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Cujus et alveolos et lænam pigrierat Atreus ?
73. Atreus had laid in pawn.] It has been observed by Ainsworth, against Stephanus and other lexicographers, that pignero does not mean to take, or receive, a thing in pawn, but to send it into pawn. In this view we may understand Atreus to be the name of some tragedy, on the subject of Atreus, king of Mycenæ, which met with such bad success as to oblige poor Rubrenus to páwn his clothes and furniture. Stephanus and others understand pignerat in the sense of taking to pawn, and suppose Atreus to be the name of the pawnbroker, to whom Rubrenus had pawned his goods.
The first sense seems to have the best authority ; but with which. ever we may agree, the thought amounts to the same thing in subu stance-viz. Can it be expected that this poor poet should equal the fire and energy of the old tragic writers, while his clothes and furni ture were pawned, in order to supply him with present nécessaries to keep him from starving ?A man in such distress, whatever his genius might be, could not exert it.
74. 'Numitor.] The name Numitor may stand, here, for any rich
man, who would let a poet starve for want of that money which he lays out upon his mistress, or in buying some useless curiosity, such as a tame lion. Infelix is here ironical.
78. Doubtless, &c.] Ironically said.-No doubt it would cost more to maintain a poet than a lion.
79. Lucan, &c.] A learned and rich poet of Corduba in Spain, who, coming to Rome, was made a knight. He wrote, but lived not to finish, the civil wars between Cæsar and Pompey, in an heroit poem, called Pharsalia. He was put to death by Nero. See more Ainsw. Lucanus.
May lie in gardens, &c.] Repose himself in ease and lux. ury, fame being sufficient for one who wants nothing else. Mar. moreis-adorned with fine buildings of marble.
80. Serranus, and to thin Suleius, &c.] These were two poor poets in Juvenal's time. Of the latter Tacitus says. Who, take
Whose platters, and cloke, Atreus had laid in pawn?
80 What will ever so much fame be, if it be only fame? They run to the pleasing voice, and poem of the favourite Thebais, when Statius has made the city glad, And has promised a day: with so great sweetness does he affect The captivated minds, and is lieard with so much eager desire 85 Of the vulgar: but wlien he has broken the benches with his
verse, He hungers, unless he should sell his untouched Agave to Paris.
any notice of, or even 'attends or speaks to, our excellent post 66 Saleius ?”
These men may get fame by the excellence of their compositions; but what signifies that, if they get nothing else? fame won't feed them.
Perhaps the poet calls Saleius tenuis—thin, from his meagre ap pearance.
82. They run.] Curritur, here used impersonally, like concurritur. Hor, sat. i. 1. 7.
The pleasing voice.] i. e. Of Statius, when he reads over his Thebais in public.
84. Promised a day.] i. e. Appointed a day for a public recital of his poem on the Theban war.
86. Broken the benches, &c.] By the numbers of his hearers, who flocked to attend him when he recited his Thebais. Notwithstanding this he must starve, for any thing the nobles will do for him.
87. His untouched Agave.] His new play called Agace, which has never been heard, or performed. This play was formed upon the story of Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, who was married to Echion king of Thebes, by whom she had Penthæus, whom she, and the rest of the Menades, in their mad revels, tore limb from limb, because he would drink no wine, and for this was supposed to slight the feasts of Bacchus. Ainsw.--See Hor. Sat. lib. ii. sat, iji. I. 303; and Ovid, Met. iii. 725-8.
--- Paris.] A stage-player, in high favour with Domitian ; insomuch that Domitian fell in love with him, and repudiated his wife Domitia for his sake.
What Juvenal says here, and in the three following lines, in a seeming complimentary way, was no more than a sneer upon Paris the player, and, through him, upon the emperor, who so understood
Ille et militiæ multis largitur honorem;" xsil
Vester porro labor foecundior, historiarum
it, and turned our author's jest into his punishment, for in his old age, he sent him into Ægypt, by way of an honorary service, with a military command. This shews that this Satire was written in the time of Domitian, and he is meant by Cæsare, 1. 1.
However, it is very evident, that Juvenal meant to rebuke the nobles for their parsimony towards men of genius, by shewing how generous Paris was to thom, insomuch that they ought to be ashamed to be outdone by a stage-player.
89. Semestrian gold.] Semestris not only means a space of six months, (sex mensium), but the half or middle of a month. The moon is called semestris, when she is arrived at the middle of her month, and is quite round in form.
The auram semestre, here, means gold in a round form, i. e.'a ring ; such as was worn by knights, to which dignity some poets had been raised, through the interest of this stage-player with the 'emperor. But qu.-If there be not here an allusion to the winter and summer rings ? See sat. i. I. 28.
