Page images

And to expose a venal head under the mistress-spear.
These, in time past, horn-blowers, and on a municipal theatre
Perpetual attendants, and cheeks known through the towns,
Now set forth public shows, and, the people's thumb being

Kill whom they will, as the people please: thence returned
They hire jakes: and why not all things ? since they are
Such, as, from low estate, to great heights of circumstances
Fortune raises up, as often as she has a mind to joke. 40
What can I do at Rome? I know not to lie: a book
If bad I cannot praise, and ask for: the motions
Of the stars I am ignorant of: the funeral of a father to promise


If the thumb were turned downward, it cant, flatter, say what I do not mean, was a signal to spare his life.

seem to approve what I dislike, and 37. Whom they will, &c.] These fel- praise what in my judgment I condemn. lows, by treating the people with shows, What then should I do at Rome, where had grown so popular, and had such this is one of the only means of adinfluence among the vulgar, that it was vancement? entirely in their power to direct the 42. Ask for.] It was a common pracspectators, as to the sigual for life or tice of low flatterers to commend the death, so that they either killed or writings of rich authors, however bad, in saved, by directing the pleasure of the order to ingratiate themselves with them, people. See Ainsw. Populariter, No. 2. and be invited to their houses: they

37. Thence returned, &c.] Their ad- also asked, as the greatest favour, for the vancement to wealth did not alter their loan or gift of a copy, which highly flatmean pursuits ; after returning from the tered the composers. This may be meant splendour of the theatre, they contract by poscere, in this place. See Hon. Art. for emptying bog-houses of their soil Poet. 1. 419–37. Martial has an epiand filfth. Such were called at Rome, gram on this subject. Epigr. xlviii. foricarii and latrinarii ; with us, night- lib. vi. 38. Why not all things ?]

Quod tam grande copws clamat tibi turba Why hire they not the town, not every


Non, tu, Pomponi, cænu diserta tua est. thing, Since such as they have fortune in a

Pomponius, thy wit is extoll’d by the string?


rabble, 39. Such, as, from low estate.] The

'Tis not thee they commendbut the cheer poet here reckons the advancement of

at thy table. such low people to the height of opu 42, 3. Motions of the stars, &c.] I have lence, as the sport of fortune, as one of no pretensions to skill in astrology. those frolics which she exercises out of 43. The funeral of a father, &c.] mere caprice and wantonness, without He hereby hints at the profligacy and any regard to desert. See Hor. lib. i. want of natural affection in the young ode xxxiv. 1. 14–16. and lib. iii. ode men who wished the death of their faxxix. 1. 49–52.

thers, and even consulted astrologers 40. Fortune.] Had a temple and was about the time when it might happen; worshipped as a goddess. The higher which said pretended diviners cozened she raised up such wretches, the more the youths out of their money, by pre. conspicuously contemptible she might be tending to find out the certainty of such said to make them, and seemed to joke, events by the motions or situations of or divert herself, at their expence. See the planets. sat. x. 366.

This, says Umbritius, I neither can 41. I know not to lie.] Dissemble, nor will do.



Nec volo, nec possum: ranarum viscera nunquam
Inspexi : ferre ad nuptam quæ mittit adulter,
Quæ mandat, nôrint alii : me nemo ministro
Fur erit; atque ideo nulli comes exeo, tanquam
Mancus, et extinctæ corpus non utile dextræ.
Quis nunc diligitur, nisi conscius, et cui fervens
Estuat occultis animus, semperque tacendis ?
Nil tibi se debere putat, nil conferet unquam,
Participem qui te secreti fecit honesti.
Carus erit Verri, qui Verrem tempore, quo vult,
Accusare potest. Tanti tibi non sit opaci
Omnis arena Tagi, quodque in mare volvitur aurum,
Ut somno carcas, ponendaque præmia sumas
Tristis, et a magno semper timearis amico.



to say:

44. The entrails of toads.] Rana is a that once belonged to it, is lost and general word for all kinds of frogs and gone, is no longer able to maintain itself toads.

