« PredošláPokračovať »
Jussit ; et humanâ quâ parte locatus es in re-
Hic aliquis de gente hircosâ centurionum
72. In what part placed, &c.] Locatus. Metaph. from the plac ing people according to their rank on the benches at the theatres ; or from soldiers, who are placed in particular stations as centinels, &c. which they must not forsake, but by leave, or order, of the commander. Thus the stoics taught that every man was placed, or stationed, in some destined part of the human system (humana re), which he must not quit at his own will and pleasure, but solely by the permission or.command of the Deity. .
73. Learn.] Get a thorough, practical knowledge of the above. mentioned important particulars; and then you need not envy any body.
naran Ajar stinks, &c.] Nor envy any great lawyer the presents which are made him, of such quantities of provisions, that they grow stale and putrid before he can consume them. Penus-i, or -us, signifies a store of provisions. Ainsw.
74. Fat Umbrians.] The Umbrian and the Marsian were the most plentiful of all the provinces in Italy.
Being defended ] Ahly and strenuously, in some great cause, in which they were defendants—they sent presents of provi. sions to their counsel, and this in such quantities, that they could not use them while they were good.
75. And pepper, &c.) And that there is pepper, &c. in the law. yer's store.--The poet means to ridicule such vile presents, as after him Juvenal did. See Juv, sat vii. 119–21.
- Monuments, &c.] Monumentum, or monimentum (from mo. neo) a memorial of any person or thing. The poet calls these presents of the Marsians, monuments, or memorials of them, because they were the produce of their country, and bespake from whence they came as presents, to refresh their counsel's memory concerning his Marsian clients, who were, perhaps, plaintiffs in the cause against the Umbri.
76. Because the Pilchard, &c.] Because a second jar of pickled herrings, or pilchards, was sent, before the first that had been sent was all used.
What fish the mænà was is not certain, but something, we may suppose, of the herring; pilchard, or anchovy kind, which was pickled, and put up in jars.
The Stoics were no friends to the lawyers ; not that they condemned the profession itself, but because it induced men to sell their voices, in order to gratify their covetous desire of gain, which, by
Thee to be, and in what part thou art placed in the human systemLearn :-nor be envious, that many a jar stinks. In a rich store, the fat Umbrians being defended, · And pepper, and gammons of bacon, the monuments of a Marsian client,
' And because the pilchard has not yet failed from the first jar.
Here some one, of the stinking race of centurions, May say ; “What I know is enough for me. I don't care “ To be what Arcesilas was, and the wretched Solons, “ With the head awry, and fixing the eyes on the ground,
the way, could not be very considerable, if it consisted only in such fees as are above mentioned. - Comp. Juv. sat, vii. 106-21.
However, Persius makes his philosopher, in his discourse to his pupils, take an opportunity of ridiculing the lawyers, with no little co:tempt and severity, by telling the young men, that, if possessed of all the valuable principles of moral philosophy, they need not envy the fees of the lawyers, which, by the way, he represents in the most ridiculous and contemptible light. '
77. Here some one, &c.] The poet here represents the philosopler as anticipating some objections which might be made to his doctrines, on the subject of studying philosophy, which he does, by way of answering them; and thus he satirizes the neglect and contempt of philosophy by the Roman people, and shews the fallacy and absurdity of their arguments against it.
---- Stinking centurions.] Hircosus, from hircus, a goat, signi. fies stinking, rammish, smelling like a goat.
The centurions, and the lower part of the Roman soldiery, were very slovenly, seldom pulled off their clothes, and wore their beards, which they neglected, so that, by the nastiness of their persons, they smelt rank like goats.
Persius makes one of these the spokesman, by which he means, doubtless, to reflect on the opponents, as if none could be of their party but such a low, dirty, ignorant fellow as this.
78. “What I know,” &c.] The foundation of all contempt of knowledge is self-sufficiency.
I know enough to answer my purpose, says the centurion ; I don't want to be wiser.
79. “ Arcesilas."] An Æolian by birth, and scholar to Polemons afterward he came to Athens, and joined himself to Crantor, and became the founder of an academy. He opposed Zeno's opinions, and held, that nothing could be certainly known.
Persius, probably, who was a Stoic, means here to give him a rub, by supposing this ignorant centurion to mention him as a great man.
“Wretched Solons.”] Solon was one of the wise men of Greece, and the great lawgiver at Athens.
I would not give a farthing, says the centurion, to be such a phi. losopher as Arcesilas, or as wise as Solon, who was always making himself miserable with labour and study, or indeed as any such people as Solon was--(Solones.) 80. “ Head awry;"] An action which the philosophers much used,
6: Murmura cum secum, et rabiosa silentia rodunt,
Inspice; nescio quid trepidat mihi pectus, et ægris
as having the appearance of modesty and subjection. See Horo sat. v. lib. ii. 1. 92.
80. “ Fixing the eyes on the ground."] As in deep thought..
Figentes lumine terram. Hypallage-for sigentes lumina in terram.
81. “ Murmurs with themselves.''] Persons in deep meditation: are apt sometimes to be muttering to themselves.
"Mad silence," &c.] They observed a silence, which, being attended with reclining the head, fixing their eyes on the ground, and only now and then interrupted by a muttering between the teeth, as if they were gnawing or eating their words, made those who saw them take them for madmen, for they appeared like melan
choly mad. Perhaps rabiosa silentia may allude to the notion of · mad-dogs, who are supposed never to bark.
82. Words are weighed,” &c.] Trutinantur—metaph. from weighing in scales : 80 these philosophers appear to be balancing, ii e. deeply considering, their words, with the lip pouted out; an action frequently seen in deep thought.
