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Numinibus, miserum, urgebant Atlanta minori
· 48. Urged miserable Atlas. A high hill in Mauritania, feigned by the “poets to bear up the heavens. See sat. viii. 32, note. .
49. Shared the sad empire, &c.] The world as yet was not divided by lot among the three sons of Saturn, by which Neptune shared the dominion of the sea Jupiter heaven-and Pluto the infernal regions.
50. His Sicitian Wife.] Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, whom Pluto ravished out of Sicily, and made her his wife.
51. A wheel.] Alluding to the story of Ixion, the father of the Centaurs-Jupiter took him up into heaven, where he would have ravished Juno, but Jupiter formed a cloud in her shape, on which he begat the Centaurs. He was cast down to Hell, for boasting that he had lain with Juno; where he was tied to a wheel and surrounded with serpents.
Furies. 1 Of which there were three, Alecto, Megæra, Tisiphone. These were sisters, the daughters of Acheron and Nox; they are described with torches in their hands, and snakes, instead of hair, on their heads. · A stone.1 Alluding to Sisyphus, the son of Æolus ; he greatly infested Attica with his robberies, but being slain by Theseus, he was sent to hel), and condemned to roll a great stone up an hill, which stone, when he had got it to the top, rolled back again, so that his labour was to be constantly renewed.
51--2. Black vulture.] Prometheus was chained to mount Cauca.. sus for stealing fire from heaven, where a black vulture was continually preying on his liver, which grew as fast as it was devoured. 52. But the shades.] The ghosts of the departed— were
Hanny without infernal kings.] For there being, at that time, no crimes, there wanted no laws nor kings to enforce them; of course no punishments.
53. Improbity, &c.] Villainy of all kinds was scarcely known any crime would have been a wonder.
55. If a youth, &c.] In those days of purity and innocence, the
Deities, urged miserable Atlas with a less
highest subordination was maintained. It was a capital crime for a young man even to have sitten down in the presence of an old one, or if sitting, not to have risen up on his approach. Comp. Job xxix. 8.
So for a boy not to have done the same in the presence of a youth, now arrived at the age of puberty, which was indicated by having a beard.
56. Tho' he might see, &c.] Strawberries, acorns, and such-like, are here supposed to be the first food of mankind in the Golden Age. The poet's meaning here is, that superiority in age always challenged the respect above mentioned, from the younger to the elder, though the former might be richer, in the possessions of those days, than the latter.
58. So venerable, &c.] So observant were they of the deference paid to age, that even a difference of four years was to create respect, insomuch that the first appearance of down upon the chin was to be venerated by younger persons, as the venerable beard of old age was by those grown to manhood; so there was an equal and proportionate subordination throughout. 60. Now.] In our day.
Should not deny.] Either deny that he received it, or should not refuse to deliver it.
A deposit.] Something committed to his trust. 61. With all the rust.] i. e. The coin, which has lain by so long as to have contracted a rust, not having been used. Meton.
62. Prodigious faithfulness !] Such a thing would be looked upon, in these times, as a prodigy of honesty.
A like sentiment occurs in Teş. Phorm. act i, sc, ii, where Da. vus returns to Geta some money which he had borrowed.
DAv. Accipe, hem :
Get, Amo te, et non neglexissc habeo gratiam,
Quæque coronatâ lustrari debeat agnâ:
Dav. Præsertim ut nunc sunt mores : adeo res redit,
Si quis quid reddit, magna habenda est gratia. 62. Worthy the Tuscan books !] To be recorded there among other prodigies. It is said, that the art of soothsaying first came from the Tuscans, which consisted in foretelling future events from prodigies; these were recorded in books, and were consulted on occasion of any thing happening of the marvellous kind, as authorities for the determinations of the auspices, or soothsayers, thereupon.
* 63. Expiated, &c.] When any prodigy happened, the custom of the Tuscạns was to make an expiation by sacrifice, in order to avert the consequences of ill omens, which were gathered from prodigies. This the Romans followed.
- A crowned she-lamb.] They put garlands of flowers, or ribbands, on the heads of the victims.--Ashe-lamb was the offering on such an occasion.
6+. An excellent. ] Egregium-ex toto grege lectum-i. e. as we say, one taken out of the common herd of mankind-choicesingular for great and good qualities.
65. A boy of two parts.] A monstrous birth, as prodigious as a child born with parts of two different species : hence the Centaurs were called bimembres.
