Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

is turned, and while you are otherwise employed : with great confusion, for having entertained you so long with this discourse ; and for having no other recompence to make you, than the worthy labours of my fellow-undertakers in this work, and the thankful acknowledgments, prayers, and perpetual good wishes of,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

THE

FIRST SA TIRE

OF

JU V E N A L.

THE ARGUMENT.

The poet gives us firft a kind of humorous reason for his

writing that being provoked by hearing so many ill poets rehearse their works, he does himself justice on them, by giving them as bad as they bring. But since no man will rank himself with all writers, it is easy to conclude, that if such wretches could draw an audience, he thought it no bard matter to excel them, and gain a greater esteem with the public. Next he informs us more openly, why he rather addicts himself to satire, than any other kind of poetry. And here he discovers that it is not so much his indignation to ill poets, as to ill men, which has prompted him to write. He therefore gives us a summary and general view of the vices and follies raigning in his time. So that this first satire is the natural ground-work of all the Teft. Herein be confines himself 10 no one subject, but Atrikes indifferently at all men in his way: in every fol. lowing fatire he has chosen fome particular moral which be would inculcate ; and lashes fome particular vice or folly, (an art with which our lampooners are not much acquainted.) But our poet being desirous to reform his own age, but not daring to attempt it by an overt-act of naming living persons, inveighs only against those who were infamous in the times immediately preceding bis, whereby be not only gives a fair warning to great men, that their memory lies at the mercy of future poets and biftorians, but also with a finer stroke of his pen, brands even the living, and personates them under dead men's

I have

sanies.

I have avoided as much as I could possibly the borrowed

learning of marginal notes and illustrations, and for that reason have transated this fatire somewhat largely. And freely own (if it be a fault) that I have likewise omitted most of the proper names, becaule I thought they would not much edify the reader. To conclude, if in two or three places I have deserted all the commentators, it is because they first deserted my author, or at least have left him in so much obscurity, that too much room is left for guessing,

STI

TILL shall I hear, and never quit the score,

Stunn'd with hoarse: Codrus’Theseid, o'er and o’eri Shall this man's elegies and t'other's play Unpunish'd murder a long summer's day? Huge 2 Telephus, a formidable page, Cries vengeance; and 3 Orestes' bulky rage Unsatisfy'd with margins closely writ, Foams o'er the covers, and not finish'd yet, No man can take a more familiar note Of his own home, than I of Vulcan's grott, Or Mars his grove 4, or hollow winds that blow From Ætna's top, or tortur’d ghosts below. I know by rote the fam’d exploits of Greece; The Centaurs fury, and the golden fleece ; Thro’ the thick shades th' eternal scribler bauls, And shades the statues on their pedestals. The best and worst 5 on the same theme employs His musc, and plagues us with an equal noise.

1 Codrus, or it may be Cordus, a bad poet, who wrote the life and actions of Theseus.

2 Telephus, the name of a tragedy. 3 Orestes, another tragedy.

4 Mars his grove. Some commentators take this grove to be a place where poets were used to repeat their works to the people ; but more probably, both this and Vulcan's groit, or cave, and the rest of the places and names here mentioned, are only meant for the common-places of Homer, in his Iliad, and Odyssey. 5 The best and worft; that is, the best and the worst poets,

Provok'd

}

Provok'd by thele incorrigible fools,
I left declaiming in pedantic schools;
Where, with men-boys, I strove to get renown,
Advising Sylla 6 to a private gown.
But, fince the world with writing is poffeft,
I'll versify in spite; and do my best,
To make as much waste paper as the rest.

But why I lift aloft the satire's rod,
And tread the path which fam'd Lucilius 7 trod,
Attend the causes which my Muse have led :
When fapless eunuchs mount the marriage-bed,
When mannish Mevia 8, that two-handed whore,
Astride on horse-back hunts the Tuscan boar,
When all our lords are by his wealth outvy'd,
Whose razor 9 on my callow beard was try'd;
When I behold the spawn of conquer'd Nile,
Crispinus 1, both in birth and manners vile,
Pacing in pomp, with cloak of Tyrian dye,
Chang'd oft a-day for needless luxury;
And finding oft occasion to be fan'd,
Ambitious to produce his lady-hand ;
Charg'd with light summer-rings 2 his fingers sweat,
Unable to fupport a gem of weight:
Such fulsom objecis meeting every where,
'Tis hard to write, but harder to forbear.
To view fo lewd a town, and to refrain,
What hoops of iron could my spleen contain !

6 Advising Sylla, &c. This was one of the themes given in the Schools of rhetoricians, in the deliberative kind ; whether Sylla should lay down the supreme power of dictatorship, or ftill keep it.

7 Lucilius, the first satirift of the Romans, who wrote long before Horace.

8 Mevia, a name put for any impudent or mannish woman. 9 Whose razor, &c. Juvenal's barber now grown wealthy.

i Crispinus, an Egyptian slave; now by his riches transformed into a nobleman.

2 Charg'd with light summer rings, &c. The Romans were grown fo effeminate in Juvenal's time, that they wore light rings in the summer, and heavier in the winter.

When

}

When pleading Matho 3, borne abroad for air,
With his fat paunch fills his new-fashion'd chair,
And after him the wretch in pomp convey'd,
Whose evidence his lord and friend betray'd,
And but the wish'd occasion does attend
From the poor nobles the last spoils to rend,
Whom ev’n spies dread as their superiour fiend,
And bribe with presents; or, when presents fail,
They send their prostituted wives for bail :
When night-performance holds the place of merit,
And brawn and back the next of kin disherit;
For such good parts are in preferment's way,
The rich old madam never fails to pay
Her legacies, by nature's standard giv'n,
One gains an ounce, another gains eleven :
A dear-bought bargain, all things duly weigh’d,
For which their thrice concocted blood is paid.
With looks as wan, as he who in the brake
At unawares has trode upon a snake;
Or play'd at Lyons 4 a declaiming prize,
For which the vanquish'd rhetorician dies.

What indignation boils within my veins,
When perjur'd guardians, proud with impious gains,
Choak

up the streets, too narrow for their trains !
Whose wards by want betray'd, to crimes are led
Too foul to name, too fulsome to be read !
When he who pill'd his province scapes the laws,
And keeps his money, though he lost his cause :
His fine begg’d off, contemns his infamy,
Can rise at twelve and get him drunk ere three:

3 Matho, a famous lawyer, mentioned in other places by Juvenal and Martial.

At Lyons; a city in France, where annual facrifices and games were made in honour of Augustus Cæsar.

VOL. IV.

P

Enjoys

« FöregåendeFortsätt »