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Ancient History Sourcebook:
Juvenal: Satire 3 (Latin/English)

Introduction |
Juvenal: Satire 1 Latin | Satire 1 English | Satire 1 English/Latin
Juvenal: Satire 2 Latin | Satire 2 English | Satire 2 English/Latin
Juvenal: Satire 3 Latin | Satire 3 English | Satire 3 English/Latin








QUAMVIS digressu veteris confusus amici
laudo tamen, vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis
destinet atque unum civem donare Sibyllae.
ianua Baiarum est et gratum litus amoeni
5 secessus. ego vel Prochytam praepono Suburae;
nam quid tam miserum, tam solum vidimus, ut non
deterius credas horrere incendia, lapsus
tectorum adsiduos ac mille pericula saevae
urbis et Augusto recitantes mense poetas?
THOUGH put out by the departure of my old friend, I commend his purpose to fix his home at Cumae, and to present one citizen to the Sibyl. That is the gate of Baiae, a sweet retreat upon a pleasant shore; I myself would prefer even Prochyta[1] to the Subura![2] For where has one ever seen a place so dismal and so lonely that one would not deem it worse to live in perpetual dread of fires and falling houses, and the thousand perils of this terrible city, and poets spouting in the month of August!


10 Sed dum tota domus raeda componitur una,
substitit ad veteres arcus madidamque Capenam.
hic, ubi nocturnae Numa constituebat amicae,
nune sacri fontis nemus et delubra locantur
Iudaeis, quorum cophinus faenumque supellex
15 (omnis enim populo mercedem pendere iussa est
arbor et eiectis mendicat silva Camenis).
in vallem Egeriae descendimus et speluncas
dissimiles veris. quanto praesentius[1] esset
numen aquis, viridi si margine clauderet undas
20 herba, nec ingenuum violarent marmora tofum.
10 But while all his goods and chattels were being packed upon a single wagon, my friend halted at the dripping archway of the old Porta Capena.[3] Here Numa held his nightly assignations with his mistress; but now the holy fount and grove and shrine are let out to Jews, who possess a basket and a truss of hay for all their furnishings. For as every tree nowadays has to pay toll to the people, the Muses have been ejected, and the wood has to go a-begging. We go down to the Valley of Egeria, and into the caves so unlike to nature: how much more near to us would be the spirit of the fountain if its waters were fringed by a green border of grass, and there were no marble to outrage the native tufa!


Hic tunc Vmbricius "quando artibus," inquit, "honestis
nullus in urbe locus, nulla emolumenta laborum,
res hodie minor est here quam fuit atque eadem cras
deteret exiguis aliquid, proponimus illuc
25 ire, fatigatas ubi Daedalus exuit alas,
dum nova canities, dum prima et recta senectus,
dum superest Lachesi quod torqueat et pedibus me
porto meis nullo dextram subeunte bacillo.
cedamus patria. vivant Artorius istic
30 et Catulus, maneant qui nigrum in candida vertunt,
quis facile est aedem conducere flumina portus,
siccandam eluviem, portandum ad busta cadaver,
et praebere caput domina venale sub hasta.
quondam hi cornicines et municipalis harenae
35 perpetui comites notaeque per oppida buccae
munera nunc edunt et, verso pollice vulgus
quem[2] iubet, occidunt populariter; unde reversi
conducunt foricas, et cur non omnia, cum sint[3]
quales ex humili magna ad fastigia rerum
40 extollit quotiens voluit Fortuna iocari ?
21 Here spoke Umbricius:- "Since there is no room," quoth he, "for honest callings in this city, no reward for labour; since my means are less to-day than they were yesterday, and to-morrow will rub off something from the little that is left, I purpose to go to the place where Daedalus put off his weary wings while my white hairs are recent, while my old age is erect and fresh, while Lachesis has something left to spin, and I can support myself on my own feet without slipping a staff beneath my hand. Farewell my country! Let Artorius live there, and Catulus; let those remain who turn black into white, to whom it comes easy to take contracts for temples, rivers or harbours, for draining floods, or carrying corpses to the pyre, or to put up slaves for sale under the authority of the spear.[4] These men once were horn-blowers, who went the round of every provincial show, and whose puffed-out cheeks were known in every village; to-day they hold shows of their own, and win applause by slaying whomsoever the mob with a turn of the thumb[5] bids them slay; from that they go back to contract for cesspools, and why not for any kind of thing, seeing that they are of the kind that Fortune raises from the gutter to the mighty places of earth whenever she wishes to enjoy a laugh?


