Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

Juvenal’s first “Satire”

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“Satura I/Satire I” | “Satura IV/Satire IV” | “Satura X/Satire X” | “Satura XVI/Satire XVI”.

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis/Juvenal

“Satura I/Satire I”

English translation by Lamberto Bozzi (2017)

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis/Juvenal

“Satura I/Satire I”

Shall I forever be in a fix
As I’m just compelled to lend
My ears but can never fend
Off Cordus, who repeats the six
Labours of Theseus in a raucous
Voice and has me vexed to no end?
Can they indeed get away with their tricks?
This one reads out his togaed comedies
And that one recites his own elegies.
Do I have to waste a whole day upon
That Telephus which is such a long yawn
Or that Orestes, unfinished still,
Whose written words already fill
The book margins and spill overleaf?
Nobody his own mansion could
Better know than I Mars’s wood
Or Vulcan’s cave by the Aeolian reef
Or what winds do and what shadows twist
Aeacus or from what place the golden fleece
Was carried away and what ash piece
Is propelled by Monychus’s wrist

Semper ego auditor tantum? numquamne reponam
uexatus totiens rauci Theseide Cordi?
inpune ergo mihi recitauerit ille togatas,
hic elegos? inpune diem consumpserit ingens
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 uicinum rupibus antrum
Vulcani; quid agant uenti, quas torqueat umbras
Aeacus, unde alius furtiuae deuehat aurum
pelliculae, quantas iaculetur Monychus ornos,

Round the clock up goes the wail
From Fronto’s planes and the frail
Ruined fanes whose columned front
Could not really bear the brunt
Of the much-repeated rhymes
Of the poets who oftentimes,
Be they plebeians or kings,
Harp upon the self-same things.
My hands too I once withdrew
From the ferule and the canings.
I too advised Sulla it was best
To retire and have a good night’s rest.
As you’re likely to bump in-
to poets everywhere
It’s silly to spare
Paper marked for the dustbin.
If you’ll quietly
Listen to me,
I’ll tell you I’d rather run
On the same fields where
Aurunca’s colossal son
Broke his horses under his yoke.
When a delicate eunuch takes a wife,
When Mevia sporting a naked bosom
Hunts for Tuscan boars holding a knife,
When all patricians are beggared by a bum,
The barber who would resonantly graze
My cheeks as he shaved me in my young days,

Frontonis platani conuolsaque marmora clamant
semper et adsiduo ruptae lectore columnae.
expectes eadem a summo minimoque poeta.
et nos ergo manum ferulae subduximus, et nos
consilium dedimus Sullae, priuatus ut altum
dormiret. stulta est clementia, cum tot ubique
uatibus occurras, periturae parcere chartae.
cur tamen hoc potius libeat decurrere campo,
per quem magnus equos Auruncae flexit alumnus,
si uacat ac placidi rationem admittitis, edam.
cum tener uxorem ducat spado, Meuia Tuscum
figat aprum et nuda teneat uenabula mamma,
patricios omnis opibus cum prouocet unus
quo tondente grauis iuueni mihi barba sonabat,

When Crispinus, Canopus’s drudge, a bloke
Out of the muck buried in the Nile clays,
Throws over his shoulder a Tyrian cloak,
His perspiring fingers ventilating
A chafing heavy gemmed Summer ring,
It’s hard to keep satire from one’s writing.
But who can bear iniquitous Rome’s yoke?
You should be all cast in pure iron perhaps
To contain yourself whenever you see Matho
The lawyer, overflowing from his litter, go
By and after him one who’s just ratted on
A trusted friend, ready to get the scraps
Left over after his noble collapse,
One who can unnerve such tough chaps
As that Massa whom Carus charms
With favours, into whose arms
Latinus pushes, out of sheer fright,
His Thymele, and whenever you feel
Bumped aside by the crowd of those who steal
Testaments by way of schemes hatched at night.
Others have found the best way to heaven’s fame
Is through the bladder of a happy old dame

cum pars Niliacae plebis, cum uerna Canopi
Crispinus Tyrias umero reuocante lacernas
uentilet aestiuum digitis sudantibus aurum
nec sufferre queat maioris pondera gemmae,
difficile est saturam non scribere. nam quis iniquae
tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se,
causidici noua cum ueniat lectica Mathonis
plena ipso, post hunc magni delator amici
et cito rapturus de nobilitate comesa
quod superest, quem Massa timet, quem munere
palpat Carus et a trepido Thymele summissa Latino;
cum te summoueant qui testamenta merentur
noctibus, in caelum quos euehit optima summi
nunc uia processus, uetulae uesica beatae?

