Obrázky na stránke







The Poet's design in this Satire, which deservedly holds the

first rank among all performances of the kind, is to represent the various wishes and desires of mankind, and to shew the folly of them. He mentions riches, honours, eloquence, fame for martial achievements, long life, and beauty, and gives instances of their having proved ruinous to the

OMNIBUS in terris, quæ sunt a Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangem, pauci dignoscere possunt
Vera bona, atque illis multùm diversa, remota
Erroris nebula : quid enim ratione timemus,
Aut cupimus? quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te


* This Satire has been always ad Line 1. Gades.] An island without the mired ; Bishop Burnet goes so far, as to Straits of Gibraltar in the south part of recommend it (together with Persius) to Spain, divided from the continent by a the serious perusal and practice of the small creek. Now called Cadiz, by divines in his diocese, as the best com- corruption Cales. mon places for their sermons, as the 2. The East.] Aurora, (quasi aurea storehouses and magazines of moral vir- hora, from the golden-coloured splendour tues, from whence they may draw out, of day-break,) metonym. the East. as they have occasion, all manner of as -Ganges.] The greatest river in the sistance for the accomplishment of a vir- East, dividing India into two parts. tuous life. The tenth Satire (says Cru 3, 4. Cloud of error.] That veil of sius in his Lives of the Roman Poets) darkness and ignorance which is over is inimitable for the excellence of its the human mind, and hides from it, as morality, and sublime sentiments. it were, the faculty of perceiving our







possessors of them. He concludes, therefore, that we should leave it to the gods to make a choice for us, they knowing what is most for our good. All that we can safely ask is health of body and mind: possessed of these, we have enough to make us happy, and therefore it is not much matter what we want beside.

In all lands, which are from Gades to
The East and the Ganges, few can distinguish
True good things, and those greatly different from them, the

cloud Of removed : for what, with reason do we fear, Or desire? what do you contrive so prosperously, that you 5


real and best interests, as distinguished dexter-a-um, therefore, signifies lucky, from those which are deceitful and ima- favourable, fortunate, propitious — as ginary.

lævus-a-um, unlucky, inconvenient, un4. What, with reason, &c.] According seasonable. to the rules of right and sober reason. Tam dextro pede is equivalent to tam

5. So prosperously, &c.] Tam dextro fausto---secundo---prospero pede. pedemon so prosperous a footing—with I pede fausto-go on and prosper. ever such hope and prospect of success, Hor. lib. ii, epist. ii. l. 37. So VIRG. that you may not repent your endeavour Æn. viii. 1. 302. (conatus) and pains to accomplish it, Et nos et tua dexter adi pede sacra seand of your desires and wishes being cundo. fully completed and answered ?—votique Approach us, and thy sacred rites, peracti.

with thy favourable presence.' The right and left were ominous- Pes-- lit. a foot, that member of the


Conatus non pæniteat, votique peracti?
Evertere domos totas optantibus ipsis
Dî faciles. Nocitura toga, nocitura petuntur
Militia. Torreps dicendi copja multis,
Et sua mortifera est facundia. Viribus ille
Confisus periit, admirandisque lacertis.
Sed plures nimia congesta pecunia cura
Strangulat, et cuncta exsuperans patrimonia census,
Quanto delphinis balæna Britannica major.
Temporibus diris igitur, jussuque- Neronis,
Longinum, et magnos Senecæ prædivitis hortos
Clausit, et egregias Lateranorum obsidet ædes
Tota cohors : rarus venit in cænacula miles.
Pauca licet portes argenti vascula puri,
Nocte iter ingressus, gladium contumque timebis,
Et motæ ad lunam trepidabis arundinis umbram.