"Quid Romae faciam? mentiri nescio; librum,
si malus est, nequeo laudare et poscere; motus
astrorum ignoro; funus promittere patris
nec volo nec possum; ranarum viscera numquam
45 inspexi; ferre ad nuptam quae mittit adulter,
quae mandat, norunt alii; me nemo ministro
fur erit, atque ideo nulli comes exeo tamquam
mancus et extinctae corpus non utile dextrae.
quis nunc diligitur nisi conscius et cui fervens
50 aestuat occultis animus semperque tacendis?
nil tibi se debere putat, nil conferet umquam,
participem qui te secreti fecit honesti
carus erit Verri qui Verrem tempore quo vult
accusare potest. tanti tibi non sit opaci
55 omnis harena Tagi quodque in mare volvitur aurum,
ut somno careas ponendaque praemia sumas
tristis, et a magno semper timearis amico.
41 "What can I do at Rome? I cannot lie; if a book is bad, I cannot praise it, and beg for a copy; I am ignorant of the movements of the stars; I cannot, and will not, promise to a man his father's death; I have never examined the entrails of a frog; I must leave it to others to carry to a bride the presents and messages of a paramour. No man will get my help in robbery, and therefore no governor will take me on his staff: I am treated as a maimed and useless trunk that has lost the power of its hands. What man wins favour nowadays unless he be an accomplice-one whose soul seethes and burns with secrets that must never be disclosed? No one who has imparted to you an innocent secret thinks he owes you anything, or will ever bestow on you a favour; the man whom Verres loves is the man who can impeach Verres at any moment that he chooses. Ah! Let not all the sands of the shaded Tagus, and the gold which it rolls into the sea, be so precious in your eyes that you should lose your sleep, and accept gifts, to your sorrow, which you must one day lay down, and be for ever a terror to your mighty friend!


"Quae nunc divitibus gens acceptissima nostris
et quos praecipue fugiam, properabo fateri,
60 nec pudor opstabit. non possum ferre, Quirites,
Graecam urbem; quamvis quota potio faecis Achaei?
iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes,
et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas
obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum
65 vexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas.
ite, quibus grata est picta lupa barbara mitra!
rusticus ille tuus sumit trechedipna, Quirine,
et ceromatico fert niceteria collo.
hic alta Sicyone, ast hic Amydone relicta,
70 hic Andro, ille Samo, hic Trallibus aut Alabandis
Esquilias dictumque petunt a vimine collem,
viscera magnarum domuum dominique futuri.
ingenium velox, audacia perdita, sermo
promptus et Isaeo torrentior: ede quid illum
75 esse putes? quemvis hominem secum attulit ad nos:
grammaticus rhetor geometres pictor aliptes
augur schoenobates medicus magus: omnia novit
Graeculus esuriens; in caelum iusseris ibit.
in summa non Maurus erat neque Sarmata nec Thrax
80 qui sumpsit pinnas, mediis sed natus Athenis.
58 "And now let me speak at once of the race which is most dear to our rich men, and which I avoid above all others; no shyness shall stand in my way. I cannot abide, Quirites, a Rome of Greeks; and yet what fraction of our dregs comes from Greece? The Syrian Orontes has long since poured into the Tiber, bringing with it its lingo and its manners, its flutes and its slanting harp-strings[6]; bringing too the timbrels of the breed, and the trulls who are bidden ply their trade at the Circus. Out upon you, all ye that delight in foreign strumpets with painted headdresses! Your country clown, Quirinus, now trips to dinner in Greek-fangled slippers,[7] and wears niceterian[7] ornaments upon a ceromatic[7] neck! One comes from lofty Sicyon, another from Amydon or Andros, others from Samos, Tralles or Alabanda; all making for the Esquiline, or for the hill that takes its name from osier-beds[8]; all ready to worm their way into the houses of the great and become their masters. Quick of wit and of unbounded impudence, they are as ready of speech as Isaeus,[9] and more torrential. Say, what do you think that fellow there to be? He has brought with him any character you please; grammarian, orator, geometrician; painter, trainer, or rope-dancer; augur, doctor or astrologer:-
    'All sciences a fasting monsieur knows,
    And bid him go to Hell, to Hell he goes! ' [10]
In fine, the man who took to himself wings[11] was not a Moor, nor a Sarmatian, nor a Thracian, but one born in the very heart of Athens!


"Horum ego non fugiam conchylia? me prior ille
signabit fultusque toro meliore recumbet,
advectus Romam quo pruna et cottona vento?
usque adeo nihil est, quod nostra infantia caelum
85 hausit Aventini baca nutrita Sabina?
81 "Must I not make my escape from purple-clad gentry like these? Is a man to sign his name before me, and recline upon a couch better than mine, who has been wafted to Rome by the wind which brings us our damsons and our figs? Is it to go so utterly for nothing that as a babe I drank in the air of the Aventine, and was nurtured on the Sabine berry?


