HORACE: "SATIRES BOOK II"

Introduction. 

The introduction to Sabidius' translation of "Satires Book I", published on 30 July 2015, which deals with the purpose, nature and qualities of Horatian satire, is also relevant here, as are the details of the text used and the sources of assistance utilised by Sabidius in this translation.

Horace's Second Book of Satires was probably published around 30 B.C. at about the same time as his "Epodes", although Horace's biographer Peter Levi (1997) prefers the date of 23 B.C., the time of the publication of the first three books of "The Odes". In his first book of Satires, Horace had limited himself to attacking only relatively insignificant figures, such as business men, courtesans and social bores. In the second book he is even less aggressive, insisting that satire is but a defensive weapon to protect the poet from malicious attacks (see satire 1 below). The autobiographical aspect becomes less marked; instead, the interlocutor becomes the depository of a truth which is often very different from the views of other speakers. The poet delegates to to others the task of critic (e.g. Ofellus in satire 1, Damasippus in satire 3 and Fundanius in satire 8.) Hence, the denunciations do not always seem consistent with Horace's usual points of view, and, indeed, it is sometimes hard to tell when Horace is being ironic, and when he is indulging in serious criticism.

As with the first book of Satires, it is Horace's usual practice in Book II to pick on a particular vice for his critical attention: e.g. gluttony in 2 and 4, legacy hunting as a form of greed in 5, adultery in 7, and extravagance in 8. In the very long satire 3, in which there are 325 lines, he discusses the madness which afflicts almost all members of the human race, but he distinguishes ambition, extravagance, avarice, and adulterous intrigues as different ways in which this madness manifests itself, and deals with each form of madness in an orderly manner.

In terms of highlights, perhaps the most celebrated passage in Book II is the tale of the town mouse and the country mouse, supposedly recounted by Horace's neighbour Cervius at the end of satire 6, in order to highlight the attraction of living in the countryside (see satire 6, lines 79-117) .

It is possible that Satires Book II was unfinished, as it consists of only eight books, unlike the ten in Book I. Peter Levi suggests that the missing two books may be the first and the last. Furthermore, there is no person mentioned in the first line of satire 1, as Maecenas is specifically mentioned in the first line of the first satire of Book I. Thus, this book has no dedicatee, and it is reasonable to suppose that another first satire was originally intended as the dedication poem. One can only speculate about the reasons for this omission. Perhaps Horace's patron, Maecenas, was reluctant to be the subject of the dedication, because of the philosophical nature of the verse;  alternatively if the later publication date of 23 B.C. is preferred, this may have coincided with Maecenas' alleged fall from grace in the circumstances of the plot of Fannius Caepio, and this may have caused some difficulties for Horace in dedicating this work to Maecenas. At all events, it does seem that, as a genre, satire had outlived its usefulness for Horace by this stage.

At the end of this translation of Book II, there is an appendix, which lists celebrated quotations from this work, surprisingly few in this case perhaps.

1.  Against anyone who brings an action against Horace for slanderous publications.  (Observing that many people were irritated and alarmed by the licence of his satiric muse, Horace states the case to his aged friend, the lawyer Trebatius, who had been renowned as a professed wit in the age of Cicero, and who humorously seeks to dissuade him from again venturing to compose satires. The poet, however, resolves to persevere, and, in pleading his cause, indulges in his natural disposition for satire and ridicule with his accustomed freedom.)

 

Horace: "There are (some people) to whom I seem too biting in my (writing of) satire, and (too ready) to extend its application beyond its legitimate boundary; another group thinks that what I have written is spineless, and that a thousand verses like mine can be produced in a day. What shall I do, Trebatius? (Please) advise (me)."
 
Trebatius:"Take a rest."
 
Horace: "Do you mean not compose any verses at all?"
 
Trebatius: "I am saying (that)."
 
Horace: "May I be hanged if that would not be the best (thing); but I cannot sleep."
 
Trebatius: "(Those) for whom deep sleep is a necessity (can achieve this) by swimming the Tiber three times, (after) having been anointed, and by having their bodies thoroughly soaked over-night in strong wine. Or, if so great a passion for writing takes hold of you, you should venture to recount the achievements of the invincible Caesar (i.e. Augustus), which will bring (you) many rewards for your efforts."
 
Horace: "Keen (as I am to do this), good father, my strength is lacking; for no one can describe the columns of troops with their bristling spears, nor the Gauls dying on their splintered blades or the wounds of the Parthian falling from his horse."

 

Trebatius: "Nevertheless, you can describe (him as) just and courageous, as the wise Lucilius (did in the case of) Scipio."
 
Horace: "I shall not be found wanting myself when that very opportunity occurs: (but) Horace's words will not come to Caesar's pricked-up ear unless the time is right; if you stroke (him) the wrong way, he will kick back from all directions in self-defence."
 
Trebatius: "How much better this (would be) than to wound with severe satire that buffoon Pantolabus and that rake Nomentanus, when every (man) is afraid for himself, and hates (you), although he is (quite) unscathed."
 
Horace: "(Then) what shall I do? Milonius dances whenever the heat rises in his reeling brain, and there is a (large) number of oil-lamps; Castor delights in horses, (and he who) sprang from the same egg in boxing (i.e. Pollux); as many thousands of people as (there are who) live (in the world), (there are) the same number of hobbies: it delights me to enclose words in metre in the fashion of Lucilius, (who was) a better (man) than both of us. Long ago he entrusted his secrets to his books like faithful companions, never going elsewhere if things turned out badly, nor if (they went) well; by such means it happens that the whole life of this old (poet) is open to view, as if painted on a votive tablet. I follow him, uncertain (whether I am) a Lucanian or an Appulian; for the Venusinian settler ploughs on the border of both, having been sent (there), as the story goes, after the Sabines had been expelled, in order that an enemy might not launch an attack on the Romans  through a vacant (frontier), or lest the Appulian nation or the fierce Lucanian (people) might unleash war. But this pen (of mine) will not wilfully attack any living (person), and shall defend me like a sword sheathed in its scabbard: why should I try to draw it, (as long as I am) safe from hostile bandits? O Jupiter, father and king, (grant) that my weapon, having been laid aside, shall corrode with rust, and that no no one shall harm me, desirous (as I am) of peace! But he who shall provoke me  - I give notice that it is better not to touch (me) - shall (have cause to) weep, and shall be the object of chanting throughout the City (as) a notorious (character). (When he is) angry, Cervius threatens (one) with the law and the (judicial) urn, Canidia Albucius' poison (to those) to whom she is opposed, (and) Turius a heavy fine, if you dispute anything (while) he (is) judge. How every (creature) terrifies (those who are) suspected (by it with that) in which it is powerful, and how a strong natural instinct commands this; so think about (this) with me: the wolf attacks with his teeth, the bull with his horns; from where is this demonstrated, if not from within? Entrust his long-living mother to that wastrel Scaeva: his pious hands will commit no outrage - a wonder (indeed), just as a wolf will not attack anyone with his hoof, nor an ox with his teeth - , but the deadly hemlock in the tainted honey will finish the old girl off. May I not be tedious: whether a placid old-age awaits me, or whether death with its black wings hovers around (me), in Rome, or, if fortune so ordains, in exile, whatever shall be the complexion of my life, I shall write."
 
Trebatius: "O my boy, I fear that you will not be long-lived, and that some friend of the great (ones) will strike you with the cold."
 
Horace: "What? when Lucilius dared (to be) the first to compose verses in accordance with this manner of writing, and to pull off the mask in which each (man) paraded gleaming through the district, (though) full of shame inside. Were Laelius, or (he) who adopted a well-deserved name from the destruction of Carthage, offended by his wit, or did they suffer when Metellus was wounded and Lupus was smothered by his slanderous verses. And yet he satirised the foremost (people) and the people tribe by tribe, indeed (he treated everyone) the same, except only virtue and her friends. But when the courage of Scipio and the wisdom of the gentle Laelius withdrew from the crowd and the (public) stage, (they were) accustomed to amuse themselves with him and to jest in a casual manner, while the vegetables were being cooked. Whatever (rank) I am, although (it is) below the estate and wit of Luculius, yet envy will reluctantly confess that I have lived continuously with great (men), and, (while) wanting to dash her tooth against some weak (part), will hit on (something) solid - unless you, learned Trebatius, disagree with anything (I have said.)"
 
Trebatius: "For my part, I cannot dissent from any of this. But yet you are advised to be on your guard, lest by chance ignorance of our sacred laws should cause you some difficulty: if any (man) should publish scandalous verses against someone, there lies a legal action and a sentence."
 
Horace: "If anyone (composes) scandalous (verses), let it be so; but (what) if one composes fine (verses), and if Caesar is the judge, one is praised? (What) if a man barks (only) at (someone) worthy of reproach, (while) he himself (is) blameless?"
 
Trebatius: "(Then) the case will dissolve amidst laughter, and you, having been dismissed, will get away (with it)." 
 
 
2.  Against the extravagance and foolishness of urban life.  (This satire, which deals with the extravagance and gluttony of the Romans, is put into the mouth of a Sabine peasant, whom Horace calls Ofellus, and whose plain good sense is favourably contrasted with the licentiousness and folly of the great. He delivers rules of temperance with the utmost ease and simplicity of manner, and this bestows more truth and liveliness on the pictures than if Horace, who was known to frequent the luxurious tables of the patricians, had sought to inculcate these moral precepts in his own person.) 
 
