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greatest hold on the public favor, and as being perhaps the best, be-
The remains of Sulpicia and cilius appear now the first
THE LIFE OF JUVENAL,
BY WILLIAM GIFFORD, ESQ.
DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENALIS,' the author of the following Satires, was born at Aquinum, an inconsiderable town of the Volsci, about the year of Christ 38.2 He was either the son,
“ Junius Juvenalis liberti locupletis incertum filius an alumnus, ad mediam ætatem declamavit, animi magis causa, quam quod scholæ aut foro se præpararet.'
The learned reader knows that this is taken from the brief account of Juvenal, commonly attributed to Suetonius; but which is probably posterior to his time; as it bears very few marks of being written by a contemporary author : it is, however, the earliest ex
The old critics, struck with its deficiencies, have attempted to render it more complete by variations, which take from its authenticity, without adding to its probability.
? I have adopted Dodwell's chronology. “Sic autem (he says) se rem illam totam habuisse censeo. Exul erat Juv. cum Satiram scriberet XV. Hoc confirmat etiam in v. 27, scholiastes. "De se Juv. dicit, quia in Ægypto militem tenuit, et ea promittit se relaturum quæ ipse vidit.' Had not Dodwell been predisposed to believe this, he would have seen that the scholium" confirmed” nothing: for Juvenal makes no such promise. “Proinde rixæ illi ipse adfuit quam describit.” So error is built up! How does it appear that Juvenal was present at the quarrel which he describes ? He was in Egypt, we know; he had passed through the Ombite nome, and he speaks of the face of the country as falling under his own inspection : but this is all; and he might have heard of the quarrel at Rome, or elsewhere. “Tempus autem ipse designavit rixæ illius cum et nuper'* illam contigisse dicit, et quidem . Consule Junio.' Jun. duplicem habent fasti, alium Domit. in x. Consulatu collegam App. Junium Sabinum A.D. lxxxiv. ; alium Hadriani in suo itidem consulatu 111. collegam Q. Junium Rusticum. Quo minus prior intelligi possit, obstant illa omnia quæ in his ipsis Satiris occurrunt Door the foster-son, of a wealthy freedman, who gave him a liberal education. From the period of his birth, till he had attained the age of forty, nothing more is known of him than that he continued to perfect himself in the study of eloquence, by declaiming, according to the practice of those days; yet more for his own amusement, than from any intention to preparo himself either for the schools or the courts of law. About this time he seems to have discovered his true bent, and betaken himself to poetry. Domitian was now at the head of the government, and showed symptoms of reviving that system of favoritism which had nearly ruined the empire under Claudius, by his unbounded partiality for a young pantomime dancer of the name of Paris. Against this minion, Juvenal seems to have directed the first shafts of that satire which was destined to make the most powerful vices tremble, and shake the masters of the world on their thrones. He composed a few lines on the influence of Paris, with considerable success, which encouraged him to cultivate this kind of poetry: he had the prudence, however, not to trust himself to an auditory, in a reign which swarmed with informers; and his compositions mitiani temporibus recentiora." Yet, such is the capricious nature of criticism! Dodwell's chief argument to prive the late period at which Juvenal was banished, is a passage confessedly written under Domitian, and foisted into a satire published, as he himself maintains, many years after that emperor's death! " Posteriorem ergo intellexerit oportet. Hoc ergo anno (cxix.) erat in exilio. Sed vero Roma illum ejicere non potuit Trajanus, qui ab anno usque cxi. Romæ ipse non adfuit; nec etiam ante cxvII. quo Romam venit imperator Hadrianus. Sic ante anni cxvi. finem, aut cxix. initium, mitti vix potuit in exilium Juvenalis : erat autem cum relegaretur, octogenarius. Proinde natus fuerit vel anni xxxvIII. fine, vel xxxix. initio." Annal. 157-159.
I have made this copious extract from Dodwell, because it contains a summary of the chief arguments which induced Pithæus, Henninius, Lipsius, Salmasius, etc., to attribute the banishment of the author to Hadri
To me they appear any thing but conclusive ; for, to omit other objections for the present, why may not the Junius of the fifteenth Satire be the one who was Consul with Domitian in 84, when Juvenal, by Dodwell's own calculation, was in his 47th instead of his 80th year.
?“Deinde paucorum versuum satira non absurde composita in Paridem pantomimum, poetamque Claudii Neronis” (the writer seems, in this and the following clause, to hare referred to Juvenal's words; it is, therefore probable that we should read Calvi Neronis, i. e. Domitian; otherwise the phrase must be given up as an absurd interpolation), “ ejus semestribus militiolis tumentem: genus scripturæ industriose excoluit." Suct.
were, therefore, secretly handed about among his friends. 1 By degrees he grew bolder; and, having made many large additions to his first sketch, or perhaps re-cast it, produced what is now called his Seventh Satire, which he recited to a numerous assemblage. The consequences were such as he had probably anticipated : Paris, informed of the part which he bore in it, was seriously offended, and complained to the
“Et tamen diu, ne modico quidem auditorio quicquam committere ausus cst.” Suet. On this Dodwell observes: “Tam longe aberant illa a Paridis ira concitanda, si vel superstite Paride fuissent scripta, eum irritare non possent, cum nondum emanassent in publicum,” 161. He then adds that “Martial knew nothing of his poetical studies, * who boasted that he was as familiar with Juvenal as Pylades with Orestes !" It appears, indeed, that they were acquainted; but I suspect, notwithstanding the vehemence of Martial's assertions, that there was no great cordiality between minds so very dissimilar. Some one, it seems, had accused the epigrammatist to the satirist, not improbably, of making too free with his thoughts and expressions. He was seriously offended; and Martial, instead of justifying himself (whatever the charge might be), imprecates shame on his accuser in a strain of idle rant not much above the level of a schoolboy. Lib. vii. 24.
