and once most
flourishing city of Italy; when we enquir'd of him what sort of people
inhabited this renown'd place, and what kind of commerce they chiefly
maintain'd, since they were impoverish'd by so many wars?
"Gentlemen," said he, "if you have designs of trading, you must go
another way; but if you're of the admir'd sort of men, that have the
thriving qualifications of lying and cheating, you're in the direct
path to business; for in this city no learning flourisheth, eloquence
has not a room here; temperance, good manners, nor any virtue can meet
a reward; assure your selves of finding but two sorts of men, and they
are the cheated, and those that cheat. A father takes no care of his
children, because the having of heirs is such a mark of infamy, that
he who is known in that circumstance, dares not appear at any publick
game or show, is deny'd all publick priviledges, and only herds among
those that all men piss upon. But single men, who have no tyes of
nature that oblige the disposal of their wealth, are caress'd by all,
and have the greatest honours confer'd on 'em; they are the only
valorous, the only brave; nay, and only innocent too. You're going to
a city," added he, "like a field in a plague-time, where you can
observe nothing but one man devouring another, as crows dead
The prudent Eumolpus, as a thing so surprizingly new, began to be
thoughtful, and confest that way to riches did not displease him. I
believ'd it the effect of a poetick gaiety, that had not left his
years. When, "I wish," continued he, "I cou'd maintain a greater
figure, as well in habit as attendants, 'twou'd give a better colour
to my pretences: By Hercules, I'd throw by the wallet, and soon
advance all our fortunes."
Promising therefore to supply his wants, "we have with us," said I,
"the sacred vest of Isis, and all the booty we made at Lycurgus's
village; and you have given me such hopes, Eumolpus," added I, "that
were the goddess her self in my power, I'd pawn her for money to carry
on the design."
Upon which, said Eumolpus, "why delay we the bringing of our hands in
use? and if you like the proposal let me be called your master."
None e're condemned a project that was no charge to him; therefore to
be true to his interests, we engag'd in an oath before we wou'd
discover the cheat to suffer ten thousand racks; and thus like
free-born gladiators selling our liberty, we religiously devoted both
soul and body to our new master.
After the solemn ceremonies of our oath were ended; like slaves, at a
distance, we salute the master of our own making. When beginning to
exercise his authority, he commanded us to report that our ancient
lord (meaning him) griev'd at the loss of a son, who was a great
orator and comfort to his age, was unhappily forc'd to quit the place
of his abode, lest the daily salutes of those that expected preferment
under him, or visits of his companions, might be the continual
occasions of tears; and the late shipwrack had added to his grief,
having lost to the value of twenty thousand crowns; tho' he was not so
much concern'd at the loss of his money, as of his large retinue;
that, he fear'd, would make them not proportion their thoughts to his
greatness; and to add, that our lord had mortgages on half the estates
in Africa, and mighty sums at use on personal security; and cou'd
raise of his own gladiators, disperst about Numidia, a force able to
After this, that his actions might agree with his condition, 'twas
concluded necessary to wear an air of discontent; that he should with
a stately stiffness, like quality, often cough, and spit about the
room; that his words might come the more faintly from him; that in the
eye of the world he shou'd refuse to eat or drink; ever talking of
riches, and sometimes, to confirm their belief, shou'd break into
these words; Strange that such or such a seat shou'd disappoint my
expectation, that us'd to be blest with so large an increase! And
that nothing might be wanting to compleat the humour, as often as he
had occasion to call any of us, he shou'd use one name for another;
that it might easily appear how mindful the lord was even of those
servants he had left in Africk.
Matters thus order'd, having, as all that wou'd thrive in the world,
implor'd the assistance of Heaven, we began our march, but both Gito
did not like his new slavery, and Eumolpus's hir'd servant, bearing
most of our baggage, in a little time beginning to be uneasie in his
service, wou'd often rest his burden; and with ten thousand wry looks,
and as many curses for our going so fast, at last swore he would
either leave his charge, or go quite away with 't. "'Sdeath," said
he, "d'ye think I'm a pack-horse, or a dray, that you load me thus? I
was hir'd for a man, not a horse; nor am I less a gentleman by birth
than any of you all; tho' my father left me in a mean condition." Nor
content with reproaches, but getting before us, he lift up one leg,
and, venturing his choler at the wrong end, filled our nostrils with a
Gito mockt his humour, and for every crack he gave, return'd the like,
that one ill-scent might stifle another.
But, even here, Eumolpus returning to his old humour: "Young men,"
began he, "this poetry deceives many; for not only every one that is
able to give a verse its numbers, and spin out his feble sence in a
long train of words, has the vanity to think himself inspir'd; but
pleaders at the bar, when they wou'd give themselves a loose from
business, apply themselves to poetry, as an entertainment without
trouble; believing it easier to compile a poem than maintain a
controversie, adorn'd with a few florid sentences. But neither will a
generous spirit affect the empty sound of words; nor can a mind,
unless enricht with learning, be deliver'd of a birth of poetry; there
must be the purity of language, no porterly expression, or meanness,
as I may call it, of words is to be admitted; but a stile perfectly
above the common, and with Horace,--
"'Scorn the unletter'd herd,
And drive 'em from you.'
"Besides, you must be strictly diligent, that your expressions appear
of a piece with the body of the discourse, and your colours so laid,
that each may contribute to the beauty of the whole. Greece has given
us a Homer and the Lyricks for example; Rome a Virgil and an Horace;
the purity of whose language is so happily correct, others either
never saw the path that leads to poetry, or seeing, were afraid to
tread it. To describe the civil wars of Rome would be a master-piece,
the unletter'd head that offers at it, will sink beneath the weight of
so great a work; for to relate past actions, is not so much the
business of a poet, as an historian; the boundless genius of a poet
strikes through all mazes, introduces gods, and puts the invention on
the rack for poetick ornaments; that it may rather seem a prophetick
fury, than a strict relation, with witnesses of meer truth. As for
example, this rapture, tho' I have not given it the last hand.
"Now Rome reign'd Empress o're the vanquished ball,
As far as earth and seas, obey'd by all:
Uneasie yet, with more desires she's curst,
And boundless, as her empire, is her thirst.
In burden'd vessels now they travelled o're
The furrow'd deep to seas unknown before:
And any hidden part of land or sea,
That gold afforded, was an enemy.
Thus fate the seeds of civil fury rais'd,
When great in wealth no common pleasure pleas'd.
Delights more out of fashion by the town:
Th' souldiers scarlet now from Spain must come;
The purple of the sea contemn'd is grown.
India with silks, Africk with precious stone,
Arabia with its spices hither come,
And with their ruin raise the pride of Rome.
But other spoils, destructive to her peace,
Rome's ruin bode, and future ills encrease:
Through Libyan desarts are wild monsters chas'd.
And the remotest parts of Africk trac'd:
Where the unwieldy elephant that's ta'en,
For fatal value of his tooth is slain.
Uncommon tygers are imported here,
And triumphant in the theatre;
Where, while devouring jaws on men they try,
The people clap to see their fellows die.
But oh! who can without a blush relate
The horrid scene of their approaching fate?
When Persian customs, fashionable grown,
Made nature start, and her best work disown,
Male infants are divorc'd from all that can,
By timely progress ripen into man.
Thus circling nature dampt, a while restrain
Her hasty course, and a pause remains;
Till working a return t'her wonted post,
She seeks her self, and to her self is lost.
The herd of fops the frantick humour take,
Each keeps a capon, loves its mincing gate,
Its flowing hair, and striving all it can,
In changing mode and dress, t' appear a man.
Behold the wilder luxury of Rome,
From Africk furniture, slaves, tables come,
And purple carpets made in Africk loom.
