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D. IUNII IUVENALIS
S A T I R A E.
EMPER ego auditor tantum ? numquamne reponam,
vexatus toties rauci Theseide Codri ? impune ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas, hic elegos ? impune diem consumpserit ingens Telephus, aut summi plena iam margine libri scriptus et in tergo nec dum finitus Orestes ? nota magis nulli domus est sua, quam mihi lucus Martis et Aeoliis vicinum rupibus antrum Vulcani. quid agant venti, quas torqueat umbres Aeacus, unde alius furtivae devehat aurum pelliculae, quantas iaculetur Monychus ornos, Frontonis platani convulsaque marmora clamant
SATIRE 1. Am I always to be a hearer only? Shall I never retaliate, though tormented so often by the “ Theseis” of hoarse Codrus? Shall that one, then, have recited to me his comedies, and this his elegies, with impunity? Shall huge “Telephus” with impunity have consumed a whole day, or—with the margin to the end of the book already filled“Orestes” written on the very back, and yet not concluded? To no one is his own house more familiar than are to me “the grove of Mars" and "the cave of Vulcan neighbouring on the Aeolian rocks ?” What the winds are about, what shades Aeacus is torturing, from what quarter another character carries off the gold of the stolen little fleece, what vast mountain-ashes Monychus hurls, all this the plane-trees and the quivering marbles of Fronto are for ever echoing, and the
semper et assiduo ruptae lectore columnae :
Cum tener uxorem ducat spado, Mevia Tuscum
columns riven by the eternal reader. You may look for the same things from the greatest and the smallest poet. Well, then, I too have slipped away my hand from under the schoolmaster's ferule; I
I too have given advice to Sulla to sleep soundly in a private station. It is a foolish act of clemency, when you run up against so many bards in all directions, to spare paper which is sure to be wasted. Why, however, I choose rather to run my course on the same plain as that along which the great foster-son of Aurunca drove his steeds, if you are at leisure, and can lend a quiet ear to the reason, I will tell you.
When a soft eunuch marries a wife, when Mevia pierces a Tuscan boar, and with naked breasts grasps the hunting-spears, when a single man vies with the whole body of patricians in wealth, under whose razor my heavy beard used to sound when I was a young man, when Crispinus, one of the rabble of the Nile, the born slave of Canopus, with his shoulder hitching up his Tyrian cloak, airs his summer gold ring on his sweaty fingers, and is unable to support the weight of a heavier gem, it is difficult not to write Satire. For who so tolerant of the injustices of the town, so steeled, as to contain himself when the new litter of Matho the lawyer comes up, filled by the
plena ipso, post hunc magni delator amici
great man, and after him he that informed upon his powerful friend, and who will soon clutch all that remains of the devoured nobility, whom Massa himself fears, whom Carus tries to wheedle with a bribe, and Thymele sent privately by the trembling Latinus ; when men elbow you out of the way who earn legacies by night work, who are raised to the skies by what is now the best road to the highest advancement—the letch of some rich old hag? Proculeius gets a paltry twelfth of the property, but Gillo eleven-twelfths; each inherits his share in proportion to his powers. Let him receive, for what I care, the price of his life-blood, and be just as pale as one who has trodden bare-footed on a snake, or a rhetorician about to speak at the altar of Lyons. Why relate with what ire my parched entrails burn when here the plunderer of his ward, reduced to prostitution, presses on the people with his crowds of hangers-on, and here, condemned by an empty sentence (for what matters infamy when the money is safe?) Marius in exile drinks from the eighth hour and enjoys the anger of the gods; but thou, O Province ! victorious in the suit, art in tears? Shall I not deem such things worthy of the lamp of Venusia ? Shall I not assail these things
aut Diomedeas aut mugitum labyrinthi
But why rather treat of fables about Hercules, or Diomed, or the bellowing of the Labyrinth, and the sea struck by the boy Icarus and the flying artificer, when the pander inherits the adulterer's fortune (if there be no legal right to take, in the wife), practised in gazing at the ceiling, and practised in snoring over his cups, with a wide-awake nose; when that man thinks he is entitled to look for the command of a cohort who has spent his fortune on his stables, and has lost all his ancestral property, while yet a boy, flying along the Flaminian Way with rapid chariot-for he held the reins as Automedon when the great man was showing himself off to his cloaked boy-mistress. Does not one feel inclined to fill one's capacious tablets in the very middle of the cross-ways, when there comes, borne on the shoulders of positively six slaves, exposed to view on both sides, and with litter almost uncovered, and reminding one a good deal of the lazy Maecenas, the forger who has made himself genteel and wealthy by a few small tablets and a moistened seal ? Then there meets you the imperious matron, who, when her husband is thirsty, will hand him the mellow wine of Cales, in which she mixes the toad's poison, who, improving on Locusta, has taught her
per famam et populum nigros efferre maritos.
Ex quo Deucalion nimbis tollentibus aequor
simpler kinswomen to carry out to burial their livid husbands in defiance of rumour and the public gaze. Dare something deserving of small Gyarus and the gaol, if you wish to be somebody; honesty is praised and starves. To their crimes they are indebted for their gardens, palaces, costly tables, old plate, and the goat standing out in relief from the cup. Whom does the seducer of his own daughterin-law, greedy for gold, permit to sleep? whom the unnatural brides and the stripling adulterer? If nature denies the power, indignation produces verse, of whatever kind it is capable, such as I or Cluvienus make.
From the time when Deucalion, while the storms upheaved the sea, ascended the mountain in his ship and consulted the oracle, and by degrees the softening stones warmed with life, and Pyrrha showed to the males the naked virgins, whatever men are engaged in, their wishes, fears, anger, pleasures, joys, runnings to and fro, form the medley of my book. And when was the supply of vices more fruitfulWhen did the pocket of avarice gape wider? When had gambling such vitality as now! For, indeed, not with their purses about them do people go to the chances of the gaming-table, but they play with their cash-box for a stake. How sharp the battles you will