"Quid quod adulandi gens prudentissima laudat
sermonem indocti, faciem deformis amici,
et longum invalidi collum cervicibus aequat
Herculis Antaeum procul a tellure tenentis,
90 miratur vocem angustam, qua deterius nec
ille sonat quo mordetur gallina marito?
haec eadem licet et nobis laudare, sed illis
creditur. an melior, cum Thaida sustinet aut
cum uxorem comoedus agit vel Dorida nullo
95 cultam palliolo? mulier nempe ipsa videtur,
non persona, loqui; vacua et plana omnia dicas
infra ventriculum et tenui distantia rima.
nec tamen Antiochus nec erit mirabilis illic
aut Stratocles aut cum molli Demetrius Haemo
100 natio comoeda est. rides, maiore cachinno
concutitur; flet, si lacrimas conspexit amici,
nec dolet; igniculum brumae si tempore poscas,
accipit endromidem; si dixeris 'aestuo,' sudat.
non sumus ergo pares: melior, qui semper et omni
105 nocte dieque potest aliena sumere vultum
a facie, iactare manus, laudare paratus,
si bene ructavit, si rectum minxit amicus,
si trulla inverso crepitum dedit aurea fundo.
86 "What of this again, that these people are experts in flattery, and will commend the talk of an illiterate, or the beauty of a deformed, friend, and compare the scraggy neck of some weakling to the brawny throat of Hercules when holding up Antaeus[12] high above the earth; or go into ecstasies over a squeaky voice not more melodious than that of a cock when he pecks his spouse the hen? We, no doubt, can praise the same things that they do; but what they say is believed. Could any actor do better when he plays the part of Thais, or of a matron, or of a Greek slave-girl without her pallium? You would never think that it was a masked actor that was speaking, but a very woman, complete in all her parts. Yet, in their own country, neither Antiochus[13] nor Stratocles,[13] neither Demetrius [13] nor the delicate Haemus,[13] will be applauded: they are a nation of play-actors. If you smile, your Greek will split his sides with laughter; if he sees his friend drop a tear, he weeps, though without grieving; if you call for a bit of fire in winter-time, he puts on his cloak; if you say 'I am hot,' he breaks into a sweat. Thus we are not upon a level, he and I; he has always the best of it, being ready at any moment, by night or by day, to take his expression from another man's face, to throw up his hands and applaud if his friend gives a good belch or piddles straight, or if his golden basin make a gurgle when turned upside down.


Praeterea sanctum nihil est neque[4] ab inguine tutum,
110 non matrona laris, non filia virgo, neque ipse
sponsus levis adhuc, non filius ante pudicus;
horum si nihil est, aviam resupinat amici.
scire volunt secreta domus atque inde timeri
et quoniam coepit Graecorum mentio, transi
115 gymnasia atque audi facinus maioris abollae.
Stoicus occidit Baream delator amicum
discipulumque senex, ripa nutritus in illa,
ad quam Gorgonei delapsa est pinna caballi.
non est Romano cuiquam locus hic, ubi regnat
120 Protogenes aliquis vel Diphilus aut Hermarchus,
qui gentis vitio numquam partitur amicum,
solus habet. nam cum facilem stillavit in aurem
exiguum de naturae patriaeque veneno,
limine summoveor, perierunt tempora longi
125 servitii; nusquam minor est iactura clientis.
109 "Besides all this, there is nothing sacred to his lusts: not the matron of the family, nor the maiden daughter, not the as yet unbearded son-in-law to be, not even the as yet unpolluted son; if none of these be there, he will debauch his friend's grandmother. These men want to discover the secrets of the family, and so make themselves feared. And now that I am speaking of the Greeks, pass over the schools, and hear of a crime of a larger philosophical cloak; the old Stoic[14] who informed against and slew his own friend and disciple[15] Barea was born on that river bank[16] where the Gorgon's winged steed fell to earth. No: there is no room for any Roman here, where some Protogenes, or Diphilus, or Hermarchus rules the roast--one who by a defect of his race never shares a friend, but keeps him all to himself. For when once he has dropped into a facile ear one particle of his own and his country's poison, I am thrust from the door, and all my long years of servitude go for nothing. Nowhere is it so easy as at Rome to throw an old client overboard.


