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“ Have inculcated gods inflating bodies, if you have not “ Tasted, three times in the morning, an appointed head of garlick.
" If you say these things among the veiny centurions, “ Immediately huge Pulfenius rudely laughs,
190 “And cheapens an hundred Greeks at a clipped centussis.”
190. “ Huge Pulfenius."] The name of some remarkably tall and lusty soldier of that day-put here for any such sort of person.
" Rudely laughs.”] Crassum ridet, for crasse ridet. Græ. cism.
191. " And cheapens.”] Liceor -eri, dep. to cheapen a thing, to · bid money for it, to offer the price.
- Greeks."] i. e. Philosophers, most of which first came from Greece.
--"A clinped centussis."] Centussis, a rate of Roman money, amounting to about six shillings and three-pence of our money.
Clinped.''] Curtailed, battered--short of its nominal va. lue, like bad money among us.
9.d. If Pulfenius, the centurion, were to hear what I have said on the subject of liberty, he would not only langh at it, but, if he were asked what he would give for an hundred philosophers, he would not offer a good six and three-penny piece for them all.com However, though you may be of the same mind, Dama, yet what I have said is not the less true, nor are philosophers the less valuable in the eyes of all the wise and good.
ARGUMENT. Persius addresses this epistolary Satire to his friend Cæsius Bassus, a
lyric poet. They both seem, as was usual with the studious among the Romans, in the beginning of winter, to have retired from Rome to their respective country houses; Persius to his, at the port of Lu
na, in Liguria ; Bassus to his, in the territories of the Sabines. The Poet first inquires after his friend's manner of life and studies ,
AD CÆSIUM BASSUM. ADMOVIT jam bruma foco te, Basse, Sabino? Jamne lyra, et tetrico vivunt tibi pectine chorda ? Mire opifex, numeris veterum primordia rerum, Atque marem strepitum fidis intendisse Latinæ ;
Line I. Sabine fire-hearth.] The ancient Sabines were a people between the Umbrians and Latins, but, after the rape of the Sabine women, incorporated into one people with the Latins, by agreement between Tatius and Romulus. This part of Italy still retained its name ; and here Bassus had a country-house, to which he retired at the beginning of winter, for the more quiet and convenient opportu. nity of study. This was not far from Rome.
Fire-hearth.] So focus literally signifies, quod foveat ignem Ainsw. but it is sometimes used for the whole house, by synec. and, perhaps, is so to be understood here. Sometimes by meton. for the fire.
2. Does now the lyre.] The lyre was a stringed instrument, which gave a soft and gentle sound when touched with fingers ; but when struck with a quill, which, when so used, was called peeten, gave a louder and harsher sound.
The language here is figurative the lyre stands for lyric, or the softer and gentler kind of poetry ; and the strings, or chords, being struck tetrico pectine, with the rough or harsh quill, denote the sharper and severer style of verse. The poet enquires whether Bassus, in his retirement, was writing lyric verses, and whether he was also employing himself in graver or severer kinds of composition.
Live to thec.] When an instrument lies by, and is not played on, it may be said to be dead, and when taken up and played on, the strings may be said to be alive, from their motion and sound.
3. Admirable artist !] Opifex- lit. a workman:- it also means an inventor, deviser, and framer.
ARGUMENT, then informs him of his own, and where he now is. He describes himself in his retirement, as quite undisquieted with regard to care or passions ; and, with respect to his expenses, neither profuse nor parsimonious. He then treats on the true use of riches ; and shews the folly of those who live sordidly themselves, for the sake of leaving their riches to others.
TO CÆSIUS BASSUS. H AS winter already moved thee, Bassus, to thy Sabine fire-hearth? Does now the lyre, and do the strings, live to thee with a rough quill ? Admirable artist ! in numbers the beginnings of things To have displayed, and the manly sound of the Latin lute;
3. In numbers.] . c. In verses—in metre.
The beginnings.] Primordia—the first beginnings--the his. tory of the earliest beginnings of things. So Ovid, Met. lib. i. 1. 3, 4.
Primâque ab origine mundi Ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen. Some understand the poet to mean, that Bassus had written a trea. tise in verse, concerning the original beginning or rise of old and antiquated words, reading, after many copies, veterum primordia vo. cum- and that Bassus was not only a good poet, but a learned an. tiquary. But rerum affords the easiest and most natural sense Malim igitur cum Casaubono et aliis quidbusdam, Otoyovlav et pubisokræv intelligere. See Delph. note,
4. Displayed.] Intendisse - lit. to have stretched. The sound is given from instruments by the tension of the strings.
- Manly sound of the Latin lute.] i. e. To have written Latin lyric verses, in a noble manly strain.
