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It was the custom formerly to keep for festal days,
cerns, What sort of tortoise might swim in the waves of the sea,
the soil, and subduing its stubbornness, rendering it fit for the pure poses of agriculture. Ovid, Met. xi. 31. uses the word subigere in this sense :
Boves presso subigebant vomere terram. Virg, G. ii. 1. 114. uses the word domitum to denote the cultiva«. tion of land :
. Aspice et extremis domitum cultoribús orbem. 90. Trembled, &c.] In old time, when the people stood in awe of great and good men.
Fabii, &c.] These names stand here, not only as personally referring to the great men mentioned, but referring also to all the grave and virtuous magistrates of old times, who, like them, reproved and censured vice.
Fabius was the name of a noble family in Rome, many of which had borne great offices with the highest credit. They are often mentioned by our poet.
Severe Cato.] Cato, called Censorius, is here meant, who was so called for his gravity and strictness in his censorship.
91. The Scauri.] See sat. ii. l. 35, note.
- Fabricii.] The name of a family, of which was C. Fabri. cius Luscinus, a famous consul, who conquered Pyrrhus king of Epirus. One of this name was also censor. See sat. ix. 142.
92. His colleague feared.] Alluding to Fabius Maximus, who found fault with his colleague P. Decius, for being too remiss in his office of censor. See sat. ii. I. 121, note 2.
93. Nobody, &c.] No one thought it worth their care, or a matter of serious concern.
94. What sort of tortoise, &c.] Whether small or great. But in the days of the poet, when luxury was risen to a great height, people of fashion were very anxious to inlay their furniture, and particularly the couches which they lay upon at their entertainments, with the largest and finest pieces of tortoise-shell, to get at which, they spared no pains or expense. See sat. vi. 1. 380, and note.
Clarum Trojugenis factura ac nobile fulcrum :
95. Couch, &c.] Fulcrum literally signifies a stay or prop; but, by synec. is used for the couch or bed itself, (see sat. vi. I. 22.) which was inlaid and adorned in the most expensive and splendid manner.
- The Trojugenæ.] The nobles, whom the poet here, and else. where, satirically calls Trojugenæ, because they boasted their descent from the ancient Trojans, the first founders of the Roman empire after the siege of Troy. See sat. i. 1. 100, note.
96. Naked side.] Their couches had plain and ordinary sides, or sides which had no backs rising from them, to lean upon for their ease.
Small beds.] They were frugal even in the size of their couches.
- A brazen front, &c.] Having no other ornament than a plain piece of brass in front, with an ass's head, crowned with a garland, fixed, or, perhaps, carved upon it. This, from a superstition which prevailed in Tuscany, that it operated as a charm to protect their lands from damage, and made them fruitful, used ordinarily to be hung up in their fields and gardens. 2Ò2Â§\2ū2 ?Â?Â?2ti2/22/2/2/2/2–2ūòÂ§Â§§Â2Ò2Â2Ò2Âòģēti
-Boys of the country, &c.] Was laughed at by the rustic children, who made sport at his awkward appearance. It may be doubted, whether the ornament of the ass's head crowned with a garland, perhaps of vine leaves, and put, or carved, it may be, on the ancient festal couches, had not some reference to Bacchus and his foster-father Silenus, the former of which was the supposed inventor of wine, and represented with a thyrsus, and garlands of vine leaves; the other, as a drunken old man, riding upon an ass.
99. Such was their food, &c.] i. e. They were all of a piece, as we say.
100. Then rude.] The soldier in those days was rough and hardy, and unskilled in the refinements of luxury.
- Unknowing, &c.] The Roman3 copied their luxury from the Greeks, the imitation of whom was, among them, as fashionable
About to make a famous, and noble couch for the Trojugenæ : 95
Likenesses of the Romulean wild-beast, commanded to grow tame
as of the French among us. See sat. iii. 1. 60, 1. where the poet speaks of this with the highest indignation.
101. Cities being overturned.] When besieged towns were taken and plundered.
- A found part, &c.] i. e. In some part of a heap of spoils which the soldier met with in his plundering the place.
102. Brake the cups, &c.] When the rude and unpolished soldier possessed himself of vessels, curiously embossed or engraved by the hands of some of the chief Grecian artists, so far from prizing them, he brake them to pieces, in order to adorn his horse, as with pompous trappings.
103. Embossed helmet.] The soldier having found some fine large pieces of plate, with the designs under mentioned wrought upon it, brake out the figures, and fastened them to his helmet, that he might exhibit them to the eyes of a vanquished enemy, whom he was going to put to the sword, as ensigns of triumph.
