The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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Introductory notes

Decimus Junius Juvelis.
Translated into

Several other Eminent Hands.
Together with the
Aulus Persius Flaccus.
Made English by Mr. Dryden.
With Explanatory Notes at the end of each SATIRE.
To which is Prefix'd a Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of SATIRE. Dedicated to the Right Honourable Charles Earl of Dorset, &c. By Mr. DRYDEN.
Quicquid agunt hominies, votum, timor, Ira, voluptas,
Gaudia, discursus, nostri est farrago libelli.
Printed for Jacob Tonson at the Judges's-Head in Chancery-Lane, near Fleetstreet MDCXCIII.
Where you may have Compleat Sets of Mr. Dryden's Works, in Four Volumes in Quarto, the Plays being put in the order they were Written.

[Page 297]

1. THE

HOW Egypt, mad wìth Superstition grown,
Makes Gods of Monsters, but too well is known:
One Sect, Devotion to Nile's Serpent pays;
Others to Ibis that on Serpents preys.
Where, Thebes, thy Hundred Gates lie unrepair'd,
And where maim'd Memnon's Magick Harp is heard,
Where These are Mouldring lest, the Sots combine
With Pious Care a Monkey to Enshrine!
Fish-Gods you'll meet with Fins and Scales o're grown;
Diana's Dogs ador'd in ev'ry Town,
Her Dogs have Temples, but the Goddess none!
'Tis Mortal Sin an Onion to devour,
Each Clove of Garlick, is a Sacred Pow'r.
Religious Nations sure and Blest Abodes,
Where ev'ry Orchard is o'rerun with Gods.
To Kill, is Murder, Sacrilege to Eat
A Kid or Lamb-Man's Flesh is lawful Meat!
Of such a Practise when Ulysses told,
What think you? Cou'd Ahinous Guests, withhold
From Scorn or Rage? Shall we (cries one) permit
This lewd Romancer and his Bantring Wit?
[Page 298]
Nor on Charybdis Rock beat out his Brains,
Or send him to the Cyclops whom he feigns.
Of Scylla's Dogs, and stranger Flams than these,
Cyane's Rocks that justle in the Seas,
Of Winds in Bags (for Mirths sake) let him tell
And of his Mates turn'd Swine by Circe's spell,
But Men to Eat Men Humane Faith supasses:
This Trav'ler takes us Islanders for Asses.
Thus the incred'lous Phaeac (having yet
Drank but one Round) reply'd in sober Fret.
Nor without Reason truly, since the Board
(For Proof o'th' Fact had but Ulysses Word.)
What I relate's more strange, and ev'n exceeds
All Registers of Purple Tyrants Deeds;
Portentous Mischiefs They but singly Act,
A Multitude conspir'd to this more horrid Fact.
Prepare, I say, to hear of such a Crime
As Tragick Poets, since the Birth of Time,
Ne're feign'd, a thronging Audience to Amaze;
But true, and perpetrated in our Days.
Ombus and Tentyr Neighb'ring Towns, of late
Broke into Out-rage of deep-fester'd Hate.
A Grutch in both, time out of Mind, begun,
And mutually bequeath'd from Sire to Son.
Religious spight and Pious Spleen bred first
This Quarrel, which so long the Bigots Nurst.
[Page 299]
Each calls the others God a Senseless Stock,
His own, Divine; tho from the self-same Block
One Carver fram'd them, diff'ring but in Shape,
A Serpent this resembling, that an Ape.
The Tentyrites to execute their Crime
Think none so proper, as a Sacred Time;
Which call'd to Ombites forth to Publick Rites,
Sev'n Days they spent in Feasts, sev'n sleepless Nights.
(For Scoundrel as these Wretched Ombites be
Canopus they exceed in Luxury)
Them Rev'ling thus the Tentyrites invade,
By giddy Heads and stagg'ring Legs betray'd:
Strange odds! where Crop-Sick Drunkards must engage
A Hungry Foe, and Arm'd with sober Rage.
At first both Parties in Reproaches Jar,
And make their Tongues the Trumpets of the War.
Words break no Bones, and in a Railing Fray,
Women and Priests can be as stout as They.
Words serve but to enflame our War-like Lists,
Who wanting Weapons clutch their Horny Fists.
