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NO BAD MAN IS HAPPY: least of all a corruptèr, and the
Incestuous, with whom there lay, lately, a filletted
probably they were some valuable men, who had been persecuted by the emperor for some supposed offences. See this sat. 1. 151, 2.
14. What can you do, &c.] q. d. What can one do with such a fellow as Crispinus ? what signifies satirizing his crimes, when his person is more odious and abominable than all that can be mentioned? What he is, is so much worse than what he does, that one is at a loss how to treat him.
This is a most severe stroke, and introduces what follows on the gluttony and extravagance of Crispinus.
15. A mullet.] Mullus-aa sea fish, of a red and purple colour, therefore called mullus, from mulleus, a kind of red or purple shoe, worn by senators and great persons. Ainsw. I take this to be what is called the red mullet, or mullus barbatus, by some rendered barbel. Horace speaks of this fish as a great dainty :
Laudas, insane, trilibrem
HOR. sat. ii. lib. ii. I. 33, 4. So that about three pounds was their usual weight:--that it was a farity to find them larger, we may gather from his saying, l. 36.His breve pondus.
But Crispinus meets with one that weighed six pounds, and, rather than not purchase it, he pays for it the enormous sum of six thou. sand sestertii, or sıx şestertia, making about 461. 178. 6d. of our money.
For the manner of reckoning sesterces, see before, sat. i. 1. 106, and note.
This fish, whatever it strictly was, was in great request, as a dain. țy, among the Romans. Asinius Celer, a man of consular dignity under the emperor Claudius, is said to have given 8000 nummi (i. e. eight sestertia) for one. See SENEC. epist. xcv.
16. Truly equalling, &c.] That is, the number of sestertia were exactly equal to the number of pounds which the fish weighed, so that it cost him a sestertium per pound.
17. As they report, &c.] So Crispinus's flatterers give out, who, to excuse his extravagance, probably represent the fish bigger than it was, for it is not easily çredible that this sort of fish ever grows so large. Pliny says, that a mullet is not to be found that weighs more than two pounds. Hor, ubi supr. goes so far as three pounds
Consilium laudo artificis, si munere tanto
that probably these embellishers of Crispinus made the fish to be twice as big as it really was.
18. I praise the device, &c.] If this money had been laid out in buying such a rarity, in order to present it to some childless old man, and, by this, Crispinus had succeeded so well as to have become his chief heir, I should commend such an artifice, and say that the contriver of it deserved some credit.
19. Had obtained the chief wax, &c.] It was customary for wills to consist of two parts: the first named the primi hæredes, or chief heirs, and was therefore called cera præcipua, from the wax which was upon it, on which was the first seal. The other contained the secundi hæredes, or lesser heirs : this was also sealed with wax-this was called cera secunda.
20. There is further reason, &c.] There might have been a reason for his extravagance, even beyond the former; that is, if he had purchased it to have presented it to some rich woman of quality, in order to have ingratiated himself with her as a mistress, or to induce her to leave him her fortune, or perhaps both. Comp. sat. iii. 129, 30, and ib. 132—4.
21. Carried in a close litter.] Antrum properly signifies a den, cave, or the like_but there it seems to be descriptive of the lectica, or litter, in which persons of condition were carried close shut up.
Broad windows.] Latis specularibus. Specularis means any thing whereby one may see the better, belonging to windows, or spectacles. The specularis lapis was a stone, clear like glass, cut into small thin panes, and in old times used for glass.
This was made use of in the construction of the litters, as glass is with us in our coaches and sedan chairs, to admit the light, and to keep out the weather.
The larger these windows were, the more expensive they must be, and the more denote the quality of the owner.
22. Expect no such thing, &c.] If you expect to hear that something of the kind above mentioned was a motive for what he did, or that he had any thing in view, which could in the least ex, cuse it, you will be mistaken ; for the truth is, he bought it only for himself, without any other end or view than to gratify his own self, ishness and gluttony.
23. Apicius.] A noted epicure and glutton in the days of Nero.
I praise the device of the contriver, if, with so largo a gift,
There is further reason, if he had sent it to a great mistress, 20
25 The fisherman, than the fish, be bought. At so much a pro
vince Sells fields : but Apulia sells greater.
He wrote a volume concerning the ways and means to provoke appetite, spent a large estate on his guts, and, growing poor and despised, hanged himself.
The poet means, that even Apicius, glutton as he was, was yet a moștified and frugal man in comparison of Crispinus.
“ Thou, Crispinus, hast done, what Apicius never did." 24. Formerly girt, &c.] q. d. Who wast, when thou first camest to Rome, a poor Ægyptian, and hadst not a rag about thee, better than what was made of the flags that grow about the river Nile. Of the papyrus, ropes, mats, and, among other things, a sort of clothing was made. This flag, and the leaves of it, were equally called papyrus.
