Page images

They were much admired by the ancients', and have been abundantly quoted by Grammarians, by Fathers of the Church, and mediaeval 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 bad 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 A writer of satire may be 'ferus et violens' with his pen, 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 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.

otber. and yet

s 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."


PAGE VERSE 149 524 172 107

for vorticibus

libelli ?

read verticibus



[blocks in formation]


heredes Camillus

Fabricius rub his face

plaster his face vi. 242

vi. 542 tense

time clavi

clari Asturius

Asturicus when

where father

mother (see Pers. i. 49, n.) concubine

wife 131, 134

133, 136 amplexa

amplexu forum

fora facilis

nusquam minor est viii. 21

vii. 21 176

168 κακού

πικρού exorationis

exornationis Tarquinius Superbus Tarquinius Priscus be takes · crescit'

he takes crevit'
is mentioned

are mentioned
S. v. 2
whether affirmative or negative-omit.

ver. 2


From Dryden's translation of Juv. S. iii. 203, it might be inferred that • lectus' was a sleeping-bed. But for that, it would hardly be necessary to tell the reader Juvenal means a lectus tricliniaris.'

On Juvenal S. vii. 79 it should have been observed, that the age at which the poet Lucan is said to have been put to death, namely, twenty-six, cannot be right, if it be true that he was of the same age as Persius, as stated in his life. Persius was born at the end of A.D. 34, and Lucan was put to death A.D. 63; he must therefore have been about hirty years of age.

To the note on Juvenal S. vii. 111 might have been added, if I had seen it in time, an anecdote told by the late Lord Cockburn (Memoirs, p. 136), which, as it may amuse the reader and illustrates my opinion of Juvenal's meaning, I add here. Speaking of the Scotch advocate George Fergusson (Lord Hermand), he says, “ His eagerness made him froth and splutter so much in his argumentation, that there is a story to the effect that, when he was once pleading in the House of Lords, the Duke of Gloucester, who was about fifty feet from the bar, and always attended when Mr. George Fergusson, the Scotch counsel,' was to speak, rose and said with pretended gravity, I shall be much obliged to the learned gentleman if he will be so good as to refrain from spitting in my face.''

As to the date of S. viii. (Juvenal), and the force of nuper' in v. 120, the reader is referred to the Life, wherein the dates of the several Satires, so far as they can be con jectured, are more fully discussed than in the Introductions.

There are several places in which former or subsequent notes should have been referred to. - These omissions the reader will be able in great measure to correct by means of the Index.






This satire, for reasons stated in v. 47, could not have been written before A.D. 100, and was probably not written long after that date. Heinrich, whose judgment I have a great respect for, says it is not so much a satire as a preface or introduction to a volume of satires. It is certainly a satire as severe as any in the book. Juvenal had probably written others before it, but I do not see enough in this poem to entitle it to be called a preface. He says all the passions of men from the flood downwards are the hodge.podge of his book “nostri farrago libelli” (v. 86)—and he has touched upon a good many of them in this satire, which may be the libellus' he means. If not, he must have been intending to publish a collection, for • libellus' must mean something definite, either one poem or a collection. He begins with supposing himself persuaded by some person not to write, as Horace pretends with Trebatius (S. ii. 1). But the times are such, he says, that he cannot help it; and while there are so many indifferent poets spouting their lines every where, he may as well write as others. He then goes into a detail of some of the vile features of society : among which are the voluntary degradation of women; their lewdness; the preferment of slaves and informers; the impunity of robbers, and forgers, and murderers; men selling the honour of their wives ; women poisoning their husbands; incest and adultery undisguised ; avarice, gambling, extravagance, gluttony; the contempt and neglect of the poor by the rich; magistrates degraded into beggars. The burst about the poets and their recitations is only a way of introducing humourously the graver matters that follow. good deal of what was recited was no doubt bad enough ; but Juvenal's quarrel was not with his literary brethren, whose cause he takes up, as well as their recitations, in the seventh satire. They have in reality nothing to do with the satire as such, though Juvenal pretends they have. The arguments prefixed to the MSS. treat this satire as a preface to the rest. Ruperti, on the other hand, thinks it was written before all the otbers, and Dryden that it is “the natural groundwork of all the rest ;” for “ herein he confines himself to no one subject, but strikes indifferently at all men in his way: in every following satire he has chosen some particular moral which be would inculcate, and lashes some particular vice or folly.” I see no proofs one way or the otber. It might have been written first or last for any evidence I can find in the poem itself, irrespective of the sign of the date noticed above, which puts it later perhaps than


