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This Satire is levelled at the bad examples which parents set their
children, and shews the serious consequences of such examples, in helping to contaminate the morals of the rising generation, as we are apt, by nature, rather to receive ill impressions than good, and
are, besides, more pliant in our younger than in our rifier PLURIMA sunt, Fuscine, et famâ digna sinistra, Et nitidis maculam hæsuram figentia rebus, Quæ monstrant ipsi pueris traduntque parentes. Si damnosa senem juvat alea, ludit et hæres Bullatus, parvoque eadem movet arma fritillo, Nec de se melius cuiquam sperare propinquo Concedet juvenis, qui radere tubera terræ,
Line 1. Fuscinus.] A friend of Juvenal's, to whom this Satire is addressed.
- Worthy of unfavourable report.7 Which deserve to be ill spoken of, to be esteemed scandalous.
The word sinistra here is metaphorical, taken from the Roman superstition, with regard to any thing of the ominous kind, which appeared on the left hand; they reckoned it unlucky and unfavour. able. See sat. x. l. 129, where the word is applied, as here, in a metaphorical sense.
2. Fixing a stain, &C.) A metaphor, taken from the idea of clean and neat garments being soiled, or spotted, with filth thrown upon them, the marks of which are not easily got out. So these things of evil report fix a spot, or stain, on the most splendid character, rank, or fortune-all which, probably, the poet means by nitidis rebus.
3. Which parents, &c.] The things worthy of evil report, which are afterwards particularized, are matters which parents exhibit to their children by example, and deliver to them by precept. Comp. I. 9.
4. If the destructive die pledses, &c.] If the father be fond of playing at dice.
Wearing the bulla, &c.] His son, when a mere child, will imi. tate his example.-- For the bulla, see sat. xiii. 1. 33, note.
5. The same weapons, &c.] Arma, literally, denotes all kind of
years. From hence he descends to a Satire on avarice, which he esteems to be of worse example than any other of the vices which he mentions before ; and concludes with limiting our desires within reasonable bounds.
I HERE are many things, Fuscinus, worthy of unfavourable re.
port, And fixing a stain which will stick upon splendid things, Which parents themselves shew, and deliver to their children. If the destructive die pleases the old man, the heir wearing the bulla Will play too, and moves the same weapons in his little dice-box. 6 Nor does the youth allow any relation to hope better of him,. Who has learnt to peel the funguses of the earth,
warlike arms and armour; and, by met. all manner of tools and implements, for all arts, mysteries, occupations, and diversions. Ainsw. The word is peculiarly proper to express dice, and other implements of gaming, wherewith the gamesters attack each other, each with an intent to ruin and destroy the opponent. See sat. i. 92, note.
5. Little dice-box.] Master, being too young to play with a large dice.box, not being able to shake and manage it, has a small one made for him, that he may begin the science as early as possible.
See Ainsw. Fritillus.
6. Nor does the youth allow, &c.] The poet, having mentioned the bringing up children to be gamesters, here proceeds to those who are early initiated into the science of gluttony. Such give very little room to their family to hope that they will turn out better than the former.
7. To peel the funguses of the earth.] Tuber (from tumeo, to swell or puff up) signifies what we call a puff, which grows in the ground like a mushroom--a toad.stool. But I apprehend that any of the fungous productions of the earth may be signified by tuber; and, in this place, we are to understand, perhaps, truffles, or some other food of the kind, which were reckoned delicious. Sat. v. 1. 116, note.
--To pieel.] Or scrape off the coat, or skin, with which they are covered.
Boletum condire, et eodem jure natantes
Mitem animum, et mores, modicis erroribus æquos
8. A mushroom.] The boletus was reckoned the best sort of mushroom. Comp. sat. v. 1. 147. See Ainsw. Condio.
9. Beccaficos.] Ficedulas_little birds which feed on figs, now called beccaficos, or fig-peckers; they are to this day esteemed a great dainty.
It was reckoned a piece of high luxury to have these birds dressed, and served up to table, in the same sauce, or pickle, with funguses of various kinds.
A prodigal parent.] Nebulo signifies an unthrift, a vain prodigal; and is most probably used here in this sense. See Ainsw. Nebulo, No. 2.
10. A grey throat, &c.] Gula is, literally, the throat or gullet; but, by met. may siguify a glutton, who thinks of nothing but his gullet. So goesne, the belly, is used to denote a glutton; and the apostle's quotation from the Cretan poet, Tit. i. 12. yoseges apoyos, instead of slow bellies, which is nonsense, should be rendered lazy gluttons, which is the undoubted sense of the phrase.
