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Part of Juvenal's Sixth Satire, Modernised In Burlesque Verse

   DAME Chastity, without dispute,
Dwelt on the earth with good King Brute; [1]
When a cold hut of modern Greenland
Had been a palace for a Queen Anne;
When hard and frugal temp'rance reign'd,
And men no other house contain'd
Than the wild thicket, or the den;
When household goods, and beasts, and men,
Together lay beneath one bough,
Which man and wife would scarce do now;
The rustic wife her husband's bed
With leaves and straw, and beast-skin made.
Not like Miss Cynthia, [2] nor that other,
Who more bewail'd her bird than mother;
But fed her children from her bubbies,
Till they were grown up [3] to great loobies:
Herself an ornament less decent
Than spouse, who smell'd of acorn recent.
For, in the infancy of nature,
Man was a diff'rent sort of creature;
When dirt-engendered [4] offspring broke
From the ripe womb of mother oak.
Ev'n in the reign of Jove, perhaps,
The goddess may have shewn her chaps;
But it was sure in its beginning,
Ere Jupiter had beard to grin in.
Not yet the Greeks [5] made truth their sport,
And bore false evidence in court;
Their truth was yet become no adage;
Men fear'd no thieves of pears and cabbage.
By small degrees Astrea flies,
With her two sisters [6] to the skies.
O 'tis a very ancient custom,
To taint the genial bed, my Posthum!
Fearless lest husband should discover it,
Or else the Genius that rules over it.
The iron age gave other crimes,
Adult'ry grew in silver times.
But you, in this age, boldly dare
The marriage settlements prepare;
Perhaps have bought the wedding garment,
And ring too, thinking there's no harm in't.
Sure you was in your senses, honey.
You marry. Say, what Tisiphone [7]
Possesses you with all her snakes,
Those curls which in her pole she shakes?
What, wilt thou wear the marriage chain,
While one whole halter doth remain;
When open windows death present ye,
And Thames hath water in great plenty ?
   But verdicts of ten thousand pound
Most sweetly to Ursidius sound.
'We'll all (he cries) be cuckolds nem. con.
'While the rich action lies of crim. con.'
And who would lose the precious joy
Of a fine thumping darling boy?
Who, while you dance him, calls you daddy
(So he's instructed by my lady).
What tho' no ven'son, fowl, or fish,
Presented, henceforth grace the dish:
Such he hath had, but dates no merit hence;
He knows they came for his inheritance. [8]
What would you say, if this Ursidius,
A man well known among the widows,
First of all rakes, his mind should alter,
And stretch his simple neck to th' halter? [9]
Often within Latinus' closet, [10]
(The neighbours, nay, the whole town knows it,)
He hath escaped the cuckold's search;
Yet now he seeks a wife most starch;
With good old-fashion'd morals fraught.
Physicians give him a large draught,
And surgeons ope his middle vein.
O delicate taste! go, prithee strain
Thy lungs to Heav'n, in thanksgivings;
Build churches, and endow with livings.
If a chaste wife thy lot befall,
'Tis the great prize drawn in Guildhall.
   Few worthy are to touch those mysteries, [11]
Of which we lately know the histories,
To Ceres sacred, who requires
Strict purity from loose desires.
Whereas at no crime now they boggle,
Ev'n at their grandfathers they ogle.
But come, your equipage make ready,
And dress your house out for my lady.
Will one man Iberine supply?
Sooner content her with one eye.
   But hold; there runs a common story
Of a chaste country virgin's glory.
At Bath and Tunbridge let her be;
If there she's chaste, I will agree.
And will the country yield no slanders?
Is all our army gone to Flanders? [12]
   Can the full Mall [13] afford a Spouse,
Or boxes, worthy of your vows?
While some soft dance Bathyllus dances,
Can Tuccy regulate her glances?
Appula chuckles, and poor Thomyly
Gapes, like a matron at a homily.
   But others, when the house is shut up,
Nor play-bills by Desire, [14] are put up;
When players cease, [15] and lawyer rises
To harangue jury at assizes;
When drolls at Barthol'mew begin,
A feast day after that of Trin'.
Others, I say, themselves turn players,
With Clive and Woffington's gay airs;
Paint their fair faces out like witches,
And cram their thighs in Fle—w—d's breeches.
   Italian measures while Fausan
Mov'd, what a laugh thro' gall'ry ran?
Poor Ælia languishes in vain;
Fausan is bought with greater gain.
