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THE

SIXTEENTH SATIRE

OF

JUVENAL.

THE ARGUMENT.

The Poet in this satire proves, that the condition of a soldier is

much better than that of a countryman ; first, because a countrymun, however affronted, provoked, and struck himself, dares not strike a soldier, who is only to be judged by a court-martial ; and, by the law of Camillus, which obliges him not to quarrel without the trenches, he is also assured to have a speedy hearing, and quick dispatch; whereas, the townsman, or peasant, is delayed in his suit by frivolous pretences, and not sure of justice when he is heard in the court. The soldier is also privileged to make a will, and to give away his estate, which he got in war, to whom he pleases, without consideration of parentage, or relations, which is denied to all other Romans. This satire was written by Juvenal, when he was a commander in Fgypt: it is certainly his, though I think it not finished. And if it be well observed, you will find he intended an invectire against a standing army.

WHAT

HAT vast prerogatives, my Gallus, are
Accruing to the mighty man of war !
For if into a lucky camp I light,
Though raw in aims, and yet afraid to fight,
Befriend me my good stars, and all goes right.

}

One happy hour is to a soldier better,
Than mother Juno's * recommending letter,
Or Venus, when to Mars she would prefer
My suit, and own the kindness done to lier. †

See what our common privileges are;
As, first, no saucy citizen shall dare
To strike a soldier, nor, when struck, resent
The wrong, for fear of farther punishment.
Not though his teeth are beaten out, his eyes
Hang by a string, in bumps his forehead rise,
Shall he presume to mention his disgrace,
Or beg amends for his demolished face.
A booted judge shall sit to try his cause,
Not by the statute, but by martial laws;
Which old Camillus ordered, to confine
The brawls of soldiers to the trench and line:
A wise provision ; and from thence 'tis clear,
That officers a soldier's cause should hear;
And taking cognizance of wrongs received,
An honest man may hope to be relieved.
So far 'tis well; but with a general cry,
The regiment will rise in mutiny,
The freedom of their fellow-rogue demand,
And, if refused, will threaten to disband.
Withdraw thy action, and depart in peace,
The remedy is worse than the disease.
This cause is worthy him, who in the hall
Would for his fee, and for his client, bawl: *

* Juno was mother to Mars, the god of war; Venus was his mistress.

+ Camillus, (who being first banished by his ungrateful countrymen the Romans, afterwards returned, and freed them from the Gauls,) made a law, which prohibited the soldiers from quarrelling without the camp, lest upon that pretence they might happen to be absent when they ought to be on duty.

1 The poet names a Modenese lawyer, whom he calls Vagellius, who was so impudent, that he would plead any cause, right or wrong, without shame or fear.

But would'st thou, friend, who hast two legs alone, (Which, heaven be praised, thou yet may'st call thy

own) Would'st thou to run the gauntlet these expose To a whole company of hob-nailed shoes? * Sure the good-breeding of wise citizens Should teach them more good-nature to their shins.

Besides, whom canst thou think so much thy friend, Who dares appear thy business to defend ? Dry up thy tears, and pocket up the abuse, Nor put thy friend to make a bad excuse; The judge cries out, "Your evidence produce.” Will he, who saw the soldier's mutton-fist, And saw thee mauled, appear within the list, To witness truth? When I see one so brave, The dead, think I, are risen from the grave; And with their long spade beards, and

matted hair, Our honest ancestors are come to take the air. Against a clown, with more security, A witness may be brought to swear a lie, Than, though his evidence be full and fair, To vouch a truth against a man of war.

More benefits remain, and claimed as rights, Which are a standing army's perquisites. If any rogue vexatious suits advance Against me for my known inheritance, Enter by violence my fruitful grounds, Or take the sacred land-mark † from my bounds, Those bounds, which with procession and with prayer, And offered cakes, have been '

my annual care;

* The Roman soldiers wore plates of iron under their shoes, ur stuck them with nails, as countrymen do now.

+ Land-marks were used by the Romans almost in the same manner as now; and as we go once a year in procession about the bounds of parishes, and renew them, so they offered cakes upon the stone, or land-mark.

Or if my debtors do not keep their day,
Deny their hands, and then refuse to pay;
I must with patience all the terms attend,
Among the conmon causes that depend,
Till mine is called; and that long-looked-for day
Is still encumbered with some new delay;
Perhaps the cloth of state is only spread,
Some of the quorum may be sick a-bed;
That judge is hot, and doffs his gown, while this
O'er night was bowsy, and goes out to piss :
So many rubs appear, the time is gone
For hearing, and the tedious suit goes on;
But buff and beltmen never know these cares,
No time, nor trick of law, their action bars :
Their cause they to an easier issue put;
They will be heard, or they lug out, and cut.

Another branch of their revenue still
Remains, beyond their boundless right to kill, —
Their father yet alive, impowered to make a will.f
For what their prowess gained, the law declares
Is to themselves alone, and to their heirs :
No share of that goes back to the begetter,
But if the son fights well, and plunders better,
Like stout Coranus, his old shaking sire
Does a remembrance in his will desire,
Inquisitive of fights, and longs in vain
To find him in the number of the slain :

* The courts of judicature were hung, and spread, as with us; but spread only before the hundred judges were to sit, and judge public causes, which were called by lot.

+ The Roman soldiers had the privilege of making a will, in their father's life-time, of what they had purchased in the wars, as being no part of their patrimony. By this will, they had power of excluding their own parents, and giving the estate so gotten to whom they pleased : Therefore, says the poet, Coranus, (a soldier contemporary with Juvenal, who had raised his fortune by the wars,) was courted by his own fatł.er, to make him his heir.

But still he lives, and rising by the war,
Enjoys his gains, and has enough to spare ;
For 'tis a noble general's prudent part
To cherish valour, and reward desert;
Let him be daub'd with lace, live high, and whore;
Sometimes be lousy, but be never poor,

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