"Quod porro officium, ne nobis blandiar, aut quod
pauperis hic meritum, si curet nocte togatus
currere, cum praetor lictorem impellat et ire
praecipitem iubeat dudum vigilantibus orbis,
130 ne prior Albinam et Modiam collega salutet?
divitis hic servo claudit latus ingenuorum
filius; alter enim quantum in legione tribuni
accipiunt donat Calvinae vel Catienae,
ut semel aut iterum super illam palpitet; at tu,
135 cum tibi vestiti facies scorti placet, haeres
et dubitas alta Chionen deducere sella.
da testem Romae tam sanctum quam fuit hospes
numinis Idaei, procedat vel Numa vel qui
servavit trepidam flagranti ex aede Minervam
140 protinus ad censum, de moribus ultima fiet
quaestio. 'quot pascit servos? quot possidet agri
iugera? quam multa magnaque paropside cenat? '
quantum quisque sua nummorum servat in arca,
tantum habet et fidei. iures licet et Samothracum
126 "And besides, not to flatter ourselves, what value is there in a poor man's serving here in Rome, even if he be at pains to hurry along in his toga before daylight, seeing that the praetor is bidding the lictor to go full speed lest his colleague should be the first to salute the childless ladies Albina and Modia, who have long ago been awake? Here in Rome the son of free-born parents has to give the wall to some rich man's slave; for that other will give as much as the whole pay of a legionary tribune to enjoy the chance favours of a Calvina[17] or a Catiena,[17] while you, when the face of some gay-decked harlot takes your fancy, scarce venture to hand Chione down from her lofty chair. At Rome you may produce a witness as unimpeachable as the host of the Idaean Goddess.[18]--Numa himself might present himself, or he who rescued the trembling Minerva from the blazing shrine[19]--the first question asked will be as to his wealth, the last about his character: 'how many slaves does he keep?' 'how many acres does he own?' 'how big and how many are his dessert dishes?' A man's word is believed in exact proportion to the amount of cash which he keeps in his strong-box. Though he swear by all the altars of Samothrace or of Rome, the poor man is believed to care naught for Gods and thunderbolts, the Gods themselves forgiving him.


145 et nostrorum aras, contemnere fulmina pauper
creditur atque deos dis ignoscentibus ipsis.
"Quid quod materiam praebet causasque iocorum
omnibus hic idem, si foeda et scissa lacerna,
si toga sordidula est et rupta calceus alter
150 pelle patet, vel si consuto vulnere crassum
atque recens linum ostendit non una cicatrix?
nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se,
quam quod ridiculos homines facit. 'exeat,' inquit,
'si pudor est, et de pulvino surgat equestri
155 cuius res legi non sufficit, et sedeant hic
lenonum pueri quocumque ex fornice nati;
hic plaudat nitidi praeconis filius inter
pinnirapi cultos iuvenes iuvenesque lanistae':
sic libitum vano, qui nos distinxit, Othoni.
160 quis gener hic placuit censu minor atque puellae
sarcinulis impar? quis pauper scribitur heres?
quando in consilio est aedilibus? agmine facto
debuerant olim tenues migrasse Quirites.
145 'And what of this, that the poor man gives food and occasion for jest if his cloak be torn and dirty; if his toga be a little soiled; if one of his shoes gapes where the leather is split, or if some fresh stitches of coarse thread reveal where not one, but many a rent has been patched? Of all the woes of luckless poverty none is harder to endure than this, that it exposes men to ridicule. 'Out you go! for very shame,' says the marshal; 'out of the Knights' stalls, all of you whose means do not satisfy the law.' Here let the sons of panders, born in any brothel, take their seats; here let the spruce son of an auctioneer clap his hands, with the smart sons of a gladiator on one side of him and the young gentlemen of a trainer on the other: such was the will of the numskull Otho who assigned to each of us his place.[20] Who ever was approved as a son-in-law if he was short of cash, and no match for the money-bags of the young lady? What poor man ever gets a legacy, or is appointed assessor to an aedile? Romans without money should have marched out in a body long ago!


"Haut facile emergunt quorum virtutibus opstat
165 res angusta domi, sed Romae durior illis
conatus: magno hospitium miserabile, magno
servorum ventres, et frugi cenula magno.
fictilibus cenare pudet, quod turpe negabis
translatus subito ad Marsos mensamque Sabellam
170 contentusque illic Veneto duroque cucullo.
164 "It is no easy matter, anywhere, for a man to rise when poverty stands in the way of his merits: but nowhere is the effort harder than in Rome, where you must pay a big rent for a wretched lodging, a big sum to fill the bellies of your slaves, and buy a frugal dinner for yourself. You are ashamed to dine off delf; but you would see no shame in it if transported suddenly to a Marsian or Sabine table, where you would be pleased enough to wear a cape of coarse Venetian blue.


