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Then happy, as often as any one, the tormentor being called,
ceedings, and was privy to them ; which is the meaning of conscia in this place. See sat. iii. l. 49.
29. Now.] i. c. Now she is grown something bigger, she does as her mother did.
She dictating.] The mother instructing, and dictating what she shall say.
Little tablets.] Cera signifies wax_but as they wrote on thin wooden tablets smeared over with wax, ceras, per met. means the tab. lets or letters themselves. See sat. i. I. 63.
Some understand by ceras pusillas, small tablets, as best adapted to the size of her hand, and more proper for her age, than large ones. As the boy (1. 5.) had a little dice-box to teach him gaming, so this girl begins with a little tablet, in order to initiate her into the sci. ence of intrigue. But perhaps, by pusillas ceras the poet means what the French would call petits billets-doux. 30. She fills.] i. e. Fills with writing.
The same pimps, &c.] Cinædus is a word of a detestable meaning ; but here cinædis seems to denote pimps, or people who go between the parties in an intrigue.
The daughter employs the same messengers that her mother did, to carry her little love-letters.
31. So nature commands, &c.] Thus nature orders it, and there. fore it naturally happens, that examples of vice, set by those of our own family, corrupt the soonest.
32. When they possess minds, &c.] When they insinuate themselves into the mind, under the influence of those who have a right to exercise authority over us. See Ainsw. Auctor, No. 6.
33. One or two.] Unus et alter-here and there one, as we say, may be found as exceptions, and who may reject, with due contempt, their parents' vices, but then they must be differently formed from the generality.
34. By a benign art, &c.] Prometheus, one of the Titans, was feigned, by the poets, to have formed men of clay, and put life into them by fire stolen from heaven.' .
Et meliore luto finxit præcordia Titan.
The poet here says, that, if one or two young men are found who reject their father's bad example, it must be owing to the peculiar favour of Prometheus, who, by a kind exertion of his art, formed their bodies, and particularly the parts about the heart (præcordia), of better materials than those which he employed in the formation of others.
36. Footsteps, &c.] As for the common run of young men, they are led, by the bad example of their fathers, to tread in their fathers' steps, which ought to be avoided.
37. Path of old wickedness, &c.] And the beaten track of wickede ness, constantly before their eyes, draws them into the same crimes.
38. Abstain therefore, &c.] Refrain therefore from ill actions at least we should do this, if not for our own sakes, yet for the sake of our children, that they may not be led to follow our vicious examples, and to commit the same crimes which they have seen in us.
40. In imitating, &c. Such is the condition of human nature, that we are all more prone to evil than to good, and, for this reason, we are easily taught to imitate the vices of others.
41. A Catiline, &c.] See sat, viii. 231. Vicious characters are easily to be met with, go where you may.
43. Brutus.] M. Brutus, one of the most virtuous of the Romans, and the great assertor of public liberty.
Uncle of Brutus.] Cato of Utica, who was the brother of Servilia, the mother of Brutus, a man of severe virtue.
So prone is human nature to evil, so inclined to follow bad exam , ple, that a virtuous character, like Brutus or Cato, is hardly to be found any where, while profligate and debauched characters, like Catiline, abound all the world over--this would not be so much the case, if parents were more careful about the examples which they set their children.
44. Filthy.] Indecent, obscene,
And with better clay, Titan has formed their breasts.
rest, And the path of old wickedness, long shewn, draws them. Abstain therefore from things which are to be condemned: for of this
at least There is one pow'rful reason, lest those who are begotten by us Should follow our crimes; for in imitating base and wicked Things we are all docile ; and a Catiline You may see among every people, in every clime : But neither will Brutus, nor uncle of Brutus, be any where. Nothing filthy, to be said, or seen, should touch these thresholds, Within which is a boy. Far from hence, from thence the girls 45 Of bawds, and the songs of the nightly parasite : The greatest reverence is due to a boy. If any base thing i You go about, do not despise the years of a boy, But let your infant son hinder you about to sin. For if he shall do any thing worthy the anger of the censor, 50
44. Should touch, &c.] Should approach those doors, where there are children, lest they be corrupted. Therefore · 45. Far from hence, &C.] Hence far away, begone ; a form of speech made use of at religious solemnities, in order to hinder the approach of the profane. So Horace, lib. iii. ode i. l. I, when he calls himself musarum sacerdos, says, Odi profanum vulgus et ar. ceo. VIRG. Æn. vi. 258, 9, makes the Sibyl say :
Procul, O procul este profani
- Totoque absistite luco. 45-6. Girls of bawds.] The common prostitutes, who are kept by common panders, or pimps, for lewd purposes.
