Page images

between the use and abuse of classical knowledge when it tends to inform the judgnient, to refine the manners, and to embellish the conversation; when it keeps a due subordination to that which is divine, makes us I truly thankful of the superior light of God's infallible k word, and teaches us how little can be truly known * by the wisest of men, without a divine revelation-then it has its use—still more, if it awakens in us a jealousy over ourselves, that we duly improve the superior light with which we are blessed, lest the very heathen rise in judgment † against us. If, on the contrary, it tends to make us proud, vain, and conceited, to rest in its at

tăinments as the summit of wisdom and knowledge; if it contributes to harden the mind against superior in

formation, or fills it with that sour pedantry which leads to the contempt of others—then I will readily allow, that all our learning is but “ splendid ignorance and

pompous folly."

[ocr errors]

* 1 Cor. i. 20, 21.

+ Luke xii. 47, 48.















JUVENAT begins this satire with giving some humourous reasons

for his writing : such as hearing, so often, many ill poets rehearse their works, and intending to repay them in kind. Next he in. forms us, why he addicts himself to satire, rather than to other

poetry, and gives a summary and general view of the reigning SEMPER


auditor tantum ? nunquamne reponam, Vexatus toties rauci Theseïde Codri? Impune ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas,

Satires] Or satyrı-concerning this word-see CHANDERS's Dictionary.

Line 1. Only an hearer.] Juvenal complains of the irksome rea citals, which the scribbling poets were continually making of their vile compositions, and of which he was a hearer, at the public assem blies where they read them over. It is to be observed that, some. times, the Romans made private recitals of their poetry, among their particular friends. They also had public recitals, either in the temple of Apollo, or in spacious' houses, which were either hired, or lent, for the purpose, by some rich and great man, who was highly honoured for this, and who got his clients and dependents to. gether, on the occasion, in order to increase the audience, and to encourage the poet by their applauses. See sat. vii. l. 40-4. Per. sius, prolog. I. 7, and note. Hor. lib. I. sat. iv. I. 73, 4.

Řepay.] Reponam, here, is used metaphorically; it al,





vices and follies of his time. He laments the restraints which the satirists then lay under from a fear of punishment, and professes to treat of the dead, personating, under their names, certain living vicious characters. His great aim, in this, and in all his other satires, is to expose and reprove vice itself, however sanctified by

custom, or dignified by the examples of the great. SHALL I always be only a hearer?-shall I never repay, Who am teiz'd so often with the Theseis of hoarse Codrus? Shall one (poet) recite his comedies to me with impunity, ludes to the borrowing and repayment of money. When a man repaid money which he had borrowed, he was said to replace it reponere. So our poet, looking upon himself as indebted to the reciters of their compositions, for the trouble which they had given him; speaks, as if he intended to repay them in kind, by writing and reciting his verses, as they had done theirs. Sat. vii. 1. 40-4. PERSIUS, prolog. I 7. Hor. lib. I. sat. iv. I. 73, 4. 2. Theseis:] A poem, of which : Theseus was the subject.

Hoarse Codrus.] A very nean poet: so poor, that he gave rise to the proverb: “Codro pauperior. He is here supposed to have made himself hoarse, with frequent and loud reading his poem. -: 3. Comedies.] Togatas-so called from the low and common people, who were the subjects of them. These wore gowns by which they were distinguished from persons of rank.

There were three different sorts of comedy, each denominated from the dress of the persons which they represented..

« EelmineJätka »