Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

eek of onion in gardermals bearing coat,

10

And ancient Thebes lies overthrown with its hundred gates.
There sea-fish, here a fish of the river; there
Whole towns worship a dog, nobody Diana.
It is a sin to violate a leek or onion, or to break them with a bite.
O holy nations, for whom are born in gardens
These deities ! Every table abstains from animals bearing
Wool : it is there unlawful to kill the offspring of a she-goat,
But lawful to be fed with human fesh. When Ulysses
Was telling, at supper, such a deed to the astonish'd
Alcinous, perhaps, in some, he moved anger or

15 Laughter, as a lying babbler." Into the sea does nobody “ Throw this fellow, worthy of a cruel and true Charybdis, “ Feigning huge Læstrygonians, and Cyclops ? " For sooner Scylla, or the concurring rocks

in Ægypt. See Gen. xliii. 32; and xlvi. 34. See Ant. Un. Hist. vol. iii p. 333, b.

13. Human flesh.] Drop. lib. ii. c. 4. says, that in a time of famine in Ægypt, when the Ægyptians were sorely pressed with hunger, they spared their sacred animals, and ate the flesh of men.

13-14. When Ulysses was telling, &c.] Ulysses, arriving at the island of Phæacia, or Corcyra (now Corfu), was entertained by Al. cinous the king, to whom he related his travels. · 15--16. Anger or laughter.] He recited súch monstrous incredia bilities, that no doubt he excited the spleen of some of the company, and the laughter of others.

16. Lying Babbler ] Aretalogus (from getn and nogos) signifies a talkative philosopher, who diverted great men at their tables by discourses on virtue. From hence this word has been frequently used for a talkative person, a jester, a buffoon.

Into the sea, &c.] The poet supposes one of the company, who heard the strange tales of Ulysses, when at the court of Alci. nous, expressing himself as in an amaze, that nobody should take him and throw him into the sea for his strange lies. Abicit--i. e. abjicit. • 17. Worthy of a true Charybdis.) He has told such a romance about a feigned whirlpool, which he calls Charybdis, in the Straits of Sicily, that he certainly deserves a real one for his pains.

18. Feigning huge Lestrygonians.] A rude and savage people near Formiæ, in Italy; they were like giants, and devoured men..See Odyss. %.

- Cyclops.] These were represented as man-eaters. See O. dyss. ó. Also Virg. Æn. iii. 616, et seq.

19. Sooner Scylla, &c.] I can sooner believe his tales about Scylla, (the daughter of Phorcys, the father of the Gorgons,) who is said to be changed into a dangerous rock in the midway between Italy and Sicily. See Virg. ecl. v. 74–7. . . Concurring rocks, &c.]. Called Cyanex, otherwise Symple. gadæ, two rocks at a small distance from the Thracian Bosphorus,

Cyanes, plenos et tempestatibus utres
Crediderim, aut tenui percussum verbere Circes,
Et cum remigibus grunnisse Elpenora porcis.
Tam vacui capitis populum Phæaca putavit ?
Sic aliquis merito nondum ebrius, et minimum qui
De Corcyræâ temetum duxerat urnâ: .
Solus enim hoc Ithacus nullo sub teste canebat.
Nos miranda quidem, sed nuper consule Junio
Gesta, super calidæ referemus monia Copti;
Nos vulgi scelus, et cunctis graviora cothurnis:
Nam scelus, a Pyrrhâ quanquam omnia syrmata volvas,

30

80 close to one another, that they seem at a distance to be one ; and as one passeth by, he would think they dash against each other; they were therefore called Symplegadæ, from Gr. our and window, to strike together.

20. “ Bags full of tempests.") When Ulysses arrived at the island of Æolus, that king of the winds enclosed the adverse ones in leathern bags, and hung them up in Ulysses's ship, leaving at liberty the west wind, which was favourable. But the companions of Ulysses untied the bags, being curious to know what they contained, and let out the adverse winds ; immediately a tempest is raised, which drives the ship back to the Æolian isles, to the great displeasure of Æolus, who rejects Ulysses and his companions. They then sail to the Læs. trygons, where they lose eleven ships, and, with one only remaining, proceed to the island of Circe. See Odyss. x. ad init.

