Obrázky na stránke

Omnis arena Tagi, quodque in mare volvitur aurum, 55
Ut fomno careas, ponendaque præmia sumas
Tristis; & à magno semper timearis amico.

Quæ nunc divitibus gens acceptiffima noftris,
Et quos præcipuè fugiam, properabo fateri ;
Nec pudor obitabit. Non poffum ferre, Quirites, 60
Græcam urbem: quamvis quota portio fæcis Achææ?

fcure, or shady, from the thick shade of the trees on its banks.

Æfus serenos aureo franges Tago
Obscurus umbris arborum.

Mart. Lib. vi. Epigr. 50.
Or opacus may denote a duky turbid appearance in the water.

56. That you should want sleep, &c.] 0 thou, whoe'er thou art, that may be solicited to such criminal secresy by the rich and great, reflect on the misery of such Aagitious confidence, and prefer the repose of a quiet and easy conscience, to all the golden sands of Tagus, to all the treasures which it can roll into the sea! These would make you but ill amends for sleepless nights, when kept awake by guilt and fear.

Accept rewards to be rejected.] i. e. Which ought to be rejected-by way of hush-money, which, so far, poor wretch, from making you happy, will fill you with shame and forrow, and which, therefore, are to be looked upon as abominable, and to be utterly refused, and laid afide. Ponenda, lit.-to be laid down-but here it has the sense of abominandam refpuendarejicienda, abneganda. See Hor. Lib. iii. Od. ii. 1. 19.

57. Feared, &c.] The great man who profeffes himself your friend, and wlio has heaped his favours upon you in order to bribe you to silence, will be perpetually betraying a dread of you, left you should discover him. The consequence of which, you may have reason to apprehend, may be his ridding himself of his fears by ridding the world of you, left

you should prove like others--magni delator amici. See Sat. i. 33. but whether the great man betrays this fear or not, you may be certain he will be constantly possessed with it ; and a much greater proof of this you cannot have, than the pains he takes to buy your silence. When he grows weary of this method, you

know what you may expect. Alas! can all the treasures of the whole earth make it worth your while to be in such a situation ! Comp. 1. 113.

58. What nation, &c.] Umbritius proceeds in his reasons for retiring from Rome. Having complained of the fad ftate of the times, infomuch that no honest man could thrive there : he


[ocr errors]

the sea,

Tagus the whole sand be, and the gold which is rolled into

55 That you should want sleep, and should accept rewards to be

Sorrowful, and be always feared by a great friend.
What nation is now most acceptable to our rich men,
And whom I would particularly avoid, I will haften to

Nor shall shame hinder. O Romans, I cannot bear 60
A Grecian city: tho' what is the portion of Achæan dregs?

now attacks the introduction of Grecians and other foreigners, the fondness of the rich and great towards them, and the fordid arts by which they raised themselves.

60. Nor shall shame hinder.] In short, I'll speak my mind without reserve, my modefty shall not stand in my way.

0 Romans ] Quirites---This antiently was a name for the Sabines, from the city Cures, or from quiris, a sort of spear used by them : but after their union with the Romans this apa pellation was used for the Roman people in general. The name Quirinus was first given to Romulus.

See Sat. ii. 133. Probably the poet used the word Quirites here, as reminding them of their antient fimplicity of manners and dress, by way of contrast to their present corruption and effeminacy in both; owing, very much, to their fondness for the Greeks and other foreigners, for some time past introduced among them.

61. A Grecian city.) Meaning Rome--now so transformed from what it once was, by the rage which the great people had for the language, manners, dress, &c. of those Greeks whom they invited and entertained, that, as the inferior people are fond of imitating their superiors, it was not unlikely that the transformation might become general throughout the whole city: no longer Roman but Grecian. Umbritius could not bear the thought. - Tho' what is the portion, &c.] Though, by the way,

i! we consider the multitudes of other foreigners, with which the city now abounds, what, as to numbers, is the portion of Greeks ? they are comparatively few. See Sat. xiii. 157. Hæc quota pars scelerum, &c. What part is this (i. e. how small a part or portion) of the crimes, &c.

Achean dregs.] Achæa, or Achaia, fignifies the whole country of Greece, antiently called Danaë, whence the Greeks are called Danai. Ainsw. Dregs-metaph. taken from the foul, turbid, filthy fediment which wine deposits at the bottom



Jampridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes,
Et linguam, & mores, & cum tibicine chordas
Obliquas, necnon gentilia tympana fecum
Vexit, & ad Circum jusas prostare puellas.

65 Ite, quibus grata est pictâ lupa Parbara mitrâ. of the cask. A fit emblem of these vile Greeks, as though they were the filth and refuse of all Greece,

Sometimes the word Achæa, or Achaia, is to be understood in a more cofined sense, and denotes only some of that part of Greece called Peloponnesus, or Pelop's illard, now the Morea, antiently divided into Arcadia, and Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital: the inhabitants of this city were proverbially lewd and wicked-noque als was a usual phrafe to express doing acts of eifeminacy, lewdness, and debauchery - what then must the dregs of Corinth, and its environs, have been? See 1 Cor. vi. 9-11, fornier part.

62. Syrian Orontes.] Orontes was the greatest river of Syria, a large country of Aga. Umbritius had faid (at 1.61.) that the portion of Grecians was small in comparison; he now proceeds to explain himself, by mentioning the inundation of Syrians, and other Asiatic ftrangers, who had for some time been flocking to Rome : these were in such numbers from Syria, and they had so introduced their eastern manners, music, &c. that one would fancy one's self on the banks of the Orontes, instead of the Tiber. The river Orontes is here put for the people who inhabited the tract of country through which it ran. Meton. So the Tiber for the city of Rome, which stood on its banks.

