« PredošláPokračovať »
PROLOGUE. ARGUMENT.-I never drank of Hippocrene, never dreamed on Parnas
The maids of Helicon and the waters of Pirene are meat and drink for my masters - the acknowledged classics — not for me, a poor laybrother, with my humble, homely song (1-7). Others succeed: the parrot with his Greek, the pie with her Latin. They have not dreamed on Parnassus either; but they have a teacher-the great master Belly-and Sixpence is their Phoebus Apollo. Hark how they troll forth their notes ! (8–14).
Alas for me! no golden Muse, no silver sixpence inspires me. Quis leget haec?
This prologue is a survival of the dramatic element of the satire, as Casaubon has remarked. Peculiarly personal, the prologue is found in the earlier and in the later stages of art, in ballad literature and in reflective poetry. The spurious verses which precede the Aeneid- Ille ego -- were intended to serve as a prologue, and prologues in prose and poetry are familiar to the readers of MARTIAL, STATIUS, Ausonius, and CLAUDIAN.
There is no good reason to doubt the genuineness of the prologue, or to attribute the authorship to CAESIUS BAssus, the editor of PERSIUS, as Heinrich has done. Nor is there any sufficient ground for supposing that the prologue is fragmentary. The two parts-of seven verses each -do not hang well together, but the connection of the thought is not so remote after all. 'In the former part, Persius ridicules the pretended source of the poetical inspiration of his time, in the latter he exposes its real origin' (Teuffel).
More open to debate is the relation of the prologue to the satires. Is it an introduction to all, or only to the first? It is true that the prologue seems to belong especially to the first. Both furnish us with a programme of the poet's views, with a confession of faith which consisted in a want of faith in the age; but as the First Satire itself contains a vindication of the poet's work, and forms an introduction to the other fire satires, it is safer not to restrict the prologue to the narrower office.
It is needless to say that these verses have not lacked adınirers and imitators. The latter half is parodied by Milton (In Salmasii Hundredam), and the line magister artis ingenique largitor is expanded by Rabelais (4, 59).
The metre is the scazon or choliambus (G., 755; A.; 82, 2, a, R), and as the combination of different rhythms is one of the peculiarities of the earlier satura, it is not unlikely that PERSIUS followed an older pattern. In PETRONIUS, cap. 5, the choliambus is in like manner followed by the hexameter, but the analogy is not close. The choliambus, the invention of the great lampoonist HIPPONAX, is admirably adapted by its structure for the expression of disappointment, vexation, discontent. The march of the iambus is suddenly checked in the fifth foot, and the rapid measure violently tripped up. It is a mischievous metre, and betrays in its malice the Thersitic character of its inventor.
1. The allusion is to Ennius, the alter Homerus, who drank of Hippocrene (PROP., 3, 2 , 6), and dreamed that he had seen his great original on Parnassus (Cic., Ac. Pr., 2, 16, 51).- fonte: “in the spring.' The Latin Abl. often has a locative translation, when the conception is not necessarily or not distinctly locative. (G.,* 387.)-prolui : 'drenched' is designedly misused. The figure is Litotes. (G., 448, R. 2.) The greater the depression, the greater the rebound. Non prolui labra = ne primoribus quidem labris attigi.--caballino: Fons caballinus, 'hack's spring, is a mock translation of Hippocrene ='intov kpívn: the fountain opened by Pegasus with his hoof. Caballus is a comic equivalent of equus. Comp. JUVENAL's Gorgonei caballi (3, 118).
2. bicipiti : "two-peaked.' Parnassus is called biceps, either because it appears to have two peaks from such common points of view as the entrance to the Corinthian Gulf (δικόρυμβος ο Παρναoós, LUCIAN, Char., 5), or because of the two tall cliffs (Ov., Met., 1, 316; 2, 221)—the Qaidpiádes of DIODORUS (16, 28), the diłopos térpa of SOPHOCLES (Ant., 1126)—between which the Castalian spring takes its rise.-somniasse : sc. me somniasse (G., 527, R. 2; M., 401). With memini the Pres. Inf. is more common of Personal Recollection (G., 277, R; A., 58, 11, 6), but the Perfect is also found when the action is distinctly recognized as a by-gone. *G.=Gildersleeve's L. Grammar; A.=Allen and Greenongh's; M. = Madvig's. Comp. saepe velut gemmas eius signumque probarem | per causam memini me tetigisse manum, TIB., 1, 6, 26. Also Ov., Am., 3, 7, 25-6; A, A., 2, 169. The Perfect is especially appropriate here, as the balance of the period would seem to require nec prolui nec (quod meminerim) somniavi; and so Conington with correct instinct translates, “never that I can remember.'
