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Fient ista palam, cupient et in acta referri.
66 though the act itself was not common to all, yet the approbation 66 of it was.”
137, Mean while, &c.] The poet here, with much humour, scoffs at these unnatural wretches in very ludicrous terms.
138. Retain their husbands.] Barrenness was frequently a cause of divorce.
141. Turgid Lyde. ] Some woman of that name, perhaps called turgida from her corpulency, or from her preparing and selling me. dicines to cure barrenness, and to occasion fertility and promote conception. Conditus literally signifies seasoned-mixed, made savoury, and the likewhere it implies, that she sold some conserve, or the like, which was mixed, seasoned, or, as we may say,
medi. cated with various drugs, and put into boxes for sale.
142. The nimble Lupercus.] The Lupercalia were feasts sacred to Pan, that he might preserve their flocks from wolves, (a lupis,) hence the priests were called Luperci. The Lupercalia appears to have been a feast of purification, being solemnized on the dies nefasti, or non-court-days of February, which derives its name from februo, to purify; and the very day of the celebration was cailed Februaca. The ceremony was very singular and strange.
In the first place, a sacrifice was killed of goats and a dog; then two children, noblemen's sons, being brought thither, some of the Luperci stained their foreheads with the bloody knife, while others wiped it off with locks of wool dipped in milk. This done, they ran about the streets all naked but the middle, and, having cut the goat-skins into thongs, they lashed all they met. The women, so far from avoiding their strokes, held out the palms of their hands toi! receive them, fancying them to be great helpers of conception. Sees; KENNETT, Antiq. b. ii. part ii. c. 2. Shakespeare alludes to this Jul. Cæs. act I. sc. ii. former part.
143. The fork.] Fuscina a sort of three-pronged fork or trident, used by a particular kind of fencer or gladiator, who was:.. armed with this, and with a net-hence called Retiarius... Ilis ado , versary was called Mirmillo (from Gr.
formica Sec Ainsw.)? aird was armed with a shield, scythe, and head-piece, with the figure x of a fish on the crest. The Retiarius tried to throw his net over the
Done openly, and will desire to be reported in the public re
gisters. Mean while a great torment sticks to those (thus) marrying, That they can't bring forth, and retain by birth (of children)
their husbands. But it is better, that, to their minds, no authority over their bodies Doth nature indulge; barren they die: and to them
140 Turgid Lyde, with her medicated box, is of no use, Nor does it avail to give their palms to the nimble Lupercus. Yet the fork of the coated Gracchus outdid this prodigy, When, as a gladiator, he traversed in flight the middle of the stage,
[145 More nobly born than the Manlii, the Capitolini, and Marcelli, And the Catuli, and the posterity of Paulus; than the Fabii, and Than all the spectators at the podium : tho', to these, him
Mirmillo's head, and so entangle him, saying, when he cast the netPiscem peto, non te peto. The Mirmillo is sometimes called the secutor or pursuer, because if the Retiarius missed him, by throwing his nct too far, or too short, he instantly took to his heels, running about the arena for his life, that he might gather up his net for a second cast; the Mirmillo, in the mean time, as swiftly pursuing him, to prevent him of his design. This seems to be meant, l. 144. Lustravitque fugâ, &c. which intimates the flight of the Retiarius from the Mirmillo.
Coated, &c.] Tunicatus, i. e. dressed in the tunica, or habit of the Retiarii, which was a sort of coat without sleeves, in which they fought.
This same Gracchus meanly laid aside his own dress, took upon him the garb and weapons of a common gladiator, and exhibited in the public amphitheatre. Such feats were encouraged by Domitian, to the great scandal of the Roman nobility.
Mediam arenam-may here signify the middle of the amphitheatre, which was strewed with sand; on' which part the gladiators fought; this made arena be often used to signify the amphitheatre itself. 145. Capitolini, &c.] Noble families, who were an ornament to the Roman name.
147. The podium.] Todiuv, Gr. from 785- -a foot. That part of the theatre next the orchestra, where the nobles sat-it projected in form something like the shape of a foot. See Ainsw.
Tho', to these, &c.] Though to those who have been men. tioned before, you should add the prætor, at whose expense these games were exhibited. The prætors often exhibited games at their own expense. But the poet may here be understood to glance at the emperor Domitian, who was a great encourager of these strange proceedings of the young nobility. See note on l. 143. He that set forth, at his own charge, the sight of sword-players, and
Admoveas, cujus tunc munere retia misit.
Esse aliquos manes, et subterranea regna, Et contum, et Stygio ranas in gurgite nigras,
150 Atque unâ transire vadnın tot millia cyınba, Nec pueri credunt, nisi qui nondum ære lavantur: Sed tu vera puta. Curius quid sentit, et ambo Scipiadæ ? quid Fabricius, manesque Camilli? Quid Cremeræ legio, et Cannis consumpta juventus, 155 Tot bellorum animæ ? quoties hinc talis ad illos other like games unto the people, was called munerarius-Hence Juvenal says-cujus tunc munere, &c.
148. Threw the net.] Entered the lists in the character of a Re. tiarius : and thus a man of the noblest family in Rome debased himself, and his family, by becoming a prize-fighter in the public theatre.
149. That there are any ghosts.] The poet now proceeds to trace all the foregoing abominations to their source, namely, the disbelief and contempt of religion, those essential parts of it, particularly, which relate to a future state of rewards and punishments.
By manes, here, we may understand, the ghosts or spirits of peršons departed out of this life, which exist after their departure from the body, and are capable of happiness and misery. See Virg. Æn. vi. 735-14.
