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I mingled poison for my children, I: “ 'Twas found upon me, wherefore then deny? What two at once, most barbarous viper ! two? “ Nay, sev'n, had sev'n been there; what's here

to do!"

first was the wife of Vectius Bolanus, a man of high rank and estimation, who gave her two children (they were twins) poison in the time of Nero. Parrhasius, Holyday says, seems to make it but an attempt in her. If he had read Statius with his wonted care, he would have seen that Parrhasius was right; for the Protrepticon of that poet is addressed to one of these children, who at the time he wrote, which was in the beginning of Domitian's reign, was still a mere youth.

The scholiast says the mother was put to death by Nero ; this is doubtful. Statius, whose authority is more to be relied on, seems to say it was by Domitian :-at least, those adulatory lines appear to be meant of him,

“ Exegit pænas, hominum cui cura suorum,
" Quo pietas authore redit, terrasque revisit,
“ Quem timet omne nefas”-

Protrep. Syl. v.

The other Pontia, to whom Juvenal more particularly alludes, was the wife of Drymo; whose family took care to perpetuate her crime by the following inscription (which we owe to Grangæus, not, as Holyday thinks, to Pithæus) on her tomb. Pontia Titi Pontii FILIA HEIC SITA SUM QUE DUOBUS





It is not unprofitable to remark, that this wretched woman was driven to escape, by self-murder, from the reproaches of her own conscience. To this Pontia, I suppose, Martial addressed the following witty epigram-though it would serve equally well for the other :

" Cum mittis turdumve mihi, quadramve placentæ,

“ Sive femur leporis, sive quid his simile ; " Buccellas misisse tuas te, Pontia, dicis.

" Has ego nec mittam, Pontia, sed nec edam."

Lib. vi. 75.

Now let us credit what the ancient stage,
Abhorrent, sung of fierce Medea's rage,
And Progne's; tales, which, disbeliev'd before,
Now grow familiar, and revolt no more.
These, in their days, in infamy were bold,
And acted monstrous crimes, but not for gold.
In every age we view with less surprise,
Less horror, such enormities as rise
From gusts of passion, which unseat the soul,
And rage and swell, indignant of controul. -
As when impetuous winds, and driving rain,
Have min'd a rock, that overhung the plain,
The massy ruin falls with thundering force,
And bears down all that interrupts its course.

Curse on the woman who reflects by fits,
And in cold blood her cruelties commits !-
They see, upon the stage, the Grecian wife
Redeeming, with her own, her husband's life
Yet, in her place, would eagerly deprive
Their lords of breath, to keep their dogs alive!

Abroad, at home, the Belides you meet,
And Clytemnestras swarm in every street;

VER. 985. They see upon the stage, the Grecian wife, &c.] The Grecian wife was Alceste, who voluntarily submitted to die, to preserve the life of her husband Admetus, king of Thessaly. Euripides has a tragedy on the subject.

But here the difference lies ;-—those bungling wives,
With a blunt axe hack'd out their husbands' lives :
While now, the deed is done with dextrous art,
And a drugg'd bowl performs the axe's part.
Yet if the husband, prescient of his fate,
Have fortified his breast with mithridate,
She baffles him e'en there, and has recourse
To the old weapon, for a last resource.

VER. 989.

the Belides, &c.] The Belides, as every one knows, were the daughters of Danaus ; they were fifty in number, and were married, on the same day, to the fifty sons of their uncle Ægyptus, all of whom, except one, they murdered at night. Clytemnestra had more patience ; she waited several years before she dispatched Agamemnon. There is another lady mentioned in the text, but I spare her, on account of her singular humanity-she only sent her husband to be killed, and that, too, for value received.

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