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While there remains to Lachesis what she may spin, and on my
feet Myself I carry, no staff sustaining my hand, Let us leave our native soil : let Arturius live there, And Catulus : let those stay who turn black into white. 30 To whom it is easy to hire a building, rivers, ports, A sewer to be dried, a corpse to be carried to the pile, And to expose a venal head under the mistress-spear.
lized them, so as to distress others, and enrich themselvesavor the carriage of goods upon the rivers, for which a toll was paidmor, by fumina, may here be meant, the beds of the rivers, hired out to be cleaned and cleared at the public expense.
31. Ports.] Where goods were exported and imported; these they rented, and thus became farmers of the public revenue, to the great grievance of those who were to pay the duties, and to the great emolument of themselves, who were sure to make the most of their bargain.
32. À sewer to be dried.] Eluvies signifies a sink or common. sewer; which is usual in great cities, to carry off the water and filth that would otherwise incommode the houses and streets. From eluo, to wash out, wash away,
These, contractors undertook the opening and clearing these from the stoppages to which they were liable, and by which, if not cleansed, the city would have been in many parts overflowed. There was nothing so mean and filthy, that these two men would not have undertaken for the sake of gain. Here we find them scaven. gers.
A corpse, &c.] Busta were places where dead bodies were burned-also graves and sepulchres. Ainsw. Bustum from ustum. Sometimes these people hired or farmed funerals, contracting for the expense at such a price. In this too they found their account.
33. And to expose, &c.]. These fellows sometimes were mangones, sellers of slaves, which they purchased, and then sold by auction. See PERS. vi. 76, 7.
The mistress-spear.] Domioa hasta. It is difficult to render these two substantives literally into English, unless we join them, as we frequently do some of our own-as in master-key, queen-bee,
We read of the hasta decemviralis which was fixed before the courts of justice. So of the hasta centumviralis, also fixed there. A spear was also fixed in the forum where there was an auction, and was a sign of it: all things sold there were placed near it, and were said to be sold under the spear. Hence (by meton.) hasta is used, by Cicero and others, to signify an auction, or public sale of goods. The word domina seems to imply, the power of disposal of the property in persons and things sold there, the possession and do. minion over which were settled by this mode of sale, in the several
Quondam hi cornicines, et municipalis arenæ
purchasers. So that the spear, or auction, might properly be called domina, as ruling the disposal of persons and things.
34. These, in time past, horn-blowers.] Such was formerly the occupation of these people; they had travelled about the country; from town to town, with little paltry shows of gladiators, fencers, wrestlers, stage-players, and the like, sounding horns to call the people together-like our trumpeters to a puppet-show.
Municipal theatre.] Municipium signifies a city or towncorporate, which had the privileges and freedom of Rome, and af the same time governed by laws of its own, like our corporations. Municipalis denotes any thing belonging to such a town. Most of these had arenæ, or theatres, where strolling companies of gladiators, &c. (like our strolling players,) used to exhibit. They were attended by horn-blowers and trumpeters, who sounded during the performance.
35. Cheeks known, &c.] Blowers on the horn, or trumpet, were sometimes called buccinatores, from the great distension of the cheeks in the action of blowing. This, by constant use, left a swollen appearance on the cheeks, for which these fellows were well known in all the country towns. Perhaps buccæ is · here put for buccinæ, the horns, trumpets, and such wind instruments as these fellows strolled with about the country. See Ainsw. Bucca, No. 3.
36. Now set forth public shows.] Munera, so called because giveni to the people at the expense of him who set them forth. These felJows, who had themselves been in the mean condition above described, now are so magnificent, as to treat the people with public shows of gladiators at the Roman theatre.
The people's thumb, &c.]. This alludes to a barbarous usage at fights of gladiators, where, if the people thought he that was overcome behaved like a coward, without courage or art, they made a sign for the vanquisher to put him to death, by clenching the hand, and holding or turning the thumb upward. If the thumb were turned downward, it was a signal to spare
his life. 37. Whom they will, &c.] These fellows, by treating the. people with shows, had grown so popular, and had such influence among the vulgar, that it was entirely in their power to direct the spectatori, as to the signal for life or death, so that they either killed or
These, in time past, horn-blowers, and on a municipal, theatre Perpetual attendants, and cheeks known through the towns, 35 Now set forth public shows, and, the people's thumb, being
turned, Kill whom they will, as the people please : thence returned They hire jakes : and why not all things ? since they are Such, as, from low estate, to great heights of circumstances Fortune raises up, as often as she has a mind to joke. 40 What can I do at Rome?, I know not to lie: a book If bad I cannot praise, and ask for: the motions Of the stars I am ignorant of: the funeral of a father to promise
saved, by directing the pleasure of the people. See Ainsw. Populariter, No. 2.