What and how great, my good (friends) is the virtue to live on a little (this is no talk of mine, but what the peasant Ofellus, an irregular philosopher and of a coarse disposition, taught [me]). Learn not among gleaming plates and tables, when the eye is dazzled by senseless glitter, when the mind, inclined towards false (appearances), rejects better (things), but here, before dinner, discuss (this point) with me. "Why so?" I will tell (you), if I can. Every corrupted judge examines the truth badly.

(When you are) exhausted after chasing a hare or by an untamed horse, or if the Roman exercise regime tires (you), accustomed (as you are) to live like a Greek - whether the swift ball-game or quoits appeals to you in your eagerness by gently beguiling the harsh exertion, attack the yielding air with a quoit: when exercise has knocked the squeamishness out of (you), (let me see you) despise cheap food (when you are) hungry (and) thirsty; do not drink (anything) but Hymettian honey diluted with Falernian (wine). Your steward is outside, and the dark sea passes the winter protecting the fish: (this is) when bread with salt will adequately appease a grumbling stomach. From where or how do you think (this is) caused? The chief pleasure does not lie in the costly smell but in yourself. (So) seek your sauce through sweating: neither oysters nor scarfish or the alien grouse can give pleasure (to someone who is) fat and flabby thorough gluttony. Yet, (when) a peacock (is) served up, I should scarcely be able to snatch (it) away, but you would want to scour your palate with that rather than a chicken, corrupted (as you are) by the vanities of things, because the rare bird is sold with gold and unfolds a colourful sight with its fine tail: as if that were of any importance to the purpose. Would you feed on those feathers which you extol? Is the same beauty present (when it is) cooked? Yet, although there is no difference in the meat, as you have been deceived by their appearances, you seek the one rather than the other: let it be so.

By what means do you think (it is) granted (whether) this pike gapes in amazement in the Tiber or was caught in the sea? (Was it) tossed about between the bridges or near the mouth of the Tuscan river? You fool, you are extolling a three-pound mullet, which you must cut into separate pieces. (Outward) appearances attract you, I see: so, for what (reason) do you tend to dislike large pikes? Doubtless because nature gives them a large bulk, (but) a light weight to these (mullets): a hungry stomach rarely scorns common (victuals). "I wish I could see something huge stretched out on a large dish," cries that gullet (which would) do credit to the voracious Harpies. But you, southern winds, come (and) cook their delicacies. Although the boar and turbot, recently (taken) are rank, when rotten provisions disturb the queasy stomach, when sated, it prefers turnips and sharp pickles. Yet not quite all (appearance of) poverty has been banished from the banquets of our nobles: for (even) today there is a place for cheap eggs and black olives. Not so long ago the table of the auctioneer Gallonius was (rendered) infamous by a sturgeon. What? Was the sea less able to sustain a turbot at that time? The turbot was safe and the stork secure in her nest, until the praetorian inventor taught you (to eat them). Now if anyone were to announce that roasted cormorants (are) delicious, Roman youth, easily led into depravity, would acquiesce.

In the judgment of Ofellus a sordid diet is different from a meagre (one): for you will shun that vice (of extravagance) in vain, if you direct yourself to vice in the opposite (direction). Avidienus, to whom the surname 'Dog', (which he is) called for good reasons, sticks, eats olives (which are) five years old and cornel-nuts from the woodlands, and he refrains from decanting his wine unless (it has) turned sour, and you cannot endure the smell of his oil (clothed in white, he is permitted to celebrate weddings and birthdays and some other festal days), (yet) he himself pours out (oil) on to his cabbages from a two-pound horn, (and he is) not sparing of his old vinegar.

So, what way of life shall a wise (man) adopt, and which one of these (examples) will he imitate? The wolf presses on one side, and the dog on the other, (as) they say. He will be considered decent if he does not offend by sordid (conduct), and is not despicable in any other aspect of life. Such a (man) will not be cruel to his slaves, while, following the example of old Albucius, he assigns (them) their duties, nor, like simple Naevius, will he offer greasy water to his guests: this too (would be) a serious fault. Now appreciate what great (benefits) a moderate way of life brings with it. In the first place, you will have good health, for, mindful of that dish, which (being) simple once sat so (well) on your stomach, you may believe how various items may harm a man. But, as soon as you mix boiled with roasted (meat), and shell-fish with thrushes, the sweet (juices) will turn to bile, and the thick phlegm will bring a disturbance to your stomach. Do you see how pale each (guest) arises from a perplexing dinner. Indeed, the body, overloaded with yesterday's extravagances, also depresses the mind at the same time and dashes to the ground a particle of the divine spirit. Another (man), when he has swiftly provided for his limbs, and has, in a word, consigned (them) to sleep, arises vigorously to (perform) his prescribed duties. Such a (man) will sometimes be able to have recourse to (something) better, either when the returning year will bring on a festal day, or when he wishes to refresh his impaired body, and when years shall be added and feeble old-age requires to be handled more tenderly. Or, if in your case, enduring ill-health or creeping old-age befalls (you), what, pray, can be added to that soft (indulgence), which you, (as) a boy and as a healthy (man), take for granted? The ancients extolled a high-smelling boar, not because they had no nose, but, I suppose, with this in mind, that a guest arriving a little late, should quite easily devour (it although) tainted, rather than the greedy master (should do so while it is) unimpaired. Would that the primitive earth had produced me born among such heroes!

 

Do you have any (regard) for reputation, which takes hold of the human ear more readily than song? Huge turbots and dishes bring together great shame (along with them) together with expense. Add (to this) that your uncle, and neighbours, (are) angry at you, (while you are) hostile to yourself and desirous of death in vain, since in your poverty you will lack a penny (as) the price of a rope (to hang yourself). "Trausius," he says, "may with justice be scolded in words such as these: but I possess a large income and wealth sufficient for three kings." So, is there not a better (way) in which you can spend what is left over? For what reason are the ancient temples of the gods falling into ruin? Why, wretch (that you are), do you not measure out for your beloved country from so great a pile? Of course, things will always go well for you alone, O you great laughing-stock to your enemies in the future. Which of the two shall rely on himself with more certainty in uncertain circumstances? He who applies his mind and overbearing body to so many things, or (he) who, contented with a little and anxious about the future in peacetime prepares properly for war like a wise (man). So that you may believe these (things) more (readily), (as) a little boy, I noticed that this Ofellus did not make more extensive use of his unencumbered estate than (he does) now (that it has been) reduced. You may see the sturdy husbandman with his cattle and his children (labouring) for wages on his farm (which has now been) reassigned, speaking (thus): "I hardly ever ate anything on a working day except vegetables with a shank of smoked ham. And, if either a friend after a long period (of absence) or a neighbour, a welcome guest, devoid of work due to rain, had come to (visit) me, we did well, not on fishes sought from the city, but on a pullet and a kid; then (a bunch of) grapes hanging (from the rafters) and nuts together with double-sized figs adorned our second course. After this, it was our pleasure to drink with excess as our directress, and Ceres, worshipped (with a libation), so that (the corn) might rise on a lofty stalk, smoothed with wine the worries of the contracted brow. Let fortune rage and stir up fresh upheavals: how much more can she threaten this (estate). Or how much more sparingly have I lived or (how much less) neatly have you flourished, my boys, since this new occupant came here? For nature has appointed neither him nor me nor anyone else (as) lord of this particular (piece of) earth; he drove us out. Either inequity or ignorance of the subtleties of the law (shall do the same) to him; in the end his long-lived heir shall expel him. Now this land is under the name of Umbrenus; lately (it was) called Ofellus'; it will belong to no (man), but fall to the use now of myself, now of another (man). For this reason, live undaunted, and oppose a gallant breast to adverse circumstances."   



3.  All men are mad, even the very Stoics, while they are teaching this.  (Here Horace converses with a Stoic called Damasippus, who was well known at Rome for the extravagant opinions which he held. In this fictitious dialogue, the pretended philosopher adduces the authority of a brother charlatan, i.e. Stertinius, to prove that all men are mad, with the exception of the stoical sage. They deal out folly to everyone in large portions, and assign Horace himself his full share. The various classes of men, the ambitious, the extravagant, avaricious, and amorous, are distributed by them, as it were, into so many groups, or pictures, of exquisite taste or beauty, in which are delineated, with admirable skill, all the ruling passions that tyrannise over the heart of man. Some of their precepts are excellent, and expressed in lively and natural terms; but occasional bursts of extravagance show that it was the object of the poet to turn their theories into jest, and to expose their interpretation of the principles established by the founder of their sect.)

 

Damasippus: "You write so rarely that you do not require parchment four times throughout the year, (as you are) retouching each of your (existing) scripts; yet you are angry with yourself, because, being prone to indulge in wine and sleep, you produce nothing worthy of mention. What is  to be done? But, in sober mood, you have taken refuge here at the very (celebration of) the Saturnalia. So, dictate something worthy of your promises. Do begin! Nothing is forthcoming! The pens are blamed in vain and the harmless wall, born under angry gods and poets, suffers. And yet you had the look (of one) threatening many fine (things), when once your little villa had received (you) free (of distractions) under its warm roof. To what purpose did it concern (you) to pack Plato upon Menander, (or) to produce Eupolis (and) Archilochus (as) such impressive companions?  Are you preparing to appease envy by abandoning virtue? You will be despised (as) a wretch. You must avoid that seductive Siren, sloth, or whatever you have achieved in that better (part of) your life must be relinquished  with equanimity."

