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Or with meal, and a slender chaplet, I use to adorn,
When shall I fix any thing, by which old age may be secure to me
May command me to stand secure in the noisy circus?—
Let me have besides a skilful engraver-and another
Who can quickly paint many faces :-these things will suffice.
Only for these; for when Fortune is petitioned for me,
She affixes wax, fetched from that ship,
Where on their brawny shoulders mounted high,
144. May command.] Jubeant-may command, or order—implying the superior strength and power of these fellows, who could so make their way, as to place their master wherever they chose.
145. Skilful engraver.] Curvus signifies crooked-that hath turnings and windings-and this latter, in a mental sense, denotes cunning, which we often find used for skilful, in our older English. See Exod. xxxviii. 23, and several other places of our translation of the Bible. Some are for understanding curvus, as descriptive of the bending or stooping attitude, in which the engraver works at his business.
146. Quickly paint, &c.] An artist, who can soon paint a number of portraits, which I may hang about my house, as pictures of some great men who were my ancestors. Comp. sat. viii. 1. 2, and note. These things will suffice, &c.] All this would just serve to make me as rich and happy as I could wish. Here I think this part of the subject comes to a period. Nævolus then recollects himself— his evil destiny occurs to his mind, and he breaks out in an exclamation on the vanity and misery of his wishes, since poverty and want are the only lot which he can expect.-This seems to unite the four last lines, with the utmost consistency and propriety.
147. A wretched wish, &c.] Since (quando) I am doomed to poverty by my destinies, (comp. I. 135, and note,) my wretched wishes, and all my hopes, are vain, and I cannot expect even what I have now been wishing for, much less any thing farther.
149. She affixes wax, &c.] i. e. Fortune is deaf to all petitions on my behalf. This is expressed by an allusion to the story of Ulysses, who, when sailing by Sicily, and being forewarned of the danger of listening to the Sirens on the coast, stopped his mariners' ears with wax, and so sailed by them securely. He commanded that he himself should be tied to the main-mast. HOMER, Odyss. xii.
Thus end the complaints of this miserable wretch! The poet has,
Que Siculos cantus effugit remige surdo,
under the character of Nævolus, strongly marked the odiousness of vice, and has set forth the bitter consequences which attend those who look for happiness and prosperity in the ways of wickedness, that they will fail in their expectations, and, at last, be consigned to the sad refuge of unavailing petitions for deliverance from that state
Which escaped the Sicilian songs, with a deaf rower.
of irremediable want and misery, into which they have plunged them selves, and which they find, too late, to be the sad, but just recom pense of their obstinate perseverance in evil-doing.
We may see this alarming and awful subject adequately treated in the sublime words of heavenly wisdom, Prov. i. 24-31.
END OF THE NINTH SATIRE.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.