One fourth[*](The first hour of the day among the Romans answered to our sixth. Martial says the courts were open at nine o'clock, "exercet raucos tertia causidicos;" it was, therefore, more than an hour after their opening, that Horace passed by the temple of Vesta.) of the day being now passed, we came to Vesta's temple; and, as good luck would have it, he was obliged to appear to his recognizance; which unless he did, he must have lost his cause.
"If you love me," said he, "step in here a little."
"May I die! if I be either able to stand it out,[*](Aut valeo stare.Horace uses the law terms, respondere, adesse, stare, rem relinquere. The first signifies to appear before a judge upon a summons; the second was properly to attend on the person who appeared, and to support his cause; the third marks the posture in which he stood, and relinquere causam to suffer himself to be non-suited for not appearing.) or have any knowledge of the civil laws: and besides, I am in a hurry, you know whither."
"I am in doubt what I shall do," said he; "whether desert you or my cause."
"Me, I beg of you."
"I will not do it," said he; and began to take the lead of me. I (as it is difficult to contend with one's master) follow him.
"How stands it with Maecenas and you?" Thus he begins his prate again. "He is one of few intimates,[*](Paucorum hominum. "A man of discernment, who does not converse with the multitude," as in Terence, "hic homo est perpaucorum hominum." Scipio having engaged three or four friends to sup with him, and intending to make some others, who came to see him, stay with him, Pontius whispered him, "Consider, Scipio, what you are doing; this is a delicate fish, paucorum hominum, and does not love a great deal of company.") and of a very wise way of thinking. No man ever made use of opportunity with more cleverness. You should have a powerful assistant,[*](Adiutor was a person who assisted a player either with his voice or action, but in what manner is to us inconceivable, as we have nothing like it in our stage. Ferre secundas may be somewhat better explained by a passage in Cicero: "He will not exert his utmost eloquence, but consult your honor and reputation, by lowering his own abilities and raising yours. Thus we see among the Grecian actors, that he who plays the second or third part, conceals his own power, that the principal player may appear to the best advantage."Our impertinent therefore promises Horace, that far from any design of supplanting him in the favor of Maecenas, he will be contented to play the second part, and use his utmost abilities to raise our poet's character, as a principal actor. The reader may turn to the note on the twelfth line in the eighteenth epistle.) who could play an underpart, if you were disposed to recommend this man; may I perish, if you should not supplant all the rest!"
"We do not live there in the manner you imagine; there is not a house that is freer or more remote from evils of this nature. It is never of any disservice to me, that any particular person is wealthier or a better scholar than I am: every individual has his proper place."
"You tell me a marvelous thing, scarcely credible."
"But it is even so."
"You the more inflame my desires to be near his person."
"You need only be inclined to it: such is your merit, you will accomplish it: and he is capable of being won;[*](The poet says Maecenas was naturally easy to be gained, but that a sense of his own weakness obligred him to guard himself against the first addresses of a stranger. Eo for ideo difficiles aditus primos habet, quia est qui vinci possit as in Terence, eo tibi videtur foedus, quia vestem illam non habet. ) and on that account the first access to him he makes difficult."
"I will not be wanting to myself; I will corrupt his servants with presents; if I am excluded to-day, I will not desist; I will seek opportunities; I will meet him in the public streets; I will wait upon him home. Life allows nothing to mortals without great labor."
While he was running on at this rate, lo! Fuscus Aristius comes up, a dear friend of mine, and one who knows the fellow well. We make a stop.
"Whence come you? whither are you going?" he asks and answers. I began to twitch him [by the elbow], and to take hold of his arms [that were affectedly] passive, nodding and distorting my eyes, that he might rescue me. Cruelly arch he laughs, and pretends not to take the hint: anger galled my liver.
"Certainly," [said I, "Fuscus,] you said that you wanted to communicate something to me in private."
"I remember it very well; but will tell it you at a better opportunity: to-day is the thirtieth sabbath.[*](The Jews began their year the first of September, and celebrated their paschal festival the fifteenth of April, in the thirtieth week, from whence Horace calls it tricesima sabbata. It continued eight days, of which the two first and two last were observed with so much solemnity, that it was not permitted even to talk of business. Augustus, in imitation of Julius Caesar, allowed the Jews uncommon privileges.) Would you affront the circumcised Jews?"
