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• VATIBUS hic mos est, centum sibi poscere voces,
centum ora et linguas optare in carmina centum,
fabula seu maesto ponatur hianda tragoedo,
vulnera seu Parthi ducentis ab inguine ferrum.'

Quorsum haec? aut quantas robusti carminis offas ingeris, ut par sit centeno gutture niti?


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To Cornutus. The poet acknowledges bis obligations to his old tutor, and descants on the Stoic doctrine of moral freedom, proving that all the world are slaves, as Stertinius in Hor. 2 S. 3, proves to Damasippus that all the world are madmen. The subject is the same as that of Hor. 2 S. 7, the dialogue between Horace and Davus, and the treatment not unlike. Jahn has summed up the few particulars known about Cornutus, Prolegomena, pp. 8-27. L. Annaeus Cornulus was born at Lepta, flourished at Rome under Nero as a tragic poet, like Seneca, a grammarian (author of a commentary on Vir gil, some fragments of which are preserved by Servius, and of a treatise, De Figuris Sententiarum) and a Stoic philosopher (author of a work against Athenodorus and Aristotle, and of another on the Theology of the Greeks, which still exists as a meagre epitome). The name Annaeus renders it probable that he was a freedman of that family, especially as Lucan is known to have been one of his pupils. He was banished by Nero, under the following circumstances. The emperor had a plan

of writing the history of Rome, in verse, from Romulus downwards, and consulted Cornutus, among others, about the number of books of which the poem ought to consist. Some of his flatterers suggested 400. Cornutus replied that it would be too many for any one to read. It was retorted, ' But your great philosopher, Chrysippus, wrote many more. True,' said Cornutus, but they do some good to mankind! Nero, enraged, first thought of putting him to death, but eventually banished him to an island.

1-4. Persius. «Poets are allowed to wish for a hundred tongues when they have any great effort to make, either tragic or epic.'

1. 'Regibus hic mos est' Hor. I S. 2.

centum, etc.; the fountain is Hom. II. 2. 489 oủs' ei voi déna pèr ya@oodi, Séna otómat' ciev. Hostius, a contemporary of Caesar, author of a poem on the wars of Istria, wished for 100, 'Non si mihi linguae Centum atque ora sient totidem vocesque liquatae' (Macrob. 6. 3), and so Virg. G. 2. 43, speaking of


Persius. 'It is a standing rule with poets to put in a requisition for a hundred voices, to bespeak a hundred mouths and a hundred tongues for the purposes of song, whether the work before them be a play to be mouthed by some dolorous tragedian, or the wounds of the Parthian dragging the dart from his groin.

Cornutus. “What do you want with things like this? What are these lumps of solid poetry that you have to cram, big enough to justify the strain of a hundred-throat power? Let those who mean

trees and their cultivation, Aen. 6. 625, of crimes and their punishment in Tar. tarus. 3. Whether the subject proposed be.'

ponatur, not as in 1. 70 (which Jahn compares), to set up a thing as complete, but to set before one as a thing to be done. See Freund s. v. and compare Oeivai, Oéors.

hianda. Prop. 3. 23. 6. Visus .. tacita carmen hiare lyra.' Aesch. Ag. 920 χαμαιπετες βόαμα προσχάνης έμοί.

4. Imitated from Hor. 2 S. 1. 15 ‘Aut labentis equo describat vulnera Parthi,' which affords a presumption (not a certainty, as Persius sometimes takes Horace's words without his meaning) that vulnera .. Parthi is to be explained in the same manner here, of the wounds received by the Parthian.

ducentis, etc. will then be parallel to •labentis equo,' — drawing from his wounded groin (see 4. 44) the dart that has pierced him, -a picture likely enough to appear in an Epic poem (compare such passages as Virg. Aen. 10. 486), and sufficiently flattering to Roman vanity. This

seems on the whole preferable to the interpretation mentioned by Ascens., and adopted by Nebriss., Casaubon, König, and Heinr., which makes vulnera Parthi’ the wounds given by the Parthian, and

ducentis, etc. either drawing the bow from the groin,' instead of from the shoulder, or taking an arrow from the quiver,' which the Eastern nations carried near the groin.

5-18. Cornutus. What do you want with a hundred mouths ? You are not going to write foolish tragedies, puffing like a pair of bellows, or croaking like a raven. Yours is the more prosaic walk of everyday satire. 5. Quorsum haec ? Hor. 2 S. 7. 21.

quantas, apparently='quas tantas,' constructed with ut.'

robusti, strong, sturdy, as if of food. Comp. 'grandi polenta' 3. 55 note.

offa, 'a lump,' whether of meal or of flesh. Freund s. v.

6. ingeris, 'cram.' Saginandis anseribus polentae duas partes et furfuris qua

tuor ... ingerunt' Pallad. I, 30.


grande locuturi nebulas Helicone legunto, si quibus aut Prognes, aut si quibus olla Thyestae fervebit, saepe insulso cenanda Glyconi; tu neque anhelanti, coquitur dum massa camino, folle premis ventos, nec clauso murmure raucus nescio quid tecum grave cornicaris inepte, nec stloppo tumidas intendis rumpere buccas, verba togae sequeris iunctura callidus acri, ore teres modico, pallentis radere mores doctus et ingenuo culpam defigere ludo.

