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But it is necessary to the comprehension of this passage to observe here, that the poet speaks figuratively, and borrows his metaphor from the taste. The word sapere literally signifies to taste; and Persius continues his observations, as if he had really employed sapere in its literal signification. This will shew us that we are not to take the phrase pipere et palmis in its literal sense, any more than the word sapere. Now let us see how the sense of this difficult passage will be. Bestius, says the satirist, inveighs against the teachers of the Grecian philosophy. “So it is,” cries he, “that since they have come among us, hoc nostrum sapere maris expers: this our taste, not versant in foreign flavoúrsmi. e. the plain natural sense of the Roman people) postquam urbi cum pipere et palmis venit: afterwards came to the city with pepper and dates-(i. e. afterwards was corrupted by vicious innovations)— Fænisecæ crasso vitiarunt unguine pultas : the hay-cutters have vitiated their puddings with thick oil-(i. e, and even the lowest orders of the people have become corrupt and luxurious.)
Non adeo, inquis, Exossatus ager juxta est.Casaubon has rightly interpreted exossatus ager, “ a piece of land cleared froin rocks and stones ;" i. e, a cultivated field. But I differ from that commentator, when, by understanding urbem, he makes juxta equivalent to suburbanus. There is certainly no authority for this; and I am doubtful if it be not altogether contrary to the sense. All the commentators, indeed, seem to me, to have mistaken the meaning of this difficult passage, from construing juxta as a preposition, and not as an adverb. I know very well, that when juxta is taken adverbially it generally signifies æque, eodem modo, similiter. Thus Tacitus, spem ac metum juxta gravatus. But this rule is not without its exceptions. Suetonius has the following passage. Tantique in avum, et qui juxta erant, obsequii, ut non immerito sit dictum, nec servum meliorem ullum, nec deteriorem dominum fuisse.
Now as, in the words of Persius, there is no accusative expressed, I am there also inclined to understand juxta as an adverb. I think too, it helps to elucidate the sense ; but of that, the reader will presently judge.
I agree with a commentator whose notes in general are puerile enough, that “ the taking est from juxta, and transferring it to exossatus, is not the natural method of the syntax.” I, however, differ entirely from him when he says that exossatus signifies exhausted.
I likewise think that non adeo refers to what has been before said, and should by no means be construed with exossatus. I would therefore point the passage as follows,
“ Non adeo," inquis;' « Exossatus ager juxta est." I shall now give my own interpretation. The selfish and avaricious heir is pressed by his relation, to say
whether or not he objects to the manner in which this latter proposes to expend his fortune. An prohibes? cries the rich man. Dic clare. Non adeo, inquis; not so truly, say you; but you add, exossatus ager juxta est; a rich field is hard by. The relation immediately perceives that his heir by this insinuates, that though he does not openly object to his proposed plans of expenditure, yet he would recommend a wiser method of laying out his money.-viz. in the purchase of an estate, which though it might add nothing to his own pleasureś, might benefit those who are to succeed to him. In consequence the rich man is offended, and exclaims,
Age si mibi nulla Jam reliqua ex amitis, &c. This explanation appears to myself to be satisfactory, and I hope it will be found so by others. The only objection, I think, that can be urged against it, is with respect to the meaning and construction of adeo. But I find it used sometimes for certè, as the reader will see by looking into Stephanus; and, employed in this way, it answers to the sense I give the passage.
Depinge ubi sistam Inventus, Chrysippe, tui finitor acervi. In the preceding satire it may have been observed, that I have rendered fruge Cleanthea literally Cleanthean corn. This may appear obscure, and it may be thought, that I might have said better, with Dryden, Stoic insti
tutes, or even with Brewster, Stoic seed. But it appeared to me, that Persius probably had some reason for expressing himself as he did, and I am confirmed in this opinion by the words above quoted.
After Zeno, Cleanthes and Chrysippus were the most distinguished teachers among the Stoics. Cleanthes appears to have followed pretty closely the steps of his master Zeno; but Chrysippus has in inany things differed from both. Hence the Stoics were not thoroughly agreed amongst themselves; some following Cleanthes, and others Chrysippus. Persius, both by his using the expression fruge Cleanthea in the fifth satire, and by this sarcasm against Chrysippus in the sixth, seems desirous to mark whom of the two philosophers he preferred.
1. The first point concerning which Cleanthes and Chrysippus differed, was with respect to perception. The former thought, that sensible impressions were made upon the brain, and that the objects of its contemplation were actually imprinted upon it. This opinion is not very dissimilar to those of Democritus, Leucippus, and Aristotle. It was, however, justly controverted by Chrysippus. The doctrine of material images floating betwixt mind and matter, and of the sensible species of things leaving impressions upon the brain, is one of the most vulnerable parts, either of the Epicurean, or of the Aristotelian philosophy.
2. The next question, upon which these two philosophers disagreed, was, whether or not virtue could be
lost, after having been once acquired. Cleanthes maintained that it could not, Chrysippus that it could. If human virtue were perfect virtue, I should think with Cleanthes.
3. The tendency of the Stoics to materialism, did not prevent them from asserting, that the world had a mind which guided, and a providence which protected it. Chrysippus maintained that providence existed in the æther, and Cleanthes that it resided in the sun. Non nostrum tantas componere lites.
The reader may find other subjects of difference in the precepts of these celebrated Stoics, by consulting Diogenes Laertius, and Stobæus among the ancients, and Stanley and Bruckerus among the moderns. Referring him to these authors, I forbear dwelling any longer upon this subject, or swelling these Notes to a greater size.
Depinge ubi sistam