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The title of this Satire, in some ancient manuscripts, was, “ The Reo
“ proach of Idleness ;” though in others it is inscribed--" Against the Luxury and Vices of the Rich :"-in both of which the poet pursues his intention, but principally in the former.
HAT-these things constantly? Already the clear morn
“ ing enters “ The windows, and extends with light the narrow chinks. “ We snore, what to digest untamed Falernan " Might suffice : the line is already touched with the fifth shadow.
3. “ We snore.") Stertimus-i. e. stertitis.- The poet represents the philosopher speaking in the first person, but it is to be understood in the second " We students,” says he, as if he included himself, but meaning, no doubt, those to whom he spake. Comp. sat. i. l. 13.
- To digest untamed,” &c.] Instead of rising to study, we (i. e. ye young men) are sleeping, as long as would suffice to get rid of the fumes of wine, and make a man sober, though he went to bed ever so drunk.
" To digest."'] Despumare-metaph. taken from new wine, or any other fermenting liquor, which rises in froth or scum : the tak. ing off this scum or froth was the way to make the liquor clear, and to quiet its working. Thus the Falernan, which was apt, when too much was drunk of it, to ferment in the stomach, was quieted and digested by sleep. The epithet indomitum refers to this fermenting quality of the wine.
Perhaps the master here alludes to the irregularities of these stu. dents, who, instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour and sober, sat up late drinking, and went to bed with their stomachs full of Falernan wine.
4. “ The line is already touched," &c.] Hypallage ; for quinta linea jam tangitur umbra, z. E. the fifth line, the line or stroke which marks the fifth hour, is touched with the shadow of the gnomon on the sun-dial.
The ancient Romans divided the natural day into twelve parts. Sun-rising was called the first hour; the third after sun-rising an.
En, quid agis ? siccas insana canicula messes
Unus ait comitum, • Verumne? Stane? Ocius adsit 6 Huc aliquis. Nemon?” Turgescit vitrea bilis: Finditur, Arcadiæ pecuaria rudere credas.
Jam liber, et bicolor positis membrana capillis,
swers to our nine o'clock; the sixth hour was noon ; 'the ninth answers to our three o'clock P. M. and the twelfth was the setting of the sun, which we call six o'clock P. M. The fifth hour, then, among the Romans, answers to our eleven o'clock A. M. 'T'he students slept till eleven-near half the day.
5. “ Lo! what do you?”] What are you at—why don't you get up ?
- " The mad dog-star."1 Canicula-- a constellation, which was supposed to arise in the midst of summer, when the sun entered Leo, with us the dog-days--This is reckoned the hottest time in the year; and the ancients had a notion, that the infuence of the dog-star occa. sioned many disorders among the human species, but especially mad-' ness in dogs.
Jam Procyon furit,
РОРЕ. 6. “ Long since is ripening.”] They supposed that the intense heat, at that time of the year, was occasioned by the dog-star, which rose with the sun, and forwarded the ripening of the corn. The poets followed this vulgar error, which sprang from the rising of the dog. star when the sun entered into Leo; but this star is not the cause of greater heat, which is, in truth, only the effect of the particular situation of the sun at that season. - "All the flock,” & C.]
Jam pastor umbras cum grege languido
Hor. ode xxix, lib. iii. l. 21-. Nunc etiam pecudes umbras et frigora captant. Virg. ecl. ii. 8. 7. Fellow.students.] This seems to be the meaning of comites in this place. .
' Quick," &c.] Let some of the servants come immediately, and bring my clothes, that I may get up.
8. “ Is there nobody, &c.] Does nobody hear me call ?
-- Vitreous bile swells.] He falls into a violent passion at nobody's answering.
Horace speaks of splendida bilis, clear bile--. e. furious-in op
Lo! what do you? the mad dog-star the dry harvests " Long since is ripening, and all the flock is under the spreading elm." Says one of the fellow-students—" Is it true? Is it so ? Quick let
« somebody • Come hither-Is there nobody ?"-vitreous hile swells. “ I am split ;"_" that you'd believe the cattle of Arcadia to bray." Now a book, and two-coloured parchment, the hairs being laid aside,
10 And there comes into his hand paper, and a knotty reed. Then he complains that a thick moisture hangs from the pen : That the black cuttle-fish vanishes with water infused :
position to the atra bilis, black bile, which produces melancholy. This is probably the meaning of vitrea, glassy, in this place.
9. “ I am split.] Says the youth, with calling so loud for some body to come to me
“ That you'd believe," &c.] You may well say you are ready to split, for you make such a noise, that one would think that all the asses in Arcadia were braying together, answers the philosopher, Eclipsis.--Arcadia, a midland country of Peloponnesus, very good for pasture, and famous for a large breed of asses. See Juv. sat. vii. 1. 160, note.
10. Now a book.] At last he gets out of bed, dresses himself, and takes up a book.
---Two-coloured parchment.] The students used to write their notes on parchment : the inside, on which they wrote, was white; the other side, being the outer side of the skin, on which the wool or hair grew, was of a yellow cast. See Juv. sat. vii. I. 23, note.
