Ancient History Sourcebook:
Juvenal: Satire 1 (Latin/English)
Juvenal: Satire 1 Latin | Satire 1 English | Satire 1 English/Latin
Juvenal: Satire 2 Latin | Satire 2 English | Satire 2
Juvenal: Satire 3 Latin | Satire 3 English | Satire 3
|THE SATIRES OF JUVENAL
DIFFICILE EST SATURAM NON SCRIBERE
|SEMPER ego auditor tantum? numquamne reponam
vexatus totiens rauci Theseide Cordi?
inpune ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas,
hic elegos? inpune diem consumpserit ingens
5 Telephus aut summi plena iam margine libri
scriptus et in tergo necdum finitus Orestes?
nota magis nulli domus est sua quam mihi lucus
Martis et Aeoliis vicinum rupibus antrum
Vulcani. Quid agant venti, quas torqueat umbras
10 Aeacus, unde alius furtivae devehat aurum
pelliculae, quantas iaculetur Monychus ornos,
Frontonis platani convulsaque marmora clamant
semper et adsiduo ruptae lectore columnae:
expectes eadem a summo minimoque poeta.
15 et nos ergo manum ferulae subduximus, et nos
consilium dedimus Sullae, privatus ut altum
dormiret; stulta est clementia, cum tot ubique
vatibus occurras, periturae parcere chartae.
cur tamen hoc potius libeat decurrere campo
20 per quem magnus equos Auruncae flexit alumnus,
si vacat ac placidi rationem admittitis, edam.
|WHAT? Am I to be a listener only all my days? Am I
never to get my word inI that have been so often bored by the Theseid of the
ranting Cordus? Shall this one have spouted to me his comedies, and that one his love
ditties, and I be unavenged? Shall I have no revenge on one who has taken up the whole day
with an interminable Telephus or with an Orestes which, after filling the margin at
the top of the roll and the back as well, hasn't even yet come to an end? No one knows his
own house so well as I know the groves of Mars, and the cave of Vulcan near the cliffs of
Aeolus. What the winds are brewing; whose souls Aeacus has on the rack; from what
country another worthy is carrying off that stolen golden fleece; how big are the ash
trees which Monychus hurls as missiles: these are the themes with which Fronto's
plane trees and marble halls are for ever ringing until the pillars quiver and quake under
the continual recitations; such is the kind of stuff you may look for from every poet,
greatest or least. Well, I too have slipped my hand from under the cane; I too have
counselled Sulla to retire from public life and take a deep sleep; it is a foolish
clemency when you jostle against poets at every corner, to spare paper that will be wasted
anyhow. But if you can give me time, and will listen quietly to reason, I will tell you
why I prefer to run in the same course over which the great nursling of Aurunca drove
|Cum tener uxorem ducat spado, Mevia Tuscum
figat aprum et nuda teneat venabula mamma,
patricios omnis opibus cum provocet unus
25 quo tondente gravis iuveni mihi barba sonabat,
cum pars Niliacae plebis, cum verna Canopi
Crispinus Tyrias umero revocante lacernas
ventilet aestivum digitis sudantibus aurum,
nec sufferre queat maioris pondera gemmae,
30 difficile est saturam non scribere. nam quis iniquae
tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se,
causidici nova cum veniat lectica Mathonis
plena ipso, post hunc magni delator amici
et cito rapturus de nobilitate comesa
35 quod superest, quem Massa timet, quem munere palpat
Carus et a trepido Thymele summissa Latino?
cum te summoveant qui testamenta merentur
noctibus, in caelum quos evehit optima summi
nunc via processus, vetulae vesica beatae?
40 unciolam Proculeius habet, sed Gillo deuncem,
partes quisque suas ad mensuram inguinis heres.
accipiat sane mercedem sanguinis, et sic
palleat ut nudis pressit qui calcibus anguem
aut Lugudunensem rhetor dicturus ad aram.
|22 When a soft eunuch takes to matrimony, and Maevia,
with spear in hand and breasts exposed, to pig-sticking in Etruria; when a fellow under
whose razor my stiff youthful beard used to grate challenges, with his single wealth,
the whole nobility; when a guttersnipe of the Nile like Crispinusa slave-born
denizen of Canopushitches a Tyrian cloak on to his shoulder, whilst on his
sweating finger he airs a summer ring of gold, unable to endure the weight of a heavier
gemit is hard not to write satire. For who can be so tolerant of this
monstrous city, who so iron of soul, as to contain himself when the brand-new litter of
lawyer Matho comes along, filled with his huge self; after him one who has informed
against his noble patron and will soon sweep away the remnant of our nobility already
gnawed to the boneone whom Massa dreads, whom Carus propitiates by a bribe,
and to whom Thymele was sent as envoy by the terrified Latinus; when you are
thrust on one side by men who earn legacies by nightly performances, and are raised to
heaven by that now royal road to high prefermentthe favours of an aged and wealthy
woman? Each of the lovers will have his share; Proculeius a twelfth part, Gillo eleven
parts, each in proportion to the magnitude of his services. By all means let each take the
price of his own blood, and turn as pale as a man who has trodden upon a snake
bare-footed, or of one who awaits his turn to orate before the altar at Lugdunum.
