« FöregåendeFortsätt »
This was the Subje&t of the Tragedy, which being one of those that end with a happy Event, is therefore by Aristotle judg'd below the other fort, whose Success is unfortunate. Notwithstanding which, the Satires, who were part of the Dramatis Perfona, as well as the whole Chorus, were pro perly introduc'd into the Nature of the Poem, which is mix'd of Farce and Tragedy. The Adventure of Ulydes was to entertain the Judging Part of the Audience, and the uncouth Persons of Silenus, and the Satires, to divert the Common People with their gross Railleries.
Your Lordship has perceiv'd, by this time, that this Satirique Tragedy, and the Roman Satyr, have little resemblances in any other Features. The very Kinds are different: For what has a Pastoral Tragedy to do with a Paper of Verses fatyrically written? The Character and Raillery of the Satires, is the only thing that cou'd pretend to a likeness : Were Scaliger and Heinfius alive to maintain their Opinion. And the firft Farces of the Romans, which were the Rudiments of their Poetry, were written before they had any Communication with the Greeks; or, indeed, any Knowledge of that people.
And here it will be proper to give the Defini. tion of the Greek Satirique Poem from Casaubow, before I leave this Subject. The Satirique, says he, is a Dramatique Poem, annex'd to a T'ragedy; having a Chorus, which consists of Satires : The Persons represented in it, are illustrious Men: The A&tion of it is great; the Style is partly serious, and partly jocular; and the Event of the A&tion most commonly is happy.
The Grecians, besides these Satirique Tragedies, had another kind of Poem, which they calla Sill;
which were more of kin to the Roman Satyr: Those Silli were indeed invective Poems, but of a different Species from the Roman Poems of Enwins, Pacuvius, Lucilius, Horace, and the rest of their Succeffors. They were so call'd, says Cafaxbor in one place, from Silenus, the Foster-Father of Bacchus ; but in another Place, bethinking himself better, he derives their Name so rõ oranaiveti, from their Scoffing and Petulency. From some Fragments of the Silli, written by Timon, we may find, that they were Satirique Poems, full of Parodies; that is, of Verses patch'd up from great Poets, and turn'd into another Sense than their Author intended them. Such among the Romans is the famous Cento of Ausonius; where the Words are Virgil's : But by applying them to another Senfe, they are made the Relation of a Wedding-Night; and the A&t of Confummation fulsomly describ'd in the very Words of the most Modest amongst all Poets.' Of the same manner are our Songs, which are turn'd into Burlesque ; and the serious Words of the Author perverted into a ridiculous Meaning. Thus in Timon's Silli the Words are generally those of Homer, and the Tragique Poets; but he applies them Satirically, to some Customs and Kinds of Philosophy, which he arraigns. But the Romans not using any of these Parodies in their Satyrs; sometimes, indeed, repeating Verses of 0ther Men, as Persins cites some of Nero's; but not turning them into another Meaning, the Silli cannot be suppos’d to be the Original of Roman Satyr. Tothefe Silli, consisting of Parodies, we may properly add the Satyrs which were written against particular Persons, such as were the lambiques of Archilocus against Lycambes, which Horace
, undoubtedly imitated in some of his Odes and Epodes,
whose Titles bear a sufficient Witness of it: 1 might also name the Invective of Ovid against Ibis ; and many others : But these are the Under-Wood of Satyr, rather than the Timber-Trees: They are not a general Extension, as reaching only to fome individual Person. And Horace seems to have is purg'd himself from those fplenerick Refle&tions in a thole Odes and Epodes, before he undertook the Noble Work of Satyrs; which were properly fo call'd.
Thus, my Lord, I have at length disengag'd my self from those Antiquities of Greece ; and have prov'd, I hope, from the best Critiques, that the Roman Satyr was not borrow'd from thence, but of their own Manufa&ure : I am now almost gotten into my depth; at least by the help of Dacier I am swimming towards it. Not that I will promisë always to follow him, any more than he follows Casaubon; but to keep him in my Eye, asi my best and truest Guide ; and where I think he * may possibly mislead me, there to have Recourse to iny own Lights, as I expect that others should do by me.