   Others make B—rd their wiser choice,
And wish to spoil his charming voice.
Hispulla sighs for Buskin's wit,
Could she love Lyt—n or P—t?
   Choose you a wife, whom the blind harper.
Or any fiddler else, or sharper,
Fine rivals! might with ease enjoy,
And make thee father of a boy?
   Come then, prepare the nuptial feast,
Adorn the board, invite the guest;
That madam may, in time, be big,
And bring an heir resembling Fig. [16]
Hippia, [17] to Parl'ment man was wed,
But left him for a fencer's bed:
With him she went to some plantation,
Which damn'd the morals of our nation;
Forgetful of her house and sister,
And spouse and country too, which miss'd her:
Her brawling brats ne'er touch'd her mind;
Nay more, young C—r's [18] left behind.
   Nor was this nymph bred up to pattins,
But swaddled soft in silks and satins;
Yet she despis,d the sea's loud roar;
Her fame she had despis,d before:
For that's a jewel, in reality,
Of little value 'mongst the quality. [19]
Nor Bay of Biscay raised her fears,
Nor all the Spanish privateers.
But should a just occasion call
To danger, how the charmers squall!
Cold are their breasts as addled eggs,
Nor can they stand upon their legs,
More than an infant that is ricketty;
But they are stronger in iniquity.
   Should spouse decoy them to a ship,
Good heavens! how they'd have the hip!
Tis hard to clamber up the sides;
'O filthy hold! and when she rides,
'It turns one's head quite topsy-turvy,
'And makes one sicker than the scurvy.'
Her husband is the nauseous physic,
With her gallant she's never sea-sick.
To dine with sailors then she's able,
And even bears a hand to cable.
But say, what youth or beauty warm'd thee,
What, Hippia, in thy lover charm'd thee?
For little Sergy, like a goat,
Was bearded down from eyes to throat:
Already had he done his best;
Fit for an hospital, and rest. [20]
His face wore many a deformity,
Upon his nose a great enormity.
His eyes distill'd a constant stream;
In matter not unlike to cream.
But he was still of the bear-garden,
Hence her affection fond he shar'd in:
This did, beyond her children, move;
Dearer than spouse or country prove;
In short, 'tis iron which they love.
Dismiss this Sergius from the stage;
Her husband could not less engage.
   But say you, if each private family
Doth not produce a perfect Pamela;
Must ev'ry female bear the blame
Of one low, private, strumpet's shame?
   See then a dignified example,
And take from higher life a sample;
How horns have sprouted on heads royal,
And Harry's wife [21] hath been disloyal.
When she perceiv'd her husband snoring,
Th' imperial strumpet went a whoring:
Daring with private rakes to solace,
She preferr'd Ch–rl–s Street to the Palace:
Went with a single maid of honour,
And with a capuchin upon her,
Which hid her black and lovely hairs;
At H—d's [22] softly stole up stairs:
There at receipt of custom sitting,
She boldly call'd herself the Kitten; [23]
Smil'd, and pretended to be needy,
And ask'd men to come down the ready. [24]
   But when for fear [25] of justice' warrants,
The bawd dismiss'd her whores on errands,
She stayed the last — then went, they say,
Unsatisfied, tho' tired, away.
   Why should I mention all their magic
Poison, and other stories tragic?
Their appetites are all such rash ones,
Lust is the least of all their passions.
   Cesennia's husband call, you cry,
He lauds her virtues to the sky.
She brought him twice ten thousand pounds,
With all that merit she abounds.
Venus ne'er shot at him an arrow,
Her fortune darted through his marrow:
She bought her freedom, and before him
May wink, forgetful of decorum,
And lovers billets-doux may answer:
For he who marries wives for gain, sir,
A widow's privilege must grant 'em,
And suffer captains to gallant 'em.
   But Bibula doth Sertorius move:
I'm sure he married her for love.
Love I agree was in the case;
Not of the woman, but her face.
Let but one wrinkle spoil her forehead;
Or should she chance to have a sore head;
Her skin grow flabby, or teeth blacken,
She quickly would be sent a packing.
'Be gone!' — (the gentleman [26] would cry)
'Are those d—n'd nostrils never dry?
'Defend me, Heav'n, from a strumpet,
'Who's always playing on a trumpet.'
   But while her beauteous youth remains,
With power most absolute she reigns.
Now rarities she wants; no matter
What price they cost — they please the better.