|45 Quid referam quanta siccum iecur ardeat ira,
cum populum gregibus comitum premit hic spoliator
pupilli prostantis et hic damnatus inani
iudicio? quid enim salvis infamia nummis?
exul ab octava Marius bibit et fruitur dis
50 iratis, at tu victrix provincia ploras.
Haec ego non credam Venusina digna lucerna?
|45 Why tell how my heart burns dry with rage when I
see the people hustled by a mob of retainers attending on one who has defrauded and
debauched his ward, or on another who has been condemned by a futile verdictfor what
matters infamy if the cash be kept? The exiled Marius carouses from the eighth hour of
the day and revels in the wrath of Heaven, while you, poor Province, win your cause and
|haec ego non agitem? sed quid magis Heracleas
aut Diomedeas aut mugitum labyrinthi
et mare percussum puero fabrumque volantem,
55 cum leno accipiat moechi bona, si capiendi
ius nullum uxori, doctus spectare lacunar,
doctus et ad calicem vigilanti stertere naso?
cum fas esse putet curam sperare cohortis
qui bona donavit praesepibus et caret omni
60 maiorum censu, dum pervolat axe citato
Flaminiam puer Automedon? nam lora tenebat
ipse, lacernatae cum se iactaret amicae.
|51 Must I not deem these things worthy of the
Venusian's lamp? Must I not have my fling at them? Should I do better to tell tales
about Hercules, or Diomede, or the bellowing in the Labyrinth, or about the flying
carpenter and the lad who splashed into the sea; and that in an age when the
compliant husband, if his wife may not lawfully inherits, takes money from her
paramour, being well trained to keep his eyes upon the ceiling, or to snore with wakeful
nose over his cups; an age when one who has squandered all his family fortunes upon
horse-flesh thinks it right and proper to look for the command of a cohort? See the
youngster dashing at break-neck speed, like a very Automedon, along the Flaminian way,
holding the reins himself, while he shows himself off to his great-coated mistress!
|Nonne libet medio ceras inplere capaces
quadrivio, cum iam sexta cervice feratur
65 hinc atque inde patens ac nuda paene cathedra
et multum referens de Maecenate supino
signator falsi, qui se lautum atque beatum
exiguis tabulis et gemma fecerit uda?
|63 Would you not like to fill up a whole note-book at
the street crossings when you see a forger borne along upon the necks of six porters, and
exposed to view on this side and on that in his almost naked litter, and reminding you of
the lounging Maecenas one who by help of a scrap of paper and a moistened seal has
converted himself into a fine and wealthy gentleman?
|Occurrit matrona potens, quae molle Calenum
70 porrectura viro miscet sitiente rubetam
instituitque rudes melior Lucusta propinquas
per famam et populum nigros efferre maritos.
aude aliquid brevibus Gyaris et carcere dignum,
si vis esse aliquid; probitas laudatur et alget.
75 criminibus debent hortos praetoria mensas,
argentum vetus et stantem extra pocula caprum.
quem patitur dormire nurus corruptor avarae,
quem sponsae turpes et praetextatus adulter?
si natura negat, facit indignatio versum
80 qualemcumque potest, quales ego vel Cluvienus.
|69 Then up comes a lordly dame who, when her husband
wants a drink, mixes toad's blood with his mellow Calenian, and improving upon
Lucusta herself, teaches her artless neighbours to brave the talk of the town and
carry forth to burial the blackened corpses of their husbands. If you want to be anybody
nowadays, you must dare some crime that merits narrow Gyara or a gaol; honesty is
praised and left to shiver. It is to their crimes that men owe their pleasure-grounds and
palaces, their fine tables and old silver goblets with goats standing out in relief. Who
can get sleep for thinking of a money-loving daughter-in-law seduced, of brides that have
lost their virtue, or of adulterers not out of their 'teens? Though nature say me nay,
indignation will prompt my verse, of whatever kind it besuch verse as I can write,
|Ex quo Deucalion nimbis tollentibus aequor
navigio montem ascendit sortesque poposcit,
paulatimque anima caluerunt mollia saxa
et maribus nudas ostendit Pyrrha puellas,
85 quidquid agunt homines, votum timor ira voluptas
gaudia discursus, nostri farrago libelli est.
