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A lewer to be dried, a corpse to be carried to the pile,
35 Now set forth public shews, and, the people's thumb being
join them, as we frequently do some of our own-as in masterkey, queen-bee, &c.
We read of the hasta decemviralis which was fixed before the courts of justice, So of the hafta centumviralis, also fixed there, A spear was also fixed in the forum where there was an auction, and was a sign of it: all things sold there, were placed near it, and were said to be fold-under the fiear. Hence (by meton.) hafta is used, by Cicero and others, to signify an auction, or public sale of goods. The word domina leems to imply, the power of disposal of the property in persons and things fold there, the poffelhon and dominion over which were settled, by this mode of sale, in the several purchasers. So that the spear, or auction, might properly be called domina, as ruling the difposal of persons and things.
34. Theji, in time pas, born-blowers.] Such was formerly the occupation of thete people ; they had travelled about the country, from town to town, with little paltry News of gladiators, fencers, wrestlers, ftage-players, and the like, founding horns to call the people together– like our trumpeters to a puppet-fhew.
- Municipal theatre.] Municipium fignifies a city of town-corporate, which had the privileges and freedom of Rome, and at the fame time governed by laws of its own, like our corporations. Municipalis denotes any thing belonging to such a town. Most of thele had arenæ, or theatres, where strolling companies of gladiators, &c. (like our strolling players) used to exhibit. They were attended by horn-blowers and trumpeters, who founded during the performance.
35. Cheeks knozun, &c.] Blowers on the horn, or trumpet, were fometimes called buccinatores, from the great diftenfion of the cheeks in the action of blowing. This, by constant use, left a swollen appearance on the cheeks, for which these fellows, were well known in all the country towns. Perhaps bucçx is here put for buccinæ, the horns, trumpets, and such wind instruments as these feilows ftrolled with about the country. See Ainsw. Bucca, No 3. 36. Now set forth public hews.] Munera, so called because
Quemlibet occidunt populariter : inde reverfi
given to the people at the expence of him who set them forth. These fellows, who had themselves been in the mean condition above described, now are so magnificent, as to treat the people with public thews of gladiators at the Roman theatre.
36. The people's thumb, &c.] This alludes to a barbarous usage at fights of gladiators, where, if the people thought he that was overcome behaved like a coward, without courage or art, they made a sign for the vanquisher to put him to death, by clenching the hand, and holding or turning the thumb upward. If the thumb were turned downward, it was a signal to spare his life.
37. Whom they will, &c.] These fellows, by treating the people with shews, had grown fo popular, and had such influence among the vulgar, that it was entirely in their power to direct the spectators, as to the signal for life or death, so that they either killed or saved, by directing the pleasure of the people. See Ainsw. Populariter, No 2.
Thence returned, &c.] Their advancement to wealth did not alter their mean pursuits ; after returning from the splendor of the theatre, they contract for emptying bog-houses of their soil and filth. Such were called at Rome-Foricarii and Latrinarii-with us--nightmen. 38. Why not all things?] Why hire they not the town, not
DRYDEN 39. Such as from low state.] The poet here reckons the advancement of such low people to the height of opulence, as the sport of Fortụne, as one of those frolics which the exercises out of mere caprice and wantonness, without any regard to desert, See Hor. Lib. i. Ode xxxiv. l. 14–16. and Lib. iii. Odę xxix, 1. 49–52.
40. Fortune.) Had a temple and was worshipped as a goddess. The higher she raised up such wretches, the more conspicuously contemptible he might be said to make them, and seemed to joke, or divert herself, at their expence. See Sat, X. 366.
Kill whom they will, as the people please : thence returned
41. I cannot lye.] Diffemble, cant, flatter, say what I do not mean, seem to approve what I dislike, and praise what in my judgment I condemn. What then should I do at Rome, where this is one of the only means of advancement ?
42. Ask for.] It was a common practice of low flatterers, to commend the writings of rich authors, however bad, in order to ingratiate themselves with them, and be invited to their houses: they also asked, as the greatest favour, for the loan or gift of a copy, which highly flattered the composers. This may be meant by poscere, in this place. See Hor. Art. Poet. 1. 419–37. Martial has an epigram on this subject. Epigr. xlviii. Lib. viii.
Quod tam grande Lopws clamat tibi turba togata,
'Tis not thee they commend—but the cheer at thy table. 42—3. Motions of the stars, &c.] I have no pretensions to skill in astrology.
