Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Of the stolen fleece: how great wild-ash trees Monychus could

throw: The plane-trees of Fronto, and the convuls'd marbles complain Always, and the columns broken with the continual reader: You may expect the same things from the highest and from the

least poet.

And I therefore have withdrawn my hand from the ferule; and I
Have given counsel to Sylla, that, a private man, soundly.anie
He should sleep. It is a foolish clemency, when every where
so many

24
Poets you inay meet, to spare paper, that will perish.
But why it should please me rather to run along in the very field,
Through which the great pupil of Aurunca drave his horses, 20
I will tell you, if you have leisure, and kindly hearken to my reason.
When a delicate eunuch can marry a wife : Mævia can stick

declaimer. His meaning seems to be, that as all, whether good or bad, wrote poems, why should not he, who had had an education in learning, write as well as they ?

15. Have withdrawn my hand, &c.] The ferule was an instrument of punishment, as at this day, with which schoolmasters corrected their scholars, by striking them with it over the palm of the hand : the boy watched the stroke, and, if possible, withdrew his hand from it.

Juvenal means to say, that he had been at school, to learn the arts of poetry and oratory, and had made declamations, of one of which the subject was: “ Whether Sylla should take the dictatorship, or “ live in ease and quiet as a private man?” He maintained the latter proposition.

18. Paper that will perish.] i.e. That will be destroyed by others, who will write upon it if I do not; therefore there is no reason why I should forbear to make use of it.

19. In the very field.] A metaphor, taken from the chariot-races in the Campus Martius.

20. The great pupil of Aurunca, &c.] Lucilius, the first and most famous Romaa satirist, born at Aurunca, an ancient city of Latium, in Italy. He means

-Perhaps you will ask, “ how it is that I can think of “ taking the same ground as that great satirist Lucilius and why I 6 should rather choose this way of writing, when he so excelled in “ it, as to be before all others, not only in point of time, lont of 6 ability in that kind of writing?”

21. Ikearken to my reason.] Literally, the verb admitto-sigaifres to admit: but it is sometimes used with auribus understoody and then it denotes attending, or hearkening, to something this Isurpose to be the sense of it in this place, as it follows the si vacato

22. Mævia.] The name of some woman, who had the impudenee to figlat in the Circus with a Tuscan boar.

The Tuscan boars were reckoned the fiercest.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Figat aprum, et nudà teneat venabula mamma:
Patricios omnes opibus cum provocet unus,
Quo tondente gravis juveni mihi barba sonabat:
Cum pars Niliacæ plebis, cum verna Canopi
Crispinus, Tyrias humero revocante lacernas,
Ventilet æstivum digitis sudantibus aurum,
Nec sufferre queat majoris pondera gemmæ :
Difficile est Satiram non scribere. Nam quis iniquæ
Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se?
Causidici nova cum veniat lectica Mathonis
Plena ipso : et post hunc magni delator amici,
Et cito rapturus de nobilitate comesa

30

[ocr errors]

mus.

23. With a naked breast.] In imitation of an Amazon. Under the name of Mævia, the poet probably means to reprove all the ladies at Rome, who exposed themselves in the pursuit of masculine ex. ercises, which were so shamefully contrary to all female delicacy.

24. The patricians.] The nobles of Rome. They were the descendants of such as were created senators in the time of Romulus. Of these there were, originally, only one hundred-afterwards, more were added to them.

25. Who clipping, &c.] The person here meant, is supposed to be Licinius the freedman and barber of Augustus, or perhaps Cinna

See sat. x. I. 225, 6.

Sounded. Alluding to the sound of clipping the beard with scissars. Q. D. who with his scissars clipped my bcard, when I was a young man, and first came under the barber's hands.

26. Part of the commonalty of the Nile.] One of the lowest of the Ægyptians who had come as slaves to Rome.

-Canopus.] A city of Ægypt, addicted to all manner of effeminacy and debauchery famous for a temple of Serapis, a god of the Ægyptians. This city was built by Meneląus, in memory of his pilot, Canopus, who died there, and was afterwards canonized. See sat. xv. l. 46.