"Pars magna ltaliae est, si verum admittimus, in qua
nemo togam sumit nisi mortuus. ipsa dierum
festorum herboso colitur si quando theatro
maiestas tandemque redit ad pulpita notum
175 exodium, cum personae pallentis hiatum
in gremio matris formidat rusticus infans,
aequales habitus illic similesque videbis
orchestram et populum, clari velamen honoris
sufficient tunicae summis aedilibus albae.
180 hic ultra vires habitus nitor, hic aliquid plus
quam satis est interdum aliena sumitur arca.
commune id vitium est, hic vivimus ambitiosa
paupertate omnes. quid te moror? omnia Romae
cum pretio. quid das, ut Cossum aliquando salutes,
185 ut te respiciat clauso Veiento labello?
ille metit barbam, crinem hic deponit amati;
plena domus libis venalibus; accipe, et istud
fermentum tibi habe: praestare tributa clientes
cogimur et cultis augere peculia servis.
171 "There are many parts of Italy, to tell the truth, in which no man puts on a toga until he is dead. Even on days of festival, when a brave show is made in a theatre of turf, and when the well-known afterpiece steps once more upon the boards; when the rustic babe on its mother's breast shrinks back affrighted at the gaping of the pallid masks, you will see stalls and populace all dressed alike, and the worshipful aediles content with white tunics as vesture for their high office. In Rome, every one dresses smartly, above his means, and sometimes something more than what is enough is taken out of another man's pocket. This failing is universal here: we all live in a state of pretentious poverty. To put it shortly, nothing can be had in Rome for nothing. How much does it cost you to be able now and then to make your bow to Cossus? Or to be vouchsafed one glance, with lip firmly closed, from Veiento? One of these great men is cutting off his beard; another is dedicating the locks of a favourite; the house is full of cakes--which you will have to pay for. Take your cake,[21] and let this thought rankle in your heart: we clients are compelled to pay tribute and add to a sleek menial's perquisites.[22]


190 "Quis timet aut timuit gelida Praeneste ruinam
aut positis nemorosa inter iuga Volsiniis aut
simplicibus Gabiis aut proni Liburis arce?
nos urbem colimus tenui tibicine fultam
magna parte sui; nam sic labentibus obstat
195 vilicus et, veteris rimae cum texit hiatum,
securos pendente iubet dormire ruina.
vivendum est illic ubi nulla incendia, nulli
nocte metus. iam poscit aquam, iam frivola transfert
Vcalegon, tabulata tibi iam tertia fumant
200 tu nescis; nam si gradibus trepidatur ab imis,
ultimus ardebit quem tegula sola tuetur
a pluvia, molles ubi reddunt ova columbae.
lectus erat Codro Procula minor, urceoli sex
ornamentum abaci nec non et parvulus infra
205 cantharus et recubans sub eodem marmore Chiron,
iamque vetus graecos servabat cista libellos
et divina opici rodebant carmina mures.
nil habuit Codrus, quis enim negat? et tamen illud
perdidit infelix totum nihil. ultimus autem
210 aerumnae est cumulus, quod nudum et frusta rogantem
nemo cibo, nemo hospitio tectoque iuvabit.
190 "Who at cool Praeneste, or at Volsinii amid its leafy hills, was ever afraid of his house tumbling down? Who in modest Gabii, or on the sloping heights of Tivoli? But here we inhabit a city supported for the most part by slender props:[23] for that is how the bailiff holds up the tottering house, patches up gaping cracks in the old wall, bidding the inmates sleep at ease under a roof ready to tumble about their ears. No, no, I must live where there are no fires, no nightly alarms. Ucalegon[24] below is already shouting for water and shifting his chattels; smoke is pouring out of your third-floor attic, but you know nothing of it; for if the alarm begins in the ground-floor, the last man to burn will be he who has nothing to shelter him from the rain but the tiles, where the gentle doves lay their eggs. Codrus possessed a bed too small for the dwarf Procula, a sideboard adorned by six pipkins, with a small drinking cup, and a recumbent Chiron below, and an old chest containing Greek books whose divine lays were being gnawed by unlettered mice. Poor Codrus had nothing, it is true: but he lost that nothing, which was his all; and the last straw in his heap of misery is this, that though he is destitute and begging for a bite, no one will help him with a meal, no one offer him lodging or shelter.


"Si magna Asturici cecidit domus, horrida mater,
pullati proceres, differt vadimonia praetor.
tunc gemimus casus urbis, tunc odimus ignem.
215 ardet adhuc, et iam accurrit qui marmora donet,
conferat inpensas; hic nuda et candida signa,
hic aliquid praeclarum[5] Euphranoris et Polycliti,
hic[6] Asianorum vetera ornamenta deorum,
hic libros dabit et forulos mediamque Minervam,
220 hic modium argenti. meliora ac plura reponit
Persicus, orborum lautissimus et merito iam
suspectus tamquam ipse suas incenderit aedes.
212 "But if the grand house of Asturicus be destroyed, the matrons go dishevelled, your great men put on mourning, the praetor adjourns his court: then indeed do we deplore the calamities of the city, and bewail its fires! Before the house has ceased to burn, up comes one with a gift of marble or of building materials, another offers nude and glistening statues, a third some notable work of Euphranor or Polyclitus,[25] or bronzes that had been the glory of old Asian shrines. Others will offer books and bookcases, or a bust of Minerva, or a hundredweight of silver-plate. Thus does Persicus, that most sumptuous of childless men, replace what he has lost with more and better things, and with good reason incurs the suspicion of having set his own house on fire.