Prima fere vota, et cunctis notissima templis,


[ocr errors]


body on which we stand-sometimes former driven, by the malice of his ene-
means the foundation of any thing—a mies, to poison himself; the latter slain
plot for brilding ;-80, in a moral sense, by order of M. Antony. See Keys-
those conceptions and contrivances of LER's Travels, vol. ii. p. 342, note.
the mind, which are the foundations of 10. To his strength, &c.] Alluding to
human action, on which men build for Milo, the famous wrestler, born at Cro-
profit or happiness :—this seems to be ton, in Italy, who, presuming too much
its meaning here.

on his great strength, would try whether
7. The easy gods, &c.] The gods, by he could not rend asunder a tree which
yielding to the prayers and wishes of was cleft as it grew in the forest ; it
mankind, have often occasioned their yielded at first to his violence, but it
ruin, by granting such things as in the closed presently again, and, catching
end proved hurtful. So that, in truth, his hands, held him till the wolves de
men, by wishing for what appeared to voured him.
them desirable, have, in effect, them 12. Destroys.] Lit. strangles. Met.
selves wished their own destruction. ruins, destroys.

8. By the gown, &c.] Toga here being The poet is here shewing, that, of all opposed to militia, may allude to the things which prove ruinous to the posgown worn by the senators and magis- sessors, money, and especially an overtrates of Rome; and so, by meton. grown fortune, is one of the most fatal signify their civil offices in the govern -and yet, with what care is this heaped ment of the state.—q. d. Many have together! wished for a share in the government 13. Exceeding, &c.] i.e. Beyond the and administration of civil affairs, others rate of a common fortune. for high rank and post of command in 14. A British whale.] A whale found the army,

each of which have been in the British seas. attended with damage to those who 16. Longirus.] Cassius Longinus, put have eagerly sought after them.

to death by Nero: his pretended crime 9. A fuent copiousness, &c.] Many co was, that he had, in his chamber, an vet a great degree of eloquence ; but image of Cassius, one of Julius Cæsar's how fatal has this proved to possessors murderers; but that which really made of it! Witness Demosthenes and Cicero, him a delinquent was his great wealth, who both came to violent deaths ;-the which the emperor seized.

May not repent of your endeavour, and of your accomplished

wish ? The easy gods have overturned whole houses, themselves Wishing it. Things hurtful by the gown, hurtful by warfare, Are asked: a fluent copiousness of speech to many And their own eloquence is deadly.--He, to his strength 10 Trusting, and to his wonderful arms, perished. But money, heap'd together with too much care, destroys More, and an income exceeding all patrimonies, As much as a British whale is greater than dolphins. Therefore in direful times, and by the command of Nero, 15 A whole troop Longinus, and the large gardens of wealthy Seneca,

[raniSurrounded, and besieged the stately buildings of the LateThe soldier seldom comes into a garret. Tho' you should carry a few smail vessels of pure silver, Going on a journey by night, you will fear the sword and the

pole, And tremble at the shadow of a reed moved, by moon-light. AN EMPTY TRAVELLER WILL SING BEFORE A ROBBER. Commonly the first things prayed for, and most known at

all temples,


- Seneca, &c.] Tutor to Nero--sup- not so rich as to become an object of the posed to be one in Piso's conspiracy, but emperor's avarice and cruelty, yet you put to death for his great riches. Sylva- can't travel by night, with the paltry nus the tribune, by order of Nero, sur- charge of a little silver plate, without rounded Seneca's magnificent villa, near fear of your life from robbers, who may Rome, with a troop of soldiers, and then either stab you with a sword, or knock sent in a centurion to acquaint him with you down with a bludgeon, in order to the emperor's orders, that he should put rob you. himself to death. On the receipt of this, 20. Pole.] Contus signifies a long pole he opened the veins of his arms and legs, or staff—also a weapon, wherewith they then was put into a hot bath ; but this used to fight beasts upon the stage. It not finishing him, he drank poison. is probable that the robbers about Rome 17.Surrounded.] Beset-encompassed. armed themselves with these, as ours,

-Laterani.] Plautius Lateranus about London, arm themselves with had a sumptuous palace, in which he large sticks or bludgeons. was beset by order of Nero, and killed 21. Tremble, &c.] They are alarmed so suddenly, by Thurius the tribune, at the least appearance of any thing that he had not a moment's time allowed moving near them, even the trembling him to take leave of his children and and nodding of a bulrush, when its shafamily. He had been designed consul. dow appears by moonlight.