Thus their estates run out, while all around
The sot-companions in their wine are drown'd;
The souldier loads, neglected is his sword,
With all his spoils the dearly noble board:
Rome's appetite grows witty, and what's caught
In Sicily, to their boards are living brought:
But stomachs gorg'd, (a dearer luxury)
Must with expensive sauce new hunger buy.
The Phasian banks, the birds all eaten, gone,
With their forsaken trees in silence moan,
And have no musick but the winds alone.
In Mars's Field no less a frenzie reigns,
Where brib'd assemblies make a prey of gains.
Their servile votes obey the chink of gold,
A people and a senate to be sold!
The senate's self, which should our rights maintain,
From their free spirits, stoop to sordid gain,
The power of right by gold corrupted dies,
And trampled majesty beneath it lies:
Cato's pretence the giddy rout neglect,
Yet did not him, but him they rais'd deject:
Who, tho' he won, with conscious blushes stands,
Asham'd o' th' Power he took from worthier hands.
O manners, ruin, and the people's shame!
He suffer'd not alone, the Roman name,
Virtue and honour to their period came.
Thus wretched Rome does her own ruin share,
At once the merchant, and at once the ware,
All lands are mortgag'd, and all persons bound,
And in the use the principal is drown'd.
Thus debt's a feaver, and like that disease,
Bred in our bowels, by unfelt degrees
Will through our thirsty vitals ev'ry member seize
Wild tumults now to arms for succour call,
(For what may dare and never fear a fall.)
Wasted by riot, wealth's a putrid sore,
That only wounds can its lost strength restore.
What rules of reason, or soft gentle ways,
Rome from this lethargy of vice can raise?
Where such mild arts can no impression make,
War, tumult, noise and fury must awake.
Fortune one age with three great chiefs supply'd,
Who different ways, by the sword that rais'd 'em dy'd;
Crassus's blood, Asia; Africk, Pompey's shed;
In thankless Rome, the murder'd Cæsar bled.
Thus as one soil alone too narrow were,
Their glorious dust, and great remains to bear,
O're all the earth their scatter'd ruin lyes;
Such honours to the mighty dead arise.
'Twixt Naples and Puteoli there is,
Deep in the gaping earth, a dark abys,
Where runs the raging black Cocytus stream,
That from its waters sends a sulphurous stream,
Which spreads its fury round the blasted green,
O're all the fatal compass of its breath,
No verdant autumn crowns the fruitful earth;
No blooming woods with vernal songs resound,
Nothing but black confusion all around,
There lonely rocks in dismal quiet mourn,
Which aged cypress dreadfully adorn.
Here Pluto rais'd his head, and through a cloud
Of fire and smoke, in this prophetick mood,
To giddy fortune spoke,--
All ruling Power,
You love all change, and quit it soon for more;
You never like what too securely stands;
Does Rome not tire your faint supporting hands?
How can you longer bear the sinking frame,
The Roman youth now hate the Roman name.
See all around luxuriant trophies lye,
And their encreasing wealth new ills supply.
Golden aspiring piles here heav'n invade,
There on the sea encroaching bounds are made.
Where fields contriving as from waters sprung,
Inverted nature's injur'd laws they wrong.
So deep the caverns in the earth some make,
They threat my empire, and my regions shake;
While to low quarries others sink for stone;
And hollow rocks beneath their fury groan.
Proud with the hopes to see another day,
M'infernal subjects 'gin to disobey:
Fortune be kind, still I'le their fure dare,
Turn all your smiles, and stir up Rome to war,
And a new colony of souls prepare.
Our sooty lips no blood have taste,
With thirst Tisiphone's dry throat does wast.
Since Sylla's sword let out the purple flood,
And guilty earth grew fruitful from the blood.
The black grim god did thus to Fortune say,
Reaching her hand, the yielding earth gave way
The fickle goddess, thus returning, said,
Father, by all beneath this earth obey'd,
If dangerous truths may be with safety told,
My thoughts with yours a just proportion hold:
No less a rage this willing breast inspires,
Nor am I prest with less inflam'd desires;
I hate the blessings that to Rome I lent,
And of my bounty, now abus'd, repent:
Thus the proud height of Rome's aspiring wall,
By the same dreadful god 'twas rais'd, shall fall.
Their blood I'll offer as a sacrifice,
T' appease the ghost of their departed vice.
I already see Pharsalian armies slain,
The funeral piles of Thessaly and Spain:
Egypt and Libya's groans methinks I hear,
The dismal sound of arms now strikes my ear,
An Actian sea-fight, and retreating fear.
Make wide the entrance of your thirsty soil,
New spirits must i' th' mighty harvest toil;
Charon's too narrow boat can ne're convey,
Scarce a whole fleet will waft the souls away;
Pale furies be with the vast ruin crown'd,
And fill'd with blood, remangle every wound.
The universal fabrick of the world,
Rent and divided, to your empire's hurl'd.
She scarce had spoke; e'er from a cloud there flyes
A blasting flame, that bursting shook the skyes;
At Jove's avenging thunder, to his hell,
From the clos'd earth, affrighted Pluto fell.
When soon the angry gods their omens show,
That bode destruction and approaching woe:
Astonishment surpriz'd the darkned sun,
As if the war already were begun;
Approaching ills the conscious Cynthia knew,
And blushing, from impiety withdrew.
With hideous noise the falling mountains cleave;
And streams repulst their usual courses leave.
Ingaging armies in the clouds appear,
And trumpets raising Mars himself to war.
Now Ætna's flames with an usual roar
Vomit huge bolts of thunder in the air,
Amidst the tombs and bones without their urns,
Portending spirits send up dismal groans:
A comet's seen with stars unknown before,
And Jove descending in a bloody show'r:
The god these wonders did in short unfold,
Cæsar their ills no longer shou'd with-hold.
Impatient of revenge, quit Gallick jars,
And draw his conquering sword for civil wars.
In cloudy Alps, where the divided rock
To cunning Grecians did its nerves unlock,
Altars devoted to Alcides smoke.
The temple with eternal ice is crown'd,
Whose milky top so far in clouds is drown'd;
You'd think its shoulders in the heavens bound
Not the warm rays of a meridian sun,
Or the hot southern winds can melt it down.
So fixt with ice and snows it did appear,
That its aspiring top the globe might bear.
Here conquering Cæsar leads his joyful bands,
And on the proudest cliff consid'ring stands.
The distant plains of Italy surveys,
And, hands and voice to heaven directed, says
Almighty Jove and you, Saturnia, found,
Safe by my arms, oft with my triumph's crown'd.
Witness these arms unwillingly I wear,
Unwillingly I come to wage this war,
Compell'd by injuries too great to bear.
Banisht my country, while I make the flood,
That laves the Rhine, run purple all with blood.
While the Gauls, ripe our Rome to re-invade,
I force to skulk behind their Alps afraid:
By conquering my banishment's secur'd.
Are sixty triumphs not to be endur'd?
A German conquest reckon'd such a fault?
By whom is glory such a monster thought?
Or who the vile supporters of this war?
A foreign spawn, a mobb in arms appear,
At once Rome's scandal, and at once her care.
No slavish soul shall bind this arm with chains,
And unreveng'd triumph it o're the plains.
Bold with success still to new conquests lead,
Come, my companions, thus my cause I'le plead,
The sword shall plead our cause, for to us all
Does equal guilt, and equal danger, call:
Oblig'd by you I conquer'd, not alone.
Since to be punisht is the victor's crown,
Fortune invokt begin the offer'd war,
My cause is pleaded when you bravely dare,
With such an army, who success can fear.
Thus Cæsar spoke: from the propitious sky
Descending eagles, boding victory,
Drive the slow winds before 'em as they fly.
From the left side of a dark wood proceed
Unwonted crys, which dying, flames succeed.
The sun-beams with unusual brightness rise
And spread new glories round the gilded skies.