by laborious employment; so I, having The language here is metaphorical, no inclination or talents to undergo the and alludes to augurs inspecting the en- drudgery of vice of any kind, can never trails of the beasts slain in sacrifice, on thrive at Rome. the view of which, they drew their good Some copies read, extincta dextra ; or ill omens.

abl. abs. the right-hand being lost. The Out of the bowels of toads, poisons, sense amounts to the same. charms, and spells, were supposed to be 49. Unless conscious.] Who now has extracted. Comp. sat. i. 70. sat. vi. 658. any favour, attention, or regard shewn Umbritius

“I never him, but he who is conscious, privy to, “ foretold the death of fathers, or of acquainted with, the wicked secrets of “ other rich relations; nor searched for others ? “ poison, that my predictions might be 49, 50. Fervent mind boils, &c.] Is in “ made good by the secret administra a ferment, agitated between telling and “tion of it.” Comp. sat. vi. 563–7. concealing what has been commitied to

45. To carry to è married womun.] I its confidence. The words fervens and never was pimp, or go-between, in car æstuat are, in this view, metaphorical, tying on adulterous intrigues, by secretly and taken from the raging and boiling conveying love-letters, presents, or any of the sea, when agitated by a stormy of those matters which gallants give in wind. Fervet vertigine pontus. Ov. charge to their confidents. 1 leave this Met. xi. 549. So, æstuare semper freto others.

tum. Curt. iv. 9. Ainsw. Æstuo, 46. I assisting, &c.] No villainy will No. 4. ever be committed by my advice or Hence æstuans signifies boiling with assistance.

any passion, when applied to the mind. 47. I go forth, &c.] For these reasons Animo æstuante reditum ad vade retuI depart from Rome, quite alone, for lit. Catull. See Ainsw. See Is. Ivii. 20. I know none to whom I can attach my Or we may give the words another self as a companion, so universally cor turn, as descriptive of the torment and rupt are the people.

uneasiness of mind which these men 48. Maimed.] Like a maimed limb, must feel, iq having become acquainted which can be of no service in any em with the most flagitious crimes in others, ployment: just as unfit am I for any by assisting them, or partaking with employment which is now going forward them in the commission of them, and in Rome.

which, for their own sakes, they dare -A useless body, &c.] As the body, not reveal, as well as from the fear of when the right-hand, or any other limb those by whom they are intrusted.

I neither will, nor can : the entrails of toads I never Have inspected : to carry a married woman what an adulterer sends,

45 What he commits to charge, let others know : nobody, I as

sisting, Shall be a thief; and therefore I go forth a companion to

none, as Maimed, and the useless body of an extinct right-hand. Who now is loved, unless consciouş, and whose fervent 49 Mind boils with things hidden, and ever to remain in silence? He thinks he owes you nothing, nothing will he bestow, Who hath made you partaker of an honest secret. He will be dear to Verres, who Verres, at any time he will, Can accuse.

Of so much value to you let not of shady Tagus the whole sand be, and the gold which is rolled into

55 That you should want sleep, and should accept rewards to be

rejected, Sorrowful, and be always feared by a great friend.

the sea,

Who now is lov’d but he who loves the Or opacus may denote a dusky turbid times,

appearance in the water. Conscious of close intrigues, and dipp'd 56. That you should want sleep, &c.] O in crimes :

thou, whoe'er thou art, that may be soLab'ring with secrets which his bosom licited to such criminal secresy by the. burn,

rich and great, reflect on the misery of Yet never must to public light return. such flagitious confidence, and prefer

DRYDEN. the repose of a quiet and easy con51. He thinks he owes you nothing, &c.] science, to all the golden sands of TaNobody will think himself obliged to gus, to all the treasures which it can you for concealing honest and fair trans. roll into the sea! These would make actions, or think it incumbent on him to you but ill amends for sleepless nights, buy your silence by conferring favours when kept awake by guilt and fear. on you.