37. Thence returned, &c.] Their advancement to wealth did not alter their mean pursuits ; after returning from the splendour of the theatre, they contract for emptying bog-houses of their soil and filth. Such were called at Rome--foricarii and latrinarii-with us-nightmen. 38. Why not all things.?]
Why hire they not the town, not every thing,
DRYDEN. 39. Such, as, from low estate.] The poet here reckons the advancement of such low people to the height of opulence, as the sport of fortune, as one of those frolics which she exercises out of mere ca. price and wantonness, without any regard to desert. See Hor. lib. i. ode xxxiv. I. 14-16. and lib. iii. ode xxix. 1. 49-52.
40. Fortune.] Had a temple and was worshipped as a goddess. The higher she raised up such wretches, the more conspicuously con. temptible she might be said to make them, and seemed to joke, or divert herself, at their expense. See sat. X. 366.
41. I know not to lie.] Dissemble, cant, flatter, say what I do not mean, seem to approve what I dislike, and praise what in my judgment I condemn. What then should I do at Rome, where this is one of the only means of advancement?
42. Ask for.] It was a common practice of low flatterers, to commend the writings of rich authors, however bad, in order to in. gratiate themselves with them, and be invited to their houses: they also asked, as the greatest favour, for the loan or gift of a copy, which highly flattered the composers. This may be meant by pos. cere, in this place. See Hor. Art. Poet. I. 419–37. Martial has an epigram on this subject. Epigr. xlviii. lib. vi.
Quod tam grande coQus clamat tibi turba togata,
T'is not thee they commend but the cheer at thy table. 42—3. Motions of the stars, &c.] I have no pretensions to skill in astrology
43. The funeral of a father, &c.] He hereby hints at the proti
Nec volo, nec possum : ranarum viscera nunquam
gacy and want of natural affection in the young men who wished
This, says Umbritius, I neither can, nor will do.
The language here is metaphorical, and alludes to augurs inspect-
Out of the bowels of toads, poisons, charms, and spells, were supposed to be extracted. Comp. sat. i. 70. sat vi. 658. Umbri. tius seems to say." I never foretold the death of fathers, or of « other rich relations ; nor searched for poison, that my predictions
might be made good by the secret administration of it.” Comp. sat. vi. 563–7.
45. To carry to a married woman.] I never was pimp, or gobetween, in carrying on adulterous intrigues, by secretly conveying love-letters, presents, or any of those matters which gallants give in charge to their confidents. " I leave this to others.
46. I assisting, &c.] No villainy will ever be committed by my advice or assistance.
47. I go forth, &c.] For these reasons I depart from Rome, quite alone, for I know none to whom I can attach myself as a compa. nion, so universally corrupt are the people.
48. Maimed.] Like a maimed limb, which can be of no service in any employment: just as unfit am I for any employment which is now going forward in Rome.
A useless body, &c.] As the body, when the right-hand, or any other limb that once belonged to it, is lost and gone, is no longer able to maintain itself by laborious employment, so I, having no inclination or talents, to undergo the drudgery of vice of any kind, can never thrive at Rome.
Some copies read-extincta dextra---abl. abs. the right-hand be. ing lost. The sense amounts to the same.
49. Unless conscious.] Who now has any favour, attention, or
I neither will, nor can : the entrails of toads I never sends, 45
Of so much value to you let not of shady
regard shewn him, but he who is conscious, privy to, acquainted with, the wicked secrets of others ?
49_-50. Fervent mind boils, &c.] Is in a ferment, agitated between telling and concealing what has been committed to its confidence. The words feryens and æstuat are, in this view, metaphorical, and taken from the raging and boiling of the sea, when agitated by a stormy wind. Fervet vertigine pontus. Ov. Met. xi. 549. So, æstuare semper fretum. Curt. iv. 9. Ainsw. Æstuo, No. 4.
Hence æstuans signifies—boiling with any passion, when applied to the mind. Animo æstuante reditum ad vada retulit. Catull. See Ainsw. See Is. lvii. 20.
Or we may give the words another turn, as descriptive of the torment and uneasiness of mind which these men must feel, in hav. ing become acquainted with the most flagitious crimes in others, by assisting them, or partaking with them in the commission of them, and which, for their own sakes, they dare not reveal, as well as from the fear of those by whom they are intrusted:
Who now is lov'd but he who loves the times,
2:53. Verres.] See sat. ii. 26, note. Juvenal mentions him here as an example of what he has been saying: Most probably, under the name of Verres, the poet means some characters then living, who made much of those who had them in their power by being aco; quainted with their secret villainies, and who, at any time, could, have ruined them by a discovery.
54-5. Shady Tagus.) A river of Spain, which discharges itself into the ocean near Lisbon, in Portugal. It was anciently said to have golden sands. It was called opacus, dark, obscure, or shady; from the thick shade of the trees on its banks.