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THE SATIRES OF JUVENAL
DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENAL was born at Aquinum, a town of the Volsci, about the thirty-eighth (or, more probably, the forty-second) year of the Christian era. It is uncertain whether he was the son or the foster-son of a rich freedman, who gave him a liberal education.
From the time of his birth, until he had attained about the age of forty, nothing more is known of him than that his attention was devoted to the study of eloquence, and to declamation, more indeed for his own amusement and improvement, than from
intention to devote himself to a public life.
About this time he applied himself to the study of poetry, and commenced satirizing the predominant vices of the day.
Against Paris, a pantomime dancer, and favorite of the Emperor Domitian, Juvenal seems to have directed the first shafts of satire : in consequence of this attack, he was banished into Egypt, having been ordered repair thither, as commander of a company of troops, where, soon after, he died, in about the eightieth year of his age.
In the beginning of this Satire, the poet gives a humorous account of the reasons which induced him to commence writing:that, his patience having been entirely exhausted by the rehearsals of wretched poets, he could refrain no longer,but intended to repay them in kind. He afterwards informs us why he devotes himself to Satire in preference to any other kind of poetry, to which he declares he is driven by the vices of the age, of which he gives a summary and general view. Finally, after expressing his indignation, that the liberty of speech, employed by the ancient Satirists, was no longer enjoyed, he makes some bitter reflections on the danger of satirizing living villany, and professes to treat of the dead, personating, under their names, certain living characters.
1. Semper ... tantùm : shall I be ever a hearer only ??_ego used emphatically. It was customary among the ancients to recite their works privately, among their particular friends; or publicly, either in the temple of Apollo, or in the spacious houses of some rich and great man.—Reponam: a metaphor taken from the repayment of money.
2. Rauci ... Codri: 6 with the Thesēis of hoarse Codrus.'Theseïde : i. e. recitatione Thestidis ; a poem or tragedy which described the actions of Theseus, the author of which was Codrus, a poor and mean poet, who is here supposed to have made himself hoarse by frequently reading his poem.
3. Togatas : «comedies ;' there were three different kinds of comedy, each denominated from the dress of the persons represented:
T'ogata, so called from the toga, a gown worn by the common people, which exhibited the actions of the lower sort :-Prætextata, so called from the prætexta, a white robe, ornamented with purple, and worn by magistrates and nobles, which described the actions of this class :- Palliata, from the pallium, an upper garment, worn by the Greeks, and in which the actors were habited, when the manners and actions of the Greeks were represented.
4. Elegos : these were short poems on mournful subjects generally, written in hexameter and pentameter verses alternately.
5. Telephus : some tedious play on the subject of Telephus, son of Hercules and Auge, and king of Mysia, who was wounded by the spear of Achilles, but afterwards healed by its rust.-Aut ... Orestes : or shall the tragedy of Orestes, the margin of the whole book being already full, and written on the back too, but not yet änished, waste the whole day ?'
7. Lucus Martis : "the grove of Mars;' that is, as some understand it, the history of Romulus and Remus, whom Rhea Silvia sore in a grove sacred to Mạrs, near Alba :—this and the other subjects mentioned were so continually dinned into his ears, that the places were as familiar as his own house.
8. Æoliis ... rupibus : to the north of Sicily are seven rocky islands, which were called the Æolian or Vulcanian (now the Lipari) islands. To Hiera, one of these, (now Vulcano,) Juvenal probably refers; and by antrum Vulcani et Cyclopum, Ætna is meant.
9. Quid ... columne: the construction is, Platani Frontonis, convulsuque marmora, et columnæ ruptæ assiduo lectore, semper clamant quiil venti agant, &c.- Quid ... venti : this either alludes to some tedious poetical treatise on the nature of the winds, or to some play on the amours of Boreas and Orithyia, the daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens.