et quando uberior vitiorum copia? quando
maior avaritiae patuit sinus? alea quando
hos animos? neque enim loculis comitantibus itur
90 ad casum tabulae, posita sed luditur arca.
proelia quanta illic dispensatore videbis
armigero! simplexne furor sestertia centum
perdere et horrenti tunicam non reddere servo?
quis totidem erexit villas, quis fercula septem
95 secreto cenavit avus? nune sportula primo
limine parva sedet turbae rapienda togatae;
ille tamen faciem prius inspicit et trepidat ne
suppositus venias ac falso nomine poscas
agnitus accipies. iubet a praecone vocari
100 ipsos Troiugenas, nam vexant limen et ipsi
nobiscum. "da praetori, da deinde tribuno."
sed libertinus prior est. "prior" inquit "ego adsum.
cur timeam dubitemve locum defendere? quamvis
natus ad Euphraten, molles quod in aure fenestrae
105 arguerint, licet ipse negem, sed quinque tabernae
quadringenta parant. quid confert purpura maior
optandum, si Laurenti custodit in agro
conductas Corvinus oves, ego possideo plus
Pallante et Licinis?" expectent ergo tribuni,
110 vincant divitiae, sacro ne cedat honori
nuper in hanc urbem pedibus qui venerat albis,
quandoquidem inter nos sanctissima divitiarum
maiestas, etsi funesta pecunia templo
nondum habitas, nullas nummorum ereximus aras,
115 ut colitur Pax atque Fides Victoria Virtus
quaeque salutato crepitat Concordia nido.
|81 From the day when the rain-clouds lifted up the
waters, and Deucalion climbed that mountain in his ship to seek an oraclethat day
when stones grew soft and warm with life, and Pyrrha showed maidens in nature's garb to
menall the doings of mankind, their vows, their fears, their angers and their
pleasures, their joys and goings to and fro, shall form the motley subject of my page. For
when was Vice more rampant? When did the maw of Avarice gape wider? When was gambling so
reckless? Men come not now with purses to the hazard of the gaming table, but with a
treasure-chest beside them. What battles will you there see waged with a cashier for
armour-bearer! Is it a simple form of madness to lose a hundred thousand sesterces, and
not have a shirt to give to a shivering slave? Which of our grandfathers built such
numbers of villas, or dined by himself off seven courses? Look now at the meagre dole set
down upon the threshold for a toga-clad mob to scramble for! Yet the patron first peers
into your face, fearing that you may be claiming under someone else's name: once
recognised, you will get your share. He then bids the crier call up the Trojan-blooded
noblesfor they too besiege the door as well as we: "The Praetor first,"
says he, "and after him the Tribune." "But I was here first," says a
freedman who stops the way; "why should I be afraid, or hesitate to keep my place?
Though born on the Euphratesa fact which the little windows in my ears would testify
though I myself denied ityet I am the owner of five shops which bring me in four
hundred thousand sesterces. What better thing does the Broad Purple bestow if a
Corvinus herds sheep for daily wage in the Laurentian country, while I possess more
property than either a Pallas or a Licinus?" So let the Tribunes await their
turn; let money carry the day; let the sacred office give way to one who came but
yesterday with whitened feet into our city. For no deity is held in such reverence
amongst us as Wealth; though as yet, O baneful money, thou hast no temple of thine own;
not yet have we reared altars to Money in like manner as we worship Peace and Honour,
Victory and Virtue, or that Concord that clatters when we salute her nest.
|Sed cum summus honor finito conputet anno,
sportula quid referat, quantum rationibus addat,
quid facient comites quibus hinc toga, calceus hinc est
120 et panis fumusque domi? densissima centum
quadrantes lectica petit, sequiturque maritum
languida vel praegnas et circumducitur uxor.
hic petit absenti nota iam callidus arte
ostendens vacuam et clausam pro coniuge sellam
125 "Galla mea est" inquit, "citius dimitte. moraris?
profer, Galla, caput. noli vexare, quiescit."
|117 If then the great officers of state reckon up at
the end of the year how much the dole brings in, how much it adds to their income, what
shall we dependants do who, out of the self same dole, have to find ourselves in coats and
shoes, in bread and smoke at home? A mob of litters comes in quest of the hundred
farthings; here is a husband going the round, followed by a sickly or pregnant wife;
another, by a clever and well-known trick, claims for a wife that is not there, pointing,
in her stead, to a closed and empty chair: "My Galla's in there," says he;
"let us off quick, will you not?" "Galla, put out your head!"
