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Cum fas efle putet curam fperare cohortis,
60 Flaminiam: puer Automedon nam lora tenebat, Ipfe lacernatæ cum se jactaret amicæ.
Nonne libet medio ceras implere capaces Quadrivio-cum jam sextâ cervice feratur
Our Farquhar, in the description which he makes Mrs. Sulu len give of her drunken husband, represents her as mentioning a like particular
My whole night's comfort is the tuneable serenade of that “ wakeful nightingale-his nose.”
58. A cohort.) A company of foot in a regiment, or legion, which consisted of ten cohorts.
59. Has given his eftate to fables.] i.e. Has fquandered away all his patrimony in breeding and keeping horses. Præsepe, sometimes means--a cell, stews, or brothel. Perhaps, this
may be the sense here, and the poet may mean, that, this spendthrift had lavished his fortune on the stews, in lewdness and debauchery.
59—60. Lacks all the income, &c.] Hasspent the family estate.
60. While he flies, &c.] The person, here meant, is far from čertain. Commentators differ much in their conjecture on the subject. Britannicus gives the matter up. “ sage (fays he) is one of those, concerning which we are yet " to seek."
But whether Cornelius Fufcus, be meant, who when a boy was charioteer to Nero, as Automedon was to Achilles, and who, after wafling his substance in riotous living, was made commander of a regiment Or Tigillinus, an infamous favourite of Nero's, be here designed, whose character is supposed to have answered to the description here given, is not certain-one or other seems to be meant.--The poet is mentioning various subjects, as highly proper for fatyr; and, among others, fome favourite at court, who, after spending all his paternal estate in riot, extravagance, and debauchery, was made a commander in the army, and exhibited his chariot, driving full speed over the Flaminian way, which led to the emperor's villa ; and all this, because, when a boy, he had been Nero's charioteer, or, as the poet humourously calls him, his Automedon, and used to drive out Nero and his minion Sporus, whom Nero castrated, to make him, as much as he could, resemble a woman, and whom he used as a mistress, and afterwards took as a wife, and appeared publicly in his
chariot with him; openly carefling, and making love, as he passed along.
When he can think it right to hope for the charge of a
cohort, Who hath given his estate to stables, and lacks all The income of his ancestors, while he flies, with swift axle,
60 The Flaminian way: for the boy Automedon was holding
the reins, When he boasted himself to his cloaked mistress. Doth it not like one to fill capacious waxen tablets in the
middle of a Cross-way-when now can be carried on a fixth neck
The poet humourously speaks of Sporus, in the feminine gender.-As the lacerna was principally a man's garment, by lacernatæ amicæ, the poet may be understood, as if he had called Sporus, Nero's male-mistress-being habited like a man, and caressed as a woman.
The above appears to me a probable explanation of this obscure and difficult passage. Holiday gives it a different turn, as may be seen by his annotation on this place. I do not presume to be positive, but will say with Britannicus" Sed " quum in ambiguo fit, de quo poeta potissimùm intelligat, “ unusquisque, fi neutrum horum probabile visum fuerit, quod « ad loci explanationem faciat, excogitet.”
61. The Flaminian way.] A road made by Caius Flaminius, colleague of Lepidus, from Rome to Ariminum.
62. When he boasted himself.) Jactare fe alicuimsignifies to recommend, to insinuate one's self into the favour, or good graces of another—as when a man is courting his mistress. By ipse, according to the above interpretation of this passage, we must understand the emperor Nero.
63. Capacious waxen tablets.] These are here called ceras, sometimes they are called ceratæ tabellæ–because they were thin pieces of wood, covered over with wax, on which the ancients wrote with the point of a sharp instrument, called Stylus (see Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. x. 1. 72.): it had a blunt end to rub out with. They made up pocket-books with these.
64. Cross-way.] Juvenal means, that a man might please himself, by filling a large book with the objects of fatire which he meets in palling along the street. Quadrivium properly means a place where four ways meet, and where there are usually most people passing a proper stand for observation. On e fixth neck.] i. e. In a litter carried by fiz с
(Hinc atque inde patens, ac nudâ penè cathedra, 65
slaves, who bare the poles on the shoulder, and leaning against the side of the neck.
65. Exposed, &c.) Carried openly to and fro, here and there, through the public streets, having no fhame for what he had done to enrich himself.
66. The supine Mæcenes.) By this it appears, that Mæcenas was given to laziness and effeminacy.
See Sat. xii. 1. 39. Horace calls him Malthinus--from Manfaros, which denotes foftness and effeminacy. See Hor. Lib. i. Sat. ii. 1. 25.