I reply, "I have no scruple [on that account]."
"But I have: I am something weaker, one of the multitude. You must forgive me: I will speak with you on another occasion." And has this sun arisen so disastrous upon me! The wicked rogue runs away, and leaves me under the knife.
But by luck his adversary met him: and, "Whither are you going, you infamous fellow?" roars he with a loud voice: and, "Do you witness the arrest?"[*](When a man had given bail in a court of justice, if he neglected the time of appearance, he might be taken by force before the praetor. But the person who would arrest him was obliged, before he used him with violence, to have a witness of his capture, antestari. This, however, could not be done without the consent of the witnesses; he, therefore, willingly offered the captor his ear to touch, who was liable, if these forms were not observed, to an action, iniuriarum actionem. But thieves and people of infamous characters were not treated with so much formality. When a fellow in Plautus cries out, "Will you not call a witness before you seize me?" nonne antestaris?(Persa 747-748) he is answered, "What, shall I touch an honest man's ear for such a scoundrel as you are?" Pliny tells us, the lowest part of the ear is the seat of memory, from whence came this form of their laws.)
I assent.[*](Oppono auriculam. Such was the law term, which our poet very willingly pronounced, to signify the consent of the witness.) He hurries him into court: there is a great clamor on both sides, a mob from all parts. Thus Apollo preserved me.[*](Horace ascribes his rescue from the intruder to Apollo, as the patron of poets. Perhaps he alludes to the statue of that god, which was in the forum, where the courts were held, and as it was a law proceeding that saved him from the garrulus, he ascribes his preservation to the god, that from his vicinity to the courts, was called iuris peritus. Juven. i. 113. Orellius considers reference to be made to Apollo, ἀλεξικάκος or ἀποτροπαῖος, and that the passage is founded on Il. 20. 443τὸν δ' ἐξήρπαξεν Ἀπόλλω )
To be sure I did say, that the verses of Lucilius[*](Lucilius had his numerous admirers in Rome, who were greatly disobliged by the freedom with which our poet had treated him in his fourth Satire. Horace was determined to support his own judgment, and instead of making an apology, confirms what he had said, with his utmost force and address. Respecting the eight spurious verses usually prefixed to this satire, see Orelli's Excursus. The verses are as follows: lucili, quam sis mendosus, teste catone,defensore tuo, pervincam, qui male factosemendare parat versus, hoc lenius ille,quo melior vir et est longe subtilior illo,qui multum puer et loris et funibus udisexoratus, ut esset, opem qui ferre poetisantiquis posset contra fastidia nostra,grammaticorum equitum doctissimus. ut redeam illuc: ) did not run smoothly. Who is so foolish an admirer of Lucilius, that he would not own this? But the same writer is applauded in the same Satire,[*](Cf. Sat. 4. ) on account of his having lashed the town with great humor. Nevertheless granting him this, I will not therefore give up the other [considerations]; for at that rate I might even admire the farces of Laberius,[*](Mimi were farces written purely for diversion and laughing. Decimus Laberius was made a Roman knight by Julius Caesar. He had long maintained the first character in this kind of writing, but Publius Syrus at last became his rival, and carried off all the applause of the theater.) as fine poems. Hence it is by no means sufficient to make an auditor grin with laughter: and yet there is some degree of merit even in this. There is need of conciseness that the sentence may run, and not embarrass itself with verbiage, that overloads the sated ear; and sometimes a grave, frequently jocose style is necessary, supporting the character one while of the orator, and [at another] of the poet, now and then that of a graceful rallier that curbs the force of his pleasantry and weakens it on purpose. For ridicule often decides matters of importance more effectually and in a better manner, than severity. Those poets by whom the ancient comedy was written, stood upon this [foundation], and in this are they worthy of imitation: whom neither the smooth-faced Hermogenes ever read, nor that baboon who is skilled in nothing but singing [the wanton compositions of] Calvus and Catullus.
