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I that had lov'd-
Mr. CREECH. I remember, says Cynthio, Juvenal rallies Creticus, that was otherwise a brave, rough fellow, very handsomely, on this kind of garment.
Juv, Sat. 2.
Rome's pride, who com’st transparent to the bench? Idem. . But pray what is the meaning that this transparent lady holds up her train in her left hand? for I find your women on medals do nothing without a meaning. Besides, I suppose there is a moral precept at least couched under the figure she holds in her other hand. She draws back her garment, says Philander, that it may not encumber her in her march. For she is always drawn in a posture of walking, it being as natural for Hope to press forward to her proper objects, as for Fear to fly from them.
Ut cunis in vacuo leporem cum Gallicus arvo
De Apol. et Daph. Ov. Met. lib. d.
As when th' impatient greyhound slipt from far,
O'erruns her at the sitting turn, and licks
Mr. DRYDEN. This beautiful similitude is, I think, the prettiest emblein in the world of Hope and Fear in extremity. A flower or blossom that you see in the right hand is a proper ornament for Hope, since they are these that we term, in poetical language, the hopes of the year.
Vere nodo, tunc herba nitens, et roboris erpers
Ov. Mgr. lib. 15.
And lavishly perfumes the fields around. Mr. Dryden. The same poet in his De Fastis, speaking of the vine in flower, expresses it,
Ov. de Fast, lib. 5. The next on the list is a lady of a contrary character*, and therefore in a quite different posture. As Security is free from all pursuits, she is represented leaning carelessly on a pillar. Horace has drawn a pretty metaphor from this posture.
Nullum me à labore reclinat otium.
No ease doth lay me down from pain. Mr. CREECH. She rests herself on a pillar, for the same reason as the poets often compare an obstinate resolution or a great firmness of mind to a rock that is not to be moved by all the assaults of winds or waves.
Non civium ardor prara jubentium, Non vultus instantis tyrunni,
* Fig. 9.
Mente quatit solidá, neque Auster
The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles,
And with superior greatness smiles.
I am apt to think it was on devices of this nature that Horace had his eye in his Ode to Fortune. It is certain he alludes to a pillar that figured out Security, or something very like it; and, till any body finds out another that will stand better in its place, I think we may content ourselves with this before us.
Te Dacus asper, te profugi Scythæ
Purpurei metuunt tyranni :
AD Fortun. Hor. lib. 1. od. 35.
And for their tyrant sons
The barb'rous mothers pray
They bend, they vow, and still they fear,
should kick their column down,
would raise The lazy crowd to war, And break their empire, or confine their praise. Mr. CREECH. I must however be so fair as to let you know that Peace and Felicity have their pillars in several medals, as well as Security, so that if you do not like one of them, you may take the other.
The next figure is that of Chastity*, who was worshipped as a goddess, and had her temple:
deinde ad superos Astrea recessit
De Pudicitia. Júv. Sat. 6.
Si cuivis nuptæ quidlibet esse licet? TIB. lib.2.
How her posture and dress become her, you may see in the following verses.
Ergo sedens velat vultus, obnubit ocellos,
By marks like these was Chastity reveald.
frontem limbo vėlata pudicum. CLAUD. de Theod. Cons,
She is represented in the habit of a Roman matron.
Matronæ præter faciem nil cerniere possis,
Besides, a matron's face is seen alone;
That, ni Catia est, says Cynthio, is a beauty unknown to most of our English satirists. Horace knew how to stab with address, and to give a thrust where he
was least expected. Boileau has nicely imitated him in this, as well as his other beauties. But our English libellers are for hewing a man downright, and for letting him see at a distance that he is to look for no mercy. I own to you, says Eugenius, I have often admired this piece of art in the two satirists you mention, and have been surprised to meet with a man in a satire that I never in the least expected to find there. They have a particular way of hiding their ill-nature, and introduce a criminal rather to illustrate a precept or passage, than out of any seeming design to abuse him. Our English poets on the contrary show a kind of malice prepense in their satires, and instead of bringing in the person to give light to any part of the poem, let you see they writ the whole poem on purpose to abuse the person. But we must not leave the ladies thus. Pray what kind of head-dress is that of Piety?
As Chastity *, says Philander, appears in the habit of a Roman matron, in whom that virtue was supposed to reign in its perfection, Piety wears the dress of the vestal virgins, who were the greatest and most shining examples of it. Vittata Sacerdos is, you know, an expression among the Latin poets. I do not question but you have seen, in the Duke of Florence's gallery, a beautiful antique figure of a woman standing before an altar, which some of the antiquaries call a Piety, and others a vestal virgin. The woman, altar, and fire burning on it, are seen in marble exactly as in this coin, and bring to my mind a part of a speech that Religion makes in Phædrus’s fables.
Sed ne ignis noster facinori præluceat,
verendos excolit Pietas deos.
Fab. 10. lib. 4.
It is to this goddess that Statius addresses himself in the following lines.
* Fig. 11,