Horace: "(O) Damasippus, may the Gods and Goddesses present you with a real barber on account of your advice. But by what means did you get to know me so well?"

Damasippus: "After my whole fortune crashed in the middle of the Stock Exchange, I take care of other people's business, having been banished from my own. For once I used to delight in inquiring in what bronze (vessel) the wily Sisyphus had washed his feet, what (had been) carved so crudely, (and) what had been cast so roughly. (Being) an expert, I used to place a hundred thousand (sesterces) on such a statue; I alone knew (how) to deal in gardens and fine residences at a profit; for this reason the crowded crossroads gave me the nickname the Favourite of Mercury."

Horace: "I know and am amazed that you (have been) cured of that disorder."

Damasippus: "And yet a new disorder has replaced the old (one) in a surprising manner, as is usual, when a pain in the side is transferred to the head or an ache in the stomach, as happens when a lethargic man attacks his doctor (like) a boxer."

Horace: "While (you do) nothing like this, be it as it pleases (you)."

Damasippus: "O my good (fellow), don't deceive yourself: you (are) mad too, and almost everyone are fools, if what Stertinius chatters about is true; (he) from whom I, (being) of a teachable (disposition), derived these admirable precepts, at the time, when, having consoled me, he ordered me to cultivate a philosophical beard and to return not unhappily from the Fabrician bridge. For when, my affairs being desperate, having covered my head, I wanted to jump into the river, he stood at my side and (said), 'Be careful, lest you do anything unworthy of yourself. A false shame,' he said, 'torments you, who dreads to be called a madman among madmen. For in the first place I shall inquire what it is to be mad: if this (madness) is in you alone, I shall add no words to prevent (you) from dying bravely. The school and flock of Chrysippus assert that every man (is) mad whom vicious folly and ignorance of the truth drives forward. This definition includes (whole) peoples, this (definition includes) great kings, with the wise man (alone) being excepted. Now understand why all (those) who have fixed the name of madman upon you are equally senseless as you. As in the woods, where a mistake drives (people) to wander in all directions from the proper path, one man goes to the left, another to the right, the same error is on both sides, but fools (them) in different directions: in this manner, consider yourself mad, so that he who derides you drags his tail. There is one kind of folly which dreads (things) in no way to be feared, insomuch as it will complain of fires and of rocks and of rivers opposing (it) in an (open) plain; another (thing,) different from this, but in no way wiser, runs through the midst of rivers: let the loving mother, the virtuous sister, the father, the wife, together with (all) their relations cry out: Take care, here is a deep ditch, here is a massive rock! He would not pay (any) more attention than the drunken Fufius some time ago, when he sleeps through (the part of) Iliona, with (one) thousand two hundred Catieni yelling out, Mother, I call you (to my aid). I shall show (you) that the whole mass (of the people) are mad in a similar way to this folly. Damasippus is mad in purchasing old statues: (but) is Damasippus' creditor right in his mind? Very well then. If I were to say to you, Receive (this [sum]) which you can never repay me, surely you be mad if you were to take (it), or more stupid to reject booty which propitious Mercury offers? Write down that you have received ten (sesterces) from Nerius: it's not enough; add a hundred covenants of the knotty (old) Cicuta, (then) add a thousand obligations: yet this wicked Proteus will avoid (all) these ties. When you take (him) to court, laughing with the cheeks of another, he will become a boar, sometimes a a bird, sometimes a rock, and, when he wishes, a tree. If to conduct one's affairs poorly is (the mark) of a madman, (and,) on the contrary, (to conduct them) well (is the mark) of a man in his senses, believe me, the brain of Perillus, lending (that sum of money) which you can never repay, is much more unsound (than yours).

'Whoever grows pale with evil ambition or with the love of money, or is inflamed by luxury or by gloomy superstition, or any (other) disease of the mind, I order (him) to adjust his toga and listen. Come hither near me one by one, while I convince you all that you are mad.

'By far the biggest dose of hellebore should be given to the greedy. I know not whether reason assigns the whole (produce) of Anticyra to their (use). The heirs of Staberius engraved the sun (he left them) on his tomb; unless they had acted in this way they were bound (by the will) to exhibit a hundred gladiators to the people, as well as (to give) a banquet under the direction of Arrius, and as much corn as Africa cuts. Whether I have willed this rightly or wrongly, do not be severe on me: I believe that the provident mind of Staberius foresaw this. So. what did he mean, when he willed that that his heirs should inscribe the amount of their patrimony on his tombstone? As long as he lived, he considered poverty a great vice, and he avoided nothing with more keenness, insomuch that, if he had, by chance, died less rich by one farthing, he would have appeared the more iniquitous to himself. For everything, virtue, reputation, honour, divine and human (affairs) is subservient to the attractions of riches; whoever has accumulated such (riches) shall be famous, brave (and) upright. And wise? Yes, and a king, and whatever (else) he wishes. This he hoped would be (a mark) of great praise. In what respect (did) the Greek Aristippus (act) like this? He ordered his sluggish servants to throw away his gold in the midst of the Libyan (desert), because they were travelling too slowly on account of this burden. Which of these two is the madder? An example, which solves (one) problem by (creating another) problem, achieves nothing.

'If a man were to buy some lyres, (and, when they had been) bought, he were to convey (them) to one (place) without any enthusiasm for lyres nor devoted to any Muse, if, not (being) a shoemaker (he were to buy) paring knives and lasts, and if, (being) averse to trading, (he were to buy) sails fit for navigation, he would be deservedly called delirious and out of his senses everywhere. Is he, who hoards coins and gold, (and) does not know how to make use of (them when they have been) accumulated, and is afraid to touch (them) as if (they have been) consecrated, any different from those? If any man, stretched out before a great heap of corn, should keep a perpetual watch with a long club, (though) hungry (and) its owner, should not dare to touch a grain from it, and would rather feed on bitter leaves (like) a miser; if, (while) a thousand hogsheads of Chian and old Falernian (wine) are stored up within (his cellar) - (nay) that is nothing: (say) three hundred thousand - , he should drink sharp vinegar; then again, if, (being) seventy-nine years old, he should lie on straw, while his bed-clothes are rotting in a chest, he seems mad, no doubt, to a few (people) only, because the greatest part of the human race is affected by the same malady.

'(You) dotard, are you, an object of hatred to the gods, guarding these (possessions), so that your son or even that freedman, your heir, should guzzle (them) up? (Or is it) lest you should run short? For how little will each day deduct from your capital, if you begin to pour better oil upon your greens and your head, filthy with scurf not combed out? If anything you please is sufficient, why do you perjure yourself, (why) do you rob (and) carry (things) off in all directions? (Are) you sane? If you were to begin to pelt with stones the people and your slaves whom you purchase with your money, all the boys and girls will cry out that you (are) mad; when you do away with your wife with a rope and your mother with poison, are you right in the head? And why (not)? You are neither doing this in Argos, nor are you slaying your mother with a sword like that lunatic Orestes. Or do you think that he went mad (after) he had murdered his parent, and that he was not driven mad by the wicked Furies before he warmed his sharp sword in his mother's throat? Nay, from (the time) when Orestes was not regarded as being of sound mind, in fact he did nothing for which you could blame (him): he did not venture to do violence to Pylades  or his sister Electra; he merely abused both of them by calling her a Fury (and) him some other (insulting name), which his high-toned choler suggested.

'Poor Opimius, amidst the silver and gold hoarded up within, who was accustomed to drink Veientine (wine) on festal days, and flat (wine) from a Campanian mug on common (days), was, some time ago, seized by a prodigious lethargy, such that his heir was already prancing around his coffers and his keys, and exulting joyfully. His physician, (a man of) much promptness and fidelity encourages him in this manner: he orders a table to be brought and bags of coins to be poured out (and) several (people) to come to count (them): he sets the man on his feet; and he adds the following (advice): Unless you guard your (money), your ravenous heir will even now carry off your (possessions).(What, while) I am alive? So, wake up, in order to live. Do this! What do you want (me to do)? In your weakness your blood-vessels will fail, unless food and a big restorative is administered to your decaying stomach? Do you hesitate? Come on, take this gruel of rice. How much does it cost? A little. So how much? Eight asses. Alas, what does it matter (whether) I die of disease or through theft and rapine?

'Who then (is) sane? (He) who (is) not a fool. What (is) a greedy (man)? A fool and a madman. What? If a man is not covetous, (is he) necessarily sound? Not at all. Why (so), (you) Stoic? I shall tell (you). Suppose that Craterus has said, This patient is not dyspeptic. So, is he all right, and shall he get up? He will forbid (that), because his lungs and kidneys are affected by a severe infection. (Yet) he is not untruthful or mean. Let him sacrifice to his propitious household gods; but (he is) ambitious and reckless: let him sail to Anticyra. For what is the difference, (whether) you throw whatever you possess into the deep (and all-devouring) pit (of the greedy population), or never make use of your belongings? Servius Oppidius, (who was) rich according to the estimate of former times, is reported to have divided two farms at Canusium between his two sons, and, (when) dying, to have addressed the boys, whom he had summoned to his bedside: When I saw you, Aulus, carry your playthings and nuts in an unsafe pocket, and give (them away to others) and gamble (them away), (and) you, Tiberius, count (them), and, in your anxiety, hide (them away) in holes, I was afraid, lest your different kinds of madness should take hold of you, (lest) you, Aulus, (might follow) Nomentanus, (and) lest you, (Tiberius) might follow Cicuta. Wherefore, each of you, entreated by our household gods, take care that you, (Aulus,) do not reduce, (and) you, (Tiberius), do not increase, what your father considers is sufficient, and nature assigns as a limit. Furthermore, lest (the desire for) glory should entice you, I shall bind you both, through the swearing of an oath: (if) each of you shall become an aedile or a praetor, let him be infamous and accursed. Would you (really) squander your property on chick-peas and beans and lupines, so that you may swagger around in the Circus, puffed up (with your own importance), and so that you may stand in bronze, (you) madman, stripped of your paternal estates, stripped of your money, doubtless so that you may gain those plaudits, which Agrippa gains, (like) a cunning fox having imitated a noble lion?