"Si potes avelli circensibus, optima Sorae
aut Fabrateriae domus aut Frusinone paratur
225 quanti nunc tenebras unum conducis in annum.
hortulus hic puteusque brevis nec reste movendus
in tenuis plantas facili diffunditur haustu.
vive bidentis amans et culti vilicus horti,
unde epulum possis centum dare Pythagoreis.
230 est aliquid, quocumque loco, quocumque recessu
unius sese dominum fecisse lacertae.
223 "If you can tear yourself away from the games of the Circus, you can buy an excellent house at Sora, at Fabrateria or Frusino, for what you now pay in Rome to rent a dark garret for one year. And you will there have a little garden, with a shallow well from which you can easily draw water, without need of a rope, to bedew your weakly plants. There make your abode, a friend of the mattock, tending a trim garden fit to feast a hundred Pythagoreans.[26] It is something, in whatever spot, however remote, to have become the possessor of a single lizard!


"Plurimus hic aeger moritur vigilando (set ipsum
languorem peperit cibus inperfectus et haerens
ardenti stomacho), nam quae[7] meritoria somnum
235 admittunt? magnis opibus dormitur in urbe.
inde caput morbi. raedarum transitus arto
vicorum in flexu[8] et stantis convicia mandrae
eripient somnum Druso vitulisque marinis.
si vocat officium, turba cedente vehetur
240 dives et ingenti curret super ora Liburna
atque obiter leget aut scribet vel dormiet intus;
namque facit somnum clausa lectica fenestra.
ante tamen veniet: nobis properantibus opstat
unda prior, magno populus premit agmine lumbos
245 qui sequitur; ferit hic cubito, ferit assere duro
alter, at hic tignum capiti incutit, ille metretam.
pinguia crura luto, planta mox undique magna
calcor, et in digito clavus mihi militis haeret.
232 "Most sick people here in Rome perish for want of sleep, the illness itself having been produced by food lying undigested on a fevered stomach. For what sleep is possible in a lodging? Who but the wealthy get sleep in Rome? There lies the root of the disorder. The crossing of wagons in the narrow winding streets, the slanging of drovers when brought to a stand, would make sleep impossible for a Drusus[27]--or a sea-calf. When the rich man has a call of social duty, the mob makes way for him as he is borne swiftly over their heads in a huge Liburnian car. He writes or reads or sleeps inside as he goes along, for the closed window of the litter induces slumber. Yet he will arrive before us; hurry as we may, we are blocked by a surging crowd in front, and by a dense mass of people pressing in on us from behind: one man digs an elbow into me, another a hard sedan-pole; one bangs a beam, another a wine-cask, against my head. My legs are beplastered with mud; soon huge feet trample on me from every side, and a soldier plants his hobnails firmly on my toe.


"Nonne vides quanto celebretur sportula fumo?
250 centum convivae, sequitur sua quemque culina.
Corbulo vix ferret tot vasa ingentia, tot res
inpositas capiti, quas recto vertice portat
servulus infelix et cursu ventilat ignem.
scinduntur tunicae sartae modo, longa coruscat
255 serraco veniente abies, atque altera pinum
plaustra vehunt; nutant alte populoque minantur.
nam si procubuit qui saxa Ligustica portat
axis et eversum fudit super agmina montem,
quid superest de corporibus? quis membra, quis ossa
260 invenit? obtritum vulgi perit omne cadaver
more animae. domus interea secura patellas
iam lavat et bucca foculum excitat et sonat unctis
striglibus et pleno componit lintea guto.
haec inter pueros varie properantur, at ille
265 iam sedet in ripa taetrumque novicius horret
porthmea, nec sperat caenosi gurgitis alnum
infelix nec habet quem porrigat ore trientem.
249 "See now the smoke rising from that crowd which hurries as if to a dole: there are a hundred guests, each followed by a kitchener of his own.[28] Corbulo[29] himself could scarce bear the weight of all the big vessels and other gear which that poor little slave is carrying with head erect, fanning the flame as he runs along. Newly-patched tunics are torn in two; up comes a huge fir-log swaying on a wagon, and then a second dray carrying a whole pine-tree; they tower aloft and threaten the people. For if that axle with its load of Ligurian marble breaks down, and pours an overturned mountain on to the crowd, what is left of their bodies? Who can identify the limbs, who the bones? 'The poor man's crushed corpse wholly disappears, just like his soul. At home meanwhile the folk, unwitting, are washing the dishes, blowing up the fire with distended cheek, clattering over the greasy flesh-scrapers, filling the oil-flasks and laying out the towels. And while each of them is thus busy over his own task, their master is already sitting, a new arrival, upon the bank, and shuddering at the grim ferryman: he has no copper in his mouth to tender for his fare, and no hope of a passage over the murky flood, poor wretch.