Cana gula here, then, may be rendered an hoary glutton-i. l. the old epicure, his father setting the example, and shewing him the art of luxurious cookery.
10. The seventh year, &c.7 When he is turned of seven years of age, a time when the second set of teeth, after shedding the first, is not completed, and a time of life the most flexible and docile.
12. Tho' you should place, &c.] Though a thousand of the graveest and most learned tutors were placed on each side of him, so as to pour their instructions into both his ears at the same time, yet they would avail nothing at all towards reclaiming him.-god. The boy having gotten such an early taste for gluttony, will never get rid of it, by any pains which can be taken with him for that puro pose.
The philosophers and learned teachers wore beards; and were therefore called barbati. They thought it suited best with the gravity of their appearance.
Pers. sat. iv. I. 1, calls Socrates--barbatum magistrum. See Hora lib, jie sat. iii. l. 35, and note.
To season a mushroom, and, swimming in the same sauce,
13. He would desire, &c.] He would never get rid of his inclina. tion to gluttony.
13—14. With a sumptuous preparation.] With a number of the most delicious provisions, dressed most luxuriously, and served up in the most sumptuous manner. « 14. Not to degenerate, &c.] Either in principle or practice, from the profuse luxury of his father's ample kitchen. So true is that of Hor. Epist. lib. i. epist. ii. 1. 68, 9.
Quo semel imbuta est recens, servabit odorem
Testa diu, 15. Rutilus.] The name of some master, who was of a very cruel disposition towards his servants.
- Kind to small errors.] Making allowance for, and excusing small faults.
16. And the souls of slaves, &c.] Does he think that the bodies of slaves consist of the same materials, and that their souls are made up of the same elements as ours, who are their masters? Does he suppose them to be of the same flesh and blood, and to have reasonable souls as well as himself? Sat. vi. 221.
18. Or does he teach to be cruel.] Instead of setting an example of meekness, gentleness, and forbearance, does he not teach his children to be savage and cruel, by the treatment which he gives his slaves ?.
18-19. In the bitter sound of stripes.] He takes a pleasure in hearing the sound of those bitter stripes, with which he punishes his slaves.
19. Compares no Syren, &c.] The song of a Sire:7 would not, in his opinion, be so delightful to his ears, as the crack of the whips on his slaves' backs.
20. The Antiphates and Polyphemus, &C.] Antiphates was a king of a savage people near Formix, in Italy, who were eaters of man's flesh.
Polyphemus the Cyclops lived on the same diet. See VIRG. Æn. ü. 620, et seq.
Tum felix, quoties aliquis tortore vocato
Rutilus is here likened to these two monsters of cruelty, inasmuch as that he was the terror of his whole farnily, which is the sense of laris in this place. 21. Then hanny.] It was a matter of joy to him.
As often as any one.] i. e. Of his slaves.
The tormentor, &c.] Comp. sat. vi. 479, and note. 22. Is burnt, &C.] Burnt with an hot iron on his flesh, for some petty theft, as of two towels or napkins. These the Romans wiped with after bathing,
23. What can he advise, &c.] What can a man, who is himself so barbarous, as to be affected with the highest pleasure at hearing the rattling of fetters, when put on the legs or bodies of his slaves what can such a father persuade his son to, whom he has taught so ill by his example ?
24. Branded slaves—a rustic prison.] Ergastulum-lit, signifies a workhouse, a house of correction, where they confined and punished their slaves, and made them work. Sometimes (as here, and sat. vi. 150.) it means a slave.--Inscriptus-a-um, signifies marked, branded; inscripta ergastula, branded slaves--comp. I. 22, note.--q. d. Whom the sight of slaves branded with hot irons, kept in a work. house in the country, where they are in fetters (I. 23.) and which is therefore to be looked on as a country-gaol, affects with wonderful de. light. We may suppose the ergastula something like our bridewells.
25. Larga.7 Some famous lady of that day-here put for all such characters.
- Should not be, &c.] When she has the constant bad example of her mother before her eyes. Comp. sat. vi. 239, 240.
26. Who never, &c.] Who could never repeat the names of all her mother's gallants, though she uttered them as fast as possibly she could, without often taking breath before she got to the end of the list, so great was the number. Comp. sat. x. 223, 4.
28. Privy, &c.] She was a witness of all her mother's lewd pro