New fir'd with omens of the promis'd day,
Cæsar o're untrod mountain leads the way;
Where th' frozen earth o're-clad with ice and snows,
At first not yielding to their horses blows,
A dreadful quiet in dull stiffness shows.
But when their trembling hoofs had burst the chain,
And soften'd milky clouds of hardned rain;
So quick the melted snows to rivers run,
That soon a deluge from the mountains sprung.
But thus you'd think 'twere done by fates decrees,
For the flood stopt, and billows rising freeze,
And yielding waves but now are rocks of ice.
The slippery passage now their feet betray,
When soon in miserable heaps o' th' way,
Men, horse, arms, in wild confusion lay.
Now pregnant clouds, with whirling blasts are torn,
And, bursting, are deliver'd of a storm:
Large stones of hail the troubl'd heavens shoot,
That by tempestuous winds are whirl'd about;
So thick it pours, whole clouds of snow and hail,
Like frozen billows, on their armour fall:
The earth lay vanquished under mighty snow,
An icy damp the vanquisht heavens know,
And vanquisht waters now no longer flow.
Thus all but Cæsar yield; on his huge lance
The hero leaning, did secure advance.
Alcmena's son did less securely rush,
From the proud height of rising Caucasus;
Or Jove himself, when down the steep he prest
Those sons of earth, that durst his heaven molest.
While raging Cæsar scales th' aspiring height,
Big with the news, fame takes before her flight;
And from Mount Palatine approaching ills,
To frighted Rome, thus dreadfully she tells:
A numerous fleet is riding o'er the main,
The melted Alps are hid with Cæsar's train.
That reeking from a German conquest come,
And with a like destruction threaten Rome.
Now arms, blood, death, and dismal scenes of war,
Are to their eyes presented by their fear;
With dreadful thoughts of coming war possest,
A wilder tumult raigns in every breast.
This flys by land, and that the sea prefers,
And thinks his native soil less safe appears,
The souldier trusts the fortune of the wars.
Prest by their fate, thus as they fear they run.
'Midst these disorders, through th' abandon'd town:
A moving sight, wild tumults here and there,
Follow the blind impulses of their fear.
Vanquisht by rumour all, prepar'd for flight,
Their much lamented habitations quit:
Trembling, this takes his children in his arms,
And that protects his guardian gods from harm.
Scar'd from their homes, unwillingly they go,
And in their wishes stab the absent foe.
Some bear their wives, amidst ten thousand fears,
In sad imbrace; and some their aged sires:
The tender youth, unus'd to burdens, bear
Only that with 'em for which most they fear:
Some less discreet, strive to bear all away,
And only for the foe prepare the prey.
So in a storm when no sea-arts avail
To guide the ship with any certain sail;
Some bind the shatter'd mast, with thoughts secure,
Others are swimming t'ward the peaceful shore;
While with full sails kind fortune these implore.
But why do we of such small fears complain,
With both the consuls greater Pompey ran,
That Asia aw'd, in dire Hydaspes grown
The only rock, its pyrates split upon;
Whose third triumph o're earth made Jove afraid,
Proud with success he'd next his Heaven invade:
To whom the ocean yielding honours gave,
And rougher Bosphorus humbly still'd his wave.
Yet he, of empires and of men the shame,
Quitting the honour of a ruler's name,
Meanly at once abandon'd Rome and fame.
Now this to Heaven it self does fears impart,
And the mild train of quiet gods depart;
Frighted with wars they quit the impious world,
And leave mankind in wild confusion hurl'd.
Fair Peace, as leader of the goodly train,
Beating her snowy arms, did first complain;
A wreath of olives bound her drooping head,
And to Hell's dark insatiate realms she fled.
Justice and Faith on her attending went,
And mournful Concord, with her garment rent.
On th' other side from Hell's wide gaping jaws,
A train of dire inhabitants arose:
Dreadful errings, fierce Bellona there,
Fraud, and Megera arm'd with brands of fire,
And th' gastly image of pale death appear:
Disorder'd Rage from all her fetters freed,
Proudly 'midst these lifts her distracted head,
And her hackt face with bloody helmet hid.
On her left arm a target old and worn,
Pierc'd with innumerable darts was born,
And brands of fire supported in her right,
The impious world with flames and ruin threat.
The gods descending, leave their still abode,
And the stars wondring miss their usual load;
For all the inhabitants of Heaven come,
Choosing their sides, with factious fury down.
For Cæsar first Dione does appear,
Pallas and Mars with his huge brandisht spear;
Phœbe and Phœbus too for Cæsar came,
And with Cyllenius, to fill the train,
Alcides went, in all his acts the same.
The trumpets sound, when from the Stygian shade
Wild Discord raises her disorder'd head;
From whose swoln eyes there ran a briny flood,
And blood congeal'd otre all her visage stood;
Her hideous rows of brazen teeth were furr'd,
A filthy gore there issu'd from her tongue,
With snaky locks her guarded head was hung;
Rent and divided did her garb betray
The image of the breast on which it lay;
And brandisht flames her trembling hand obey.
Thus from Hell's deeps she past with dire design,
Up to the top of noble Appennine,
From whose proud height she all the world descri'd,
Earth, seas, and armies march on every side,
And bursting out at length, with fury cry'd,
Let murderous rage the world to arms inspire,
That every nation may appear a fire:
No age or sex shall from the war be free,
No subtle fear be a security.
The earth it self shall tremble, and the shock
Make mountains cleft against each other knock.
Marcellus guide the laws, Curior the crowd,
Let Lentulus inspire the warlike god.
But why is't Cæsar such slow measures takes?
Not scale the walls? Nor force th' aspiring gates,
Nor to the town, nor to the treasure makes?
At Rome, if Pompey fears th' approaching foe,
Let him to fatal Epidamnum go:
Fill all its plains with blood. Thus Discord said,
And impious earth her black decrees obey'd."
When Eumolpus, with his usual freedom, had deliver'd himself of this,
we arrived at Crotona, where having refresht our selves in a little
inn, we took up at the next day, designing an enlargement of our house
and fortune, we fell into the company of some parasitical Corbacchio's
who immediately enquir'd what we were and whence we came? When,
according to our contrivance, prudently advancing our characters, we
told the credulous parasites whence we came, and who we were. Upon
which, immediately all their fortunes were at Eumolpus's feet, and
each, to ingratiate himself into his favour, strove to exceed the rest
in presenting him.
While this flood of fortune was for a long time flowing on us,
Eumolpus, 'midst his happiness, having lost the memory of his former
condition, so boasted his interest, that he affirm'd none in Crotona
cou'd resist his desires; and that what e're crime any of us shou'd
act, he had friends enough to wipe off the guilt.
But, tho' our daily increasing riches, left my pamper'd body no desire
unsatisfy'd; and tho' I flatter'd my self into an opinion that ill
fortune had taken her last leave of me, yet not only the thoughts of
my present condition, but the means of getting to 't, wou'd oft break
in upon my joys, and bitter all the sweet. "And what," said I to
myself, "if some one, wiser than the rest, shou'd dispatch a messenger
for Africk; shou'd not we soon be discover'd? What if the slave
Eumolpus, pickt up, glutted with his present happiness, shou'd betray
us to his companions, and maliciously discover the whole cheat? We
should then be put upon the strole again, and be oblig'd with shame to
renew our former beggary. Heavens, how ill it fares with wicked
lives! they ever expect the punishment they deserve."
Going out full of these thoughts to divert my concern, I resolv'd on a
walk, but I had scarce got into a publick one, e're a pretty girl made
up to me, and calling me Polyæmus, told me her lady wou'd be proud
of an opportunity to speak with me.
