Obrázky na stránke

D C I M i


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


A BG U Μ Ε Ν Τ. "JUVENAL begins this Satire, with giving some humourous reafons for his writing : fuch as hearing, so often, many

iN poets rehearse their works, and intending to repay them in kind. Next he informs us, why he audiets himself to satire, rather than to other poetry, and gives a summary and ge

rul view of the reigning vices and follies of his time. He EMPER ego auditor tantum ? nunquamne reponam,

Vexatus toties Fauci Thefeide Codri? Impunè ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas,

Satires] Or Satyrs-concerning this word-See CHAMBERS's Dictionary.

Line 1. Only an bearer.] Juvenal complains of the irksome recitals, which the scribbling poets were continually making of their vile compositions, and of which he was an hearer, at the public assemblies where they red them over. It is to be obferved, that, sometimes, the Romans made private recitals, of their poetry, among their particular friends. They also had public recitals, either in the Temple of Apollo, or in spacious houses, which were either hired, or lent, for the purpose, by some rich and great man, who was highly honoured for this, and who got his clients and dependents together, on the occasion, in order to increase the andience, and to encourage the poet by their applaufes. See Sat. vii. 1. 40–4. Persius Prolog. 1.7, and note.

Hor. Lib. I. Sat.iv. 1. 73-4. --- Repay.] Repona.n, here, is used metaphorically; it


[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

laments the restraints which the satyrists then lay under from a fear of punishment, and professes to treat of the dead, personating, under their names, certain living vicious characters. His great aim, in this, and in all his other fatires, is to expose and reprove vice itself, however sanctified by custom, or dignified by the examples of the great. HALL I always be only a hearer?-hall I never repay, Who am teiz'd so often with the Theseis of hoarse

Codrus ? Shall one (Poet) recite his Comedies to me with impunity,


1. 73-4

alludes to the borrowing and repayment of money. When a man repaid money which he had borrowed, he was said to replace it-reponere. So our poet, looking upon himself as indebted to the reciters of their compositions, for the trouble which they had given him, speaks, as if he intended to repay them in kind, by writing, and reciting his verses, as they had done theirs. Sat. vii. 1. 40–4. Persius Prolog. 1. 7. Hor. Lib. 1. Sat. iv. 2. Theseis.] A poem, of which Theseus was the subject.

Hoarse Codrus.] A very mean poet: so poor, that he gave rise to the proverb-" Codro pauperior.” He is here supposed to have made himself hoarse, with frequent and loud reading his poem.

3. Comedies.] Togatas-so called from the low and common people, who were the subjects of them. These wore gowns by which they were distinguished from persons of rank.


B 2

Hic Elegos ? impunè diem confumpferit ingens
Telephus ? aut fummi plenâ jam margine libri

5 Scriptus & in tergo necdum finitus Orestes ?

Nota magis nulli domus est sua, quàm mihi lucus
Martis, & Æoliis vicinum rupibus antrum
Vulcani. Quid agant venti ; quas torqueat umbras

There were three different forts of Comedy, each denomi. nated from the dress of the persons which they represented.

1. The Togata-- which exhibited the actions of the lower sort ; and was a species of what we call low comedy.

II. The Prætextata- so called from the prætexta, a white robe ornamented with purple, and worn by magistrates and nobles. Hence the comedies, which treated of the actions of fuch, were called prætextatæ. In our time, we should say, genteel comedy.

III. The Palliata--from pallium, a sort of upper garment worn by the Greeks, and in which the actors were habited, when the manners and actions of the Greeks were represented. This was also a species of the higher fort of comedy.

It is moit probable, that, Terence's plays, which he took from Menander, were reckoned among the palliatæ, and repre. fented in the pallium, or Grecian dress : more especially too, as the scene of every play lies at Athens.

4. Elegies.] These were little poems on mournful subjects, and conlisted of hexameter and pentameter verses alternately, We must despair of knowing the first elegiac poet, fince Horace says,-Art. Poët, 1. 77–8.

Quis tamen exiguos elegos emiserit auctor,
Grammatici certant, & adhuc sub judice lis eft.
By whom invented critics yet contend,
And of their vain disputing find no end.


Elegies were at first mournful, yet, afterwards, they were compoled on chearful subjects. Hor. Ib. 1. 75.-6.

Versibus imparitèr junctis querimonia primum,
Poit etiam inclusa est voti fententia compos.
Unequal measures first were tun'd to flow,
Sadly expressive of the lover's woe :
But now to gayer subjects form’d they move,
In sounds of pleasure, and the joys of love.

FRANCIS. 4. Bulky Telephus. ] Some prolix and tedious play, written on the subject of Telephus, King of Mysia, who was mortally Another his Elegies ? fhall bulky Telephus waste á day With impunity? or Oreftes—the margin of the whole book already full,


5 And written on the back too, nor as yet finished ?

No man's house is better known to him, than to me The grove of Mars, and the den of Vulcan near The Æolian rocks: what the winds can do: what ghosts

wounded by the spear of Achilles, but afterwards healed by the ruit of the same spear. Ovid. Trift. v. 2. 15.

Waste a day.] In hearing it red over, which took up a whole day.

5. Or Orestes.] Another play on the story of Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. He flew his own mother, and Ægysthus, her adulterer, who had murdered his father, This too, by the description of it in this line, and the next, muit have been a very long and tedious performance. It was usual to leave a margin, but this was all filled from top to bottomit was unusual to write on the outside, or back, of the parchment; but this author had filled the whole outside, as well as the inside.

5. Of the wbole Book.] Os-of the whole of the book.Liber, primarily signifies the inward bark or rind of a tree ; hence a book or work written, at first made of barks of trees, afterwards of paper and parchment. Summus is derived from supremus, hence summum-i, the top, the whole, the sum,

8. The grove of Mars.] The history of Romalus and Re. mus, whom Ilia, otherwise called Rhea Sylvia, brought forth in a grove, sacred to Mars at Alba: hence Romulus was called Sylvius--also, the son of Mars. This, and the other subjects mentioned, were so dinned perpetually into his ears, that the places described, were as familiar to him as his own house.

8. The den of Vulcan.] The history of the Cyclops and Vulcan, the scene of which was laid in Vulcan's den. See Virg. An. viii. 1. 416-22.

9. The Æolian rocks.] On the north of Sicily are seven rocky ifands, which were called Æolian, or Vulcanian ; one of which was called Hiera, or sacred, as dedicated to Vulcan. From the frequent breaking forth of fire and sulphur out of the earth of these islands, particularly in Hiera, Vulcan was supposed to keep his shop and forge there.

Here also Æolus was supposed to confine, and preside over the winds. Hence these islands are called Æolian. See Virg. Æn. i. 1.55-67.

9. What the winds can do.] This probably alludes to some tedious poetical treatises, on the nature and operations of the

B 3


« PredošláPokračovať »