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gry stomach seldom loathes common victuals. O that I could see a swingeing mullet extended on a swingeing dish! cries that gullet, which is fit for the voracious harpies themselves. But 0 [say I] ye southern blasts, be present to taint the delicacies of the [gluttons] : though the boar and turbot newly taken are rank, when surfeiting abundance provokes the sick stomach ; and when the sated guttler prefers turnips and sharp elecampane. However, all Cappearance of] poverty is not quite banished from the banquets of our nobles ; for there is, even at this day, a place for paltry eggs and black olives." And it was not long ago, since the table of Gallonius, the auctioneer, was rendered infamous, by having a sturgeon [served
upon it]. What? was the sea at that time less nutritive of turbots ?19 The turbot was secure and the stork unmolested in her nest; till the prætorian [Sempronius), the inventor, 20 first taught you [to eat them). Therefore, if any one were to give it out that roasted cormorants are delicious, the Roman youth, teachable in depravity, would acquiesce in it.
In the judgment of Ofellus, a sordid way of living will differ widely from frugal simplicity. For it is to no purpose for you to shun that vice [of luxury]; if you perversely fly to the contrary extreme. Avidienus, to whom the nickname of Dog is applied with propriety, eats olives of five years old, and wild cornels, and can not bear to rack off his wine unless it be turned sour, and the smell of his oil you can not endure : which (though clothed in white he celebrates the wedding festival,” his birth-day, or any other festal days) he pours out himself by little and little from a horn cruet, that holds two poun is, upon his cabbage, [but at the same time) is lavish enough of his old vinegar.
18 Olives, intended for the table, were gathered when they began to ripen and turn black. CRUQ.
19 The fanciful, fashionable taste is but of short continuance; that of nature is unalterable. You are now as fond of turbot as Gallonius was of sturgeon. But were there no turbots in his time? Certainly there were; but no coxcomb had made them fashionable, and the prætor decided in favor of sturgeon. · Another glutton brought turbots and storks into vogue, and perhaps we only wait for a third man of taste to assure us, that a roasted cormorant is infinitely more delicious than sturgeons, turbots, or storks. DAC.
20 The storks built their nests in safety until the time of Augustus, when your prætor taught you to eat them. Asinius Sempronius, or, according to others, Rutilius Rufus, when candidate for the prætorship, entertained the people with a dish of storks. But the people, according to an ancient epigram, revenged the death of the poor birds by refusing the prætorship to their murderer. From this refusal the poet pleasantly calls him præ. tor. TORR
What manner of living therefore shall the wise man put in practice, and which of these examples shall he copy? On one side the wolf presses on, and the dog on the other, as the saying is. A person will be accounted decent, if he offends not by sordidness, and is not despicable through either extreme of conduct. Such a man will not, after the example of old Albutius, be
savage while he assigns to his servants their respective offices; nor, like simple Nævius, will he offer greasy water to his
company : for this too is a great fault.
Now learn what and how great benefits a temperate diet will bring along with it. In the first place, you will enjoy good health ; for you may believe how detrimental a diversity of things is to any man, when you recollect that sort of food, which by its simplicity sat so well upon your stomach some time ago. But, when you have once mixed boiled and roast together, thrushes and shell-fish; the sweet juices will turn into bile, and the thick phlegm will bring a jarring upon the stomach. Do not you see, how pale each guest rises from a perplexing variety of dishes at an entertainment. Beside this, the body, overloaded with the debauch of yesterday, depresses the mind along with it, and dashes to the earth that portion of the divine spirit. "a Another man, as soon as he has taken a quick repast, and rendered up his limbs to repose, rises vigorous to the duties of his calling. However, may
sometimes have recourse to better cheer; whether the returning year shall bring on a festival, or if he have a mind
21 Repotia was a festival the day after the nuptials, when they drank and ate whatever remained of yesterday's entertainment, quia iterum po
The construction is remarkable, alios dierum festos, for alios qui ex diebus festi sunt. Albatus, white was usually the color of the Roman robe even at funeral feasts. Ipse, is a circumstance that strongly marks the avarice of Avidienus. Afraid that his guests or his servants should be too profuse of his oil, he pours it himself. The poet tells us, his bottle was of two pounds weight, as if it were his whole store, although he was extremely rich; and the vessel was of horn, that it might last a long time. All these particulars are in character. TORR. SAN.
22 Divinæ particulam aurce. To raise the nobleness of the mind, Horace has borrowed the language of Plato, who says, that it is a portion of the universal soul of the world, that is, of the divinity himself. SAN.
to refresh his impaired body; and when years shall approach, and feeble age require to be used more tenderly. But as for you, if a troublesome habit of body, or creeping old age, should come upon you, what addition can be made to that soft indulgence, which you, now in youth and in health, anticipate ?