"You're mistaken, sweet-heart," return'd I, in a little heat, "I'm but
a servant, of another country too, and not worthy of so great a
"No, sir," said she, "I have commands to you; but because you know
what you can do, you're proud; and if a lady wou'd receive a favour
from you, I see she must buy it: For to what end are all those
allurements, forsooth? the curl'd hair, the complexion advanc'd by a
wash, and the wanton roll of your eyes, the study'd air of your gate?
unless by shewing your parts, to invite a purchaser? For my part I am
neither a witch, nor a conjurer, yet can guess at a man by his
physiognomy. And when I find a spark walking, I know his
contemplation. To be short, sir, if so be you are one of them that
sell their ware, I'll procure you a merchant; but if you're a
courteous lender, confer the benefit. As for your being a servant,
and below, as you say, such a favour, it increases the flames of her
that's dying for you. 'Tis the wild extravagance of some women to be
in love with filth, nor can be rais'd to an appetite but by the
charms, forsooth of some slave or lacquy; some can be pleased with
nothing but the strutting of a prize-fighter with a hackt-face, and a
red ribbon in his shirt: Or an actor betray'd to prostitute himself on
th' stage, by the vanity of showing his pretty shapes there; of this
sort is my lady; who indeed," added she, "prefers the paultry lover of
the upper gallery, with his dirty face, and oaken staff, to all the
fine gentlemen of the boxes, with their patches, gunpowder-spots, and
tooth-pickers." When pleas'd with the humour of her talk, "I beseech
you, child," said I, "are you the she that's so in love with my
person?" Upon which the maid fell into a fit of laughing. "I wou'd
not," return'd she, "have you so extreamly flatter your self. I never
yet truckl'd to a waiter, nor will Venus allow I shou'd imbrace a
gibbet. You must address your self to ladies that kiss the ensigns of
slavery; be assur'd that I, though a servant, have too fine a taste to
converse with any below a knight." I was amaz'd at the relation of
such unequal passions, and thought it miraculous to find a servant,
with the scornful pride of a lady, and a lady with the humility of a
Our pleasant discourse continuing, I desir'd her to bring her lady:
she readily consented, and taking hold of her petticoats, tript it
into a lawrel labyrinth, that border'd on the walk; 'twas not long
e're she usher'd her lady to me; a beauty excelling even the flattery
of painters; words can't express so perfect a creature; whatever I
shou'd say of her wou'd fall short of what she was. Her hair spread
all o're her shoulders, and seem'd in easie curls to wanton in the
air. Her forehead oval, and that naturally inclin'd the hair to its
advantage. The proportion of her eye-brows was most correct. Her
eyes eclypst the glory of the brightest star. Her nose had an easie
turn, and mouth was such Pragiteless believ'd Venus had. Then her
chin, her neck, her arms, and feet, gently girt with embroider'd
sandals, to whose whiteness the Parian marble wou'd serve but as a
foil. 'Twas then I began to despise my old mistress Doris. And thus
"Sure amorous Jove's a holy tale above;
With fancy'd arts that wait upon his love,
When we are blest with such a charm as this,
And he no rival of our happiness:
How well the bull wou'd now the god become:
Or his grey-hairs to be transform'd to down?
Here's Danae's self, a touch from her wou'd fire
And make the god in liquid joys expire."
She was pleas'd, and smil'd with such an air, that, she seem'd like
the moon in all her glories breaking through a cloud, when addressing
her self, her pretty fingers humouring the turn of her voice, "If a
fine woman, and that but this year, has been acquaint'd with a man,"
said she, "may deserve your love, let me commend a mistress to you. I
am sensible you have a comrade already, nor have I thought it below me
to inquire it: But why not a mistress too? I enter the list on the
same bottom with your comrade; nor do I desire to engross all the
caresses; only think me deserving, and confer them as you please."
"Let me beseech you, madam," return'd I, "by all those cupids in your
face and meen, not to scorn to admit a stranger into the number of
your admirers. You'l find him most religious, if you accept his
devotions, and that you shou'd not suspect I believe the way to this
heaven, unlike all others, may be trod gratis, I present you with my
"What?" said she, "do you give him without whom you cou'd not live?
On whose lips your very being hangs? Whom you so love, as I cou'd
you." Her words were attended with such a grace at their delivery,
and the sweet sound so, charm'd the yielding air, you wou'd have
sworne some syren had been breathing melodies. Thus rapt with every
thing so amazing, and fancying a glory shin'd in every part, I
ventur'd to enquire what name the goddess own'd? "My maid, I
perceive," said she, "has not inform'd you, I am call'd Circe; I would
not have you believe tho, I bear that name, that I derive my original
from Apollo; nor that my mother, while she lay in the god's imbraces,
held the fiery steeds: Yet I shall know enough of heaven, if fate will
give you to my arms. And who knows the dark decrees? Therefore come,
my dear, and crown my wishes. Nor need you fear any malicious
disturbance of our joys. Your comrade is far enough from hence."
Upon which she threw her downy arms about me, and led me to a plat of
ground, the pride of nature, deckt with a gay variety of every
On Ida's top, when Jove his nymph carest,
And lawless in open view exprest:
His Mother Earth in all her charms was seen,
The rose, the violet, the sweet jessamin,
And the fair lily smiling on the green.
Such was the plat on which my Venus lay,
But secret our love, more glorious the day,
When all around was bright, and as the nymph as gay.
Here we prepar'd for battel, and through ten thousand kisses prest to
a closer engagement; but a sudden weakness rob'd me of my arms. Thus
cheated in her expectations, she highly resenting it, asks whether her
lips, her breath, or some ill scent of any part of her, offended me.
Or, if none of those, whether I fear'd Gito?
I was so asham'd of my self, that if there was any spark of the man
left in me, I lost it. And finding every part of me feeble, and as it
were lifeless: "I beseech you, madam," said I, "don't triumph over my
misery; I'm surely bewitcht."
So slight an excuse could not allay her resentment, but giving me a
disdainful glance, she turn'd to her maid, and, "I prithee Chrysis,"
said she, "be free with me, don't flatter your mistress. Is there any
thing misbecoming or ungentle about me? Or have I us'd art to hide
any natural deformity? I don't know how you've drest me to-day."
Upon which, e're Chrysis cou'd make a return, she snatcht a
pocket-glass from her, and after she had practis'd all her looks, to
try if any appear'd less charming than before, she took hold of her
petticoats that were a little rumpled with lying on, and immediately
ran to a neighbouring temple dedicated to Venus.
I could not tell what to say or do, but as if I had seen a vision, at
last began with horror to consider whether I had been rob'd of any
So when a dream our wandring eyes betrays,
And to our side some hidden gold conveys;
Our busie hands the inviting treasure seize,
And hid in guilty folds the fancy'd prize.
Sweating we fear lest any conscious spy,
Might search our bosom, and the theft descry.
But with our sieep when all our joys are o're,
And minds restor'd to what they were before,
Concern'd, we wish the fancy'd loss regain'd,
And with the image still are entertain'd.
This misfortune might make me justly think it not only a true vision,
but real witchcraft; for I had so long lost my strength I cou'd not
rise: My mind at last, a little freed, began by degrees to recover its
vigour, upon which I went to my lodging, and dissembling a faintness,
lay down on the bed. A little after Gito, being inform'd I was ill,
came to me, much troubl'd; but to allay his concern, I told him I was
only a little weary, and had a mind for a nap. Several things I talkt
to him of, but not a word of my last adventure, for I was afraid
because I knew he envy'd every one that had a charm for me, and to
prevent his suspicion, throwing my arms about him, I endeavour'd to
give a proof of my love; but disappointed of the expectation I had
rais'd him to, he rose very angry from my side, and accusing my
weakness, and strange behaviour to him, told me that of late he had
found my chief favours were bestow'd in another's arms.
"My love to you, Gito," said I, "has ever been the same, but now my
dancing-days submit to reason."
"Therefore," said he, laughing at me, "in the name of Socrates, I
thank you, because like him, you propose to love me: Alcibiades,
Encolpius, did not rise a virgin from that philosopher's side."
