Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

190

Qui partem acceptæ sæva inter vinc'la cicutæ
Accusatori nollet dare. Plurima felix
Paulatim vitia, atque errores exuit omnes,
Prima docens rectum Sapientia ; quippe MINUTI
SEMPER ET INFIRMI EST ANIMI EXIGUIQUE VOLUPTAS
Ultio. Continuo sic collige, quod vindictâ
Nemo magis gaudet, quam femina. Cur tamen hos tu
Evasisse putes, quos diri conscia facti
Mens habet attonitos, et surdo verbere cædit,
Occultum quatiente animo tortore flagellum ?
Pæna autem vehemens, ac multo savior illis,
Quas et Cæditius gravis invenit aut Rhadamanthus,
Nocte dieque suum gestare in pectore testem.

Spartano cuidam respondit Pythia vates,

195

from Athens, where Socrates lived, and where he was put to death. · 186. Who would not, &c.] It was a maxim of Socrates, that he who did an injury was more to be pitied than he who suffered it. He was accused of contemning the gods of Athens, and, for this, was condemned to die, by drinking the juice of hemlock; which he did with circumstances of calmness and fortitude, as well as of forgiveness of his accusers, that brought tears from all that were present with him in the prison during the sad scene.

An old scholiast has observed on this passage, as indeed some others have done, that one of his accusers, Melitus, was cast into prison with him, and asking Socrates to give him some of the poison, that he might drink it, Socrates refused it.

187. Received hemlock.] Which he had received from the executioner, and then held in his hand. For an account of his death, see Ant. Univ. Hist. vol. vi. p. 407, note %. translated from Plato.

- Happy wisdom.] The poet here means the teachings of the moral philosophers, some of which held, that, even in torments, a wise man was happy.

189. First teaching what is right, &c] To know what is right is first necessary, in order to do it-this, therefore, is the foundation of moral philosophy, in order to strip the mind of error, and the life of vicious actions.

Vitæ philosophia dux, virtutis indagatrix, expultrix que vitiorum. Cic. Tusc. v. ii.

- Philosophy is the guide of life, the searcher-out of virtue, the "expeller of vice.”

191. Thus conclude.] 1. e. Conclude, without any farther reasoning, that the above observation, viz. that revenge is the pleasure of weak minds, is true, because it is so often found to be so in the weaker sex,

Persius uses the verb colligo in the sense of conclude, or infer mendose colligis, you conclude falsely. Sat. v. l. 85.

193. To have escaped, &c.] Though no outward punishment

olligo in the ser Sat. v. 1. 85. rd punishment

Who would not, amidst cruel chains, give a part of .
The received hemlock to his accuser. Happy wisdom,
By degrees puts off most vices, and all errors,
First teaching what is right : for Revenge
IS ALWAYS THE PLEASURE OF A MINUTE, WEAK, AND LITTLE 190
Mind. Immediately thus conclude, because in revenge
Nobody rejoices more than a woman. But why should you
Think these to have escaped, whose mind, conscious of a dire
Fact, keeps them astonished, and smites with a dumb stripe,
Their conscience the tormentor shaking a secret whip?

195
But it is a vehement punishment, and much more cruel, than those
Which either severe Cæditius invented, or Rhadamanthus,
Night and day to carry their own witness in their breast.

The Pythian prophetess answer'd a certain Spartan,

should await these evil-doers, and you may suppose them to have escaped quite free, yet their very spuls, conscious of dreadful crimes, are all astonishment-their guilty conscience smiting them with silent, but severe, reproof.

195. The conscience.] i. e. Their conscience the executioner, shaking its secret scourge with terror over them.

A metaphor, taken from the whipping of criminals, whose terrors are excited at seeing the executioner's scourge lifted up and shaken over them.

Public whipping was a common punishment among the Romans for the lower sort of people. See Hor, epod iv, 1. 11.

196. Vehement punishment, &c.] The poet here means, that the torments of a wounded conscience are less tolerable than those of bo, dily punishment.-Comp. Prov. xviii. 14.

197. Severe Cąditius.] A very cruel judge in the days of Vitel, lius; or, according to some, in the days of Nero.

- Rhadamanthus.] One of the judges of hell. See sat. i. l. 10, note.