See sat. i. l. 26, 7. where Crispinus is spoken of much in the same terms,
25. The price of a scale.] Squamæ, here, by synec. put for the fish itself: but, by this manner of expression, the poet shews his contempt of Crispinus, and means to make his extravagance as contemptible as he can.
26. A province, &c.] In some of the provinces which had be. come subject to Rome, one might purchase an estate for what was laid out on this mullet.
27. But Apulia, &c.] A part of Italy near the Adriatic gulph, where land, it seems, was very cheap, either from the barrenness and craggy height of the mountains, or from the unwholesomeness of the aịr, and the wind atabulus :
Montes Apulia notos
Hor. lib. i. sat. v. 1. 77, 8. 9. d. The price of this fish would purchase an estate in some of the provinces ; but, in Apulia; a very extensive one.
For less some provinces whole acres sell :
Quales tunc epulas ipsum glutisse putemus
Iạcipe Calliope, licet hic considere : non est
Cum jam semianimum laceraret Flavius orbem
28. The emperor, &c.] Domitian.--q. d. What must we suppose to be done by him, in order to procure dainties ? how much expense must he be at to gratify his appetite, if Crispinus can swallow what cost so many sestertia in one dish, and that not a principal one; not taken from the middle, but merely standing as a side dish at the edge of the table; not a part of some great supper, given on an extraor. dinary occasion, but of a common ordinary meal.
31. A purple buffoon.] No longer clad with the papyras of Ægypt, (see note on l. 24.) but decked in sumptuous apparel, ornamented with purple. So sat. i. 27.
Crispinus, Tyrias humero revocante facernas, Though advanced to great dignity, by the favour of the emperor, yet letting himself down to the low servility and meanness of a court-jester or buffoon.
Belched.] The indigestions and crudities, which are gene rated in the stomachs of those who feed on various rich and luscious dainties, occasion flatulencies, and nauseous eructations. The poet, here, to express the more strongly his abhorrence of Crispinus's extravagant gluttony, uses the word ructârit- the effect for the
See sat. iii. 233, note.
Sedilibusque in primis eques
Epod. iv, l. 15, 16.
32—3. Who used to sell, &c.] Who used formerly, in his flagjacket (I. 24.) to cry fish about the streets.
33. Shads.] What the siluri were I cannot find certainly dea fined; but must agree that they were a small and cheap kind of fish, taken in great numbers out of the river Nilemhence the poet jeer. ingly styles them municipes, q. d. Crispinus's own countrymen.. Ainsw.
For hire.] Various are the readings of this place-as fracta de merce
-pacta de mercepharia de merce--but I think, with Ca. saubon, that pacta mercede gives the easiest and best sense : it still exaggerates the wretchedness and poverty of Crispinus at his outset
What dainties then can we think the emperor
Begin Calliope, here you may dwell: you must not
When now the last Flavius had torn the half-dead
in life, as it denotes, that he not only got his living by bawling fish about the streets, but that these fish were not his own, and that he sold them for the owners, who bargained with him to pay him so much for his pains—pacta mercede— lit.--for agreed wages or hire.
34. Calliope.] The mother of Orpheus, and chiet of the nine muses : said to be the inventress of heroic verse.
To heighten the ridicule, Juvenal prefaces his narrtive with a burlesque invocation of Calliope, and then of the rest of the muses.
- Here you may dwell.] A subject of such importance rcquires all your attention, and is not lightly to be passed over, therefore, here you may sit down with me.
34–5. Not sing.] Not consider it as a matter of mere invention, and to be treated, as poetical fictions are, with flights of fancy: my theme is real fact, therefore.non est cantandum-it is nct a subject for heroic song—or, tibi understood, you are not to sing.com
Begin Calliope, but not to sing :
Duke. 35. Relate.] Narrate corresponds with the non est canandum 9. d. deliver it in simple narrative.
35_-6. Pierian maids.] The muses were called Pieriles, from Pieria, a district of Thessaly, where was a mountain, on which Jupiter, in the form of a shepherd, was fabled to have begoten them on Mnemosyne. See Ov. Met. vi. 114. 36. Let it avail me, &c.] He banters the poets who gav
appellations of nymphæ and puellæ to the muses, as if compimenting them on their youth and chastity. It is easily seen that tie whole of this invocation is burlesque.
37. When now.] The poet begins his narrative, which he introduces with great sublimity, in this, and the following line; thus finely continuing his irony; and at the same time dating the fact in such terms, as reflect a keen and due severity on the character of Domitian.
The last Flavius.] The Flavian family, as it was imperial, began in Vespasian, and ended in Domitian, whose monstrous cruel. ties are here alluded to, not only as affecting the city of Rome, but as felt to the utmost extent of the Roman empire, tearing, as it were, the world to pieces. Semianimum-half dead under oppres. sion. Metaph.