"Then," added I, "believe me, Gito, I hardly know I've any thing of
man about me, how useless lyes the terrible part, where once I was
When he found how unfit I was to confer the favours he wanted, and to
prevent suspicion, of his privacy with me, he jumpt up and ran to
another part of the house.
He was hardly gone, e're Chrysis enter'd my chamber, and gave me a
billet from her mistress, in which I found this written:
"Had I rais'd my expectation, I might deceiv'd complain; now I'm
obliged to your impotence, that has made me sensible how much too long
I have trifl'd with mistaken hopes of pleasure. Tell me, sir, how you
design to bestow your self, and whether you dare rashly venture home
on your own legs? for no physician ever allow'd it cou'd be done
without strength. Let me advise your tender years to beware of a
palsie: I never saw any body in such danger before. On my conscience
you are just going! and shou'd the same rude chilliness seize your
other parts, I might be soon, alas! put upon the severe trial of
weeping at your funeral. But if you would not suspect me of not being
sincere, tho' my resentment can't equal the injury, yet I shall not
envy the cure of a weak unhappy wretch. If you wou'd recover your
strength, ask Gito, or rather not ask him for't--I can assure a return
of your vigour if you cou'd sleep three nights alone: As to myself I
am not in the least apprehensive of appearing to another less charming
than I have to you. I am told neither my glass nor report does
flatter me. Farewell, if you can."
When Chrysis found I had read the reproach, "This is the custom, sir,"
said she, "and chiefly of this city, where the women are skill'd in
magick-charms, enough to make the moon confess their power, therefore
the recovery of any useful instrument of love becomes their care; 'tis
only writing some soft tender things to my lady, and you make her
happy in a kind return. For 'tis confest, since her disappointment,
she has not been her self." I readily consented, and calling for
paper, thus addrest myself:
"'Tis confest, madam, I have often sinned, for I'm not only a man, but
a very young one, yet never left the field so dishonourably before.
You have at your feet a confessing criminal, that deserves whatever
you inflict: I have cut a throat, betray'd my country, committed
sacrilege; if a punishment for any of these will serve, I am ready to
receive sentence. If you fancy my death, I wait you with my sword;
but if a beating will content you, I fly naked to your arms. Only
remember, that 'twas not the workman, but his instruments that fail'd:
I was ready to engage, but wanted arms. Who rob'd me of them I know
not; perhaps my eager mind outrun my body; or while with an unhappy
haste I aim'd at all; I was cheated with abortive joys. I only know I
don't know what I've done: You bid me fear a palsie, as if the diseast
cou'd do greater that has already rob'd me of that, by which I shou'd
have purchas'd you. All I have to say for my self, is this, that I
will certainly pay with interest the arrears of love, if you allow me
time to repair my misfortune."
Having sent back Chrysis with this answer, to encourage my jaded body
after the bath and strengthening oyles, had a little rais'd me, I
apply'd my self to strong meats, such as strong broths and eggs, using
wine very moderately; upon which to settle my self, I took a little
walk, and returning to my chamber, slept that night without Gito; so
great was my care to acquit my self honourably with my mistress, that
I was afraid he might have tempted my constancy, by tickling my side.
The next day rising without prejudice, either to my body or spirits, I
went, tho' I fear'd the place was ominous, to the same walk, and
expected Chrysis to conduct me to her mistress; I had not been long
there, e're she came to me, and with her a little old woman. After
she had saluted me, "What, my nice Sir Courtly," said she, "does your
stomach begin to come to you?"
At what time, the old woman, drawing from her bosome, a wreath of many
colours, bound my neck; and having mixt spittle and dust, she dipt her
finger in't, and markt my fore-head, whether I wou'd or not.
When this part of the charm was over, she made me spit thrice, and as
often prest to my bosom enchanted stones, that she had wrapt in
purple; Admotisque manibus temptare coepit inguinum vives. Dicto
citius nervi paruerunt imperio manusque aniculae ingenti motu
repleverunt. At illa gaudio exsultans, "vides," inquit, "Chrysis mea,
vides quod aliis leporem excitavi?"
Never despair; Priapus I invoke
To help the parts that make his altars smoke.
After this, the old woman presented me to Chrysis; who was very glad
she had recover'd her mistress's treasure; and therefore hastening to
her, she conducted me to a most pleasant retreat, deckt with all that
nature cou'd produce to please the sight.
Where lofty plains o're-spread a summer shade,
And well-trimm'd pines their shaking tops display'd,
Where Daphne 'midst the cyprus crown'd her head.
Near these, a circling river gently flows,
And rolls the pebbles as it murmuring goes;
A place design'd for love, the nightingale
And other wing'd inhabitants can tell.
That on each bush salute the coming day,
And in their orgyes sing its hours away.
She was in an undress, reclining on a flowry bank, and diverting her
self with a myrtle branch; as soon as I appear'd, she blusht, as
mindful of her disappointment: Chrysis, very prudently withdrew, and
when we were left together, I approacht the temptation; at what time,
she skreen'd my face with the myrtle, and as if there had been a wall
between us, becoming more bold; "what, my chill'd spark," began she,
"have you brought all your self to day?"
"Do you ask, madam," I return'd, "rather than try?" And throwing my
self to her, that with open arms was eager to receive me, we kist a
little age away; when giving the signal to prepare for other joys, she
drew me to a more close imbrace; and now, our murmuring kisses their
sweet fury tell; now, our twining limbs, try'd each fold of love; now,
lockt in each others arms, our bodies and our souls are join'd; but
even here, alas! even amidst these sweet beginnings, a sudden
chilliness prest upon my joys, and made me leave 'em not compleat.
Circe, enrag'd to be so affronted, had recourse to revenge, and
calling the grooms that belong'd to the house, made them give me a
warming; nor was she satisfi'd with this, but calling all the
servant-wenches, and meanest of the house, she made 'em spit upon me.
I hid my head as well as I cou'd, and, without begging pardon, for I
knew what I had deserv'd, am turn'd out of doors, with a large retinue
of kicks and spittle: Proselenos, the old woman was turn'd out too,
and Chrysis beaten; and the whole family wondering with themselves,
enquir'd the cause of their lady's disorder.
I hid my bruises as well as I cou'd, lest my rival Eumolpus might
sport with my shame, or Gito be concern'd at it; therefore as the only
way to disguise my misfortune, I began to dissemble sickness, and
having got in bed, to revenge my self of that part of me, that had
been the cause of all my misfortunes; when taking hold of it,
With dreadful steel, the part I wou'd have lopt,
Thrice from my trembling hand the razor dropt.
Now, what I might before, I could not do,
For cold as ice the fearful thing withdrew;
And shrunk behind a wrinkled canopy,
Hiding his head from my revenge and me.
Thus, by his fear, I'm baulkt of my design,
When I in words more killing vent my spleen.
At what time, raising myself on the bed, in this or like manner, I
reproacht the sullen impotent: With what face can you look up, thou
shame of heaven and man? that can'st not be seriously mention'd. Have
I deserv'd from you, when rais'd within sight of heavens of joys, to
be struck down to the lowest hell? To have a scandal fixt on the very
prime and vigour of my years, and to be reduc'd to the weakness of an
old man? I beseech you, sir, give me an epitaph on my departed
vigour; tho' in a great heat I had thus said,
He still continu'd looking on the ground,
Nor more, at this had rais'd his guilty head,
Than th' drooping poppy on its tender stalk.
Nor when I had done, did I less repent of my ridiculous passion, and
with a conscious blush, began to think, how unaccountable it was, that
forgetting all shame, I shou'd contend with that part of me, that all
men of sence, reckon not worth their thoughts. A little after,
relapsing to my former humour: But what's the crime, began I, if by a
natural complaint I was eas'd of my grief? or how is it, that we blame
our stomachs or bellies, when 'tis our heads that are distemper'd?