But [Lucilius, say they,] did a great thing, when he intermixed Greek words with Latin. O late-learned dunces! What! do you think that arduous and admirable, which was done by Pitholeo the Rhodian? But [still they cry] the style elegantly composed of both tongues is the more pleasant, as if Falernian wine is mixed with Chian. When you make verses, I ask you this question; were you to undertake the difficult cause of the accused Petillius, would you (for instance), forgetful of your country and your father, while Pedius,[*](Pedius. This is, without doubt, the son of that Q. Pedius whom Julius Caesar made heir to the fourth part of his estate, and who was chosen consul with Octavius, in room of Hirtius and Pansa.) Poplicola, and Corvinus'[*](Corvinus. V. Messala Corvinus, no less distinguished by his eloquence than by his noble birth. He was descended from the famed Valerius Poplicola) sweat through their causes in Latin, choose to intermix words borrowed from abroad, like the double-tongued Canusinian.[*](Canusium was built by Diomede. Its inhabitants, originally Greeks, had preserved many words of their first language, which being mixed with Latin, made a ridiculous, disagreeable jargon. Virgil for the same reason, calls the Tyrians, Tyriosque bilingues.(Aen. 1.661) ) And as for myself, who was born on this side the water, when.I was about making Greek verses; Romulus appearing to me after midnight, when dreams are true, forbade me in words to this effect; "You could not be guilty of more madness by carrying timber into a wood, than by desiring to throng in among the great crowds of Grecian writers."
While bombastical Alpinus[*](Alpinus. The most probable conjectures induce us to believe, that Horace means Furius Bibaculus, a poet of some reputation, and not without merit. He describes him in another Satire (2.5.40)pingui tentus omaso, and here he calls him turgidus, not only from the fatness of his person but the flatulency of his style. The surname of Alpinus marks his being born among the Gauls, who lived on the Alps; or, as Dr. Bentley pleasantly understands it, from a famous line, which our poet laughs at in another place: "Jupiter hibernas cana nive conspuit Alpes." Iugulat dum Memnona is a tone and style of bombast in the true spirit of ridicule.) murders Memnon, and while he deforms the muddy source of the Rhine, I amuse myself with these satires; which can neither be recited in the temple[*](Quae nec in Aede sonent. The commentator tells that Augustus appointed five judges, of whom Metius Tarpa was one, to distribute poetical prizes, and determine what plays should be presented on the stage. Vossius believes they were established in imitation of the Sicilians and Athenians. Mr. Dacier thinks they were continued under the reign of Domitian.) [of Apollo], as contesting for the prize when Tarpa presides as judge, nor can have a run over and over again represented in the theaters. You, O Fundanius,[*](Fundanius. He is known only by this elogium of Horace. This passage refers to the Andria of Terence, where Chremes is deceived by the artifices of Davus.) of all men breathing, are the most capable of prattling tales in a comic vein, how an artful courtesan and a Davus impose upon an old Chremes: Pollio sings the actions of kings in iambic[*](Pede ter percusso. The tragic Iambics had but three measures, each measure having two feet, from whence they were sometimes called senarii, and sometimes trimetra. ) measure; the sublime Varius composes the manly epic, in a manner that no one can equal: to Virgil the Muses, delighting in rural scenes, have granted the delicate and the elegant. It was this kind [of satiric writing], the Aticinian Varro and some others having attempted it without success, in which I may have some slight merit, inferior to the inventor: nor would I presume to pull off the [laurel] crown placed upon his brow with great applause.
