Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Painted in a cærulean table. « But your funeral supper your heir “ Will neglect, angry that you have diminished your substance: To

" the urn “ He will give my unperfumed bones: whether cinnamons may breathe

"insipidly, " Or Casias offend with cherry-gum, prepared to be ignorant. “ Safe can you diminish your goods ?"-But Bestius urges The Grecian teachers : “ So it is, after to the city, “ With pepper and dates, came this our wisdom void of manliness,

35

37. “ Safe diminish,&c.] Therefore can you, while alive and well, having no sickness or loss of your own-all which are meant by incolumis--subtract from your estate, and thus disoblige your heir? |--Some suppose these to be the words of the heir, remonstrating against the old man's spending his money, and so diminishing the pa. trimony which he was to leave behind him: but I rather suppose the poet to be continuing the prolepsis which begins 1. 33; and it is a natural question, which may be imagined to arise out of what the miser has been supposed to offer against being kind and generous to a distressed friend.--The poet before supposes him to urge his fear of disobliging his heir, if he diminished his estate--Then continues Per. siųs, tune bona incolumis minuas ?-9. d. Can you then, on pain and peril of having your heir neglect your funeral, and shew the utmost contempt to your remains, think (while alive and wellincolumishaving no sickness, or loss of your own) of subtracting from your estate for the sake of other people?a-this you will urge as an unan, swerable objection to what I propose you should do for the sake of an unfortunate friend-by this you plainly shew, that you are more con. cerned for what may happen to you after you are dead, than for your friends while you are alive.

--- But Bestius, &c.] The name of some covetouis fellow, a le, gacy-hunter, who is represented very angry that philosophers have taught generosity, by which the sums which they expect may be lessened during the testator's life, and that from Greece has also been derived the custom of expensive funerals, which affect the estate after the testator's death.

37--8. Urgeș the Grecian teachers.] i. e. Rails, inveighs against the philosophers, who brought philosophy first from Greece, and taught a liberal bestowing of our goods on the necessities of others..

39..“ Pepper and dates," &c.] Pepper, dates, and philosophy, were all imported together from Asia. This is said in the same strain of contempt as Juvenal's

Advectus Romam, quo pruna et coctona vento. Sat. iii. l. 85

" This our wisdom.''] Nostrum sapere, Gr. for nostra sapientia--like vivere triste, for tristis vita, sat. i. 1. 9.

zVoid of manliness.”] A poor effeminate thing, void of · that noble plainness and hardiness of our ancestors, who never

thought of leading so lazy and indolent a life as the philosophers,

40.

• Fænisecæ crasso vitiarunt unguine pultes.'

Hæc cinere ulterior metuas ? At tu, meus hæres Quisquis eris, paulum a turbâ seductior, audi:

O bone, num ignoras ? missa est a Cæsare laurus, Insignem ob cladem Germanæ pubis; et aris Frigidus excutitur cinis : ac jam postibus arma,

or of laying out extravagant sums in spices, and burning aromatics on funeral piles, or putting costy spices into urns.

The poet uses marem strepitum for a strong manly sound, 1. 4. of this Satire. This, among other senses given of this difficult phrase

maris expers--seems mostly adopted by commentators. But as Persius evidently applies the words—maris expers-from Hor. lib. ii. sat. viii 1. 15, it may perhaps be supposed that he meant they should be understood in a like sense.

Fundanius is giving Horace an account of a great entertainment which he had been at, and, among other particulars, mentions the wines :

Procedit fuscus Hydaspcs
Cæcuba vina ferens; Alcon, Chium maris expers.

" Black Hydaspes stalks
“ With right Cæcubian, and the wine of Greece .

“ Of foreign growth which never cross'd the seas." FaANCIS. To this Mr. Francis subjoins the following note: .

• Chium maris expers.”] “ It was customary to mix sea-water “ with the strong wines of Greece ; but Fundanius, when he says that “ the wine which Alcon carried had not a drop of water in it, would « have us understand, that this wine had never crossed the seas, and " that it was an Italian wine, which Nasidienus (the master of the « feast) recommended for Chian.” LAMB.

