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Note IV. Iho, clad in purple, canst thy censor greet.-P. 232. The Roman knights, attired in the robe called trabea, were summoned by the censor to appear before him, and to salute him in passing by, as their names were called over. They led their horses in their hand. See more of this in Pompey's Life, written by Plutarch.
Note V. Sicilian tortures, and the brazen bull.-P. 233. Some of the Sicilian kings were so great tyrants, that the name is become proverbial. The brazen bull is a known story of PhaJaris, one of those tyrants, who, when Perillus, a famous artist, had presented him with a bull of that metal hollowed within, which, when the condemned person was inclosed in it, would render the sound of a bull's roaring, caused the workman to make the first experiment,- docuitque suum mugire juvencum.
Looked up, and viewed on high the pointed sword.-P.233. He alludes to the story of Damocles, a flatterer of one of those Sicilian tyrants, namely Dionysius. Damocles had infinitely extolled the happiness of kings : Dionysius, to convince him of the contrary, invited him to a feast, and clothed him in purple ; but caused a sword, with the point downward, to be hung over his head by a silken twine ; which, when he perceived, he could eat nothing of the delicates that were set before him.
Note VII. Thou in the Stoic-porch, severely bred.-P. 233. The Stoics taught their philosophy under a porticus, to secure their scholars from the weather. Zeno was the chief of that sect.
The conquered Medians in trunk-breeches stand.---P. 233. Polygnotus, a famous painter, who drew the pictures of the Medes and Persians, conquered by Miltiades, Themistocles, and other Athenian captains, on the walls of the portico, in their natural habits.
P. 234. Pythagoras, of Samos, made the allusion of the Y, or Greek upsilon, to Vice and Virtue. One side of the letter being broad, characters Vice, to which the ascent is wide and easy; the other side represents Virtue, to which the passage is strait and difficult; and perhaps our Saviour might also allude to this, in those noted words of the evangelist, “ The way to heaven," &c.
Note X. Fat fees from the defended Umbrian draws. ---P. 235. Casaubon here notes, that, among all the Romans, who were brought up to learning, few, besides the orators or lawyers, grew rich.
-Mad Orestes.---P. 238. Orestes was son to Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Agamemnon, at his return from the Trojan wars, was slain by Ægysthus, the adulterer of Clytemnestra. Orestes, to revenge his father's death, slew both Ægysthus and his mother; for which he was punished with madness by the Eumenides, or Furies, who continually haunted him.
Our author, living in the time of Nero, was contemporary and friend
to the noble poet Lucun. Both of them were sufficiently sensible, with all good men, how unskilfully he managed the connionwealth ; and perhaps might guess at his future tyranny, by some passages, during the latter part of his first five years ; though he broke not out into his great excesses, while he was restrained by the counsels and authority of Seneca.
Lucan has not spared him in the poem of his Pharsalia ; for his very compliment looked asquint, as well as Nero. Persius has been bolder, but with caution likewise. For here, in the person of young Alcibiades, he arraigns his ambition of meddling with state-affairs without judgment, or experience. It is probable, that he makes Seneca, in this satire, sustain the part of Socrates, under a borrowed name; and, withal, discovers some secret vices of Nero, concerning his lust, his drunkenness, and his effeminacy, which had not yet arrived to public notice. He also reprehends the flattery of his courtiers, who endeavoured to make all his vices pass for virtues. Covetousness was undoubtedly none of his faults ; but it is here described as a veil cast over the true meaning of the poet, which was to satirize his prodigality and volup
* The compliment, at the opening of the Pharsalia, has been thought sarcastic. It certainly sounds so in modern ears : if Nero could only attain empire by civil war, as the gods by that of the giants, then says the poet,
- Scelera ipsa nefasque Hac mercede placent.
tuousness ; to which he makes a transition. I find no instance in history of that emperor's being a Pathic, though Persius seenis 10 brand him with it. From the two dialogues of Plato, both called Alcibiades,”
,” the poet took the arguments of the second and third satires; but he inverted the order of them, for the third satire is taken from the first of those dialogues. The commentators before Casaubon were ignorunt of our author's se
cret meaning; and thought he had only written against young noblemen in general, who were too forward in aspiring to public magistracy: but this excellent scholiast has unravelled the whole mystery, and made it apparent, that the sting of the satire was particularly aimed at Nero.
Whoe'er thou art, whose forward years are bent
Tell me, thou pupil to great Pericles,
pare To undertake, so young, so vast a care? Perhaps thy wit; (a chance not often heard, That parts and prudence should prevent the beard ;) 'Tis seldom seen, that senators so young Know when to speak, and when to hold their
* Note I.
+ Note II.
But thou, no doubt, can'st set the business right, And give each argument its proper weight; Know'st, with an equal hand, to hold the scale; Seest where the reasons pinch, and where they fail, And where exceptions o'er the general rule pre
And, taught by inspiration, in a trice,
thy brain. What aim'st thou at, and whither tends thy care, In what thy utmost good? Delicious fare; And then, to sun thyself in open air.
Hold, hold; are all thy empty wishes such ? A good old woman would have said as much. But thou art nobly born : 'tis true; go boast Thy pedigree, the thing thou valuest most: Besides
, thou art a beau; wliat's that, my child? A fop, well drest, extravagant, and wild: She that cries herbs, has less impertinence, And in her calling more of common sense.
None, none descends into himself, to find The secret imperfections of his mind; But every one is eagle-eyed, to see Another's faults, and his deformity. Say, dost thou know Vectidius? I-Who? the wretch Whose lands beyond the Sabines largely stretch;
* Note III.
+ Note IV.
I Note V.