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Iam liber et positis bicolor membrana capillis inque manus chartae nodosaque venit harundo. tunc queritur, crassus calamo quod pendeat umor, nigra sed infusa vanescat sepia lympha; dilutas queritur geminet quod fistula guttas. o miser inque dies ultra miser, hucine rerum venimus? at cur non potius teneroque columbo et similis regum pueris papare minutum poscis et iratus mammae lallare recusas? 'An tali studeam calamo?' Cui verba? succinis ambages? tibi luditur, effluis amens,
12, 14. querimur.
Cui verba? quid istas
and is recalled by Jahn, though doubtfully, as he confesses its difficulty, and apparently inclines to Hauthal's conj. 'findimur.' • Findor,' ' I am bursting,' is supported by Hor. I S. 3. 135 Rumperis et latras' (quoted by Heinr. who himself reads 'finditur'). The remainder of the verse is thrown in by the narrator abruptly, but not unnaturally, as we have only to supply 'clamat' or some such word.
9. Arcadiae; for the asses of Arcadia Casaubon refers to Varro R. R. 2. 1. 14, Brodaeus, on Juv. 7. 160, to Plaut. Asin. 2.2.67.
pecuaria, herds,' Virg. G. 3. 64. rūdo, long only here, and in the imitation by Auson. Epig. 76. 3, used particularly of the braying of asses. See Freund.
dicas most MSS., vulg. 'credas.' 10-18. He affects to set to work, but finds the ink won't mark. Wretched creature better be a baby again at
II. chartae, 'the papyrus.'
12. The ink is too thick at firstwater is poured in-then he finds it too pale. [ Querimur,' Jahn (1868)—by far the better attested reading.]
13. nigra, emphatic. Sepia pro atramento a colore posuit, quamvis non ex ea, ut Afri, sed ex fuligine ceteri conficiant atramentum' Scholiast. So Casaubon, who refers to Plin. 35. 6 (25), and Dioscorides 5 ad fin. Jahn, however, on the authority of the present passage, and Auson. Epist. 4. 76., 7. 54, believes that the liquor of the cuttle-fish was actually used for ink at Rome.
14. The ink when diluted runs from the pen in drops.
fistula, like calamus,' is a synonyme of 'harundo.'
15. ultra has the force of a comparative, and is consequently followed by 'quam.' 'Ultra quam satis est' Cic. Inv. I. 49. 91 (Freund), Hor. 1 Ep. 6. 16.
miser, vv. 66, 107.
Now he takes the book into his hand, and the parchment, which has had the hair taken off and shows two colours, and the paper, and the jointed reed. Next he begins to complain that the ink is thick and clots on the pen; and then, when water is poured in, that the blackness of the liquor is ruined, and that the implement makes two washy drops instead of one. Poor creature! poorer and poorer every day! is it come to this? Had you not better at once go on like pet pigeons and babies of quality, asking to have your food chewed for you, and pettishly refusing to let mammy sing you to sleep?
'Can I work with a pen like this?' Whom are you trying to take in? What do you mean by these whimpering evasions? It is your game that's playing, you are dribbling away like a simpleton
is very harsh, and it seems better to explain it with Casaubon of a pet dove, such as was commonly brought up in houses. If we read palumbo,' which is found in most MSS., including some of the best, and approved by Bentley on Hor. I Od. 2. 10, we may explain it with the Delphin ed. of the wood-pigeon fed by its mother from her own crop.
17. regum pueris Hor. 2 Od. 18. 34, where it is contrasted with the sordidi
nati' of the poor man. 'Reges' used generally for the great, see note on I. 67.
papare (so better spelt than pappare, Jahn), a child's word for to eat. 'Novo liberto opus est quod papet' Plaut. Epid. 5. 2. 61. Cum cibum ac potionem buas ac papas docent (vocent Britann. dicunt Cas.) et matrem mammam, patrem tatam' Varro Cato vel de liberis educandis' fr. ap. Non. 81. 4. Persius here uses the infinitive as a noun (note on I. 9) for the actual food, our 'pap.'
minutum is explained by the Scholiast commanducatos cibos,' chewed apparently by the nurse (Lubin), but it may be only 'broken up.'
