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I have not thought it right to omit any part of these Satires. The character of the writers is seen throughout, and the spirit even of the coarsest parts is manifestly that of virtue. I have had some experience of boys, and I believe that those are exceptions on whom such passages as are usually expunged are likely to have an injurious effect. Wantonness is one thing, and the stern reproof of wantonness in terms it best understands is another, and few minds fail to see the difference. I have thought it enough to pass over the worst
without comment. He who is occupied with the labours of two professions, the cares of a large family, and the unavoidable distractions of a town life, may claim some indulgence for the defects of a work requiring much attention and a clear judgment at every point, and for the execution of which only a limited time could be allowed. I have done the best I could under the circumstances for students and general readers of Juvenal and Persius, that they may be able to understand and take an interest in those writers, especially the former, who has great charms for all that can appreciate a vigorous mind and Stoical integrity. In this task I am thankful to have had the advice and sympathy of my friend, Mr. George Long.
KING EDWARD'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL,
BATH, July, 1857.
LIFE OF JUVENAL.
The character of Horace's mind was such, that his own experience and the events of his life come naturally into his writings, and a tolerably full and accurate biography of that poet has been gathered from his own pen. His poems form a gallery of contemporary portraits, including his own picture in every stage of life. It is not so with Juvenal. He had to deal with vice and folly more than a century older than the vice and folly of Horace's day, and a tyranny which Horace never witnessed. The playful personalities of Horace did not suit Juvenal's subject, and would not have represented his way of viewing it ; nor did they suit the severe and defiant spirit in which he approached it. The consequence is that the traces of Juvenal's life in his satires are very slight.
There are several ancient biographies to be found in various MSS. of the Satires, one of which is generally supposed to be older than the rest. It is not uncommonly supposed to have been written by the grammarian Probus', but it is published among the memoirs attributed to Suetonius. It may be a fragment taken from Suetonius' life of the poet. The following is a translation of that memoir, according to the most probable version of the text :-
“ Junius Juvenalis, the son or the alumnus (it is uncertain which) of a rich freedman, practised declamation till near middle life, more for amusement than by way of preparing himself for school or forum. Afterwards, having written a clever Satire of a few verses on Paris the pantomimus, and a poet of his, who was puffed up with his paltry six months' military rank, he took pains to perfect himself in this kind of writing. And yet for a very long time he did not venture to trust any thing even to a small audience. But after a while he was heard by
1 See Life of Persius, p. xxiv,
great crowds, and with great success, several times : so that he was led to insert in his first writings those verses which he had written first :
Quod non dant proceres dabit histrio : tu Camerinos
Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos 2.' The player was at that time one of the favourites at court, and many of his supporters were daily promoted. Juvenal, therefore, fell under suspicion as one who had covertly censured the times ; and forthwith under colour of military promotion, though he was eighty years of age, he was removed from the city, and sent to be praefectus of a cohort which was stationed in the farthest part of Egypt. That sort of punishment was determined upon as being suited to a light and jocular offence. Within a very short time he died of vexation and disgust.”
The chief points stated in the foregoing life are, that Juvenal was the son of a rich freedman either by birth or by adoption (for this I suppose the writer means); that he was a practised rhetorician; that he began to write satire after middle life; that his first attempt was an epigram upon Paris the pantomimus?; that he was encouraged by the success of this production to write Satires on a larger scale, which at first he concealed, but afterwards read them to large audiences with great applause ; that whereas he was rash enough to introduce in one of his poems the original epigram (which, as I suppose the writer means to imply, so became more public, and probably for the first time reached the ears of the person it was aimed at), Paris by his influence at court obtained his banishment, under the honourable form of a military command, to the farthest part of Egypt; that he was then eighty years of age, and that he shortly died of vexation.
Another of these notices states that Juvenal was born at Aquinum, in the reign of Claudius ; that he returned from exile, survived the reign of Trajan, and finally died of old age in a fit of coughing.
In a third we are told that when he returned to Rome, finding his friend Martial was dead, he died of grief in his eighty-second year.
A fourth says it was Domitian who exiled him ; that he never returned, but that after correcting and adding to his Satires in Egypt, he died there of old age in the reign of Antoninus Pius.
From a fifth we learn that he was advanced to the equestrian rank through his own merit ; that the place of his honourable exile was Scotland, and that the motive was that he might be killed in battle ;
2 S. vii. 90, sqq.
3 Though there were two players of this name, one a favourite of Nero, the other of Domitian, there can be no doubt the writer means Domitian's man.
4 As Paris was put to death A.D. 83, this would make Juvenal to have been born about the year one of the Christian era (vi. 87, note).
that the emperor in a despatch addressed to him with the army, wrote these words, "et te Philomela promovit" (alluding to his own epigram), and that, learning from this the anger of the emperor, he died of a broken heart.
The sixth memoir makes Trajan the emperor, Paris being still the hero of the epigram, and agrees with the fifth about Scotland.
A seventh agrees substantially with the first, except that the emperor is said to have been Nero.
These seven are published at the end of Jahn's edition.
It seems clear that not one of these notices is original. They have come, and that not at first hand probably, from two or three common stocks, which have been confounded according to the fancy of the writer ; and whatever amount of truth there may have been in the originals has been perverted and confused in the later editions, which show very little evidence of accurate information.
The only authority for Juvenal's birthplace contained in his poems is in Sat. iii. 319, where his friend says, “quoties te Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino.” But this only shows that Juvenal was in the habit of frequenting that town. Persius (S. vi. 7) speaks of the sea on the Ligurian coast as 'meum mare,' because he was staying there at the time, but no one now infers from this, that he was born on that coast. Where Juvenal was born therefore is uncertain", and the time of his birth is equally so.
That he wrote as late as the reign of Trajan, who succeeded Nerva A.D. 98, is certain from the allusion in the first Satire (v. 47), and the eighth (v. 120) to the crimes and banishment of Marius Príscus, whose exile took place A.D. 100.
Another proof is that, in Sat. xii. 75, he refers to the inner basin of the Portus Augusti, constructed by Trajan. [If Juvenal wrote this Satire, the conclusion from the text is true ; and if he did not, the passage still proves that this Satire was written after Trajan's port was constructed.]
In Sat. vi. 502, there is an allusion to the way ladies wore their hair, which seems to show that this Satire was written in the reign of Trajan, or early in that of Hadrian (see note).
In v. 407 of the same Satire, Lipsius traces a reference to the reduction of Armenia to the condition of a Roman province, by the same emperor, in A.D. 106. This argument however has not much force.
á See Life of Persius.
• There is no reason to suppose the grammarians bad more authority for calling him Aquinas than we have. In Pithoeus' MS. it is said, “ Juvenalem aliqui Gallum propter corporis magnitudinem, aliqui Aquinatem dicunt.”