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“I go headlong,” (than if any one should say to himself,) and with
in Unhappy, should turn pale at what his nearest wife must be ignorant
of? I remember, that I, a little boy, often besmear'd my eyes with oil, If I was unwilling to learn the great words of dying
45 Cato, much to be praised by my insane master ; Which my father would hear sweating, with the friends he brought : With reason ; for it was the height of my wish to know what The lucky sice would bring, how much the mischievous ace. Wouid scrape off—not to be deceived by the neck of the narrow jar-
50 Nor that any one should whirl more skilfully the top with a scourge.
vehemence with which he did it, he did not act like one that was quite in his right senses.
47. Sweating--] i. e. With the eagerness and agitation of his mind, that I might acquit myself well before him and the friends which he might bring to hear me declaim. See above, note on l. 46, No. 1.
48. With reason, &C.] Jure-not without cause..-9.d. My father might well sweat with anxiety, for instead of studying how to acquit myself with credit on these occasions, it was the height of my ambition to know the chances of the dice, play at chuck, and whip a top better than any other boy.
49. Lucky sice, &c.] Dexter, lucky, fortunate--from dexter, the right hand, which was supposed the lucky side, as sinister, the left, was accounted unlucky. The sice--the six--the highest number on the dice, which won.
Mischievous ace, &c.] The ace was the unluckiest throw on the dice, and lost all. See Ainsw. Canicula, No. 5.
It was the summit of his wish to be able to calculate the chances of the dice; as, what he should win by throwing a six, and what he should lose if he threw an ace. How much a sice, ferret, might bring, i. e. add, contribute to his winnings--how much the ace, raderet, might scrape off, i. e, diminish, or take away from them. Metaph. from diminishing a thing, or lessening its bulk by scrap. ing it.
50. Neck of the narrow jar.] Orca signifies a jar, or like earthen vessel, which had a long narrow neck: the boys used to fix the bot-' tom in the ground, and try to chuck, from a little distance, nuts, or almonds, into the mouth; those which they chucked in were their own, and those which missed the mouth, and fell on the ground, they lost.
I made it my study, says he, to understand the game of the orca, and to chuck so dextrously as not to miss the mouth, however warrow the neck might be, - 51. The top.] Buxus-lit. the box-tree, box-wood As the
Haud tibi inexpertum, curvos deprendere mores ;
children's tops were made of this, therefore, per meton. it is used to denote a top, as well as any thing else made of box-wood. Çonsistently with his plan, he was determined to excel, even in whipping a top.
52. Unexperienced, &c.] The philosopher makes use of what he has been saying, by way of remonstrance with his pupil.You, says he, are not a child as I was then, therefore it does not become you to invent excuses to avoid your studies, in order to follow childish amusements—you know better, you have been taught the precepts of wisdom and moral philosophy, and know by experience the dif. ference between right and wrong
Crooked morals.] Morals which deviate from the strait rule of right. Metaph. from things that are bent, bowed, crooked, and out of a strait line.
53. Wise portico.] Meton. the place where wisdom is taught, put for the teachers. The Stoics were so called, from sou, a portico, in Athens, spacious, and finely embellished, where they used to meet and dispute.
Daub'd over, &c.] On the walls of the portico were painted the battles of the Medes and Persians with the Athenians, who, with their kings Xerxes and Darius, were defeated by Miltiades, Leoni. das, and Themistocles, Athenian generals, at Marathon, Thermopylä, and on the coast of Salamis.
Trouser'd Medes.] The bracca was a peculiar dress of the Medes, which, like trousers, reached from the loins to the ancles. See Juv. sat. ii. 1. 169, note.
54. Which.].i. e. The things taught by the Stoica.
- Sleepless youth.] The young men who follow the strict discipline of the Stoics, and allow themselves but little sleep, watching over their studies night and day.
Shorn.] After the manner of the Stoics, who did not suffer their hair to grow long. See Juv. sat, ii. I. 14, 15.
55. Bean-pod's.] Siliqua is the husk, pod, or shell of a bean, pea, or the like ; also the pulse therein : put here to denote the most simple and frugal diet. Juv. sat. xi. 1. 58.
- A great pudding:] Polenta-barley-four, dried at the fire 'and fried, after soaking in water all night. Ainsw. This made a sort of fried pudding, or cake, and was a kind of coarse fuud.
It is not a thing unexperienced to you, to discover crooked morals And the things which the wise portico, daub'd over with the trouser'd
55 And to thee, the letter, which hath sever'd the Samian branches, Hath shewn the path rising with the right-hand limit. Do you still snore? and does your lax head, with loosen'd joining, Yawn from what happen'd yesterday, with cheeks unsew'd in all parts? Is there any thing whither you tend? and to what do you direct your bow ?
60 Or do you follow crows up and down with a potsherd and mud,
56. And to thee, the letter, &c.] The two horns, or branches, as Persius calls them, of the letter y, were chosen, by Pythagoras, to demonstrate the two different paths of virtue and vice, the right branch leading to the former, the left to the latter; it was therefore called his letter; and Persius calls the two branches, into which the y divides itself, Samios, from Samos, an island in the Ionian sea. where Pythagoras was born, who hence was called the Samian philosopher, and the x the Samian letter.
57. Shewn the path rising, &c.] i, e, He had been well instructed in the doctrine of Pythagoras, concerning the way to virtue.