18. The soldier, &c.] Cænaculum signi 22. Empty traveller, fc.] Having nofies a place to sup in-an upper cham- thing to lose, he has nothing to fear, and ber-also a garret, a cockloft in the top therefore has nothing to interrupt his of the house, commonly let to poor peo jollity as he travels along, though in the ple, the inhabitants of which were too poor presence of a robber. to run any risk of the emperor's sending 23. Temples, &c.] Where people go soldiers to murder them for what they to make prayers to the gods, and to imhad.

plore the fulfilment of their desires and 19. Tho'

'you should carry, &c.] Though wishes.



Divitiæ ut crescant, ut opes; ut maxima toto
Nostra sit arca foro: sed nulla aconita bibuntur
Fictilibus: tunc illa time, cum pocula sumes
Gemmata, et lato Setinum ardebit in auro.
Jamne igitur laudas, quod de sapientibus alter
Ridebat, quoties a limine moverat unum
Protuleratque pedem: flebat contrarius alter?
Sed facilis cuivis rigidi censura cachinni:
Mirandum est, unde ille oculis suffecerit humor.
Perpetuo risu pulmonem agitare solebat
Democritus, quanquam non essent urbibus illis
Prætexta, et trabeæ, fasces, lectica, tribunal.
Quid, si vidisset Prætorem in curribus altis
Extantem, et medio sublimem in pulvere circi,
In tunica Jovis, et pictæ Sarrana ferentem
Ex humeris aulæa togæ, magnæque coronæ
Tantum orbem, quanto cervix non sufficit ulla?
Quippe tenet sudans hanc publicus, et sibi consul



25. The greatest, &c.] The forum, or these things, might indeed reasonably market-place, at Rome, was the place fear being poisoned by somebody, in where much money-business was trans order to get their estates. acted, and where money-lenders and 28. Do you approve.] Laudas-praise borrowers met together; and he that or commend his conduct ; for while these was richest, and had most to lend, was philosophers lived, many accounted them sure to make the greatest sums by in- mad. terest on his money, and perhaps was -One of the wise men, &c.] Meanmost respected. Hence the poet may ing Democritus of Abdera, who always be understood to mean, that it was the laughed, because he believed our actions chief wish of most people to be richer to be folly: whereas Heraclitus of Ephethan others.--Or, he may here allude to sus, the other of the wise men here the chests of money belonging to the se alluded to, always wept, because he nators, and other rich men, which were thought them to be misery. laid up for safety in some of the build 29. As oft as, &c.] Whenever he went ings about the forum, as the temple of out of his house-as oft as he stepped Castor, and others. Comp. sat. xiv. l. over his threshold. 258, 9.

30. The other.] Heraclitus. See note -No poisons, &c.] The poorer sort on line 28. of people might drink out of their coarse 31. The censure, &c.] It is easy enough cups of earthen ware, without any fear to find matter for severe laughter. Riof being poisoned for what they had. gidi here, as an epithet to laughter, seems 26. Them.] Poisons.

to denote that sort of censorious sneer 27. Set with gems.] See sat. v. 1. 37— which condemns and censures, at the 45. This was a mark of great riches. same time that it derides the follies of

-Setine wine.] So called from Se mankind. tia, a city of Campania. It was a most 32. The wonder is, &c.] How Heraclidelicious wine, preferred by Augustus, tus could find tears enough to express his and the succeeding emperors, to all grief at human wretchedness, guilt, and other. Glows with a fine red colour, woe, the occasions of it are so frequent, and sparkles in the cup.

34. In those cities.]. As there is at -Wide gold.] Large golden cups. Rome.—The poet here satirizes the ridiThose who were rich enough to afford culous appendages and ensigns of office,

« PredošláPokračovať »