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Juvenal's Tenth Satire, which treats of a kindred theme-the Vanity of Human Wishes '—the philosophical commonplace is handled with considerable vigor, and with all the picturesque detail of the author's style. And Montaigne, who, as a moralist, quotes PERSIUS very often, has garnished the 56th essay of his First Book with copious extracts from this Satire.
1-15. Macrinus, your prayers are pure, you need no private audience of the gods. Not so the petitions of many of our foremost men. Far different is what they say and what they whisper, when they come before the gods in prayer.
1. Hunc diem: The birthday was always a high-day in Rome, as elsewhere. In French, fête is a synonym of birthday.-Macrine: *Plotius Macrinus, the scholiast says, was a learned man, who loved PERSIUS as his son, having studied in the house of the same preceptor, Servilius. He had sold some property to PERSIUS at a reduced rate' (Conington).—meliore: sc. solito. G., 312, 2; A., 17,5.— lapillo: The Scythians used to drop into a quiver a stone for every day, white for the good and black for the bad, and when life was over the stones were counted. There is a similar story of the Thracians, PLIN., H. N., 7, 40, 41 (Jahn). The phrase “white stone? is so common that one passage will suffice as a parallel: Felic utraque lux diesque nobis signandi melioribus lapillis, Mart., 9, 52, 4.
2. labentis : not simply an epitheton ornans,“ the gliding years,' but the years as they glide away.' Eheu, fugaces, Postume, Postume 1 labuntur anni, HoR., Od., 2, 14, 1.-apponit: “puts to your account.' Comp. quem fors dierum cumque dabit lucro | appone, HoR., Od., 1, 9, 15. Each day lived may be a day gained or a day lost. Comp. also Hor., Od., 2, 5, 15.--candidus : Nevki) nuépa, levkov evápepov páos, Sopr., Ai., 709. Comp. CATULL., 8, 3: fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.
3. genio: "The tutelary Deity, or “guardian angel,” who was supposed to attend on every individual from the cradle to the grave. Its cultus was strictly materialistic, and should be compared with the offerings of meat, drink, and clothes which were made to the manes of the dead. Comp. CENSORIN., De Die Nat., 3; SERV. ad VERG., Georg., 1, 302; HoR., Ep., 2, 2, 187: scit Genius, natale comes qui temperat astrum | naturae deus humanae, mortalis in unum | quodque caput, vultu mutabilis albus et ater. In character it was the reflex of the man (comp. Sat. 6, 48, where it represents the felicitas of the emperor); it might be humored and appeased by proper attention, more especially by sacrifice (comp. 5, 151), or irritated and made baneful by neglect (comp. 4, 27; Juv., 10, 129). From these latter passages it would appear to represent the alter homo, or second self.' So Pretor. The genius is the divine element which is born with a man, and when he dies becomes a lar, if he is good; if he is wicked, a larva, or a lemur. Departed genië were called manes—good fellows 'doubtless with a view to propitiation.—non tu: Comp. 1, 45.emaci: ‘chaffering, haggling.' Prayer was often conceived as bargain and sale. See v. 29, and PLATO, Euthyphro, 14 E (Jahn). By the prece emaci is meant the votum, or vow, the eủxń, and not the apogeuxń, as GREGORY of Nyssa puts it (De Orat., Ed. Paris, a. 1638, Tom. 1, p. 724 D). Casaubon compares HoR., Od., 3, 29, 59: ad miseras preces | decurrere et votis pacisci.
4. seductis : Comp. paulum a turba seductior audi, 6, 42.nequeas: G., 633; A., 65, 2. 5. at bona pars : Comp. HoR., Sat., 1, 1, 61: at bona pars
hominum.-libabit: Gnomic or sententious future. See 3, 93. Jahn comp. Juv., 8, 182: quae | turpia cerdoni Volesos Brutumque decebunt. “That which is done is that which shall be do ne.' The other reading, libavit (gnomic Perfect), is not so good. See G., .228, R. 2, and Dräger, Histor. Synt. der lat. Sprache, $ 127.
6. haud cuivis: Comp. non cuivis homini contingit, HoR., Ep., 1, 17, 36.—humilis : “that keep near the ground,' 'groundling, hence ‘low.' PERSIUS delights in rare epithets.
