Obrázky na stránke

whose acquaintance we made in the beginning of the Satire. Whoever he is, he is so literal that he does not understand the drift of the apologue.

'Sick! Who's sick ? Not I. No fever in my veins. No chill in hands or feet.'

“But,' says our resolute moralist, the sight of money, the meaning smile of a pretty girl, makes your heart beat a devil's tattoo. Coarse flour shows that you are mealy-mouthed, and tough cabbage brings out the ulcer in your throat. Kindle the fire of wrath beneath the cauldron of your blood, and Orestes is sane in comparison' (107–118).

According to Jahn, this Satire is aimed at those that have received a thorough training in ethics, but, owing to the weakness of human nature, fail to follow the true guide of life; and, although well aware of their short-comings, imitate the example of those brutish souls whose sins are excused by their ignorance. In short, the Satire is an expansion of the old theme – Video meliora proboque.

Knickenberg (De Ratione Stoica in Persii Satiris Apparente, p. 16 seqq.) maintains that in conformity with Stoic doctrine, it is not so much the weakness of human nature as imperfect knowledge—the inscitia debilis of v. 99—that is the source of the vices which the author lashes in the present Satire. According to the Stoic, virtue is knowledge, and the sporing youth, with his half-knowledge, which keeps him from rising to the height of virtue, is the pattern of the false philosophy of the time.

But PERSIUS is not an expounder of the Stoic philosophy, as a system, any more than SENECA is; and commentators have attributed to him a profounder knowledge of philosophy than he had, certainly a profounder knowledge than it would have been artiştic to show. Persius repeats the catechism of the sect, expands some of their favorite theses, elaborates some of their pet figures, and finds fault with his fellow-students in the lofty tone which he had caught from his teachers. A glaring paradox, such as we find in 5, 119, he is but too happy to reproduce, but the subtle analysis for which the Stoics were famous does not appear in his poems.

The Satire is said by the Scholiast to be imitated from the Fourth Book of LUCILIUS.

[ocr errors]

1-24. A young student is roused by one of his companions, who, after meditating on his snoring form (1-4), remonstrates with him against lying abed so long. Yawning and headachy, he attempts to go to work, calls his servants testily, has his writing materials brought, swears at them, and is rebuked by his

sage friend for his babyishness, and urged to make use of this golden season of life.

1. Nempe: The opening is made very lively by the use of nempe, which implies a preceding statement, and thus plunges at once into the thick of the dialogue. “And so'—a clear imitation of HoR., Sat., 1, 10, 1. Comp. the English use of and' in the first verse of lyrics, and the common stage trick of beginning a scene with conjunctions: FARQUHAR, Beaux' Stratagem, 2, 2: And was she the daughter of the house?' CIBBER, The Provoked Wife, 7, 4: 'But what dost thou think will come of this business ?? This effect is lost by bringing in the comes at v. 5, as some do.mane: Substantive, the Abl. of which, mane (mani), is in more common use as an Adverb.fenestras : windows,' here for • window-shutters.'

2. extendit: “makes wider," "makes seem wider,' a familiar optical effect.—rimas: 'chinks' (between the shutters).

3. stertimus : Ironical First Person, excluding the speaker.indomitum : , 'heady,' unmanageable' (Conington). Falernian was a strong wine: ardens, HoR., Od., 2, 11, 9; sederum, Od., 1, 27, 19; forte, Sat., 2, 4, 24. Add LUCAN, 10, 162: Indomitum Meroe cogens spumare Falernum.—quod sufficiat: “what ought to be enough.' G., 633; A., 65, 2.—despumare: 'work off," "carry off the fumes of' (Conington). Despumare is a technical term ‘skim' (VERG., Georg., 1, 296), like 'rack' in English.