198. Their own witness, &c.] Continually bearing about with them the testimony of an evil conscience.

199. Pythian prophetess.] The priestess of Apollo, (called Py, thius, from his slaying the serpent Python,) by whom Apollo gave answers at his oracle of Delphos.

The story alluded to is told by Herodotus, of one Glaucus, a Spartan, with whom a Milesian, in confidence of his honesty, had left a sum of money in trust. Glaucus afterwards denied having received the money, when it was demanded by the sons of the Mile. sian, and sent them away without it: yet he was not quite satisfied in himself, and went to the oracle, to know whether he should perşist in denying it, or not. He was answered, that if he forswore the money, he might escape for a time; but for his vile intention, he and all his family should be destroyed. Upon this, Glaucus' sent for the Milesians, and paid the whole sạm. But what the oracle

[ocr errors]

Haud impunitum quondam fore, quod dubitaret

200 Depositum retinere, et fraudem jure tueri Jurando : quærebat enim quæ numinis esset Mens; et an hoc illi facinus suaderet Apollo. Reddidit ergo metu, non moribus ; et tamen omnem Vocem adyti dignam templo, veramque probavit

205 Extinctus totâ pariter cum prole domoque, Et quamvis longa deductis gente propinquis, Has patitur pænas peccandi sola voluntas. Nam SCELUS INTRA SE TACITUM QUI COGITAT ULLUQI, Facti CRIMEN HABET: cedo, si conata peregit ?

210 Perpetua anxietas : nec mensæ tempore cessat; Faucibus ut morbo siccis, interque molares Difficili crescente cibo. Sed vina misellus Exspuit : Albani veteris pretiosa senectus

foretold came to pass, for he and all his kindred were afterwards extirpated.

200. Time to come.] Though he might escape for the present, yet, at a future time, he should not go without punishment.

Because he doubted.] Could suffer himself even to entertain a doubt in such a case as this.

201. A deposit.] Of money committed to his trust.
- By swearing.] By perjury--jure jurando. Tmesis.

202. He asked, &c.] In hopes that he might get such an answer as would quiet his mind, and determine him to keep the money,

203. Would advise, &c.] Would persuade him to the facti, e. to retain the deposit, &c.

204. From fear, not, &c.] More from a principle of fear of the consequences of keeping it, than an honest desire of doing right.

205. The voice of the shrine.] Adytum signifies the most secret and sacred place of the temple, from whence the oracles were supposed to be delivered.

- Worthy the temple, &c.] It was reckoned highly for the reputation of the temple, when the things there foretold came to pass; on account of which, these oracles were usually delivered in equivocal term3, so that they might be supposed to tell truth, on whichever side the event turned out

207. Deduced from a long race.] Longa gente, from a long train of ancestors--all that were related to him, however distantly, were cut off.

208. These fiunishments, &c.] Thus was the mere intention of do. ing ill most justly punished.

210. Hath the guilt, &c.] Is as really guilty as if he had accom. plished it. In this, and in inany other passages, one would almost think Juvenal was acquainted with something above heathenism. Comp. Prov. xxiv. 8, 9; and Matt. v. 28.

- " Tell one,&c.] A question asked by Calvinus, on hearing what Juvenal had said above.-Tell ine, says Calvinus, if what you

That in time to come he should not be unpunished, because he doubted

. 200 To retain a deposit, and defend the fraud by swearing: For he asked what was the mind of the Deity, And whether Apollo would advise this deed to him. He therefore restored it from fear, not from morals, and yet all The voice of the shrine, he proved worthy the temple, and true, 205 Being extinguished together with all his offspring, and family, And with his relations, tho' deduced from a long race. These punishments does the single will of offending suffer. For He WHO WITHIN HIMSELF DEVISES ANY SECRET WICKED

NESS, HATH THE GUILT OF THE FACT._" Tell me, if he accomlipsh'd “his attempts ?”

.. 210 Perpetual anxiety : nor does it cease at the time of the table, “ With jaws dry as by disease, and between his grinders “ The difficult food increasing. But the wretch spits out “ His wine : the precious old age of old Albanian

say be true, that the very design to do evil makes a person guilty of what he designed to do, what would be the case of his actually accomplishing what he intended, as my false friend has done?