Yet thus make shift t' exchange such Furious Blows,
Scarce one escapes with more than half a Nose.
Some stand their Ground with half their Visage gone,
But with the Remnant of a Face Fight on.
Such Transform'd Spectacles of Horror grow,
That not a Mother her ow Son wou'd know.
[Page 300]
One Eye, remaining, for the other spies,
Which now on Earth a trampled Gelly lies.
Yet hitherto both Parties think the Fray
But Mockery of War, meer Children's Play:
Tho, Traversing, with Streams of Blood they meet,
They tread no Carkase yet beneath their Feet.
And Scandal think't to have none Slain out-right
Between two Hosts that for Religion Fight.
This whets their Rage to search for Stones, as large
As they cou'd lift, or with both Hands discharge.
Not (altogether) of a size, if match'd
With those which Ajax once or Turnus snatch'd
For their Defence, or by Tydides thrown
That brusht Aeneas Crest and struck him down.
Of Weight wou'd make two Men strein hard to Raise,
Such Men as liv'd in honest Homer's Days:
Whom Gyants yet to us we must allow,
Dwindled into a Race of Pygmies now;
The Mirth and Scorn of Gods, that see us Fight,
Such little Wasps, and yet so full of spight:
For bulk meer Insects, yet in Mischief strong,
And, spent so ill, our short Life's much too long!
Fresh Forces now of Tentyrites, from Town,
With Swords and Darts, to Aid their Friends, come down.
Who with fleet Arrows levell'd from a far,
E're They themselves app ach'd, secure the War.
[Page 301]
Hard set before, what cou'd the Ombites do?
They fly; their pressing Foes as fast pursue.
An Ombite Wretch (by head-long hast betray'd,
And falling down i'th' Rout) is Pris'ner made.
Whose Flesh, torn off by Lumps, the Rav'nous Foe
In Morsells cut, to make it further go.
His Bones clean Pickt, his very Bones they gnaw;
No Stomack's baulkt because the Corpse is raw.
T' had been lost Time to Dress him-keen Desire
Supplies the want of Kettle, Spit, and Fire.
(Prometheus Ghost is sure o'rejoy'd to see
His Heav'nsto n Fire from such disaster free.
Nor seems the sparkling Element less pleas'd than he)
The Guests are found too num'rous for the Treat,
But all, it seems, who had the Luck to Eat,
Swear they ne're tasted more Delicious Meat.
They swear, and such good Palates you shou'd trust,
Who doubts the Relish of the first free gust?
Since one who had i'th' Rear excluded been,
And cou'd not for a Taste o'th' Flesh come in,
Licks the soild Earth, which he thinks full as good;
While reeking with a mangl d Ombite's Blood.
The Vascons once with Man's Flesh (as 'tis sed)
Kept Life and Soul together-grant they did.
Their Case was diff'rent; with long Siege distress'd,
And all Extremities of War oppress'd.
[Page 302]
(For Miserable to the last Degree,
Th' Excuse of such a Practice ought to be)
With Creatures, Vermin, Herbs, and Weeds sustain'd,
While Creatures, Vermin, Herbs, or Weeds remain'd:
Till to such meagre Spectacles reduc'd,
As ev'n Compassion in the Foe produc'd:
Acquitted by the Manes of the Dead,
And Ghosts of Carkasses on which they Fed.
By Zeno's, Doctrine we are taught, 'tis true.
For Life's support no harmless thing to do.
But Zeno never to the Vascons read;
('Tis since their Days that Civil Arts have spred:
'Twas lately Brittish Lawyers, from the Gaul
Learnt to Harrangue, and Eloquently bawl.
Thule hopes next t' improve her Northern Stile,
And Plant (where yet no Spring did ever Smile
With Flow'rs of Rhetorick her Frozen Isle.)
That Brave, the Vascons, were we must confess,
Who Fortitude preserv'd in such Distress.
Yet not the Brightest their Example Shines,
Eclips'd by the more Noble Saguntines;
Who both the Foe, and Famine to beguile,
For Dead and Living rais'd one common Pile.
Maeotis first did Impious Rites devise
Of Treating God's with Humane Sacrifice;