- Accept rewards to be rejected.] i. e. 53. Verres.] See sat. ii. 26. note. Which ought to be rejected by way of Juvenal mentions him here as an exam- hush-money, which, so far,

poor wretch, ple of what he has been saying. Most from making you happy, will fill you probably, under the name of Verres, the with shame and sorrow, and which, poet means some characters then living, therefore, are to be louked upon : as who made much of those who had them abominable, and to be utterly refused, in their power by being acquainted with and laid aside. Ponenda ; lit. to be their secret villanies, and who, at any laid down; but here it has the sense of time, could have ruined them by a dis- abominanda respuenda rejicienda covery.

-abneganda. See Hor. lib. iii. od. ii. 54, 5. Shady Tagus! A river of Spain, 1. 19. which discharges itself into the ocean 57. Feared, &c.] The great man who pear Lisbon, in Portugal. It was ancient- professes himself your friend, and who ly said to have golden sands. It was call. has heaped his favours upon you in ored opacus, dark, obscure, or shady, from der to bribe you to silence, will be perthe thick shade of the trees on its banks. petually betraying a dread of you, lest

Æstus serenos aureo franges Tago you should discover him. The conseObscurus umbris arborum.

quence of which, you may have reason, Mart. lib. i. epigr. 50. to apprehend, may be his ridding him




Quæ nunc divitibus gens acceptissima nostris,
Et quos præcipue fugiam, properabo fateri;
Nec pudor obstabit. Non possum ferre, Quirites,
Græcam urbem : quamvis quota portio fæcis Achææ ?
Jampridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes,
Et linguam, et mores, et cum tibicine chordas
Obliquas, necnon gentilia tympana secum
Vexit, et ad Circum jussas prostare puellas.
Ite, quibus grata est pictà lupa Barbara mitra.


you, lest

self of his fears by ridding the world of dress, &c. of those Greeks whom they


like others invited and entertained, that, as the inmagni delator amici. See sat. i. 33. ferior people are fond of imitating their But whether the great man betrays this superiors, it was not unlikely that the fear or not, you may be certain he will transformation might become general be constantly possessed with it; and a throughout the whole city: no longer much greater proof of this you cannot Roman, but Grecian. Umbritius could have, than the pains he takes to buy not bear the thought. your silence. When he grows weary

-Tho' what is the portion, &c.] Though, of this method, you know what you by the way, if we consider the multimay expect.

Alas! can all the trea tudes of other foreigners, with which sures of the whole earth make it worth the city now abounds, what, as to numyour while to be in such a situation! bers, is the portion of Greeks ? they Comp. I. 113.

are comparatively few.' See sat. xiii. 58. What nation, &c.] Umbritius pro- 157. Hæc quota pars scelerum, &c. ceeds in his reasons for retiring from What part is this (i. e. how small a part Rome. Having complained of the sad or portion) of the crimes, &c. state of the times, insomuch that no -Achæan dregs.] Achæa, or Achaia, honest man could thrive there, he now signifies the whole country of Greece, attacks the introduction of Grecians and anciently called Danaë, whence the other foreigners, the fondness of the rich Greeks are called Danai. Ainsw. and great towards them, and the sordid Dregs-metaph. taken from the foul, arts by which they raised themselves. turbid, filthy sediment which wine de

60. Nor shall shame hinder.] In short, posits at the bottom of the cask. A fit I'll speak my mind without reserve, my emblem of these vile Greeks, as though modesty shall not stand in my way. they were the filth and refuse of all

O‘Romans.] Quirites—this anciently Greece, was a name for the Sabines, from the Sometimes the word Achæa, or Achaia, city Cures, or from quiris, a sort of is to be understood in a more confined spear used by them: but after their sense, and denotes only some of that union with the Romans, this appellation part of Greece called Peloponnesus, or was used for the Roman people in Pelops' island, now the Morea, anciently general. The name Quirinus was first divided into Arcadia, and Achaia, of given to Romulus. See sat. ii. 133. which Corinth was the capital : the in

