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be would be afraid of me.'- If Cicero forgave this sarcasm, I should call him not only a better-tempered, but a braver man than Pompey.

But of all the ancient wits, Augustus seems to have had most point, and he was as remarkable for taking a jest, as for giving it. A country fellow came to Rome, who was so like the emperor, that all the city ran after him“; Augustus heard of it, and ordering the man into his presence— Harkye, friend !' says he, 6 when was your mother in Rome ?'- Never, an please you ! replied the countryman, but my father has been here many a time and oft.' The anecdote of the old soldier is still more to his credit: he solicited the emperor to defend him in a suit ; Augustus sent his own advo. cate into court; the soldier was dissatisfied, and said to the emperor-1 did not fight for you by proxy at Actium'-Augustus felt the reproof, and condes. cended to his request in person.

When Pacuvius Taurus greedily solicited a largess from the empe. ror, and to urge him to the greater liberality added, that all the world would have it, that he had made him a very bountiful donation—But you know better,' said Augustus, 'than to believe the world,' -and dismissed the sycophant without his errand. I shall mention one more case, where, by a very courtly evasion, he parried the solicitation of his captain of the guard, who had been cashiered, and was petitioning the emperor to allow him his pay ; telling him that he did not ask that indulgence for the sake of the money which might accrue to him, but that he might have it to say he had resigned his commission, and not been cashiered— If that be all your reason,' says the emperor, tell the world that you have received it, and I will not deny that I have paid it.' Vatinius, who was noted to a proverb as a com


mon slanderer, and particularly obnoxious for his scurrility against Cicero, was pelted by the populace in the amphitheatre, whilst he was giving them the Gladiators: he complained to the Ædiles of the in. sult, and got an edict forbidding the people to cast any thing into the area but apples. An arch fellow brought a furious large fir-apple to the famous law. yer Cascellius, and demanded his opinion upon the edict.- I am of opinion,' says Cascellius, that your fir apple is literally and legally an apple, with this proviso however, that you intend to throw it at Vatinius's head.'

As there is some danger in making too free with old jokes, 1 shall hold my hand for the present; but if these should succeed in being acceptable to my readers, I shall not be afraid of meeting Mr. Joseph Miller and his modern witticisms with my ancients. In that case I shall not despair of being able to lay be. fore the public a veritable Roman newspaper, compounded of events in the days of Julius Cæsar : by what happy chance I traced this valuable relic, and with what pains I possessed myself of it, may be matter of future explanation : I have the satisfaction however to premise to the reader, that it is written with great freedom, and as well sprinkled with pri. vate anecdotes as any of the present day, whose agreeable familiarity is so charming to every body but the parties concerned : it has also a good dash of the dramatic ; and as some fastidious people have been inclined to treat our intelligencers and reviewers with a degree of neglect bordering upon cortempt, I shall have pleasure in shewing that they have classical authority for all their quirks and con, ceits, and that they are all written in the true quaint spirit of criticism : it is to be lamented that the Roman theatre furnishes no ladies to match the heroines of our stage ; but I can produce some en. comiums upon Laberius, Roscius, and the famous Publius Syrus, which would not be unapplicable to some of our present capital actors: I am sorry to be obliged to confess, that they were not in the habit of speaking epilogues in those days ; but I have a substitute in a prologue written and spoken by Decimus Laberius, which I am tempted to throw out as a lure to my newspaper ; but I must first explain upon what occasion it was composed.