67. A figner, &c.] Signator fignifies a sealer or figner of contracts or wills. Here it means a species of cheat, who im -posed false wills and testaments on the heirs of the deceased, supposed to be made in their own favour, or in favour of others with whom they shared the spoil. See Sat. x. I. 336. and note. Some suppose this to be particularly meant of Tigellinus, a. favourite of Nero's, who poisoned three uncles, and, by forging their wills, made himself heir to all they had.
68. By small tables.} Short teftaments, contained in a few words. Comp. note on 1.63.
A wet gem.) i. e, A seal, which was cut on some precious stone, worn in a ring on the finger, and occasionally made use of to seal deeds or wills--this they wetted, to prevent the wax sticking to it. This was formerly known among our forefathers, by the name of a seal-ring.
69. A potent matron occurs.] Another subject of fatire the poet here adverts to, namely--women who poison their husbands, and this with impunity. The particular perfon, here alluded to, under the description of matrona potens, was, pro. bably, Agrippina, the wife of Claudius, who poisoned her hus. band, that she might make her son Nero emperor.
Occurs.] Meets you in the public street, and thus occurs to the observation of the fatirist. Comp. 1.63-4.
(Here and there exposed, and in almost a naked chair, 65
husbands. Dare something worthy the narrow Gyaræ, or a prison, If you would be somebody. PROBITY IS PRAISED AND
STARVES WITH COLD.
69. Calenian wine. ] Calenum was a city in the kingdom of Naples, famous for a soft kind of wine.
70. About to reach forth.] Porrectura—the husband is sup. posed to be fo thirsty, as not to examine the contents of the draught; of this she avails herself, by reaching to him some Calenian wine, with poison in it which was extracted from a toad.
71. A better Locufta.] This Locufta was a vile woman, skilful in preparing poisons. She helped Nero to poison Britannicus, the son of Claudius and Meffalina; and Agrippina to dispatch Claudius. The woman alluded to by Juvenal (1. 69.) he here ftyles-melior Locufta-a better Locufta-i.e. more skilled in poisoning than even Locusta herself.
Her rude neighbours.] i. e. Unacquainted-and unkilled before, in this diabolical art.
72. Through fame and the people.] Setting all reputation and public report at defiance : not caring what people should say.
To bring forth.] For burial which efferre peculiarly
See Ter. And. Act. i. Sc. i. 1. 9o.
Black husbands. ] Their corpses turned putrid and black, with the effects of the poison.
73. Dare.] i. e. Attempt-presume--be not afraid to commit.
Something.) Some atrocious crime, worthy of exile, or imprisonment.
The narrow Gyara.] Gyaras was an island in the Ægean sea, small, barren, and defolate-to which criminals were banished.
74. If you would be somebody. ] .e. If you would make your
Criminibus debent hortos, prætoria, menfas,
75 Argentum vetus, & ftantem extra pocula caprum. Quem patitur dormire nurûs corruptor avara? Quem fponfae turpes, & prætextatus adulter? Si natura negat, facit indignatio versum, Qualemcunque potest: quales ego, vel Cluvienus. Ex quo Deucalion, nimbis tollentibus æquor, Navigio montem ascendit, fortesque poposcit, Paulatimque animâ caluerunt mollia faxa, Et maribus nudas oftendit Pyrrha puellas :
self taken notice of, as a person of confequence, at Rome. A severe reflection on certain favourites of the emperor, who, by being informers, and by other scandalous actions, had enriched themselves.
Probity is praised, &c.] This seems a proverbial saying--and applies to what goes before, as well as to what follows, wherein the poet is shewing, that vice was, in those days, the only way to riches and honours. Honesty and innocence will be commended, but those who possess them, be left to Itarve.
75. Gardens.] i.e. Pleasant and beautiful retreats, where they had gardens of great taste and expence.
Palaces.] The word prætoria-denotes noblemen's feats in the country, as well as the palaces of great men in the city.
Tables.] Made of ivory, marble, and other expenfive materials.
76. Old silver.) Ancient plate-very valuable on account of the workmanship:
A goat standing, &c.] The figure of a goat in curious bas-relief-which animal, as sacred to Baschus, was very usually expressed on drinking cups.
77. Whom.] i.e. Which of the poets, or winters of satire, can be at rest from writing, or withhold his fatiric rage?
The corrupter.] 1. e. The father, who takes advantage of the love of money in his fon's wife, to debauch her. 78. Base Spouses.] Lewd and adulterous wives.
The noble young adulterer.] Prætextatus, i. e. the youth, not having laid aside the prætexta, or gown worn by boys, fons of the nobility, till seventeen years of age--yet, in this early period of life, initiated into the practice of adultery.
79. Indignation makes verse.] Forces one to write, however naturally without talents for it.