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6. centeno gutture, for centum gutturibus,' [like .centena arbore' Virg. Aen. 10. 207 for centum arboribus (remis).']

gutture niti, 'to press upon the throat,' as is done in a difficult swallow. The image is burlesqued by supposing the mouth to be wanted for eating, not for speaking, and thus we are prepared for the olla Thyestae' and the plebeia prandia.' 7. grande. 1. 14.

nebulas may be from Hor. A. P. 230 • Aut, dum vitat humum, nubes et inania captet,' as Jahn thinks, especially as both are speaking of tragic writing. Compare also the conception of Aristophanes' Clouds, which Persius is not likely to have forgotten. To collect mists' it would be necessary of course to ascend the mountain.

Helicone, as in Prol. 1 foll. Let those who set up to be great poets avail themselves of poetical privileges, which are generally mere moonshine.

8. The stories of Tereus and Thyestes were common subjects of tragedy in Rome as well as at Athens. Attius wrote on both subjects. Varius was the author of a Thyestes, and Seneca, whose play is extant. See also Juv. 7. 12. 73, Mayor's notes. Thyestes was one of Nero's characters, Dio. 63. 9, etc. referred to by Mayor on Juv. 8. 228. The feast of Thyestes is mentioned twice by Horace as a stock tragic subject, A. P. 91, 186, and Progne's name occurs similarly, v. 187.

9. fervebit.. cenanda, like discere .. laudanda' 3. 46.

Glyco, as the Scholiast informs us, was a slave, the joint property of Vergilius, also a tragic actor, and some other person

-manumitted, on account of his great popularity, by Nero, who gave 300,000 sesterces to Vergilius for his share in him - tall and dark, with a hanging lower lip, and ill-looking when not dressed upcalled “insulsus' from his inability to understand a joke. Persius doubtless means to ridicule the people through their favourite actor, who was probably too tragic, and seemed as if he had really supped full of horrors,' in spite of the frequent repetition of the process.

10. Imitated, as the Scholiast remarks, from Hor. I S. 4. 19 foll. “At tu conclusas hircinis follibus auras, Usque laborantes dum ferrum molliat ignis, Ut mavis, imitare. Compare also Juv. 7. III (Jahn). The meaning is the same as Horace expresses elsewhere, A. P. 97, by "ampullas et sesquipedalia verba.'

anhelanti.. dum, puffing while it is being done,' as “laborantes dum' Hor. l.c. =·labouring till it is done.'

massa. 2. 67 note. 11. No marked distinction seems intended between the three images of the bellows, the croaking, and the puffed cheeks.

clauso murmure answers to premis ventos ('conclusas auras' Hor. I. c.) and to the process going on within the 'tumidae buccae.'

12. tecum., cornicaris, an intensified variety of tecum loqueris,' the word (which is very rare, and perhaps found only in an imitation by Jerome, Ep. 95, referred to by Jahn) being suggested by raucus.

to talk grandiose go and catch vapours on Helicon, if there be any who are going to set Progne or Thyestes' pot a-boiling, to be the standing supper of poor stupid Glycon. But you are not squeezing wind in a pair of panting bellows while the ore is smelting in the furnace, nor are you croaking mysterious nonsense to yourself in hoarse pent-up tones, nor straining and puffing your cheeks till they give way with a plop. No; your line is to follow the language of common life, with dexterous nicety in your combinations, and a moderate rounding of the cheek; your skill must be shown in rubbing against the bloated skin of morality, and pinning vice to the ground in sport which will do for gentlemen. Let this be

grave is perhaps used here technically of a deep bass sound, opp. to .acutus.'

inepte, perhaps from Hor. A. P. 140 • qui nil molitur inepte,' where the simple opening of the Odyssey is contrasted with the hiatus' of the cyclic poet, — out of taste.'

13. A graphic amplification, more Persii,' of Horace's 'tumido ore’ A. P. 94.

stloppo, a word occurring nowhere else, perhaps coined by Persius, expressive of sound, like 'bombus' 1. 99 note. Stloppo dixit uetapopik@s, a ludentibus pueris, qui buccas inflatas subito aperiunt, et totum simul flatum cum sonitu fundunt' Schol. The spelling 'stloppo' instead of 'scloppo,' which many MSS. give, is supported by Jahn from Priscian, 1. 10. 565.

intendis rumpere seems to be a mixture of 'intendis (temptas) rumpere' and intendis buccas dum rumpantur.' Compare buccae' Juv. 11. 34, for noisy talkers, whom Plautus (Bacch. 5. I. 2) calls buccones;' 'stloppo' with 'rumpere,' as the noise would be a concomitant of the bursting.

