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Et contum, & Stygio ranas in gurgite nigras, 150
By manes, here, we may underfand, the ghosts, or spirits, of perfons departed out of this life, which exist after their departure from the body, and are capable of happiness and misery. See Virg. Æn. vi. 735-44.
149. Subterranean realms.) Infernal regions, which were fupposed to be under the earth.
150. A boat-pole.] Contus fignifies a long pole or staff, shod with iron at the bottom, to push on small vessels in the water. Juvenal here alludes to Charon, the ferry-man of hell, of whom Virgil says, Æn. vi. l. 302.
Ipfe ratem conto subigit. Frogs.] The poets feigned, that there were frogs in the river Styx. Some give the invention to Aristophanes See his comedy of the Frogs.
Stygian gulph.] The river Styx, supposed to be the boundary of the infernal regions, over which departed souls were ferried in Charon's boat. See Virg. Geor. iv. 467—80.
If any of the gods swore by this river falsely, he was to lose his divinity for an hundred years.
152. Not even boys believe.] All these things are disbelieved, not only by persons in a more advanced
but by boys.
Unless those not as yet, &c.}- The quadrans, which was made of brass, in value about our halfpenny, was the bathingfee, paid to the keeper of the bath by the common people. See Sat. vi. 446. and Hor. Lib.i. Sat. iii. 1. 137.
Dum tu quadrante lavatum
Rex ibis Little children, under four years old, were either not carried to the baths, or, if they were, nothing was paid for their bathing.
The poet means, that none but children, and those very young indeed, could be brought to believe such things: thefe might be taught them, among other old women's stories, by their nurses, and they might believe them till they grew old enough to be wiser, as the freethinkers would say. 153. But think thou, &c.] Do thou, O man, whoever thou
And a boat-pole, and black frogs in the Stygian gulph, 150
155 So many warlike souls? as often as from hence to them such
art, give credit to these important matters, which respect a fu. ture ttate of rewards and punishments.
153. Curius.] Dentatus: thrice consul, and remarkable for his courage, fingular honesty, and frugality. What does he now think, who is enjoying the rewards of his virtue in elyfium?
154. The two Scipios.] Viz. Scipio Africanus Major, who conquered Hannibal, and Scipio Africanus Minor, who rased Numantia and Carthage. Hence Virg. Æn. vi. 842—3.
Geminos duo fulmina belli
Fabricius.] C. Lufcinius the consul, who conquered
-- Camillus.] A noble Roman; he, though banished, saved Rome from its final ruin by the Gauls. The Romans voted him an equestrian statue in the Forum, an honour never before conferred on a Roman citizen.
155. The legion of Cremera.) Meaning the 300 Fabii, who, with their faves and friends, marched against the Vejentes, who, after many battles, surrounding them by an ambuscade, killed 300 near Cremera, a river of Tuscany, except one, from whom came afterwards the famous Fabius mentioned by Virg. An. vi. 845-6.
The youth consumed, &c.] Canna-arum. A village of Apulia in the kingdom of Naples, where Hannibal defeated the Romans, and killed above 40,000. Among these, such a number of the young nobility, knights, and others of rank, that Hannibal sent to Carthage three bushels of rings in token of his victory. There was fuch a carnage of the Romans, that Hannibal is said, at last, to have stopped his foldiers, crying out" Parce ferro."
156. So many warlike souls.] Slain in battle, fighting for their country. Virg. Æn. vi. 660. places such in Elysium.
Umbra venit; cuperent lustrari, fi qua darentur
165 Afpice quid faciant commercia: venerat obses.
By mentioning the above great men, Juvenal means, that they were examples, not only of the belief of a future state, which influenced them in the atchievement of great and worthy deeds, during their lives, but, that, now they experienced the certainty of it, in the enjoyment of its rewards.
156. As often as from hence, &c.] When the spirit of such a miscreant, as I have before described, goes from hence, leaves this world, and arrives among the venerable shades of these great and virtuous men, they would look upon themselves as defiled by such a one coming among them, they would call for luftrations, that they might purify themselves from the pollution which such company would bring with it.
157. If there could be given.] i. e. If they could come at materials for purification in the place where they are.
158. Sulphur with pines.] Fames of fulphur, thrown on a lighted torch made of the wood of the unctuous pine-tree, were used among the Romans as purifying. See Ainsw. Teda, N° 3.
