Obrazy na stronie


WE are indebted to the Romans both for the word Satire, and the species of composition which it designates. We find, however, that in the progress of Roman literature, both these underwent important changes. The word Satura, which properly means the same as farrago, a mixture of various things, was applied, at a very early period, to a kind of composition, which treated discursively of various subjects, partly in prose, and partly in poetry, and, in the poetical parts, in verses of different measures. From a passage in Livy,* which is the principal authority on this point, it would also appear that this early Satura was a rude kind of drama, partly extemporaneous and partly written, which developed no regular plot, and in its broad burlesque resembled the †Fescennine verses of the ancient people of Italy. The satires of Ennius and Pacuvius, though perhaps not dramatic, were, at leas in their mixed and irregular character, examples of the ancient Satura.

In later times, after the regular drama had been introduced by Livius Andronicus, there arose the Satira or Satire, which, though not intended for the stage, yet in its aim to represent life, and in its adoption of something of the form of dialogue, shared some of the characteristics of the older Satura. Lucilius is mentioned by Quintilian as the first who gained distinction in this kind of writing, and he may be justly pronounced its inventor. He wrote in hexameter verse; and took the material of his satire from the whole range of human life, its illustrations of good and evil, of virtue and of vice, of wisdom and of folly.

It is this kind of Satire, which, both in its form and its subjectmatter, these writings of Horace illustrate. His Satires are sketches of life and manners, of the life and manners of the Romans, in the reign of Augustus. His own words in several passages help us to indicate the

* B. vii., 2.

† See Dict. Antiqq. under Fescennina.

particular style of satire in which he chose to write. In the First Satire of the First Book, he pleasantly inquires:

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

In a word, it is the playful style of Satire, that which employs all the gentle arts of humor and raillery, in which Horace wrote, and in which he excelled. His satirical writings present a striking contrast to those of Juvenal, the master of grave, severe satire; and the contrast between these two satirists is easily explained by the difference of their personal character and of the times in which they lived. Horace was a man of genial temper and easy habit, a wise and well-bred man of the world; and living in a time when there yet lingered something of honor and virtue in the luxurious life of Rome, he could make merry with the follies and even the vices of men. But Juvenal was a man of uncommon gravity and earnestness of character, and lived in a later and utterly corrupt age; and he came forth among his countrymen like an inspired prophet, arrayed in awful dignity, and scourged their wickedness with unrelenting severity.

We find imitations of Horace's style of satirizing in various modern writers, especially in Pope and Swift in English, and Boileau in French literature. Some of these imitations will be alluded to in the notes that follow.



The poet illustrates the discontent of men with their own lot, and finds its cause in the passion of avarice.

The train of thought seems to be as follows:

Introduction (1-27): no one is content with his own lot, but every one envies another's; and yet no one is willing to change his lot, if the opportunity be offered him.-With the implication that this discontent springs from avarice, the various pleas of an avaricious man for hoarding up wealth are stated and replied to (28-91).-These pleas being untenable, the miser ought to put an end to the mere amassing of wealth, and wisely use what he has gained. And yet he need not turn spendthrift, for there is a due medium in all things (92-107). Conclusion (108-end): it is thus true, that no miser is content with his lot; thus in the haste of all to be richer than their neighbor, but few lead a happy life.

In the concluding lines, and especially lines 117-119, the poet virtually answers the question with which he opens the satire. The passage beginning with 1. 108, particularly the words nemo avarus, explains the transition from the introduction to the principal part of the satire, and justifies us in supplying the thought, which we have given above in italics.

1-27. For the train of thought, see introduction.


sortem. To be joined with illa in next line, by a construction common -1. Quamin prose and in poetry; illa sorte, quam-. See Arn. Pr. Intr. 30. 3. Laudet. Supply in translation, quisque, corresponding to nemo in l. 1. 7. Quid enim. An elliptical expression, like τí yáp, which serves to cut off all objection or contradiction. We may explain by supplying dicis? or objicis? Cicero, when he uses quid enim, generally has another question immediately following; e. g. quid enim? nonne concurritur? See Z. 769; Hand. Turs. 2, 386.- 10. Sub galli cantum. At cockcrowing; here, of course by hyperbole, for the very early hour at which the client arouses his counsel. The juris-peritus, or Juris Consultus, is our counsellor-at-law, or Jurist. See Dict. Antiqq. under Juris Consulti.