'Lest anyone should wish to have buried Ajax, why, son of Atreus, do you forbid (this)? I am a king. I ask nothing further. And I am commanding a fair thing, but, if I seem unjust to anyone, I allow him to say what he feels with impunity. Greatest of kings, may the Gods grant you a safe return to your homes, after Troy has been captured. So, may I be permitted to ask questions, and then to reply? So ask (then). Why does (the body of) Ajax, the second hero after Achilles, rot, (he who was) so often renowned for having saved the Greeks, so that Priam and the people of Priam may exult in his being unburied, by means of whom so many young men have been deprived of a family grave? In his madness, he slaughtered a thousand sheep, exclaiming that he was killing the celebrated Ulysses and Menelaus together with myself. When you placed your sweet daughter before the altar at Aulis, and sprinkled her head with salt meal, (you) impious (man), were you keeping in your right mind? Why then did the mad Ajax act (as he did)? When he slew the flock with his sword, he abstained from (any) violence towards his wife and son; (although) he uttered many curses upon the sons of Atreus, he did not harm either Teucer or (even) Ulysses himself. But I, in my wisdom, appeased the Gods with blood, so that I might free the ships detained on an adverse shore. Your own (blood), to be sure, (you) madman! My own (blood indeed), but I was not mad. (The man) who gets hold of ideas foreign from reality and confused by the tumult of his own guilt, will be reckoned disturbed (in his mind) and it will not matter at all whether he errs through folly or through anger. Ajax is out of his mind when he kills those harmless lambs: when you wilfully commit a crime on account of empty titles, are you stable in your mind, and is your heart pure when it is swollen with ambition? If any (man) should delight to carry about (with him) in his sedan a bright lambkin, (and) should provide clothes, (and should) provide maids and golden (ornaments) for it, as though for a daughter, (and) call (it) Rufa or Rufilla, and intend (it as) a wife for some dashing husband: the praetor, by a decree, will deprive him of all control (over his property), and care (of it) will pass to relatives of sound mind. What, if a man should sacrifice his daughter in place of a dumb lamb, is he right in his mind? Do not say (so)! Therefore, where (there is) depraved folly, there is the height of madness; (he) who (is) wicked will also be mad; Bellona, delighting in bloodshed, has thundered around him whom glassy fame has captivated.  

'Now, come on, together with me, denounce extravagance and Nomentanus. For reason will prove that foolish spendthrifts are mad. This (fellow), as soon as he has received his patrimony, declares that the fishmonger, the fruiterer, the poulterer, the perfumer and the unholy gang of the Tuscan street, the sausage-maker and the jesters, the whole meat-market, together with (all) Velabrum, should come to his house in the morning. What (happened) then? They came in large numbers, (and) a pimp speaks the words (for the rest): Whatever I have, and whatever each of these (has) at home, believe it (to be) yours, and you may seek (it) either now or tomorrow. Hear what things the considerate young man replied in answer: You sleep booted in Lucanian snow, so that I may dine on a boar; you sweep fish from the wintry seas. I (am) indolent, (and) unworthy to possess so much; away (with it all): take for yourself a million (sesterces); the same amount for you; three times as much for you, from whose house your wife runs (when) called at midnight.

'The son of Aesop dissolved in vinegar a magnificent pearl (which he had) taken from the ear of Metella, in order, I suppose, to consume a whole million (sesterces): (could) he (have been) madder than if he had thrown it into a fast-flowing river or a sewer? The sons of Quintus Arrius, a noble pair of brothers, twins in worthlessness and frivolity, and in love of depravity, used to dine on nightingales bought at great (expense): to which class are they to go? Are they to be marked with chalk as sane, or with charcoal (as insane)?

'If it should delight some bearded man to build a dolls' house, to harness mice to a cart, to play at odds (and) evens, (or) to ride upon a long cane, madness will be the reason (for this). If reason shall prove that to be in love is a more childish (thing) than these, (and) that it does not make any difference whether you play games in the dust, such as (you did) before at the age of three, or you wail for the love of a harlot: I beg to know, will you do as the reformed Polemon once (did)? Will you lay aside the distinguishing marks of your sickness, your leg-bands, elbow-cushion and mufflers, as he in his cups is said to have quietly removed the garlands from his neck, after he was corrected  by the voice of his sober master? When you offer apples to an angry boy, (and) he refuses (them): Take (them), (you) little pet (you say): (but) he rejects (them); if you do not give (them), he would want (them); how does a discarded lover differ (from such a boy), when he deliberates with himself (whether) he shall go or not, (to that very place) whither he was returning, (when he had) not (been) invited, and he clings to the hated door? Shall I not go now, when she calls me of own accord? Or shall I rather think of putting an end to my sufferings? She has excluded (me); she has called (me) back; shall I return? (No), not (even) if she implores (me). Behold, a servant with a lot more sense: O master, something which has no moderation or counsel, will not be guided by reason or method. These evils are inherent in love: war (and then) peace again; if anyone should labour to make steady and fixed these (things) (which are) fickle, rather like the weather, and which fluctuate like blind chance, he will make no more (of it) than if he sets about playing the madman in accordance with fixed reason and method. What, when, picking the pips of Picene apples, you rejoice if by chance you strike the roof, are you in your right mind? What? When you strike out stuttering words  from your aged palate, how are (you any) wiser than a child building a dolls' house? To the folly (of love) add the bloodshed (which it occasions), and only stir the fire with a sword, I say. When Marius, after having stabbed Hellas, threw himself off a cliff, was he out of his senses? Or will you absolve the man from the accusation of a disturbed mind, and condemn him according to your custom (by) imposing relevant terms on these matters?

'There was a (certain) freedman who ran around the crossroad (shrines) in the morning in a sober state with his hands washed, and he prayed, Save me alone from death, (just me) alone, - adding, Why (is this) so great (a request)? For it is an easy (matter) for the Gods. (This man was) sound in both his ears and his eyes; but when his master sold him, he would make an exception of his understanding, unless he was litigious. This crowd too puts Chrysippus in the fertile tribe of Menenius. (O) Jupiter, who gives and takes away great afflictions, cries the mother of a boy who has now been lying sick for five months, if this chilling quartan fever leaves my boy, on the morning of that day on which you appoint a fast, he will stand naked in the Tiber. Should chance or a physician relieve the sick (boy) from imminent danger, his crazy mother will kill (him) while he is fixed on the cold bank, and bring back the fever. By what evil (thing) has her mind been struck? By fear of the Gods.

'These weapons Stertinius, the eighth of the wise (men) gave to me, so that I should not be abused in future without the ability to retaliate. (He) who calls me mad will hear (in return) as much (about himself), and will learn to look back at (the things) which hang on his back unknown.' "

Horace: "(O) Stoic, after your losses, so may you sell all (your goods) at a profit; in what folly, for there is not (only) one kind (of madness), do you think that I am mad? For to  myself I seem sane (enough)."

Damasippus: "What (then), when Agave carries in her hands the amputated head of her unfortunate son, does she then seem mad to herself?"

Horace: "I admit that I (am) a fool - allow me to yield to the truth - and a madman also; only explain this: from what defect of the mind do you think I am suffering?"

Damasippus: "Hear (it comes then): in the first place you are building, (although you are) from head to toe of the two-foot size overall, and you, that very same (person), laughs at the pluck and swagger of Turbo, (when he is) in arms, (as being) too big for his body. In what way (are you) less ridiculous than him? Or, is it fitting that, whatever Maecenas does, you (who are) so unlike (him) and so inferior (to him), should vie with him? After the offspring of an absent frog had been crushed by the foot of a calf, when one (of them) escaped, he tells his mother in detail how a huge beast had destroyed his brothers; she asks how big (it was)? Was it as big as this? (she says), puffing herself up. Bigger by half. When she had swelled herself more and more, he says, Not even if  you burst yourself, will you be equal (to it). This image is not very different to you. Now add your poems, that is, add fuel to the flames, which if any sane man has composed (poems), you indeed compose while sane. I am not speaking of your dreadfully vindictive spirit ..."

Horace: "Now, do stop."

Damasippus: "(Or) of your style of living, (which is) too expensive for your income ..."

Horace: "Damasippus, mind your own business."

Damasippus: "(Or) your infatuation with hundreds of girls and boys ..."

Horace: "O you greater madman, spare, I beg you, an inferior (madman)."


4.  He derides the fickle gluttons of the Epicurean sect.  (A person called Catius repeats to Horace the lessons he had received from an eminent gastronome, who, with the most important air, and in the most solemn language, had delivered a variety of culinary precepts. This satire is written with the intention of ridiculing those who had made a large portion of human felicity consist in the pleasures of the table. This abuse of the genuine  doctrines of Epicurus, the poet himself a staunch adherent of the more refined  forms of that philosophy, undertakes, for the honour of his master, to expose and deride. Having frequently heard the secrets of the culinary art made a topic of conversation by some of the guests at the table of Maecenas, Horace seizes the present opportunity of retaliating upon them, and he alludes to an entire class of persons of this kind under the fictitious name of Catius, whose prototype appears to have been a certain Malius, a Roman knight famed for his acquaintance with the precepts of the culinary art.)

