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Before the day, to boast your tail to the fawning rabble Leave off, more fit to drink up the pure Anticyræ? "What is your sum of good ?"_“To have always lived with a de.
« licious “ Dish, and the skin taken care of in the continual sun."
15. The fawning rabble.] Blando--flattering, fawning, easily captivated with outward shew, and as easily prevailed on to make court to it. Popellus, dim. of populus--small, silly, or poor peo. ple--the rabble or mob. Ainsw.
16. Leave off.] Desinis.-9. d. Do you desist from engaging the admiration and flatteries of the people by your fine outward appeare ance, as though you aspired at governing them .
More fit.] Melior--i. c. aptior-i. e. when you are fitter to be drinking hellebore to purge out your madness of vice and folly.
- The pure Antycyra. Anticyra merace-whole isles of pure hellebore. Ainsw. Anticyræ were two islands in the Ægean sea, famous for producing large quantities of hellebore, much in repute for purging the head, not only in madness, but to clear it, and quicken the apprehension. Anticyra stands here for the hellebore which grew there. Meton. See sat. i. l. 51, note ; and Hor. lib. ii. sat. iii. I. 83.
All this is, in substance,' what Plato represents Socrates saying to Alcibiades; but Persius is to be understood as applying it to Nero, who, having taken the reins of government, without being qualified for the management of them, flattered, and paid court to the senate and people, in order to gain their favour ; when all he did, that appeared right, did not proceed from inward virtue and real knowledge, but from counterfeiting and dissembling both.-- Leave off this, says Persius, till being properly instructed and informed in the principles of real wisdom and virtue, you may be that really which now you only pretend-in the mean time, as you are at present, you are more fit to be put under a regimen of hellebore than for any thing else. As a proof of this, let me ask you
17. “ Your sum of good.”] Your summum bonum, or chief good. If you answer truly, you must own it to be
To have always lived," &c.] To fare sumptuously, and to live in all the delicacies of gluttony.-- This is what Persius supposes to be Nero's answer.
18. “ Skin taken care of,” &c.] They used to anoint their bodies, and then bask in the sun, to make their skin imbibe the oil, that it might be smooth and delicate. See Mart. Epigr. lib. x. epigr. xii. · Here Persius attacks the luxury and effeminacy of Nero, who had not yet thrown off the mask; but whatever vices and debaucheries he might practise privately, to the public he still continued to personate a character of some remaining virtues.
“Continual sun,"] Hypallage--for continually in the sun. See Juv. sat. xi. 1. 203.
Expecta ; haud aliud respondeat hæc anus. I nunc,
19. “ Stay.", Stop a little there's an old woman crying her herbs
ask her what she thinks the chief good, and you'll hear from her as wise an answer as you have given me, says the poet, as in the person of Socrates to Alcibiades.
"Go now,"&c.] i e. Go now where you please, if such be your ideas of the chief good, and boast that you are nobly born, the son of the noble Dinomache, that great and illustrious woman but how will this fit you for government, while your ideas are so ignoble and base? Alcibiades was the son of a noble woman of that. name-Nero of Agrippina.
20. “ Puff up."] Suffla--" be proud of this puff yourself up “ with this conceit—but alas ! of what avail is this, when the first « wrinkled old woman you meet is as well informed, touching the chief and highest good of man, as you are."
21. “ Baucis.”] The name of an old woman. See Ov. Met. lib. viii. fab. viii. ix._here put for any of that character. Pannuceus signifies ragged, or clothed in rags; also wrinkled.
22. “ Cried herbs,” &c.] Ocimum is an herb called basil, but put here in the plural number for all sorts of herbs, which, as well as this, were cried and sold by old women about the streets of Rome.
Discinctus signifies, lit. ungirt, the clothes hanging loose--hence slovenly—and perhaps it may therefore be a proper epithet for one of the common slaves, who might be usually slovenly in their appearance; one of these hearing the woman cry her herbs, goes out into the street and buys some.