"Respice nunc alia ac diversa pericula noctis
quod spatium tectis sublimibus unde cerebrum
270 testa ferit, quotiens rimosa et curta fenestris
vasa cadant, quanto percussum pondere signent
et laedant silicem. possis ignavus haberi
et subiti casus inprovidus, ad cenam si
intestatus eas: adeo tot fata, quot illa
275 nocte patent vigiles te praetereunte fenestrae.
ergo optes votumque feras miserabile tecum,
ut sint contentae patulas defundere pelves.
268 "And now regard the different and diverse perils of the night. See what a height it is to that towering roof from which a potsherd comes crack upon my head every time that some broken or leaky vessel is pitched out of the window! See with what a smash it strikes and dints the pavement! There's death in every open window as you pass along at night; you may well be deemed a fool, improvident of sudden accident, if you go out to dinner without having made your will. You can but hope, and put up a piteous prayer in your heart, that they may be content to pour down on you the contents of their slop-basins!


"Ebrius ac petulans, qui nullum forte cecidit,
dat poenas, noctem patitur lugentis amicum
280 Pelidae, cubat in faciem, mox deinde supinus;
[ergo non aliter poterit dormire: quibusdam]
somnum rixa facit. sed quamvis improbus annis
atque mero fervens, cavet hunc, quem coccina laena
vitari iubet et comitum longissimus ordo,
285 multum praeterea flammarum et aenea lampas;
me, quem luna solet deducere vel breve lumen
candelae, cuius dispenso et tempero filum,
contemnit. miserae cognosce prohoemia rixae,
si rixa est, ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum.
290 stat contra starique iubet: parere necesse est;
nam quid agas, cum te furiosus cogat et idem
fortior? 'unde venis?', exclamat, 'cuius aceto,
cuius conche tumes? quis tecum sectile porrum
sutor et elixi vervecis labra comedit?
295 nil mihi respondes? aut dic aut accipe calcem.
ede ubi consistas; in qua te quaero proseucha?'
dicere si temptes aliquid tacitusve recedas,
tantumdem est: feriunt pariter, vadimonia deinde
irati faciunt. libertas pauperis haec est
300 pulsatus rogat et pugnis concisus adorat
ut liceat paucis cum dentibus inde reverti.
278 "Your drunken bully who has by chance not slain his man passes a night of torture like that of Achilles when he bemoaned his friend, lying now upon his face, and now upon his back; he will get no rest in any other way, since some men can only sleep after a brawl. Yet however reckless the fellow may be, however hot with wine and young blood, he gives a wide berth to one whose scarlet cloak and long retinue of attendants, with torches and brass lamps in their hands, bid him keep his distance. But to me, who am wont to be escorted home by the moon, or by the scant light of a candle whose wick I husband with due care, he pays no respect. Hear how the wretched fray begins--if fray it can be called when you do all the thrashing and I get all the blows! The fellow stands up against me, and bids me halt; obey I must. What else can you do when attacked by a madman stronger than yourself? 'Where are you from?' shouts he; 'whose vinegar, whose beans have blown you out? With what cobbler have you been munching cut leeks[30] and boiled wether's chaps?--What, sirrah, no answer? Speak out, or take that upon your shins! Say, where is your stand? In what prayer-shop[31] shall I find you?' Whether you venture to say anything, or make off silently, it's all one: he will thrash you just the same, and then, in a rage, take bail from you. Such is the liberty of the poor man: having been pounded and cuffed into a jelly, he begs and prays to be allowed to return home with a few teeth in his head!


"Nec tamen haec tantum metuas. nam qui spoliet te
non derit clausis domibus, postquam omnis ubique
fixa catenatae siluit compago tabernae.
305 interdum et ferro subitus grassator agit rem;
armato quotiens tutae custode tenentur
et Pomptina palus et Gallinaria pinus,
sic inde huc omnes tamquam ad vivaria currunt.
qua fornace graves, qua non incude catenae?
310 maximus in vinclis ferri modus, ut timeas ne
vomer deficiat, ne marrae et sarcula desint.
felices proavorum atavos, felicia dicas
saecula quae quondam sub regibus atque tribunis
viderunt uno contentam carcere Romam.
302 "Nor are these your only terrors. When your house is shut, when bar and chain have made fast your shop, and all is silent, you will be robbed by a burglar; or perhaps a cut-throat will do for you quickly with cold steel. For whenever the Pontine marshes and the Gallinarian forest are secured by an armed guard, all that tribe flocks into Rome as into a fish-preserve. What furnaces, what anvils, are not groaning with the forging of chains? That is how our iron is mostly used; and you may well fear that ere long none will be left for plough-shares, none for hoes and mattocks. Happy, you would say, were the forbears of our great-grandfathers, happy the days of old which under Kings and Tribunes beheld Rome satisfied with a single gaol!


