Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

55

Exossatus ager juxta est. Age, si mihi nulla
Jam reliqua ex amitis ; patruelis nulla ; proneptis
Nulla manet ; patrui sterilis matertera vixit ;
Deque aviâ nihilum superest : accedo Bovillas,
Clivumque ad Virbî; præsto est mihi Manius hæres.
• Progenies terræ'-Quære ex me, quis mihi quartus
Sit pater ; haud prompte, dicam tamen. Adde etiam unum,
Unum etiam ; terræ est jam filius : et mihi ritu
Manius hic generis, prope major avunculus exit.

60 Qui prior es, cur me in decursu lampada poscas ?

per, ubi ego venero, exossabitur. Ter. Adelph.-Ager is a field, land, ground hence, a manor with the demesnes, an estate in land. Hence, by Metaph. exossatus ager may mean, here, an estate that . has been weakened, diminished by extravagance or great expense, having what gave it its value and consequence taken out of it.

In this view I think we may suppose the poet as representing his heir's answer to be

“ An estate that has been exhausted and weakened.mexossatus, « boned as it were, by such expense as you propose, is not so near " --non adeo juxta est--i. c. so near my heart, so much an object of “ my concern, as to make it worth my while to interfere about it, 6 or attempt to hinder this last expense of your dole to the mob, “ when the first of the hundred pair of gladiators, l. 48, will bone “ it-i. e. diminish its substance and value, sufficiently to render me « very unconcerned as to being your heir." We often use the word near, to express what concerns us.

This appears to me to be the most eligible construction of the words, as well as most naturally to introduce what follows.

52. “ Go to "] Says Persius—very well, take your own way think as you please, I am not in the least fear of finding an heir, though I should not have a relation left in the world.

53. “ My aunts."] Amita is the aunt by the father's side-the father's sister.

Cousin-german."] Patruelis--a father's brother's son or daughter.

" Niece's daughter." So proneptis signifies. 54. “ The aunt of my uncle."'l Matertera--matris soror-an aunt by the mother's side,

Lived Barren."Had no children. 55. « Grandmother.] Avia, the wife of the arus, or grandfather.

Persius means, that if he had no relation, either near or distant, he should find an heir who would be glad of his estate.

" I go to Boville."] A town in the Appian way, about eleven miles from Rome, so called from an ox which broke loose from an altar, and was there taken ; it was near Aricia, a noted place for beggars, the highway being very public.

«« Say you, is not so fertile”“ Go to, if none to me « Now were left of my aunts, no cousin-german, no niece's daughter “ Remains ; the aunt of my uncle has lived barren, “ And nothing remains from my grandmother : I go to Bovillæ, 55 “ And to the hill of Virbius; Manius is ready at hand to be my :

" heir" 66 An offspring of earth”_" Inquire of me, who my fourth father « May be, I should nevertheless not readily say. Add also one, . « Again one; he is now a son of earth : and to me, by the course “ Of kindred, this Manius comes forth almost my great uncle. 60 “ You who are before, why do you require from me the torch in the

66 race ? : Dignus Aricinos qui mendicaret ad axes. See Juv. sat. iv. l. 117. 56. “ The hill of Virbius."] An hill about four miles from Rome; so called from Hyppolytus, who was named Virbius, and worshipped there, on account of his living twice-inter viros bis. See Æn. vii." 761-77. This hill, too, was always filled with beggars, who took their stands by the road-side.

" Manius is ready,&c.] Manius is the name of some beggar, and so put for any ; the first which he met with would immediately be glad to be his heir. Præsto-ready at hand.

57. An offspring of earth.-] What, says the other, would you take such a low base-born fellow as that, whose family nobody knows any thing about, a mere son of earth, to be your heir . ..

Inquire of me," &c.] As for that, replies Persius, if you were to ask me who was my great grandfather's father, who stood in the fourth degree from my father, I could not very readily inform you. But go a step higher, add one, and then add another, I could give you no account at all; I then must come to a son of earth, no. body knows who, but somebody that, like the rest of mankind, sprung from the earth.

Empedocles, and some other philosophers, held that mankind' originally sprang from the earth.

59-60. “ By the course of kindred,&c.] Perhaps, in this way of reckoning, as the earth is our common mother, Manius may appear to be my relation, my great uncle for ought I know, or not very far from it ; for as children of one common parent, we must be related.