- Wonderful fishes, &c.] A wondrous shoal of fish unexpect. edly turned up in ploughing the ground.
66. A mule with foal.] Which was never known to happen. Though Appian, lib. i. says, that, before the coming of Syila, a' mule brought forth in the city. This must be looked on as fabulous.
67. Anxious. ] Solicitous for the event.
- As if a shower, &c.] As if the clouds rained showers of stones.
68. A swarm, &c.] It was accounted ominous if a swarm of bees settled on an house, or on a temple.
---- Long bunch.] When bees swarm and settle any where,
And which ought to be expiated by a crowned she-lamb.
they all cling to one another, and hang down, a considerable length, in the form of a bunch of grapes. Hence, VIRG. Georg. iv. 557, 8.
Jamque arbore summa : Confluere, et lentis uvam demittere ramis. 69. A river, &c.] All rivers run into the sea, and many with great violence; therefore the poet cannot mean that there is any wonder in this--but in flowing with unusual and portentous appear. auces, such as being mixed with blood, which Livy speaks of, lib. xxiv. c. 10. or the like.
70. Rushing. Torrensviolent, headlong, running in full stream, like the rushing of a land-food, with dreadful violence, ed. dying in whirlpools of milk.-When we consider what has been said in the last seven lines, what an idea does it give us of the state of morals at Rome in the time of Juvenal ! 71. Ten sestertiums. 7 About 801. 14s. 7d. of our money.
- Intercepted.] i. e. Prevented from coming to your hands. 72 What if another, &c.] The poet endeavours to comfort his friend under his loss, and to keep him from indulging too great a concern about it, by wishing him to consider that he is not so great a sufferer as many others perhaps might be by a like fraud.
Secret, &c.] Arcana-q. d. bis centum sestertia arcanam i. e. delivered or lent secretly, when no witnesses were by, as had been the case of Juvenal's friend Calvinus.
:74. Which the corner, &c.] Another, says he, may have lost so large a sum of money, as even to be greater than could be easily contained in a large chest, though stuffed at every corner, in which he had stowed it.
75. So easy and ready, &c.] So prone are men to despise the gods, who are witnesses to all their actions, that if they can but hide them from the eyes of men, they make themselves quite easy under the commission of the greatest frauds.
76. Behold, with how great, &c.] This contempt of the gods is carried so far, that men will not only defraud, but, with a loud
Voce neget; quæ sit ficti constantia vultûs.
Sunt, in Fortunæ qui casibus omnia ponunt,
unfaltering voice, and the most unembarrassed countenance, deny every thing that's laid to their charge ; and this by the grossest per. jury
77. Feigned countenance.] Putting on, in his looks, a semblance of truth and honesty.
78. By the rays of the sun.] This was an usual oath. See Æne ü. 599, 600, and note. Delph. edit.
Tarpeian thunderbolts.] id e. The thunder of Jupiter, who had a temple of the Tarpeian rock. See sat. vi. l. 47, note.
79. Cyrrhæan prophet.] Apollo, who had an oracle at Delphos, near Cirrha, a city of Phocis, where he was worshipped.
80. Virgin-huntress.] Puellæ venatricis.Diana, the fabled god. dess of hunting ; she, out of chastity, avoided all company of men, retired into the woods, and there exercised herself in hunting.
81. Trident.] Neptune's trident was a sort of spear with three prongs at the end, and denoted his being king of the sea, which sure rounded the three then known parts of the world. With this instrument he is usually represented, and with this he was supposed to govern the sea, and even to shake the earth itself ; so that there is no wonder that the superstitious heathen should swear by it, as Neptune was so considerable an object of their veneration and wor, ship. See Virg. Æn. i. 142–149, et al. . Father of Ægeus.] Ægeus was the son of Neptune, the father of Theseus. He reigned at Athenshe threw himself into the Ægean sea, which was so named after him. .
82. Herculean bows.] Perhaps the poet particularly here alludes to those fatal bows and arrows of Hercules, which he gave to Phi. loctetes, the son of Pæas, king of Melibæa, a city of Thessaly, at the foot of mount Ossa ; and which weapons, unless Philoctetes had carried to Troy, it was fated that the city could not have been taken. See Virg. Æn. iii. 402, and note, Delph.
83. Armories of heaven,] Juvenal held the Roman mythology in great contempi-he certainly means here to deride the folly of imagining that the gods had arsenals or repositories of arms
84. A father, &c.] Here is an allusion to the story of Thyestes,
em then knoted his berasa sorelf in humany of mode