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The SCENE, Rome.
9 Lucius Arruntius, &c.] I have added the cognomen or pronomen to many of the characters, as a necessary help for the English reader, since Jonson, without noticing the circumstance, sometimes uses the one, and sometimes the other, as suits the conveniency of his verse,
Sab. Hail, •Caius Silius !
Sil. Titius 'Sabinus, hail!
Sab. Therefore, well met.
* De Caio Silio, vid. Tacit. Lips. edit. quarto. Ann. Lib i. pag. 11. Lib. ii. p. 28 et 33. This, together with every suce ceeding note marked by the letters of the alphabet, is from the pen of Jonson. 6 De Titio Sabino, vid. Tacit. Lib. iv. po
79. c Tacit. Ann. Lib. i. p. %. VOL. III.
We have no place in court, office in taste,
Enter SATRIUs and NATTA at a distance.
Sil. But yonder lean A pair that do.
Sab. [salutes Latiaris.] Good cousin 'Latiaris.
Sil. Satrius Secundus,s and Pinnarius Natta,"
! A poor and idle sin, ] That is, barren, unprofitable. The
1 word is so used by Shakspeare,
5. Of antres vast, and desarts idle.” Othello. So in the first chapter of Genesis, “ The earth was without form, and void,” is rendered in the Saxon, 66 The earth was ģdæl.”
Mr. Pope changed idle for wild, at which Dr. Johnson expresses his surprise. Mr. Malone taxes the editor of the second folio (where Pope found the word) with ignorance of Shak. speare's meaning; and idle is triumphantly reinstated in the text. It does not seem to have occurred to the commentators that wild might add a feature of some import, even to a desert, whereas, sterile leaves it just as it found it, and is
• Juv, Sat. i. v. 75.
c Juv. Sat, iii. V. 49,
&c. * De Latiari, cons. Tacit. Ann. Lib. iv. p. 94, et Dion. Step. edit. fol. Lib. lviii. p. 711.
8 De Satrio Secundo, et (") Pinnario Natta, leg. Tacit. Ann. Lib. iv. p. 83. Et de San írio cons, Senec, Consol. ad Marciam.
Had not been made fit organs. These can lie, Flatter, and swear, forswear, deprave, inform, Smile, and betray; make guilty men; then beg The forfeit lives, to get their livings; cut Men's throats with whisperings; sell to gaping
suitors The empty smoke, that flies about the palace; Laugh when their patron laughs; sweat when he
sweats; Be hot and cold with him; change every mood, Habit, and garb, as often as he varies; Observe him, as his watch observes his clock;? And, true, as turquoise in the dear lord's ring, Look well or ill with him :* ready to praise
(without a pun) the idlest epithet which could be applied.-Mr. Pope, too, had an ear for rhythm; and as his reading has some touch of Shakspeare, which the other has not, and is besides better poetry, I should hope that it will one day resume its proper place in the text. Idle, in the line above quoted, signifies, not “barren, unprofitable," but trifling, insignificant. It would be a sin of a very paltry nature indeed, which had not engaged their attention, and been deemed worthy of their practice. In other words, no vice has escaped them.
? Observe him as his watch observes his clock.] Steevens, who is supported by Whalley, maintains that this line refers to the figure of a watchman, which was placed on the dial-plate of our ancient clocks, with a lantern and pole to point out the hour. I have many doubts whether such a personage was ever so em, ployed; but none as to the fallacy of the explanation. The speaker alludes to the pocket-watch, which, in Jonson's days, was not so independent of correction as at present, but was constantly regulated by the motion of the clock, at that time the more accurate machine of the two.
3 And true, as turquoise in the dear lord's ring,
Look well or ill with him:] Alluding to the fable of the turquoise, which is said to change its colour, as the wearer is in good or bad health. To this supposed quality of the stone, our old writers have innumerable allusions : “ Turcois is a com
i Vid. Sen. de Benef. Lib. iii. cap. 26. * Jud. Sat. iii. ver. 105, &c.
His lordship, if he spit, or but p— fair,
Sab. Alas! these things
up in public senate, and there strive Who shall propound most abject things, and base. So much, as oft Tiberius hath been heard, Leaving the court, to cry,' O race of men, Prepared for servitude ! --which shew'd that he, Who least the public liberty could like, As lothly brook'd their flat servility.
Sil. Well, all is worthy of us, were it more, Who with our riots, pride, and civil hate,
passionate stone-if the wearer of it be not well it changeth
“Or faithful turquoises, which heaven sent
Cartwright. 4 Senators, that else not use their voices.] The poet has here added the word Pedarii. It is the classical expression for those who never spoke in the senate, but only went over to the side for which they voted : hence they were said pedibus ire in sententiam. WHAL.
1 Vid. Tacit. Ann. Lib. i. p. 3.