7. aperto vivere voto : Comp. MART., 1, 39, 6: si quis erit recti custos, mirator honesti | et nihil arcano qui roget ore deos.
8. Mens bona: Comp. HoR., Ep., 1, 16, 59.—Mens bona, fama, fides : are commonly considered to be the things prayed for. They are possibly persons prayed to. “Such notions as Welfare (salus), Honesty (fides), Harmony (concordia), belong to the oldest and holiest Roman divinities' (Mommsen).-hospes : ‘a stranger,''any body.
9. o si: On this form of the wish, see G., 254, R. 1; A., 57, 4, b. 0 si may be considered an elliptical conditional sentence, but as the ellipsis is emotional it must not be supplied. Such an apodosis as scholars are prone to understand for the Greek (kalūs àv ēxou) bene sit, would change the wish into a thought. In this passage the apodosis, which is involved in praeclarum funus, comes limping in as an afterthought.
10. ebulliat: is slang. Comp. tam bonus Chrysanthus animam ebulliit, PETRON., 42 (nos non pluris sumus quam bullae, ibid.); SEN., Apocolocynt., 4. Conington renders ·go off.' “Kick the bucket’ would be worthy of PERSIUS. Ebulliat must be read ebulljat (G., 717). The best MSS. have ebullit, but such a Sub
junctive would be more than doubtful (G., 191, 3; Neue, Formenl., 2, 339).-praeclarum funus : Either that would be a grand funeral,' or that would be a corpse worth seeing. In the former case the man of prayer tries to salve his conscience by promising his uncle (comp. 1, 11) a 'first-class funeral.' Comp. funus egregie factum laudet vicinia, HoR., Sat., 2, 5, 105. In the latter, he is welcoming the death of the crabbed old man.
For funus, in this connection, Jahn compares PROP., 1, 17, 8: haecine parva meum funus harena teget? The half-light of the passage is well suited to the paltering knavery of the prayer.
11. sub rastro, etc. : HOR., Sat., 2, 6, 10: 0 si urnam argenti fors quae mihi monstret, ut illi | thesauro invento, qui mercennarius agrum | illum ipsum mercatus aravit, dives amico | Hercule.
12. Hercule: This is Hercules alovrodórns, to whom the Romans consecrated a tithe of their gains. Mommsen and others dissociate this Hercules from the Greek 'Hpakañs. According to Casaubon and the schol. (v. 44), Hermes (Mercury) is the bestower of windfalls found on the way, Hercules the patron of sought treasures.-pupillum: “The Twelve Tables provided that where no guardian was appointed by will, the next of kin would be guardian, and he would of course be heir' (Conington, after Jahn).
13. inpello: 'whose kibe I gall,'whom I tread hard upon.' -expungam: 'get him out’ (of his place in the will).-namque: gives an explanation, which serves at once to heighten and to excuse the hope. "You see he is in a bad way already. He is going to die at any rate, and death would really be a relief to all parties.'-scabiosus : 'scrofulous.'-acri | bile: dpqueña xokń, Casaubon, who compares Juv., 6, 565: consulit ictericae lento de funere matris.
14. tumet: Comp. turgescit vitrea bilis, 3, 8; mascula bilis | intumuit, 5, 145.—Nerio: Nerius is the usurer in HORACE, Sat., 2, 3, 69. PERSIUS borrows his names from HORACE, as HORACE borrows his from LUCILIUS-progressive bookishness, of which there are several examples. Comp. Pedius, 1, 85; Craterus, 3, 65; Bestius, 6, 37.--conditur: So Jahn (1868) and Hermann. Jahn (1843) reads ducitur with many MSS. Ducitur is not to be explained of being carried out to burial' (SERVIUS ad VERG., Georg., 4, 256), but in its ordinary sense of being married.? Nerius has got rid of two wives, and is actually marrying a third.' Conditur is best supported by MS. authority, and gives a sufficiently good sense. Hermann quotes, in support of conditur, MART., 5, 37, where a man survives the loss of a rich wife, and γυναίκα θάπτειν κρείττον έστιν ή γαμείν, CHAEREMON, ap. STοBAEUM, Sermon., 88, 22. Among the wishes in LUCIAN's Icaromen., 25, we find ú geoi, Tòv narépa poi taxéwç åroJaveiv (comp. v. 10), and kidɛ kinpovouñoaji tñs yuraukós, which is the key of this
On the use of the Dative, see G., 352, R. 1; A., 51, 4, c. 15, 16. These are the impious prayers that must be prefaced by pious observances.