104. Likenesses, &c.] Of the wolf which suckled Romulus and Remus of Romulus and Remus, and of the god Mars.
Commanded to grow tame.] So as not only not to hurt the two children, but to nourish them with her milk.
105. Fate of the empire.] That destiny, which had appointed Romulus to be the founder of the city and commonwealth of Rome, ordered also the means of his preservation when an infant, by or. caining that a sayage beast should grow tame.
- Under a rock.] The figures of the two brothers were de scribed as lying under a rock, and sucking the she-wolf.
- Twin Quirinį, &c.] Romulus and Remus are here understood, though the name of Quirinus was given to Romulus only, after his consecration. The Roman people were also called Quirites. See sat. iii. 1. 60, note.
106. A naked image, &c.] The image of Mars, the father and founder of the Roman name.' 3107. Impending.] Pendentis-hanging, or hovering over the chil. dren as their protector, with his glittering shield and sword.
Argenti quod erat, solis fulgebat in armis.
107. Might shew.] q. d. That the embossed helmet might exhibit to the foe about to die, the likenesșes, &c.
108. What was of silver, &c.] All the silver gotten in war was only made use of to adorn their military accoutrements.
109. Food of corn.] Farrata signifies all sorts of food made of corn, and here stands for the coarse and homely food of the ancient Romans, before luxury got in among them.
109–10. Tuscan dish.] i. e. Earthen ware, which was made at | Aretum, a city of Tuscany ; vessels made of it were called, therefore, vasa Aretina.
Aretina nimis ne spernas vasa monemus,
Lautus erat Tuscis Porsena fictilibus. MART. lib. xiv. ep. 98, 110. Would envy, &C.] Though the luxury of our present times has taught us to despise such things, yet if we had lived then, we should have been ready to envy their plain, but wholesome fare, and the happiness which our ancestors derived from their plain, fru• gal, and homely way of living:
A little envious.] Lividulus.-9. d. If you had had a spark of envy in your disposition, it would have been excited.
111. The majesty, &c.] i. e. The majesty of the gods in the temples. Metonym.
More present.] More propitious, more ready to help.
A voice, &c.] Alluding to the history of M. Cæditius, a plebeian, who acquainted the tribunes, that, as he was going along by the temple of Vesta, at midnight, he heard a voice, louder than human, say "the Gauls are coming," and commanded him to tell the magistrates of this, that they might be warned of the danger.
113. Shore of the ocean.] i. e. From the sea-shore, after having made a descent upon Italy, under Brennus, who was the commander of the Galli Senones, they routed the Romans at the river Allia, marched to Rome, and took it ; but they were afterwards defeated and driven out of Italy by Camillus, who was called from exile, and made dictator.
What was of silver, shone in arms alone.
120 The turbot, the venison is tasteless, the ointments Seem to stink, and the roses ; unless the wide orbs large
114. Office of a prophet.] By thus warning the Romans of their approaching danger. This was particularly the business of augurs, soothsayers, &c.
By these.] 9.d. The voice gave warning of the enemy's approach, by these means (his) i. e. by the gods, who acted prophetically towards us. ·
115–16. Latian affairs.] The affairs of Italy, anciently called Latium.
116. Fictile.] Fictilis-earthen ware.--In those days of plainness and simplicity, when the images of Jupiter, and of the other gods, were made of potters' clay.
- Polluted by no gold.] i. e. Before he had fine atatues made out of the gold which had been taken by rapine and plunder. Comp. sat. iii. I. 20. 117. Those times.] Of ancient simplicity.
Home-born iubles, &c.] Our ancestors did not send into fo. reign countries for materials to make tables, as it is now the fashion to do : they were content with the wood of their own trees.
118. Stood, &c.] Was reserved and applied to make such household furniture as was wanted.
119. Nut-tree. 7 All fruits that have an hard shell are called nuces, such as almonds, walnuts, and the like. So the nucem, here, may signify any tree bearing such fruits—probably a walnut-tree is meant.
121. Venison.] Dama signifies a fallow deer, either buck or doc : here it denotes the flesh which we call venison.
The ointments.] Of perfume, with which they anointed their hair at their convivial meetings. See Hor. lib. iii. ode xxix. I. 3, 4, 5.
122. Roses.] They made garlands and wreaths of roses and other flowers, which the guests wore on these occasions. See Hor. ubi supr. and see ode the last, lib. i.