10. Unde . . . pelliculæ : i. e. Jason, who, by the assistance of Medea, stole the golden fleece from Colchis.
11. Monychus : a general name for the Centaurs, because they are described as having hoofs (orv:) not cleft (wúros). In the battle with the Lapithe, they plucked up trees by the roots, and flung them like darts at the enemy. It alludes here to some poem on this subject.
12. Frontonis platani : Fronto, a noble Roman, famous for his learning, who was in the habit of lending his porticoes to the pg ets of his times to recite their verses: these porticoes were shad ed with plane trees, supported by marble pillars, and adorned with statues.-Convulsaque ... clamant : "the convulsed marble reëchoes: this relates either to the statues almost shaken from their pedestals with the noise ; or to the marble inlaid in the walls ; or to the pavement, which seemed likely to be torn asunder by the continual bawling.
13. Assiduo ... columna: the pillars split by the incessant recitations of the poets.'
14. Exspectes ... poëta : sc. ut carmina et scribant et recitent.
15. Et ... subduximus : the meaning is; and I, for this reason (ergò, i. e. ut eadem a me erspectes, ut carmina aliquando scribere possem atque recitare ; et quia insanabile scribendi cacoëthes carmina nunc tenet tot homines), have frequented the schools of grammarians and rhetoricians.—Manum ferulæ subiluximus : the following is the best interpretation of this clause ; et nos in disciptinâ ludimagistri fuimus, et, manum ferule præbere coacti, illam metuentes sæpe subduximus. Id facete dictum pro: scholas frequentavi.—Et ... dormiret : in the schools, discussions and declamations on various subjects were introduced; one of these discussions, while Juvenal was at school, was “ whether Sylla should take the dictatorship, or live in ease and quiet as a private man?" He had maintained the latter proposition.
18. Periture ... chartæ : “paper that will be wasted' by others,
if I do not use it. 19. Cur ... edam : the construction is, tamen, si vacat, et placidi admitlitis rationem, e:lam cur libeat decurrere hoc campo potiùs, per quem magnus, &c.-Decurrere : a metaphor, taken from chariot racing, and applied here to the writing of Satire.
20. Auruncæ : Aurunca, an ancient city of Latium, in Italy, was the birthplace of the great Roman salir st, Lucilius.
21. Admittitis : admitto literally signifies to adınit, but it is sometimes used with auribus understood, and then it signifies 'to hearken, to attend.'
22. Quum tener ... Satiram non scribere : the construction is, difficile est non scribere Satiram, quum tener spa:do, &c.—Mævia ... aprum : Mævia put here for any immodest woman; in the time of Domitian, some women had the impudence to appear in the amphitheatre, and there perform the part of gladiators.— Tuscan boars were considered the fiercest. 25. Quo... sonabat : the person alluded to is supposed to have been either Cinnamus, or Licinius, the freedman and barber of Augustus.—Gravis ... mihi : "troublesome to me, a youth.'
26. Quum ... Crispinus : when Crispinus, one of the lowest of the Egyptians, once a Canopian slave.'-Canopi : a city of Egypt addicted to all manner of debauchery.
27. Crispinus : from a slave, he had been made master of the horse to Nero.-Tyrias , .. lacernas : the Romans used to fasten their cloaks (lacerna) round the neck with a loop. Crispinus wore his so loose, that he is here described as raising it up with his shoulders.—Tyrias : dyed with Tyrian purple ;' which was very expensive.
28. Ventilet ... aurum : the Romans arrived at such a height of luxury, that they wore large and heavy rings in winter, but lighter ones in suinmer. The effeminate Egyptian is here repre. sented as 'waving to and fro' (ventilo) his hand in the air, to cool his fingers (or, more probably, to display his ring), on one of which he wore a summer ring.
29. Majoris ... gemme : 6 of a larger size,' that is, “a winter ring.'
31. Tam ferreus : 6so insensible ;' so much of the nature of iron.
32. Lectica : this was a sort of sedan,' with a couch in it, in which the great men were carried by their servants.—Mathonis : Matho had been a lawyer, but turned informer to Domitian, and thereby had amassed a great fortune.
