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Has winter made you move yet to your Sabine fireside, dear Bassus ? are your lyre and its strings and the austere quill that runs over them yet in force ? Marvellous artist as you are at setting to music the primitive antiquities of our language, the manly utterance of the Latian harp, and then showing yourself excellent in your old age at wakening young loves and frolicking over the chords with a virtuous touch. As for me, the Ligurian coast is giving me the benefit of its warmth, and the sea is wintering just
further, and talks of stringing sounds on the numbers.
vocum may denote archaism of language as well as of metre; but there appears not the slightest reason to suppose with Jahn that Bassus actually wrote a poem on the subject of language.
4. marem strepitum, like 'mares animos’ Hor. A. P. 402.
fidis .. Latinae, like Horace's boast, 4 Od. 3. 23., 1 Ep. 19. 33 ; compare also I Ep. 3. I 2. Our national lyre,' except that Persius probably lays a further stress on • Latinae,' and means that Bassus kept up the ancient national character of Roman poetry, as opposed to later refinements.
5. iuvenes .. iocos, like' marem stre, pitum.'
agitare iocos, in Ov. M. 3. 319= iocari. Here it seems to mean rather more to busy one's self with young love,' as a writer, not as an actor. * Agitare' follows the sense of agere.
iocus in the favourite Horatian sense of love, so that 'iuvenes agitare iocos' is nearly='iuvenum curas referre' Hor. A. P. 85, a natural subject of lyric poetry.
honesto seems rightly explained by Jahn as emphatic, the tones of Bassus
love-lyrics suiting not only the lightness of youth but the gravity of old age.
6. egregius is the reading of a few of the best sss., approved by Bentley on Hor, i Od. 1. 5.
lusisse, like iocos,' with a reference to love (Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 214), as well as to composition (Virg. E. 1. 10). A poet is said to do the deed he writes about, Virg. E. 9. 19: (comp. Thuc. I 5 oi malaco Tv Toint@v tds MÚOTELS TÔV KatanEOVTAV . . époTWVTES.
lusisse senes, in the sense of 'amavisse senili more,' like 'senem pallere ' 1. 124.
mihi. The Scholiast says Persius' mother married a second time in Liguria, so he would naturally reside there.
Ligus ora, like • femina Ligus' Tac. Hist. 2. 13.
7. •Et lacus aestivis intepet Umber aquis ’ Prop. 5. I. 124. 'Est ubi plus tepeant hiemes' Hor. I Ep. 10. 15. •Tepidas brumas' 2 Od. 6. 17. . hibernat, like Horace's "hiemat' (2 S. 2. 17), where however sharp wintry weather is meant. [The expression ' aquis hiemantibus' is remarked upon by Sen. Ep. 114. 19 as used by Sallust.]
meum, not merely •my residence,' but 'suiting me,' kind to me.'
dant scopuli et multa litus se valle receptat.
Hic ego securus vulgi et quid praeparet auster
8. dant.. latus, as in Virg. Aen. 1. 105 = 'obiiciunt latus,' the sea being sheltered by the rocks forming the port.
valle for ‘sinu,' as if the scene were inland. Abl. of manner.
se .. receptat, as in Virg. G. I. 336, the freq. here perhaps marking the numerous bends. Jahn. 9. A line from Ennius, Ann. 16.(Vahlen.)
est operae, parenthetical, like • fas est' v. 25, 'venit Hesperus’ Virg. E.
opera, for opportunity or working time, especially in the gen., which seems to be partitive. Operae ubi mihi erit, ad te venero’ Plaut. Truc. 4. 4, 30.
cognoscite, not 'cognoscere,' is the reading of the best MSS. Cognoscere,' of listening to a narrative, as in Juv. 3. 288.
cives (as Jahn says), is a mark of the (simple) gravity of the old man. So his epitaph, * Adspicite, O cives, senis Enni imaginis formam.'
10. cor. Ennius used to say that he had three hearts, because he understood Greek, Latin, and Oscan. Gell. 17. 17. I, referred to by Plautius. The heart was often spoken of as the seat of the understanding: comp. Cic. Tusc. 1. 9, where Ennius is quoted as using cordatus' for wise. •Curis acuens mortalia corda 'Virg. G. 1. 123.
cor.. Enni, periph., like Virtus Scipiadae ' Hor. 2 S. 1. 72.
destertuit, found elsewhere? For Ennius' dreams, compare on Prol. 2 foll.
11. From Cic. Ac. pr. 2. 16 and Lucr. 1. 120 foll., it would appear that Ennius did not pretend to have been changed into Homer, but only to have seen him in a vision. Britannicus however on Prol. 3 and here refers to Porphyrio for the statement that Ennius said at the beginning of his annals that Homer's spirit had passed into him in sleep. Homer's revelations however turned on the doctrine of metempsychosis, he having been a peacock in one stage of the process (note on Prol. 2), and so Persius represents Ennius as having been himself Homer and peacock, just as in Prol. 3 he uses the word 'memini,' as if it were Ennius' word about his own recollection, when it was really used of Homer's. Thus in Hor. 2 S. 5. 41 Furius is confounded with his own Jupiter.