61. “ You who are before,&c.] This line is allegorical, and alludes to a festival at Athens, instituted in honour of Vulcan, or of - Prometheus, where a race was run by young men with lighted torches in their hands, and they strove who could arrive first at the end of the race without extinguishing his torch. If the foremost in the race tired as he was running, he gave up the race, and delivered his torch to the second ; the second, if he tired, delivered it to the third, and so on, till the race was over. The victory was his who carried the torch lighted to the end of the race. Now, says Persius, to his presumptive heir, who appears to be VOL. 11.

DDD

Sum tibi Mercurius : venio deus huc ego, ut ille
Pingitur. An renuis ? vin' tu gaudere relictis ?
• Deest aliquid summæ.' Minui mili': sed tibi totum est,
Quicquid id est. Ubi sit, fuge quærere, quod mihi quondam 65
Legârat Tadius, neu dicta reporne paterna :
• Fænoris accedat merces ; hinc exime sumptus.'

Quid reliquum est ? reliquum ? Nunc, nunc impensius unge,
Unge, puer, caules. Mihi, festâ luce, coquatur
Urtica, et fissâ fumosum sinciput aure ;

- 70 Ut tuus iste nepos, olim, satur anseris extis,

more advanced in life, why do you, who are before me in the race of life, •. e. are older than I am, want wliat I have before the course is over, ise, before I die, since, in the course of nature, the oldest may die first? I ought therefore to expect your estate instead of your expecting mine. It is the first in the torch-race that, if he fails, gives the torch to the second, not the second to the first. See Ainsw. Lampas, ad fin.

62. “ I am to thee Mercury.] Do not look on me as thy near. est kinsman, on thyself as my certaio, heir, and on my estate as what ought to come to you by right; but rather look on me as the god Mercury, who is the bestower of unlooked for and fortuitous

gain.

62_3. “ As he is painted.”] Mercury, as, the god of fortuitons. gain, was painted with a bag of money in his hand. Hercules was the god of hidden treasures. See sat. ii. l. 11, and note. Mercury presided over open gain and traffic, and all unexpected advantages arising therefrom

63. “ Do you refuse ?''] Are not you willing to look upop me in this light, and to accept what I may leave, as merely adventitious

An magis excors Rejectâi prædâ, quam præsens Mercurius fert? Hor. lib, ji. sat, iä. l. 675 8.

_" Will you rejoice in what is left”] Will you thankfullin and joyfully take what I leave?

64. “There is wanting something,&c.) But methinks you grun ble, and find fault that a part of the estate has been spent.

Diminished it for myself."] Well, suppose my estate to.be less than it was, I, that had the right so to do, spent the part.of it that is gone upon myseif and my own concerns. '

65. * But you have the whole," SC.) But you have alle at rey des ceasej wliatever that all may be ; you could have no right to any part while I was alive ; so that you have no right to.complain, wheck what I leave comes whole and entire to you.

" Avoid to ask," &C.] Don't offer to inquire what I have done with the legacy which my friend Tadius left me, or to bring me to an account concerning that, or any thing else.

66. « Paternal sayings,"] Nor think of laying doven to, me, as a rule, the lesson that old covetous fathers inculcate to their sons, whom they wish to make as sordid as themselves. Perhaps repone

“ I am to thee Mercury: I a god come hither, as he : « Is painted. Do you refuse ! Will you rejoice in what is left ? “ There is wanting something of the sum :" “ I have diminished it for “myself,

[“ is which 65 “ But you have the whole, whatever that is : avoid to ask where that “ Tadius formerly left me, nor lay down paternal sayings Let the gains of usury accede; hence take out your expense." " What is the residue?" " the residue !--Now--Now-more expen

“sively anoint, “Anoint, boy, the pot-herbs. Shall there be for me on a festival-day

“ boiled * A nettle, and a smokey hog's cheek with a cracked ear, " That that grandson of yours should hereafter be stuff d with a

“goose's bowels,

[ocr errors]

may here be rightly translated retort (comp. Juv. sat. i. I. 1, and
note) .q. d. Don't cast this in my teeth.
· 67. “ Let the gains of usury," &c.] 9.d. Put your money out
" to usury, and live upon the interest which you make, reserving
the principal entire :" let me hear none of this, says Persius, as
if I were bound to live on the interest of what I have, that the
principal may come to you.