Proculeius a paltry twelfth reaps
Of the testament and Gillo sweeps
Off the rest: each one of them gets a prize
In proportion to his inguinal size
And to his blood’s dividend too
Which gives his skin the palest hue,
Like that of one who barefoot treads upon
A snake or of a rhetor about to
Give a speech at the altar of Lyon,
But how can I dig up the expression
To describe the mad fever
That desiccates my liver
On seeing this plunderer who
Along with his rascally crew,
After taking his ward to the cleaners,
Weighs heavily upon the populace
With his transgressions and misdemeanours,
And on seeing another who lost his face
In a court of law but was condemned in vain
As the judgement proved indeed to be inane?
Infamy may be a welcome pitfall
when out of harm’s way is the wherewithal.
The exiled Marius has often been drunk since
The early afternoon, having a ball
With the irate gods and you, poor province,
Are left in tears after winning the case.
Isn’t all this then fit
For the night lamp of Horace’s birthplace,
The city of Venusia, that is,
And mustn’t I spill it?
But should I mention other crises?
Hercules or Diomedes with
All the bellowing in the Labyrinth,
The boy lost in the sea, the blacksmith
On the wing, a husband and pimp who
Shrewdly looks up at the ceiling edgewise
Or snores into his glass with open eyes
Quick to grabs his wife’s lover’s money too
Which she can’t well inherit when he dies.
When any guy thinks he is the sort
Of man suited to lead a cohort:
After wasting his fortune on horses,
And thus lacking financial resources
He keeps speeding aboard his chariot on
The Flaminian Way like Automedon,
Holding the reins to impress
His mantle bedecked mistress.

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.
quid referam quanta siccum iecur ardeat ira,
cum populum gregibus comitum premit hic spoliator
pupilli prostantis et hic damnatus inani
iudicio? quid enim saluis infamia nummis?
exul ab octaua Marius bibit et fruitur dis
iratis, at tu uictrix, prouincia, ploras.
haec ego non credam Venusina digna lucerna?
haec ego non agitem? sed quid magis? Heracleas
aut Diomedeas aut mugitum labyrinthi
et mare percussum puero fabrumque uolantem,
cum leno accipiat moechi bona, si capiendi
ius nullum uxori, doctus spectare lacunar,
doctus et ad calicem uigilanti stertere naso;
cum fas esse putet curam sperare cohortis
qui bona donauit praesepibus et caret omni
maiorum censu, dum peruolat axe citato
Flaminiam puer Automedon? nam lora tenebat
ipse, lacernatae cum se iactaret amicae.

One would rather fill to the rim reams of sheets
Even in the intersections of the streets
Than watch a counterfeiter whose affluence
Is due to applying wet signets on wax tablets
While six slaves’ backs keep him in balance
Enthroned like a Maecenas on a stool,
Licked into shape and completely cool.
And now you meet a stout matron who
Fixes her thirsty husband a brew
Of weak wine and venomous toad juice,
And a lot better than Locusta she’s fain
To pass her naive friends the ruse
To bury a husband blackened by the bane
Rising above the city’s gossip.
Anybody wishing to go up
Must do deeds worthy of transportation
To Gyara or a stint in a dungeon:
Probity, by all men extolled,
Is always left out in the cold.
Gardens, tables, a praetor’s post
Ancient silver goblets embossed
With caprine heads are crime’s reward,
But who would of his own accord
Sleep among those who corrupt
Covetous daughters-in-law and base
Spouses whom adulterers chase
While they are still enveloped
In a toga praetexta? Even though
I’m positively inclined to say no
It’s indignation which gives inspiration
To verse. I try to do the best I can
As would Cluvienus or the next man
Since Decaulion, in the pouring rain
Swelling up the surface of the sea,
Sailed his boat up the great
Peak in search of his fate
And the vital principle slowly
Made stones and rocks again humane
And Pyrrha put before the eyes of males
Young unmarried women without veils.
All men’s doings go into my bookish mixture:
Vows, fear, wrath, bliss, running about, and pleasure.
Since when was vice in more copious supply
Or more welcoming the embrace of greed,
Since when was gambling from all shackles freed?
Safes are emptied to make bets jump sky-high
As nobody now wagers chicken feed

nonne libet medio ceras inplere capaces
quadriuio, cum iam sexta ceruice feratur
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?
occurrit matrona potens, quae molle Calenum
porrectura uiro miscet sitiente rubetam
instituitque rudes melior Lucusta propinquas
per famam et populum nigros efferre maritos.
aude aliquid breuibus Gyaris et carcere dignum,
si uis esse aliquid. probitas laudatur et alget;
criminibus debent hortos, praetoria, mensas,
argentum uetus et stantem extrapocula caprum.
quem patitur dormire nurus corruptor auarae,
quem sponsae turpes et praetextatus adulter?
si natura negat, facit indignatio uersum
qualemcumque potest, quales ego uel Cluuienus.
ex quo Deucalion nimbis tollentibus aequor
nauigio montem ascendit sortesque poposcit
paulatimque anima caluerunt mollia saxa
et maribus nudas ostendit Pyrrha puellas,
quidquid agunt homines, uotum, timor, ira, uoluptas,
gaudia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli est.
et quando uberior uitiorum copia? quando
maior auaritiae patuit sinus? alea quando
hos animos? neque enim loculis comitantibus itur
ad casum tabulae, posita sed luditur arca.