This Laberius was a Roman knight of good family, and a man withal of high spirit and pretensions, but unfortunately he had a talent for the drama : he read his own plays better than any man then living could act them, for neither Garrick nor Henderson was yet born. P. Clodius, the fine gentleman and rake of the age, had the indecorum to press Laberius to come forward on the public stage, and take the principal character in one of his own plays : Laberius was indignant, and Clodius proceeded to menaces :--- Do your worst,' says the Roman knight, you can but send me to Dyracchium and back again'--proudly intimating that he would suffer the like banishment with Cicero, ra. ther than consent to his demand ; for acting was not then the amusement of people of fashion, and private theatres were not thought of. Julius Cæsar was no less captivated with Laberius's talents than Clodius had been, and being a man not apt to be discouraged by common difficulties, took up the same solicitation, and assailed our Roman knight, who was now sixty years of age, and felt his powers in their decline: conscious of this decline no less than of his own dignity, he resisted the degrading requcst; he interceded, he implored of Cæsar to excuse him: it was to no purpose, Cæsar had made it his point, and his point he would carry: the word of Cæsar was law, and Laberius, driven out of all his defenccs, was obliged to submit and comply. Cæsar makes a grand spectacle for all Rome; bills are given out for a play of Laberius, and the principal part is announced to be performed by the author himself: the theatre is thronged with spectators; all Rome is present, and Decimus Labcrius presents himself on the stage, and addresses the audience in the following prologue :


O strong Necessity ! of whose swift course
So many feel, so few escape the force,
Whither, ah ! whither, in thy prone career,
Hast thou decreed this dying frame to bear ?
Me in my better days nor foe, nor friend,
Nor threat, nor bribe, nor vanity, cou'd bend;
Now lur'd by flattery in my weaker age,
I sink my knighthood and ascend the stage.
Yet muse not therefore—How shall man gainsay
Him, whom the Deities themselves obey?
Sixty long years I've liv'd without disgrace
A Roman knight; let dignity give place !
I'm Cæsar's actor now, and compass more
In one short hour, than all my life before.

• O Fortune! fickle source of good and ill,
If here to place me 'twas thy sovereign will,
Why, when I'd youth and faculties to please
So great a master and such guests as these,
Why not compel me then, malicious power !
To the hard task of this degrading hour ?
Where now, in what profound abyss of shame,
Dost thou conspire with Fate to sink my name?
Whence are my hopes ? What voice can age supply
To charm the ear; what grace to please the eye?
Where is the action, energy,
The look, that guides its passion to the heart ?
Age creeps like ivy o'er my wither'd trunk,
Its bloom all blasted, and its vigour shrunk :
A tomb, where nothing but a name remains
To tell the world whose ashes it contains.'

and art,

Tbc original is so superiorly beautiful, that to

prevent a bathos I shall insert it after the translation.

Necessitas, cujus cursus transversi impetum
Voluerunt multi effugere, pauci potuerunt,
Quo me detrusit pæne extremis sensibus ?
Quem nulla ambitio, nulla unquam largitio,
Nullus timor, vis nulla, nulla auctoritas
Movere potuit in juventa de statu;
Ecce in senecta ut facile labefecit loco
Viri excellentis mente clemènte edita
Submissu placidè blandiloquens oratio !
Etenim ipsi Dii negare cui nihil potuerunt,
Hominem me denegare quis possit pati?
Ergo bis tricenis annis actis sine nota
Eques Romanus lare egressus meo
Domum revertas mimus : Nimirum hoc die
Uno plus vixi mihi quum vivendum fuit.
Fortuna, immoderata in bono æque atque in malo,
Si tibi erat libitum literarum laudibus
Floris cacumen nostra famæ frangere,
Cur cum vigebam membris præviridantibus,
Sutisfacere populo et tali cum poteram riro,
Non flexibilem me concurvasti ut carperes ?
Nunc me quo dejicis ? quid ad scenam affero?
Decorem formæ, an dignitatem corporis,
Animi virtutem, an vocis jucundæ sonam?
Ut hedera serpens vires arboreus necat,
Ita me vetustas amplexa annorum enecat :
Sepulchri similis nihil nisi nomen retines.

The play which this pathetic prologue was attached to was a comedy, in which Laberius took the cha. racter of a slave, and in the course of the plot (as usual) was beaten by his master: in this condition, having marked his habit with counterfeited stripes, he runs upon the stage, and cries out amain-Porro, Quirites ! libertatem perdimus-In good faith, Countrymen, there is an end of freedom.' 'I he indignant spectators sent up a shout; it was, in the language of our presont playhouse bills, a burst of applause ; a

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