68. What is the residue ?"] Well, but though I may not call you to an account about your expenses, yet let me ask you how much, after all, may be left for me to inherit.

-- " The residue !"'? Says Persius, with indignation ; since you can ask such a question, as if you meant to bind me down to leave you a certain sum, you shall have nothing, I'll spend away as fast as I can.

- " Now, now more expensively," &C.]" Here,” says Perbius, “slave, bring me oil, pour it more profusely over my dish of “ pot-herbs. Now I see that your avarice leads you to be more “ concerned about what I am to leave, than you are about my com. 4 fort while I dive, or for my friendship and regard, I'U e'en spend “ away faster than ever."

70. " A nettle.”] Shall I, even upon feast-days, when even the poor dive better, content myself with having a nettle cooked for my dinner?-. c. any vile worthless weed.

"And a smokey hog's cheek."] An old rusty hog's cheek, with an hole made in the ear by the string which passed through it to hang it up the chimney,

Sinciput--the fore-part, or perhaps one half of the head; also a hog's cheek. See Juv. sat. xiii. l. 85, and note,

Here it is put for any vile and cheap eatable.

71. That that grandson of yours," c.] That some of your descendants may hereafter live in riot, however sparing and covetoys you may be.

" A goose's boquels.] The liver of a goose was esteemed by the Romans as a most delicious morsel. They crammed the ani. mal with a certain food (of which figs were the main ingredient)

Cum morosa vago singultiet inguine vena,
Patriciæ immeiat vulvæ ? Mihi trama figuræ
Sit reliqua? ast illi tremat omento popa venter?

• Vende animam lucro ; mercare ; atque excute solers
• Omne latus mundi : ne sit præstantior alter
• Cappadocas rigidâ pingues plausisse catasta.
'Rem duplica. Feci.-Jam triplex ; jam mihi quarto,
• Jam decies redit in rugam. Depunge ubi sistam,

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that made the liver grow to an amazing size. See Hor. lib. ii. sat. viii. I. 88; and Juv. sat. v. l. 114.

72. His forward humour,” &c.] When at the same time he is absurdly keeping an expensive and high-bred mistress.

73. A woof of a figure,&c.] Trama is the woof in weaving, which is composed of thin threads which lie parallel to each other, when shot through the warp. These do not appear while the cloth is fresh, and has the nap on; but when the cloth loses the nap, and becomes thread-bare, then the threads are seen, and have a poor, thin, and shabby appearance. Now, says Persius, shall I reduce myself to the appearance of the texture in an old, worn-out, threadbare coat ?-. d. Shall I make myself a mere skeleton ? mere skin and bone, as we say. Trama figuræ, for figura tramæ. Hypall.

74. A gluttonous belly,' &C.] That he may have his gluttonous belly shake like a quag, as he walks along, with the fatness of his caul.

This is well opposed to the trama figuræ.

Popa is, properly, the priest who slew the sacrifices, and offered them up when slain : they had a portion of the sacrifices, on which they constantly feasted, and were usually fat and well-liking hence popa signifies also gluttonous, greedy, dainty. Metaph. . 75. Sell your life for gain."] Persius having pretty largely set forth how he should treat his supposed heir, who presumed to interfere with his manner of living, or with the disposal of his for. tune while alive ; and all this in answer to what the miser had said, on not daring to sell any part of his estate in order to relieve his shipwrecked friend, for fear his heir should resent it after his de. cease (see l. 337.), now concludes the Satire with some ironical advice to the miser, in which he shews that the demands of avarice are insatiable.

If, after all I have said, you still persist in laying up riches, and hoarding for those who are to.' come after you,' e'en take your course, and see what will be the end of it ; or rather you will see no end of it, for neither yoú, nor your heir, will ever be satisfied. However, sell your life and all the comforts of it--i. c. expose it to every difficulty and danger : in short, take all occasions to make money, let the risk be what it may. See sat. v. 1. 133-6. Epi. trope.

"Buy."9 Purchase whatever will turn to profit.
" Cunning."] Shrewd, dextrous, in your dealings.

« PredošláPokračovať »