But I said that he flowed muddily, frequently indeed bearing along more things which ought to be taken away than left. Be it so; do you, who are a scholar, find no fault with any thing in mighty Homer, I pray? Does the facetious Lucilius make no alterations in the tragedies of Accius? Does not he ridicule many of Ennius' verses, which are too light for the gravity [of the subject]? When he speaks of himself by no means as superior to what he blames. What should hinder me likewise, when I am reading the works of Lucilius, from inquiring whether it be his [genius], or the difficult nature of his subject, that will not suffer his verses to be more finished, and to run more smoothly than if some one, thinking it sufficient to conclude a something of six feet, be fond of writing two hundred verses before he eats, and as many after supper? Such was the genius of the Tuscan Cassius, more impetuous than a rapid river; who, as it is reported, was burned [at the funeral pile] with his own books[*](The funeral piles on which dead bodies were burned were made of wood. Cassius had written so much, that Horace sportively gives it as a rumor, that his books formed his funeral pile. MCCAUL.) and papers. Let it be allowed, I say, that Lucilius was a humorous and polite writer; that he was also more correct than [Ennius], the author[*](There is a great variation in the interpretation of this passage. They may be found collected in MCCAUL's notes. ) of a kind of poetry [not yet] well cultivated, nor attempted by the Greeks, and [more correct likewise] than the tribe of our old poets: but yet he, if he had been brought down by the Fates to this age of ours, would have retrenched a great deal from his writings: he would have pruned off every thing that transgressed the limits of perfection; and, in the composition of verses, would often have scratched his head, and bit his nails to the quick.
You that intend to write what is worthy to be read more than once, blot frequently: and take no pains to make the multitude admire you, content with a few [judicious] readers. What, would you be such a fool as to be ambitious that your verses should be taught in petty schools? That is not my case. It is enough for me, that the knight [Maecenas] applauds: as the courageous actress, Arbuscula, expressed herself, in contempt of the rest of the audience, when she was hissed [by the populace]. What, shall that grubworm Pantilius[*](Pantilius. A buffoon, and a great enemy of Horace, whom he calls Cimex, an insect, out of contempt. Fannius is the same of whom he speaks in Satire iv. ) have any effect upon me? Or can it vex me, that Demetrius carps at me behind my back? or because the trifler Fannius, that hanger-on to Hermogenes Tigellius, attempts to hurt me? May Plotius and Varius, Maecenas and Virgil, Valgius and Octavius[*](Octavius. An excellent poet and historian. The Visci were two brothers, and both senators. Bibulus was the son of him that had been consul in 695, and Servius the son of Servius Sulpicius, who corresponded with Cicero. Furnius was consul in the year 737, and equally master of the pen and the sword.) approve these Satires, and the excellent Fuscus likewise; and I could wish that both the Visci would join in their commendations: ambition apart, I may mention you, O Pollio: you also, Messala, together with your brother; and at the same time, you, Bibulus and Servius; and along with these you, candid Furnius; many others whom, though men of learning and my friends, I purposely omit — to whom I could wish these Satires, such as they are, may give satisfaction; and I should be chagrined, if they pleased in a degree below my expectation. You, Demetrius, and you, Tigellius, I bid lament among the forms of your female pupils.
Go, boy, and instantly annex this Satire to the end of my book.
THERE are some persons to whom I seem too severe in [the writing of] satire, and to carry it beyond proper bounds:[*](Ultra legem. The laws of the twelve tables punished these poetical slanderers with death; but they were grown obsolete, and had lost great part of their vigor, when they were renewed by Augustus.) another set are of opinion, that all I have written is nerveless, and that a thousand verses like mine may be spun out in a day. Trebatius,[*](Trebatius. This is C. Trebatius Testa, the most celebrated lawyer of that age, as is evident from the letters which Cicero wrote to him. He was greatly in favor both with Julius Caesar and Augustus. As he accompanied the first in his wars in Gaul, thirty years before this Satire was written, he must, by this time, have been of an advanced age. Horace applies to him as one of great authority, on account of his age and skill in the law. He was further a good judge of raillery, and had often used it with delicacy and success.) give me your advice, what I shall do. Be quiet. I should not make, you say, verses at all. I do say so. May I be hanged, if that would not be best: but I can not sleep. Let those, who want sound sleep, anointed swim thrice across the Tiber: and have their clay well moistened with wine over-night. Or, if such a great love of scribbling hurries you on, venture to celebrate the achievements of the invincible Caesar, certain of bearing off ample rewards for your pains.