27. Crispinus.] He, from a slave, had been made master of the horse to Nero.

His shoulder recalling.] Revocante-The Romans used to fasten their cloaks round the neck with a loop, but in hot weather, perhaps, usually went with them loose. As Juvenal is now spcaking of the summer season, (as appears by the next line,) he describes the shoulder as recalling, or endeavouring to hoist up, and replace the cloak, which, from not being fastened by a loop to the neck, was often slipping away, and sliding downwards from the shoul. ders.

--Tyrian clouks.] 1. e. Dyed with Tyrian purple, which was very expensive. By this he marks the extravagance and luxury of these upstarts.

28. Ventilate the summer-gold, &c.] The Romans were arrived at such an height of luxury, that they had rings for the winter, and

A Tuscan boar, and hold huntmg-spears with a naked breast:
When one can vie with all the patricians in riches,
Who clipping, my beard troublesome to me a youth sounded: 25
When a part of the commonalty of the Nile, when a slave of

Canopus,
Crispinus, his shoulder recalling the Tyrian cloaks,
Can ventilate the sumnier-gold

on his sweating fingers,
Nor can he bear the weight of a larger gem;
It is difficult not to write satire. For who can so endure 30
The wicked city——who is so insensible, as to contain himself?
When the new litter of lawyer Matho comes
Full of himself; and after him the secret accuser of a great friend,
And who is soon about to seize from the devoured nobility

others for the summer, which they wore according to the season. Ventilo signifies--to wave any thing to and fro in the air.

Crispinus is described as wearing a summer-ring, and cooling it by, perhaps, taking it off, and by waving it to and fro in the air with his hand—which motion might likewise contribute to the slipping back of the cloak.

31. So insensible.] Ferreus - literally signifies any thing made of iron, and is therefore used here, figuratively, to denote hardness or insensibility

32. The new litter.] The lectica was a sort of sedan, with a bed dr couch in it, wherein the grandees were carried by their servants : probably something like the palanquins in the East. This was a piece of luxury which the rich indulged in.

-Lawyer Matho.] He had been an advocate, but had amassed a large fortune by turning informer. The emperor Domitian gave $0 much encouragement to such people, that many made their for. tunes by secret informations ; insomuch that nobody was safe, however innocent; even one infornier was afraid of another. See below, l. 35, 6, and notes.

33. Full of himself.] Now grown bulky and fat.—By this erpression, the poet may hint at the self-importance of this upstart fel. low.

- The secret accuser of a great friend.] This was probably Marcus Regulus, (mentioned by Pliny in his Epistles,) a most infamous informer, who occasioned, by his secret informations, the deaths of many of the nobility in the time of Domitian.

Some think that the great friend here mentioned was some great man, an intimate of Domitian's ; for this emperor spared not even his greatest and most intimate friends, on receiving secret informa tions against them.

But, by the poet's manner of expression, it should rather seem, that the person meant was some great man, who had been a friend to Regulus, and whom Regulus had basely betrayed.

31. From the devoured nobility.] i. e. Destroyed through secret accusations, or pillaged by inforiners for hush-money.

Quod superest : quem Massa timet: quem munere palpats 95
Carus; et a trepido Thymele summissa Latino :
Cum te summoveant qui testamenta merentur
Noctibus, in cælum quos evehit optima summi
Nunc via processûs, vetulæ vesica beatæ...
Unciolam Proculeius habet, sed Gillo deuncem :

40
Partes quisque suas, ad mensuram inguinis hæres;
Accipiat sane mercedem sanguinis, et sic
Paileat, ut nudis pressit qui calcibus anguem,
Aut Lugdunensem rhetor dicturus ad aram.
Quid referam? quantâ siccum jecur ardeat ira,

45
Cum populum gregibus coinitum premat hic spoliator
Pupilli prostantis ? et hic damnatus inani
Judicio (quid enim salvis infamia nummis :)

35. Whom Massa fears.] Babius Massa, an eminent informer; but so much more eminent was M. Regulus, above mentioned, in this way, that he was dreaded even by Massa, lest he should inform against him.