But Salvage Egypt's Cruelty exceeds
The Scythian Shrine, where, tho the Captive Bleeds,
[Page 303]
Secure of Burial when his Life is fled,
The Murd'ring Knife'sthrown by, when once the Victim's Dead.
Did Famine to this Monst'rous Fact compell,
Or did the Miscreants try this Conj'ring Spell,
In time of Drought to make the Nile to swell?
Amongst the rugged Cimbrians, or the Race
Of Gauls, or fiercer Tartars can you Trace
An out-rage of Revenge like This, pursu'd
By an Effeminate Scoundrel Multitude.
Whose utmost Daring is to cross the Nile
In Painted Boats, to fright the Crocodile.
Can Men, or more resenting Gods, invent,
Or Hell inflict Proportion'd Punishment
On Varlets who cou'd Treat Revenge and Spight
With such a Feast as Famine's self wou'd fright.
Compassion proper to Mankind appears,
Which Nature Witness'd when she let us Tears.
Of tender Sentiments we only give
Those Proofs: To Weep in our Prerogative;
To shew by pittying Looks, and melting Eyes,
How with a Suff'ring Friend we Sympathize!
Nay, Tears will ev'n from a Wrong'd Orphan slide,
When his false Guardian at the Bar is try'd:
So tender, so unwilling to Accuse,
So oft the Roses on his Cheek bedews,
So soft his Tresses, fill'd with trickling Pearl,
You'd doubt his Sex, and take him for a Girl.
[Page 304]
B'Impulse of Nature (tho to us unknown
The Party be) we make the Loss our own;
And Tears steal from our Eyes, when in the Street
With some betrothed Virgin's Hearse we meet,:
Or Infant's Fun'ral, from the cheated Womb
Convey'd to Earth, and Cradled in a Tomb.
Who can all Sense of Others Ills escape
Is but a Brute at best in Humane shape.
This Natural Piety did first refine
Our Wit, and rais'd our Thoughts to Things Divine:
This proves our Spirit of the Gods descent,
While that of Beasts is Prone and down-ward bent.
To them but Earth-born Life they did dispence,
To us, for mutual Aid, Caelestial Sense.
From straggling Mountainers, for Publick Good,
To Rank in Tribes and quit the Salvage Wood.
Houses to build, and them contiguous make,
For cheerful Neighbourhood and sake.
In War, a Common Standard to Erect,
A Wounded Friend in Battle to Protect,
The Summons take of the same Trumpet's Call
To Sally from one Port or Man on publick Wall.
But Serpents now more An ty maintain!
From spotted Skins the Leopard do's refrain:
No weaker Lion's by a stronger slain.
Nor, from his larger Tusks, the Forrest Bore
Commission takes his Brother Swine to Gore.
[Page 305]
Tyger with Tyger, Bear with Bear you'll find
In Leagues Offensive and Defensive join'd.
But lawless Man, the Anvil dares profane,
And Forg'd that Steel by which a Man is slain!
Which Earth, at first, for Plowshares did afford;
Nor yet the Smith had learnt to form a Sword.
An impious Crew we have beheld, whose Rage
Their En'mies very Life cou'd not Asswage,
Unless they Banquet on the Wretch they slew,
Devour the Corps and lick the Blood they drew!
What think you wou'd Pythagoras have sed
Of such a Feast, or to what Desart fled?
Who Flesh of Animals refus'd to Eat,
Nor held all sorts of Pulse for lawful Meat.
The End of the Fifteenth Satyr.
This is a selection from the original text


crops, eating, famine, religion, want, war

Source text

Title: The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis

Author: Juvenal

Publisher: Judge's-Head

Publication date: 1693

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing / J1288 Bibliographic name / number: Grolier. Wither to Prior / 331 Physical description: [4], xxxix [i.e. liii], [2], 315 p.; [4], 87 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Wing / 212:07

Digital edition

Original author(s): Juvenal

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, pp.297-306 (fifteenth satyr)


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.