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For were great Jove himself to give his nod,
Your feasts and revels would defeat the god.
You sigh for wealth, the frequent ox is slain,
And bribes are offer'd to the god of gain.
For Alocks and herds to household gods you cry;
Why then, you fool, do daily victims die?
Yet does this man the wearied gods assail,
And thinks by dint of offerings to prevail :
Now 'tis the field, and now the fold which teems,
Hope rests on hope, and schemes are built on schemes;
Until at length, deserted and alone,
In the deep chest the last sad farthing groan.
If to you e'er a present richly wrought,
If silver cups and golden gifts I brought,
Your eager hand would grasp at the decoy,
And your light heart would dance with hope and joy.
Hence, to the shrine with splendid bribes you run,
In triumph carried, but by rapine won.
And now each brazen brother's power you know,
In bringing fortune, and averting woe.
He, who hath promised most, is most revered,
And wears, in proof of skill, a golden beard.
Now gold hath banish’d Numa's simple vase,
And the plain brass of Saturn's frugal days.
Now do we see to precious goblets turn
The Tuscan pitcher, and the vestal urn.
Ogrovelling souls, which still to earth incline,
From niortal nature judging of divine !
Must man's corruption to the skies be spread,
And godhead be by human passions led?

D

Quid juvat hoc, templis nostros immittere mores,
Et bona dies ex hac scelerata ducere pulpa ?
Hæc sibi corrupto casiam dissolvit olivo:
Et Calabrum coxit vitiato murice vellus:
Hæc baccam conchæ rasisse, et stringere venas
Ferventis massæ crudo de pulvere jussit.
Peccat et hæc, peccat : vitio tamen utitur: at vos
Dicite pontifices, in sancto quid facit aurum?
Nempe hoc, quod Veneri donatæ à virgine puppæ.
Qullin damus id superis, de magna quod dare lance
Non possit magni Messalæ lippa propago :
Compositum jus fasque animo, sanctosque recessus
Mentis, et incoctum generoso pectus honesto?
Hæc cedo ut admoveam templis, et farre litabo.

'Tis sense, gross sense, which clouds our mental sight,
And wraps the soul of man in moral night.
This for mistaken grandeur bids us toil ;
This steeps the cassia in the tainted oil ;
This makes the fleece its native white forego,
With costly dyes and purple hues to glow :
This seeks the pearl upon the rocky shore,
And strains the metal from the fusing ore :
This still by vice obtains its secret ends,
And this to earth the abject spirit bends.
But you, ye ministers of Heaven, declare,
What gold avails in sacrifice and prayer.
Not more than dolls upon the altar laid,
To Venus offer'd by the full grown maid.
Let me give that which wealth cannot bestow,
The pomp of riches, nor the glare of show;
Let me give that, which from their golden pot
Messala's proud and blear-eyed race could not :
To the just Gods let me present a mind,
Which civil and religious duties bind,
A guileless heart, which no dark secrets knows,
But with the generous love of virtue glows.
Such be the presents, such the gifts I make,
With them I sacrifice a wheaten cake,

THE

SATIRES OF PERSIUS.

SATIRE III.

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