315 "His alias poteram et pluris subnectere causas;
sed iumenta vocant et sol inclinat, eundum est;
nam mihi commota iam dudum mulio virga
adnuit. ergo vale nostri memor, et quotiens te
Roma tuo refici properantem reddet Aquino,
320 me quoque ad Helvinam Cererem vestramque Dianam
converte a Cumis. saturarum ego, ni pudet illas,
auditor[9] gelidos veniam caligatus in agros."
315 "To these I might add more and different reasons; but my cattle call, the sun is sloping and I must away: my muleteer has long been signalling to me with his whip. And so farewell; forget me not. And if ever you run over from Rome to your own Aquinum[32] to recruit, summon me too from Cumae to your Helvine[33] Ceres and Diana; I will come over to your cold country in my thick boots to hear your Satires, if they think me worthy of that honour."



[1] praestantius py : presentius Vind.

[2] quem y : cum PAUBüch. and Housm.

[3] Büch. punctuates et cur non? omnia cum sint.

[4] P defective here. Most MSS. have aut for est. Housm. reads aut tibi.

[5] praeclarum P : Housm. conj. praedarum.

[6] hic conj. by Jahn and confirmed by O and Vind.: haec F Büch.: Housm. conj. aera.

[7] Housm. adopts the conj. quem (Hadr. Valesius) : quae YPALO.

[8] Büch. and Owen read inflexu, after PVind.y : Housm. in flexu. See Journal of Phil. No. 67, p. 40.

[9] auditor PVind.Büch. (1910): adiutor y Büch. (1893).


[1] A small island off Misenum.

[2] The noisiest street in Rome.

[3] The Porta Capena was on the Appian Way, the great S. road from Rome. Over the gate passed an aqueduct, carrying the water of the Aqua Marcia. Hence "the dripping archway."

[4] A spear was set up at auctions as the sign of ownership.

[5] Vertere pollicem, to turn the thumb up, was the signal for dispatching the wounded gladiator; premere pollicem, to turn it down, was a sign that he was to be spared.

[6] Referring to the sambuca, a kind of harp, of triangular shape, producing a shrill sound.

[7] Trechedipna, "a run-to-dinner coat"; ceromaticus, from ceroma, oil used by wrestlers; and niceterium, "a prize of victory"-all used to ridicule the use of the Greek forms.

[8] i.e. the Mona Viminalis, from vimen, "an osier."

[9] An Assyrian rhetorician: not the Greek orator Isaeus.

[10] From Johnson's London.

[11] Daedalus.

[12] Hercules slew Antaeus by raising him from the ground, till when he was invincible.

[13] Names of Greek actors.

[14] Publius Egnatius Celer. See Tac. Ann. xvi. 30-32 and Hist. iv. 10 and 40.

[15] For the accusation and death of Barea Soranus, see Tac. Ann. xvi. 23 and 33.

[16] i.e. at Tarsus on the river Cydnus.

[17] Ladies of rank.

[18] P. Cornelius Scipio received the image of Cybele when brought from Phrygia, B.C. 204.

[19] L. Caecilius Metellus, in B.C. 241.

[20] The law of Otho (B.C. 67) reserved for knights the first fourteen rows in the theatre behind the orchestra where senators sat. The knights (equites) were the wealthy middle class, each having to possess a census of 400,000 sesterces.

[21] The rendering is uncertain. Duff translates, "Take your money and keep your cake."

[22] At this feast cakes (liba) are provided; but the guests are expected to give a tip to the slaves. According to Duff, the client pays the slave, but is too indignant to take the cake.

[23] Lit. "a slender flute-player"; props were so called either from their resemblance to a flute, or to the position in which the flute was held in playing.

[24] Borrowed from Virgil, Aen. ii. 311, of the firing of Troy, iam proximus ardet Vcalegon. Juvenal's friend inhabits the third floor, and the fire has broken out on the ground floor.

[25] Celebrated Greek sculptors.

[26] i.e. vegetarians.

[27] Probably the somnolent Emperor Claudius is meant.

[28] The hundred guests are clients; each is followed by a slave carrying a kitchener to keep the dole hot when received.

[29] The great Roman general under Claudius and Nero, famed for his physical strength.

[30] Compare xiv. 133.

[31] Proseucha, a Jewish synagogue or praying-house.

[32] Aquinum was Juvenal's birthplace.

[33] The origin of this name of Ceres is unknown.





LCL 91



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