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against the emperor himself, whose hypocrisy, cruelty, and licentiousness, now become the object of his keenest reprobation. He did not, indeed, recite any more in public; but he continued to write during the remainder of Domitian's reign, to which period we may assign several of his Satires m. In 96 A. D. the world was happily relieved from the despotism of this tyrant: Nerva, who succeeded him, recalled the exiles. From this time, therefore, there can be little doubt of Juvenal's residing at Rome and pursuing his studies without further molestation. His first Satire after Domitian's death would seem to be S. iv"; and now he began to revise for publication his previous writings, prefixing to them S. i', by way of introduction. To this period we may also refer S. xP; and S. xi, which probably closed his poetical careero: unless we suppose S. xvi, to be genuine and left in an unfinished state at the author's death', which took place at an advanced age, when he was upwards of fourscore.
Aulus Persius Flaccus was born in 32 A.D. at Volaterra, a town of Etruria. When six years old, he lost his father; and, being of a delicate constitution, was educated entirely at home, till the age of twelve. For the benefit of masters, the family then removed to Rome: where Persius was placed under the most celebrated instructors, Remmius Palæmon the grammarian, and Virginius Flavus the rhetorician, with whom he made great proficiency. His mother, Fulvia Sisennia, had married again, and her house was the resort of many literary characters, mostly of the Stoic sect. On assuming the manly gown in his seventeenth year, he
m Viz. iii, (see note on v. 153) v, (see note on v. 36) vi, (compare the Argument and note on v. 205) and perhaps, xiii, (see note on v. 17) and xi, (see note on v. 205.)
n See the Argument.
See the Argument.
appears to have somewhat abused the first moments of liberty'; but soon, recovering from his delusion, he had recourse to Annæus Cornutus, an eminent Stoic and one of the professors who frequented his mother's house. In him he found a judicious guide and faithful friend for the remainder of his life; which was prematurely closed before the age of thirty. After leaving the bulk of his fortune, which was ample, to his mother and sister; he bequeathed his library (consisting of 700 books), a considerable quantity of plate, and a handsome legacy in money, to this learned and excellent man', who generously relinquished the latter to the relatives of the deceased poet.
This diversity of studies in the two authors before us has given a widely different character to their writings. In one we have the impassioned declaimer, in the other the uncompromising moralist. Persius, though he borrowed much of the language of Horace, has little of his manner. The immediate object of his imitation appears to be Lucilius. If he lashes vice with less severity than his great prototype, we must bear in mind that he lived in perilous times; that he was of a rank sufficiently distinguished to make such freedom dangerous, and of an age when life had yet lost little of its novelty: to write, therefore, even as he has written, proves him to be a person of no ordinary courage and virtue.
His writings are dramatic, after the manner of the Socratic dialogues: and an obscurity arises, sometimes, from the sudden change of characters", but more frequently, from a redundant use of tropes, (approaching in almost every instance to catachresis,) from an anxiety to compress his matter, and from a rapid and unexpected transition from one overstrained figure to another.
Stoicism, which had infected poetry even in Cicero's days, had subsequently spread with amazing rapidity. Its general
s Sat. v. 30-40.
prevalence might be owing to the increase of profligacy, for which it furnished a convenient cloak. Not that such a remark applies to Persius, though brought up in this school: for he practised most scrupulously the virtue which he recommends, and, at an age when few have acquired a decided character, left behind him an established reputation for genius, learning, and worth. To form a correct estimate of his mérits, it is requisite to have gained some acquaintance with the leading tenets of the sect which he embraced with such ardour. The most prominent of these were—the equality of all vices: the division of all mankind into two distinct classes, the wise and the foolish, without any intermediate gradations': the indissoluble concatenation of the virtues : and the indefectibility of wisdom; with its concomitant attributes of imperturbability and unmingled happiness, of genuine liberty, real independence, and even absolute supremacy”. While, however, he was making great proficiency in the principles and paradoxes of the porch, Persius made but little advancement in that knowledge which is so essential for a Satirist, the knowledge of the world. At the political and moral degradation of his country he would seem to have felt no indignation; at least, he expresses none. He dreams of no freedom but that enjoyed by the followers of Zeno; and the tyrants with whom he delights to grapple are always those of the mind.
Juvenal, like Persius, professes to follow Lucilius b; but what was in one a simple attempt, is in the other a real imitation of his manner. Less of a courtier than Horace, and more a man of the world than his immediate precursor, he laboured with a magnificence of language peculiarly his own, to pourtray in the strongest colours the loveliness of virtue and the deformity of vice. What Horace had done
* Sat. v.
y Sat. v. 121 sqq. z Sat. v. 73 sqq.
Paganism and Christianity compared :" in Lectures to the King's Scholars at Westminster by John Ireland, D.D. 8vo. 1814.
6 Juv, i. 19 sq. Pers. i. 114 sq.
for decorum and taste, that Juvenal did for morals and liberty. Disdaining artifice of every kind, he boldly raised his voice against the usurpation of power. With the sword of satire which he fabricated for himself, he rushes from the palace to the tavern, from the gates of Rome to the boundaries of the empire, and strikes without distinction whoever deviates from the course of nature or the paths of honour.
A stern and intrepid censor, an ardent and impetuous poet, at times he rises with his theme to the noblest heights of tragedy: though in the mere mechanical part of poetry, in the construction of his sentences and verses, he is generally careless. Hence the frequent occurrence of the hiatus“, the constant omission of conjunctions, and, in some places, the insertion of unmeaning words as mere props to the metre'. His memory and fancy, being thronged by a crowd of illustrations and examples, start off from one to another, seldom apparently with any other guide than the caprice of the moment; and often return as rapidly to resume the thread which had been dropped: and hence we find that the systematic discussion of the subject in hand is often inverted, and often interrupted by abrupt transitions : much of this, however, may be accounted for by considering a large portion of his present matter as added to the original sketches, upon subsequent revisions. If Juvenal seldom praises, it must be remembered that praise from him might not be unattended with danger. If his language be occasionally repugnant to all modern notions of delicacy, we
e Sat. vi. 65, note. iii. 216. v. 143. vi. 430.551. 648. viii. 27. 36. 49.66. ix. 98. x. 101. xii. 46. xiii. 133. xiv. 102, 103. xv. 135. Heinecke. Gron. and Drak. on Livy x. 35. xxvii. 16. Oud. on Luc. i. 155. Duk. and Oud. on Suet. Aug. 5. Ruperti. Some of these Jacobs has endeavoured to get rid of, by inserting et after valvæ ; iv. 63. honorem ; vii. 88. divitiæ ; x. 24. and in vi. 207, by introducing si before est. Misc. Phil. Matthiæ, Alt. 1803. t. i. p. 80–92.
f Sat. vi. 54.
must bear in mind, not only the taste of those times, but that Rome was then degraded into a sink of depravity. It is into this worse than Augæan den, that our bard turns the torrent of his resistless eloquence. We
We can scarcely be surprised, therefore, however we may regret, that the stream is here and there sullied with a taint of the foul pollutions which it sweeps away.
It was not left optional with the present Editor to insert or reject such passages as might appear to him objectionable: therefore, by way of rendering them as harmless as possible, he has, wherever he could, given such a paraphrase as might convey the sense divested of the grossness.
% Pers. iv. 35, note.
In return for the patronage with which the Public has honoured the first edition of the present work, it has been endeavoured to render this reprint more deserving of continued favour, by correcting the oversights and completing the defective quotations, as well as by introducing references to the notes in the volume of Livy which has just issued from
Oxford, July 201h, 1838.