- The hairs, 5c.] The hairs, or wool, which grew on the skin, were scraped off, and the parchment smoothed, by rubbing it with a pumice-stone. "
11. Paper.] Charta signifies any matrial to write upon. The ancients made it of various things, as leaves, bark of trees, &c. and the Ægyptians of the flag of the river Nile, which was called papyrus- hence the word paper. Charta Pergamena, i. e. apud pergamum inventa (Plin. Ep. xxi. 12.), signifies the parchiment or vellum which they wrote upon, and which was sometimes indifferently called charta, or membrana. Comp. Hor, sat. x. lib. i. l. 4; and sat. iii. lib. ii. l. 2.
But chartæ here seems to mean paper of some sort, different from the membrana, l. 10.
The lazy student now takes pen, ink, and paper, in order to write.
---- A knotty reed.] A pen made of a reed, which was hollow, like a pipe, and grew full of knots, at intervals, on the stalk.
12. He complains, &c.] That his ink is so thick that it hangs to the nib of his pen. :
13. Cuttle fish, &c.] This fish discharges a black liquor, which the ancients used as ink.
Dilutas, queritur, geminet quod fistula guttas.
O miser, inque dies ultra miser! huccine rerum
13. Vanishes with water, &c.] He first complained that his ink was too thick: on pouring water into it, to make it thinner, he now complains that it is too thin, and the water has caused all the blackness to vanish away.
14. “ The pipe.] 1. c. The pen made of the reed.
---- Doubles the diluted drops.] Now the ink is so diluted, that it comes too fast from the pen, and blots his paper. All these are so many excuses for his unwillingness to write.
25.'" o wretch !” &c.] The philosopher, hearing his lazy pupil contrive so many trivial excuses for idleness, exclaims" wretch, “ O wretched young man, who art likely to be more wretched every « day you live !"
16. “ Are we come, &c.] Are all my hopes of you, as well as those of your parents, who put you under my care, come to this !
----" Why do you not rather.”] Than occasion all this expense and trouble about your education.
---The tender dove:] These birds were remarkably tender when young--the old ones feed them with the half-digested food of their own stomachs.
17. “ Children of nobles."] And of other great men, which are delicately nursed.
* Require to eat pap.”] Pappare is to eat pap as children. Minutus-a-um, signifies any thing lessened, or made smaller. Here it denotes meat put into a mother's, or nurse's mouth, there chewed small, and then given to the child as the dove to her young. Comp. the last note on 1. 16.
18. “ Angry at the nurse.”] The word mammæ here refers to the mother or nurse, which the children call mamma, as they called the father tata,
This well describes the fractiousness of an humoured and spoiled child, which, because it has not immediately what it wants, flies into a passion with its nurse when she attempts to sing it to sleep, and will not suffer her to do it. See Ainsw. Lallo.
The philosopher sharply reproves his idle pupil. Rather, says he, than come to school, you should have staid in the nursery, and have shewn your childish peryerseness there rather than here.
19. “ Can I study with such a pen?”] The youth still persists in his frivolous excuses, totally unimpressed by all that his diaster has He complains that the pipe doubles the diluted drops.
“O wretch! and every day more a wretch! to this pass 15 • Are we come ? but why do you not rather, like the tender dove, “And like the children of nobles, require to eat pap, “And angry at the nurse, refuse her to sing lullaby.”“Can I study with such a pe n?” “ Whom dost thou deceive?
" Why those “ Shifts do you repeat ? 'Tis you are beguiled: thoughtless you run "out.
20 “You'll be despised. A pot, the clay being green, not baked, an.
ssswers « Badly ; being struck, it sounds its fault. “ You are wet and soft clay ; now, now you are to be hasten d,
said. " Blame the pen, don't blame me--can any mortal write « with such a pen ?"
19. “ Whom dost thou deceive ?!'] I should suppose, that cui verba is here ecliptical, and that das, or existimas dare, is to be understood. Verba dare is to cheat or deceive ; and here the phi. losopher is representing his pupil, who is framing trivial excuses for his unwillingness to study, as a self-deceiver---tibi luditur, saith he, in the next line.
19–20, “Those shifts."] Ambages-.-shifts, prevaricating, shuf. Aing excuses.
20. Repeat."] Succinis.--The verb succino signifies to sing after another, to follow one another in singing or saying-here próperly used, as expressing the repetition of his foolish excuses, which followed one another, or which he might be said to repeat one after the other. .
- "'Tis you are beguiled.”] Luditur here is used imperso. nally ; as concurritur, Hor. sat i lib. i. l. 7.
M " Thoughtless you run out,"] Amens---foolish, silly, out of one's wits (from a priv. and mens) -30, Unthinking, without thought. You rụn out---effluis---metaph. from a bad vessel, out of which the liquor leaks. You, foolish and unthinking as you are, are wasting your time and opportunity of improvement, little thinking, that, like the liquor from a leaky vessel, they are insensibly pass. ing away from you – your very life is gliding away, and you heed it not. 21. “ You'll be despised.”] By all sober, thinking people.
“ A pot,” &c.] Any vessel, made of clay that is not well tempered--viridi limo, which is apt to chap.and crack in the fire.... non cocta, not baked as it ought to be...will answer badly, when sounded by the finger, and will proclaim, by its cracked and imper. fect sound, its defects.
Thus will it be with you, none will ever converse with you, or put you to the proof, but you will soon make them sensible of your Deficiency in wisdom and learning, and be the object of their con. tempt.
23. “ Wet and soft clay "] The poet still continues the metaphor.