Quintus is explained by the Scholiast as if it were a numeral—the stages being a peacock, Euphorbus, Homer, Pythagoras, Ennius. Persius might very well have intended a pun; but then we should rather have had 'a' than *ex,' as in alter ab illo,' 'a love tertius Aiax,' even if this gradation of transformations were established. Should Quintus be taken with Maconides, as if it were a double name, Ennius and Homer in one, Homer with a Roman praenomen? The names were sometimes reversed in poetry,
as I like it to do, where the sides of the cliffs present a vast barrier, and the shore retires into a deep bay. “Acquaint yourselves with the haven of Luna, now's your time, good people all !’so says Ennius' brain, when he had been roused from dreaming himself Maeonides Quintus developed out of Pythagoras' peacock.
While I live here, without a care for the vulgar or for what mischief the south wind may be brewing for the cattle, without a care either because that nook of my neighbour's is better land than mine, even if all my inferiors in birth should grow rich over my head, I would stick to my resolution, seeing no reason why I should lose my height and my bulk with premature old age, or dine without something savoury, or poke my nose into the seal of a bottle of flat wine. Another man may take a different view; aye, good horoscope, you sometimes give birth to twins whose star is strangely different. You will find a man who on his birthday, of all days in
and Homer's would naturally take the pre unctum,'a dainty,' as in Hor. 1 Ep. cedence. Quintus fiam e Sosia’ Plaut. 17. 12, A. P. 422 (compare i Ep. 15. Amph. 1. I. 152.
44 ubi quid melius contingit et unc12-24. •Here 1 live, undisturbed by tius'). thoughts of public opinion, a bad season, 17. "Signo laeso non insanire lagoenae ' or the success of my neighbours. Let Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 134. who will grow rich, why should I stint naso tetigisse. Scrutinizing the myself? Men have different passions, state of the seal so closely that he can one for spending, one for sparing: I will touch it with his nose, and so learn by enjoy myself without running into either the smell that it is good for nothing. extreme.'
A condensed picture, .more Persii. 12. securus, with gen., Virg. Aen. 1. 18. “Another man may differ from 350.
these tastes of mine if he likes - inquid, etc. Quid cogitet humidus deed twin brothers do not always think Auster' Virg. G. 1. 462. For the double . alike.' construction, see 3. 51.
geminos ; sentiment from Hor. 13. Arboribusque satisque Notus 2 Ep. 2. 183 foll. pecorique sinister' Virg. G. 1. 444, horoscope, Manil. 3. 190, 200. nocentem Corporibus .. Austrum' Hor. varo .. genio may either be a 2 Od. 14. 15, plumbeus Auster' 2 S. genius with two aspects, the same genius 6. 18.
presiding over both, or a genius differing infelix, with dat., Virg. G. 2. 239. from the genius of the other, just as
securus put before et for the sake varus' in its literal sense is an epithet of emphasis. Aeneas ignarus abest .. both of a bowlegged man and of the legs ignarus et absit’ Virg. Aen. 10. 85.
themselves. angulus. O si angulus ille Proxi
19. producis, of birth. •Ego is sum mus accedat' Hor. 2 S. 6. 8. 'ille ter qui te produxi pater’ Plaut. Rud. 4. 4. rarum mihi praeter omnes Angulus ridet' 129, 'cum geminos produceret Arria 2 Od. 6. 13.
natos' Prop. 5. I. 89. Elsewhere of 14. adeo, emphatic. Though not education, . Et laevo monitu pueros proonly one man of inferior extraction but ducit avaros' Juv. 14. 228. all should grow rich.
natalibus, 1. 16 note, 2. I foll. 15. Hor. l. c.
Hor. 2 S. 2. 60, which Persius has in 16. minui, .to shrink or lose flesh. view.
senio. 1. 26. •Amore senescit solis, unlike Horace's Avidienus, habendi’ Hor. 1 Ep. 7. 85.
he keeps no other feast.
tinguat holus siccum muria vafer in calice empta,
Messe tenus propria vive et granaria, fas est,
26. Emule . . metuas.
20. tinguat, not expressive of meanness, but simply opp. to siccum, which is itself opp. to 'unctum ' v. 16.
muria was an ingredient in sauce ('ius ) along with oil (Hor, 2 S. 4. 65), so that the miser may have used it as a substitute for oil, which was the ordinary accompaniment; v. 68, Hor. 2 S. 2. 58., 3. 125.
vafer, of the low cunning of parsimony.
empta, with muria.' It was bought in a cup for the occasion, not kept in a jar in the storeroom.
21. ipse, emphatic, as in Hor. 2 S. 2. 61.
sacrum. Hor. 1 S. 1. 71, 2 S. 3. 110; perhaps referring, as Jahn thinks, to such expressions as Homer's ads Oelos : the language of early religion.
inrorans, like instillat' Hor. 2 S. 2. 62.
