Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

TRANQUILLÆ PER VIRTUTEM PATET UNICA VITÆ.
Nullum numen habes, si sit prudentia : sed te
Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam, cæloque locamus.

365

“ virtue none ever yet thought they received from the Deity.” And again-"this is the persuasion of all, that fortune is to be had from “ the gods, wisdom from ourselves.” Again— who ever thanked “ the gods for his being a good man ?--men pray to Jupiter, not " that he would make them just, temperate, wise, but rich and pros* perous.” Thus--they became vain in their imaginations, and " their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise, “they became fools.” Rom. i. 21, 2.

365. You have no deity, &c.] If men would act prudently and wisely, we should no more hear of good or ill luck, as if the affairs of men were left to the disposal of Fortune, or chance, who manages them in a way of sport and caprice, independently of any endeavours of their own---ludum insolentem ludere pertinax. (See Hor. lib. iii, ode xxix. I. 49---52.) The goddess Fortune would no longer be a divinity in the eyes of mortals, if they were themselves prudent and careful in the management of themselves and their affairs.

It is not easy to do justice to the word numen, in this place, by any single one in the English language ; at least I am not acquainted with any that can at once comprehend all its meanings : it includes the will, pleasure, and determination or decree of a deity--power, authority, a divine impulse--divine protection and favour-influence -also a deity, a god ;-all this the heathen attributed to their goddess FORTUNE.

366. Thee we make a goddess, &c.] The ancient Greeks and Romans made a goddess of Fortune, which is, in reality, nothing more than a sudden and unexpected event of things--from Fors, luck, chance, hazard. These the heathen, who knew not God, deified in the imaginary being FORTUNE, which they substituted in the place of that wise, though mysterious, government of the world, and all things in it, by Him " whose judgments are unsearchable, and “ whose ways are past finding out!" He has given to man, that “ wisdom which is profitable to direct" (Eccl. x. 10.) in the affairs and concerns of common life; the due and proper exercise of which is the duty of man towards himself. This neglected, leaves him without excuse, whatever evil may happen : yet, under the strictest exercise of human wisdom and prudence, let us remember, that disappointment may defeat the ends proposed--this ought to awaken our confidence in the suPREME DISPOSER OF ALL EVENTS, who knows what is best for us :

« And that should teach us,
" There's a divinity that shapes our ends,

6 Rough-hew them how we will." HAMLET, act V. sc. ii. The Greeks had many temples dedicated to Fortune, under the name of TYXH. Pindar makes her one of the destinies, the daughter of Jupiter. Ancus Míartius, king of the Romans, first built ą temple at Rome to this deity. Servius Tullus also built one at the

PATH TO A QUIET LIFE LIES OPEN THROUGH VIRTUE.
You have no deity, O Fortune, if there be prudence ; but
Thee we make a goddess, and place in heaven. -

365

capitol. Afterwards the Romans consecrated temples to her under various titles, as Fortuna libera, redux, publica, equestris, &c. See BROUGHTON, Bibl. Hist. Sacr. tit FORTUNE.

Horace's description of this goddess, and her great power, forms, one of the most beautiful of his odes. See lib. i. ode xxxv.

O Diva gratum quæ regis Antium,

Præsens, &c. &c. 366. Place in heaven.] Give her a place among the gods.-9. d. As things are, men are foolish enough to erect temples to Fortune, make her a goddess, worship her as such, and attribute all their miscarriages and troubles, not to their own neglect, folly, and mismanagement, but to the power and influence of this imaginary deity.

For the ideas which the Romans entertained about the goddess Fortune, see sat. iii. I. 39, 40. Sat. vi. 1. 604–8. I should observe, that some copies read, 1. 365,

. Nullum numen abest, &c. No deity is absent, &c. As if it were said, that if there be prudence, that is, if a man acts wisely and prudently, all the gods are present with him, not one abgents himself from him; or, prudence is all-sufficient, and no other deity can be wanting. But the sense first above given, on the reading-nullum numen habes-appears to be most consonant to the in. tention of the two lines taken together.' - I know not how to end my observations on this Tenth Satire of Juvenal, without calling it the finest piece, in point of composition, matter, and sentiment, which we have derived from heathen antiquity. I should call it inimitably fine, had not the late Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON's poem, on “ THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES,” appeared

such a copy, of such an original, is rarely to be met with.

END OF THE TENTH SATIRE.

SATIRA XI.

ARGUMENT. The poet takes occasion, from an invitation which he gives to his

friend Persicus to dine with him, to commend frugality, and to expose and reprehend all manner of intemperance and debauchery ; but more particularly the luxury used by the Romans in their feasting. He instances some lewd practices at their feasts, and reproves the nobility for making lewdness and debauchery the chiefest of their pleasures

A TTICUS eximie si coenat, lautus habetur :
Si Rutilus demens : quid enim majore cachinno
Excipitur vulgi, quam pauper Apicius ? omnis
Convictus, thermæ, stationes, omne theatrum
De Rutilo. Nam dum valida ac juvenilia membra
Sufficiunt galeæ, dumque ardens sanguine, fertur
(Non cogente quidem, sed nec prohibente Tribuno)
Scripturus leges, et regia verba lanistæ.
Multos porro vides, quos sæpe elusus ad ipsum

Line 1. If Atticus, &c.] The name of a very eminent person in Rome; but here it is meant to signify any one of great wealth and quality. If such a one gives a great entertainment, it being agree. able to his rank and fortune, deserves not, any other name than that of splendour and munificence.