Desirous I am, my good father, [to do this,] but my strength fails me, nor can any one describe the troops bristled with spears, nor the Gauls[*](The Gauls of Aquitain having rebelled 726, Octavius sent Messala, with the title of governor of the province, to reduce them to his obedience. He conquered them in the year following, and had the honor of a triumph the 25th of September.) dying on their shivered darts, nor the wounded Parthian falling from his horse. Nevertheless you may describe him just and brave, as the wise Lucilius did Scipio. I will not be wanting to myself, when an opportunity presents itself: no verses of Horace's, unless well-timed, will gain the attention of Caesar; whom, [like a generous steed,] if you stroke awkwardly, he will kick back upon you, being at all quarters on his guard. How much better would this be, than to wound with severe satire Pantolabus the buffoon, and the rake Nomentanus! when every body is afraid for himself, [lest he should be the next,] and hates you, though he is not meddled with. What shall I do? Milonius falls a dancing the moment he becomes light-headed and warm, and the candles appear multiplied. Castor delights in horsemanship: and he, who sprang from the same egg, in boxing. As many thousands of people [as there are in the world], so many different inclinations are there. It delights me to combine words in meter, after the manner of Lucilius, a better man than both of us.[*](When the Romans mentioned a man of great reputation, and whose example had a sort of authority, their usual expression in conversation. was, Who is far better, and more valuable than you or me.) He long ago communicated his secrets to his books, as to faithful friends: never having recourse elsewhere, whether things went well or ill with him: whence it happens, that the whole life of this old [poet] is as open to the view, as if it had been painted on a votive tablet. His example I follow, though in doubt whether I am a Lucanian or an Apulian; for the Venusinian farmers plow upon the boundaries of both countries, who (as the ancient tradition has it) were sent, on the expulsion of the Samnites, for this purpose, that the enemy might not make incursions on the Romans, through a vacant [unguarded frontier]: or lest the Apulian nation, or the fierce Lucanian, should make an invasion. But this pen of mine shall not willfully attack any man breathing, and shall defend me like a sword that is sheathed in the scabbard: which why should I attempt to draw, [while I am] safe from hostile villains? 0 Jupiter, father and sovereign, may my weapon laid aside wear away with rust, and may no one injure me, who am desirous of peace? But that man who shall provoke me (I give notice, that it is better not to touch me) shall weep [his folly], and as a notorious character shall be sung through all the streets of Rome.
Cervius,[*](A criminal was acquitted or condemned by the number of votes, which the judges threw into a judiciary urn. Virgil tells us this custom was observed among the dead, quaesitor Minos urnam movet.(Aen. 6.432") ) when he is offended, threatens one with the laws and the [judiciary] urn; Canidia, Albutius' poison to those with whom she is at enmity; Turius [threatens] great damages, if you contest any thing while he is judge. How every animal[*](Horace's weapon is satire. This he will use against his enemies, just as every one, quo valet, suspectos terret, and according to the dictates of nature, which prompt her creatures to make use of the arms which she has given them, i. e. ne longum faciam, he will write.Mirum, etc. Ironically said, for it is not mirum ut neque calce lupus quemquam neque dente petat bos, for dente lupus, cornu taurus petit. Horace means that Scaeva's not polluting his right hand with the blood of his mother is no more wonderful than that a wolf does not attack a person calce, or an ox, dente. Bentley's conjecture mirum si is specious. Similarly we have Terent. Andr. iv. 4, 16;Mirum vero, impudentur mulier si facit meretrix. ) terrifies those whom he suspects, with that in which he is most powerful, and how strong natural instinct commands this, thus infer with me.—The wolf attacks with his teeth, the bull with his horns. From what principle is this, if not a suggestion from within? Intrust that debauchee Scaeva with the custody of his ancient mother; his pious hand will commit no outrage. A wonder indeed! just as the wolf does not attack any one with his hoof, nor the bull with his teeth; but the deadly hemlock in the poisoned honey will take off the old dame.
