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One is the san of an hardy shepherd, the other of an herdsman; .
162—3. Tuneful company.] An usual part of the entertainment, when great men feasted, was to have wanton women dance and sing in a lascivious manner. This custom was probably
163. Approved.] i.e. Encouraged by the applause of the compa.
164. Lower, &c.] By degrees, and at last seat themselves on the ground.
165. Their husband lying by. ] The husband and wife are here sup. posed to be both invited to the entertainment, and both, from the couches on which they lay at meals, beholding these indecencies, which were so great as 'not even to be related, without shame, (præsentibus ipsis) in their presence.
Which brides do by their husband's side behold,
HOLYDAY. - 167, A provocative, &C. To stir up the enfeebled passions.
Sharp incentives.] See urtica, used in a similar sense, sat. ii.
168. A rich man.] Who can afford the expense of such scenes as these, and is profligate enough to use them as incentives to his palled and depraved appetites.
169. The other sex.] Women are most delighted with such scenes as these. Neither here, any more than throughout the sixth Satire, does Juvenal conceal or spare the faults of the ladies of his time.
170. The eyes and ears.] The former, by beholding the lewd gestures; the latter, by hearing the obscene songs of the dancing-women.
Non capit has nugas humilis domus : audiat ille
171. An humble house, &c.] A small estate is not capable of throwing away expense on such follies.
Let him.] i. e. The rich and luxurious--so, ille fruatur, l. 173.
172. The noise of shells.] These were, probably, shells jingled together in their hands as they danced, like the Spanish castanets.
With words.] With obscene songs accompanying.
From which, &c.] i.e. Which a common prostitute, stand. ing naked in a brothel, would be ashamed to utter. The common harlots in the brothels were slaves, purchased for that purpose by the leno, or pander ; they were his property, and therefore Juvenal calls one of these mancipium, which signifies a thing or person bought and made over.
175. Who lubricates, &c.] Pytisma (from Gr. aruw, spuo, to spit) signifies a spirting out of wine betwixt the teeth when we taste it, or a throwing out of the bottom of the cup on the floor. Ainsw.
--The Lacedemonian orb.] The Romans were very fond of fine pavements, or floors, made of marble, and inlaid with various kinds of it ; among the rest, some came from Sparta, in small round forms, which were inserted in their proper places by way of ornament. When they had an entertainment, it was given in a room thus ornamented with a fine inland marble floor, on which the master of the house, and the guests, when they met at a feast, scrupled not to spirt their wine, or throw out, as the custom was, the bottom of the cup.
This, among the numerous readings and comments which learned men have given of this much controverted line, seems to be the best interpretation, because it nearly coincides with a passage in Horace to the same purpose :
Absumet hæres cæcuba dignior
Tinget pavimentum superbum
Lib. ii. od. xiv. 1. 25, &c.
An humble house does not contain these follies : let him hear
And dye the floor with wine:
With liquor more divine.
The poet's meaniug is, that such scenes of obscenity, and such arts of lewdness, are only fit to be enjoyed by professed sensualists.
176. There we give, &c.] In the case of a rich libertine, we make all due allowance for his large fortune, and don't blame his excesses, as we do those of people in a lower class of life.
The die is base, &c.] Gaming is reckoned very scandalous, adultery, vile and abominable, in plebeians.
177. When they do, &c.] When people of quality, and of large fortunes, practise these things, they are looked upon as instances of cheerfulness and elegance; in short, as gentlemanlike qualifications.
179. Other sports.] Amusements of a different kind than those above mentioned.
180. Author of the Iliai, Esc.] Homer--parts of his Iliad shall be repeated. Canto may perhaps imply, that the Romans read, or repeated verses, in a sort of chant or singing. See sat. vii. 153, note.
Lofty Maro.] Virgil.--He derived the surname of Maro from his father he was the most sublime of all the Latin poets.
181. A doubtful palm.] The palm, or chaplet, made of palm-twigs and leaves, was a token of victory.
Juvenal means to say, that it was doubtful which of the two excelled, Homer or Virgil. See sat. vi. 4:35, 6.