21. Wand of Circe."] She was said to be the daughter of Soland Perseis ; she was a sorceress. She poisoned her husband, the king of the Scythians, that she might reign alone ; for which, being exe pelled her kingdom, she went into Italy, and dwelt in a promontory called the Cape of Circe, whither Ulysses and his companions were driven (see the last note ad fin.) many of whom, by a touch of her magic wand, she turned into swine ; at last, on entreaty, she restored them to their former shapes. 22. “Elpenor.”] Ore of Ulysses' companions.

"Swine-rowers.”] The crew of the ship, who rowed her, were turned into swine, and grunted like that animal. In those days the ships were rowed with cars, as well as driven by sails.

23. “ Has he thought," &c.] Has this Ulysses so mean on opinion of the Phæacians, as to imagine them so empty-headed, so void of understanding, that they should receive such a pack of incredible-stories, of bags, of tempests, &c. &c. ? But even these are more probable, and sooner to be believed, than what he relates of the Læstrygons and Cyclops, as-if they were man-eaters ; this shocks all belief.

24. Thus deservedly, &c.] The above reflections would be very juist, and proper for any one to make, unless he had drunk away his senses, and was incapable of distinguishing truth from falsehood.

25. Strong wine ] Temet win, a word signifying strong wine,

20

“Of Cyane, and bags full of tempests “ Would I have believed, or, struck by the slender wand of Circe, “ Elpenor with his swine-rowers to have grunted. “ Has he thought the Phæacian people are so empty-headed ?". Thus deservedly any one, not as yet drunk, and who a very little Strong wine from a Corcyræan urn had-drawn:

25 For Ulysses related this without any witness. We will relate wonderful things, and 'lately done (Junius being Consul) upon the walls of warm Coptus ; We the wickedness of the vulgar, and more grievous than all buskins : For wickedness, tho' you should turn over all the tragedies 30

from Gr. to peetu, vinum ; whence pequerw, to be drunk. So from temetum comes temulentus, drunken. See HorEpist. lib. ii. epist. ii. l. 163.

25. Corcyraan urn.] Corcyra, an island in the Ionian sea, on the coast of Albania, anciently called Phæacia. So that the poet means the wine of that country, made by the Phæacians, who were famous for luxury. The urn signifies the vessel (or hogshead, as we call it) out of which they drew the wine, in order to drink it.

26. Ulysses related this, &c.] He told these stories entirely on his own credit, having no witness present to avouch the truth of what he said, therefore he might reasonably be disbelieved.

Related.] Canebat.-The word cano, when it signifies to relate or report, particularly applies to things uttered by poets, who do not always stick to truth, but indulge their fancies in strange improbabilities : it is therefore here, well applied to Ulysses, when telling such stories to Alcijous.

Why Ulysses was called Ithacus, see sat, X. 257, note 2.

27. We will relate, &c.] I shall now relate something very asto. nishing, not merely on my own authority, but which can be attested, as lately and publicly transacted.

27-8. Junius being consul.] Some consule Vinco, others Junco ; but no such name of a consul appears as Vincus, or Juncus. Ju. nius Sabinus was consul with Domitian, an. U. C. 836, N. C. 84. The poet dates the time of his facts for the greater certainty. 28. Upon the walls. &c.] i. e. At Coptus—in the city.

Warm Corius.] A metropolitan city of Ægypt near the Nile, over which the sun at noon is vertical; therefore Juvenal calls it warm or hot. He names the place, as well as the time, where the things happened which he is going to relate.

29. The vulgur.] I am not going to tell facts which relate to myself, or to any single individual, but what was committed by a whole people.

- Than all buskins.] More grievous than is to be found in any tragedy. Cothurnus, the buskin worn by the actors of tragedy, is often, as here, used to denote tragedy itself, by meton. See sat. vi. 633–5, note. 30. For wickedness, &c.] is e. Though you should turn over all

: CC

VOL. II.

Nullus apud Tragicos populus facit. Accipe nostro
Dira quod exemplum feritas produxerit ævo.