83. “ Meditating the dreams," &c.] Sick men's dreams are pro verbial for thoughts which are rambling and incoherent; as such the centurion represents the thoughts and researches of these philoso-phers : of this he gives an instance
83—4. “ Nothing can be produced," &c.] 9. d. Ex nihilo nil fit.This was looked on as an axiom among many of the ancient philosophers, and so taken for granted, that the centurion is here supposed to deride those, who took the pains to get at it by study, as much as we should do a man who should labour hard to find out that two and two make four.
But we are taught, that God made the world out of matter, which had no existence till he created it, contrary to the blind and atheistical notion of the eternity of the world, or of the world's being God, as the Stoics and others taught.
85. “ Is this what you study?] Palles- lit. art pale. See note on sat. 1. I. 124.
“Should not dine.”] Is it for this that you philosophers. half-starve yourselves with fasting, that your heads may be clear.
Mente uti recte non possumus multo cibo et potione completi. Cic. Tusc. Quæst. 5. Quis for aliquis lit. some one.
86. The people laugh at this.] At these words the people, who
“ When murmurs with themselves, and mad silence they are gnawing, w And words are weighed with a stretch'd-out lip, * Meditating the dreams of an old sick man—that nothing can • Be produced from nothing, nothing can be return'd into nothing. * Is this what you study? Is it this why one should not dine?” 85
The people laugh at this, and much the brawny youth Redoubles the tremulous loud laugh with wrinkling nose.
“ Inspect : I know not why my breast trembles, and from my sick < Jaws heavy breath abounds : inspect, I pray you"
are the supposed hearers of this centurion, burst into a horselaugh.
86. The brawny youth, &c. The stout, brawny young fellows, the soldiers who stood around, were highly delighted with the centus rion's jokes upon the philosophers, and with repeated loud laughter proclaimed their highest approbation.
87. Tremulous loud laughs.] Cachinnus signifies a loud laugh, particularly in derision or scorn-tremulous denotes the trembling or shaking of the voice in laughter, as ha! ha! ha!
- Wrinkling nose.] In laughter the nose is drawn up in wrinkles. See sat. i. 1. 41, note,
88. “ Inspect,” &c.] The philosopher having ended the supposed speech of the centurion against the study of philosophy, now relates a story, by way of answer ; in order to shew, that a man who rejects and ridicules the principles of philosophy, which are to heal the disorders of the mind, acts as fatal a part, as he who, with a fatal distemper in his body, should reject and ridicule the advice of a phy. sician, even act against it, and thus at last destroy himself. The qui, 1. 90, is a relative without an antecedent, but may be supplied thus
Let us suppose a man, who finding himself ill, says to a physician, « Pray, doctor, feel my pulse, observe my case, examine what is the • matter with me."-Inspice. .
"I know not why," &c.] I don't know how or what it is, but I find an unusual fluttering of my heart. Sol
89. “ Heavy breath abounds."] I feel an heaviness and oppression of breath, a difficulty of breathing : which seems here meant, as quickness of pulse and difficulty of breathing are usual symptoms of feverish complaints, especially of the inflammatory kind; also a fe. tid smell of the breath, which gravis also denotes.
"Inspect, I pray you.'j Feeling himself ill, and not know. ing how it may end, he is very earnest for the physician's advice, and again urges his request,
So it would be with regard to philosophy ; if men felt, as they ought, the disorders of their mind, and dreaded the consequences, they would not despise philosophy, which is the great healer of the distempered mind, but apply to it as earnestly as this sick man to the physician,
Qui dicit medico ; jussus requiescere, postquam
Turgidus hic epulis, atque albo ventre lavatur ;
90. Order'd 10 rest.] Being ordered by the physician to go to bed, and keep himself quiet.
90_1. After a third night.] The patient, after about three days observance of the doctor's prescription, finds his fever gone, the symptoms vanished, and his pulse quite composed and calm. As soon as he finds this, he forgets his physician, and his danger, and falls to eating and drinking again as usual,
92. Greater house.] He sends to some rich friend, or neighbour, for some Surrentine wine ; which was a small wine, not apt to affect the head, as Pliny observes . Surrentina vina caput non tenent.
PLIN, xxiii. c. 1. therefore, drunk' in a small quantity, might not have been hurtful; especially as this kind of wine was very old, and therefore very soft and mild, before it was drunk.
A ftagon moderately thirsting.] Persons who thirst but lit. tle, drink but little : this idea seems to be used here, metaphorically, to denote a flagon that did not require much to fill it-.e. a mode. rate sized fagon, but yet holding enough to hurt a man recovering from sickness, if drunk all at one meal, and particularly before bathing, as seems to be the case here.
93. About to bathe.] Intending to bathe, which, after much eating and drinking, was reckoned very unwholesome. Comp. Juv. sat. i. 1. 142_4
94. “ Ho! good man,”' &c.] Away, after an hearty meal, with his belly-full of wine and victuals (1.98) he goes to the baths, where his physician, happening to meet lijm, accosts him with a friendly concern, and mentions to him some symptoms, which appeared as if he had a dropsy.
" You are pale."] Says the physician; you look ill.
-“It is noihing."] 0, says the spark, I am very well—no. thing ails me.
" Have an eye,” &c.] Says the physician--be it what it may that may occasion such a paleness, I'd have you take care of it in time.
95. “ Yellow skin," &c.] Lutea pellis—the skin of a yellow cast. like the yellow-jaundice, which often precedes a dropsy.