18. mammae, used for nurse, Inscr. ap. Visc. Mus. Pio-Clem. t. 2. p. 82, being in fact the child's name for any one performing a mother's offices.
lallare is interpreted by the Scholiast as a verb formed from the nurse's cry lalla, which meant either 'go to sleep' or 'suck.' Auson. Epist. 16. 90 'Nutricis inter lemmata Lallique somniferos modos,' as well as our lullaby, is in favour of the former. The construction
is not iratus mammae,' as some of the old commentators, Casaubon and Heinr. have thought, but mammae lallare,' which is Plautius' interpretation. So it was understood by Jerome (Ep. 5 (1) T. 4. 2 p. 7 Ben. quoted by Jahn), Forsitan et laxis uberum pellibus mater, arata rugis fronte, antiquum referens mammae lallare congeminet.' lallare recusas, then, is like iussa recusat' Virg. Aen. 5. 749.
19-34. My pen won't write.' 'Nonsense-don't bring your excuses to me. You are going all wrong-just at the age, too, when you are most impressible. You have a nice property of your own-but that is not enough-no, nor your family either. Your life is virtually like Natta's, except that you can feel your state, while he cannot.'
19. Culpantur frustra calami' Hor. 2 S. 3. 7.
studeam, absolutely, in our sense of study, post Aug., see Freund. Plin. Ep. 5. 5. 5 has conpositus in habitum studentis,' as if the participle had come to be used as
contemnere: sonat vitium percussa, maligne
respondet viridi non cocta fidelia limo.
udum et molle lutum es, nunc nunc properandus et acri fingendus sine fine rota. sed rure paterno
est tibi far modicuin, purum et sine labe salinum
quid metuas?-cultrixque foci secura patella.
20. tibi luditur, notte ipse illudis' Schol. Heinr., as if it were a direct answer to • Cui verba?' (for then we should hardly have had the impersonal), but the game is yours (and no one's else)' 'you are the player' (Madvig, § 250 a), metaphor from dice' tua res agitur.'
effluis, you are dribbling away.' 'Effluere' used not only of the liquor but of the jar which lets it escape, like 'mano.' Petr. 71 amphoras gypsatas, ne effluant vinum,' quoted by Jahn.
21. contemnere, haec ab Horatio' (2 S. 3. 13), male translata intempestiva sunt: Invidiam placare paras, virtute relicta. Contemnere miser' Scholiast. Perhaps we may say that Persius added 'contemnere,' the scorn of which is in itself sufficiently effective, without intending to continue the metaphor of 'effluis,' but afterwards changed his mind.
sonat vitium, like nec vox hominem sonat' Virg. Aen. 1. 328, quoted by the Scholiast. The same image from striking earthenware to judge of its soundness by its ring is repeated, with some variation, 5. 24 Pulsa, dignoscere cautus Quid solidum crepet,' which is the opposite of sonat vitium' and 'maligne respondet;' so 5. 106, mendosum tinniat.' Jahn compares Lucr. 3. 873 'sincerum sonere.' Casaubon refers to Plato Theaet. 179 D, where σαθρὸν φθέγγεσθαι is opp. to ὑγιὲς φθέγγεσθαι.
maligne, grudgingly,' opp. to 'benigne;' laudare maligne' Hor. 2 Ep. 1. 209.
22. respondet. Stat. Ach. 2. 174 has respondentia tympana.' Compare Hor. A. P. 348 Nam neque chorda sonum reddit quem vult manus et mens, Poscentique gravem persaepe remittit acutum.'
viridis crudus,' opp. to 'coctus,' with a reference also to the natural colour of the clay, not browned by the baking.
23. Persius steps back, as it were, while pursuing the metaphor. In fact, you are really clay at this moment in the potter's hands,' imitating Hor. 2 Ep. 2. 8 'argilla quidvis imitaberis uda.' Possibly there may be some reference to the story of Prometheus as the maker of men. Hor. 1 Od. 16. 13, Juv. 14. 35. properandus
et.. fingendus propere fingendus.' Casaubon, quoting Plaut. Aul. 2. 3. 3 Vascula intus pure propera atque elue,' where 'pure' seems plainly to belong to 'elue,' so that 'propera atque' would seem to be thrown in, Sià pérov, as we might say in English. These are the things which I told him to make haste and wash.' [Wagner ad loc. however doubts the genuineness of the reading.] Properare' is used actively, as in Virg. G. I. 196.
24. sed rure paterno. Persius takes the words out of the youth's mouth, as the half-slighting words 'modicum' and 'patella' show. 'Rure paterno' is from Hor. 1 Ep. 18. 60 interdum nugaris rure paterno.' 'Rus' for a part of the country, an estate. 'Laudato ingentia rura, Exiguum colito' Virg. G. 2. 412. So Hor. 3 Od. 18. 2, 1 Ep. 15. 17.
