Obrázky na stránke
[ocr errors]

The former is supposed to be the subject, with his wife Myrtale, of an epitaph of four lines on a cippus' preserved among the Arundel marbles, with the heads of an elderly man and woman'. Both these persons were Greeks, connected, as is clear from the gentilician names they bore, with Roman families of distinction.

Paetus Thrasea is mentioned by Juvenal, with his son-in-law, Helvidius Priscus (S. v. 36). His character was that of an honest man in times of the worst corruption, and his affection for Persius, which the Grammarian

says lasted nearly ten years, and therefore only ended with his death (for Thrasea survived him four years), was a strong testimony to the poet's goodness. It is said they sometimes travelled together, but we are not told where they travelled. There is no trace in the writings of Persius of his having been out of Italy. Thrasea was put to death with scarcely the shadow of a pretext, A.D. 66. The Senate condemned him under compulsion.

Arria, the wife of Thrasea, was the daughter of Arria mentioned above, and it was for her Persius wrote the lines on her mother's death which were destroyed with his other juvenile productions. The relationship between Arria and Persius is not known.

His father, it appears, left a sister, and it would seem that she lived with her sister-in-law after Flaccus' death. According to the amended text of the life Persius had an only sister. It does not appear whether his mother had any family by her second marriage. His love for these ladies and his dutiful attention to them are represented as most exemplary, and to their society no doubt, as Jahn says, he owed much of that maidenly modesty and gentleness of character which the Grammarian attributes to him. That he was carefully watched and kept from temptation in boyhood may be inferred from what he says to Cornutus, S. v. 32, sqq., and the same care was shown in the selection of that good man for his teacher. His father when he died left him under a “tutor,' whose name is not mentioned, but who there is every reason to suppose discharged his trust faithfully, for Persius died rich, leaving his mother and sister between them two millions of sesterces ? in ready money.

His death took place on the 24th November, A.D. 62, at his own country house, eight miles from Rome, on the Appian road, which was so lined with the villas of wealthy Romans that Bovillae, four miles farther on, was sometimes called a suburb. (See note on S. vi. 52.)

1 Κλαύδιος Ιητήρ 'Αγαθήμερος ενθάδε κείμαι,

Παντoίης δεδαώς κραιπνον άκεσμα νόσου.
Ξυνον τούτο δέ μοι και Μυρτάλη εισα συνεύνη

Μνήμα μετ' ευσεβέων δ' έσμεν εν Ηλυσίω. • About £16,000.

He wanted ten days to complete his twenty-eighth year. A paragraph in the memoir, which is from a later hand than the first part, says ho died of a disease of the stomach. This is probably an invention, and

a there is no other evidence of the cause of his death. From the company he kept, his political feelings must have been well known, and had he lived longer he might have shared the fate of his most intimate friends, of whom Thrasea, Seneca, Lucanus, were put to death, and Cornutus was banished.

He left behind him, besides the productions of his early years above referred to, no more than the six Satires in this book ", the last of which, as appears plain to me from the ending, as well as from the obvious meaning of the Grammarian's words, he must have left unfinished. These he probably had communicated only to his intimate friends during his life; but after his death, Cornutus, whom he probably left his executor, having slightly revised the Satires, gave them to Caesius Bassus, at his (Bassus') request, to edit. Attempts have been made to trace the corrections of Cornutus, one of those tasks that certain understandings delight in. The famous line noticed by the Grammarian (S. i. 121) may very well have been written by Persius, as he says; and though his editor could not have published it without bringing disgrace and perhaps destruction on himself, and the alteration may therefore be excused, the verse cannot be said to have been mended by the substitution of the words that now form part of the text. When the volume was published it immediately attracted attention, and was much read and admired. Since Horace no one of any ability had put forth writings of this kind, and in these Satires there was found much to remind the public of their favourite poet, combined with a great deal of originality and genius. Persius' intimate acquaintance with Horace's poems appears in a great number of passages, most of which show that unconscious imitation which is the surest sign of the minute study of an author. Casaubon has collected a large number of parallel passages from the two authors, some of which may perhaps be a little strained.

Persius is said by his biographer to have been slow in composition. This is very likely. His verse does not flow in a rapid and muddy stream like that of Lucilius, as Horace describes him (S. i. 4), but as

himself “ caedit pluteum et demorsos sapit ungues” (S. i. 106). He has evidently taken Horace's advice (S. i. 10. 69, sqq.) too literally, and corrected himself till his language has become short and the ideas condensed, to a degree that makes the sense in some places obscure. Modern readers have found great fault with the poet on this account. But I think the obscurity has been exaggerated, and that, except

he says

[ocr errors]

3 See note 5.

a few passages, the Satires are as free from difficulty as most of Juvenal's.

They were much admired by the ancients ', and have been abundantly quoted by Grammarians, by Fathers of the Church, and mediæral writers. If certain passages are less familiar to modern ears than their fitness for quotation might lead us to expect, it is from the difficulties of the poetry, which have deterred men of our day from reading it as it deserves. The subject of the first Satire, which deals with the vicious poetical taste of the day, and has many quotations from, or imitations of, the verses of contemporary writers, would be more interesting and intelligible when it was first published than it is to us, and this Satire alone would create a large demand for the volume. The Epistle to Macrinus comes more home to ourselves as dealing with the worship of God, the selfish or worldly abuse of which is common to all ages.