Inter finitimos vetus atque antiqua simultas,
Immortale odium, et nunquam sanabile vulnus
Ardet adhuc Ombos et Tentyra. Summus utrinque
Inde furor vulgo, quod numina vicinorum
Odit uterque locus ; cum solos credat habendos
Esse Deos, quos ipse colit : sed tempore festo
Alterius populi rapienda occasio cunctis
Visa inimicorum primoribus ac ducibus ; ne
Lætum hilaremque diem, ne magnæ gaudia cænæ
Sentirent, positis ad templa et compita mensis,
Pervigilique toro, quem nocte ac luce jacentem
Septimus interdum Sol invenit. Horrida sane
Ægyptus : sed luxuriâ, quantum ipse notavi,

the tragedies which have been written since the days of Deucalion and Pyrrha, when mankind were restored after the flood, you will find no poet representing a piece of barbarity, as the act of a whole people at once, as in the instance I am going to relate.

30. All the tragedies.] Syrmata were long garments used by actors in tragedy. Here, by metonym. (like cothurnis in the preceding line,) put for tragedies.

31-2. Hear what an example.] Now attend, and I will tell you my story, in which you will find an example which was the effect of the most savage barbarity, perpetrated in our days, not merely by an individual, but by a whole nation together.

33. Ancient grudge, &c.] Here the poet begins his narrative of the quarrels between the Ombites and the Tentyrites, two people of Ægypt, who were neighbours, and who hated one another mortally, on account of their difference in religion.

35. On both sides.] They were, on each side, equally inveterate in their malice to each other. The word Tentyra, in this line, is in the accusative plur. and so afterwards, 1. 76.

36. The vulgar.] This rage of one people against the other spread itself, not only among the chiefs, (l. 39.) but among the com· mon people on both sides.

-- Because the deities, &c.] The Ombites abominated the ob. jects of the Tentyrites, worship, and those of the Ombites were equally detested by the Tentyrites neither allowing that there were any gods worthy of worship but their own.

Their quarrel was on the score of religion, which is always the most implacable of all others.

The Ombites worshipped the crocodile, which the Tentyrites de. stroyed ; these worshipped the hawk.. · 38. In a festival time.] The custom of feasting seven days for

the happy dverflowing of the Nile was annually ubserved by the · Ombites. .

39. All the chiefs, c.] The chiess of the other people, that is, From Pyrrha, no whole people commits among the tragedians. Hear What an example dire cruelty has produced in our time.

There burns as yet an old and ancient grudge, An immortal hatred, and a wound not to be healed, Between the bordering Ombos and Tentyra. Thence, on both sides, 35 The highest fury in the vulgar, because the deities of their neighbours Each place hates, since it can believe them only to be accounted Gods, which itself worships : but, in a festival time, There seem'd, to all the chiefs and leaders of the other people, An opportunity to be seized, lest

40 A glad and cheerful day, lest the joys of a great feast They should be sensible of, the tables being placed at the temples and

streets, And the wakeful bed, which, lying night and day, Sometimes the seventh sun found. Rude indeed is Ægypt, but in luxury, as far as I have remarked, - 45

of the Tentyrites, thought this a fine opportunity, which should not be lost, to spoil their sport at their festival.

40-1. Lest a glad, &c.] They determined to prevent their fes. tive mirth, and to embitter the joy of their feasts. 42. The tables being placed, &c.] In the crocodile's temple.

And streets.] Compita--places where several ways met, in which the country people came together to their wakes, and to per. form their sacrifices, when they had made an end of their husbandry, -The Ombites are here said to do the same at their festival in the city of Coptus.

43. The wakeful bed.] The ancients, as has been before observed, lay on beds, or couches, at their meals. The poet calls it the wakeful bed, from the length of time the beds were occupied by the feasting guests, who sat up night and day for many days together, as the next line informs us.

44. Sometimes the seventh sun found.] The Ægyptians held the number seven sacred, and more especially believed, that during their festival of seven days the crocodiles lost their natural cruelty.

Hence the poet means, that the sun, at his rising, found them lying on the festal couches for seven days together.

45. But in luxury, &c.] q.d. The people of Ægypt are rude and uncultivated ; but in the article of luxury, the rabble, barbarous as they are, equal the Canopians themselves, at least in that part of the country where I have been. See sat. i. 1. 26, note on Canopus.

As far as I have remarked.] It is to be observed, that Juvenal, having inserted into his writings some sharp lines against Paris a player, a favourite of Domitian, was banished into Ægypt, under a pretence of sending him with a military command; so that, during his abode there, he had a full opportunity to observe the manners of the people, and to make his remarks upon them.

« PredošláPokračovať »