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P R O L 0 G U E
writes for bread. After this he breaks into the business of the first Satire, which is chiefly to decry the poetry then in fashion, and the impudence of those who were endeavouring to pass their stuff" upon the world."
I HAVE neither moistened my lips with the Caballine fountain,
without any pains or study—by imme- others have derived from the Muses and diate inspiration, as it were.
the sacred fountains : these, says he, I 4. Heliconides.] The Muses, so called leave to such great men as have their from Helicon. See l. 1, note.
images set up in the temple of the Muses, - Pirene.] Pirene was another foun. and crowned with ivy, in token of hotain near Corinth, sacred to the Muses; so called from Pirene, the daughter of Me doctarum hederæ præmia frontium Achelous, who is fabled to have wept Diis miscent superis. forth from her eyes the fountain called
Hor. ode i. lib. i. 1. 29, 30. by her name. The epithet pale may The pliant ivy.] The ivy bends, and refer to the complexion of Pirene pale intwines whatever it is planted against, with grief: or, as some think, is to be and may be said to follow the form and understood figuratively, to denote the bent thereof : hence the epithet sequaces. paleness of those poets who studied and So, when gathered and made into chaplaboured hard to make their verses. See lets, it follows exactly the circular form sat. i. 1. 124, and note.
of the head on which it is placed, easily 5. Those, whose images, &c.] The poet bending and entwining it. Some think feigns himself to be an untutored rustic, that sequaces here intimales its followand to write merely from his own rude ing distinguished poets as their regenius, without those assistances which ward.
Hederæ sequaces. Ipse semipaganus
Quis expedivit psittaco suum xaige ?
Quod si dolosi spes refulserit nummi, Corvos poetas, et poetrias picas, Cantare credas Pegaseium melos.
6. Touch softly.) Lambo properly sig- as we daily see, is another bird which is nifies to lick with the tongue hence, to often taught to speak. touch gently or softly,
11. The belly.) i. e. Hunger, which is I, half a clown.) See above, note on the teacher of this, as of many other 1. 5.
arts--the giver of genius and capacity
7. Consecrated repositories, &c.) i. e. skilful and cunning to follow after the The temple of Apollo and the Muses most difficult attainments from which it built by Augustus on mount Palatine, can hope for relief to its cravings. where the works of the poets were kept -Cunning.) Artifex-icis. adj. See and recited. See Juv. sat. i. 1. 1, Ainsw. note.
-Denied words.] This hunger is a great 8. Who has expedited, &c.] Expedivit artist in this way, of teaching birds to lit. hastened.q. d. Who has made a utter human language, which naturally parrot so ready at speaking the word is denied them. zacīçe. This, like salve, ave, or the like, The birds are, in a manner, starved was a salutation among the ancients at into this kind of erudition, the masters meeting or parting: this they taught of them keeping them very sharp, and their parrots, or magpies, who used to rewarding them with a bit of food, when utter them, as ours are frequently taught they shew a compliance with their ento speak some similar common word. See deavours, from time to time. On this Mart. lib. xiv. ep. 73-6.
principle we have, in our day, seen won9. Taught magpies, &c.] The magpie, derful things, quite foreign to the nature
Touch softly. I, half a clown,
Who has expedited to a parrot his waige ?
10 The belly, cunning to follow denied words.
But if the hope of deceitful money should glitter,
of the animals, laught to horses, dogs, and so called, from its deceiving these' scribeven to swine.
blers into doing what they are not fit for, The poet means, that as parrots and and by doing of which they expose magpies are starved into learning to themselves to the utmost contempt and speak, which by nature is denied them, derision. so the scribblers, which be here intends 13. Raven-poets, &c.] Once let the to satirize, are driven into writing verses, gilded bait come in view, you will bear by their poverty and necessity, without such a recital of poetry, as would make any natural genius or talents whatso- you think that ravens and magpies were
turned poets and poetesses, and had been - 12. If the hope, &c.] These poor poets, taught to receive their performances. who are without all oatural genius, and 14. Pegaseian melody.) They would would therefore never think of writing; do this with so much effrontery, that inyet, such is their poverty, that if they stead of the wretched stuff which they can once encourage themselves to hope produced, you would think they were for a little money by writing, they will reciting something really poetical and instantly set about it.
sublime, as if they had drunk of Hip12. Deceitful money.) Money may, on pocrene itself, (see above, note on l. 1.) many accounts, deserve the epithet here or had mounted and soared aloft on the given it. But here, in particular, it is winged Pegasus.
a friend.—We may suppose Persius to be just seated in his
the times, and to write like other people. Persius acknowledges, that this would be the means of gaining
applause ; but adds, that the approbation of such patrons as this compliance would recommend him to was a thing not to be desired.
Hercule. P. Nemo ?
Line 1. O the cares, &c.] Persius is oath among the Romans. supposed to be reading this line, the first - Nobody?] Says Persius-Do you of the Satire which he had composed, literally mean what you say ? when bis friend is entering and overhears 3. Perhaps two, &c.] It may be, reit. Comp. Eccl. i. 2-14.
plies the friend, that here and there a 2. Who will read these?] Says his few readers may be found ; but I rather friend to him-i.e. Who, as the present think that even this will not be the case : taste at Rome is, will trouble themselves I grant this to be very hard, after the to read a work which begins with such pains which you have bestowed, and serious reflections? Your very first line very shameful. will disgust them — they like nothing but -Wherefore ?] Wherefore do call trifles.
it a miserable, or a shameful thing, not - Do you say that, &c.] Do you say to have my writings read? Are you that to me and my writings ?
afraid that I should be uneasy al seeing - Nobody.] Yes I do, and aver that my performances thrown aside, and you will not have a single reader; nay, those of a vile scribbler preferred ? I will swear it by Hercules-an usual 4. Polydumus and the Troiads, &c.] The
After this, he exposes the wretched taste which then prevailed in
Rome, both in verse nd prose, and shews what sad stuff the nobles wrote themselves, and encouraged in others. He laments that he dares not speak out, as Lucilius and Horace did—but it is no very difficult matter to perceive that he
frequently aims at the enperor Nero. He concludes, with a contempt of all blockheads, and says, that
the only readers, whose applause he courts, must be men of virtue and sense.
PERSIUS. MONITOR. P. 0 The cares of men ! O how much vanity is there in
things ! M. Who will read these ? P. Do you say that to me?
M. Nobody, truly. P. Nobody? M. Perhaps two, perhaps nobody; it is a shameful and la
mentable thing. P. Wherefore? Lest Polydamas and the Troiads should prefer Labeo To me? trifles!—do not, if turbid Rome should disparage 5
poet dares not speak out, therefore de 5. Trifies.] So far from its being the signs Nero and the Romans, under the miserable thing which you imagine, I feigned name of Polydamas and the look on it as ridiculous and trifling, nor Trojans, in allusion to Hector's fearing do I trouble my head about it. the reproaches of Polydamas (the son -If turbid Rome, &c.] Metaph. from in-law of Priam, and who is said to have waters, which, by being disturbed, are betrayed Troy to the Greeks) and of the muddy, thick, turbid, as we say. Trojan men and women, if he retired If the people of Rome, says the poet, within the walls of Troy. See Il. %. 1. turbid, i. e. 'muddy, not clear in their 100_5.
judgment, having their miods vexed and -Labeo.] A wretched poet, who made disturbed loo with what is written a miserable translation of Homer's Iliad. against them, disparage any work, and He was a court-poet, and a minion of speak lightly of ít, through anger and Nero.
prejudice, I desire you will not agree with VOL. II.