14. verba togae, like · fabula togata' (Hor. A. P. 288), the talk of common life at Rome, opp. to the 'praetexta,' the symbol of tragedy, and the pallium,' which belonged to Greek subjects. We must bear in mind the relation of satire to the old comic drama, asserted by Persius himself, 1. 123. The whole line is imitated from Hor. A. P. 47 notum si callida verbum Reddiderit iunctura novum' (compare also ib. 242 •Tantum series iuncturaque pollet,

Tantum de medio sumtis accedit honoris'), so that ónotum' and 'de medio sumtis' answer to verba togae.

iunctura (the same metaphor as in 1. 65, 92, though the application there is to the flow of the verse) refers here, as in Horace, to the combination of words in a happy phrase or expression.

acri is a well-chosen epithet, expressing the nicety of the material process, as we use 'sharp,' at the same time that it denotes keenness of mind.

15. ore teres modico. Jahn well compares ore rotundo' Hor. A. P. 323, which Persius doubtless was thinking of here and in v. 13. 'Os tumidum' is an exaggeration of os rotundum,' the fullness of the mouth in measured speech : but as Persius had gone beyond 'tumidum,' he is here satisfied with something less than “rotundum.'

modico qualifies teres, which itself denotes smoothness within compass. Oratio plena, sed tamen teres' Cic. de Or. 3. 52, 'with shapely mouth, moderately rounded.

pallentis mores. 1. 26 'En pallor seniumque! O mores!' Here the paleness is doubtless that of dropsy and disease, as in 3. 94 foll. when any rough application to the skin would be acutely felt. Compare “radere teneras auriculas' 1. 107, 'radere ulcus in tenero ore' 3. 114.

16. ingenuo.. ludo answers to Aristotle's definition of eut patería (Rhet. 2. 12) as netaidevuévn úßpus. No precisely similar instance of this use of defigere' has been adduced, but it is apparently the same as that of 'figere' in such phrases as “figere aliquem maledictis,' with the additional notion of driving down.

hinc trahe quae dicis, mensasque relinque Mycenis cum capite et pedibus, plebeiaque prandia noris.'

"Non equidem hoc studeo, bullatis ut mihi nugis pagina turgescat, dare pondus idonea fumo. secreti loquimur; tibi nunc hortante Camena excutienda damus praecordia, quantaque nostrae pars tua sit, Cornute, animae, tibi, dulcis amice, ostendisse iuvat: pulsa, dinoscere cautus, quid solidum crepet et pictae tectoria linguae. hic ego centenas ausim deposcere voces, ut, quantum mihi te sinuoso in pectore fixi, voce traham pura, totumque hoc verba resignent, quod latet arcana non enarrabile fibra.

Cum primum pavido custos mihi purpura cessit

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18. plebeaque.

19. pullatis.

20. turguescat.

26. his.

17. hinc, from common life, which is implied in the three preceding lines. König compares Hor. A. P. 317 foll. “Respicere exemplar vitae morumque iubebo Doctum imitatorem, et vivas hinc ducere


Mycenis, a dative, like illis relinquo' Prol. 5, which Jahn compares.

18. cum capite et pedibus, which were put aside to show Thyestes what he had been eating: τα μεν ποδήρη και χεpôv åkpovs KTévas "Epunt' ävwbev Aesch. Ag. 1594, "Tantum ora servat et datas fidei manus' Sen. Thyest. Act. 4. 764., quoted by Casaubon.

plebeia prandia. The full opposition is between banquets of an unnatural sort in the heroic ages at Mycenae, known in these days only as stage-horrors, with no lesson for life, 'raw head and bloody bones,' as Dryden renders it, and every day meals (prandia,' not cenae ') of the simplest kind, in common society at Rome, which show ordinary men as they are.

noris, the conj. used imperatively, as in 4. 52, because 'novi' has no imperative of its own. .

19-29. P. “No-I have no thoughts of swelling and vapouring. My song is meant to show my heart to you, that you may see how true it is, how de

voted to you. If I want a hundred tongues, it is that I may tell you how dear you are to me.

19. Heinr, and Jahn restore «pullatis ' from the larger number of MSS., including the oldest, and suppose the meaning to be

sad-coloured,' i. e. tragic. It does not appear, however, that pullatus' is ever applied to tragedy, though commonly used of mourners : it answers more nearly to sordidatus,' and in fact is frequently applied to the common people, Ne quis pullatorum media cavea sederet,' Suet. Aug. 44; a most unfortunate association here, unless we can believe with Casaubon that nugae pullatae' mean trifles that please the vulgar. Unless then 'pullatis' be a mistake for ampullatis,' which may be worth considering, we must return to the common reading bullatis,' which has very respectable MS. support, and explain it by 'turgescat.' Bullatus' ordinarily means “furnished with bullae,' but it may mean “formed like a bubble,'

swelling,' just as “falcatus' means both furnished with a scythe,' an epithet of "currus,' and 'formed like a scythe,'

crooked,' an epithet of ensis.' 'Airblown trifles,' Gifford. 20. pagina. Virg. E. 6. 12.

dare pondus. . fumo, from Hor. I

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