The introduction I have prefixed to the third Satire may perhaps lead some to read it with curiosity, and they will not be disappointed. The more I read it, the more I admire it. Self-ignorance is a large subject, which might be better handled than it is in the fourth Satire; and the folly of running after and hoarding money to be squandered by one's heirs is not done as much justice to in the sixth as it probably would have been if the poet had finished it. The fifth is generally considered the best in the book, though I myself prefer the third. In the fifth there is that tribute to the goodness of Cornutus which proves the goodness of the writer and the gracefulness with which he could write. It also shows more of the philosophical school in which Persius had been trained, without however introducing any thing more new than the Stoic doctrine that the only free man is the sage, with which Cicero and Horace had before made their readers familiar. There are more imitations of Horace in this Satire than in

any other,

A writer of satire may be .ferus et violens' with his pen, and yet very amiable in manners, as the Grammarian describes Persius to have been. He may also in those days have been chaste and modest, and yet have used language for the exposure of vice which now cannot be used, or even read without discomfort. There is nothing in Persius' style to contradict the pleasing description given of him by his biographer, which probably was quite true. More than one gem now in existence has

* Jul. Scaliger thought Persius wrote obscurely on purpose that fools might admire him. He is very severe on Persius. (See Scal. Poet. vi. c. 6, iii.c. 97.)

> Quintilian (x. 1. 94) says, “Multum et verae gloriae, quamvis uno libro, Persius meruit." Martial (iv. 29) says,

Saepius in libro numeratur Persius uno

Quam levis in tota Marsus Amazonide.”

been supposed to represent the handsome features attributed to Persius, but they may be any body, and we must be content with the Grammarian's testimony to his beauty.

The publishers of this edition of Juvenal and Persius, having determined to reprint the book, asked me to correct the sheets. Though very busy about other things, I could not refuse to perform this slight service for the work of my departed friend. It is to me a cause of great regret that Mr. Macleane did not live to revise this volume. His tastes and his abilities particularly qualified him to, be an editor of Juvenal and Persius; and as a first edition of such a book must be imperfect, he would certainly have improved it, if he had lived long enough. His knowledge of the world, his strong sense, quick perception, and sound judgment, applied to a second edition, might have produced a work that would have satisfied the readers of Juvenal and Persius for some time, What he has done however is well worth preserving, and I believe that future editors,—and in due time they will appear,—may find in the Introductions, Arguments, and Notes, much matter that will help them towards the meaning of the Satirists. I do not think that Mr. Macleane has often missed the sense of his authors, and he has certainly seized it sometimes where other editors have not. He possessed one quality in a striking degree—a bold and independent judgment, without which an editor is in danger of being confused and misled by a great variety of opinions. His notes show the character of his mind. He often expresses his opinion very positively, and sometimes perhaps in a way that may offend; but he had a sincere respect for good sense and sound knowledge in others; he had none of the feeble conceit which often goes with what is termed learning, and he had some reason to feel confidence in his own judgment, for few men were so quick in detecting an absurdity or went so straight to the meaning of a thing. The introduction to the thirteenth Satire of Juvenal is an evidence of his large and liberal views on a subject on which many who belong to his profes sion, and even others who do not, have uttered and still utter their wretched commonplaces.

I have not altered the text of this edition, and in only a few places the punctuation. I have added a collation of this text of Juvenal with that of Jahn, whose useful edition is now generally considered the best. I have not made the collation myself, but I have examined it and I hope it is sufficient. This collation does not show the differences in orthography, where the words are the same, nor the differences in punctuation except in some cases where these differences affect the sense. I have examined all the passages in which these two texts differ, and I find a great many in which Macleane's text is better than that of Jahn, who has introduced some bad readings. I have observed a few passages in which I should prefer Jahn's text, but on the whole I think the Englishman has shown more good sense and judgment than the German.

I have added in the notes nearly all the variations of Ribbeck's text. Many of Ribbeck's variations are the same as Jahn's, but he has some of his own, and most of them seem to me bad. Some of his transpositions improve the text, but most of them do not. He has handled the sixth Satire so freely as to the transposition and omission of verses, that it would require much time and study to pass a just judgment on his labour;

but it will be generally allowed that the matter of this Satire, as it stands in the common texts, is not well arranged.

I have made many small corrections in Mr. Macleane's notes, where there was some slight error or mis-statement, but I have omitted nothing and altered nothing which I believe the editor would not have omitted or corrected. He would probably have changed his opinion on some points, and would both have omitted and altered much more than I have done, for my business was not to edit Juvenal and Persius, but to preserve the work of my friend. The references in this volume are very numerous, and the causes of errors in the figures of such references are various. I have corrected a great many wrong references, and though I cannot hope that I have corrected all, I believe that the errors which remain are not many.

In the references to the MSS. I have discovered a few slight errors since this book was printed, but they are not such as to require any rticular notice. I have added a little in the notes here and there, where I thought it necessary.

All the additions which I have made are marked thus [ ].

Ribbeck has published an essay on Juvenal(“Der Echte und der Unechte Juvenal, Berlin,” 1865), which is to some extent a justification of his text. After briefly stating how much we learn from Juvenal of Roman manners from the time of Tiberius to Trajan and Hadrian, he adds that this knowledge is got exclusively from the first nine Satires and the eleventh; that the tenth, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth supply scarcely any information of the kind. They contain mere allusions to well-known names and persons, or introduce characters of various kinds, which are not marked by any individuality. The genuine Juvenal is a follower of Lucilius, and though he did not lash his con

« PredošláPokračovať »