Pliny says of sulphur-" Habet & in religionibus locum ad • expiandas sufficu domos.” Lib. xxxv. c. 15.
A wet laurel.) They used also a laurel-branch dipped in water, and sprinkling with it things or persons which they would purify:
159. Thither, alas ! &c.] We wretched mortals all must die, and be carried into that world of spirits, where happiness or misery will be our doom.
160. Juverna.] Al. Luberna, hod. Hibernia, Ireland. It is thought by Camden, that the Romans did not conquer Ireland ; this passage of Juvenal seems to imply the contrary. The poet. might speak here at large, as a stranger to these parts, and but according to the report of the triumphing Romans, who sometimes took discoveries for conquests, and thought those overcome, who were neighbours to those whom they overcame.
A fhade arrives, they would desire to be purified, if there
could be given Sulphur with pines, and if there were a wet laurel. Thither, alas ! we wretches are conveyed! our arms, in
deed, beyond The shores of Juverna we have advanced, and the lately captured
160 Orcades, and the Britons content with very little night. But the things which now are done in the city of the con
161. Orcades.] A number of small islands in the north of Scotland, added to the Roman empire by the emperor Claudius. Hod. the Orkneys.
The Britons content, &c.] At the summer folstice the nights are very short ; there is scarce any in the most northern parts of Britain.
162. The things which, &c.] The abominations which are committed in Rome, are not to be found among the conquered people, at least not till they learn them by coming to Rome ; inttances, indeed, may be found of this, as may appear by what follows.
164. Zelates.] An Armenian youth, sent as an hostage from Armenia.
--- More soft, &c.] More effeminate---made fo, by being corrupted at an earlier period of life, than was usual among the Roman youths. Ephebus fignifies a youth or lad from about 14 to 17. Then they put on the toga virilis, and were reckoned
The word is compounded of é, at, andílen, puberty. 165. To have yielded himseif.] For the horrid purpose of unnatural luft.
A burning tribune. ] Virg. Ecl. ii. 1. has used the verb ardeo in the same horrid sense. The tribune is not named, but some think the emperor Caligula to be hinted at, who, as Suetonius relates, used some who came as hostages, from far countries, in this detestable manner.
156. See what commerce may do.] Commercia here signifies intercourse, correspondence, converse together. Mark the ef
Hîc fiunt homines : nam fi mora longior urbem
fects of bad intercourse. The poet seems to mean what St. Paul expresses, 1 Cor. xv. 33. “Evil communications corrupt
166. He had come an hostage.] Obses-quia quafi pignus obsidetur, i. e. becaule kept, guarded, as a pledge. An hoftage was given as a security, or pledge, for the performance of something by one people to another, either in war or peace, and was peculiarly under the protection and care of those who received him. This youth had been sent to Rome from Artaxata, the capital of Armenia, a country of Asia, and was debauched by the tribune who had the custody of him. This breach of trust aggravates the crime.
167. Here they become men.) Here, at Rome, they soon lose their simplicity and innocence of manners, and though young in years, are foon old in wickedness, from the corruptions which they meet with. The word homo is of the common gender, and fignifies both man and woman ; and it is not improbable, but that Juvenal uses the word homines here, as intimating, that these youths were soon to be regarded as of either sex.
If a longer ftay, &c.] If they are permitted to stay a longer time at Rome, after their release as hostages, and are at large in the city, they will never want occasions of temptation to the worst of vices : at every turn, they will meet with those who will spare no pains to corrupt them.
169. Trowsers.] Braccæa sort of trowsers, or breeches, worne by the Armenians, Gauls, Persians, Medes, and others. Here by fynec. put for the whole'dress of the country from which they came.
Knives.] Cultelli-little knives-dim. from culter. This should seem to mean some adjunct to the Armenian dress; not improbably the small daggers, or poignards, which the Easterns wore tucked into their girdles, or salhes, of their under vestments : such are seen in the East to this day.
Bridles and whip 3 With which they managed, and drove on their horses, in their warlike exercises, and in the chace.
Will be laid ahde.] The meaning of these lines is, that the dress of their country, and every trace of their simpli. city, manliness, activity, and courage, will all be laid asidethey will adopt the dress and manners, the effeminacy and de. bauchery of the Roman nobility, which they will carry home