"Don't disturb her, she's asleep!"
|Ipse dies pulchro distinguitur ordine rerum:
sportula, deinde forum iurisque peritus Apollo
atque triumphales, inter quas ausus habere
130 nescio quis titulos Aegyptius atque Arabarches,
cuius ad effigiem non tantum meiere fas est.
vestibulis abeunt veteres lassique clientes
votaque deponunt, quamquam longissima cenae
spes homini; caulis miseris atque ignis emendus.
135 optima silvarum interea pelagique vorabit
rex horum, vacuisque toris tantum ipse iacebit.
nam de tot pulchris et latis orbibus et tam
antiquis una comedunt patrimonia mensa.
nullus iam parasitus erit. sed quis ferat istas
140 luxuriae sordes? quanta est gula quae sibi totos
ponit apros, animal propter convivia natum!
poena tamen praesens, cum tu deponis amictus
turgidus et crudum pavonem in balnea portas.
hinc subitae mortes atque intestata senectus;
145 it nova nec tristis per cunctas fabula cenas:
ducitur iratis plaudendum funus amicis.
|127 The day itself is marked out by a fine round of
business. First comes the dole; then the courts, and Apollo learned in the law, and
those triumphal statues among which some Egyptian Arabarch or other has dared to set
up his titles; against whose statue more than one kind of nuisance may be committed!
Wearied and hopeless, the old clients leave the door, though the last hope that a man
relinquishes is that of a dinner; the poor wretches must buy their cabbage and their fuel.
Meanwhile their lordly patron will be devouring the choicest products of wood and sea,
lying alone upon an empty couch; yes, at a single meal from their many fine large and
antique tables they devour whole fortunes. Ere long no parasites will be left! Who can
bear to see luxury so mean? What a huge gullet to have a whole boaran animal created
for convivialityserved up to it! But you will soon pay for it, my friend, when you
take off your clothes, and with distended stomach carry your peacock into the bath
undigested! Hence a sudden death, and an intestate old age; the new and merry tale runs
the round of every dinner-table, and the corpse is carried forth to burial amid the cheers
of enraged friends!
|Nil erit ulterius quod nostris moribus addat
posteritas, eadem facient cupientque minores,
omne in praecipiti vitium stetit. utere velis,
150 totos pande sinus. dicas hic forsitan "unde
ingenium par materiae? unde illa priorum
scribendi quodcumque animo flagrante liberet
simplicitas? 'cuius non audeo dicere nomen?
quid refert, dictis ignoscat Mucius an non? ' "
155 pone Tigellinum: taeda lucebis in illa
qua stantes ardent qui fixo gutture fumant,
et latum media sulcum deducis harena.
|147 To these ways of ours Posterity will have nothing
to add; our grandchildren will do the same things, any desire the same things, that we do.
All vice is at its acme; up with your sails and shake out every stitch of canvas! Here
perhaps you will say, "Where find the talent to match the theme? Where find that
freedom of our forefathers to write whatever the burning soul desired? 'What man is there
that I dare not name? What matters it whether Mucius forgives my words or no?"'
But just describe Tigellinus and you will blaze amid those faggots in which men, with
their throats tightly gripped, stand and burn and smoke, and you trace a broad furrow
through the middle of the arena.
|Qui dedit ergo tribus patruis aconita, vehatur
pensilibus plumis atque illinc despiciat nos?
160 "cum veniet contra, digito compesce labellum:
accusator erit qui verbum dixerit 'hic est.'
securus licet Aenean Rutulumque ferocem
committas, nulli gravis est percussus Achilles
aut multum quaesitus Hylas urnamque secutus:
165 ense velut stricto quotiens Lucilius ardens
infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens est
criminibus, tacita sudant praecordia culpa.
inde ira et lacrimae. tecum prius ergo voluta
haec animo ante tubas : galeatum sero duelli
170 paenitet." experiar quid concedatur in illos,
quorum Flaminia tegitur cinis atque Latina.
|158 What? Is a man who has administered aconite to
half a dozen uncles to ride by and look down upon me from his swaying feather-pillows?
"Yes; and when he comes near you, put your finger to your lip: he who but says the
word, 'That's the man!' will be counted an informer. You may set Aeneas and the brave
Rutulian a-fighting with an easy mind; it will hurt no one's feelings to hear how
Achilles was slain, or how Hylas was searched for when he tumbled after his pitcher.
