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DECIMUS JUNIUS JUVENAL was born at Aquinum, a town of the Volsci, a people of Latium: hence, from the place of his birth, he was called Aquinas. It is not certain whether he was the son, or foster-child, of a rich freedman. He had a learned education, and, in the time of Claudius Nero, pleaded causes with great reputation. About his middle age he applied himself to the study of Poetry; and, as he saw a daily increase of vice and folly, he addicted himself to writing Satire: but, having said something (sat. vii. l. 88—92.) which was deemed a reflection on Paris the actor, a minion of Domitian's, he was banished into Egypt, at eighty years of age, under pretence of sending him as captain of a company of soldiers. This was looked upon as a sort of humourous punishment for what he had said, in making Paris the bestower of posts in the army.


However, Domitian dying soon after, Juvenal returned to Rome, and is said to have lived there to the times" of Nerva and Trajan. At last, worn out with old age, he expired in a fit of coughing.

He was a man of excellent morals, of an elegant taste and judgment, a fast friend to Virtue, and an irreconcilable enemy to Vice in every shape.

a Quanquam Octogenarius. MARSHALL, in Vit. Juv.

b Ibique ad Nervæ et Trajani tempora supervixisse dicitur. MARSHALL, ib,




As a writer, his style is unrivalled, in point of elegance and beauty, by any Satirist that we are acquainted with, Horace not excepted. The plainness of his expressions are derived from the honesty and integrity of his own mind: his great aim was, 66 to hold, as it were, the mirror up to nature; to "shew Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure." > He meant not, therefore, to corrupt the mind, by openly describing the lewd practices of his countrymen, but to remove every veil, even of language itself, which could soften the features, or hide the full deformity of vice from the observation of his readers, and thus to strike the mind with due abhorrence of what he censures. All this is done in so masterly a way, as to render him well worthy Scaliger's encomium, when he styles > him, Omnium Satyricorum facile Princeps. He was much loved and respected by Martial". Quintilian speaks of him, Inst. Orat. lib. x. as the chief of Satirists. Ammianus Marcellinus says, that some who did detest learning, did, notwithstanding, in their most profound retiredness, diligently employ themselves in his works.

The attentive reader of Juvenal may see, as in a glass, a true portraiture of the Roman manners in his time: here he may see, drawn to the life, a people sunk in sloth, luxury, and debauchery, and exhibiting to us the sad condition of human nature, when untaught by divine truth, and uninfluenced by a divine principle. However polite and refined this people was, with respect to the cultivation of letters, arts, and sciences, beyond the most barbarous nations, yet, as to the true knowledge of God, they were upon a footing with the most uninformed of their cotemporaries, and consequently were, equally with them, sunk into all manner of wickedness and abomination. The description of the Gentiles in general, by St. Paul, Rom. i. 19–32. is fully verified as to the Romans in particular.

Juvenal may be looked upon as one of those rare meteors, which shone forth even in the darkness of Heathenism.

c Hamlet, act iii. sc. 2. d See MART. lib. vii, epig. 24. e Hist. lib. xxviii.

The mind and conscience of this great man were, though from whence he knew not, so far enlightened, as to perceive the ugliness of vice, and so influenced with a desire to reform it, as to make him, according to the light he had, a severe and able reprover, a powerful and diligent witness against the vices and follies of the people among which he lived; and, indeed, against all who, like them, give a loose to their depraved appetites, as if there were no other liberty to be sought after but the most unrestrained indulgence of vicious pleasures and gratifications.

How far Rome-Christian, possessed of divine revelation, is better than Heathen Rome without it, is not for me to determine: but I fear, that the perusal of Juvenal will furnish us with too serious a reason to observe, that not only modern Kome, but every metropolis in the Christian world, as to the generality of its manners and pursuits, bears a most unhappy resemblance to the objects of the following Satires. They are, therefore, too applicable to the times in which we live, and, in that view, if rightly understood, may, perhaps, be serviceable to many, who will not come within the reach of higher instruction.

Bishop Burnet observes, that the "satirical poets, Horace, “Juvenal, and Persius, may contribute wonderfully to give a “man a detestation of vice, and a contempt of the common "methods of mankind; which they have set out in such true "colours, that they must give a very generous sense to those "who delight in reading them often." Past. Care, c. vii.

This translation was begun some years ago, at hours of leisure, for the Editor's own amusement: when, on adding the notes as he went along, he found it useful to himself, he began to think that it might be so to others, if pursued to the end on the same plan. The work was carried on, till it increased to a considerable bulk. The addition of Persius enlarged it to its present size, in which it appears in print, with a design to add its assistance in explaining these difficult authors not only to school-boys and young beginners, but to numbers in a more advanced age, who, by having been thrown into various

f Rom. ii. 15. Comp, Is. xlv. 5. See sat. x. 1. 363. and note.

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