Horace: "Where have you come from and where are you off to, Catius?"

Catius: "I don't have time (to talk to you), as I wish to commit to writing some new precepts, such as may eclipse Pythagoras, the (man) accused by Anytus (i.e. Socrates) and the learned Plato."

Horace: "I confess my offence, since I have interrupted you at such an unfortunate moment, but grant (me) your pardon, my good (fellow), I beg (you). But if anything should now have escaped your (mind), you will soon recall (it), whether this (talent of yours) comes from nature or from practice, (it is) amazing in either (respect)."

Catius: "Nay, but it is of concern (to me) by what means I might retain (in my mind) all (these precepts in this lecture), as being things of a delicate (nature and) expressed in a delicate language."

Horace: "Tell (me) the name of this man, and, at the same time, (whether he is) a Roman or a visitor."

Catius: "I shall recite these very precepts from memory; the (name of) the author will be concealed. Remember to serve up those eggs which have a long shape, as they have a better taste and more white than the round (ones); for indeed, (having) hard shells, they contain a male yoke. A cabbage which is grown in dry soil (is) sweeter than (one grown in gardens) near the city; there is nothing more insipid than (the produce of) a well-watered garden.

"If a visitor should come upon me, unexpectedly, in the evening, in order that the tough (old) hen should not prove disagreeable to his palate, you should learn to plunge (it) alive in Falernian (wine): this will make (it) tender. The best quality mushrooms come from the meadows; others are thought risky. That (man) shall spend his summers healthy, who shall finish his dinners with black mulberries, which he has gathered from the trees before the the sun (grows) violently hot.

"Aufidius used to mix honey with strong Falernian (wine), unwisely, since it is right to commit to the empty veins nothing but (what is) mild. If your bowels should be bound hard, mussels and ordinary shellfish, together with the leaves of the small sorrel, but not without some Coan white (wine), will remove the blockage.The waxing moons swell the slippery shellfish; but not every sea is productive of exquisite shellfish: the large mussel from the Lucrine (Lake is) better than the purple-fish from Baiae; oysters come from Circaei; sea-urchins from Misenum; (and) luxurious Tarentum prides herself on her broad scallops.

"Let no one rashly arrogate to himself the art of banqueting, unless the delicate system of flavours shall have been considered (by him) previously. Nor is it enough to sweep away fish from an expensive stall, (while one remains) ignorant for which (kind of fish) sauce is more appropriate, and for which, (when) roasted, the already flagging guest will resume his (place) on his elbow.

"Let the boar from Umbria, (which has been) fed on the acorns of the holm-oak, bend (with its weight) the round dishes of (him) who seeks to avoid flabby meat; for the Laurentian (boar), fattened on sedge and reeds, is inferior (to it). A vineyard does not always supply edible roes. A sensible (man) will favour the shoulders of a fertile hare. What might be the nature and age of fishes and of birds, (though) inquired into, was evident to no one's palate before mine.

"There are (those) whose talent produces only some new (kind of) pastry. To waste one's care on one thing (is) by no means sufficient, just as if someone should be worried about only this, that his wine should not be sour, regardless of what kind of oil he pours over his fish. If you put out Massic wine in fine weather, if there should be anything thick (in it), it will be alleviated by the night air, and any smell, unfriendly to the nerves, will depart; but, (when) strained through linen, it loses its entire flavour. (He) who subtly mixes Surrentine wine with Falernian lees, cleverly collects the sediment with a pigeon's egg, since the yolk attracts foreign (substances) as it sins to the bottom.

"You will rouse the jaded drinker with fried prawns and African cockles; for lettuce after wine floats upon the soured stomach; aroused by ham rather, and by smoked sausages rather (than by this), it craves to be restored (to its former powers), nay, it prefers everything which is brought steaming hot from dirty cook-shops. It is worthwhile becoming thoroughly acquainted with the nature of a mixed kind of sauce. The simple (version) consists of fresh olive-oil, which it will be proper to mix with rich undiluted wine and brine, the same as (that) by which the Byzantine (pickle) jar has stunk. When this, mingled with chopped herbs, has boiled, and has stood (for a time to cool) sprinkled over with Corycian saffron, you should add in addition what the pressed berry of the Venafran olive always yields. Apples from Tibur are inferior in taste to (those) from Picenum: (which is strange) for they excel in appearance. The Venuculan (grape) is proper (for preserving) in jars; you had better harden the Alban grape in smoke. I am found (to be) the first to have served up in clean little plates this (grape) along with apples, (and) I (am likewise) the first (to have served up) wine-lees and fish-pickle, as well as white pepper sprinkled with black salt. It is a monstrous folly to bestow three thousand (sesterces) upon the (fish) market, and (then) to squeeze the roving fishes into a narrow dish.

"It causes a great pain in the stomach if a slave handles a cup with greasy hands while he licks up its stolen (contents), or if (a layer of) thick grime has stuck to the ancient mixing-bowl. What little expense is involved in cheap brushes, in dusters, in sawdust? (Yet) when these things are neglected, the disgrace (is) enormous. (Does it become) you to sweep a mosaic pavement with a filthy broom, or to throw unwashed coverings over the purple coverlets (on your furniture), forgetting that, as these (items) require very little trouble and expense, the lack of them may be the more justly censured than in the case of those things which cannot belong to anything but to the tables of the rich?"

Horace: "(O) learned Catius, entreated by our friendship and the Gods, remember to take me to hear (the man himself). For, although you relate to me from your memory everything in his mind, yet, (as a mere) relater, you cannot delight me to so high a degree (as he can). Add (to this) the countenance and the manner of the man, whom you, fortunate to have seen, do not greatly regard, because such has been your lot; but in my case it is a matter of no little concern that I may be able to approach the distant fountain-heads and to imbibe the precepts of so blessed a life."



5.  Against legacy-hunters and those who seek inheritances. (In a discourse supposedly held between Ulysses and Tiresias, Horace satirises the sordid attempts, frequently made by Roman citizens, to enrich themselves by paying assiduous court to old and wealthy bachelors and widows. There is considerable pleasantry in the satire itself, but its subject is introduced in a forced and improbable manner. Homer, in the eleventh book of the 'Odyssey' had represented Ulysses as consulting Tiresias on the means of being restored to his native country; and Horace, commencing his dialogue at the point where it was left off by the Greek poet, introduces Ulysses, ruined in fortune, and destitute of all things, seeking the advice of Tiresias as to how he might repair his shattered affairs. The answer of the prophet forms the subject of the satire, and is so directly levelled at the manners of the Romans, that we cannot forget the incongruity of these being described in a dialogue between a Greek chief and a Greek soothsayer, both of whom existed, if we follow the common account, before the foundation of Rome. It may, however, be regarded, as a sort of parody, in which Greek names and characters are accommodated to the circumstances of Roman life.)

Ulysses: "Answer this question (of mine) as well, (O) Tiresias, in addition to what you have (already) told (me), by what arts and expedients shall I be able to recover my lost fortunes? Why are you laughing?"

Tiresias: "Is it not already enough (for you,) wily (as you are), to be returned to Ithaca and to behold your household gods?

Ulysses: "O (you) who never says anything false to anyone, you see how I am returning home naked and destitute, as you foretold, nor in that place is either my wine-cellar or my livestock unharmed at the hands of the suitors; and yet birth and courage, unless (attended) with substance, are more worthless than sea-weed."

Tiresias: "Since, circumlocutions apart, you dread poverty, hear by what means you can grow rich. If a thrush or any other delicacy shall be given to you, let it fly thither, where shines a great fortune, the master (being) an old man; let the rich (man) taste sweet apples and whatever dainty (things) your well-cultivated farm brings forth before your household god (does), (as he is) more worthy of respect than your household god. Although he is perjured, of no family, stained with his brother's blood, (and) a runaway, yet, if he desires (it), don't you refuse to go (along) with him, as his companion on the outer side."

Ulysses: "(Do you bid me) walk by the side of the filthy Damas? I did not behave in that manner at Troy, where I always contended with my betters."

Tiresias: "Therefore you will be poor."

Ulysses: "I shall command my sturdy soul to bear this (evil); I have formerly endured greater (ones). Tell (me), prophet, forthwith, how I may amass riches and heaps of money."