Our ancestors praised a boar when it was stale: not because they had no noses; but with this view, I suppose, that a visitor coming later than ordinary [might partake of it], though a little musty, rather than the voracious master should devour it all himself while sweet. I wish that the primitive earth had produced me among such heroes as these. Have you any regard for reputation, which affects the hu
ear more agreeably than music? Great turbots and dishes bring great disgrace along with them, together with expense. Add to this, that your relations and neighbors will be exasperated at you, while you will be at enmity with yourself and desirous of death in vain, since you will not in your poverty have three farthings left to purchase a rope withal. Trausius, you say, may with justice be called to account in such language as this; but I possess an ample revenue, and wealth sufficient for three potentates. Why then have you no better method of expending your superfluities? Why is any man, undeserving sof distressed circumstances], in want, while you abound? How comes it to pass, that the ancient temples of the gods are falling to ruin? Why do not you, wretch that you are, bestow something on your dear country, out of so vast a hoard ? What, will matters always go well with you alone ? O thou, that hereafter shalt be the great derision of thine enemies ! which of the two shall depend upon himself in exigences with most certainty? He who has used his mind and high-swollen body to redundancies; or he who, contented with a little and provident for the future, like a wise man in time of peace,
shall make the necessary preparations for war?
That you may the more readily give credit to these things : I myself, when a little boy, took notice that this Ofellus did not use his unencumbered estate more profusely, than he does now it is reduced. You may see the sturdy husbandman laboring for hire in the land [once his own, but now] as
signed to others]," with his cattle and children, talking to this effect; I never ventured to eat any thing on a work-day except pot-herbs, with a hock of smoke-dried bacon. And when a friend came to visit me after a long absence, or a neighbor, an acceptable guest to me resting from work on account of the rain, we lived well; not on fishes fetched from the city, but on a pullet and a kid: then a dried grape, and a nut, with a large fig, 24 set off our second course. After this, it was our diversion to have no other regulation in our cups, save that against drinking to excess :* then Ceres worshiped [with a libation], that the corn might arise in lofty stems, smoothed with wine the melancholy of the contracted brow. Let fortune rage, and stir up new tumults: what can she do more to impair my estate ? How much more savingly have either I lived, or how much less neatly have you gone, my children, since this new possessor came ? For nature has appointed to be lord of this earthly property, neither him, nor me, nor any one. He drove us out: either iniquity or ignorance in the quirks of the law shall [do the same by] him:
23 Metato in agello. Ofellus was involved in the same disgrace and ruin as Virgil, Tibullus, and Propertius. Their estates were given by Octavius to the veterans who had served against Brutus and Cassius in the battle of Philippi. That of Ofellus was given to Umbrenus, who hired its former master to till the ground for him, mercede colonum. As each soldier had a certain number of acres, the land was measured, metato agello, before it was divided. FRAN.
24 Duplice, a kind of large fig, called Marisca. TURNEB. B. i. e. bifida. SCH. CRUQ. D. Figs were split into two parts, and when dried, served up mensis secundis. MCAUL. *The last is proved to be the correct interpretation from Pallad. R. R. iv. 10, 35: “Subinde ficus, sicut est divisa, vertatur, ut ficorum coria siccentur et pulpæ tunc duplicatæ in cistellis serventur aut loculis." WHEELER.
25 It was customary with the Romans to appoint some person magister bibendi, who directed the number of cups to be taken, and the toasts, etc. Ofella says there was no such person appointed, but that the only president that they had at their table was culpa, i. e. excess." Each person took as much as he pleased, restricted only by the feeling that excess was culpable. The ancients had a ludus, which was intended to prevent the intoxication that might arise from being obliged to obey the magister bibendi in taking the number of cups which he directed. The person who (aliquâ in re peccarat) violated any of the convivial laws or customs, was punished by being obliged to drink a cupful, poculo multabatur, so that as no one drank but those who committed some breach of the laws, bibere pænæ et dedecoris esset, non invitationis aut magisterii Thus culpa was magistra bibendi. TURNEB.
certainly in the end his long-lived heir shall expel him. Now this field under the denomination of Umbrenus'
, lately it was Ofellus', the perpetual property of no man; for it turns to my use one while, and by and by to that of another. Wherefore, live undaunted ; and oppose gallant breasts against the strokes of adversity.
Damasippus, in a conversation with Horace, proves this paradox of the
Stoic philosophy, that most men are actually mad. You write so seldom, as not to call for parchment four times in the year, busied in reforming your writings, yet are you angry with yourself, that indulging in wine and sleep you produce nothing worthy to be the subject of conversation. What will be the consequence? But you took refuge here, it seems, at the very celebration of the Saturnalia, out of sobriety. Dictate therefore something worthy of your promises : begin. There is nothing. The pens are found fault with to no purpose, and the harmless wall
, which must have been built under the displeasure of gods and poets, suffers [to no end]. But you
had the look of one that threatened many and excellent things, when once your villa had received you, free from employment, under warm roof. To what purpose was it to stow Plato upon Menander? Eupolis, Archilochus ? For what end did you bring abroad such companions ? What ? are you setting about appeasing envy by deserting virtue ? Wretch, you will be despised. That guilty Siren, Sloth, must be avoided; or whatever acquisitions you have made in the better part of your life, must with equanimity be given up. May the gods and goddesses, O Damasippus, present you with a barber for your sound advice! But by what means did you get so well acquainted with me? Since all
fortunes were dissipated at the middle of the Exchange, 26 detached from all business of my own, I mind that of other people. For
26 The name of Janus was sometimes given to those great arcades which crossed the streets of Rome. Livy tells us there were three of them erected in the forum, the middle of which Horace means, and which he distinguishes from the Janus summus and Janus imus. ED. DUBL.