211. “ Perpetual anxiety."] Juvenal answers the question, by setting forth, in very striking colours, the anguish of a wounded conscience.-- First, he would be under continual anxiety.

" The time of the table.] Even at his meals--his co vivial hours.

212. " With jaws dry," &c.] His mouth hot and parched, like one in a fever.

213. “ Difficult food increasing.”] This circumstance is very natu. ral—the uneasiness of this wretch's mind occasions the symptoms of a fever ; one of which is a dryness of the mouth and throat, owing to the want of a due secretion of the saliva, by the glands appropriated for that purpose. The great use of this secretion, which, we call saliva, or spittle, is in masticating and diluting the food, and making the first digestion thereof; also to lubricate the throat and æsophagus, or gullet, in order to facilitate deglutition, which, by these means, in healthy persons, is attended with ease and pleasure.

But the direct contrary is the case, where the mouth and throat are quite dry, as in fevers the food is chewed with difficulty and disgust, and cannot be swallowed without uneasiness and loathing, and may well be called difficilis cibus in both these respects. Wanting also the saliva to moisten it, and make it into a sort of paste for deglutition, it breaks into pieces between the teeth, and taking up more room than when in one mass, it fills the mouth as if it had in. creased in quantity, and is attended with a nausea, or loathing, which still increases the uneasiness of the sensation.

213--14. “ Shits out his wine."] He can't relish it, liis month being out of taste, and thereforé spits it out as something nauseous.

VOL. lb

S

Displicet : ostendas melius, densissima ruga
Cogitur in frontem, velut acri ducta Falerno.
Nocte brevem si forte indulsit cura soporem,
Et toto versáta toro jam membra quiescunt,
Continuo templum, et violati numinis ards,
Et (quod præcipuis mentem sudoribus urget);
Te videt in somnis : tua sacra et major imago
Humanâ turbat pavidum, cogitque fateri.
Hi sunt qui trepidant, et ad omnia fulgura pallent,
Cum tonat ; exanimes primo quoque murmure coli:
Non quasi fortuitus, nec ventorum rabie, sed
Iratus cadat in terras, et vindicet ignis.
Illa nihil nocuit, curâ graviore timetur
Proxima tempestas; velut hoc dilata sereno.

214. Albaniant.", See sat. v. I. 33, note. This was reckoned the finest and best wine in all Italy, especially when old. See Hor. lib. iv. ode xi. I. 1, 2.

215. “ Shew him better.", If you could set even better wine thart this before him, he could not relish it.

-- " The thickest wrinkle,"' &C.T His forehead would contract into wrinkles without end, as if they were occasioned by his being offered sour Falernan wine.

Densissima is here used, as in sat. i. 120, to denote a vast number: as we say a thick crowd, where vast numbers of people are collected together.

Falernan wine was in high repute among the Romans when it was of the best sort ; but there was a kind of coarse, sour wine, which came from Falernus, a mountain of Campania, which, when drank, would occasion sickness and vomiting. See sat. vi. I. 427, note; and sat. vi. I. 429. .

218. His limbs tumbled over, "&c.] Tumbling and tossing from one side of the bed to the other, through the uneasiness of his mind. See sat. iii. 280, and note; and Aunsw. Verso, No. 2.

219. The temple--the altars," &c.] He is haunted with dreadful dreams, and seems to see the temple in which, and the altar upon which, he perjured himself, and thus profaned and violated the ma. jesty of the Deity.

220. “ What urges his mind," &C] But that which occasions him more misery than all the rest (see Ainsw. Sudor; and sat. i. 167.) is, that he fancies he beholds the man whom he has injured, appearing (as aggrandized by his fears) greater than a human form. The ancients had much superstition on the subject of apparitions, and always held them sacred; and (as fear magnifies its objects) they always were supposed to appear greater than the life. Hence Juvenal says, sacra et major imago. Comp. Virg. Æn. ii. l. 772, 3.

222. “ Compels him to confess.”]i. e. The villainy which he has been guilty of maconfession of this is wrung from him by the terrors which he undergoes; he can no longer keep the secret within his breasta

« PredošláPokračovať »