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This paragraph is much inferior to the original, in which the mention of many particular exercises gives it a pleasing variety. The sixth and seventh lines in Horace are nervous and strong. The third in Pope, languid and wordy, which renders foris est promus. Defendens, & latrantem, & caro, & pinguem, & album, are all of them very expressive epithets. And the allusion to Socrates's constant exercise, tu pulmentaria, &c. ought not to have been omitted. Pope's two last lines in this passage are very exceptionable :
20. Vix tamen eripiam, posito pavone, velis quin
Hoc potius quam gallinâ tergere palatum.*
Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men
He might have inserted the original word peacocks, as many of our English epicures are fond of them. Q. Hortensius had the honour of being the first Roman that introduced this bird to the table as a great dainty, in a magnificent feast which he inade on his being created Augur. U 4
The price of a peacock (says Arbuthnot, page 129) was 50 denarii ; that is, 11. 12s. 3d. A flock of a hundred was sold at a much dearer rate, for 3221. 188. 4d. of our money.
M. Aufidius Lurco, according to Varro, used to make every year of his peacocks 4841. 78. 6d.
21. Unde datum sentis Lupus hic Tiberious, an alto
Captus hiet? pontesne inter jactatus, an amnis
Of carps and mullets why prefer the great,
Very inferior to the original; and principally so, because that pleasant stroke is omitted, of the eater's knowing in what part of the river the lupust was taken, and whether or no betwixt
Pliny, in his Natural History, b. ix. c. 34. mentions an extraordinary circumstance that gave value to their fish. Tot piscium saporibus, quibus pretia capientium periculo fiunt,
the two bridges, which was deemed an essential circumstance. The reader will be well entertained on this subject, if he will look into the seventeenth chapter of the third book of Macrobius, particularly into a curious speech of C. Titius,* there recited. But Horace seems to have had in his eye a passage of Lucilius, quoted by Macrobius: Sed & Lucilius acer & violentus poeta, ostendit scire se hunc piscem egregii saporis, qui inter duos pontes captus esset.
Lucilii versus hi sunt ;
Fingere præterea afferri quod quisque volebat;
With respect to the mullus, (which is supposed to be what the French and we call surmoullet,)
The fish were esteemed, and supposed to have a higher flavor, in proportion to the dangers that had been undergone in the catching them. We are not yet arrived to the height to which Roman luxury was carried, however we may flatter ourselves on our improvements in eating.
* Cujus verba ideo póno, quia non solum de lupo inter duos pontes capto erunt testimonio, sed etiam mores, quibus plerique tunc vivebant, facile publicabunt. Describens enim homines prodigos in forum ad judicandum ebrios commeantes : quæque soleant inter se sermocinari, sic ait; “ Ludunt alea, &c.” p. 335. Parisiis, 1585.
Juvenal * speaks of one bought for 481. 8s. 9d. According to Macrobius, there was paid for another 561. 10s. Id. For a third, according to Pliny, 641. lls. 8d. Our age is as yet unacquainted with the niceness of the ancients in weighing their fishes at table, and beholding them expire. The death of a mullus, with the variety and change of colours in its last moments, was reckoned one of the most entertaining spectacles in the world by the men of taste at Rome.
* Arbuthnot of Ancient Coins, p. 130. The expences
of Vitellius's table for one year amounted to 7,265,625 pounds sterling. In Macrobius, lib. ii. c. 9. is a bill of fare, and an account of the company who supped with Lentulus, when he was made priest of Mars. And in Suetonius (Life of Vitelļius, cap. 13.) is the description of a costly supper which his brother gave him, in which there were two thousand of the choicest birds; one dish, for its amplitude and capacity, was called Mineroa's buckler, which consisted chiefly of the livers of Scari, the brains of pheasants and peacocks, the tongues of phænicopteræ, and lampreys bellies, brought from the most distant coasts in Triremes. Claudius Æsopus, the tragedian, had one dish that cost him 600 sestertia, (4843). 10s.) in which, to enhance the price of it, he had put singing-birds. Vestris, the modern Bathyllus, is not yet rich enough to give such a dish to his admirers. I know not what Æsopus's salary was for acting ; Roscius had thirty-two pounds five shillings a day.
21. Presentes Austri, coquite horum obsonia
Oh! blast it, south winds! till a stench exhale,
A very filthy and offensive image, for the happy and decent word coquite: it must be owned our author, as well as Swift, was but too fond of such disgustful images.
22. Tutus erat Rhombus, tutoque Ciconia nido,
Donec vos autor docuit Prætorius.--
The robin-red-breast till of late had rest,
He has happily substituted for the stork, twa sorts of birds, that among us are held, as it were, sacred. Asellus Sempronius Rufus was the person || who first taught the Romans to eat storks,
* Ver. 41.
+ Ver. 27.
* Ver. 49.
§ Ver. 37,
See the Horace of Badius Ascensius, printed at Paris in
folio, 1519, f. 213.