4. quintā dum linea tangitur umbrā: where we should expect quintă linea umbrā, by what is called Hypallagé. Conington compares AESCHYL., Ag., 504 : δεκάτω σε φέγγει τόδ' άφικόμην ČTOUS. See Schneidewin's note.-dum: 'while, whereas,' and yet.' Comp. G., 572, R.; A., 72, 1, C.-linea: of the sun-dial. The fifth hour (about 11 o'clock) was the time of the prandium, according to Auson., Ephem. Loc. Ordin. Coqui, 1, 2 (Casaubon): Sosia, prandendum est, quartam iam totus in horam | sol calet: ad quintam flectitur umbra notam. In HORACE's time breakfast was after 10 (Sat., 1, 5, 25). The sophist ALCIPHRON implies that 12 was the hour in his day (3, 4, 1).

5. en quid agis ? Comp. en quid ago? VERG., Aen., 4, 534. In lively questions the present is often used as a future, as : Quoi dono lepidum novum libellum ? CATULL., 1, 1.-siccas: proleptic or predicative, to be combined with coquit. Conington renders

is baking the crops dry,' but coquere is too common in this sense for such a translation, a criticism which applies to a very large proportion of Conington's picturesque versions. Coquere is the regular word for “ripen ?-Gr. nécow-VARRO, R. R., 1, 7, 4; 54, 1. Tr. ‘is ripening hard in the broiling sun).—insana' canicula : *the mad dog-star' is, of course, the 'mad dog's star' (Conington). Comp. Hor., Od., 3, 29, 18; Ep., 1, 10, 16.

7. comitum : Comes is a wide term, embracing fellow-students and tutors. The Greek word is oi ovvóvtec. See LUCIAN's famous tract, trepi v éti ulogai ovvóvtwv (de mercede conductis).

8. aliquis: somebody,' tis, of a servant. Aperite aliquis actutum ostium, TER., Adelphi, 4, 4, 46. "QOTEP év oikų žvioi deσπόται προστάττουσι, "Ιτω τις εφ' ύδωρ, Ξύλα τις σχισάτω, XEN., Cyr., 5, 3, 49.-nemon ? on the rhetorical -ne, see 1, 22.-vitrea bilis: a medical term, valóồns xolý, according to Casaubon. Comp. splendida bilis, Hor., Sat., 2, 3, 141.

9. findor: ‘I'm splitting, the exclamation of the impatient youth. The old reading, finditur, ‘he' or 'it' (bilis) 'is splitting,' has little MS. authority. Others read findimur.Arcadiae pecuria: The asses of Arcady were famous in antiquity.-rudere: with u long only here and Auson., Epigr., 76, 3.

10. iamque liber: The distribution of these articles is not without its difficulty. According to some, liber is the author to be explained by the teacher; chartae, the papyrus for rough notes ; membrana, the parchment for a more careful transcript. According to others, ' liber is the author out of which the lesson or thesis is to be transcribed, and membrana the parchment wrapper for preserving the loose sheets, as the work progresses’ (Pretor).

- bicolor: used either of the two sides of the skin—the one from which the hair had been scraped, yellow, the other white (Casaubon), or, more probably, of the custom of coloring the parchment artificially (Jahn).—capillis : is commonly taken for pilis, a rare use. The hair side of the skin was carefully smoothed with pumice-stone. Arida modo pumice expolitum, Cat., 1, 2; cui pumex tondeat ante comas, TIB., 3, 1, 10. The old explanation, according to which positis capillis=capillis ornatis sive pexis (Plum), has found an advocate in Schlüter. The young man is supposed to have dressed his hair before he goes to work.

11. nodosa harundo = calamus of the next verse.

12. querimur: In his ed. of 1868 Jahn has abandoned queritur (1843) here and in v. 14. Comp. stertimus, v. 3.- calamo: In prose, de calamo.

13. nigra sepia: “The blackness of the liquor,' Conington, who says correctly that nigra is emphatic. Sepia, “juice of the cuttle-fish,' used for ink. Comp. AUSON., Epist., 4, 76; 7, 54 (Jahn).

14. fistula=harundo. The nib of the pen was badly slit. Comp. nec iam fis&ipedis per calami vias grassetur Cnidiae sulcus harundinis, Auson., Epist., 7, 49–50.