Italian vines, and Spanish sheep. [27]
But these are trifles — you must keep
An equipage of six stout fellows; [28]
Of no use to 'em, as they tell us,
Unless to walk before their chairs,
When they go out to show their airs.
However liberal your grants,
Still what her neighbour hath she wants;
Even Pit's precious diamond — that
Which Lewis Fifteen wears in's hat;
Or what Agrippa gave his sister. [29]
Incestuous bride! for which he kiss'd her.
(Sure with less sin a Jew might dine,
If hungry, on a herd of swine.)
   But of this herd, I mean of women,
Will not an individual do, man?
No, none my soul can e'er inflame,
But the rich, decent, lovely dame:
Her womb with fruitfulness attended;
Of a good ancient house descended:
A virgin too, untouch'd, and chaste,
Whom man ne'er took about the waist.
She's a rare bird! find her who can,
And much resembling a black swan.
   But who could bear a wife's great merit
Who doth such qualities inherit?
I would prefer some country girl
To the proud daughter of an earl;
If my repose must still be hindered
With the great actions of her kindred.
Go to the devil, should I say,
With the West Indies ta'en — away. [30]
'Hold, Pæan, hold; thou goddess, spare
'My children,' was Amphion's pray'r.
'They have done naught to forfeit life;
'O shoot your arrows at my wife.'
His pray'r nor god nor goddess heard,
Nor child, nor ev'n the mother spar'd.
For why, the vixen proudly boasted, [31]
More than Latona she was toasted;
And had been oft'ner in the straw,
Than the white sow [32] Æneas saw.
   But say, though Nature should be lavish,
Can any mien or beauty ravish,
Whose mind is nothing but inanity,
Mere bladder blown with wind of vanity?
Trust, if for such you give your money,
You buy more vinegar than honey.
Who is there such a slave in Nature,
That while he praises would not hate her?
   Some smaller crimes, which seem scarce nominable,
Are yet to husbands most abominable:
For what so fulsome — if it were new t' ye,
That no one thinks herself a beauty,
'Till Frenchified [33] from head to foot,
A mere Parisian dame throughout.
She spells not English, who will blame her?
But French not understood would shame her.
   This language 'tis in which they tremble,
Quarrel, are happy, and dissemble;
Tell secrets to some other Miss;
What more? — 'tis this in which they kiss.
   But if to girls we grant this leave;
You, madam, whom fast by your sleeve
Old age hath got — must you still stammer
Soft phrases out of Bowyer's grammar?
Mon ame, mon Mignon! how it comes
Most graceful from your toothless gums!
Tho' softer spoke than by Lord Fanny,
Can that old face be lik'd by any?
   If love be not your cause of wedding,
There is no other for your bedding:
All the expense of wedding-day
Would then, my friend, be thrown away.
   If, on the contrary, you doat,
And are of the uxorious note,
For heavy yoke your neck prepare;
None will the tender husband spare:
E'en when they love they will discover
Joys in the torments of a lover:
The hope to govern them by kindness
Argues, my friend, a total blindness.
For wives most useless ever prove
To those most worthy of their love.
   Before you give, or sell, or buy,
She must be courted to comply:
She points new friendships out — and straight
'Gainst old acquaintance shuts your gate.
   The privilege which at their birth
Our laws bequeath the scum o' th' earth,
Of making wills, to you's denied;
You for her fav'rites must provide;
Those your sole heirs creating, who
Have labour'd to make heirs for you.
    Now come, sir, take your horsewhip down,
And lash your footman there, Tom Brown.
What hath Tom done? or who accuses him?
Perhaps some rascal, who abuses him.
Let us examine first — and then —
'Tis ne'er too late to punish men.
Men! Do you call this abject creature
A man? He's scarce of human nature. [34]
What hath he done? — no matter what —
If nothing — lash him well for that:
My will is a sufficient reason
To constitute a servant's treason.
   Thus she commands: but straight she leaves
This slave, and to another cleaves;
Thence to a third and fourth, and then
Returns, perhaps, to you again.
Thus in the space of seven short years
Possessing half a score of dears.
   Be sure, no quiet can arrive
To you while her mamma's alive:
She'll teach her how to cheat her spouse,
To pick his pocket, strip his house:
Answers to love-letters indite,
And make her daughter's style polite.
With cunning she'll deceive your spies,
Or bribe with money to tell lies.