Subterranean realms.] Infernal regions, which were supposed to be under the earth.
150. A boat pole. ] Contus signifies a long pole or staff, shod with iron at the bottom, to push on small vessels in the water. Juvenal here alludes to Charon, the ferry-man of hell, of whom Virgil says, Æn. vi. l. 302.
Ipse ratem conto subigit. Frogs.] The poets feigned that there were frogs in the river Styx. Some give the invention to Aristophanes--See his comedy of the Frogs.
-Stygian gulph.] The river Styx, supposed to be the boundary of the infernal regions, over which departed souls were ferried in Charon's boat. See Virg. Geor. iv. 467-80.
If of the gods swore by this river falscly, he was to lose his divinity for an hundred years.
152. Not even boys believe.] All these things are disbelieved, not only by persons in a more advanced age, but even by boys.
Unless those not as yet, &c.] The quadrans, which was made of brass, in value about our halfpenny, was the bathing fee paid to the keeper of the bath by the common people. Sce sat. vi. 446. and Hor. lib. i. sat. iii. I. 137.
Dum tu quadrante lavatum
Rex ibis Little children, under four years old, were either not carried to the baths, or, if they were, nothing was paid for their bathing.
You should add, at whose expense he then threw the net.
That there are many ghosts, and subterranean realms, And a boat-pole, and black frogs in the Stygian gulph, 150 And that so many thousands pass over in one boat, Not even boys believe, unless those not as yet washed for money: But think thou that they are true: What thinks Curius, ahd both The Scipios ? what Fabricius, and the ghost of Camillus ? (155 What the legion of Cremera, and the youth consumed at Cannæ, So many warlike souls ? as often as from hence to them such
The poet means, that none but children, and those very young indeed, could be brought to believe such things: these might be taught them, among other old women's stories, by their nurses, and they might believe them, till they grew old enough to be wiser, as the freethinkers would say.
153. But think thou, &c.] Do thou, O man, whatever thou art, give credit to these important matters, which respect a future state of rewards and punishments.
Curius.] Dentatus : thrice consul, and remarkable for his courage, singular honesty, and frugality. What does he now think, who is enjoying the rewards of his virtue in elysium.
153–4. Both the Scipios.] Viz. Scipio Africanus Major, who con. quered Hannibal, and Scipio Africanus Minor, who rased Numantia and Carthage. Hence VIRG. Æn. vi. 812, 3.
Geminos duo fulmina belli
Fabricius.] C. Luscinius the consul, who conquered Pyr. rhus.
Camillus.] A noble Roman; he, though banished, saved Rome from its final ruin by the Gauls. Tke Romans voted him an equestrian'statue in the Forum, an honour never before conferred on a Roman citizen.
155. The legion of Cremera.] Meaning the 300 Fabii, who, with their slaves and friends, marched against the Vejentes, who, after many battles, surrounding them by an ambuscade, killed the 300 near Cremera, a river of 'Tuscany, except one, from whom came afterwards the fainous Fabius mentioned by VIRG. Æn. vi. 815,
The youth consumed, &c.] Cannæ-arum. A village of Apulia in the kingdom of Naples, where Hannibal defeated the Ro. mans, and killed above 40,000. Among these, such a number of the young nobility, knights, and others of rank, that Hannibal sent to Carthage three bushels of rings in token of his victory. There was such a carnage of the Romans, that Hannibal is said, at last, to have stopped his soldiers, crying out— Parce ferro.”
156. So many warlike souls.) Slain in battle, fighting for their country, VIRG. Æn. vi. 660. places such in elysium.
By mentioning the above great men, Juvenal means, that they were examples, not only of the belief of a future state, which in fuenced them in the achievement of great and worthy deeds, dura
Umbra venit, cuperent lustrari, si qua darentur
d quæ nunc populi fiunt victoris in urbe,
ing their lives, but, that now they experienced the certainty of it, in the enjoyment of its rewards.
156. As often as from hence, &c.]. When the spirit of such a miscreant, as I have before described, goes from hence, leaves this world, and arrives among the venerable shades of these great and virtuous men, they would look upon themselves as defiled by such a one coming among them, they would call for lustrations, that they might purify themselves from the pollution which such company would bring with it. ... 157. If there could be given.] i. e. If they could come at materials for purification in the place where they are.
158. Sulphur with pines.] Fumes of sulphur, thrown on a lighted torch made of the wood of the unctuous pine-tree, were used among the Romans as purifying. See Ainsw. Teda, No. 3.
Pliny says of sulphur-" Habet et in religionibus locum ad expi. 66 andas suffitu domos.” Lib. XXXV. C. 15.
A wet laurel.] They used also a laurel-branch dipped in water, and sprinkling with it things or persons which they would purify,
159. Thither, alas ! &c.] We wretched mortals all must die, and be carried into that world of spirits, where happiness or misery will be our doom.
160. Juverna.] Al. Juberna, hod. Hibernia, Ireland. It is thought by Camden, that the Romans did not conquer Ireland ; this passage of Juvenal seems to imply the contrary. The poet might speak here at large, as a stranger to these parts, but according to the report of the triumphing Romans, who sometimes took disco. Teries for conquests, and thought those overcome, who were neighbours to those whom they overcame.
161. Orcades.] A number of small islands in the north of Scot. land, added to the Roman empire by the emperor Claudius. · Hod. the Orkneys.
The Britons content, &c.] At the summer solstice the nights are very short; there is scarce any in the most northern parts of Britain,
162. The things which, &c.] The abominations which are com. mitted in Rome, are not to be found among the conquered people,