This seems to be a good interpretation of Horace's maris expers, and, therefore, as analagous thereto, we may understand it, in this passage of Persius, in a like sense to denote that the philosophy, which Bestius calls nostrum hoc sapere, “this same wisdom of ours," and which came from Greece originally, is now no longer to be look. ed upon as foreign, but as the growth of Italy, seeing that that, and the luxurious manners which came from the same quarter, have taken place of the ancient simplicity and frugality of our forefathers.is And so it comes to pass (ita fit, l. 38.) that we are to give away our

substance to others, and that a vast expense iegto attend our funerals, 66 and that even a common rustic can't eat his pudding without a rich 6 sauce."--But see Casaubon in loc.,

40. The mowers,&c.] The common rustics have been corrupt. ed with Grecian luxury, and now

The ploughmen truly could no longer eat,

Without rich oils to spoil their wholesome meat. Bestius is very right in saying, that the philosophy which the Stoics taught at Rome came from Greece ; but he would not have railed at the philosophers, if they had not taught principles entirely opposite to his selfishness and avarice ; nor would he have found

“ The mowers have vitiated their puddings with thick oil.” 40 “ Do you fear these things beyond your ashes !--But thou, my

heir, “ Whoever thou shalt be, a little more retired from the crowd, hear.

« good man, are you ignorant ? A laurel is sent from Cæsar “On account of the famous slaughter of the German youth, and

from the altars • The cold ashes are shaken off ; and now, to the posts, arms, 45

fault with the introduction of what made funerals expensive, had he not carried his thoughts of parsimony beyond the grave, and dreaded the expense he must be put to in burying those whom he expected to be heir to ; and even the luxury which had been im. ported from Greece would not have troubled him, but as it cost money to gratify it.

40. Their puddings.] Puls -tisma kind of meat which the ancients used, made of meal, water, honey, or cheese and eggs ; a sort of hasty-pudding--here put for any rustic, homely fare. The word vitiarunt well intimates the meaning of the selfish Bestius, which was to express his enmity to every thing that looked like expense,

41. 6 Beyond your ashes."] Beyond the grave, as we say-Do. you, miserable wretch, concern yourself about what your heir says of you, or in what manner your funeral is conducted ?

But thou, my heir," &c.] Persius here, coincident with the subject he is now entering upon, represents, in a supposed conversation in private with the person who might be his heir, the right a man has to spend his fortune as he pleases, without standing in awe of those who come after him: and first, to be liberal and mu. nificent on all public occasions of rejoicing ; next, to live handsomely and comfortably, and not starve himself that his successor may live in luxury.

42. Retired from the crowd.”] Secretam garrit in aurem. sat. v. l. 96.--Step aside a little, if you please, that I may deal the more freely with you, and listen to me.

43. “O good man.''] q. d. Hark ye, my good friend, and heir that is to be

Are you ignorant ??"] Have not you heard the news ? --A laurel is sent," &c.] Caius Caligula affected to triumph over the Germans, whom he never conquered, as he did over the Britons ; and sent letters to Rome, wrapt about with laurels, to the senate, and to the empress Cæsonia his wife.

45. The cold ashes,"] The ashes which were to be swept off the altars, were either those that were left there after the last sacri. fice for victory, or might, perhaps, mean the ashes which were left on the altars since some former defeat of the Romans by the Germans ; after which overthrow the altars had been neglected. Dryden:

" And now.”] i. e. On the receipt of this good news.

*Jam chlamydas regum, jam lutea gausapa captis,
Essedaque ingentesque locat Cæsonia Rhenos.
Diis igitur, genioque ducis, centum paria, ob res
Egregie gestas, induco. Quis vetat ? aude.
Væ, nisi connives-Oleum artocreasque popello ,
Largior : an prohibes ? dic clare. Non adeo, inquis,

50

45. To the posts, arms.") Persius here enumerates the pre· parations for a triumph ; such as fixing to the doors or columns of

the temple the arms taken from the enemy. Thus VIRG. Æn. vii. 183--6.

Multaque præterea sacris in postibus arma,
Captivi pendent currus, curvæque secures,
Et cristæ capitum, et portarum ingentia claustra,

Spiculaque, clypeique, ereptaque rostra carinis,
And Hor. lib. iv. ode xv. 1. 6-8,

Et signa postes restituit Jovi,
Derepta Parthorum superbis

Postibus. 46. “ Garments of kings."] Chlamys signifies an habit worn by kings and other commanders in war.