22. Imitated from Hor. 1 Ep. 15. 27 • rebus maternis atque paternis Fortiter absumptis. Compare also Ov. M. 8. 847 " demisso in viscera censu,' which Juv. ii. 40 has copied.
peragit answers to our 'gets through.'
puer, while yet a youth. Gifford notices the rapidity of the metre : contrast it with the slowness of v. 20.
utar. Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 190 · Utar et ex modico, quantum res poscet, acervo Tollam, nec metuam quid de me iudicet heres, Quod non plura datis invenerit.'
23. rhombos. Hor, 2 S. 2. 47, Epod. 2. 50, Juv. 4 passim.
ponere. 1. 63.
lautus ponere. Prol. 11. 24. tenuis ; 'exacta tenui ratione saporum' Hor. 2 S. 4. 36. Jahn.
sollers. 5. 37.
turdarum, fem. for the sake of variety, or perhaps, as the Scholiast says, because epicures could distinguish the gender of thrushes as well as their breeding by the taste. Thrushes were great delicacies, Hor. 2 S. 5. 10, 1 Ep. 15. 41.
saliva, for sapor,' effect for cause. “Sua cuique vino saliva 'Plin. 23. 1. 22.
magnanimus, like “fortiter,' as if the undertaking were a great one, referring also to the spirit of generosity or peyaroyuxía on which the spendthrift would pride himself.
25-40. Live up to your means. You want to be able to help your friends ? Very well, then sell something the emergency will justify you. Your heir will resent this, and visit it on you by giving you a mean funeral, and morose censors will say it all comes of foreign philosophy. Will this trouble you in your grave ?'
the year, sprinkles his dry vegetables with brine, like a knowing dog as he is, bought in a cup and shakes the precious pepper over his plate with his own hand, while here you have a fine spirited young fellow gobbling through an immense estate. Enjoyment, enjoyment for me, not that I go to the expense of serving up turbots for my freedmen or am a connoisseur in the delicate juices of hen thrushes.
Live up to the produce of your own estate each year. Grind out your granaries : you may, without fear, you have only to harrow, and a new crop is already in the blade. 'Aye, but there are claims on me, a shipwrecked friend is clinging forlornly to the Bruttian cliffs; all his means and his prayers are drowned in the deep lonian waters ; he is now lying on the beach, and with him the huge gods from his vessel's stern, and the ribs of the wreck which are beginning to invite the cormorants. Now, then, break a bit of turf from your landed capital, and be generous to the poor man, that he may not have to go about with his picture on a board of sea-green. But your heir will neglect your funeral feast in revenge
25. messe, 'the year's harvest.' Jahn's construction making tenus' adv. is very harsh.
propria, opp. to aliena.' 'Live up to your income, but not beyond.'
vive, of supporting life. Hor. 1 Ep. 12. 8, 2 Ep. 1. 123.
granaria. 5. ITO. 26. emolere granaria, a strong expression. Grind out your granaries' = have all your store ground up for use.
in herba est, is already in the blade.' 'Luxuriem segetum tenera depascit in herba' Virg. G. 1. 112 adhuc tua messis in herba est 'Ov. Her. 17. 263.
27. A supposed objection—if I spend my income, how shall I be able to serve a friend in an emergency?
vocat officium. Juv. 3. 239. Here officium' is relative duty, as in Cicero's treatise.
trabe rupta. 1. 89 note. Fractis trabibus' Juv. 14. 296.
28. prendit. •Prensantemque uncis manibus capita aspera montis' Virg. Aen, 6. 360. Casaubon.
surda, unheard.' Istius tibi sit surda sine arte lyra' Prop. 4. 5. 58, surdo verbere caedit' Juv. 13. 194.
29. condidit vota, as vows are said cadere.'
30. Paintings, not images, of the gods. "Aurato fulgebat Apolline puppis' Virg. Aen. 10. 171.
dei shows that there were sometimes more than one, and so Hor. i Od. 14. 10
Non di integri) quos iterum pressa voces malo. The mention of the gods seems merely ornamental, not indicative, as Turnebus ap. Stocker thinks, of the shipwrecked man's piety.
mergis. Jahn compares Hor. Epod. 10. 21 Opima quod si praeda curvo litore Porrecta mergos iuveris.'
31. costa, of a ship. Plin. 13. 9. 19, also Virg. Aen. 2. 16, where the language is from shipbuilding.
lacerae. “At laceras etiam puppes furiosa refeci 'Ov. Her. 2. 45.
caespite vivo, of turf growing. Hor. i Od. 13. 19, Ov. M. 4. 300. Here for the mass of landed property, from which something is to be sacrificed, with reference to the phrase "de vivo detrahere' or 'resecare,' to deduct from the capital. 'Dat de lucro : nihil detrahit de vivo' Cic. Fl. 37.
32. pictus. 1. 89 note.
33. caerulea, as it would be a seapiece, doubtless with a daub of green all over.
in tabula with pictus.'
cenam funeris, 'the funeral banquet,' given to the friends of the deceased, and sometimes to the public (Suet. Caes. 26): distinguished from the scanty meal left on the tomb for the dead, ' feralis cena' Juv. 5. 85, or novemdialis.' Jahn.