Did not Ulysses beat his breast, as if that had disturb'd him? And
don't we see the actors punish their eyes, as if they heard the
tragick scene? Those that have the gout in their legs, swear at them;
Those that have it in their fingers, do so by them: Those that have
sore eyes, are angry with their eyes.
Why do the strickt-liv'd Cato's of the age,
At my familiar lines so gravely rage?
In measures loosly plain, blunt satyr flows,
And all the people so sincerely shows.
For whose a stranger to the joys of love?
Who, can't the thoughts of such lost pleasures move?
Such Epicurus own'd the chiefest bliss,
And such lives the gods themselves possess.
There's nothing more deceitful than a ridiculous opinion, nor more
ridiculous, than an affected gravity. After this, I call'd Gito to
me; and "tell me," said I, "but sincerely, whether Ascyltos, when he
took you from me, pursu'd the injury that night, or was chastly
content to lye alone?" The boy with his finger at his eyes, took a
solemn oath, that he had no incivility offer'd him by Ascyltos.
This drove me to my wits end, nor did I well know what to say: For
why, I consider'd, shou'd I think of the twice mischievous accident
that lately befell me? At last, I did what I cou'd to recover my
vigour: and willing to invoke the assistance of the gods, I went out
to pay my devotions to Priapus, and as wretched as I was, did not
despair, but kneeling at the entry of the chamber, thus beseecht the
"Bacchus and Nymphs delight, O mighty God!
Whom Cynthia gave to rule the blooming wood.
Lesbos and verdant Thasos thee adore,
And Lydians, in loose flowing dress implore,
And raise devoted temples to thy power.
Thou Dryad's joy, and Bacchus's guardian, hear
My conscious prayer, with an attentive ear.
My hands with guiltless blood I never stain'd,
Or sacrilegiously the gods prophan'd.
To feeble me, restoring blessings send,
I did not thee, with my whole self offend.
Who sins thro' weakness is less guilty thought,
Be pacify'd, and spare a venial fault.
On me, when smiling fate shall smiling gifts bestow,
I'll not ungrateful to thy godhead go.
A destin'd goat shall on thy altar lye,
And the horn'd parent of my flock shall dye.
A sucking pig appease thy injur'd shrine,
And hallow'd bowls o're-flow with generous wine.
Then thrice thy frantick votaries shall round
Thy temple dance, with youth and garlands crown'd,
In holy drunkenness thy orgies sound."
While I was thus at prayers, an old woman, with her hair about her
eyes, and disfigur'd with a mournful habit, coming in, disturb'd my
devotions; when taking hold of me, she drew all fear out of the entry;
and "what hag," said she, "has devour'd your manhood? Or what ominous
carcase have you stumbl'd over in your nightly walks? You have not
acquitted your self above a boy; but faint, weak, and like a horse
o'recharg'd in a steep, tyr'd have lost your toyl and sweat; nor
content to sin alone, but have unreveng'd against me, provokt the
When leading me, obedient to all her commands, a second time to the
cell of a neighbouring priestess of Priapus, she threw me upon the
bed, and taking up a stick that fastened the door, reveng'd her self
on me, that very patiently receiv'd her fury: and at the first stroak,
if the breaking of the stick had not lessned its force, she might have
broke my head and arm.
I groan'd, and hiding with my arm my head, in a flood of tears lean'd
on the pillow: Nor did she then, less troubled, sit on the bed, and
began in a shrill voice, to blame her age, till the priestess came in
upon us; and "what," said she, "do you do in my chappel, as if some
funeral had lately been, rather than a holy-day, in which, even the
mournful are merry?"
"Alas, my Enothea!" said she, "this youth was born under an ill star;
for neither boy nor maid can raise him to a perfect appetite; you
ne're beheld a more unhappy man: In his garden the weak willow, not
the lusty cedar grows; in short, you may guess what he is, that cou'd
rise unblest from Circe's bed."
Upon this, Enothea fixt her self between us, and moving her head a
while; "I," said she, "am the only one that can give remedy for that
disease; and not to delay it, let him sleep with me to night; and next
morning, examine how vigorous I shall have made him.
"'All Nature's works my magick powers obey,
The blooming earth shall wither and decay,
And when I please, agen be fresh and gay.
From rugged rocks, I make sweet waters flow,
And raging billows to me humbly bow.
With rivers, winds, when I command, obey,
And at my feet, their fans contracted lay,
Tygers and dragons too, my will obey.
But these are small, when of my magick verse,
Descending Cynthia does the power confess.
When my commands, make trembling Phœbus reign,
His fiery steeds, their journey back again.
Such power have charms, by whose prevailing aid
The fury of the raging bulls was laid.
The Heaven-born Circe, with her magic song,
Ulysses's men, did into monsters turn.
Proteus, with this assum'd, what shape he wou'd.
I, who this art so long have understood,
Can send proud Ida's top into the main,
And make the billows bear it up again.'"
I shook with fear at such a romantick promise, and began more
intensively to view the old woman: Upon which, she cry'd out, "O
Enothea, be as good as your word"; when, carefully wiping her hands,
she lay down on the bed, and half smother'd me with kisses.
Enothea, in the middle of the altar, plac'd a turf-table, which she
heapt with burning coals, and her old crack cup (for sacrifice)
repair'd with temper'd pitch; when she had fixt it to the
smoaking-wall from which she took it; putting on her habit, she plac'd
a kettle by the fire, and took down a bag that hung near her, in
which, a bean was kept for that use, and a very aged piece of a hog's
forehead, with the print of a hundred cuts out; when opening the bag,
she threw me a part of the bean, and bid me carefully strip it. I
obey her command, and try, without daubing my fingers, to deliver the
grain from its nasty coverings; but she, blaming my dullness, snatcht
it from me, and skilfully tearing its shells with her teeth, spit the
black morsels from her, that lay like dead flies on the ground. How
ingenious is poverty, and what strange arts will hunger teach? The
priestess seem'd so great a lover of this sort of life, that her
humour appear'd in every thing about her, and her hut might be truly
term'd, sacred to poverty.
Here shines no glittering ivory set with gold,
No marble covers the deluded mold,
By its own wealth deluded; but the shrine
With simple natural ornaments does shine.
Round Cere's bower, but homely willows grow,
Earthen are all the sacred bowls they know.
Osier the dish, sacred to use divine:
Both course and stain'd, the jug that holds the wine.
Mud mixt with straw, make a defending fort,
The temple's brazen studs, are knobs of dirt.
With rush and reed, is thatcht the hut it self,
Where, besides what is on a smoaky shelf,
Ripe service-berries into garlands bound,
And savory-bunches with dry'd grapes are found.
Such a low cottage Hecale confin'd,
Low was her cottage, but sublime her mind.
Her bounteous heart, a grateful praise shall crown,
And muses make immortal her renown.
After which, she tasted of the flesh, and hanging the rest, old as her
self, on the hook again; the rotten stool on which she was mounted
breaking, threw her into the fire, her fall spilt the kettle, and what
it held put out the fire; she burnt her elbow, and all her face was
hid with the ashes that her fall had rais'd.
Thus disturb'd, I arose, and laughing, took her up; immediately, lest
any thing shou'd hinder the offering, she ran for new fire to the
neighbourhood, and had hardly got to the door, e're I was set upon by
three sacred geese, that daily, I believe, about that time were fed by
the old woman; they made an hideous noise, and, surrounding me, one
tears my coat, another my shoes, while their furious captain made
nothing of doing so by my legs; till seeing my self in danger, I began
to be in earnest, and snatching up one of the feet of our little
table, made the valiant animal feel my arm'd hand; nor content with a
slight blow or two, but reveng'd my self with its death.
Such were the birds Alcides did subdue,
That from his conquering arm t'ward Heaven flew:
Such sure the harpyes were which poyson strow'd,
On cheated Phineus's false deluding food.
