Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Jus habet ille sui, palpo quem ducit hiantem
Cretata Ambitio ? Vigila, et cicer ingere large
Risanti populo, nostra ut Floralia possint
Aprici meminisse senes ! quid pulchrius ?- At cum
Herodis venêre dies, uncâtque fenestra
Dispositæ, pinguem nebulam vomuêre lucernæ.

180

low : or it may be used in the sense of unapt, unfit, impropers. c. to convey true liberty on the slave, whom he struck with the rod, in that part of the ceremony which fell to his share.

175. “ Shakes.''] Jactomis to shake or move; to move to and fro, as in the action of striking often ; also to brag or boast.

176 Right of himself.] The poet now instances, in the vice of ambition, another chain which binds the enslaved mind, and which hinders that freedom for which our Stoic is contending

Can he call himself his own master-meus, l. 88; or say that he is sui juris~-. e. that he can dispose of himself as he pleases, as have ing a sovereign propriety in his person.

- “Whom gaping.”] Hiantem--gaping after, coveting great. ly, like a creature gaping for food.

- “ With its lure.") Palpum -i, lit. a gentle, soft stroking with the hand; hence obtrudere palpum alicui--to wheedle, flatter, or coax. Ainsw.

176—7. Chalked ambition.”] This expression alludes to the white garments worn by candidates for offices ; in these they went about to ask the people's votes, and from these white garments, which to make still whiter they rubbed over with chalk, they were called candidati.

177. Ambition "] Literally signifies a going about, from ambio : hence a suing or canvassing for favour-hence that desire of honour and promotion, which is called ambition.

Walch-"] Says Ambition ; always be upon the look out; lose no opportunity to make yourself popular.

Heap vetches largely." Those who aspired to public of. fices, endeavoured to gain the tes of the people by donations and largesses. These kinds of public bribes consisted in pease, beans, lupines or vetches, given away among the people. The Romans ran to such extravagance on these occasions, that several of the richest entirely ruined themselves. J. Cæsar employed in such largesses near a million and an half more than his estate was worth.

In cicere atque faba bona tu perdasque lupinis, Latus tu in circo spatiére, aut æncus ut stes- Hor. lib. ïi. sat. iii. 1. 181,3, 178, “ Quarrelling people."] Quarrelling about their shares in the largesses and donations ; or, as we see at our elections, about the interests of the several candidates, whom they severally espoused

-" Our feasts,&c.] That the feasts which he gave, marked by our great liberality, may never be forgotten, to the latest vid age of those who attended them.

---" Feasts of Flora.] Flora was a noted courtezan in Ronie,

" ed

“ Has he the right of himself, whom gaping, with its lure, chalk. de Ambition leads ? Watch : and heap vetches largely on the “Quarrelling people, that our feasts of Flora sunny old men • May remember : what more glorious ? but when “ The days of Herod have come, and in the greasy window 180 “ The candles disposed, have vomited a fat cloud,

e come fous ? burra sunni on the

who having gotten a large sum of money by prostitution, made the Roman people her heir : but they, being ashamed of her profession, made her the goddess of Howers.

In honour of her, feasts were held, and games exhibited, which were provided by the ædile, who, on this occasion, was very liberal in his donations to the people, in hopes of gaining their votes for an higher place in the magistracy. The Floralia were held on the 28th of April,

178. “ Sunny old men.”] Aprici senes-old men who loved to bask in the sun, the warmth of which was very acceptable to their cold habit of body, which old age brought on ; their delight was to bask on a sunny bank, and talk over old times. Comp. Juv. sat. xi. t. 203.

In the well-known, beautiful ballad of Darby and Joan, the poet has made use of this idea, as one description of the amusement of old age

Together they totter about,

Or sit in the sun at the door-&c. 179. What more glorious ?”] Than thus to reccommend our. selves to the people, gain their favour, and leave a lasting memory of our munificence ? Iron.

180. The days of Herod," &c.] Another chain in which the human mind is holden, is superstition; to this, all but the wise are slaves. He instances this in those Romans who had addicted them. selves to many of the Jewish rites and superstitions, for such their whole religion appeared to the heathen. See Juv. sat. xiv. I. 96 106. We find, by Matt. xiv. 6. and Mark vi. 21. that the king's birth-day was an high festival, observed at Herod's court; and, by this passage of Persius, it appears to have been celebrated by the Jews at Rome also, particularly by the Herodians, who constituted a society in honour of Herod, after the manner of the Sodalitia at Rome. See BROUGHTON, Bibliotheca--tit. Herodians.

Greasy window.") They stuck up candles, or lamps, in their windows, in token of a rejoicing-day--they lighted them early in the day (comp. Juv. sat. xii. 92.) and by their flaring and gutter. ing they made the frames of the windows on which they stood all over grease.

181. “ Fat cloud."] . e. of smoke.--An exact description of the smoke of a candle, or lamp, which is impregnated with particles of the fat, or grease, from which it ascends ; as may be seen on ceilings, or other places, on which this smoke has alighted, and

Portantes violas ; rubrumque amplexa catinum,
Cauda natat thynni, tumet alba fidelia vino ;
Labra moves tacitus, recutitaque sabbata palles :
Tunc nigri lemures, ovoque pericula rupto :
Hinc grandes Galli, et cum sistro lusca sacerdos,

185

which when they are attempted to be cleaned, are found to be soiled with a mixture of soot and grease.

Vomuère is a word well adapted to express the discharge of the thick and filthy smoke from the wicks. So Virg. Æn. v. 682.

Stupa vomens tardum fumum.

The tow disgorging tardy, languid smoke. 182. “ Bearing violets.''] They adorned their lamps with wreaths of violets, and other flowers, on these occasions.