91. Camerini and Bareæ, &c.] Some rich nobles, whose levees the poor poets might attend in vain.
92. Pélopea makes prefects.] The tragedy of Pelopea, the daughter of Thyestes, who was lain with by her own father, and produced Ægysthus, who killed Agamemnon and Atreus.
Philomela tribunes.] The tragedy of Philomela, the daugh. ter of Pandion king of Athens, ravished by Tereus, who had mar. ried her sister Progne. See more, Ainsw. tit. Philomela.
The poet seems here to insinuate, that the performance of Paris, in these tragedies, so charmed the emperor, and gave the actor such an ascendancy over him, as to enable Paris to have the great offices of state at his disposal, so that they were conferred on whomsoever he pleased.
93. Envy not, &c.] q. d. Though, in some instances, great things have been done for some individuals, through the influence and in.' terest of Paris, yet, in general, those who have nothing else to des pend on but writing for the stage, are left to starve, and therefore are hardly (hand) to be envied. Pulpita---see sat. jii. 1. 174, note.
91. Mecænas.] Who is the rich man that is such a patron to you, 25 Mecænas was to Horace? who not only enriched him, but made
He also bestows military honqur on many;
Moreover your labour, ye writers of histories, is more him his friend and companion, and introduced him to the favour of the emperor Augustus.
94. Proculeius.] A Roman knight, intimate with Augustus. He was so liberal to his two brothers, Scipio and Murena, that he shared his whole patrimony with them, when they had been ruined by the civil wars. See Hor. lib. ii. ode ii. 1. 5, 6.
95. Fabius.] The Fabius is, perhaps, here meant, to whom Ovid wrote four epistles in his banishment, as to a noble and generous patron of men of genius. Or it may relate to Fabius Maximus, who sold his estate, in order to redeem some Romans who had been taken captives by Hannibal.
Cotta.] A great friend to Ovid, who wrote to him three times from Pontus, as to a constant patron. Ovid says to him :
Cumque labent alii, jactataque vela relinquant,
Tu laceræ remanes anchora sola rati:
Qui, cum fortunâ, terga dedêre fuga.
Lentulus.] A man of great liberality, to whom Cic. epist. vii. lib. i. ad famil. thus writes: Magna est hominum opinio de te, magna commendatio liberalitatis.
96. Reward was equal, &c.] When there were such men as these to encourage genius, and to be the patrons of learning, then reward was equal to merit.
97. To be pale.] With constant study and application, which were then sure to be profitable. Comp. Hor. epist. iii. I. 10. PERS. sat. i. 124.
To know nothing of wine, &c.] The feast of the Saturna. lia was observed in the month of December, with great festivity and jollity, with plenty of wine and good cheer: all this it was worth a poet's while to give up entirely for his study; and rather than not finish what he was about, not taste so much as a single drop of wine during the whole festival, knowing that he was certain to be well paid for his pains.
98. Your labour, &c.] He now speaks of the writers of history, whose labour and fatigue are beyond those of other writers, and yet they are equally neglected.
Scriptores : petit hic plus temporis, atque olei plus:
98—9. Is more abundant, &c.] The subject-matter more various and extensive.
99. More oil.] Alluding to the lamps which they used to write by, in which they consumed a great quantity of oil. See sat, i, 1. 51, note.
100. Forgetful of measure.] The subjects are so various, and the incidents crowd in so fast upon the historian, that he passes all bounds, without attending to the size of his work-it rises to a thousand pages before you are aware.
101. Ruinous with much paper.] So much paper is used, as to ruin the poor historian with the expense of it. 102. The great number of things.] i. e. Which are treated.
The law of such works.) 'The rules of history, which oblige the historian to be particular in his relation of facts, and, of course, diffuse.
103. What harvest, &c.] What profit do ye rcap?
-The far-extended ground.] The wide and boundless field of history. Comp. Virg. Geor. iii. 194, 5; and Geor, ii. 280.
Some think that this expression of terræ apertæ, taken in con. Dexion with the seges, is, as that is, metaphorical, and alludes to the Jabour of the husbandman, in opening the ground by tillage, in order to prepare it for the seed. So the historian ploughs, and digs, and labours, as it were, in the field of history, in hopes of reaping profit thereby.
101. A collector of the registers.] The acta were journals, regişters, acts of the senate, or the like records. The clerk, who wrote or collected them, was called actuarius. He was a sort of historian in his way.
105. They are an idle race, &c.] But perhaps it may be said, that, though they write much, yet that they write at their ease; that they, as well as the poets, are a lazy set of fellows, who write lol