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Trite, and drawn from the midst of Fortune's heap.
10 Let us lay aside too many sighs. More violent than what is just, The grief of a man ought not to be, nor greater than his wound. Tho' you can hardly bear the least, and small particle Of light misfortunes, burning with fretting Bowels, because your friend may not return to you a sacred 15 Deposit. Does he wonder at these things, who already has left be.
hind His back sixty years, born when Fonteius was consul ? Do you profit nothing for the better by the experience of so many
What day so solemn, that it can cease to disclose a thief,
19. Wisdom, indeed, &c.] The volumes of philosophers, held sa. cred by the followers of them, contain rules for a contempt of for. tune ; and the wisdom by which they were indited, and which they teach, is the great principle which triumphs over the misfortunes we meet with. So SENECA, epist. 98. Valentior omni fortuna est ani. mus sapientis. The books of moral philosophy abound in maxims of this kind.
22. Nor to toss the yoke.] A metaphor taken from oxen which are restive, and endeavour to get rid of the yoke, by Alinging and tossing their necks about.
The poet means, that much may be learned on the subject of triumphing over fortune from the sacred volumes of philosophy: but those are to be pronounced happy also, who, by the experience of life only, have learned to bear, with quietness, submission, and patience, any inconveniences, or misfortunes, which they may meet with.
Levius fit patientiâ
Hor. lib. i. ode xxiv. ad fin. Superanda omnis Fortuna ferendo est. Virg. Æn. v. l. 710. See Jer. xxxi. 18,
Life being their mistress, &c.] Their teacher or instructor e. who are instructed by what they meet with in common life, and profit by daily experience.
- To know
MILTON, 23. What day, &c.] Festa dies signifies a day set apart for the observance of some festival, on which some sacrifices or religious rites were performed ; a holiday, as we call it. · Festus also signifies happy, joyful. Perhaps the poet means to say, what day is so happy as not to produce some mischief or other?
Perfidiam, fraudes, atque omni ex crimine lucrum
24. Gain sought, &c.] Every sort of wickedness practised for the sake of gain.
25. Money gotten. Somebody or other murdered for their money, either more openly by the sword, or more secretly by poison.
- Poison.] Pyxis signifies a little box; but here, by meton. poison, which used to be kept in such boxes, by way of concealment and easiness of conveyance.
27. Thebes.] A city of Bæotia, built by Cadmus, the son of Age. nor; it was called Heptapylos, from having seven gates. There was another Thebes in Ægypt, built by Busiris, king of Ægypt, which was called Heliopolis, famous for an hundred gates. The first is meant here.
- Mouths of the rich. Nile.) Which were seven. The Nile is called rich, because it made Ægypt fruitful by its overflowing, thus enriching all the country within its reach.
28. An age, &C.] i. c. The present age in which we live, now passing on in the course of time. The verb ago, when applied to age or life, has this signification; hence agere vitam, to live. Si octogesimum agerent annum: if they were eighty years old. Cic.
Worse ages.] The word sæculum, like ætas, means an age ; a period of an hundred years.—Here the poet would represent the age in which he wrote, as worse than any that had gone before.
28-9. The times of iron.] 'The last of the four ages into which the world was supposed to be divided, and which was worse than the three preceding. See Ov. Met. lib. i.
29." Nature itself, &c.] The wickedness of the present age is 60 great, that nothing in nature can furnish us with a proper name to call it by
30. Imposed, &c.] Lit. put it.-9. d. Nor has any name been af. fixed to it from any metal. -The first age of the world was named Golden, from its resembling gold in purity and after this came the Silver, the Brazen, the Iron Age, but now the age is so bad, that no metal can furnish it with a name which can properly describe the nature of it. Nomen ponere signifies to put or affix a name
Perfidy, frauds, and gain sought from every crime,
30 We invoke the faith of gods and men with clamour, With as much as the vocal sportula praises Fæsidius Pleading. Say, old man, worthy the bulla, know you not What charms the money of another has ? know you not What a laugh your simplicity may stir up in the vulgar, when 85
i. e, to name. Nature herself can find no metal base enough to call it by.
31. We invoke, &c.] Pro Deûm atque hominum fidem! was a usual exclamation on any thing wonderful, or surprising, happening. -9. d. We can seem much amazed, and cry out aloud against the vices of the age--we can call heaven and earth to witness our indige nation.
32. The vocal sportula.] The dole-basket; the hope of sharing which opens the mouths of the people who stand by Fæsidius while he is pleading at the bar, and makes them, with loud shouts, extol his eloquence : hence the poet calls it vocalis sportula. See a like manner of expression, sat. xii. 1. 82. See an account of the sportula, sat. i. 1. 95, note. Comp. sat. x. l. 46. Hor. lib. i. epist. xix. I. 37, 8.