Litera Pythagoræ discrimine secta bicorni,
MART. 58. Do you still snore ?] Thou, who hast been taught better things, from the principles and practices of the Stoics and Pythago. reans, art thou sleeping till almost noon? See l. 4.
---- Pour lax. head, &c.] In sleep, the muscles which raise the head, and keep it upright, are all relaxed, so that the head will nod, and dron, as if it had nothing to confine it in its place : this is often seen in people who sleep as they sit. · 59. Tawn, &c.] From the sleepiness, and fatigue, occasioned by yesterday's debauch are you yawning as if your jaws were ripped ásunder Dissutism-metaph. from the parting, or gaping, of things sewed together, when unstitched, or ripped asunder. Mala signities either the cheek, or the jaw-bone.
Oscitat hesternum. Græcism.-q.d. Yawn forth yesterday's de. bauch.
Oscitando evaporat, et edormit hesternam crapulam. Mart. 60. Is there any thing, &c.] Have you any pursuit, end, or point in view ?
- Direct your bow.] What do you aim at? Metaph. taken from an archer's aiming at a mark.
61. Follow crows, &c.] Or do you ramble about, you know, not why, nor whither, like idle boys, that follow crows to pelt tben with potsherds and mud, in order to take them ?-(as we should
Securus quo pes ferat, atque ex tempore vivis ?
Helleborum frustra, cum jam cutis ægra tumebit,'
say, to lay salt upon their tails.) A proverbial expression to denote vain, unprofitable, and foolish pursuits.
62. Live from the time. Ex tempore-without any fixed or premeditated plan, and looking no farther than just the present moment.
63. In vain hellebore, &c.] The herb hellebore was accounted a great cleanser of noxious humours, therefore administered in dropsies.
When the skin is swoln with a dropsy, it is too late to begin with remedies, in very many cases.
64. Prevent, &c.] The wisest way is to prevent the disorder by avoiding the causes of it, or by checking its first approaches. Oc-: currite-meet it in its way to attack you.
Principiis obsta: sero medicina paratur,
OVID. 65. What need is there, &c.] What need have you to let the distemper get such an head, as that you may be offering mountains of gold for a cure. Craterus was the physician of Augustus-put here for any famous and skilful practitioner.
The poet, here, is speaking figuratively, and means that what he says of the distempers of the body should be applied to those of the mind; of which all he says is equally true.
The first approaches of vice are to be watched against, and their progress prevented ; otherwise, if disregarded till advanced into habits, they may be too obstinate for cure. Comp. 1. 32-4.
66. Learn, &c.] Here the philosopher applies what he has been saying, by way of reproof and remonstrance, in a way of inference
Learn then, says he, ye miserable youths, who are giving way to sloth, idleness, and neglect of your studies--learn, before it be too late, the causes, the final causes of things, which are the great ob. jects of moral philosophy, which teacheth us the causes and purposes for which all things were made.
67. What we are.] Both as to body and soul ; how frail and transitory as to the one, how noble and exalted as to the other.
- What we are engender'd, &c.] To what end and purpose we are begotten, in order to live in this world, and what life we are to lead.
67–8. What order is given.] In what rank or degree of life we are placed.
Careless whither your foot may carry you; and do you live from the
time ? In vain hellebore, when now the sickly skin shall swell, You may see people asking for. Prevent the coming disease ; And what need is there to promise great mountains to Craterus ? 65 Learn, O miserable creatures, and know the causes of things, What we are, and what we are engender'd to live : what order Is given, and by what way the turning of the goal, and of the water,
may be easy : What measure to money-what it is right to wish-what rough Money has that is useful. To our country, and to dear relations, 70 How much it may become to give; whom the Deity commanded
68. By what way the turning, &c.] Metaph. to denote the wise, well-ordered, and well-directed management, and right conduct of our affairs ; as charioteers in the circus used all their care and management in turning the meta, or goal, so as to avoid touching it too nearly. To touch it with the inward wheel of the chariot, yet so as but to touch it, was the choice art of the charioteer : this they called strin. gere metam ;' as to escape the danger in the performance of it they called evitare metám.
- Metaque fervidis . Evitata rotis
Hor. ode i. If they performed not this very dextrously, they were in danger of having the chariot and themselves dashed to pieces.
And of the water.] Another metaphor to the same purpose, alluding to the naumachia, or ship.races, wherein there were likewise placed metæ ; and the chief art was, when they came to the meta, to tack their ship so dextrously, as to sail as near as possible round it, yet so as to avoid running against it. See Æn. v. 129–31.
It was one part of moral philosophy, to teach the attainment of the best end, by the safest, easiest, and best means, avoiding all difficulties and dangers as much as possible.
69. What measure to money:] What limits or bounds to put to our desires after it, so as to avoid covetousness.
What it is right to wish.] Or pray for. See sat. ii. per tot. 69–70. Rough money, &c.] The true use of money, for this alone can make it useful. Asper nummus is coined gold or silver : 80 called from the roughness which is raised on the surface by the figures or letters stamped on it.
Not only money, but all wrought or chased silver or gold, is sig. nified by the epithet asper. Vasa aspera.
Juv, sat, xiv. I. 62. ... Cymbiaque argento perfecta atque aspera signis Æn. v. 1. 267.
70. Our country, &c.] What we owe, and, consequently, what it becomes us to pay, to our country, our relations, and friends, &c.
71. Whom the deity commanded, &c.] Quem--what manner of person it is the will of heaven you should be in your station.