Some are for making cantaverit ocima a figurative expression for the old woman's quarrelling, and abusing thc slave; but I see no reason for departing from the above literal explication, which, to me, seems to contain a very natural description of an old herb.woman, crying her herbs in a sort of singing or chant, such as is heard every day in London, and one of the lower servants in the family hearing her, and going into the street to her to buy some.
The poet's meaning, here, is to mortify Nero's vanity, with regard to his person and appearance. “ You boast of your “ youth, birth, and fortune—of your beauty and elegance of ap“pearance”-all which may be understood by candidus
Candidus, et talos a vertice pulcher ad imos. Hor. epist. ii. lib. ii. l. 4. 9.d. “ I grant all that you can say on these subjects ; but how " little are all these, in comparison of the beauty and ornaments of
the mind, in which you don't exceed a poor old, ragged, and
“Stay: this old woman would hardly answer otherwise. Go now" I am of Dinomache:"2" puff up :"-"I am handsome be it
20 “Since ragged Baucis is not less wise than you, “When she has well cried herbs to a slovenly slave.” How nobody tries to descend into himself! nobody : But the wallet on the preceding back is looked at. You may be asked" Do you know the farms of Vectidius ?".
“ Whose ?! « Rich he ploughs at Cures as much as a kite can not fly over."
« wrinkled hag, that cries herbs about the street ! She is not worse “ off (deterius) than you, in point of wisdom and knowledge; nay “ she may be said to exceed you, since she is endowed with wisdom “ enough to fulfil, and will to perform, what her station of life re. « quires : she cries her herbs well, and knows how to recommend “ them to the best advantage to the buyers; but you are destitute “ of all those qualities which are requisite to perform the duties of “ that station, in which you are placed as the chief governor of a 66 great people."
23. Nobody tries, &c.] However profitable self knowledge may be, yet how backward are men to endeavour to search and know themselves !-in short nobody does this.
24. The wallet, &c.] Alluding to that fable of Æsop, which we find in Phædrus as follows :
Peras imposuit Jupiter nobis duas :
Hac re videre nostra mala non possumus,
Alii simul delinquunt, censores sumus. Hence, though we do not see our own faults, which are thrown ( as it were) behind our backs, yet those who follow us can see them, and will look at them sharply enough; thus we also look at the faults of those whom we follow.
Dixerit insanum qui me, totidem audiet, atque
Respicere ignoto discet pendentia tergo. Hor. lib. ii. cat. iii. 1. 298, 9. 25. You may be asked, &c.] 1. e. Suppose you are inquired of by somebody, and are asked, " Whether you know the farms on “ the estate of Vectidius?”
" Whose ?''] i. e. Whose say you?-as if not knowing whom he means to inquire about.
26. Rich he ploughs,'&c.] I mean, says he, that rich fellow, that has more arable land than a kite can skim over in a day. Oberro signifies to wander about in an irregular manner, and well de. scribes the flight of a kite, which does not proceed strait forward, but keeps wheeling about, in an irregular manner, in search of prey. This seems to be proverbial for a large and extensive landed estate. See Juv. sat. ix. I. 55. tot milvos intra tua pascua lassos. Cures was a city of the Sabines, or rather the country about it. VOL. II.
Hunc ais ? hunc, dîs iratis genioque sinistro,
At si unctus cesses, et figas in cute solem,
27. “ Him do you say?"] Do you mean that Vectidius, who has 80 much land at Cures ? say you
“ Him."] Hunc-novi understooda-q. d. O yes, I know him of whom you speak.
"Angry gods.”] It was a notion among the ancient heathen, that the gods were displeased and angry with those with whom they themselves were displeased, even at the time they were born, and that, therefore, through life they were under an adverse fate, See Juv. sat. i. l. 49, 50; and Juv. sat. x. 129.
Dîs ille adversis genitus, satoque sinistro.