-11. Datis vadibus. Dare vades is our expression give bail, used of a defendant who gives security for his appearance in court. The farmer (rusticus), who must needs come in from the country to appear in court at the trial, thinks it would be much happier to live in town, as he could then attend to judicial matters with less inconvenience. On the use of vas and of praes, see Dict. Antiqq. under Praes. -14. Fabium. We find the same name in next satire, 1. 134. Who he was, is not known; the name probably designates some tedious talker or writer. 18. Partibus. Your parts, that you are to play in the drama of life. The expression is borrowed from the stage.- 19. Nolint. They would be unwilling; nolint is the apodosis, corresponding to si-dicat.

- Beatis. Dative by attraction, as licet governs the dat. and the acc. pron. eos is omitted. See Arn. Pr. Intr., 152, Z. § 601. - - 23. Praeterea -ludo. This passage illustrates what is called anacoluthon (see A. & S. § 323, 3 (5), Z. § 739); the rourse of thought, interrupted by the parenthesis, is resumed with sed, but in a construction different from that with which the sentence commenced. 25. Olim. Sometimes. See note, O. ii., 10, 17.- 29. Caupo. This is the reading of the most and the best MSS.; the only other that has any manuscript authority, is the one given in the various readings. All the others are conjectural. Caupo means innkeeper; hic is opposed to ille, and is emphatic; this, i. e. such a one as we see among us every day. In Sat. i., 5, 4, Horace has cauponibus malignis, where see note. 30. Hac mente. The first plea (see introd.) of the miser; that he gathers and lays up, like the ant, against a time of need. 33. Exemplo; sc. iis. Their illustration; the one they always use. 36. Quae; at ea, but she. The poẹt turns the miser's own illustration against him.

The ant lays up,


against the sentiment in 1. 62. The miser is despised and hissed at, notwithstanding his chests of gold. 68. Tantalus. The poet begins to mention the story of Tantalus, as an illustration of the miser's lot.- 69. Quid rides. The miser smiles, and interrupts, but the poet goes on, and shows how pertinent is the illustration. 71. Sacris. As if they were sacred; and, therefore, may not be touched. -72. Tabellis. Paintings; which are only to be seen. 80-87. But perhaps, in sickness, the miser has kind and anxious friends? Not at all; all hate him. Nor is it strange. 88-91. A vain expectation, to keep the friendship of your relatives, without any effort on your own part. Si-velis forms the protasis, and infelix-perdas, the apodosis, of the sentence. The MSS. are divided between An, si and At si. With Jahn, Dillenburger, Kirchner, and others, I prefer the latter. 92. Denique; in fine, i. e.

[ocr errors]

to sum up what follows from our examination. See introduction. 93. Plus; i. e. than you really need. 96. Ut metiretur; instead of counting it; because he had so much. 100. Tyndaridarum; masculine, as it includes the sons as well as the daughters of Tyndarus; the fem. form would be Tyndaridum. The poet alludes to Clytemnestra, who slew her husband Agamemnon. 101. Ut-Maenius-Nomentanus. Like a Maenius, or a Nomentanus; probably well-known spendthrifts of the time. Thus the miser, as men generally do, when hard pushed in argument, flies over to the other extreme. 102, 103. Pergis-componere. Join frontibus adversis with componere. The figure is taken from two combatants, e. g. gladiators, set against each other for a combat; to express which componere is often used. See Lexicon. You go on to set together, front to front, things that oppose one another.

105. The allusion in this line is probably to two persons who had diseases of an opposite nature.. -108. Illuc-nemo ut. I return to the point, from which I started (namely), that no-. See close of introd. This is a difficult and disputed passage; but in the above reading and interpretation, Orelli, Obbarius, Dillenburger, and Kirchner, all agree.

- 114. Carceribus. The carceres of the Circus, literally prisons, barriers, were the starting-places; a kind of stalls, where the chariots and horses were stationed, till the signal was given for the race. 115. Illum; sc. quum. 120. Crispini. A loquacious philosopher of the day, and a poet withal, who is said to have written a work in verse upon the philosophy of the Stoics. In a spirit of good humor the poet adds the epithet lippi, which applied also to himself (see Sat. i., 5, 30).

« PoprzedniaDalej »