But if he had been acquainted with his friend's poetry, he would certainly have spoken of it. Not quite so certainly. These learned critics seem to think that Juvenal, like the poets he ridicules, wrote nothing but trite fooleries on the Argonauts and the Lapithæ. Were the Satires of Juvenal to be mentioned with approbation ? and, if they were, was Mar tial the person to do it ? Martial, the most devoted sycophant of the age, who was always begging, and sometimes receiving, favors from the man whose castigation was, in general, the express object of them. Is it not more consonant to his character to suppose that he would conceal his knowledge of them with the most scrupulous care ?
But when Domitian was dead, and Martial removed from Rome, when, in short, there was no danger of speaking out, he still appears, continue they, to be ignorant of his friend's poetic talents. I am almost ashamed to repeat what the critics so constantly forget—that Juvenal was not only
* But how is this ascertained ? Very easily; he calls him “fecundus Juvenalis." Ilere the question is finally left; for none of the commentators suppose it possible that the epithet can be applied to any but a rhetorician. Yet it is applied by the same writer to a poet of no ordinary kind;
“Accipe, facundi Culicem, studiose. Maronis
Lib. xiv., 185.
tunc seque suamque
Terpsichoren odit facunda et nuda senectus." Let it be remembered, too, that Martial, as is evident from the frequent allusions to Domitian's expedition against the Catti, wrote this epigram (lib. vii., 91) in thec om. mencement of that prince's reign, when it is acknowledged that Juvenal had produced but one or two of his Satires.
emperor, who, as the old account has it, sent the author, by an easy kind of punishment, into Egypt with a military coma satirist, but a republican, who looked upon Trajan as a usurper, no less than Domitian. And how was it “safe to speak out,” when they all assert that he was driven into banishment by a milder prince than Trajan, for a passage “suspected of being a figurative allusion to the times?" What inconsistencies are these !
“Mox magna frequentia, magnoque successu bis ac tar auditus esi; ut ea quoque quæ prima fecerat, inferciret novis scriptis, Quod non dant proceres dabit histrio,' etc.
Sat. vii., 90-92. Erat tum in delitiis aulæ histrio, multique fautorum ejus quotidie provehebantur. Venit ergo in suspicionem quasi tempora figurate notasset; ac statim per honorem militiolæ, quanquam octogenarius, urbe summotus, missusque ad præfecturam cohortis in extrema parte tendentis Ægypti. Id supplicii genus placuit, ut levi atque joculari delicto par esset. Verum intra brevissimum tempus angore et tædio periit.” Suet. Passing by the interpolations of the old grammarians, I shall, as before, have recourse to Dodwell. “Recitavit, ni fallor, omnia, emisitque in publicum cxvill. (Juvenal was now fourscore !) postquam Romam venissit Hadrianus quem ille principem à benevolo ejus in hæc studia animo, in hac ipsa satira in qua occurrunt verba illa de Paride commendat.” 161. Salmasius supposed that the last of his Satires only were published under Hadrian; Dodwell goes farther, and maintains that the whole, with the exception of the 15th and 16th* (“si tamen vere et illa Juvenalis fuerit”), were then first produced! “Illa in Paridem dicteria histrionem, in suum (cujus nomen non prodidit auctor) histrionem dicta interpretabatur Hadrianus. Inde exilii causa. Scripsit ergo in exilio Sat. xv.
Sed cum nuper Consulem Junium' fuisse dicat, ante annum ad minimum cxx. scribere illam non potuit Juv. Nec vero postea scripsisse, exinde colligimus, quod
* The former of these, Dodwell says, was written in exile, after the author was turned of eighty. Salmasius, more rationally, conceives it to have been produced at Rome. Giving full credit, however, to the story of his late banishment, he is driven into a very awkward supposition. “An non alio tempore, atque alia de causa Ægyptum lustrare juvenis potuit Juvenalis ? animi nempe gratia, kai tos iotopias Xapıv, ut urbes regionis illius, populorumque mores cognosceret ?" Would it not be more simple to attribute his exile at once to Domitian ?
With respect to the 16th Satire, Dodwell, we see, hesitates to attribute it to Juvenal; and, indeed, the old Scholiast says, that, in his time, many thought it to be the work of a different hand. So always appeared to me. It is unworthy of the author's best days, and seems but little suite 1 to his worst. He was at least eighty-one, they say, when he wrote it, yet it begins
Sidere," et. Surely, at this age, the writer resembled Priam, the tremulus miles, more than the timid tyro! Nor do I believe that Juvenal would have been much inclined to amuse himself with the fancied advantages of a profession to which he was so unworthily driven. But the Satire must have been as ill-t med for the army as for himself, since it was probably, at this period, in a better state of subjection than it had been for many reigns. I suppose it to be written in professed imitation of our author's manne", about the age of Commodus. It has considerable merit, though the first and last paragraphs are seeble and tautological; and the execution of the whole is much inferior to the design.