The whole period is very awkward, and is not improved by Jahn's sed for quod in v. 13. Mr. Pretor suspects a duplex recensio, and brackets v. 13. In any other author I should suggest dilutasque nimis for dilutas querimur, v. 14 (Mp.querimus).

15. ultra miser=miserior.-hucine rerum : Hucine is archaic and colloquial. On rerum, see G., 371, R. 4; A., 50, 2, d. Comp. 1, 1 for the translation.

16. tenero columbo: a pet name for children (Schol.). Columbus is 'the house-pigeon,' palumbus “the wood-pigeon. Some of the best MSS. read palumbo, which Bentley on HoR., Od., 1, 2, 10, prefers. Notice further that nurses often feed their babies pigeon-fashion.-regum pueris : 'aristocratic babies,” • babies of quality' (Conington). Regum as in 1, 67.-pappare: (papare, Jahn, 1843) Infin. for Substantive, “pap. Such Infinitives are hardly parallel with vivere triste (1, 9), and belong rather to the verba togae.

They may be called nursery Infinitives. Comp. TITIN. (ap. CHARISIUM, 1, p. 99 P.), v. 78 Ribb.: Date illi biber, iracunda haec est. Comp. the Greek tò mięīv, paycīv, THEOCR., 10, 53; ANTHOL. PAL., 12, 34, 5. The Scholiast calls pappare and lallare 'voces mutilas.'—minutum : 'chewed fine, minced.'

18. iratus : ‘in a pet.'—mammae: exactly our “mammy;' de- . pends on lallare, not on iratus.lallare: like pappare, 'lullaby.' * Pettishly refusing to let mammy sing you to sleep' (Conington) —to go by-bye for mammy.'

19. studeam: G., 258; A., 57, 6. The absolute use of studere

is post-Augustan. Desidioso studere torqueri est, SEN., Ep. M., 71, 23.—Cui verba: sc. das ?

20. succinis : ‘sing to an instrument or second to a person,' ' hence to sing small' (Conington), come whimpering, whining with.'—ambages : 'beating about the bush,' «shuffling excuses.' Quando pauperiem, missis ambagibus, horres, HoR., Sat., 2, 5, 9.tibi luditur: Tua res agitur, “it is your game,” your stake,” your affair.'-effluis amens : with a sudden change of figure. The dissolute young man is compared to a cracked jar, from which all the noble 'wine of life' (SHAKSP., Macbeth, 2, 3) is escaping. The passage in TER., Eun., 1, 2, 25, which is often cited in this connection: Plenus rimarum sum; huc atque huc perfluo refers to a leaky vessel,' one who can not keep secret.

21. contemnere: A sudden desertion of the metaphor, unless contemnere be a technical term, like årodokipáselv, "reject on test.' CICERO combines conterere et contemnere, contemnere et reicere, contemnere et pro nihilo putare. The Scholiast thinks that the word is an unhappy reminiscence of HoR., Sat., 2, 3, 14: contemnere miser.-sonat vitium=sono indicat vitium. Sonat vitium, like sapit mare, 'sounds flawy,' has a flawy ring. The Schol. comp. VERG., Aen., 1, 328: nec vox hominem sonat.-maligne: 'illnaturedly,' 'grudgingly,' of that which falls short of what was expected. Maligne respondet, 'gives a short answer,' a dull sound.'

22. viridi=crudo, "untempered. The material is ill-mixed and the crock ill-baked (non cocta).

23. “Persius steps back, as it were, while pursuing the metaphor,' is Conington's droll defence of PERSIUS's Cotepov pórepov. Common critics would say that PERSIUS had bungled the figure. -properandus et fingendus : not necessarily equivalent to propere fingendus. Comp. Juv., 4, 134: argillam atque rotam citius properate.

24-43. PERSIUS: 'I know what you are going to say. You have a fair estate, you have nothing to dread, you have good connections, you have a good position. Away with these baubles. I know you yourself. You live no higher life than the dullest sensualist, who knows not what he is losing; but the time will come when you will be roused to the consciousness of

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »