Abbildungen der Seite

He was a man of excellent morals, of an elegant taste and judgment, a fast friend to Virtue, and an irreconcileable enemy to Vice in every shape.


As a writer, his 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 censures. All this is done in so masterly a way, as to render him well worthy Scaliger's encomium, when he styles him-Omnium Satyricorum facile PrinHe 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.


[ocr errors]

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 sunk in sloth, luxury, and debau

+ Seo MART. lib. vii. epig. 24.

*Hamlet, act iii. scene 2. Hist. lib. xxviii.

[ocr errors]

chery, and exhibiting to us the sad condition of human nature, when untaught by divine truth, and uninfluenced by a divine principle. However polite and refined this people was, with respect 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 consequently 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 paritcular. Juvenal may be looked upon as one of those rare meteors, which shone forth even in the darkness of Heathenism. The mind and conscience of this great man were, though from whence he knew not, so far enlightened, as to 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 them, 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.

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 observe, that, not only modern Rome, but every metropolis in the Christian world, as to the generality of its man

*Rom. ii. 15. Comp. Is. xlv. 5. See sat. x. l. 363, and note.

ners and pursuits, bears a most unhappy resem blance to the objects of the following Satires. They are, therefore, too applicable to the times in which we live, and, in that view, if rightly understood, may, perhaps, be serviceable to many, who will not come within the reach of higher instruction.




Bishop Burnet observes, that the " "satirical "poets, Horace, Juvenal, and Persius, may "contribute wonderfully to give a man a detes❝tation of vice, and a contempt of the common "methods of mankind; which they have set "out in such true colours, that they must give a very generous sense to those who delight in reading them often.. Past. Care, c. vii. This translation was begun some years ago, at hours of leisure, for the Editor's own amusement: when, on adding the notes as he went along, he found it useful to himself, he began to think that it might be so to others, if pursued to the end on the same plan. The work was carried on, till it increased to a considerable bulk. The addition of Persius enlarged it to its present size, in which it appears in print, with a design to add its assistance in explaining these difficult authors, not only to school-boys and young beginners, but to numbers in a more advanced age, who, by having been thrown into various scenes of life, remote from classical improvement, have so far forgotten their Latin, as to render these elegant and instructive remains of antiquity almost inaccessible to their comprehension, however desirous they may be to renew their acquaintance with them.

As to the old objection, that translations of the Classics tend to make boys idle, this can never happen, but through the fault of the master,

in not properly watching over the method of their studies. A master should never suffer a boy to construe his lesson in the school, but from the Latin by itself, nor without making the boy parse, and give an account of every necessary word; this will drive him to his grammar and dictionary, near as much as if he had no translation at all but in private, when the boy is preparing his lesson, a literal translation, and explanatory notes, so facilitate the right comprehension, and understanding, of the author's language, meaning, and design, as to imprint them with ease on the learner's mind, to form his taste, and to enable him, not only to construe and explain, but to get those portions of the author by heart, which he is, at certain periods, to repeat at school, and which, if judiciously selected, he may find useful, as well as ornamental to him, all his life.

To this end, I have considered, that there are three purposes to be answered. First, that the reader should know what the author says; this can only be attained by literal translation: as for poetical versions, which are so often miscalled translations, paraphrases, and the like, they are but ill calculated for this fundamental and necessary purpose.

They remind one of a performer on a musical instrument, who shews his skill, by playing over a piece of music, with so many variations, as to disguise, almost entirely, the original simple melody, insomuch that the hearers depart as ig

* I trust that I shall not be reckoned guilty of inconsistency, if, in some few passages, I have made use of paraphrase, which I have so studiously avoided through the rest of the work, because the literal sense of these is better obscured than explained, especially to young minds.

[ocr errors]

norant of the merit of the composer, as they


All translators should transfer to themselves the directions, which our Shakespeare gives to actors, at least, if they mean to assist the student, by helping him to the construction, that he may understand the language of the author. -As the actor is not "to o'erstep the modesty


of nature"-so a translator is not to o'erstep the simplicity of the text.-As an actor is "not "to speak more than is set down for him" a translator is not to exercise his own fancy, and let it loose into phrases and expressions, which are totally foreign from those of the author. He should therefore sacrifice vanity to usefulness, and forego the praise of elegant writing, for the utility of faithful translation.

The next thing to be considered, after knowing what the author says, is how he says it; this can only be learnt from the original itself, to which I refer the reader, by printing the Latin, line for line, opposite to the English, and, as the lines are numbered, the eye will readily pass from the one to the other. The information which has been received from the translation, will readily assist in the grammatical construction. The third particular, without which the reader would fall very short of understanding the author, is, to know what he means; to explain this is the intention of the notes, for many of which, I gratefully acknowledge myself chiefly indebted to various learned commentators, but who, having written in Latin, are almost out of the reach of those for whom this work is principally intended. Here and there, I have selected some notes from English writers: this indeed the student

« ZurückWeiter »