   Then, tho' health swells her daughter's pulse,
She sends for Wasey, Hoadley, Hulse.
So she pretends, — but in their room,
Lo, the adulterer is come.
Do you expect, you simple elf,
That she who hath them not herself,
Should teach good manners to your lady,
And not debauch her for the ready?
   In courts of justice what transactions?
Manilia's never without actions:
No forms of litigation 'scape her,
In special pleading next to Dr–per.
   Have you not heard of fighting females,
Whom you would rather think to be males?
Of Madam Sutton, Mrs. Stokes,
Who give confounded cuts and strokes?
They fight the weapons through complete,
Worthy to ride along the street. [35]
   Can female modesty so rage,
To draw a sword, and mount the stage?
Will they their sex entirely quit?
No, they have not so little wit:
Better they know how small our shares
Of pleasure — how much less than theirs.
   But should your wife by auction sell,
(You know the modern fashion well)
Should Cock aloft his pulpit mount,
And all her furniture recount,
Sure you would scarce abstain from oaths,
To hear, among your lady's clothes,
Of those superb fine horseman's suits,
And those magnificent jack-boots.
   And yet, as often as they please,
Nothing is tenderer than these.
A coach! — O gad! they cannot bear
Such jolting! — John, go fetch a chair.
Yet see, through Hyde Park how they ride!
How masculine! almost astride!
Their hats fierce cock'd up with cockades,
Resembling dragoons more than maids.
   Knew our great-grandmothers these follies?
Daughters of Hampden, Baynton, Hollis? [36]
More modesty they surely had,
Decently ambling on a pad.
   Sleep never shows his drowsy head
Within the reach of marriage-bed:
The wife thence frightens him with scolding.
— Then chiefly the attack she's bold in,
When, to conceal her own amours,
She falls most artfully on yours:
Pretends a jealousy of some lady,
With tears in plenty always ready;
Which on their post true sent'nels stand,
The word still waiting of command,
How she shall order them to trickle.
— Thou thinkest love her soul doth tickle.
Poor hedge-sparrow — with fifty dears,
Lickest up her fallacious tears.
Search her scrutoire, man, and then tell us
Who hath most reason to be jealous.
   But, in the very fact she's taken;
Now let us hear, to save her bacon,
What Murray, or what Henley can say;
Neither proof positive will gainsay:
It is against the rules of practice;
Nothing to her the naked fact is.
'You know' (she cries) 'ere I consented
'To be, what I have since repented,
'It was agreed between us, you
'Whatever best you lik'd should do;
'Nor could I, after a long trial,
'Persist myself in self-denial.'
You at her impudence may wonder,
Invoke the lightning and the thunder:
'You are a man' (she cries) tis true;
'We have our human frailties too.'
   Nought bold is like a woman caught,
They gather courage from the fault.
   Whence come these prodigies? what fountain,
You ask, produces them? I' th' mountain
The British dames were chaste, no crimes
The cottage stain'd in elder times;
When the laborious wife slept little,
Spun wool, and boil'd her husband's kettle;
When the Armada frighten'd Kent,
And good Queen Bessy pitch'd her tent.
Now from security we feel
More ills than threaten'd us from steel;
Severer luxury abounds,
Avenging France of all her wounds.
When our old British plainness left us,
Of ev'ry virtue it bereft us:
And we've imported from all climes
All sorts of wickedness and crimes:
French finery, Italian meats,
With German drunkenness, Dutch cheats.
Money's the source of all our woes;
Money! whence luxury o'erflows,
And in a torrent, like the Nile,
Bears off the virtues of this isle.

   We shall here close our translation of this satire; for as the remainder is in many places too obscene for chaste ears; so, to the honour of the English ladies, the Latin is by no means applicable to them, nor indeed capable of being modernized.

Author's NotesEdit

  1. The Roman poet mentions Saturn, who was the first King of Italy; we have therefore rendered Brute, the oldest to be found in our Chronicles, and whose history is as fabulous as that of his Italian brother.
  2. This is the first satirical stroke, in which the poet inveighs against an over affectation of delicacy and tenderness in women.
  3. Here the poet slyly objects to the custom of denying the mother's breast to the infant; there are among us truly conscientious persons, who agree with his opinion.
  4. We have here varied a little from the original, and put the two
    causes of generation together.
  5. They were so infamous for perjury, that to have regard to an
    oath was a great character among them, and sufficient to denote a gentleman. See our Notes on the Plutus of Aristophanes.