Embraced a red dish."] Hypallage, for the dish embracing the tail of the fish. Thynnus, a large coarse fish ; the poet mentions only the tail of it, which was the worst part--this he does, probably, by way of derision of the Jews festal-dinner. The dish, of red earthen-ware. 183. “ Swims--"] In sauce.

"White pitcher."] An earthen vessel, a white crock of earth.

"Swells."] Is filled up to the brim-or tumet may imply, that the wine was bad, and in a fermenting state, frothing up above the brim.--Every circumstance of the entertainment seems to be mentioned with a thorough air of contempt, and to denote the poverty of the Jews.

184. “ Silent you move your lips.] You join in the solemnity, you attend at their proseuchæ, and, like them, mutter prayers in. wardly, only moving your lips. See sat. ii. 1. 6.

And fear." Palles is used by our poet elsewhere to de note hard study, which occasions paleness. See sat. i. l. 124 ; and sat. iii. 85. Here it is used to denote that superstitious fear, which occasions, from yielding to it, a pale and wan appearance in the countenance,

- “Circumcised sabbaths.] Recutita sabbata. Hypall. for sabbata recutitorum-the sabbaths of the circumcised. Palles sab. bata, here, is equivalent to metuentem sabbata. Juv. sat. xiv. I. 96. -g. d. By degrees you will enter into all the Jewish superstition.

The word sabbata, in the plural, may here denote, not only the sabbath-days, but all the Jewish holidays, which were days of rest from labour : among others, the festival which they had instituted in honour of Herod's birth day.

185. Then black hobgoblins.] The mind enslaved by super. stition, falls from one degree of it into another.

Lemures--ghosts, spirits that walk by night, hobgoblins. Ainsw.

Nocturnos. lemures." Hor. ep. ii. lib. ii. 1. 209. They are only supposed to appear by night--hence called black.

ma " Dungers from a broken egg,”] The ancients had a super.

“ Bearing violets; and, having embraced a red dish, . - The tail of a tunny.lish swims, the white pitcher swells with wine ; “ Silent you move your lips, and fear circumcised sabbaths : “ Then black hobgoblins, and dangers from a broken egg: 185 “ Hence huge priests of Cybele, and a one-eyed priestess with a sis

“ trum,

stition about egg-shells: they thought, that if an egg-shell were cracked, or had an hole bored through at the bottom of it, they were subject to the power of sorcery.

This is contrary to the superstition of those, who, in the days when witches were believed in, always broke the bottom of an eggshell, and crossed it, after having eaten the egg, lest some witch should make use of it in bewitching them, or sailing over the sea in it, if it were whole. See Dryden's note.

For an instance of national superstition, as ridiculous as any that can be imagined, I would refer the reader to the solemn public statute of 1 Jac. I. c. 12. against witchcraft-now repealed by 9 Geo. II. c. 5.

186.“ Hence."'? i.e. From this superstitious principle in the minds of men, they are led from one degree of credulity to another : of this advantage has been taken by the priests of Cybele, and of Isia, to fill them with groundless terrors.

" Huge priests of Cybele.] See these described at large, Juv. sat. vi. 510-20. They were called Galli, from Gallus, a ri. ver of Phrygia, the drinking of which made people furious. Sa Ovid, Fast. iv.

Inter, ait, viridem Cybelen altasque Celenas,

Amnis it insanâ nomine Gallus aquả.

Qui bibit inde furit, &c. Persius calls them grandes--Juvenal says, ingens semiver, &c. They were usually of great stature, owing, as has been said, to their castration, which increased their bulk. Their strange, mad gestures, and their extraordinary appearance, as well as their loud and wild vociferation, had great effect upon weak and superstitious minds. See Juv. sat. vi. 521---5.

---- " One-eyed priestess with a sistrum.] T'he superstition of the Ægyptian' goddess Isis had been transferred to Rome, where she had a temple. She was represented with a sistrum, a sort of brazen or iron timbrel, with loose rings on the edges, in her hand. Es: spov, from ossos, to shake-its noise proceeding from its being shaken vio. lently, and struck with the hand, or with an iron rod.

The priestess of Isis, when celebrating the wild rites of Isis, carried a sistrum in her hand, in imitation of the goddess, and had great influence over the minds of the superstitious. See Juv. sat. vi. 525 30.

The poet calls her one-eyed perhaps this was her situation, and that she pretended to have lost an eye by a blow from the sistrum of Isis ; for it seems that this was the way which the goddess took to avenge herself on those who offended her.

Incussêre deos inflantes corpora, si non
Prædictum, ter mane, caput gustaveris allî.

Dixeris hæc inter varicosos centuriones,
Continuo crassum ridet Pulfenius ingens,
Et centum Græcos curto centusse licebit.

190

Decernat quodcunque volet de corpore nostro
Isis, et irato feriat mea lumina sistro.

Juv. sat, ziii. l. 92, 3. See the note there, on l. 95. 187. Have inculcated,&C. These vile impostors, when oncethe mind is enslaved so far by superstition as to receive their imposi. tions, will inculcate their absurd and wild notions as so many truths they will persuade you, that the gods which they serve will send dropsies, and other swellings of the body, unless you use some amu. let or charm to prevent it; such as eating a head, or clove, of gar. lick, for three mornings successively.

188. “ Appointed."] . e. Ordered-prescribed as a preservative.

189. If you say these things,&c.] If you were to discourse, as I have done, in the hearing of one of our rough centurions (comp. bat, iï. I. 77.), in order to prove the slavery of all men to vice and folly, except the wise, he would set up a loud horse-laugh at you.

Veiny.] Varicosus, having large veing-perhaps from the robustness of his make.

« PredošláPokračovať »