ARGUMENT. Am I always to be a listener, and shall I never pay these poets back in their own coin ? I know all their subjects by heart; all of them, bad and good, handle the same, till the


very marble is split with their noise. I too have been to school; I too have learnt to

declaim; and if paper must be wasted, why should not I write too? V. 19. My reason for following in Horace's steps is this—when eunuchs are marrying

wives, and women are exhibiting in the arena, when a barber is challenging with his . wealth all the nobility, and slaves are clad in purple and affecting their summer rings, it is impossible to abstain from satire. Who can restrain himself when fat Matho comes by in his litter, and the great informer after him, the terror of all little in. formers; when you are thrust from your rights by wretches who get your inheritance by satisfying an old woman's lewdness? Is it not enough to make one's blood boil to see the robber treading on people's heels with his crowd of sycophants, while his ward is left to prostitution and Marius going off into exile to enjoy himself with the spoils of his province? What does he care for infamy if he keeps his plunder ? Are these not fit themes for the Muse of Venusia? What have I to do with the old hackneyed topics when wretches are found to wink at their wives' irtrigues, and take the property of the adulterer which the law will not give to the woman: when & spendthrift expects to be promoted to high places for the skill with which he handles the reins while the great man lounges with his minion behind ? Does not one feel inclined to take out one's tablets in the very street when the forger comes lounging along in his open litter, and the great lady meets him who has drugged her husband's wine and has taught her young neighbours shamelessly to do the same ? You must be a bold miscreant if you want to be somebody. Honesty is praised and left to starve. To crime men owe all their fine gardens, and houses, and furniture. Who can sleep for the incest and adultery that is going on? If nature refuses, indignation

draws the pen, though it be but such as mine or Cluvienus'. V. 80. All the passions of men from the deluge to this day are the motley subjects of my

book.' When was the barvest of vice more abundant? when did avarice so fill its bags ? When had the die such spirit, as now when men play not for the contents of their purse but of their chest ? Look at the hotness of the encounter! A hundred sestertia lost and the poor shivering slave without a tunic, is not this something more than madness? Which of our ancestors ever built such villas, or dined by himself off seven courses ? Now-a-days the poor client has to scramble for a paltry dole grudgingly and cautiously given, and from this he is elbowed by some great pauper who must have his share first : or else some well-to-do freedman cries, “I came first, and must be first served; I am rich too, and riches are better than rank." And of course the claim must be allowed ; the rich slave before the poor magistrate; for though money has not yet had a temple and altars, her majesty is above all others sacred. But if our high officers are not above reckoning upon the sportula, what will their followers do who get all they have from this source ? Crowds of litters come up for the

dole, and all kind of fraud goes on. V. 127. The first event of this day is this sportula: then they sally forth to the forum,

with its statues of heroes, among whom some paltry Arabarch has got himself set up. In the afternoon they come home; and at the porch the hungry clients take leave of their patron and their long-cherished hope of a dinner, and retire to buy their bit of cabbage, wbile the great man sits down to the fat of the land and the sea, and eats up a whole fortune off a single table. Who can endure this beastly selfishness? What a belly that sits down to a whole boar by itself! But the penalty follows quick when you go down to bathe with your meat crude upon your stomach-sudden death and

intestacy, the gossip of every dinner-table, and the delight of your angry friends. V. 147. Our sons can add nothing to our vices, which have climbed to the highest point, so set your sails, my Muse, and bear down upon the enemy.