43. The funeral of a father, &c.] He hereby hints at the profligacy and want of natural affection in the young men who wished the death of their fathers, and even consulted astrologers about the time when it might happen; which said pretended diviners cozened the youths out of their money, by pretending to find out the certainty of such events by the motions or situations of the planets.
This, says Umbritius, I neither can, nor will do.
44: The entrails of toads.] Rana is a general word for all kinds of frogs and toads.
The language here is metaphorical, and alludes to augurs inspecting the entrails of the beasts slain in sacrifice, on the view of which they drew their good or ill omens.
Out of the bowels of toads, poisons, charms, and spells, were supposed to be extracted. Comp. Sat. i. 70. Sat. vi. 658. Um
Inspexi : ferre ad nuptam quæ mittit adulter,
45 Quæ mandat, nôrint alii : me nemo ministro Fur erit, atque ideo nulli comes exeo, tanquam Mancus, & extinctæ corpus non utile dextræ. Quis nunc diligitur, nisi conscius, & cui fervens Æftuat occultis animus, semperque tacendis ? Nil tibi se debere putat; nil conferet unquam, Participem qui te fecreti fecit honesti. Carus erit Verri, qui Verrem tempore, quo vult, Accufare potest. tanti tibi non sit opaci
britius seems to say~"I never foretold the death of fathers, or “ of other rich relations ; nor searched for poison, that my “ predictions might be made good by the secret administration « of it.” Comp. Sat. vi. 563-7.
45. To carry to a married woman.] I never was pimp, or go-between, in carrying on adulterous intrigues, by secretly conveying love-letters, presents, or any of those matters which gallants give in charge to their confidents. I leave this to others.
46. I allting, &c.] No villainy will ever be committed by my advice or assistance.
47. I go forth, &c.] For these reasons, I depart from Rome, quite alone, for I know none to whom I can attach myself as a companion, so universally corrupt are the people.
48. Maimed.] Like a maimed limb, which can be of no service in any employment: just as unfit am I for any employment which is now going forward in Rome.
A useless body, &c.] As the body, when the righthand, or any other limb, that once belonged to it, is loft and gone, is no longer able to maintain itself by laborious employment, fo I, having no inclination, or talents, to undergo the drudgery of vice of any kind, can never thrive at Rome.
Some copies read-extinctâ dextrâ -Abl. Abs. the righthand being loft. The fenfe amounts to the same.
49. Unless conscious.] Who now has any favour, attention, or regard shewn him, but he who is conscious, privy to, acquainted with, the wicked secrets of others ?
50. Fervent mind boils, &c.] Is in a ferment, agitated between telling and concealing what has been committed to its confidence. The words fervens and æftuat are (in this view) metaphorical, and taken from the raging and boiling of the sea, when agitated by a stormy wind. Fervet vertigine pontus. Ov. Met. xi. 549. So Æltuare semper fretum. Curt. iv. 9. Ainsw. Æftuo, No
Have inspected : to carry a married woman what an adulterer sends,
45 What he commits to charge, let others know: nobody, I
assisting, Shall be a thief; and therefore I go forth a companion to
none; as Maimed, and the useless body of an extinct right-hand. Who now is loved, unless conscious, and whose fervent Mind boils with things hidden, and ever to remain in silence?
50 He thinks he owes you nothing, nothing will he bestow, Who hath made you partaker of an honest secret. He will be dear to Verres, who Verres, at any time he will, Can accuse. Of so much value to you let not of shady
Hence, æftuans, signifies--boiling with any passion, when applied to the mind. Animo æftuante reditum ad vada retulit. Catull. See Ainsw. See If. lvii. 20.
Or we may give the words another turn, as descriptive of the torment and uneasiness of mind which these men must feel, in having become acquainted with the moft Aagitious crimes in others, by afsifting them, or partaking with them in the commifsion of them, and which, for their own fakes; they dare not reveal, as well as from the fear of those by whom they are intrusted.
Who now is lov'd but he who loves the times,
Yet never must to public light return. DRYDEN. 51. He thinks he orves you nothing, &c.] Nobody will think himself obliged to you for concealing honest and fair transactions, or think it incumbent on him to buy your filence by cond ferring favours on you.
53. Verres.] See Sat. ii. 26, note. Juvenal mentions him here, as an example of what he has been saying. Most probably, under the name of Verres, the poet means fome characters then living, who made much of those who had them in their power by being acquainted with their secret villainies, and who at any time could have ruined them by a discovery.
545: Shady Tagus.) A river of Spain, which discharges itself into the ocean near Lisbon, in Portugal. It was antiently faid to have golden sands. It was called Opacus, dark, ob