33. Plena ipso : this alludes either to his corpulency, or to the haughty manner, which he assumed while in the sedan.-Delator : critics are divided about the man, who followed Matho. The old Scholiast says it as Heliodorus, the Stoic, who informed against L. Junius Silanus, Massa, and Carus; others, that it was Egnatius Celer, a Stoic philosopher, who, by false testimony, ruined his friend and pupil, Bareas Soranus: but more probably it was M. Regulus, mentioned by Pliny, who carried on the trade of informer under Nero and Domitian. Or, perhaps, the poet did not allude to one informer, but to several.-Magni amici : this means either that the informer was in the employ of some distinguished friend, for instance the Emperor; or that he had laid information against some illustrious friend of himself, or of the Emperor.
34. Comesâ : robbed and destroyed by secret accusations, or pillaged by informers for hush-money.
35. Massa : Massa Bebius, an infamous informer.
36. Carus : Metius Carus, another informer, who bribed Regulus to avoid some secret accusation.-Thymele ... Latino : Thymele was the wife of Latinus, a famous mimic; she was ósent privately' by her husband and prostituted to Regulus, to avoid some information which Latinus dreaded.
38. Quum ... prostantis : he now satirizes such guardians as enrich themselves by the spoils of the young men intrusted to
their care; the ward was afterwards reduced by their villany to such poverty, as to be obliged to prostitute hiinself for his support. -Some texts have pupilla.-- Populum ... premit: ‘presses on, and incommodes the passengers with his train of attendants.'
39. Et hic ... bibit : the construction is, et hic Marius exsul damnatus inani judicio (enim quid, &c.) bibit ah octavd.--Inani: 'vain,' because, though inflicted on Marius, the injured province received no recompense.
41. Ab octavà: the eighth hour of the natural day, or two o'clock, P. M., which may be considered as an instance of great luxury, the Romans not being in the habit of sitting down to their meals sooner than the ninth hour.—Marius : Marius Priscus was pro-consul of Africa, and being prosecuted by the province for cruelty and extortion, was convicted, fined, and banished from Italy. Yet retaining the greater part of his former spoils, he lived in a wanton exile; while the Africans returned home with the wretched consolation of having defrayed their own expenses, and seen the money, levied on their oppressor, carried to the Roman treasury.-Fruitur . : . iratis : i. e. gaudet irâ deorum, i. e. damnatione ; though Marius had by his crimes incurred the anger of the gods, and suffered condemnation in a court of justice, still he received no injury, but lived in the highest luxury.
42. Victrix : victrix was a law term, applied to those who gained a suit.
43. Venusinâ ... lucernâ : “the Venusinian lamp,' that is, the pen of Horace himself, who was born at Venusium, a city of Apulia.
44. Agitem: a metaphor from hunting wild beasts.-Sed ... Heracleas : fabulas understood ; 'but why should I rather write poetic fables on the labors of Hercules.'
45. Diomedeas : fabulas understood ; "the exploits of Diomede.' See Class. Dict.-Mugitum Labyrinthi : i.e. the Minotaur; see Class. Dict.
46. Et ... puero : i. e. the story of Icarus. See Class. Dict.Fabrumque volantem, i. e. the story of Dædalus. See Class. Dict.
47. Leno ... bona : “the husband, who turns pander, receives the goods of the adulterer,' as the price of his wife's prostitution.Si ... uxori : Domitian made a law which prohibited the use of litters and the right of inheritance to adulterous wives. This was evaded by making their husbands panders to their lewdness, and thus causing the legacies to be given to them.
48. Spectare lacunar: as inobservant of his wife's infamy.
49. Doctus ... naso: a cup was also set before the husband (another device), which he pretended to have drunk, and then nodded and snored as if in a drunken sleep.–Vigilanti : the poet uses the epithet vigilanti, here, very humorously, to denote that though the man seemed to be fast asleep by his snoring, yet his nose seemed to be awake by the noise it made.
50. Quum... amicæ : another cause of indignation. It is un