Probably the poet used the word habitants of this city were proverbially Quirites here, as reminding them of lewd and wicked : xogiydatur was a usual their ancient simplicity of manners and phrase to express doing acts of effemidress, by way of contrast to their pre-nacy, lewdness, and debauchery-what sent corruption and effeminacy in both; then must the dregs of Corinth and its owing very much to their fondness of environs have been? See 1 Cor. vi. the Greeks and other foreigners, for 9-11, former part. some time past introduced among them, 62. Syriun Orontes.] Orontes was the 61. A Grecian city.) Meaning Rome greatest river of Syria, a large country

so transformed from what it of Asia. Umbritius had said (at l. 61.) once was, by the rage which the great that the portion of Grecians was small people had for the language, manners, in comparison ; he now proceeds to ex


What nation is now most acceptable to our rich men, And whom I would particularly avoid, I will hasten to confess; Nor shall shame hinder. O Romans, I cannot bear 60 A Grecian city: tho' what is the portion of Achæan dregs ? Some while since Syrian Orontes has flow'd into the Tiber, And its language, and manners, and, with the piper, harps Oblique, also its national timbrels, with itself Hath brought, and girls bidden to expose themselves for hiring at the Circus.

65 Go ye, who like a Barbarian strumpet with a painted mitre.

plain himself, by mentioning the inun- in its way; so the torrent of Asiatics dation of Syrians, and other Asiatic has brought with it, from Syria to Rome, strangers, who had for some time been the language, morals, dress, music, and Mocking to Rome: these were in such all the enervating and effeminate vices numbers from Syria, and they had so of the several eastern provinces from introduced their eastern manners, music, whence it came. &c. that one would fancy one's self on 65. And girls bidden to expose, &c.] the banks of the Orontes, instead of the Prosto, in this connexion, as applied to Tiber. The river Orontes is here put harlots, means to be common, and ready for the people who inhabited the tract to be hired of all comers for money. of country through which it ran. Meton. For this purpose, the owners of these So the Tiber for the city of Rome, which Asiatic female slaves ordered them to stood on its banks.

attend at the Circus, where they might 62. Has flow'd.) Metaph. This well pick up gallants, and so made a gain of expresses the idea of the numbers, as their prostitution. Or perhaps they had well as the mischiefs they brought with stews in the cells and vaults which were them, which were now overwhelming under the great Circus, where they exthe city of Rome, and utterly destroying ercised their lewdness. See Holyday on the morals of the people.

the place, note f. 63. With the piper.] Tibicen signifies The word jussas may, perhaps, apply a player on a flute, or pipe. A min. to these prostitutes, as expressive of strel. They brought eastern musicians, their situation, as being at every body's as well as musical instruments. The command. Thus Ov. lib. i. eleg. 10. fute was an instrument whose soft sound Stat meretrix certo cuivis mercabilis ære, tended to mollify and enervate the Et miseras jusso corpore quærit opes. mind.

65. Circus.] There were several circi 63, 4. Harps oblique.] Chordas, lite- in Rome, which were places set apart rally strings: here it signifies the in- for the celebration of several games : struments, which, being in a crooked they were generally oblong, or almost in form, the strings must of course be ob- the shape of a bow, having a wall quite liquely placed.

round, with ranges of seats for the con64. National timbrels.] Tabours, or venience of spectators. The Circus little drums, in form of a hoop, with maximus, which is probably meant here, parchment distended over it, and bits of was an immense building; it was first brass fixed to it to make a jingling built by Tarquinius Priscus, but beautinoise ; which the eastern people made fied and adorned by succeeding princes, use of, as they do to this day, at their and enlarged to such a prodigious exfeasts and dancings, and which they beat tent, as to be able to contain, in their with the fingers.

proper seats, two hundred and sixty thou64, 5. With itself hath brought.] As sand spectators. See Kennett, Ant. a river, when it breaks its bounds, car- part ii. book i. c. 4. ries along with it something from all the 66. Go ye, fc.] Umbritius may be different soils through which it passes, supposed to have uttered this with no and rolls along what it may meet with small indignation.

« PreviousContinue »