That I may not be tedious, whether a placid old age awaits me, or whether death now hovers about me with his sable wings; rich or poor, at Rome or (if fortune should so order it) an exile abroad; whatever be the complexion of my life, I will write. O my child, I fear you can not be long-lived; and that some creature of the great ones will strike you with the cold of death.[*](i. e. "lest some one of your powerful friends conceive a coldness toward you, and deprive you of his friendship." So Persius i. 107,Sed quid opus teneras mordaci radere veroAuriculas? Vide sis ne maiorum tibi forteLimina et rigescunt. ) What? when Lucilius had the courage to be the first in composing verses after this manner, and to pull off that mask,[*](Detrahere pellem. A figurative expression taken from the stage. The ancient masks were of skins.) by means of which each man strutted in public view with a fair outside, though foul within; was Laelius, and he who derived a well-deserved title from the destruction of Carthage, offended at his wit, or were they hurt at Metellus being lashed, or Lupus covered over with his lampoons? But he took to task the heads of the people, and the people themselves, class by class;[*](The great men, and people of whatever tribe. It is plain from what remains to us of Lucilius, that he did not spare the great. Besides Metellus and Lupus already mentioned, he attacked also Mutius Scaevola, Titus Albutius, Torquatus, Marcus Carbo, Lucius Tubulus, Publius Gallonins, Caius Cassius, Lucius Cotta, Clodius Asellus, Quintus Opimius, Nomentanus, Caius Cecilius Index, Trebellius, Publius Pavus Tuditanus. And not satisfied with this, he run through all the thirty-five tribes. one after another.) in short, he spared none but virtue and her friends. Yet, when the valorous Scipio, and the mild philosophical Laelius, had withdrawn themselves from the crowd and the public scene, they used to divert themselves with him, and joke in a free manner, while a few vegetables were boiled [for supper]. Of whatever rank I am, though below the estate and wit of Lucilius, yet envy must be obliged to own that I have lived well with great men; and, wanting to fasten her tooth upon some weak part, will strike it against the solid:[*](In allusion to the fable of the serpent and the file.) unless you, learned Trebatius, disapprove of any thing [I have said]. For my part, I can not make any objection to this. But however, that forewarned you may be upon your guard, lest an ignorance of our sacred laws should bring you into trouble, [be sure of this:] if any person[*](Si mala condiderit. Trebatius with much solemnity cites the laws of the twelve tables as his last argument. A lawyer could produce nothing more strong, and Horace being unable to defend himself by a direct answer, finds a way of getting out of the difficulty by playing on the words malum carmen, and giving them a different sense from what they had in the text of the law..) shall make scandalous verses against a particular man, an action lies, and a sentence. Granted, if they are scandalous: but if a man composes good ones, and is praised by such a judge as Caesar If a man barks only at him who deserves his invectives, while he himself is unblamable? The process will be canceled[*](Tabulae are the process and information laid before the judge, which, says the poet, shall be torn in pieces. Dacier observes, that this line is an imitation of Aristophanes, where a father dissuades his son from an excess of wine, by representing to him a thousand disorders which it occasions; quarreling, breaking houses open. No, says the son, this never happens when we converse with men of honor; for either they will satisfy the people whom they have offended, or turn the affair into ridicule, and by some happy jest make the judges, and even the prosecutors, laugh. The process is dismissed, and you escape without being punished.(Wasps 1251ff) ) with laughter: and you, being dismissed, may depart in peace.