Loud lamentations shake the trembling air,
The powers above the wild confusion share,
Horrours disturb the orders of the sky,
And frighted stars beyond their courses fly.
By this time the other two had eat up the pieces of the bean that lay
scatter'd on the floor, and having lost their leader, return'd to the
temple. When glad of the booty and my revenge, I heal'd the slight
old woman's anger, I design'd to make off; and taking up my cloaths,
began my march; nor had I reacht the door, e're I saw Enothea bringing
in her hand an earthen pot fill'd with fire; upon which I retreated,
and throwing down my cloaths, fixt my self in the entry, as if I were
impatiently expecting her coming.
Enothea, entring, plac'd the fire, that with broken sticks she had got
together, and having heapt more wood upon those, began to excuse her
stay, that her friend wou'd not let her go before she had, against the
laws of drinking, taken off three healths together. When looking
about her, "What," said she, "have you been doing in my absence?
Where's the bean?"
I, who thought I had behav'd my self very honourably, told her the
whole fight; and to end her grief for the loss of her bean, presented
the goose: when I shew'd the goose, the old woman set up such an
out-cry, that you wou'd have thought the geese were re-entring the
In confusion and amaz'd at so strange a humour, I askt the meaning of
her passion? or why she pity'd the goose rather than me.
But wringing her hands, "you wicked wretch," said she, "d'ye speak
too? D'ye know what you've done? You've killed the gods delight, a
goose the pleasure of all matrons: And, lest you shou'd think your
self innocent, if a magistrate shou'd hear of it, you'd be hang'd.
You have defil'd with blood my cell, that to this day had been
inviolate. You have done that, for which, if any's so malicious, he
may expel me my office."
She said, and trembling, rends her aged hairs,
And both her cheeks with wilder fury tears:
Sad murmurs from her troubl'd breast arise,
A shower of tears there issu'd from her eyes.
And down her face a rapid deluge run,
Such as is seen, when a hills frosty crown,
By warm Favonius is melted down.
Upon which, "I beseech you," said I, "don't grieve, I'll recompence
the loss of your goose with an ostrich."
While amaz'd I spoke, she sat down on the bed, lamented her loss; at
what time Proselenos came in with the sacrifice, and viewing the
murder'd goose, and enquiring the cause, began very earnestly to cry
and pity me, as it had been a father, not a goose I had slain. But
tired with this stuff, "I beseech ye," said I, "tell me, tho' it had
been a man I kill'd, won't gold wipe off the guilt? See here are two
pieces of gold: with these you may purchase gods as well as geese."
Which, when Enothea beheld, "Pardon me, young man," said she, "I am
only concern'd for your safety, which is an argument of love, not
hatred; therefore we'll take what care we can to prevent a discovery:
You have nothing to do, but intreat the gods to forgive the sin."
"Who e're has money may securely sail,
On all things with all-mighty gold prevail.
May Danae wed, or rival amo'rous Jove,
And make her father pandar to his love.
May be a poet, preacher, lawyer too:
And bawling win the cause he does not know:
And up to Cato's fame for wisdom grow.
Wealth without law will gain at bar renown,
How e're the case appears, the cause is won,
Every rich lawyer is a Littleton.
In short of all you wish you are possest,
All things prevent the wealthy man's request,
For Jove himself's the treasure of his chest."
While my thoughts were thus engag'd, she plac'd a cup of wine under my
hands, and having cleans'd my prophane extended fingers with sacred
leeks and parsley, threw into the wine, with some ejaculation,
hazel-nuts, and as they sunk or swam gave her judgment; but I well
knew the empty rotten ones wou'd swim, and those of entire kernels go
to the bottom.
When applying herself to the goose, from its breast she drew a lusty
liver, and then told me my future fortune. But that no mark of the
murder might be left, she fixt the rent goose to a spit, which, as she
said, she had fatten'd a little before, as sensible it was to die.
In the mean time the wine went briskly round, and now the old women
gladly devour the goose, they so lately lamented; when they had pickt
its bones, Enothea, half drunk, turn'd to me; "and now," said she,
"I'll finish the charm that recovers your strength": When drawing out
a leathern ensign of Priapus, she dipt it in a medley of oyl, small
pepper, and the bruis'd seed of nettles, paulatim coepit inserere ano
meo. Hoc crudelissima anus spurgit subinde umore femina mea.
Nasturcii sucum cum abrotano miscet perfusisque inguinibus meis
viridis urticae fascem comprehendit, omniaque infra umbilicum coepit
lenta mann caedere. Upon which jumping from her, to avoid the sting,
I made off. The old woman in a great rage pursu'd me, and tho' drunk
with wine, and their more hot desires, took the right way: and
follow'd me through two or three villages, crying stop thief; but with
my hands all bloody, in the hasty flight, I got off.
When I got home, to ease my wearied limbs, I went to bed, but the
thoughts of my misfortunes would not let me sleep; when considering
how unparallel'd a wretch I was, I cry'd out, "Did my ever cruel
fortune want the afflictions of love to make me more miserable? O
unhappiness! Fortune and love conspire my ruin. Severer love spares
me no way, or loving, or belov'd a wretch: Chrysis adores me, and is
ever giving me occasion to address: She, that when she brought me to
her mistress, despis'd me for my mean habit as one beneath her
desires; that very Chrysis that so scorn'd my former fortune, pursues
this even with the hazard of her own; and swore, when she first
discover'd to me the violence of her love, that she wou'd be ever true
to me. But Circe's in possession of my heart, I value none but her,
and indeed who wears such charms? Compar'd to her, what was Ariadne
or Lyda? what Helen, or even Venus? Paris himself the umpire of the
wanton nymphs, if with these eyes he had seen her contending for the
golden apple, wou'd have given both his Helen and the goddesses for
her. If I might be admitted to kiss her sweet lips again, or once
more press her divinely rising breasts, perhaps my vigour wou'd
revive, which now I believe lyes opprest by witchcraft. I shou'd
dispense with my reproaches, shou'd forget that I was beat; esteem my
being turn'd out of doors, a sport; so I might be again happy in her
These thoughts and the image of the beautiful Circe so rais'd my mind,
that I oft, as if my love was in my arms, with a great deal of
fruitless ardour, hug'd the bed-cloaths, till out of patience with the
lasting affliction I began to reproach my impotence; yet recovering my
presence of mind, I flew for comfort to the misfortunes of ancient
hero's, and thus broke out:
"Not only me th' avenging gods pursue,
Oft they their anger on their hero's throw;
By Juno's rage Alcides Heaven bore,
And Pelia's injur'd Juno knew before.
Leomedon Heaven's dire resentments felt,
And Telephus's blood washt out his guilt.
We cannot from the wrathful godhead run
Crafty Ulysses cou'd not Neptune shun.
Provokt Priapus o're the land and sea,
Has left his Hellespont to follow me."
Full of anxious cares I spent the night: and Gito, inform'd that I lay
at home, enter'd my chamber by day-break, when having passionately
complain'd of my loose life, he told me the family took much notice of
my behaviour, that I was seldom in waiting, and that perhaps the
company I kept wou'd be my ruin.
By this I understood he was inform'd of my affairs; and that some one
had been in pursuit of me; upon which I ask't my Gito whether any body
was to enquire for me. "Not this day," said he, "but yesterday there
came a very pretty woman, who, when she had tir'd me with a long
sifting discourse; at last told me you deserv'd to be punisht, and
shou'd as a slave, if you longer complain'd."
This so sensibly touch'd me, that I began afresh to reproach fortune:
Nor had I done, e're Chrysis came in, and wildly throwing her arms
about me: "Now," said she, "I'll hold my wish, you're my love, my joy;
nor may you think to quench this flame, but by a more close embrace."