" Of heaven and earth the scorn, “ Vith angry gods, and adverse genius born.” BREWSTER, Sinister, as has been already observed, (see Juv. xiv. 1, note,) meang unfortunate, unlucky, untoward ; also unfavourable. :)
28. “ Fixes a yoke,” &c.] This alludes to a festival time, when, after ploughing and sowing were over, the husbandmen hung up the yokes of their oxen on stakes, or posts, in some public highway, most frequented; therefore they chose the compita, or places where four ways met, where the country people came together to keep their wakes, and to perform their sacrifices to the Lares, or rural gods, hence called Compitalitii. This was a season of great festi. vity, (something like harvest-home among us,) when the farmers ate and drank with great jollity.
29. “ Fearing to scrape," &c.] The ancients, when they put wine into vessels, stopped up the mouth with clay or pitch daubed over it. When it was brought out for use, the mouth was unstopped, by scraping off the covering, that the wine might be poured out. Hor. lib. i. ode xx. I. 2, 3.
This poor niggardly wretch, even at a time of festivity, grudged. to open a vessel ; and, if he did it, seemed as if it threatened his ruin. O, says he, with a groan, may this end well! hoc bene sit--a sort of solemn deprecation, frequently used by the Romans on their under. taking something very weighty and important.
30--1. “A coated onion.”] Tunicatum--because an onion consists of several coats.
31. “ Mess of pottage."} Farratam signifies made of corn: ollam, a pot in which the pottage (which was made of corn, meal, or flour, with water and herbs) was boiled; here, by metonymy, put for its contents--- Co the pottage. Comp. Ju y. sat, xiv. 171, note,
«« Him do you say ?--him with angry gods, and an unlucky genius, " Who, whensoever he fixes a yoke at the beaten cross-ways, “ Fearing to scrape off the old clay of a vessel, « Groans”—“ May this be well!" * champing, with salt, a coated 30 « Onion, and the servants applauding a mess of pottage, * Sups up the mothery dregs of dying vinegar.”—
« But if anointed you can loiter, and fix the sun in your skin, 66 There is nigh you one unknown, who may touch with the elbow,
$$ and sharply
31. “ Servants applauding."] Even this mean fare, being more than they usually had on other days, therefore they rejoiced at the sight of it, and applauded their master's liberality. Comp. Juv. sat, xiv. I. 126,-34.
32. “Sups up the mothery dregs," &c.] Acetum-wine turned
HOR. sat. iii. lib. ii. 1. 116. 17. When wine ferments and turns sour, there is a scum or mouldi. ness on the top, which bears the appearance of white rags-hence mothery wine was called pannosus. Every word in this line has an emphasis, to describe the covetous miserable wretch who is the subject of it. Sorbet, he sups or drinks up, leaves none-wine turned sour, mothery, the dregs of it, dying, losing even the little spirit it had. So we speak of vapid, flat liquors, that have lost all their spie rit-we say they are dead, as dead small.beer, &c. All this he is supposed to do, even at a time of feasting, rather than afford himself good liquor. ..
33. “ You car loiler," &C.] Comp. 1. 18. If you indulge in lazi. ness, luxury and effeminacy.--The poet here cautions the relator of the faults of Vectidius, and lets him know that some other may make as free with his.
34. “One unknown."'? Don't think that your faults will be con.' cealed any more than you conceal the faults of other people. Some.' body or other, whom perhaps you little think of, and whom you. know not-
"May touch," &c.] May remind you of your vices by a gentle jog of the elbow, and say, “ Pray look at home."
34-5. “Sharply spit down," &c.] Acre, a Græcism ; for acriter, sharply, with acrimony.--Despuo, literally, is to spit down or upon; hence to spit out in abhorence, to express contempt, abhor. rence, detestation : « therefore don't Aatter yourself that you will so escape the censure of others, any more than Vectidius, or others, "escape yours-your manners are sueh, as to call for the utmast
abhorrence, and the sharpest censure.” Metaph. from those who spit, on smelling or tasting any that is filthy.
From this place to l. 42. the thoughts and expressions are by no means proper for literal translation. I have therefore paraphrased them, and shall only observe, that their tendency is indirectly to ·