- Has flowed.] Metaph. This well expresses the idea of the numbers, as well as the mischiefs they brought with them, which were now overwhelming the city of Rome, and utterly destroying the morals of the people.. 63. With the piper.] Tibicen fignifies a player on a flute,

A minitrel. They brought eastern musicians, as well as musical instruments, The flute was an instrument whose soft found tended to mollify and enervate the mind.

63---4. Harps oblique.] Chordas, literally strings : here it fignifies the initruments, which, being in a crooked form, the flrings must of course be obliquely placed.

64. National timbrels.] Tabours, or little drums, in form of a hoop, with parch.nent diftended over it, and bits of brass fixed to it to make a jingling noise ; which the eaitern people made use of, as they do to this day, at their feasts and dancings, and which they beat with the fingers.

64-5. With itself bath brought.] As a river, when it breaks its bounds, carries along with it something from all the s


or pipe.

Some while since, Syrian Orontes has flow'd into the Tiber,
And its language, and manners, and, with the piper, harps
Oblique, also its national timbrels, with itself
Hath brought, and girls bidden to expose themselves for

hiring at the Circus.
Go ye, who like a Barbarian strumpet with a painted mitre.


different soils through which it passes, and rolls along what it may meet within its way; so the torrent of Asiatics has brought with it, from Syria to Rome, the language, morals, dress, mufic, and all the enervating and effeminate vices of the several eastern provinces from whence it came.

65. And girls bidden to expose, &c.] Prosto, in this connection, as applied to harlots, means to be common, and ready to be hired of all comers for money. For this purpose, the owners of these Afiatic female slaves ordered them to attend at the Circus, where they might pick up gallants, and so made a gain of their prostitution. Or perhaps, they had stews in the cells and vaults which were under the great Circus, where they exercised their lewdness. See Holyday on the place, note f.

The word jussas may, perhaps, apply to these prostitutes, as expressive of their situation, as being at every body's command. Thus Ov. Lib. i. Eleg. 10.

Stat meretrix certo cuivis mercabilis ære,
Et miseras jusso corpore quærit opes.

Circus.] There were several circi in Rome, which
were places set apart for the celebration of several games: they
were generally oblong, or almost in the shape of a bow, having
a wall quite round, with ranges of seats for the convenience of
{pectators. The Circus Maximus, which is probably meant
here, was an immense building; it was first built by Tarqui-
nius Prifcus, but beautified and adorned by fucceeding princes,
and enlarged to such a prodigious extent, as to be able to con-
tain, in their proper seats, two hundred and fixty thousand í
spectators. See Kennet, Ant. Part ii. Book i. c. 4.

66. Go ye, &c.] Umbritius may be supposed to have uttered this with no small indignation.

Strumpet.] Lupa literally signifies a she wolf-butan appellation fitly bestowed on common whores or bawds, whose profession led them to support themselves by preying at large on all they could get into their clutches. Hence a brothel was called lupanar. The Romans called all foreigners barbarians.

A painted mitre.] A sort of turban, worne by the Syrian women as a part of their head-dress, ornamented with painted linen.

[ocr errors]

H 2

67. O

Rufticus ille tuus fumit trechedipna, Quirine,
Et ceromatico fert niceteria collo.

Hic altâ Sicyone, aft hic Amydone relicta,
Hic Andro, ille Samo, hic Trallibus, aut Alabandis,

70 Esquilias, dictumque petunt à vimine collem; Viscera magnarum domuum, dominique futuri.



67. O Quirinus.] O Romulus, thou great founder of this now degenerate city! See note on 1. 60.

- That ruflic of thine.] In the days of Romulus, and under his government, the Romans were an hardy race of Shepherds and husbandmen. See Sat. ii. 1. 74, and 127. Sat. viii. 1. 274–5. rough in their dress, and simple in their

But, alas! how changed!

A Grecian dress.] Trechedipna-from teexw, to run, and delivov, a supper. A kind of garment in which they ran to other people's fuppers. Ainsw. It was certainly of Greek extraction, and, though the form and materials of it are not defcribed, yet we must suppose it of the foft, effeminate, or gawdy kind, very unlike the garb and dress of the antient rustics of Romulus, and to speak a fad change in the manners of the people. Dryden renders the passage thus

O Romulus, and father Mars, look down !
Your herdsman primitive, your homely clown,

Is turn'd a beau in a loose tawdry gown. 68. Grecian ornaments.] Niceteria--rewards for victories, as rings, collars of gold, &c. Prizes. From Gr. vxn, victory.

On his anointed neck.] Ceromatico collo. The ceroma

from ungos, cera) was an oil tempered with wax, wherewith wrestlers anointed themselves.

But what proofs of effeminacy, or depravation, doth the poet set forth in these instances ?

Using wrestlers oil, and wearing on the neck collars of gold, and other insignia of victory, if to be understood literally, seems but ill to agree with the poet's design, to charge the Romans with a loss of all former hardiness and manliness: therefore we are to understand this line in an ironical sense, meaning, that, instead of wearing collars of gold as tokens of vi&ory, and rewards of courage and activity, their niceteria were trinkets,

gewgaws, worne merely as ornaments, suitable to the effeminacy and luxury into which, after the example of the Grecians, Syrians, &c. they were sunk. By the ceroma he must also be understood to mean, that instead of wrestlers oil, which was a mere compound of oil and wax, their ceroma was some curious perfumed anguent with which they anointed their per


(Gr. xngwject,


« PredošláPokračovať »