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would have picked a farthing out of a midden with his teeth. But he grew like a honeycomb. I suppose he has left behind him a cool 100,000, and all in hard cash. To speak the truth—for, as you know, I wear my heart upon my sleeve [linguam caninam comedi]—he was a rough-spoken fellow, quarrelsomeness personified [discordia non homoj. Now his brother was a fine friendly, open-handed gentleman, and kept a good table. At first everything went ugly with him [malam parram pilavit], but his first vine-crop pulled him together [recorrezit costas]; he sold his wine for whatever he chose to ask. But what really kept his head above water [mentum sustulit] was that legacy, when he walked into a good deal more than was left him. That was why that blockhead Chrysanthus quarrelled with his own brother and left away his money to some Tom, Dick, or Harry [nescio cui terrae filio]. It's an ill turn when a man turns his back on his own. He took all his slaves told him for gospel [habuit oracularios servos), and they played the deuce with him. Credulity is fatal, especially for a businessman. However, he got far more than he deserved: Fortune's favourite, lead turned to gold under his hands. And how many years do you think he had on his back? Seventy and more, I should say. But he was as hard as nails [corneolus) and carried his age splendidly—as black as a crow. Ah, I knew him long long ago, when he did something smack and something grow to. He had a general kind of taste [ommis minervae homol. Well, he enjoyed himself, and I for one don’t blame him. It's all he takes to
the grave with him.” “How you go on talking,” said Ganymedes, “about what has nothing to do with the heavens above or the earth beneath, and no one troubles his head about the supply of food. I declare I could not buy a mouthful of bread this day. It's the drought, and now we have had a year's fast. Bad luck to the AEdiles, they have an understanding with the bakers, scratch me and I’ll scratch you [serva me, servaho te]. So it's the folk in a small way [populus minutus] bear the brunt, while the topsawyers have high jinks all the time [isti majores marille semper saturnalia agunt]. Ah, if we had the giants now that we had when I came back from Asia. How well I remember Safinius. He lived near the Old Arch when I was a boy—a regular pepperbox, he'd knock sparks out of the ground under his feet [piper non homo, is quacunque ibat terram adurebat]. And so in his time food was cheap as dirt. "You'd get for an as a loaf that two men could not oat; now you get a thing the size of a bull's eye. Ah, things are going from bad to worse every day. This place is growing downwards like a cow's tail [retroversus crescit tanquam cauda wituli). But sm hanged if I don't think it is all the irreligion of the age; no one fasts or cares a jot for Jupiter. Time was when our ladies used to go in their robes with tossed hair, bare feet, and pure hearts, and pray for rain, and it used to rain bucketfuls at once, and they all came back like drowned rats. But now we have lost our religion, and the fields are feeling the effect of it.” “Easy, easy,” said Echion, a shoddy merchant; “there are ups and downs, as the peasant said when when he lost his speckled pig; to-morrow may bring what we haven't to-day, that's the way the world jogs [sic vita truditur]. There would not be a better country than this in the world only for the men that are in it. It is in a poor way now, but so are others. We mustn't be too particular. The sky’s above us all [ubique medius calus est]. If you lived somewhere else, you would say that here the pigs were going about ready roast, crying who'll eat me?”
The conversation then turns on a flirtation between a certain lady and her slave, and the meanness of Norbanus, who provided such wretched gladiators that they had no chance against the wild beasts. Before Trimalchio returns, the shoddy merchant, warmed with wine, has plucked up spirit to invite the great littérateur Agamemnon to his poor abode, promising to show him his son, who is an infant phenomenon for brains, and would be very industrious, only he is “clean gone on pet birds' (in aves morbosus). He tells Agamemnon his son is now in four times (quattuor partes dicit), by which he means that he can divide by four, for it was the division, not the multiplication, table that was taught to Roman boys, who had to learn not what was four times twelve, but what was the fourth, the half,
three-fourths, of twelve.
