Obrázky na stránke

O curvæ in terras animæ, et cælestium inanes !
Quid juvat hoc, templis nostros immittere mores,
Et bona diis ex hac scelerat â ducere pulpâ ?
Hæc sibi corrupto Casiam dissolvit olivo;
Et Calabrum coxit, vitiato murice, vellus. .
Hæc baccam conchæ rasisse ; et stringere venas
Ferventis massæ, crudo de pulvere, jussit.
Peccat et hæc, peccat : vitio tamen utitur. At vos
Dicite, pontifices, in sacris quid facit aurum?
Nempe hoc, quod Veneri donatæ a virgine pupa.

Quin damus id superis, de magnâ quod dare lance

[ocr errors]

and which were anciently of earthen-ware, are now changed into gold.. Comp. Juv. sat. vi. 1. 342, 3.

60. The Tuscan earthen-ware.] Aretium, a city of Tuscany, was famous for earthen.ware, from whence it was carried to Rome, and to other parts of Italy. This was now grown quite out of use. Comp. Juv. sat. xi. l. 109, 10; and Juv. sat. iii. l. 168.

The poet means to say, that people, now a days, had banished all the simple vessels of the ancient and primitive worship, and now, imagining the gods were as fond of gold as they were, thought to succeed in their petitions, by lavishing gold on their images. Comp. Is. xlvi. 6.

61. O souls bowed, &c.] This apostrophe, and what follows to the end, contain sentiments worthy the pen of a Christian. 62. What doth this avail.] What profiteth it..

- To place our manners, &c.] Immittere--to admit, or suffer to enter. Our manners--i. e. our ways of thinking, our principles of action--who, because we 89 highly value, and are so easily influenced by rich gifts, think the gods will be so too. See Ainsw. Immitto, No. 3 and 7.

63. And to esteem, &c.] To prescribe, infer, or reckon what is good in their sight, and acceptable to them.

- Out of this wicked pulp.] From the dictates of this corrupted and depraved flesh of ours. Flesh here, as often in S. S. means the Aeshly, carnal mind, influenced by, and under the dominion of, the bodily appetites --TWY opitmo Enoturwy. 1 Pet. ii. 11. 66 That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” John iïi. 6. .

Pulpa literally means the pulp, the fleshy part of any meat-a piece of flesh without bone. Ainsw.

67. This. ] This same flesh

--- Dissolves for itself Cassia, &c.] Cassia, a sweet shrub, bear. ing spice like cinnamon, here put for the spice; of this and other aromatics mingled with oil, which was hereby corrupted from its simplicity, they made perfumes, with which they anointed them.selves.

65. Hath boiled, &c.] To give the wool a purple dye, in order to make it into splendid and sumptuous garments. See Juv. sat. xin 38, 9.

[ocr errors]

O souls bowed to the earth-and void of heavenly things! -
What doth this avail, to place our manners in the temples,
And to esteem things good to the gods out of this wicked pulp?
This dissolves for itself Cassia in corrupted oil,
And hath boiled the Calabrian fleece in vitiated purple.

65 This has commanded to scrape the pearl of a shell, and to draw

the veins
Of the fervent mass from the crude dust.
This also sins, it sins : yet uses vice. But ye,
Oye priests, say what gold does in sacred things ?
Truly this, which dolls given by a virgin to Venus. .

70 But let us give that to the gods, which, to give from a great dish,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The best and finest wool came from Calabria. The murex was a shell-fish, of the blood of which the purple dye was made. The best were found about Tyre. See Virg. Æn. iv. 262. Hor. epod. xii. 21.–Vitiated-i. e. corrupted to the purposes of luxury.

66. To scrape, &c.] This same pulp, or carnal mind, first taught men to extract pearls from the shell of the pearl-oyster, in order to adorn themselves.

And to draw, &c.] Stringere to bring into a body or lump (Aisnw.) the veins of gold and silver, by melting down the crude ore. Ferventis massa—the mass of gold or silver ore heated to fu. sion in a furnace, and thus separating them from the dross and earthy particles.

The poet is shewing, that the same depraved and corrupt princi. ple, which leads men to imagine the gods to be like themselves, and to be pleased with gold and silver because men are, is the inventor and contriver of all manner of luxury and sensual gratifications.

68. This also sins, &c.] This evil corrupted flesh is the parent of all sin, both in principle and practice. Comp. Rom. vii, 18-24.

- Yet uses vice.] Makes some use of vice, by way of getting some emolument from it, some profit or pleasure.

69. O ye priests, &c.] But tell me, ye ministers of the gods, who may be presumed to know better than others, what pleasure, profit, or emolument, is there to the gods, from all the gold with which the temples are furnished and decorated ?