Non ego ventosæ plebis suffragia venor
“ With costly suppers, or a threadbare coat.” FRANCIS. The name Fæsidius, or Fessidius, as some editions have it, may mean some vain pleader of the time, who courted the applause of the mob, by treating them with his sportula. Perhaps no particular per. son may be only meant, but such sort of people in general.
33. Old man, worthy the bulla.] The bulla was an ornament worn about the necks of children, or at their breasts, made like an heart, and hollow within ; they wore it till seventeen years of age, and then hung it up to the household gods.-Pers. sat. v. 1. 31. . The poet addresses himself to his old friend Calvinus, in a joking manner; as if he said--- Well, old gentleman,” (comp. 1. 16, 17.) “worthy again to wear your childish baubles, are you, at sixty years "old, such a child as not to know ".
34. What charms, &c.] i. e. As to be ignorant how great the temptation is, when a knave has other people's money in his power?
35. What a laugh, &c.] How the whole town will laugh at your simplicity.
35–6. When you require, &c.] q. d. If you expect that people won't forswear themselves, when perjury is so common.
Exigis a quoquam ne pejeret, et putet ullis
36. Should think.] i.e. And require that they should think, &c.
37. Some deity, &c.] Should believe that religion is not all a farce, but that really there is not any of the temples without some deity which notices the actions and behaviour of men, so as to punish perjury and breach of faith.
The reddening altar.] 1. e. Red with the blood of the sa. crifices, or with the fire upon it.
q. d. How childish would you appear, and what a laughter would be raised against you, if you professed to expect either religion or morals in the present age ?
38. Natives.] Indigenæ. The first natives and inhabitants of Italy, our home-bred ancestors.
- Lived in this manner.] Avoiding perjury and fraud, and believing the presence of the gods in their temples, and at their ‘alo tars.
39. Saturn flying.] Saturn was expelled from Crete by his son Jupiter, and filed into Italy, where he hid' himself, which from thence was called Latium, a latendo, and the people Latins. See Virg. Æn. viii. l. 319, 20. The poet means the Golden Age, (comp. sat. vi. l. I, et seq. where Juvenal speaks of the simplicity of those times,) which the poets place during the reign of Saturn.
Rustic sickle.] Or scythe, which Saturn is said to have in. vented, and to have taught the people husbandry, after his expul. sion from his kingdom ; for during the Golden Age, the earth brought forth every thing without culture. See OviD, Met. lib. i. fab. iii.
His diadem, &c.] His kingdom being seized by his son Ju. piter, and he being driven out of it.
40. When Juno, &c.] The daughter of Saturn, sister and wife to Jupiterd little girl-i. e. before she was grown up, and marriageable, In sat. vi. l. 15, he speaks of Jupiter in a state of impuberty, in the time of the Golden Age.
41. Idean caves.] Jupiter, when born, was carried to mount Ida, in Crete, where he was concealed, and bred up, lest his father Saturn should devour him. See Ainsw. Saturnus.
You require from any not to forswear, and that he should think, that
42. No feasts, &c.] No carousing, as in after times there was sup: posed to be. Comp. 1. 45.
43. Iliacan boy.] Ganymede, the son of Tros, king of Troy, or Nium, whom Jupiter, in the form of an eagle, snatched up from mount Ida, and, displacing Hebe, made cup-bearer at the feasts of the gods.
Wife of Hercules.] Hebe, the daughter of Juno, and cup-bearer to Jupiter, she happened to make a slip at a banquet of the gods, so was turned out of her place, and Ganymede put into it': she was afterwards married to Hercules.
44. The nectar, c.] Nectar, a pleasant liquor, feigned to be the drink of the gods.-Siccato- nectare, the nectar being all drunk up, the feast now over, (see sat. v. l. 47, siccabis calicem,) Vulcan retired to his forge.-All this happened after the Golden Age, but not during the continuance of it.
45. Wining his arms.] From the soot and dirt contracted in his filthy shop.
Liparean.] Near Sicily were several islands, called the Lipary Islands ; in one of which, called Vulcania, Vulcan's forge was fabled to be. See VIRG. viii. 416, et seq. This was in the neighbourhood of mount Ætna. See sat. i. l. 8. ·':46. Every god dined by himself. ] The poet here, and in the whole
of this passage, seems to make very free with the theology of his country, and, indeed to satirize the gods of Rome as freely as he does the people. "
Crowd of gods.1 The number of gods which the Romans worshipped, might well be called turba deorum, for they amounted to above thirty thousand..
47. This day:1 The Roman Polytheism and idolatry went hand in hand with the wickedness of the times ; they had a god for every vice, both natural and unnatural. The awful origin of all this, as well as its consequences, is set down by St. Paul, Rom. i. ver. 2132.
The stars.] The heavens, per metonym.