But where is your talent for such great themes ? where are you to get your liberty of speech ? Mucius. may have pardoned his satirist, but mark down a Tigellinus and you will share the

[ocr errors]

Christians' fate.” “Is the murderer then to ride on high and to look down upon us ?" “Aye, when he meets you shut your lips, or the informer's finger will be upon you. You may write of Aeneas, and Achilles, and lylas as much as you please. When Lucilius draws his weapon and rushes on to the attack every hearer with sore conscience blushes, and this is why they are angry; so you had better think of this before you put on your armour, for after that it will be too late." “ Well then I must try what I can do with those who are sleeping by the Flaminian and the Latin roads."

Semper ego auditor tantum? nunquamne reponam,
Vexatus toties rauci Theseide Codri?
Impune ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas,
Hic elegos? impune diem consumserit ingens
Telephus, aut summi plena jam margine libri
Scriptus et in tergo, nec dum finitus, Orestes ?

1. Semper ego auditor tantum ?] See In- of Horace's Iarbitas (Epp. i. 19. 15). The troduction. In the time of Augustus it had story of Theseus furnished subjects for epic become common for all sorts of writers, but poems and tragedies, and this may have been particularly poets, to recite their productions either, probably an epic, as comedy, elegy, in public places, baths, colonnades, and so and tragedy come after. forth; or to get their friends and acquaint 3. Impune ergo mihi] •Impune' reminds ance together to hear them in private houses us of Horace's “ Obturem patulas impune or rooms hired for the purpose. The prac- legentibus aures (Epp. ii. 2. 105), and tice was adopted by literary men of character “nobilium Scriptorum auditor et ultor" as well as the inferior sort; the example (Epp. i. 19. 39). He paid his friends in having been first set, as is said, by Asinius their own coin. This is expressed in 'repo. Pollio, the friend and patron of Horace and nam,' which means to repay.' Pliny, in the others. Horace refers to it familiarly, and epistle quoted above, has good-humoured many of the authorities are quoted on S. i. sentence which illustrates this : “ Possum 4. 73. It was considered a nuisance in his jam repetere secessum et scribere aliquid quod day; and the last of his poems ends with a non recitem, ne videar quorum recitationibus stroke at these reciters :

affui non auditor fuisse sed creditor. Nam “Indoctum doctumque fugat recitator acer

ut ceteris in rebus ita in audiendi officio perit bus;

gratia si reposcatur.” “Togatae' were comeQuem vero arripuit tenet occiditque legendo,

dies with Roman plots and characters, as Non missura cutem nisi plena cruoris hi- opposed to 'palliatae,' which were Grecian. rudo."

(A.P. fin.)

See Hor. Epp. ii. 1. 57, n.; and as tó .ele.

gos' see A. P. 75, n. Heinrich adopts from Pliny the younger, writing about the time of one MS..cantaverit' for 'recitaverit,' which this satire, speaks with a good deal of indul. appears in every other MS. and edition, gence of the practice, and regrets that the Juvenal uses cantat' below, x. 178, and reciters are not encouraged by larger audi- might have used it here.

He says he attended them all and 4. ingens Telephus,] Telephus, king of made friends with them (Epp. i. 13). Mysia, was a son of Hercules, and a fertile

2. Theseide Codri?] The Scholiast writes subject for tragedy. (See Hor. A. P.96, n.) Cordi, and P. has the same. Servius on Virg. His strength is said to have approached that xi. 458, as well as all the other MSS., has of his father, and no doubt was magnified Codri. Cordus is Roman name. Codrus by the poets Juvenal refers to. Ingens is used below, S. iii. 203. 208, and is so Ruperti, Heinrich, and others refer to the written in the same MS., except that a later length of the poem; others to the prowess hand has introduced Cordus. Codrus is used of the man. The point is doubtful. by Martial, ii. 57; v. 26, and by Virgil, Ecl. 5. summi plena jam margine libri] This v.113; vii. 26. It is in every case, as here, a is meant to show the length of the poem. fictitious name; though Servius on the latter The back of the papyrus, or parchment place says,

“Codrus poëta ejusdem temporis (membrana), was not usually written upon, fuit ut Valgius in Elegis suis refert.” Cor- but stained; whence Juvenal speaks below dys is said to bave been the Roman name of “croceae membrana tabellae",(vü. 23).



« PreviousContinue »