Tiresias: "Indeed I have told (you) and I tell (you again): shrewd (as you are), try to catch the wills of old men in every place, nor, if one or two cunning fellows escape, after having nibbled the bait from off the hook, should you either give up hope or, when you have been jeered at, should you abandon your craft. If a case shall be contested at any time at the bar, whichever (of the parties) lives as a wealthy (man) without heirs, (be he) a man of no principle, who audaciously takes to court a better (man) without any grounds for action, may you be his advocate; spurn the citizen (who is) superior in reputation and in (the justice of) his cause, if he has at home a son or a fertile wife. (Say to him): 'Quintus,' for instance, or 'Publius' - delicate ears delight in first names - , 'Your virtue had made me your friend. I am fully acquainted with all the quirks of the law, (and) I can plead legal cases; someone shall sooner snatch my eyes from me than he shall treat you with contempt or deprive you (even) of a hollow nut; my concern is this, that you lose nothing, nor are you (made the subject of) jests.' Tell (him) to go home and enjoy himself; you yourself should become his advocate, carry on and keep at it, even if the glowing Dog-star shall cleave the infant statues, or Furius, (his stomach) distended with rich tripe, shall bespatter the wintry Alps with white snow. 'Do you not see,' someone will say, nudging (the person) standing nearby with his elbow, 'how indefatigable (he is), how serviceable to his friends, how warm (in their cause)?' More tunnies will swim into (your nets), and your fishponds will increase. Moreover, if a son in poor health shall be raised and nurtured by a man in affluent circumstances, lest the too open courting of a single (man) may expose you, creep gently towards your goal, so assiduous (in your attentions) that you may be written down (as) the second heir, and (then) if any mishap shall drive the boy to Hades, you may come into the vacancy; this game of dice rarely disappoints. Whenever someone hands you his will to read, remember to decline, and to push the papers away from you, but (to do so) in such a away that that you may catch, with a sidelong glance, what the first page intimates (to be) in the second clause; run over with a quick eye (whether you are) the sole (heir) or co-heir with many. On occasions, a cunning notary from the ranks of the Quinqueviri will fool the gaping raven, and the fortune-hunter Nasica will receive laughter at the hands of Coranus."

Ulysses: "Are you raving mad? Or are you deliberately playing with me by uttering obscure (remarks)? "

Tiresias: "O Son of Laertes, whatever I say will either come to pass, or (it will) not: for great Apollo gave me (the power) to prophesy."

Ulysses: "Yet, if it is proper, relate what that means to him."

Tiresias: "At that time when the young man dreaded by the Parthians (i.e. Augustus), a descendant derived from noble Aeneas, shall be great by land and sea, the tall daughter of Nasica, (being) reluctant to repay the principal (of his loan), shall wed the gallant Coranus. Then, the son-in-law will act in the following manner: he will give his will to his father-in-law and beg (him) to read (it); Nasica will eventually accept (it), after having refused (to do so) many times, and will silently read (it), and will find that nothing has been left to him and his (family) except lamentation. To these (directions) I enjoin the following: if, by chance, a cunning woman or a freedman shall be in charge of a crazy old man, you should join them (as) an associate; you should praise (them), so that you may be praised in your absence. This helps too, but to storm the capital itself exceeds the former (method) by far. Should the dotard scribble wretched verses, applaud (them). Should he be a lecher, take care (lest) he asks you. Of your own accord, hand over your own Penelope readily to the better (man)."

Ulysses: Do you (really) think that so virtuous and chaste (a lady) can be prevailed upon, (a woman) whom (so many) suitors could not divert from the right course?

Tiresias: (Yes,) indeed, because the young men (who) came (were too) parsimonious to give (her anything) substantial, nor were they as keen on love as (they were) on the kitchen. For this reason your Penelope is pure; (but,) if she has once tasted (the attentions) of the old (fellow) and has shared the profit with you, like a hound, she will never be frightened away from the reeking hide (of the newly-killed game).

"What I am going to tell (you) happened to me (when I was) an old man. A wicked old woman in Thebes was carried forth (to her funeral pyre), in accordance with her will, in the following manner: her heir bore her body, (which had been) anointed with a large amount of oil, on his bare shoulders, no doubt (to see) if she could slip from his clutches (when she was) dead; (this was,) I suppose, because he had put too much pressure (upon her while she was) living. Be cautious in your approaches: neither be wanting in your efforts, nor abound too much (in them): (if you are) garrulous, you will offend the awkward and the moody; on the other hand, you should not be too silent. Be like Davus in the play, and stand with your head on one side, much like (one) who is in awe (of another). Ply (him) with kindnesses; advise (him), if the air begins to freshen, to (be) careful (and) cover his precious head; extricate (him) from the crowd by opposing your shoulders (to it); keep your ear close (to him if he is) chatty. Is he exceptionally fond of being praised? (Then,) press (him) hard, and puff up his swelling bladder with bombastic speeches, till, with his hands raised up to Heaven, he shall cry out, 'Steady on, (that's enough).' When he shall have (at last) released you from your long servitude and service, (being) wide awake, you shall hear (the following phrases in his will): 'Let Ulysses be heir to a fourth part (of my estate).' 'So is my companion Damas now no more? Where (shall I find anyone) so brave and so faithful?' Throw out (such sentiments as these) repeatedly, and, if you can shed a few (tears), (do so). It is possible, (in this way,) to disguise a countenance which would (otherwise) betray (only) joy. As for the tombstone, (which has been) left to your discretion, erect (it) without meanness; the neighbourhood will commend a funeral handsomely performed. If, by chance, anyone of your co-heirs, (being) an elderly man, should have a dangerous cough, tell him, if (he wishes) to be the purchaser of a farm or a house out of your share, that you will gladly make (it) over (to him) for a nominal sum. But the demanding Proserpina is dragging me (down). Live and prosper!"


6.  Horace's prayer.  (This is a panegyric on the felicity of rural existence, in which the poet contrasts the calm and tranquil amusements of the countryside with the tumultuous and irregular pleasures of the capital, and delightfully expresses his longing after rural ease and retirement. In order to give force to his eulogy on a country life, he introduces the celebrated and apposite fable of the town mouse and the country mouse.)

This was in my prayers: a plot of land, not very large, where there was a garden and a spring of never-failing water near to the house, and, in addition to these, a bit of woodland. The Gods have done more abundantly and better (in my case than this). It is well. I ask for nothing more, save that you would make these gifts lasting for me. If I have neither made my estate larger by evil means, nor do I intend to make (it) smaller by waste and neglect, if I do not foolishly offer up any prayers of such a kind as these: "O if (only) that corner of my neighbour's (field), which now spoils the regularity of my land, could be added (to my property)!" "O if (only) chance could show me an urn of money, as in the case of him who, having found some treasure, (and thus) enriched by the favour of Hercules, bought that very field he had tilled as a hired hand," if what I have at present pleases (me and makes me) thankful, I supplicate you with this prayer: may you make my cattle fat for the use of their owner, and everything else, except my genius, and, as you are wont, may you be present (as) my chief protector. So, when I have removed myself from the City to the mountains and my citadel, what should I embellish rather than my satires and my prosaic Muse? Neither evil ambition nor the leaden South-West Wind and sickly autumn, the gain of the baleful Libitina (i.e. the Goddess of Funerals), destroys me.

(O) Father of the morning, or Janus, if you hear (yourself called by that name) more gladly, from whom men commence the first toils of business and of life - thus (it is) pleasing to the Gods - may you be the beginning of my song. (When I am) in Rome, you hurry me away into providing bail (for another): "Come, make haste, lest someone else answers the call of duty before (you do)." Whether the North Wind sweeps the earth or the winter season drives the snowy day into a smaller circle, I must be on my way. Later on, when I have uttered clearly and firmly (something) which may do me damage (on some future occasion), I must fight my way through the crowd and inflict injuries on the tardy. "What do you want, (you) madman?" and What on earth are you doing?" An impudent (fellow) accosts (me) with angry curses, "Must you shove aside everything that is in your way, whenever you dash back to Maecenas to keep an appointment?" This is pleasing and is like honey, I do not lie. But, as soon as I reach the gloomy Esquiline, a hundred matters concerning other people course through my head and around my side. "Roscius begged that you would be with him at the Puteal (i.e. the law-court) tomorrow before the second (hour)." "The notaries requested that you would remember that you should return (to them) today, Quintus, about an important and novel matter of public concern." "(Please) arrange that Maecenas impresses his seal on these tablets." Should you say: "I shall try": "You can, if you want to," he adds and he insists.

The seventh year, coming near to the eighth, is now elapsed, from (the time) when Maecenas began to regard me among the ranks of his (friends), at least to this (extent, as one) whom he might wish to take along (with him) in his chariot, (when) making a journey, and to whom to entrust such trifles as the following kind: "What hour is it?" Is Gallina the Thracian a match for Syrus?" "The cold morning (air) begins to pinch (those) who are not (well) enough prepared (against it)," and such other (comments) as might be safely entrusted to a leaky ear. For all of this time, our (friend) (i.e. Horace himself) is subjected daily and hourly to envy. If he has witnessed public spectacles together with (Maecenas), if he has played (ball with him) on the Campus (Martius): "Son of Fortune," all (exclaim). (If) any disheartening rumour spreads from the Rostra through the streets: whoever  comes my way consults me (about it): "O my good (sir) - for you must know, as you keep so close to the Great Ones (i.e. Augustus and Maecenas) - , have you not heard anything about the Dacians?" "For my part, nothing at all." "What a scoffer you always will be!" "But may all the gods torture me if (I know) anything (about the matter)." "Is Caesar going to give the estates he promised to the soldiers in Sicily or the land of Italy?" When I swear I know nothing about it, they wonder at me, (thinking of me,) indeed, as a singular creature of surpassing and profound reticence.

Among such (things) as these, the day is wasted by me, mortified (as I am), (but) not without the following aspirations: O countryside, when shall I behold you, and when shall I be able to quaff the blissful oblivion of the cares of life, at one time with the books of the ancients, at another in sleep during the inactive hours? O, when shall the bean associated with Pythagoras, and, at the same time, herbs well greased with rich bacon-fat, be placed (before me)? O nights and dinners (fit) for the Gods, during which I and my (friends) indulge (ourselves), and I feed the cheeky household-slaves from the dishes (off which we have) supped. As is each one's desire, the guest, freed from mad regulations, drains wine-cups of different sizes, whether one with a strong (head) takes up brimming cupfuls, or (another) as joyously gets mellow with moderate (helpings). So, conversation arises, not concerning other people's villas or houses, nor (whether) Lepos dances badly or not, but we discuss what is more important to us, and (what) it is pernicious not to know, whether men are made happier by riches or virtue, or what draws us into friendships, utility or rectitude, and what is the nature of good, and what (is) its perfection.