Among the Greeks they reckon nine famous lyric poets : but two among the Romans ; viz. Horace and Cæsius Bassus.
Horace calls himself—Romanæ fidicen lyræ. Ode iii. lib. iv 1. 23.
To be reckoned this was his great ambition, as appears, ode i, lib. i. ad fin, where he says to Mecenas :
Quod si me lyricis vatibus inseres,
Mox juvenes agitare jocos ; et, pollice honesto,
Hic ego securus vulgi, et quid præparet auster
5. Then to agitate young jokes.] Then, in light and lively strains, to describe the amours and frolicks of young men.
Honest thumb.] Meton. with truth and faithfulness, repre. senting the actions and worthy deeds of older men, who have distin, guished themselves in a more advanced time of life.
6. Ligurian.] i. e. Being now removed from Rome into Liguria. -Ligus ora, for Ligustica ora,
6-7. Coast grows warm.] Either from its situation near moun. tains, which kept off the cold blasts of wind, or from the circum. stance next mentioned, the agitation of the sea, which causes a warmth in the water.
Tully, Nat. Deor. lib. ii, says-- Seas agitated by the winds “ grow so warm, as easily to make us understand, that in those a large bodies of water there is heat included; for that heat which © wé perceive, is not to be accounted merely external and adventi. • tious, but excited by the agitation which is in the innermost parts “ of the water; this also happens to our bodies, when by motion “ they grow warm.”
7. My sea is rough.] That is, the sea near Volaterra, á city of Tuscany, where Persius was born, and near which he now was.
Large side, &c.] The rocks running out far into the sea, present an extensive side to the water, by which the waģes are stopped and a quiet bay formed.
8. The shore draws itself in, &c.] The shore retires, and forms a large circular valley between the mountains ; which is another. reason of the warmth of my situation ; my house, which is situated in that valley, being sheltered from the wintry storms.
3. “ Port of Luna."] So called from the shape of the bay in which it was situate, which, from the circular form of the shore, was like an half.moon--Lunai, per diæresim, for Lunæ.
" It is worth while," &c.] This line is from Ennius, who began his annals of the Roman people with . i Est operae pretium, o cives, cognoscere portum
Lunæ. 10. The heart of Ennius, &c.] He was an ancient poet, born at Rudiæ, a town of Calabria : he wrote annals of the Roman people ; also satires, comedies, and tragedies ; but nothing of his is come to us entire. He died 169 years before Christ.
Then to agitate young jokes, and with an honest thumb
The rocks give, and the shore draws itself in with much valley. .“ The port of Luna it is worth while to know; O citizens :” The heart of Ennius commands this, after he ceas'd dreaming that he was
10 Mæonides, the fifth from the Pythagorean peacock.
Here [am] I, careless of the vulgar, and what the south, Unfortunate to the cattle, may prepare : and unconcerned because
that corner Is more fruitful than mine that's next to it; and if_all,
Cor means, literally, the hearts and, by meton. the mind, wisdom, judgment. Perhaps the poet means to say, that Ennius, when in his right mind and sober senses; recommended the port of Luna to his countrymen, after he came out of his vagaries after mentioned.
10. Dreaming, &c.] See Prologue to sat. i. l. 2, and note, Mæonides was a name given to Homer, on account of his supposed birth at Smyrna, in the country of Mæonia, i. e. Lydia.
11. Fifth from the Pythagorean peacock.] Some are for supposing Quintus, here, to be understood as a prænomen of Ennius : but it should rather seem, as if Persius were here laughing at the extravagant idea of the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration, which Ennius for a while had received, and who is said to have dreamt, that the soul of a peacock hảd transmigrated, first into Euphorbus, then into Ho. mer, then into Pythagoras, and then into Ennius ; so that he stood fifth from the peacock. See DRÝD. Trans. and note on this place.
This is an evident banter on thé Pythagorean notion of the met. empsychosis. • 12. Here am I, &c.] In this comfortable retreat of the port of Luna, I trouble not my head about what people say of me.
--- What the south, &c.] The south wind, when it blew with any long continuance, was reckoned very unwholesome, particularly to cattle. , So Virg. Geor. i. 1. 444.
Arboribusque, satisque, Notus, pecorique sinister. The poet seems to say, that he was without care or anxiety in his retreat. The modern Italians call this wind Sirocco, or Scilocco, which blows from the south-east, 13. That corner, &c.] Horace, sàt. vi. lib. ii. 1. 8, 9.
O si angulus ille
Proximus accedat, qui nunc denormat agellum. . Persius took his angulus ille from this passage of Horace.
14. And if all, &c.] If ever so many of my inferiors, however