  6. Truth and modesty.
  7. One of the Furies. We have presumed to violate the quantity of this word.
  8. This custom of making presents to rich men who had no children, in order to become their heirs, is little known to us. Mr. Ben Johnson, indeed, hath founded a play on it, but he lays the scene in Venice.
  9. We have endeavoured to preserve the beauty of this line in the original. The metaphor is taken from the posture of a horse holding forth his neck to the harness.
  10. We have here a little departed from the Latin. This Latinus was a player, and used to act the part of the gallant; in which, to avoid the discovery of the husband, he used to be hid in a chest, or clothes-basket, as Falstaff is concealed in the Merry Wives of Windsor. The poet therefore here alludes to that custom.
  11. Which the reader may see explained in a most masterly style, and with the profoundest knowledge of antiquity, by Mr. Warburton, in the first volume of his Divine Legation of Moses vindicated.
  12. As the patron of these gentlemen is mentioned in the original, we thought his votaries might be pleased with being inserted in the imitation.
  13. The portico's in the original; where both sexes used to assemble.
  14. A constant puff at the head of our play-bills ; designed to allure persons to the house, who go thither more for the sake of the company than of the play; but which has proved so often fallacious (plays having been acted at the particular desire of several ladies of quality, when there hath not been a single lady of quality in the house) that at present it hath very little signification.
  15. Viz. in the vacation. In the original, As the Megalesian festival is so long distant from the plebeian. The latter being celebrated in the calends of December, the former in the nones of April.
  16. A celebrated prize fighter.
  17. She was wife to Fabricius Vejento, a noble rich Roman, who was infamous for his luxury and pride. This last quality was so eminent in him, that he scorned to salute any almost of his fellow citizens; for which he is lashed by our poet, Sat. III. v. 185. He is likewise introduced in the fourth satire. His wife Hippia ran away to Egypt with the gladiator Sergius.
  18. In the original Paris, a player of whom Domitian was so fond, that our author was banished for his abusing him. He afterwards was put to death for an amour with the empress.
  19. We have inserted this rather to stick as close to the original as possible, than from any conceit that it is justly applicable to our own people of fashion.
  20. The gladiators, when they were maimed, received their dismission; as a token of which a wand was presented to them. Sergius had not, however, yet obtained this favour; our poet hints only, that he was entitled to it.
  21. This may be, perhaps, a little applicable to one of Henry VIII.'s wives.
  22. A useful woman in the parish of Covent Garden.
  23. A young lady of pleasure.
  24. This is a phrase by which loose women demand money of their gallants.
  25. In Rome, the keepers of evil houses used to dismiss their girls at midnight; at which time those who follow the same trade in the city first light up their candles.
  26. That is, her husband's gentleman. The commentators have wretchedly blundered here, in their interpretation of the Latin.
  27. In the original, Falernian vines and Canusian sheep: for Falernia produced the most delicious wine, and the sheep which came from Canusium, a town or village of Apulia, the finest wool. I know not whether either of the instances by which I have attempted to modernize this passage be at present in fashion, but if they are not, it is probable the only reason is, that we forget Italian vines, as they would require the assistance of artificial heat; and Spanish sheep, as they are to be fetched a great way by sea, would be extremely expensive, and consequently well worth our having.
  28. The Latin hath it — All the fellows in the workhouse: but this is an instance that our luxury is not yet so extravagant as that of the Romans was in Juvenal's days.
  29. Berenice.
  30. Juvenal here mentions Cornelia, the daughter of Scipio Africanus, wife of Cornelius Gracchus, and mother of the Gracchi, Caius and Tiberius. The beauty of the original here is inimitable.
  31. Our poet here alludes to the story of Niobe, wife of Amphion, king of Thebes, who affronted Latona, in preferring her own fruitfulness to that of the goddess; for which reason Apollo and Diana destroyed all her children; the number of which authors report variously.
  32. Which produced thirty pigs at a litter.
  33. The Romans were (if I may be allowed such a word) Greecified, at this time, in the same manner as we are Frenchified.
  34. The Romans derived from the Greeks an opinion, that their slaves were of a species inferior to themselves. As such a sentiment is inconsistent with the temper of Christianity, this passage loses much of its force by being modernised.
  35. Prize-fighters, on the day of battle, ride through the streets with a trumpet before them.
  36. These, according to Sidney, are some of the best families in England, and superior to many of our modern nobility.