2. If Rutilus, &c.] One, who, by his extravagant gluttony, was reduced to the most shameful degree of poverty.

This likewise, is here made use of as a common name for all sucki characters.

If such a one make a splendid feast, we must call him mad.

2—3. A greater laugh, &c.] What can be a greater subject of ridicule among the vulgar, than Apicius in rags ?

3. Apicius.] A noted epicure in the time of Nero ; he spent an immense estate in eating and drinking : growing poor and despised, he hanged himself. See sat. iv. I. 23.

4. Company.] Convictus signifies a' living together in one house, or at one table, and, perhaps, what we call clubs, or ordinaries.

Baths.] Therma-hot baths. These were much resorted. to, and were places of great gossipping and tattling. See sat. vii. 1, 233, and note.

--- The stations.} Particular places in the city, where idle people

SATIRE XI.

ARGUMENT.

[ocr errors]

He onposes the teinherance and frugality of the greatest men in former ages, to the riot and intemperance of the present. He concludes with repeating his invitation to his friend, advising him to a neglect of all care and disquiet for the present, and a moderate use of pleasures for the future.

IF Atticus sups sumptuously, he is accounted splendid:
If Rutilus, mad: for what is received with a greater
Laugh of the vulgar, than poor Apicius ? every
Company, the baths, the stations, every theatre, (talk]
Of Rutilus. For while his strong and youthful limbs
Suffice for a helmet, and while ardent in blood, he is reported
(The tribune not compelling indeed, but neither prohibiting)
To be about to write the laws, and princely words of a fencer.
Moreover, you see many, whom the often-eluded creditor is wont

used to meet and talk together, perhaps about the market place, or forum ; as in our towns, where there are commonly a mumber of idle people standing and talking together, in and near the market. place. See Ainsw. Statio, No. 6.

5. Of Rutilus.] De-about or concerning Rutilus. g. d. He is the common subject of conversation at all these places.

Youthful limbs, &c.] While in the prime of life, and fit to bear arms in the laudable service of his country, he is so reduced to poverty, by his luxury and extravagance, as to apply himself to the wretched trade of a fencer, or prize-fighter, for bread.

6. He is reported.] Or fertur may mean he is carried, by the necessity of his circunstances, to copy out the laws, rules, words of command (regia verba) and other matters of knowledge, necessary to make him a fencer, that he may be thoroughly qualified for the art.

7. The tribune not compelling, &0.1 Hinting, that, though he was not compelled to such a practice of fencing, by the magistracy, as many had beer by Nero for his inhuman diversion, yet it was a shame that he was suffered to undertake it, and not advised, or com: manded, by the magistracy, to the contrary. See sat, viii. 193, • 9. You see many, &c.] Such fellows as Rutilus.

• Vol. II.

Creditor introitum solet expectare macelli,
Et quibus in solo vivendi causa palato est.
Egregius cænat, meliusque miserrimus horum.
Et cito casurus jam perlucente ruinâ.
Interea gustus elementa per omnia quærunt,
Nunquam animo pretiis obstantibus : interius si
Attendas, MAGIS ILLA JUVANT, QUÆ PLURIS E MUNTUR.
Ergo haud difficile est perituram arcessere summam
Lancibus oppositis, veľmatris imagine fractâ;
Et quadringentis nummis condire gulosum
Fictile : sic veniunt ad miscellanea ludí.
Refert ergo quis hæc eadem paret : in Rutilo nam
Luxuria est ; in Ventidio laudabile nomen
Sumit, et a censu famam trahit. Illum ego jure

9. Often-eluded creditor. ] Who had been often promised parment, but deceived over and over again ; and who in vain had pursued them to come at his money.

10. Wait for, &c.] Knowing no place so likely to find them at, as in their way to market for provisions, at the entrance to which he places himself, in hopes to catch them, before they had spent the little remains of his money that he had lent them.

11. The purpose, &c.] Who have no other design, or end of liv. ing, but eating and drinking.

12. The most wretched, &c.] When they are visibly falling into ruin, even the most wretched of them will live more expensively than ever, thinking, perhaps, to put a good face on the matter, the better to conceal their situation, and thus to maintain their credit some lit. tle time longer : or, perhaps, from mere desperation, seeing it is too late to retrieve their affairs, and they can be but ruined. This is no uncommon thing in our day.

14. Meantime.] While they have any thing left.

---- They seek, &c.] They ransack, as it were, earth, air, and water, for flesh of beasts, fowl, and fish, for dainsies to please their taste.

15. The prices, &c.] They never consider or scruple the price which they are to pay--these do not stand in their way.

16. More intimately, &c.] More closely to the dispositions of such.

-- Please more, &c.] The dish pleases best that is dearest bought; therefore, i.e. to gratify their gluttony

17. It is not difficult.] They make no sort of difficulty of pro. curing money, by pawning what they have.

- Be wasted, &c.] Which will soon be gone, squandered away presently.

18. Dishes being pawned.] Lanx signifies, literally, a great broad plate, a deep dish, or platter, to serve meat up in. Here, by lancibus, perhaps, is to be understood his plate in general, his familyplate, per synec. This he sends to the pawnbrokers to raise money upon for the present supply of his extravagance.

« PredošláPokračovať »