36. Carus sooths.] This was another of the same infamous pro fession, who bribed Regulus, to avoid some secret accusation.

- Thymele.] The wife of Latinúş the famous mimic; she was sent privately by her husband and prostituted to Regulus, in order to avoid some information which Latinus dreaded, and trembled un. der the apprehension of.

37. Can remove you.] i. e. Set you aside, supplant you in the good graces of testators.

-Who earn last wills, &c.] Who procure wills to be made in their favour. The poet here satirizes the lewd and indecent practices of certain rich old women at Rome, who kept men for their criminal pleasures, and then, at their death, left them their heirs, in preference to all others.

39. The best way, &c.] By this the poet means to expose and condemn these monstrous indecencics.

-Into heaven.] i. e. Into the highest state of affluence. 40. Proculeius-Gillo.] 'Two noted paramours of these old la. dies.

- A small pittance-a large share.] Unciola, literally signifies a little ounce, one part in twelve. -Deunx-a pound lacking an

-eleven ounces---eleven parts of any other thing divided into twelve.

42. Of his blood.] i. e. Of the ruin of his health and constitu. tion, by these abominable practices.

43. Pressed a snake.] By treading on it. See Virg. Æn. ii. I. 379, 80,

44. The altar of Lyons.] The emperor Caligula instituted, at this place, games, wherein orators and rhetoricians were to contend for a prize. Those, whose persorinances were not approved, to wipe them out with a springe, or to lick them out with their

[ocr errors]

ounce

were

What remains : whom Massa fears: whom with a gift 35
Carus sooths, and Thyinele sent privately from trembling Latinus.
When they can remove you, who earn last wills
By night, and whom the lust of some rich old woman
(The best way of the highest success now-a-days) lifts up into

heaven. Proculeius has a small pittance, Gillo has a large share : 40 Every one takes his portion, as heir, according to the favour he

procures : Well let him receive the reward of his blood, and become as Pale, as one who hath pressed with his naked heels a snake, Or as a rhetorician, who is about to declaim at the altar of Lyons. What shall I say I-With how great anger my dry liver burns, 45 When here a spoiler of his pupil exposed to hire presses ou

the people Jl'ith flocks of attendants ? and here condemned by a frivolous Judgment, (for what is infamy when money is safe?)

tongue: or else to be punished with ferules, or thrown into the

sea.

45. What shall I say?] Q. D. How shall I find words to express the indignation which I feel?

My dry liver burns.] The ancients considered the liver as the seat of the irascible and concupiscible affections. So Hor. lib. I. od, xiii. l. 4. says :

Difficili bile tumet jecur—to express his resentment and jealousy, at hearing his mistress commend a rival.

Again, lib. IV. od. i. 1. 12. Si torrere jecur quæris idoneum-by which he means kindling the passion of love within the breast.

Our poet here means to express the workings of anger and resent. ment within him, at seeing so many examples of vice and folly around him, and, particularly, in those instances which he is now going to mention.

46. A spoiler of his pupil, &c.] The tutelage of young men, who had lost their parents, was committed to guardians, who were to take care of their estates and education. Here one is represented as spoliator-a spoiler-i. e. a plunderer or pillager of his ward as to sis affairs, and then making money of his person, by hiring him out for the vilest purposes. Hence, he says-Prostantis pupilli.

-Presses on the people.] Grown rich by the spoils of his ward, he is supposed to be carried, in a litter, along the streets, with such a crowd of attendants, as to incommode other passen. gers.

47-8. By a frivolous judgment.] Inani judicio — because, though inflicted on Marius, it was of no service to the injured province; for, instead of restoring to it the treasures of which it had been plundered, part of these, to a vast amount, were put into the public treasury. As for Marius himself, he lived in as much festivi. ty as if nothing had happened, as the next two verses inform us.

« PredošláPokračovať »