Meanwhile, my neighbour Cervius prattles away (telling) old wives' tales related to the subject in hand. If anyone ignorantly commends the troublesome riches of Arellius, he thus begins: "Once upon a time a country mouse is said to welcomed a town mouse into his humble mouse-hole, an old host (and) a long-standing friend, (the former being) a rough (type) and frugal with his stores, yet in such a way that he relaxed his thrifty soul with (acts of) hospitality. What more (can I say)? He begrudged neither his stored-up chick-peas nor his long oats, and, carrying in his mouth a dried grape and half-eaten scraps of bacon, he offered (them) up, wanting to overcome with his varied dinner the fastidiousness of (one) who barely deigned to touch each individual (morsel) with his haughty teeth, while the master of the house himself, stretched out on fresh straw, ate spelt and darnel, leaving the choicer (parts) of the feast (to his guest). At length, the town (mouse) said to him, 'Why, my friend, does it please you to live roughing (it) on the ridge of a steep wood? Surely you would prefer to put men and the city before these wild woods? Put your trust in me (and) take the road (with me as) my companion, since earthly (creatures) live, having been allotted (by fate) with mortal souls, nor is there any escape from death for either the great or the lowly: wherefore, my good (friend), while you can, (may you) live happily in pleasant circumstances, (may you) live remembering how short-lived you are.' When these words have convinced the country (mouse), he jumps nimbly out of his house; then they both undertake the proposed journey, eager to creep under the walls of the city during the night. And now the night was holding heaven's middle space, when each of them sets his footprints in a wealthy house, (of the sort) where a covering dyed with a crimson scarlet glittered over the ivory couches, and many dishes (of food) were left over from a magnificent dinner, which, (remaining from) yesterday, were in baskets piled up on high. So, when (the town mouse) had placed the country (mouse) stretched out a purple coverlet, he runs about like a girt-up host, and makes the feast continuous, and besides he performs these very duties like a household-slave, tasting beforehand everything which he brings. As he reclines, the (country mouse) rejoices in his changed fortune, and amidst the good cheer, he acts the part of the happy guest, when suddenly a great noise from the folding-doors drove both of them from their couches. Terrified, they ran through the whole room, and they were all the more petrified with fear, as soon as the depths of the house resounded with (the barking of) Molossian hounds. Then. the country (mouse) says: 'I have no need of a life like this,' and 'Farewell; my wood and my mouse-hole, safe from such perils, with some simple vetch, will console me.' "


7.  Horace berates himself in a witty manner through the person of a slave, and shows that the wise man alone is free. (The dialogue which takes place here between Horace and Davus, one of his slaves, is supposed to have taken place during the festival of the 'Saturnalia'. Availing himself of the freedom allowed to his class during that time of festive enjoyment, Davus upbraids his master with his defects and vices, and maintains, in conformity with one of those schools of the Greeks, that the wise man alone is free. His sarcasms have so much truth and bitterness in them, that his master at length loses his temper, and, being unable to answer him, silences him with menaces.)

Davus: "I have been listening (to you) for a long time now and wishing to say a few (words) to you, (but being) a slave I dread (to do so)."

Horace: "(Is this) Davus?"

Davus: "Yes, (it's) Davus, faithful servant to his master and an honest (one), as far as that is needful, that is, so that you may think (him) likely to live a long time."

Horace: "Come on (then), since our ancestors wanted (it) so, enjoy the freedom of December (i.e. the festival of the Saturnalia): (so) speak!"

Davus: "One part of mankind rejoices in their vices without any intermission, and sticks to their purpose; a large part fluctuates, at one time upholding the right, at another time liable to depravity. Priscus was often observed with three rings, at other times with his fingers bare (of them). He lived such an inconsistent life that he would change the stripe (on his tunic) on an hourly basis (N.B. senators had a broad stripe on their tunics, knights a narrow one), (and) from a splendid mansion he would hide himself (in a place), from which a decent enough freedman could scarcely come out with propriety; He would choose, at one moment, to live (like) a rake in Rome, (and) at another (as) a scholar in Athens, born under the injurious Vertumni, as many as there are (viz. Vertumnus was the God of Seasons). That buffoon Volanerius, when well-merited gout had crippled his fingers, maintained (a fellow,) hired at a daily wage, to pick up his knuckle-bones for him and put (them) in a dice-box. (Yet) by how much more constant (was he) in his same vices, by so much less wretched and better off (was he) than the other, who struggles, at one moment, with a tight cord and, at another, with a loosened (one)."

Horace: "Won't you say at once to where such rubbish as this is leading, (you) rascal?"

Davus: "Towards you, I say."

Horace: "In what way, (you) scoundrel?" 

Davus: "You praise the fortune and customs of the ancient people (of Rome), and (yet) if any god were suddenly to push you towards those (things), you would persist in refusing, either because you do not think that what you are shouting about is really right, or because you do not defend (what is) right with resolution, and you are at a loss, desiring in vain to extract your foot from the mire. In Rome, you long for the country; (when you are) in the country, in your fickleness, you extol the City to the stars. If, by some chance, you have not been invited to dinner anywhere, you praise your plain (dish of) vegetables, and, as though you (only) ever go out under compulsion, you say that you (are) so happy, because you do not have to drink anywhere else. (But) should Maecenas bid (you) come to him (as) a guest, late (in the evening), at the first (lighting of the) lamps: 'Can no one bring the oil more quickly? Is anyone listening?' You roar with a loud shout, and off you rush. Mulvius and his buffoons depart, having uttered unrepeatable curses against you. 'All right,' he (i.e. Mulvius) may say, 'I admit that I am easily led by by stomach, I raise my nose at a (savoury) smell, (I am) weak (and) lazy, (and) add, if you want anything else, (I am) a glutton. (But) since you are what (I am), and possibly worse, (why) do you, quite unprovoked, criticise (me as you do), as if (you were) the better (man), and cloak your vices beneath polite expressions.' What if you are found (to be) an (even) greater fool than myself, (who was) purchased for five hundred drachmas? Don't scare me by (making) a face; restrain your hand and your anger, while I relate (to you) what Crispinus' door-keeper taught me.

"Another man's wife captivates you, a harlot Davus: which of us sins more deservingly of the cross? When eager nature directs me, any (common wench lying) naked in the shining lamplight receives on her buttocks the strokes of my swollen crop, or wantonly arouses her supine mount, (then) dismisses (me), neither disgraced nor anxious, lest (someone) richer or more handsome should piss in the same (pot as me). You, when you cast off your badges of rank, your equestrian ring and your Roman dress, from (being) a judge appear as a vile Dama (i.e. a slave), hiding your perfumed head with a cape. You are not what you are pretending (to be, are you)? Fearful (of the consequences), you come forward, and your body trembles with terror in competition with lust. What is the difference, (whether) you go, (as a gladiator,) bound by the terms of your agreement, to be scourged with rods and slain with a sword, or, shut up in a filthy chest, in which (the maid), aware of her mistress' sin, has deposited you, you touch your constricted head with your knees? Does not the husband of the offending lady have a just power over both (of you), (and) an even juster (one) against (you,) the seducer? Yet she does not change her dress or her rank, or sin as greatly (as you do), since the  woman dreads you, and does not believe that you love (her). You must go under the yoke advisedly, and commit your whole fortune, and your life and reputation, together with your body, to that frenzied master (within you). Have you escaped? I suppose you may be afraid, and, having learned, you will be cautious: (no), you will seek (an opportunity), when you can be in  terror once more and you can perish again, O (you) inveterate slave (to temptation). What beast, when once it has escaped by breaking its chains, with stubborn perversity returns itself (to them again)? 'I am not an adulterer,' you say. Nor, by Hercules, (am) I, when I wisely pass by the silver vases. Remove the source of temptation: yet, when the reins have been removed, fickle nature will spring forth. (Are) you (really) my master, subjected (as you are) to the power of so many and such great events and men, (you) whom, although the praetor's rod has been placed (on your head) three or four times, it will never free from this wretched fear. Add to what has (already) been mentioned above (by me) (something) which is of no less weight; for, whether (a man) is an underling, who obeys the (master-)slave (i.e. the Roman equivalent of the American 'house-nigger'), as your custom expresses (it), or only a fellow-slave, what am I in respect of you? Surely you, who are in command of me, are a wretched slave to others, and are led around like a movable wooden (puppet) by means of someone else's strings.