Quintilian fays, in plain Words, Satira quidem tota, nostra est : And Horace had said the same thing before hiin, speaking of his Predeceffor in that sort of Poetry, Et Grecis intacti Carminis Auto thor. Nothing can be clearer than the Opinion of the Poet, and the Orator, both the best Critiques of the two beft Ages of the Roman Empire, than that Satyr was wholly of Latin Growth; and not transplanted from Athens to Rome. Yet, as I have faid, Scaliger the Father, according to his Custom, that is, infolently enough, contradicts them both; and gives no better Reason, than the Derivation of Satyrus from sátu Salacitus ; and fo from the
Letchery of those Fauns, thinks he has sufficiently prov'd, that Satyr is deriv'd from them. As if Wantonness and Lubricity were essential to that fort of Poem, which ought to be avoided in it. His other Allegation, which I have already mention'd, is as pitiful: That the Satires carry'd Platters and Canisters full of Fruit, in their Hands. If they had enter'd empty-handed, had they been ever the less Satires? Or were the Fruits and Flowers, which they offer'd, any thing of kin to Satyr? Or any Argument that this poem was originally Grecian? Casaubon judg'd better, and his Opinion is grounded on fure Authority; that Satyr was deriv'd from Satura, a Roman Word, which fignifies Full, and Abundant, and full also of Variety, in which nothing is wanting in its due Perfection. 'Tis thas, says Dacier, that we lay a full Colour, when the Wool has taken the whole Tincture, and drunk in as much of the Dye as it can receive. According to this Derivation, from Satur comes Satura, or Satyra, according to the new Spelling; as optumus and maximus are now fpelld optimus and maximas. Satura, as I have formerly noted, is an Adjective, and relates to the Word Lanx, which is understood. And this Lanx, in English a Charger, or large Platter, was yearly fill'd with all forts of Fruits, which were offer'd to the Gods at their Festivals, as the Premices, or First-Gatherings. These Offerings of several Sorts thus mingled, 'tis true, were not unknown to the Grecians, who call'd them carraptor Jurídy a Sacrifice of all forts of Fruits; and wav depuiar, when they offer'd all kinds of Grain. Virgil has mentioned thefe Sacrifices in his Georgiques.
Lancibus & pandis, fumantia reddimus Exta. And in another Place, Laxcesque & liba feremus :
That is, we offer the smoaking Entrails in great Platters ; and we will offer the Chargers and the Cakes.
This Word Satura has been afterwards apply'd to many other forts of Mixtures; as Feftus calls it a kind of Olla, or hotch-potch, made of several sorts of Meats. Laws were also call’d Leges Satu- , re; when they were of several Heads and Titles; like our tack'd Bills of Parliament. And
Saturam legem ferre, in the Roman Senate, was to carry a Law without telling the Senators, or counting Voices when they were in hafte. Saluft uses the Word per Saturam Sententias exquirere; when the Majority was visibly on one side. From hence it might probably
be conje&ur'd, that the Discourses or Satyrs of Ennius, Lucilius, and Horace, as we now call them, took their Name; because they are full of various Matters, and are al. so written on various Subje&s, as Porphyrius says. But Dacier affirms, that it is not immediately from thence that these Satyrs are so call'd: For that Name had been us'd formerly for other things, which bore a nearer resemblance to those Discour: ses of Horace. In explaining of which, (continues Dacier) a Method is to be pursu'd, of which Casaubon himself has never thought, and which will put all things into so clear a Light, that no farther room will be left for the least Dispute.
During the space of almost four hundred Years, Gnce the Building of their City, the Romans had never known any Entertainments of the State: Chance and Jollity first found out those Verses which they call's Saturnian, and Fefcennine : Or rather Human Nature, which is inclin’d to Poetry, first produc'd them, rude and barbarous, and unpolishd, as all other Operations of the Soul are in