25. far, a quantity of corn, 5. 74. The salinum' was generally silver (Val. Max. 4. 4. 3, Plin. 33. 12. 54, referred to by Jahn), whence Horace's paternum splendet in mensa tenui salinum' (2 Od. 16. 13), and perhaps 'purum et sine labe' here, though these words also denote moral respectability. The purity of the salt, concha salis puri' Hor. I S. 3. 14, may also be intended. The salinum'
as you are. You will be held cheap-the jar rings flawed when one strikes it, and returns a doubtful sound, being made, in fact, of green ill-baked clay. Why, at this moment you are moist soft earth. You ought to be taken instantly, instantly and fashioned without end by the rapid wheel. But you have a paternal estate with a fair crop of corn, a saltcellar of unsullied brightness (no fear of ruin surely!) and a snug dish for fireside service. Are you to be satisfied with this? or would it be decent to puff yourself and vapour because your branch is connected with a Tuscan stem and you are thousandth in the line, or because you wear purple on review days and salute your censor? Off with your
and the 'patella' are mentioned as the two simplest articles of plate-the general sense being, 'You are the inheritor of a moderate and respectable property.' When the necessities of the state obliged the senate to call for a general sacrifice of the gold and silver of the people, the saltcellar and the paten were expressly exempted from the contribution.' Stocker, who refers generally to Laevinus' speech in Livy 26. 36.
26. quid metuas expresses the feeling of the youth as anticipated by Persius. The object of fear is poverty, which it would require strenuous exertion to avoid. Hor. I Ep. 1. 42 foll.
27. pulmonem rumpere ventis, for 'inflatum esse,' Scholiast; 'pulmo animae praelargus' 1. 14.
28. The imagines themselves, together with the lineae which connect them, constitute the stemma or pedigree' Becker. Röm. Alt. 2. 1, p. 220 foll. referred to by Mayor on Juv. 8. I.
stemma is properly the garland hung on the 'imagines,' (Freund).
Tusco, like Maecenas, Hor. 3 Od. 29. 1., I S. 6. 1, Prop. 4. 9. 1, and like Persius himself.
ramus' linea,' Mayor. millesime, voc. for nom. I. 123, but with a rhetorical force. Jahn refers to
29. Niebuhr (Rhein. Mus. I p. 354 foll.), followed by Jahn, explains this line of the municipales equites.' 'Because you are a great man in your own provincial town ;' compare I. 129. In any case the allusion is to the annual 'transvectio' of the
equites' before the censor, who used to review them (recognoscere') as they defiled before him on horseback. Suet. Aug. 38 says that Augustus revived the practice, which had fallen into desuetude, but with certain modifications-abolishing the custom of making those objected to dismount on the spot, permitting the old and infirm to answer his summons on foot, and send their horses on, and allowing all above thirty-five years of age who chose to give up their horses. If censorem is understood of Rome, 'tuum' will imply that the youth is related to the Emperor, like Juvenal's Rubellius Blandus 7. 41 otherwise it means, Your local
ad populum phaleras! ego te intus et in cute novi.
Magne pater divum, saevos punire tyrannos
haud alia ratione velis, cum dira libido moverit ingenium ferventi tincta veneno: virtutem videant intabescantque relicta. anne magis Siculi gemuerunt aera iuvenci, et magis auratis pendens laquearibus ensis purpureas subter cervices terruit, 'imus,
30. phalerae, contemptuously to an eques,' as the word is peculiarly used of a horse's trappings, while it means also a military ornament. Multo phaleras sudore receptas' Virg. Aen. 9. 458. Equites donati phaleris' Livy 39. 31.
ego te intus et in cute novi. I know what lies under those trappings.' Compare 4. 43 ilia subter Caecum vulnus habes: sed lato balteus auro Praetegit.' Heinr. compares ev xp.
31. ad morem, more commonly in morem,' 'ex more,' or more.'
discincti, discinctus aut perdam nepos' Hor. Epod. I. 34.
Natta is another character from Horace (1 S. 6. 124), where he appears not as a reprobate, but as a man of filthy habits.
32. sed, apparently used to show that the parallel does not now hold good, being rather in Natta's favour. Persius could not seriously think Natta's case better than that of the man whom a little grain of conscience makes sour,' any more than mortification is better than acute disease—indeed his description shows that he is fully alive to the horror of the state of moral death: but it is his object to enforce the stings of remorse, so, without drawing any direct comparison, he exhibits the former briefly, and then proceeds to dwell more at length on the latter.
stupet.. vitio, like stupere gaudio'