70. Truly this, &c.] The poet answers for them . Just as "much as there is to Venus, when girls offer dolls to her.” Pupa, a puppet, a baby, or doll, such as girls played with while little, and, being grown big, and going to be married, offered to Venus, hoping, by this, to obtain her favour, and to be made mothers of real chile dren. The boys offered their bullæ to their household gods. Juv. sat. xiii. 33, note.

71. But let us give, &c.] The poet now is about to shew with what sacrifices the gods will be pleased, and consequently what should be offered. .

A great dish.] The lans- lit. a deep dish-signified a large

Non possit magni Messalæ lippa propago :
Compositum jus, fasque animi ; sanctosque recessus
Mentis, et incoctum generoso pectus honesto.

Hæc cedo, ut admoveam templis, et farre litabo.


censer, appropriated to the rich; but sometimes they made use of the acerra (v. 5.), a small censer appropriated to the poor.

72 The blear-eyed race, &c.] Val. Corv. Messala took his name from Messana, a city of Sicily, which was besieged and taken by him; he was the head of the illustrious family of the Messala,

The poet here aims at a descendant of his, who degenerated from the family, and so devoted himself to gluttony, drunkenness, and luxury of all kinds, that, in his old age, his eyelids turned inside out.

Let us offer to the gods, says Persius, that which such as the Mes. salæ have not to offer, however large their censers may be, or how. ever great the quantities of the incense put within them.

73. What is just and right. Jus is properly that which is agree. able to the laws of man-fas, that which is agreeable to the divine laws.

Disposed.] Settled, fashioned, set in order or composed, fitted, set together, within the soul. It is very difficult to give the full idea of compositum in this place by any single word in our language,

The blear-eyed race of great Messala could not
What is just and right disposed within the soul, and the sacred re-

cesses Of the mind, and a breast imbrued with generous honesty-These give me, that I may bring to the temples, and I will sacrifice with meal.


73-4. The sacred recesses of the mind.] The inward thoughts and affections-what St. Paul calls ta ngurta ta av Igwaw. Rom. ii. 16. Prov. xxiii. 26.

74. A breast imbrued, &c.] Incoctum_metaph. taken from wool, which is boiled, and so thoroughly tinged with the dye. It signi. fies that which is infused; not barely dipped, as it were, so as to be lightly tinged, but thoroughly soaked, so as to imbibe the colour. See Virg. G. iii 307. i

75. That I may bring to the temples.] Let me be possessed of these, that I may with these approach the gods, and then a little cake of meal will be a sufficient offering. Comp. Virg. Æn. v. 1. 745; and Hor. lib. iii. ode xxiï l. 17, &c.

Lito not only signifies to sacrifice, but, by that sacrifice, to obtain what is sought for.

Tum Jupiter faciat ut semper
• Sacrificem, nec unquam litem.

Plaut. in Persian




Persius, in this Satire, in the person of a Stoic præceptor, upbraids

the young men with sloth, and with neglect of the study of philosophy. He shews the sad consequences which will attend them throughout life, if they do not apply themselves early to the knowledge of virtue.

EMPE hæc assidue ! Jam clarum mane fenestras
Intrat, et angustas extendit lumine rimas.
Stertimus, indomitum quod despumare Falernum
Sufficiat, quintâ dum linea tangitur umbrâ.

Line 1. What these things constantly ?"] The poet here intro. duces a philosopher, rousing the pupils under his care from their sloth, and chiding them for lying so late in bed. “What,” says he, “ is " this to be every day's practice ?:

" Already the clear morning,&c.] 9. d. You ought to be up and at your studies by break of day ; but here you are lounging in bed at full day-light, which is now shining in at the windows of your bed-room.

2. “ Extends with light," &c.] Makes them appear wider, say some. But Casaubon treats this as a foolish interpretation. He says, that this is an “ Hypallage. Not that the chinks are extended, or “ dilated, quod quidem inepte scribunt, but the light is extended, the 66 sun transmitting its rays through the chinks of the lattices."

Dr. Sheridan saysmithis image (angustas extendit lumine rimas) « very beautifully expresses the widening of a chink by the admission « of light.” But I do not understand how the light can be said to widen a chink, if we take the word widen in its usual sense, of making any thing wider than it was. Perhaps we may understand the verb extendit, here, as extending to view--i.e. making visible the in. terstices of the lattices, which, in the dark, are imperceptible to the sight, but when the morning enters, become apparent. It should seem, from this passage, that the fenestræ of the Romans were lattice windows.

But the best way is to abide by experience, which is in favour of the first explanation ; for when the bright sun shines through any chink or crack, there is a dazzling which makes the chink or crack appear wider than it really is. Of the first glass windows, see Jor. tin, Rem. vol. iv. p. 196.

« PredošláPokračovať »