I was much disturb'd at Chrysis's wantonness, and gave her fair
language, to get rid of her; for I was very apprehensive of the danger
of Eumolpus's hearing it, since his good fortune had made him so
proud. I did therefore what I could to appease her rage; I dissembl'd
love, whisper'd soft things, and in short manag'd it so like a lover,
that she believ'd me one. I made her understand in what danger we
both were, if she shou'd be found with me in that place, and that our
lord Eumolpus punisht the least offence. Upon which she immediately
made out, and the more hastily, because she saw Gito returning, who
had left me a little before she came.
She was scarce out, when on a sudden one of the slaves came to me, and
told me that our lord so highly resented my two days absence, that
unless, as he advised me, I invented a good excuse to allay his heat,
I shou'd certainly be punish'd.
Gito perceiving how concern'd I was, spoke not a word of the woman,
but advis'd me to behave myself merrily to Eumolpus, rather than
serious. I pursu'd the counsel, and put on so pleasant a face that he
receiv'd me in drollery, without the grave stiffness of a master. He
was pleasant on the success of my amours; prais'd my meen and wit that
was so agreeable to the ladies: and "I'm no stranger," said he, "to
your love of a very beautiful lady. But now, Encolpius, that rightly
manag'd, may turn to our advantage; therefore do you personate the
lover, I'll continue the character I've begun."
Matrona inter primas honesta, Philomela nomine quae multas saepe
hereditates officio aetati extorserat, tum anus et floris extincti,
filium filiamque ingerebat orbis senibus, et per hanc successionem
artem suam perseverabat extendere. Ea ergo ad Eumolpum venit et
commendare liberos suos eius prudentiae bonitatique . . . credere se
et vota sua. Illum esse solum in toto orbe terrarum, qui praeceptis
etiam salubribus instruere iuvenes quotidie posset. Ad summam,
relinquere se pueros in domo Eumolpi, ut illum loquentem audirent:
quae sola posset hereditas iuvenibus dari. Nec aliter fecit ac
dixerat, filiamque speciosissimam cum fratre ephebo in cubiculo
reliquit simulavitque se in templum ire ad vota nuncupanda. Eumolpus,
qui tam frugi erat ut illi etiam ego puer viderer, non distulit
puellam invitare ad pigiciaca sacra. Sed et podagricum se esse
lumborumque solutorum omnibus dixerat, et si non servasset integram
simulationem, periclitabatur totam paene tragoediam evertere. Itaque
ut constaret mendacio fides, puellam quidem exoravit, ut sederet super
commendatam bonitatem, Coraci autem imperavit ut lectum, in quo ipse
iacebat, subiret positisque in pavimento manibus dominum lumbis suis
commoveret. Ille lente parebat imperio puellaque artificium pari motu
remunerabat. Cum ergo res ad affectum spectaret, clara Eumolpus voce
exhortabatur Coraca, ut spissaret officium. Sic inter mercennarium
amicamque positus senex veluti oscillatione ludebat. Hoc semel
iterumque ingenti risu, etiam suo, Eumolpus fecerat. Itaque ego
quoque, ne desidia consuetudinem perderem, dum frater sororis suae
automata per clostellum miratur, accessi temptaturus, an pateretur
iniuriam. Nec se reiciebat a blanditiis doctissimus puer, sed me
numen inimicum ibi quoque invenit.
I was not so concern'd at this as the former; for a little after my
strength return'd, and finding my self more vigorous, I cry'd out, the
courteous gods are greater that have made me whole again. For
Mercury, that conveys and reconveys our souls, by his favours has
restor'd what his anger had seiz'd: Now I shall be in as great esteem
as Protesilaus or any of the antients. Upon which taking up my
cloaths, I shew'd my whole self to Eumolpus, he startl'd at first, but
soon, to confirm his belief, with both hands chaf'd the mighty favour
of the gods.
This great blessing makes us merry, we laughed at Philumene's cunning,
and her childrens experience in the art, which wou'd profit 'em little
with us; for to no other end were they left, but to be heirs to what
we had. When reflecting on this sordid manner of deceiving childless
age, I took occasion to consider the condition of our present fortune,
and told Eumolpus that the deceivers might be deceiv'd, that therefore
all our actions shou'd be of a piece with the character we bore.
"That Socrates, the wisest of men, us'd to boast he never saw a
tavern, nor ever had been in the common company that frequents such
places. That nothing was more convenient than a discreet behaviour.
All these are truths, nor shou'd any sort of men," added I, "more
expect the sudden assaults of ill fortune, than those that covet
what's other men's. But how should pick-pockets live, unless, by some
well order'd trick, to draw fools together, they get imployment? As
fish are taken with what they really eat, so men are to be cheated
with something that's solid, not empty hope; thus the people of this
country have hitherto receiv'd us very nobly: but when they find the
arrival of no ship from Africk, laden, as you told 'em, with riches,
and your retinue, the impatient deceivers, will lessen their bounty;
therefore, or I'm mistaken, our fortune begins to repent her favours."
"I have thought of a means," said Eumolpus, "to make our deceivers
continue their care of us." And drawing his will out of his purse,
thus read the last lines of it.
"All that have legacies in this my last will and testament, my freed
men excepted, receives 'em on these conditions, that they divide my
body, and eat it before the people. And that they may not think it an
unjust demand, let them know, that to this day 'tis the custom of many
countries, that the relations of the dead devour the carcase; and for
that reason they often quarrel with their sick kindred, because they
spoil their flesh by lingering in a disease. I only instance this to
my friends, that they may not refuse to perform my will; but with the
same sincerity they wisht well to my soul, they might devour my body."
When he had read the chief articles, some that were more intimately
acquainted with him, enter'd the chamber, and viewing the will,
earnestly intreated him to impart the contents of it; he readily
consented and read the whole. But when they heard the necessity of
eating the carcass, they seem'd much concern'd at the strange
proposal; but their insatiate love of the money made 'em stifle their
passion, and his person was so awful to 'em, they durst not complain.
But one of 'em, Gorgias by name, briskly told him he was willing to
accept the conditions, so he might not wait for the body.
To this Eumolpus, "I'm not in the least apprehensive of your
performance, nor that your stomach wou'd refuse the task, when to
recompense one distasteful minute you promise ages of luxury. 'Tis
but shutting your eyes, and supposing instead of man's flesh you were
eating an hundred sesterces. Some sauce may be added to vary the
tast; for no flesh pleases alone, but is prepar'd by art to commend it
to the stomach. If you desire instances of this kind, to make ye
approve my advice; the Saguntines when they were besieg'd by Hannibal
eat humane bodies, without the hopes of an estate for doing it. The
Petavii reduc'd to the last extremity did the like; nor had they
further hopes in this banquet than to satisfie nature. When Scipio
took Numanita, mothers were found with their children half eaten in
their arms. But since the thoughts only of eating man's flesh create
the lothing; 'tis but resolving, and you gain the mighty legacies I
Eumolpus recounted these shameless inhumanities with so much
confusion, that his parasites began to suspect him, and more nearly
considering our words and actions, their jealousie encreas'd with
their observation, and they believ'd us perfect cheats. Upon which
those who had receiv't us most nobly, resolv'd to seize us, and lustly
take their revenge; but Chrysis, privy to all stratagems, gave me
notice of their designs; the frightful news so struck me, that I made
off with Gito immediately, and left Eumolpus to the mercy of his
enemies; and in a few days we heard the Crotonians raging, that that
old rascal shou'd live so long at such a sumptuous rate on the publick
charge, sacrific'd him the Massilian way. Whenever the Massilians
were visited with a plague, some one of the poorest of the people, for
the sake of being well fed a whole year at the publick charge, wou'd
offer himself a sacrifice to appease the gods: He after his year was
up, drest in holy wreath and sacred garment, was led about the city
with invocations on the gods that all the sins of the nation might be
punisht in him; and so was thrown from a precipice.