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P R E FACE
DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENAL was born at Aquinum, a town of the Volsci, a people of Latium; hence, from the place of his birth, he was called Aquinas. It is not certain whether he was the son, or foster-child, of a rich freedman. He had a learned education, and, in the time of Claudius Nero, pleaded causes with great reputation. About his middle age he applied himself to the study of Poetry; and, as he saw a daily increase of vice and folly, he addicted himself to writing Satire: but, having said something (sat. vii, 1. 88-92.) which was deemed a reflection on Paris the actor, a minion of Domitian's, he was banished into Ægypt, at *eighty years
under pretence of sending him as captain of a company of soldiers. This was looked upon as a sort of humorous punishment for what he had said, in making Paris the bestower of posts in the army
However, Domitian dying soon after, Juvenal returned to Rome, and is said to have lived there to the times t of Nerva and Trajan. At last, worn out with old age,
he expired in a fit of coughinga * Quanquam Oetogenarius.-MARSHALL, in Vit. Juv.
+ Ibique ad Nervæ et Trajani tempora supervixisse dicitur MARSHALL, Ib.
He was a man of excellent morals, of an elegant taste and judgment, a fast friend to Virtue, and an irreconcilable enemy to Vice in every shape.....
As a writer, bis style is unrivalled, in point of elegance and beauty, by any Satirist that we are acquainted with, Horace not excepted. The plainness of his expressions are derived from the honesty and integrity of his own mind : his great aim was---" to hold, as it
were, the mirror up to nature; to shew. Virtue her
own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age “ and body of the time his form and pressure * " He meant not, therefore, to corrupt the mind, by openly describing the lewd practices of his countrymen, but to remove every veil, even of language itself, which could soften the features, or hide the full deformity of vice from the observation of his readers, and thus to strike the mind with due abhorrence of what he censurës. All this is done in so inasterly a way, as to render him well worthy Scaliger's encomium, when he styles him. Omnium Satyricorum facile Princeps. He was much loved and respected by † Martial. Quintilian speaks , of him, Inst. Orat. lib. x. as the chief of Satirists.
Ammianus Marcellinus says, that some who did detest learning, did, notwithstanding, in their most profound retiredness, diligently employ themselves in his works.
in mous. The attentive reader of Juvenal may see, as in a glass, a true portraiture of the Roman manners in his time: here he may see, drawn to the life, a people supk in sloth, luxury, and debauchery, and exhibiting to us:
the sad condition of human nature, when untaught by divine truth, and uninfluenced by a divine principles However polite and refined this people was, with re spect to the cultivation of letters, arts, and sciences, beyond the most barbarous nations ; yet, as to the true knowledge of God, they were upon a footing with the most uninformed of their cotemporaries, and corisequently were, equally with them, sunk into all manner of wickedness and abomination. The description of the Gentiles in general, by St. Paul, Rom. i. 19-32. is fully verified as to the Romans in particular. duvenal may be looked upon as one of those rare meteors, which shone forth even in the darkness of Heathenigm. The mind and conscience of this great man were, though from * whence he knew not, so far en: lightened, as tú perceive the ugliness of vice, and so influenced with a desire to reform it, as to make him, according to the light he had, a severe and able reprover, a powerful and diligent witness against the vices and follies of the people among which he lived'; and, indeed, against all, who, like thein, give a loose to their depraved appetites, as if there were no other liberty to be sought after, but the most unrestrained indulgence of vicious pleasures and gratifications. 2 How far Rome-Christian, possessed of divine revelation, is better than Heathen Rome without it, is not, for me to determine: but I fear, that the perusal of Juvenal will furnish us with too serious a reason to obsérve, that, not only modern Rome, but every metropolis“ in the Christian world, as to the generality of its manners and pursuits, bears a most unhappy resemblance to
* Rom. ii. 15. Comp. Is. xlv. 5. See sat. x. I. 363, and note.