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4. 3. III-123. As Gifford has noted, Tucca here lays Horace under contribution. Cf. Sat. 1. 4. 34-38:
Foenum habet in cornu, longe fuge! dummodo risum
4. 5. The 'heavenly banquet' participated in by Ovid, Julia and the rest, making scene 5 of act 4, is, as Whalley discovered, modelled upon the synod of the Olympians described in the latter part of book 1 of the Iliad. Note particularly I) the altercation between Jove and Juno, 89 ff.; 2) the reference to Thetis as a disturbing element, 109-111; 3) Jove's threat to shake Juno out of Olympus, 120 ff. ; 4) the remonstrance of Vulcan, and his displacing Ganymede, 132 ff.; 5) music and song, 165 ff.; 6) the restoration of amity at the end.
4. 6. In connection with the holy indignation of Augustus, when he breaks in upon the masquerade feast, Whalley remarks that 'the infamy of this feast lies at the door not of Ovid but of the emperor himself. Our authority for this statement is Suetonius, Augustus 70, and I subjoin a translation by Alex. Thomson (L. 1796):
‘A supper which he [Augustus] gave, commonly called the Supper of the Twelve Gods, and at which the guests were all dressed in the habit of Gods and Goddesses, and himself in that of Apollo, afforded subject of much conversation, and was imputed to him not only by Antony in his letters, who likewise names all the parties concerned, but in the following well-known and anonymous verses.
When Mallia late beheld, in motley train,
Jonson was, of course, familiar with this anecdote in Suetonius, but an obvious use of it in Poetaster had to be avoided in order to preserve the dignity of Augustus.
5. 2. 56-97. These lines translate, in an egregiously rough and inadequate manner, Virgil, Aeneid 4. 160-189, 29 lines of the Latin making 42 of the English. Gifford comments: 'I have little to observe on this version: it probably cost Jonson some trouble; and, according to the ancient notion of what translation should be, must be allowed some merit. It was not a general view of an author's sense which contented the writers of those times: they aspired to give his precise words, without addition or diminution; and unfortunately attempted to do it within the compass of the original.' Gifford seems to forget that in this particular instance there was no effort to keep 'within the compass of the original,' and that in Jonson's own time we had such powerful translators as Florio and Chapman, who aimed first of all at ‘a general view of an author's sense.' Nothing, indeed, could be more unlike Virgil than these rugged, harsh, gasteropodous lines; while for figures of speech, what could be more ridiculously unpoetic than 'in tail of that?' Our sympathies are all with Virgil in this matter, but it may be said in partial justification of Jonson that he was not the only admirer of these translations: cf. Drummond (Conversations, p. 41): 'His inventions are smooth and easie; but above all he excelleth in a Translation.'
5. 3. 166 ff. In the trial scene of Poetaster Jonson had in mind, as Gifford observed, the contest in Aristophanes' Frogs, though we can point out no close parallels between the two plays. The plot of the Frogs is not to be traced here, yet there occur touches of the Aristophanic humor often noted in Jonson. As Ward has remarked (Eng. Dram. Lit. 2. 358), the opposition of the two great dramatists in the Greek play is of historical and moral, as well as literary, significance, while the practical absence of per
sonal motive conduces to both dignity and pure comedy
5. 3. 332–349. Several critics have noted that the source
In Satiromastir (p. 11) Tucca says to
After this observation from Dekker, it is needless to inquire who first among critics discovered that the closing scene in Poetaster was drawn from Lucian's Lexiphanes. And indeed, considering his purpose and his audience, Jonson selected the model wisely. In the Greek dialogue, Lexiphanes, who is infected with a passion for obscure and fantastic diction, reads to Lycinus (Lucian) a florid description of a convivial gathering. So bad is the phraseology that Lycinus is nauseated before the reading has been completed. At this juncture the physician Sopolis, a friend of Lycinus, approaches and is asked by the latter to cure Lexiphanes of his habit of using such uncouth and obsolete terms. Lexiphanes is persuaded to drink of a mixture which immediately raises an intestinal tumult that results
in his vomiting up the objectionable vocabulary. To work a cure, Lycinus then admonishes Lexiphanes utterly to forsake barbarous discourse, and to read instead the best poets, the orators, Thucydides and Plato, and finally the greatest comedies and tragedies. The dialogue concludes with a reiterated warning against bombastic and outlandish diction.
5. 3. 471-8. This speech, together with several allusions and names scattered through the play, is drawn from Horace, Sat. 1. 10. 76-91.
A. D. 72. This, as Whalley notes, was suggested by Martial, 10. 33. 10: Parcere personis, dicere de vitiis.
A. D. 151-4. Gifford here refers to Martial, 6. 64. 24-26:
At si quid nostrae tibi bilis inusserit ardor,
A. D. 161-6. Gifford, by a slip, gives Juvenal, Sat. 14 as the source of this; it comes from Sat. 13. 193-5:
Diri conscia facti
Cf. also lines 191-2:
Continuo sic collige, quod vindicta
A. D. 168–170. With this harsh and ambiguous passage compare Discoveries, Acutius cernuntur vitia quam virtutes, where Jonson writes: ‘The treasure of a fool is always in his tongue, said the witty comic poet,' &c. Concerning this allusion Schelling says (ed. Timber 99): 'I cannot identify this passage in Plautus, Terence, Menander, or other "witty comic poet." There are, however, hundreds of similar proverbs: e. g. "The tongue of a fool carves a piece of his heart to all that sit near him.” (Hazlitt, English Proverbs, p. 388).'
A. D. 188-9. Gifford compares Persius, Prol. 10:
Magister artis, ingenique largitor
Venter. A. D. 197. Cf. Juvenal, Sat. 7. 27: Frange miser calamos, vigalataque proelia dele.
A. D. 213-5. ““This passage,” says Mr. Malone, Jonson imitated from Shakspeare,—the censure of "which one (judicious) must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others.”—Hamlet.
After all, Jonson's words are little more than a translation from Cicero, to whom he was much more likely to be indebted than to any contemporary whatever: “Haec ego non multis, sed tibi satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus." Cicero himself alludes to a story told of Plato.'-Gifford. Compare also Horace, Sat. 1. 10. 72–74:
Saepe stilum vertas, iterum quae digna legi sint
Jonson placed on the title-page of the 1616 folio an adaptation of the above:
Neque, me ut miretur turba, laboro,
A. D. 220–3. This is an imitation of Juvenal, Sat. 7. 27-9:
Frange miser calamos vigilataque proelia dele,
HISTORICAL AND PERSONAL SOURCES, WITH
Poetaster is peculiar in that its dramatis personae present a curious and intricate blending of characteristics partly historical, partly fictional. We are confronted now by the