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nefs was more to divert his reader than to teach him. And he intitled his own satires Menippean: not that Menippus had written any satires (for his were either dialogues or epistles,) but that Varro imitated his style, his manner, his facetiousness. All that we know farther of Menippus and his writings, which are wholly loft, is, that by some he is esteemed, as, amongst the rest, by Varro; by others he is noted of Cynical impudence, and obscenity: that he was much given to those parodies, which I have already mentioned ; that is, he often quoted the verses of Homer and the tragic poets, and turned their serious meaning into something that was ridiculous ; whereas Varro's satires are by Tully called absolute, and most elegant, and various poems. Lucian, who was emulous of this Menippus, seems to have imitated both his manners and his stile in many of his dialogues ; where Menippus himself is often introduced as a speaker in them, and as a perpetual buffoon : particularly his character is expressed in the beginning of that dialogue, which is called Nexuojcartia. But Varro, in imitating him, avoids his impudence and filthiness, and only expresses his witty pleasantry.
This we may believe for certain, that as his fub. jects were various, so moft of them were tales or stories of his own invention. Which is also manifest from antiquity, by those authors who are acknowledged to have written Varronian satires, in imitation of his: of whom the chief is Petronius Arbiter, whose satire, they say, is now printed in Holland, wholly recovered, and made compleat: when it is made public, it will easily be seen by any one sentence, whether it be fuppofititious, or genuine. Many of Lucian's dialogues may also properly be called Varronian satires; particularly his True History: and consequently the Golden Afs of Apuleius, which is taken from him. Of the fame stamp is the Mock Deification of Claudius, by Seneca : and the Symposium, or Cæsars of Julian the Emperor. Amongit
the moderns we may reckon the Encomium Moriæ of Erasmus, Barclay's Euphormio, and a volume of German authors, which my ingenious friend Mr. Charles Killigrew once lent me. In the English I remember none, which are mixed with prose, as Varro's were : but of the same kind is Mother Hubbard's Tale in Spencer; and (if it be not too vain to mention any thing of my own) the poems of Absalom and Mac Flecno.
This is what I have to say in general of satire : only as Dacier has observed before me, we may take notice, that the word satire is of a more general fignification in Latin, than in French, or English. For amongst the Romans it was not only used for those discourses which decried vice, or exposed folly ; but for others also, where virtue was recommended. But in our modern languages we apply it only to the invective poems, where the very name of satire is formidable to those persons, who would appear to the world, what they are not in themselves. For in English, to say fatire, is to mean reflection, as we use that word in the worst fenfe; or as the French call it, more properly, Medisance. In the criticism of spelling, it ought to be with i, and not with y, to distinguish its true derivation from fatura, not from Satyrus. And if this be fo, then it is false spelled throughout this book; for here it is written satyr. Which having not considered at the firft, I thought it not worth correcting afterwards. But the French are more nice, and never spell it any other
than satire. I am now arrived at the most difficult part of
my undertaking, which is, to compare Horace with Juvenal and Perfius. It is observed by Rigaltius, in his preface before Juvenal, written to Thuanus, that these three poets have all their particular partisans, and favourers : every commentator, as he has taken pains with any of them, thinks himself obliged to prefer his author to the other two: to find out their failings, and decry them, that he may make room VOL. IV.