3. sic: outws, “just so, without any warning, any preparation.'—prodirem: ‘make my appearance' (as it were on the stage).
4. Heliconidas: The Muses. Comp. HESIOD (Theog., 1). Hermann prefers the epic form, Heliconiadas.—-que-.que: G., 478; A., 43, 2, a. -pallidamque Pirenen: Pirene is the fountain of Acrocorinthus, where Pegasus was broken in by Bellerophon. The poetic virtue of its water was a late discovery. Pallidam, attribute for effect. Comp. pallida mors, xlwpòv déos, and the like. The pallor of students and poets needs no illustration.
5. remitto: åpinje, for the more usual relinquo, which is a common v.l. Kisselius (Specimen criticum, p.51) cites Cic., De Orat., 1, 58: tibi remittunt istam voluptatem et ea se carere patiuntur; and Tac., Hist., 4, 11: vim principis complecti, nomen remittere.imagines : busts' (set up in libraries, public and private). Comp. ut dignus venias hederis et imagine macra, Juv., 7, 29.lambunt: more frequently used of flames.
6. hederae: Notice the plural, ‘ivy wreaths,'G., 195, R.6. The ivy, being sacred to Bacchus, formed the wreath of victors in scenic contests; thence transferred to poets generally.-sequaces :"lissom, pliant.' PERSIUS seldom, if ever, uses a merely descriptive epithet, and hence some commentators have detected a sneer in these words, 'lackeying ivy belicks.' -— semipaganus : “poor half-brother of the guild' (Conington). The paganus is admitted to all the sacra pagi (paganalia); the semipaganus is a lay-brother. PERSIUS is not a vates, but a semivates. He is not initiated into what ARISTOPHANES calls the γενναίων όργια Μουσών,
, Ran., 356. Those who believe that the Satires of PERSIUS were aimed at Nero, see in semipaganus,“ half-educated,' as well as in the last seven verses, a deliberate disguise of the poet's real condition, as a man of culture and of wealth. They overlook the sneer at the class which he is not worthy to join.
7. vatum: with the same tone of derision as in the English equivalent, - bards.?—nostrum: perhaps not simply=meum, but native, home-made.'
8. expedivit : Expedire and conari both imply difficulty (Jahn), but the difficulty is completely conquered in expedire; not so in conari. The parrot, if not a Greek (Hittakós), is a Hellenized Hindoo (bitak), and has learned to utter glibly his familiar Bonjour. The magpie is an Italian, and not so deft. Others regard this interpretation, which is essentially Jahn's, as too subtle, and make verba nostra, which many prefer to nostra verba, simply equivalent to “human speech.'—chaere=xaipɛ. Greek was the language of small talk, love talk, parrot-talk.
10. magister artis ingenique largitor: Magister, of that which is taught; largitor, of that which comes from nature's bounty; -que combines the two into an exhaustive unit (G., 478; A., 43, 3, a). The thought recurs in numberless forms. Comp. å nevía, Διόφαντε, μόνα τάς τέχνας εγείρει, THEOCR., 21, 1; Paupertas omnes artis perdocet, PLAUT., Stich., 1, 3. 23 (Jahn). Add xpeia didáckel, kâv Bpaơús tis y, copóv, EUR., fr. 709 (Nauck), and Alexis, fr. 205 (3,479 Mein.), where the yaotup is expressly mentioned. Birds, it seems, were trained to talk by hunger.
11. negatas: (a natura).-artifex sequi: poetic syntax for a. sequendi. G., 424, R. 4. (comp. 429, R.4); A., 57, 8, 5, 3. A so-called Greek construction. See 1, 59. 70. 118; 5, 15. 24; 6, 6. 24.sequi= sectari.—voces : (articulate) 'speech.'
12. quod si: ‘Nay, if but.' Commentators on HORACE still indulge in remarks on the unpoetical character of quod si, copying Orelli on Od., 1, 1, 35. If quod si is prosåic, PROPERTIUS is to be pitied; he uses it at every turn.-dolosi : seductive, alluring.' PERSIUS does not deal much in 'general epithets;' hence dólcov képôos (PIND., Pyth., 4, 140) is not a sufficient parallel.—refulserit: better every way than refulgeat, which Jahn accepts in his ed. of 1868. The Perf. Subj. is more vivid and more correct than the Present. Re- must not be overlooked. Like the English
again,' it denotes the reversal of a previous condition. Refulgere, 'to catch the eye by its glitter," "to flash on the sight?—whereas it lay unnoticed before.-nummi: better translated as a coin. Comp. "The Splendid Shilling, “The Almighty Dollar;' per