her dramatic colouring than when she is portraying intellectual poverty and logical inconsequence. But we must leave a work which, though full of instruction and deserving far more attention than it has received from English scholarship, is certainly more interesting for the pictures of society than for the poetry which it contains. With Statius and Martial, their rise and their decline, is closely connected an institution so characteristic of the Roman Empire that a few observations concerning it will not be out of place here. The habit of a writer to consult the taste of his friends about his poetry was as old at least as Horace, who tells how he used to show his work to his friend Varus, who would say to him, “Revise that, I pray, and that ; and Tarpa seems in his time to have been a general referee on literary questions. But the public calling together of friends to pronounce on a newly written poem was the invention of Asinius Pollio, whose taste even in boyhood was so warmly commended by Catullus. Public readings were encouraged by Augustus. In this, as in other matters, we recognize in Ovid a link connecting the Golden with the Silver Age. Ovid, like Lucan, loves publicity and display. Horace and Virgil crave quiet and privacy. The practice of reciting fell into disuse in the literary barrenness of the principate of Tiberius; but under Nero, and again under Domitian, it revived and flourished. We read in a letter of Pliny's that “for the whole of April there was hardly a day without a public reading.” One Crispinus was the great manager and arranger of these réunions, which reach their high-water mark in the time of Martial, and of Statius, of whom Juvenal tells us that when he named a day for a public reading he threw all Rome into a state of delight. A sign of lessened interest in public recitations appears in the change of name given to them when they began to be called Ostentationes (érièelšets) instead of recitationes; and Pliny" mentions an amusing contretemps which perhaps marks the epoch when their popularity was beginning to wane. One Passienus Paulus began to recite a poem in which he had assumed permission to address his friend Javolenus Priscus. The recitation commenced with the words, “Thou bidd'st me, Priscus,’f but unfortunately his friend Priscus was present, and, being a plain person who held by matter of fact in all things, he interrupted the reciter with, ‘Excuse me, I did nothing of the kind; there must be some mistake.' The example of Priscus was thereafter followed by persons who were bored by
* Ep. VI. 15. f Prisce, jubes, the
the recitations, and interrupted them with the suggestions of a
* Silv. III. 5.
had innate verses. His father had won crowns in the Nemean, lsthmian, and Pythian festivals at Naples, and probably halfa-dozen faded wreaths were all that he left to his son, except a valuable goodwill in the poètic business. His father had lived through the troublous times when Vitellianists and Vespasianists were at each others' throats. One day the Capitol was burned. This was fortunate for him, because it gave him a subject for a poem, which he had written and dedicated to the Emperor before the ashes were cold. He was moreover in the habit of giving lessons in Greek, and teaching their ritual to the Julian and Sibylline priests, the Augurs, and the Luperci. Thus he was able to introduce his son to influential patrons, and Statius the younger at once became poet-laureate to the aristocracy. The loss of a wife, a dog, a parrot, found in him a ready chronicler; orders were executed with punctuality and despatch; and the building of a palace was not a theme too high for him, or the purchase of a turbot too low. Statius was of course a flatterer, not only of the Emperor but of his favourites, freedmen and sons of freedmen for whom he invented pedigrees. He had the alternative of kissing the Emperor's feet, like Martial, or of sharing the fate of Lucan and Seneca. The Emperors would have been glad if all the people had but one throat out of which the life might be squeezed ; but, failing that, they found it their interest to flatter the people, while they forced proud nobles into the arena, and mingled the blood of a Paulus Emilius with that of a German slave. The court poet is betrayed in the lukewarmness of Statius' eulogy" on his brotherpoet Lucan. The frigid mythology which we find in this piece runs through all his poetry, which from childhood to age never took one step in advance. . The commonplaces of rhetoric are the Alpha and Omega of his art. It is customary to represent Martial as the most debased of flatterers, who licked the feet of the living Domitian and spat on his corse. This view is not altogether wrong. General opinion is seldom wholly mistaken, but often needs qualification, and here it needs much. He undoubtedly exaggerates habitually anything good that may be found in the living Domitian, and studiously conceals his faults; but that he insulted the dead Emperor is not true. What are his allusions to Domitian after his death? He writes to Nerva: “In troublous times the heavy hand of might Could not divert thee from the path of right.’t
* six. IL 7. f “Sub principe duro Temporibusque malis ausus es esse bonus.’