- Ipse agmine Pallas In medio, chlamyde, et pictis conspectus in armis Æn, viii. I. 587,8.

Sorry mantles on the captives.”] When captives were to be led in triumph, they put on them clothing of the coarsest sort, made of a dark frize, in token of their abject state.

47. And chariots." Essedum is a Gallic word—a sort of chaise or chariot used by the Gauls and Britons ; also by the Germans.

Belgica vel molli melius feret-esseda collo. Virg. G. iii. I. 204. The Belgą were originally Germans, but, passing the Rhine, settled themselves in Gaul, of which they occupied what is now called the Netherlands.

- Huge Germans.”] Rhenos, so called because they inha, bited the banks of the Rhine ; they were men of great stature.

---“Cesonia.] Wife to Caius Caligula, who afterwards, in the reign of Claudius, was proposed to be married to him, after he had executed the empress Messalina for adultery, but he would not have her. See her character-Ant. Univ. Hist. vol. xiv. p. 297.

She was a most lewd and abandoned woman. See Juv. sat. vi, 1. 613--16. 48. To the gods, therefore."] By way of thanksgiving.

The genius of the general."] Of the emperor Caligulasee sat. ii. 1. 3, note-who protected and prospered him.

---" An kundred pair..] i. e. Of gladiators. These were be, yond the purse of any private man to give; therefore this must be looked upon as a threatening to his heir, that he would do as he pleased with his estate.

On public occasions of triumph, all manner of costly shows and gaines were exhibited, in honour of the gods, to whose auspices the

• Now the garments of kings, now sorry mantles on the captives, “ And chariots, and huge Germans, Cæsonia places. “ To the gods, therefore, and to the genius of the general, an hun

« dred pair, « On account of things eminently achieved, I produce : Who for.

6 bids ? -Dare “ Woe! unless you connive Oil and pasties to the people 50 “I bestow : do you hinder!--speak plainly." " Your field hard by,

victory was supposed to be owing; also in honour of the conqueror ; therefore Persius addsm-ob res egregie gestas. .

49. I produce,"] Induco signifies to introduce to bring into bring forth or produce. Ainsw.

" Who forbids ??"] Who puts a negative on my intention?

-" Dare-] Will you, who are to be my heir, contradict this? do if you dare.

50.Woe! unless you connive."] Conniveo is to wink with the eyes. Met.--to wink at a matter, to take no notice, to make as if he did not see it.

Woe be to you, says Persius, if you offer to take notice, or to object to what I purpose doing on this occasion.

r Oil and pasties to the people."] Moreover I intend to bestow a dole upon the common people-popello (see sat. iv. 15.)-in order to enable them to celebrate the victory.- Oil was a favourite sauce for their victuals. , See l. 40, and note.

Artocrea (from agros, bread, and rgsces, flesh) a pie, or pasty of flesh. Ainsw. - 51. “ Do you hinder ?"] Says he to his supposed heir ; do you find fault with this bounty of mine, would you prevent it?

"Speak plainly."] Cóme, speak out. -- "ïour field hard by," &c.] Perhaps you will say, that my estate near Rome, though its vicinity to the city makes it the more valuable, yet is not fertile enough to afford all this.

Exossatus-cleared of the stones, called the bones of the earth, Ov. Met. i. 193. to which Persius perhaps alludes. Here it is supposed to mean cleared of the stones-.e. cultivated to such a degree, as to be rich and fertile enough to produce what would be answerable to such an expense.

The above is the leading sense given by some of the best commen. tators to this difficult passage ; but I cannot say that it satisfies me. I see no authority, from any thing that precedes or follows, to con. strue juxta--nigh the city, and hence make juxta equivalent to sub. urbanus: nor is the taking est from juxta, and transferring it to exossatus or ager, as done above, the natural method of the syntax.

I would therefore place the words in their natural order in which they are to be construed-Non adeo, inquis, juxta est exossatus ager. The Delph. interpret. says, Non ita, ais, prope est ager sine ossibus.

Exosso -are-is to take out the bones of an animal; to bone it, as we say.--Congrum istum maximum in aqua finito ludere paulis.

« PredošláPokračovať »