"So, who on earth (is) free? The wise (man), who is master of himself, whom neither poverty nor death nor chains terrify, (who is) brave in the checking of his appetites, in scorning honours, and whole within himself, smooth and round (as a globe), so that no external substance should be able to linger (on it) due to its polished (surface), against which misfortune ever rushes, (only) to be maimed. Can you, out of all these (qualities), recognise any one that belongs to you? A woman demands five talents from you, harasses (you), and, after you have been turned out of doors, she drenches (you) with cold (water); (then) she calls (you) again: free your neck from this yoke, (and) come, say, 'I am free, (I am) free.' (But) you can't. For an unrelenting master oppresses your mind, and claps sharp spurs to your weary (body), and forces you reluctantly on. Or rather, when you are entranced by a picture by Pausias, (you) madman, how (are you) less at fault than I, when I admire the duels of Fulvius and Rutuba or Pacideianus (i.e gladiators), with their bent knees, painted in red ochre or charcoal, as if they are fighting in a real contest, they strike and parry, (while) moving their weapons. Davus is (called) worthless and a loiterer; but you, yourself, are known (as) a fine and knowledgeable judge of ancient (works of art). If I am tempted by a smoking pasty, I (am) a good-for-nothing: (but,) as for you, does your great courage and heart reject sumptuous dinners? Why is my obedience to my belly so ruinous to me? To be sure, (it is) on my back that I am lashed. How do you grab with impunity those delicacies, which cannot be had at a low (price)? Certainly, those dishes, (if) endlessly sought, grow bitter, and your abused feet refuse to support your sickly body. Does that slave sin, who during the night exchanges some grapes for a stolen strigil (i.e. a body-scraper)? Doesn't he, who in obedience to his appetites, sells his estates, have something servile (about him)?  Add (the fact) that you cannot be in your own company for an hour, nor dispose of your leisure properly, and that you shun yourself (as) a runaway and a vagabond, endeavouring, at one moment. through wine, and, at another, through sleep, to elude concern; in vain: for that gloomy companion bears down upon you and pursues (you) in your flight."

Horace: "Where (can) I (get) a stone?"

Davus: "What need is there (for that)?"

Horace: "Where can I get some arrows?"

Davus: "The man is either mad or is composing verses."

Horace: "If you not take yourself away from here in an instant, you shall go (and become) the ninth labourer on my Sabine estate."


8.  Against Nasidienus Rufus, a ridiculously garrulous host.  (This satire contains an account, by Fundanius, a comic poet and a friend of Horace, who was present, of a banquet given by a person called Nasidienus to Maecenas. The host had invited three persons, of first rate distinction at the court of Augustus. along with the minister. Maecenas brought with him two others of the same rank; and a couple of buffoons completed the party. The description of the entertainment exhibits a picture, probably as true as it is lively, of a Roman feast, given by a person of bad taste affecting the manners that prevailed in someone of superior rank. An ill-judged expense and profusion had loaded the table; every elegance of the season was procured, but was either tainted from being too long kept, or spoiled in dressing by a cook who had forgotten his art in a miser's kitchen. Yet the host commends every dish with such an impertinent and ridiculous affectation, that he at last talks his guests out of his mansion.)

Horace: "How did the dinner of that swell Nasidienus please you? For, yesterday, as I was seeking (to get you as) a guest, (I was) told that you were drinking there from mid-day."

Fundanius: "(It pleased me) so that I was never happier in (all) my life."

Horace: "Tell (me), if it is not (too) troublesome, what dish first appeased your raging belly."

Fundanius: "To begin with, (there was) a Lucanian boar: it was caught in a gentle southerly wind, as the patron of the dinner affirmed: around (it were) spicey turnips, lettuces, radishes, (and) such things as might stimulate a jaded appetite: skirret (ie. a kind of water-parsnip), fish-pickle, (and) the lees of Coan (wine). When these (things) were cleared away, a young slave, girded up high (i.e. wearing a short tunic), wiped the maple-wood table with a cloth, and another (one) gathered up whatever lay unused and whatever could offend (those) dining; like an Attic maiden with the emblems of Ceres, the swarthy Hydaspes advances, bearing Caecuban wine, (and) Alcon brings Chian (wine), free of sea (water). Here the master (cries out), 'Maecenas, if Alban or Falernian (wine) pleases you more than (those already) served, we have both of them.' "

Horace: "Ill-fated riches! But I am impatient to know who among those dining with (you) fared as well as you."

Fundanius: "I (was) at the top, and next to me was Viscus from Thurii, and below (him), if I remember, (was) Varius; (on the middle couch was) Vibidius together with Servilius Balatro, whom Maecenas had brought (with him as) shadows. Above (Nasidienus) himself was Nomentanus, (and) below (him was) Porcius, who amused us by swallowing whole cakes in one mouthful; Nomentanus (was there) for this (purpose), that, if anything should have happened to escape our notice, he should point (it) out with his index finger; for we, the rest of the crowd, I mean, dined on birds, oysters (and) fish, that concealed (within them) a juice far different from (anything we had) known (previously), as immediately became clear, if you like, when he held out fillets of plaice and turbot, such as I had never tasted before. After this, he informed me that honey-apples were ruddy if gathered under a waning moon. Then Vibidius (says) to Balatro, 'If we do not drink to his cost, we shall die unrequited,' and he calls for larger wine-cups. Then, a pallor (began) to change the countenance of our host, who fears nothing so much as hard drinkers, either because they speak ill more freely, or because heated wine dulls the taste of the discriminating palate. Vibidius and Balatro drain whole wine (jars) by means of Allifanian (cups), and everyone else follows suit: but the guests on the lowest couch did no harm at all to his flagons. A lamprey is served, spread out in a dish, in the midst of prawns swimming (around it). At this, the master says, 'This was caught (when)  pregnant, (since,) after having spawned, its flesh would have been less delicate. For these, a sauce is mixed: with oil, which the best cellar of Venafrum pressed; with fish-sauce from the juices of the Iberian fish (i.e. mackerel); with wine, five years old, but produced on this side of the sea (i.e. in Italy), (this to be added) while it is boiling - after it has boiled, Chian (wine) suits (it) so well, that nothing else (does) better than it - with white pepper and vinegar, which, by its sharpness, has soured the Methymnaean grape. I first showed how to boil in (it) green rocket (and) bitter elecampane; Curtillus (first showed how to boil in it) unwashed sea-urchins, as (being) better than the pickle which the sea shell-fish yields.'

"In the meantime, the suspended hangings made a heavy downfall on to the dishes, bringing (with it as much) dust as the north wind ever raises on the Campanian plains. Having feared (something) worse, when we perceive that there is no danger, we recover our courage; Rufus, with his head hanging, was weeping, as if his son had died young. What (on earth) would have been the culmination, if the wise Nomentanus had not sustained his friend (by) thus (saying): 'Alas, Fortune, what God is more cruel to us? How you always take pleasure in mocking human affairs!' Varius could scarcely stifle his laughter with his napkin. Balatro, turning up his nose at everything, said, 'Such is the condition of (human) life, and, therefore, a fair reputation will never answer your efforts. (But) hold on, in order that that I should be (so ) sumptuously received, (Is it right) that you should be plagued and tormented with every (kind of) anxiety, lest burnt bread, lest soup in poor condition, should be put (before us), (and) that all your slaves, appropriately attired and neat, should wait upon (us). Add, in addition to these hazards, if your hangings should tumble down, as (happened) just now; (or,) if a footman, his foot slipping, should break a dish. But adverse circumstances are wont to reveal the ability of a host, like (that) of a general, (while) good fortune conceals (it).' To these (remarks) Nasidienus (responds), "May the Gods give you (every) blessing, whatever you may pray for: (for) you are such a good man, and so civil a guest,' and he calls for his sandals. Then, on each couch you might see separate whispers buzzing in (each) secret ear."

Horace: "I should not choose to have seen any entertainments (rather) than these; but, come, tell (us) those (things) that you laughed at after that."

Fundanius: "While Vibidius is inquiring of the slave-boys whether the flagon was also broken, because cups were not brought to him when he asked (for them), and we are laughing for pretended reasons, with Balatro egging (us) on, you return, Nasidienus, with a changed countenance, as you are planning to repair your ill-fortune by art; then followed the slave-boys, bearing on a large charger the limbs of  a crane, besprinkled with much salt, together with grated bread, and the liver of a white goose, (which had been) fed on fattening figs, and the shoulders of hares torn off, as a much daintier (dish) than if one should eat (them) with the loins. Then, we see blackbirds also set (before us), and pigeons without their rumps, delicious things, if (only) the master had not narrated their causes and natures; in revenge, we fled from him in such a manner that we tasted nothing at all, as if Canidia, (who is) more venemous than African snakes, had breathed on them."



APPENDIX A: FAMOUS QUOTATIONS FROM "SATIRES BOOK II"

1.  Par nobile fratrum.  A noble pair of brothers. (3.243.)

2.  Hoc erat in votis: modus agri non ita magnus, / hortus ubi et tecto vicinus iugis aquae fons / et paulum silvae super his foret.  This was in my prayers: a plot of land, not very large, where there was a garden and a spring of never-failing water near to the house, and, in addition to these, a bit of woodland. (6.1-3.)

3.  O rus, quando ego te adspiciam quandoque licebit / nunc veterem libris, nunc sermo et inertibus horis / ducere sollicitae iucunda oblivia vitae?  O countryside, when shall I behold you, and when shall I be able to quaff the blissful oblivion of life, at one time with the books of the ancients, at another in sleep during the inactive hours?  (6.60-62.)

4.  O noctes cenaeque deum.  O nights and dinners fit for the gods.  (6.65.)

5.  Haud mihi vita / est opus hac .... me silva cavusque / tutus ab insidiis tenui solabitur ervo.  I have no need of a life like this ... my wood and my mouse-hole, safe from such perils, with some simple vetch, will console me.  (6.115-117.)

6.  Nam comes atra premit sequiturque fugacem.  For that gloomy companion bears down upon you and pursues you in your flight. (7.115.)
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