46. The nightly parasite.] Pernoctans signifies tarrying, or sitting up all night. The parasites, who frequently attended at the tables of great men, used to divert them with lewd and obscene songs, and for this purpose would sit up all night long.
47. Greatest reverence, &c.] People should keep the strictest guard over their words and actions, in the presence of boys ; they cannot be under too much awe, nor shew too great a reverence for decency, when in their presence.
48. You go about, &c.] If you intend, or purpose, or set about, to do what is wrong, don't say, “ Theres nobody here but “my young son, I don't mind him, and he is too young to mind “me:"-rather say, “My little boy is here, I wiil not hurt his “mind by making him a witness of what I purposed to do, therefore “ I will not do it before him.”
50. Of the censor.] The censor of good manners, or morum judex, was an officer of considerable power in Rome, before whom offenders against the peace and good manners were carried and censured. Sat, iv. I. 12.
(Quandoquidem similem tibi se non corpore tantum,
Hospite venturo, cessabit nemo tuorum :
d. q. Now, if, in after times, your son should be taken before the censor, for some crime cognizable and punishable by him.
52. Shew himself, &c.] (For he will exhibit a likeness to his father, not in person, or face only, but in his moral behaviour and conduct; therefore, if you set him a bad example, you must not wonder that he follows it, and appears his father's own son in mind as well as in body.)
53. Offend the worse, &c.] And it is most probable, that follow. ing your steps has rnade him do worse than he otherwise would.
54. You will, &c.] You will call him to a severe account. Ni. mirum here is to be understood like our English forsooth.
- And chastise, &c.] You will be very loud and bitter in your reproaches of his bad conduct, and even have thoughts of dis. inheriting him, by changing your last will. See sat. ii. 58, ta. bulas.
56. Whence, &c.] With what confidence can you assume the countenance and authority of a father, so as freely to use the li. berty of parental reproof? We may suppose sumas to be understood in this line.
57. When, &c.] When you, at an advanced age, do worse than the youth with whom you are so angry.
- This head, &c.] When that brainless head of yours may, for some time, have wanted the cupping-glass to , set it rightmi. e. when you have for a long time been acting as if you were mad.
58. Ventose cupping-glass.] Cucurbita signifies a gourd, which, when divided in half, and scooped hollow, might, perhaps, among the ancients, be used as a cupping instrument. In after times they inade their cupping instruments of brass, or horn, (as now they are inade of glass,) and applied them to the head to relieve pains there, but particularly to mad people. The epithet ventosa, which signifies windy, full of wind, alludes to the nature of their operation, which is performed by rarifying the air which is within them, by the application of fire, on which the blood is forced from the scarified skin into the cupping-glass, by the pressure of the outward air ; so
Since he, like to you not in body only, nor in countenance,
A guest being to come, none of your people will be idle. “ Sweep the pavement, shew the columns clean, “ Let the dry spider descend with all her web : “ Let one wipe the smooth silver, another the rough vessels :". The voice of the master, earnest, and holding a rod, blusters. Therefore, wretch, dost thou tremble, lest, foul with canine dung,
that the air may be called the chief agent in this operation-The operation of cupping on the head in phrensies is very ancient.
59. A guest, &0.7 When you expect a friend to make you a vi. sit, you set all hands to work, in order to prepare your house for his reception.
60. “ Sreep the pavement,” &c.] “ Sweep” (say you to your sere vants) “ the floors clean-wipe the dust from all the pillars."
The Roman floors were either laid with stone, or made of a sort of mortar, or stucco, composed of shells reduced to powder, and mixed in a due consistency with water; this, when dry, was very hard and smooth. · Hence, Britannicus observes, pavimentum was called ostraceum, or testaceum.---These floors are common in Italy to this day.
The Romans were very fond of pillars in their buildings, particu. larly in their rooms of state and entertainment. See sat. vii. 182, 3. The architraves, and other ornamental parts of pillars, are very apt to gather dust.
61. “ Dry spider," Sco] The spiders, which have been there se long as to be dead and dried up, sweep them, and all their cobwebs, dowil.
62. “ Smooth silver.”] The unwrought plate, which is polished and smooth.
--" The rough vessels.”] The wrought plate, which is rough and uneven, by reason of the embossed figures upon it, which stand out of its surface. See sat. i. 76.-So Æn. ix. 263.
Bina dabo argento perfecta atque aspera signis
Pocula 63. Holding a rod.] To keep them all to their work, on pain of being scourged.
- Blusters.] He is very loud and earnest in his directions to get things in order.
64. Therefore, &c.] Canst thou, wretch that thou art, be so so: licitous to prevent all displeasure to thy guest, by his seeing what may be offensive about thine house, either within or without, and,