15. in gurgite mergis: G., 384, R. 1; A., 56, 1, C, R.
16. bis terque: diç kaì rpis. G., 497.—-flumine: Prol., 1. The lustral use of the bath, the pollution of the night, the peculiar virtue of running water, are common to Scriptural and classical antiquity. Lev., chap. 15. Illo | mane die, quo tu indicis ieiunia nudus | in Tiberi stabit, HoR., Sat., 2, 3, 290 ; Ter matutino Tiberi mergetur et ipsis | verticibus timidum caput abluet, Juv., 6, 523; Ac primum pura somnum tibi discute lympha, PROP., 4, 10, 13. For parallels, see Tylor, Primitive Culture, 2, 388.
17-30. With a sudden dramatic turn, PERSIUS pins his omnipresent Second Person to the wall by an ironical question touching his conception of the divine character. "What do you think of God? What can you think of God when you confide to him wishes that you would conceal from a Staius? Are you so bold because God is so slow ? Are you so bold because God's favor is so cheaply bought?'
17. minimum est, etc. : Ironical.—scire laboro: So HoR., Ep., 1, 3, 2, and nosse laboro, Sat., 2, 8, 19.
18. estne ut: On this periphrasis, see G.,558; A., 70,4, a. Si est, patrue, culpam ut Antipho in se admiserit, TER., Phormio, 2, 1, 40. Comp. Hec., 3, 5, 51; 4, 1, 43; Adelph., 3, 5, 4; HoR., Od., 3, 1, 9.—cures: Curare, with Inf. usually has a negative (3, 78) or equivalent, as here.
19. cuinam?' cuinam? The first cuinam is the question of the other man, the second the echo of PERSIUS. Comp. AR., Ach., 594: αλλά τίς γάρ ει; Δ. όστις; πολίτης χρηστός. - vis : Comp. 1, 56.–Staio: Staius can not be identified-homuncio nobis ignotus (König)—and, as Jahn admirably remarks, it makes no difference who he was, whether Staienus, as the scholiast says (Cic., Verr., 2, 32, 79; pro Cluentio, 7, 24, 65), or an average Philistine, or a typical scoundrel. The name was a common one. Jones is measured with Jupiter.—an scilicet haeres: 'what ? are we to suppose that you are hesitating ??
20. quis : may be for uter. Comp. Cic., Att., 16, 14, 1; Fam., 7, 3, 1; CAES., B. G., 5, 44. Which of the two is the better judge ?' And this is the more satisfactory rendering if Staius is a neutral character. If he is a villain, 'who would be a better judge' or 'better as a judge,’ is more suitable.
21. inpellere: 'smite' (VERG., Georg., 4, 349; Aen., 12, 618), a rather strong word for humilis susurros. Pretor renders.quicken;' Conington, ‘have an effect on.' 'Reach' is about what is meant. With the thought of the passage, comp. SEN., Ep., 10, 5, cited by Casaubon: Nunc quanta dementia est hominum? Turpissima vota diis insusurrant: si quis admoverit aurem, conticescent; et quod hominem scire nolunt, deo narrant.
22. agedum : Agedum hoc mi expedi primum, TER., Eun., 4, 4, 27. Dum shows impatience. “Be at it,' or 'be done with it,' as the case may be.-clamet: Dic—clamet =si dicas—clamet, G., 594, 4; A., 60, 1, 6.
23. sese non clamet: Iovem would make the joke clearer, but PERSIUS would have had to pound his desk and bite his nails to get Iovem in. “Because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Hebr., 6, 13. König compares HoR., Sat., 1, 2, 17: Maxime, quis non, | Juppiter, exclamat simul atque audivit ?