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The poet gives us first a kind of humourous 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 ill writers, 'tis easy to conclude, that if such wretches could draw an audience, he thought it no hard matter to excel them, and gain a greater esteem with the public. Next he informs us more openly, why he rather addias himself to Satire, than any other kind of poetry. And here he difcovers 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 reigning in his time. So that this first satire is the natural ground-work of all the rest. 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 he 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, and not daring to attempt it by an overt act of naming living perfons, inveighs only against those who were infamous in the times immediately preceding his, whereby he not only gives a fair warning to great men, that their memory lies at the mercy of future poets and historians, but also with a finer stroke of his pen, brands even the living, and personates them under dead
men's names. I have avoided as much as I could posibly the bor
rowed learning of marginal notes and illustrations, and for that reason have translated this satire fomewhat largely. And freely own (if it be a fault) that I have likewise omitted most of the proper names, because 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 guefing. STILL shall I hear, and never quit the score, Stunn’d with hoarse Codrus’ Theseid, o'er and
Ver. 1. Still shall I hear,] It is not without caution, and a fear of reprehenfion, that I venture to mention what may appear too personal, that when I first had the honour of preliding at Winchester school, I found the youths of the upper class were in the habit of frequently repeating, without book, the Satires of Juvenal. I foon perceived, that from the multiplicity of al
Shall this man's Elegies and t'other's Play
bauls, And shakes the statues on their pedestals.
lusions to Roman history, manners, customs, and opinions, they unavoidably could not understand half they repeated. And I also perceived that their compositions were unnaturally and improperly tinctured with a mixture of Juvenal's harsh, far-fetched, metaphorical, and tumid expressions, and of the purity of Virgil and Horace. I therefore laid aside the practice, and adhered closely and solely to the two last mentioned authors. 'After our author himself has so clearly and copiously, in his dedi. cation, marked the characteristical differences betwixt Horace and Juvenal, it would be vain and superfluous to attempt to add any thing on a subject fo exhausted.
Dr. J. WARTON. Ver. 2. Codrus] Or it may be Cordus, a bad poet who wrote the life and actions of Theseus.
Ver. 5. Telephus,] The name of a tragedy.
Ver. 11. 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 grott, or cave, and the rest of the places and names here mentioned, are only meant for the common places of Homer, in his liads and Odyties.
The best and worst on the same theme employs His muse, and plagues us with an equal noise.
Provok'd by these incorrigible fools, I left declaiming in pedantic schools; Where, with men-boys, I strove to get renown, Advising Sylla to a private gown. But, since the world with writing is poffest, I'll versify in spite; and do my best, To make as much waste paper as the rest. 25
But why I lift aloft the Satire's rod, And tread the path which fam’d Lucilius trod, Attend the causes which my Muse have led : When fapless eunuchs mount the marriage-bed, When mannish Mevia, that two-handed whore, Astride on horseback hunts the Tuscan boar, 31 When all our lords are by his wealth outvy'd, Whose razor on my callow beard was try'd; When I behold the spawn of conquer'd Nile, Crispinus, both in birth and manners vile, 35
Ver. 17. The best and wors] That is, the best and the worst poets.
Ver. 20. I left declaiming] But he did not forsake his declamatory ftyle.
Dr. J, WARTON. Ver. 22. 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 dictatorAlip, or still keep it.
Ver. 27. Lucilius) The first satirist of the Romans, who wrote long before Horace.
Ver. 30. Mevia,] A name put for any impudent or mannish woman.
Ver. 33. Whose razor 8c.] Juvenal's barber now grown wealthy.
Ver. 35. Crispinus,) An Egyptian lave; now by his riches transtorin'd into a nobleman.