But when Lucilius roars and rages as if with sword in hand, the hearer, whose soul is cold
with crime, grows red; he sweats with the secret consciousness of sin. Hence wrath and
tears. So turn these things over in your mind before the trumpet sounds; the helmet once
donned, it is too late to repent you of the battle." Then I will try what I may say
of those worthies whose ashes lie under the Flaminian and Latin roads.
 palpat is omitted by P.
 noctibus Vind.y : non tibi P.
 falsi P: falso y .
 habitas y : habitat P Vind. OT
 In place of the dull atque of Py ,
Postgate, supported by the reading firma found in the MS. Par. 8072, has made the
brilliant conj. Fama, approved by L. Havet. See Class. Quart. iii. p 67.
 quiescit Vind.y : quiescaet P: quiescet Büch. Housm.
 P has crudus: crudum y etc.
 intestata. See Class. Rev. 1899, pp. 432-4
 So AL and Housm.: Büch. follows the et of P.
 dicas y : dices PO: Housm. prefers dicas;
see Journal of Phil. No. 67, p. 43.
 P has lucebit: so also GT.
 Büch. (1893 edn. ) reads pectore, as do PAO and Owen: gutture is read by Vind.GLTU. So Housm.; see Journal of Phil. No. 67, p. 45.
 So p0: deducit P Housm.: Büch. (1910) conj. ducetis. Owen
conj. dent lucis, reading ut for et. Housm. supposes a line dropped
out after l. 156, containing the word cadaver which becomes the subject to deducit.
 So Housm. following AGLO: Büch. reads irae from P.
 An epic poem.
 Names of tragedies.
 One of the judges in Hades.
 A Centaur, alluding to the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapithae.
 A rich patron who lends his house for recitations.
 Referring to the retirement of Sulla from public life in B.C. 79. Such
themes would be prescribed to schoolboys as rhetorical exercises, of the kind called suasoriae.
See Mayor's n. and Sat. vii. 150-70.
 Lucilius, the first Roman satirist, B.C. 180-103.
 Some barber who had made a fortune. The line is repeated in x. 226.
 A favourite aversion of Juvenal's as a rich Egyptian parvenu who had risen
to be princeps equitum. See iv. 1, 14, 108.
 A city in the Nile Delta.
 Notorious informers under Domitian.
 Both actors: the allusion is not known.
 Alluding to a rhetorical contest instituted at Lyons by Caligula (Suet. Cal.
20). Severe and humiliating punishments were inflicted on those defeated in these
 Condemned for extortion in Africa in A.D. 100.
 Horace was born at Venusia B.C. 65.
 i.e. be legally incapacitated from taking an inheritance.
 The charioteer of Achilles.
 Calenian and Falernian were two of the most famous Roman wines.
 A notorious poisoner under Nero.
 A small island in the Aegean Sea on which criminals were confined.
 Unknown; some scribbler of the day.
 The fortune required of a knight (the census equestris) was 400,000
 The broad purple stripe (latus clavus) on the tunic of senators.
 One of an ancient Roman family.
 Pallas and Licinus were wealthy freedmen. See p.338, n. 1.
 The persons of the Tribunes of the Plebe were sacrosanct.
 Slaves imported for sale had white chalk-marks on their feet.
 The temple of Concord, near the Capitol. Storks built their nests on the
 A statue of Apollo in the Forum Augusti.
 Probably an allusion to Julius Alexander, a Jew who was Prefect of Egypt
 The phrase is difficult. Duff translates " Vice always stands above a
sheer descent," and therefore soon reaches its extreme point.
 Apparently a quotation from Lucilius, being an attack on P. Mucius
 An infamous favourite of Nero's.
 i e. "your body." The passage refers to the burning of the early
Christians, and the dragging of their remains across the arena.
 Turnus, king of the Rutulians.
 A favourite of Hercules, who was drawn into a well by the Naids.
 The sides of the great roads leading out from Rome were lined with
monuments to the dead.
THE LOEB CLASSICAL LIBRARY
FOUNDED BY JAMES LOEB
G. P. GOOLD
T. E. PAGE E. CAMPS
W. H. D. ROUSE L. A. POST
E. H. WARMINGTON
JUVENAL AND PERSIUS
JUVENAL AND PERSIUS
WITH AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY
G. G. RAMSAY
HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Transcribed for the net by Frank Schaer[ Shaerf@CEU.HU ],
HTML by Paul Halsall
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