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fence- Harkye, friend! fays he; when was your mother in Rome? - Never, án please you! replied the countryman, but my father has been here many a time and oft. The anecdote of the old soldier is fill more to his credit: He solicited the emperor to defend him in a suit ; Auguftus fent his own advocate into court; the soldier was diffatisfied, and said to the emperor - I did not fight for you by proxy at ActiumAuguftus felt the reproof, and condescended to his request in person. When Pacuvius Taurus greedily solicited a largess from the emperor, and to úrgé kim 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, faid Auguftus, than to believe the world-and dismissed the sycophant without his errand. I shall mention one more case, where, by a very courtly evafion, he parried the folicitation 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 common flanderer, and particularly obnoxicus for his fcurrility against Cicerbi was pelted by the populace in the amphitheatre, whilic he was giving them the Gladiators: He complained to the Ædiles of the insult, and got an edici forbidding the people to caft any thing into the area but apples. An arch fellow brought a its rious, large fir-apple to the famous lawyer Cacellius, and demanded his opinion upon tee edice
- I am of opinion, says Cascelliis, that your are apple is literally and legally an appir, with this proviso however, that you intend to throw it Vatinius's head.
As there is some danger in making too free with old jokes, I shall hold my hand for the present; but if these should fucceed in beeg acceptable to my readers, I shall not be afraid of meeting Mr. Joseph Miler and his moderna witticisms with my antients. In urat cale I shall not despair of being able to lay beiore dhe public a veritable Roman newpaper, compounded of events in the days of Julius Catur: By what happy chance I traced this valuate relick, and with what pains I policfied myíof of it, may be matter of futurè exploration :
I have the satisfaction however to premise to the reader, that it is written with great freedom, and as well sprinkled with private 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 contempt, I shall have pleasure in fhewing that they have classical authority for all their quirks and conceits, 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 he. roines of our stage ; but I can produce some encomiums upon Laberius, Rofcius 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 were yet born. P. Clodius, the fine gentleman and rake of the age, had the indecorum to press Laberiús 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 ;-Da 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 rather than consent to his de mand; for acting was not then the amusement of people of fashion, and private theatres were not thought of. Julius Cæfar 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 request; he interceded, he implored of Cæfar to excuse him : * It was to no purpose, Cafar had made it his point, and his point he would carry: The word of Cæfar was law, and Laberius, VOL. III.
driven out of all his defences, was obliged to submit and comply. Cæfar 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 fpectators; all Rome is present, and Decimus Laberius presents himself on the stage, and addrefles the audience in the following prologue :
« Prologue by Decimus LABERIUS.
« O strong Necessity ! of whose swift course
“ O Fortune ! fickle source of good and ill,