for his own darling. Such is the partiality of mankind, to set up that interest which they have once espoused, though it be to the prejudice of truth, morality, and common justice: and especially in the productions of the brain. As authors generally think thiemselves the best poets, because they cannot go out of themselves to judge fincerely of their betters ; so it is with critics, who, having first taken a liking to one of these poets, proceed to comment on him, and to illustrate him : after which, they fall in love with their own labours, to that degree of blind fondas ness, that at length they defend and exalt their author, not so much for his fake as for their own. It is a folly of the same nature, with that of the Romans themselves, in their games of the Circus; the spectators were divided in their factions, betwixt the Veneti and the Prafini : some were for the cha. rioteer in blue, and some for him in green. The colours themselves were but a fancy; but when once a man had taken pains to set out those of his party, and had been at the trouble of procuring voices for them, the case was altered : he was concerned for his own labour; and that so earnestly, that disputes and quarrels, animofities, commotions, and bloodshed, often happened; and in the declension of the Grecian empire, the very sovereigns themselves engaged in it, even when the barbarians were at their doors; and fickled for the preference of colours, when the safety of their people was in question. I am now, myself on the brink of the same precipice ; I have spent some time on the translation of Juvenal: and Persius; and it behoves me to be wary, left for. that reason, I should be partial to them, or take a prejudice against
. Horace. Yet, on the other side, I would not be like some of our judges, who would give the cause for a poor man, right or wrong: for though that be an error on the better hand, yet it is. till a partiality: and a rich man unheard, cannot be concluded an oppreffor. I remember a saying of king Charles II. on Sič Matthew Hales, (who was
doubtless an uncorrupt and upright man) That his servants were sure to be cast on a trial, which was heard before him: not that he thought the judge was possible to be bribed; but that his integrity might be too scrupulous : and that the causes of the crown were always suspicious, when the privileges of subjects were concerned.
It had been much fairer, if the modern critics, who have embarked in the quarrels of their favourite authors, had rather given to each his proper due ; without taking from another's heap, to raise their own. There is praise enough for each of them in particular, without encroaching on his fellows, and detracting from them, or enriching themselves with the spoils of others. But to come to particulars : Heinsius and Dacier are the most principal of those, who raise Horace above Juvenal and Persius. Scaliger the father, Rigaltius, and many others, debase Horace, that they may set up Juvenal: and Cafaubon, who is almoft fingle, throws dirt on Juvenal and Horace, that he may exalt Perfius, whom he understood particularly well, and better than any of the former commentators ; even Stelluti, who lucceeded him. I will begin with him, who, in my opinion, defends the weakest cause, which is that of Perfius; and labouring, as Tacitus profesies of his own writings, to diveft inyself of partiality, or prejudice, consider Persius, not as a poet whom I have wholly translated, and who has coit me more labour and time than Juvenal; but according to what I judge to be nis own merit; which I think not equal in the main, to that of Juvenal or Horace; and yet in some things to be preferred to both of them.
First, then, for the verse, neither Cafaubon himself nor any for him, can defend cither his numbers, or the purity of his Latin. Casaubon gives this point for loft; and pretends not to juitify either the measures, or the words of Perfius : he is evidently beneath Horace and Juvenal, in both.
Then, as his verse is scabrous, and hobbling, and his words not every where well chosen, the purity of Latin being more corrupted, than in the time of Juvenal, and consequently of Horace, who writ when the language was in the height of its perfection ; so his diction is hard ; his figures are generally too bold and daring; and his tropes, partiticularly his metaphors, infufferably strained.
In the third place, notwithstanding all the diligence of Casaubon, Stelluti, and a Scotch gentleman (whom I have heard extreamly commended for his illustrations of him ;) yet he is fill obscure : whether he affected not to be underfood, but with difficulty ; or whether the fear of his safety under Nero, compelled him to this darkness in some places; or that it was occafioned by his close way of thinking, and the brevity of his Ayle, and crowding of his figures; or lastly, whether after so long a time, many of his words have been corrupted, and many cuftoms, and stories relating to them, loft to us; whether some of these reasons, or all, concurred to. render him so cloudy ; we may be bold to affirm, that the best of commentators can but guess at his meaning, in many passages : and none can be certain that he has divined rightly.
After all, he was a young man, like his friend and contemporary Lucan: both of them men of extraordinary parts, and great acquired knowledge, considering their youth. But neither of them had arrived to that maturity of judgment, which is necessary to the accomplishing of a formed poet. And this consideration, as on the one hand it lays some imperfections to their charge : fo on the other side, it is a candid excuse for those failings, which are incident to youth and inexperience; and we have more reason to wonder how they, who died before the thirtieth
could write so well, and think so strongly; than to accuse them of those faults, from which human nature, and more especially in youth, can never possibly be exempted.