182. With what voice, &c.] With what tone of voice-i.e. so intrinsically valuable and excellent are the verses of these authors, that they can't lose their value, though read or repeated by ever so indifferent a toned voice. This line also seems to imply that verses were usually chanted or sung. So Mr. CONGREVE :
It matters not with what ill tone they'r sung,
Verse, so sublimely good, no voice can wrong:
Sed nunc dilatis averte negotia curis,
183. Leave off business.] Lay it quite aside-think not of it.
Cares deferr’d.] Ail cares put off for the present. 185. Idle, &c.] Having nothing else to do, but to enjoy yourself all the day long at my house."
- Interest-money.] No talk of money matters.
186. Nor, if, &c.] Though, like many other husbands, you suffer from the irregularities of your wife.
187. Provoke you, &c.] Don't let the thoughts of this vex you, or let her make you angry, or tempt you to say a single word upon the subject, though, as the two next lines import, you should have found the most evident and undeniable circumstances of her guilt.Contrahat bilem tibi lit. contract, or draw together, choler to you.
188. Fine garments.] Multitia, or multicia--garments wrought so fine that the body might be seen through them. See sat ii. 1. 66.
190. Put off, &c.] Exuema metaphorical expression taken from putting off clothes, &c. Divest yourself of all uneasiness at entering iny doors. .
191. Lay aside, &c.] Pono also signifies to put off as clothes. He desires his friend to lay aside, or put off, all his domestic uneasi. nesses, arising from the mischief or misconduct of servants.
192. Ungrateful friends.] Which are the bitterest trials of all.
193. Meantime. This invitation of the poet to his friend was on a holiday, or day of the public games beginning.
Spectacles. The shews or games.
Megalesian towel.] At the Circensian and Megalesian games, they hung out a towel (mappa) to shew that the sports were going to begin. -Nero introduced this custom ; for hearing, as he sat at dinner, how impatiently the people expected his coming, he tlırew out at the window the towel with which he wiped his hands, to give the people notice that he had dined, and would soon be at the circus. Ever since this, the beginning of these games was announced by hanging out a towel.
But now leave off business, your cares deferr’d, And give yourself grateful rest, since you may Be idle throughout the whole day: of interest-money 183 : No mention : nor, if gone forth at day-break, she is wont. To be returned at night, let your wife provoke you, silent, to anger, Bringing back her fine garments with suspected wriukles, Her hair disorder'd, and her countenance and ears glowing. Immediately put off before my threshold whatever grieves : 190 Lay aside home, and servants, and whatever is broken by them, Or is lost : BEFORE ALL-PUT AWAY UNGRATE EUL FRIENDS. Meantime, the spectacles of the Megalesian towel Grace the Idæan solemnity, and, like as in triumph, The pretor, a destroyer of horses, sits: and (if with the peace 195 Of such an immense and superabundant crowd I might say it) This day the circus contains all Rome, and a noise strikes
The Megalesian games were in honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods. She was called usycan Mutip, magna Mater, and from thence these games Megalesia, or ludi Magalenses ; they began on the fourth of April, and lasted six days.
194. Idean solemnity.] Cybele was called Idæa, from Ida, a mountain of Phrygia, where she was worshipped ; and hence her festival was called Idæum solenne.
195. The pretor, a destroyer, &c.] He was an officer not unlike our mayor or sheriff. Sat. i. 101, note. He was to oversee these sports, and sat in great state, while they were acting, to the destruction of many horses, which were spoiled on the occasion. See sat. x. 1. 36—40.
Many are for reading prædo, and suppose it to denote the pretor's acting sometimes unjustly, and determining the prizes wrongfully, taking them from the winning horses, and giving them to the losers, by which he might be said to rob the winners of their due.
Others think the word prædo is used, as a jest upon the pretor's fine trappings and gaudy dress on the occasion, as if he had robbed the horses of their finery to put upon himself.
There are other conceits upon this subject, but perda seems to give the most natural sense of the passage. I am, therefore, with Salmasius and others, for adopting it.
If with the peace, &c.] If with their good leave I may take the liberty of saying so much without offence. The poet here lashes
the Roman people for their great eagerness to crowd after these : shows, as if they thought nothing else worthy their attention. Sat. x. 1. 80, 1.
197. The circus.] Where those games were celebrated.
- A noise strikes, &c.] I hear a great shout, as of victory, which makes me suppose that the race is determined on the behalf of some favourite competitor.