WHAT and how great is the virtue to live on a little (this is no doctrine of mine, but what Ofellus the peasant, a philosopher without rules[*](Abnormis. "A philosopher without rules." Ofellus was an Epicurean without knowing it, but his morality was in a medium between the very rigid and very dissolute followers of that sect.) and of a home-spun[*](Minerva presides over spinning, hence this proverbial expression for "of a thick thread," i. e. of a coarse texture. Thus Cic. Ep. Fam. ix. 12,Crasso filo.) wit, taught me), learn, my good friends, not among dishes and splendid tables; when the eye is dazzled with the vain glare, and the mind, intent upon false appearances, refuses [to admit] better things; but here, before dinner, discuss this point with me. Why so? I will inform you, if I can. Every corrupted judge examines badly the truth. After hunting the hare, or being wearied by an unruly horse, or (if the Roman exercise fatigues you, accustomed to act the Greek) whether the swift ball, while eagerness softens and prevents your perceiving the severity of the game, or quoits (smite the yielding air with the quoit) when exercise has worked off squeamishness, dry and hungry, [then let me see you] despise mean viands; and don't drink any thing but Hymettian honey qualified[*](Diluta. This mixture was called mulsum, mead. Ofella says: Don't drink any thing but mead made of the best honey and the best wine. Diluere is applied to those things which are melted by the addition of fluid. Thus Virg. Geor. i. 341,Cui tu lacte favos et miti dilue Baccho. And Sat. ii. 3, 214,aceto | Diluit insignem baccam. ) with Falernian wine. Your butler is abroad, and the tempestuous sea preserves the fish by its wintery storms: bread and salt will sufficiently appease an importunate stomach. Whence do you think this happens? and how is it obtained? The consummate pleasure is not in the costly flavor, but in yourself. Do you seek for sauce by sweating. Neither oysters, nor scar, nor the far-fetched lagois,[*](Lagois. We do not find this word in any other author. It was probably a foreign bird, whose flesh tasted and looked like that of a hare; a favorite dish among the Romans. Ostrea is of two syllables, as in Virgil, Bis patriae cecidere manus: quin protenus omnia.(Aen. 6.33) ) can give any pleasure to one bloated and pale through intemperance. Nevertheless, if a peacock[*](Quintus Hortensius was the first who gave the Romans a taste for peacocks, and it soon became so fashionable a dish, that all the people of fortune had it at their tables. Cicero very pleasantly says, he had the boldness to invite Hirtius to sup with him, even without a peacock. Sed vide audaciam, etiam Hirtio coenam dedi sine pavone.(Fam. 9.20) M. Aufidius Latro made a prodigious fortune by fattening them for sale.) were served up, I should hardly be able to prevent your gratifying the palate with that, rather than a pullet, since you are prejudiced by the vanities of things; because the scarce bird is bought with gold, and displays a fine sight with its painted tail: as if that were any thing to the purpose. What, do you eat that plumage, which you extol? or has the bird the same beauty when dressed? Since however there is no difference in the meat, in one preferably to the other; it is manifest that you are imposed upon by the disparity of their appearances. Be it so.
By what gift are you able to distinguish, whether this lupus, that now opens its jaws before us, was taken in the Tiber, or in the sea? whether it was tossed between the bridges, or at the mouth of the Tuscan river? Fool, you praise a mullet, that weighs three pounds; which you are obliged to cut into small pieces. Outward appearances lead you, I see. To what intent then do you contemn large lupuses? Because truly these are by nature bulky, and those very light. A hungry 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 O [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 [appearance 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.[*](Olives, intended for the table, were gathered when they began to ripen and turn black.) And it was not long ago, since the table of Gallonius, the auctioneer, was rendered infamous, by having a sturgeon [served up whole upon it]. What? was the sea at that time less nutritive of turbots?[*](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 praetor 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.) The turbot was secure and the stork unmolested in her nest; till the praetorian [Sempronius], the inventor,[*](The storks built their nests in safety until the time of Augustus, when your praetor taught you to eat them. Asinius Sempronius, or, according to others, Rutilius Rufus, when candidate for the praetorship, 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 praetorship to their murderer. From this refusal the poet pleasantly calls him praetor.) 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,[*](Repotia was a festival the day after the nuptials, when they drank and ate whatever remained of yesterday's entertainment, quia iterum potaretur. 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.) his birth-day, or any other festal days) he pours out himself by little and little from a horn cruet, that holds two pounds, upon his cabbage, [but at the same time] is lavish enough of his old vinegar.
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 Naevius, 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 to 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.[*](Divinae particulam aurae. 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.) 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, he may sometimes have recourse to better cheer; whether the returning year shall bring on a festival, or if he have a mind 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 human 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 [of 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? 0 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] assigned [to others],[*](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.) 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,[*](Duplice, a kind of large fig, called Marisca; or bifida; or figs were split into two parts, and when dried, served up mensis secundis. The last is proved to be the correct interpretation from Pallad. R. R. iv. 10, 36:Subinde ficus, sicut est divisa, vertatur, ut ficorum coria siccentur et pulpae tunc duplicate in cistellis serventur aut loculis.) 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:[*](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 (aliqua 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 poenae et dedecoris esset, non invitationis aut magisterii. Thus culpa was magistra bibendi.) 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: 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.