Come and see how they take on the cashier
When he divides the chips in battle gear!
To gamble a hundred thousand good
Sesterces and lose them all is sheer
Madness on the part of one who could
Not patch up a freezing servant’s tunic.
Who ever built all those country houses
And who was indeed our eccentric
Ancestor who in all secrecy
Ate meals consisting of seven courses?
How small are now the baskets that you see
On the thresholds: the disputed goal
Of togaed people waiting for the dole.
The patron however looks you in the face
Fearing you’ve given a false name in place
Of someone else. Once recognized, you’re fit
To get your sportule - or client’s basket -
He bids the crier to muster the queue
Where some of the purest Trojan issue
Stand among us making a racket.
“Give one to the praetor and another to
The tribune”, but the freed man comes first and
Cries “it’s my turn I arrived beforehand!”
Why should I fear to keep my place in the queue
Although I was born on Euphrates’ strand
Which can be easily guessed by the bland
Windows in my ears - I can’t deny it -
But my five shops fill up my purses
With four hundred thousand sesterces,
What is indeed the Purple’s benefit
If Corvinus guards other people’s sheep
In the Laurentian fields and I keep
Heaping a lot more fees and dues
Than both Pallas and Licinus?
The tribunes wait and give right of way
To wealth so that sacred honour may
Follow the recent urbanite
Whose feet are still bedaubed in white.
Indeed, among us sanctity
Is the mark of wealth’s majesty,
But you Money, to foul play prone,
Have not yet a temple of your own:
Peace, Faith, Victory and bravery
Have one and Concord’s storks fill a nest
Returning salutes with a songfest.
If high ranking officers, at year’s end,
Must reckon how much the dole blessed
Their wages with a welcome dividend,
What shall clients do whose once daily poke
Holds togas, shoes, bread, and their hearth’s smoke?
Every morning they arrive in dense
Lines of litters to collect their pence
With their wives pregnant or ill in tow
Who follow them wherever they go.
One slyly asks for an absent client’s due
And pretends his wife is in the litter too
Which is empty and well closed instead:
“My Galla is here quick what are you
Waiting for? Galla put out your head!
Don’t shake my wife, she’s not awake!”

proelia quanta illic dispensatore uidebis
armigero! simplexne furor sestertia centum
perdere et horrenti tunicam non reddere seruo?
quis totidem erexit uillas, quis fercula septem
secreto cenauit auus? nunc sportula primo
limine parua sedet turbae rapienda togatae.
ille tamen faciem prius inspicit et trepidat ne
suppositus uenias ac falso nomine poscas:
agnitus accipies. iubet a praecone uocari
ipsos Troiugenas, nam uexant limen et ipsi
nobiscum. 'da praetori, da deinde tribuno.'
sed libertinus prior est. 'prior' inquit 'ego adsum.
cur timeam dubitemur locum defendere, quamuis
natus ad Euphraten, molles quod in aure fenestrae
arguerint, licet ipse negem? sed quinque tabernae
quadringenta parant. quid confert purpura maior
optandum, si Laurenti custodit in agro
conductas Coruinus ouis, ego possideo plus
Pallante et Licinis?' expectent ergo tribuni,
uincant diuitiae, sacro ne cedat honori
nuper in hanc urbem pedibus qui uenerat albis,
quandoquidem inter nos sanctissima diuitiarum
maiestas, etsi funesta Pecunia templo
nondum habitat, nullas nummorum ereximus aras,
ut colitur Pax atque Fides, Victoria, Virtus
quaeque salutato crepitat Concordia nido.
sed cum summus honor finito conputet anno,
sportula quid referat, quantum rationibus addat,
quid facient comites quibus hinc toga, calceus hinc est
et panis fumusque domi? densissima centum
quadrantes lectica petit, sequiturque maritum
languida uel praegnas et circumducitur uxor.
hic petit absenti nota iam callidus arte
ostendens uacuam et clausam pro coniuge sellam.
'Galla mea est' inquit, 'citius dimitte. moraris?
profer, Galla, caput. noli uexare, quiescet.'

The day is neatly scheduled, the dole first
Then the forum with Apollo well-versed
In the law, the triumphal effigy
Of an Egyptian all unknown to me:
A tax collector’s likeness
whose feats are written on a scroll
In front of which all could piss
Or even get out of control.
Exhausted and completely hopeless
The old clients leave the entrance
Having lost their daily chance
To have supper with their patron and sire
They’ll cook their cabbages with their own fire.
Meanwhile their patron acting like a king,
Lying all alone upon his eating seat,
Will devour every choicest fish and meat
From fine large old tables: all potentates
Can swallow for dinner entire estates.
Good riddance to all parasites, as it were,
But this mean rankness is hard to bear.
What’s this guy’s gullet size
If he can gobble down a boar, a beast
Big enough for a very crowded feast?
Anyway, the punishment is at hand and you,
Taking the clothes off your swollen belly,
Will leave the undigested peacock in the loo.
Hence the sudden death of an intestate
Old man. With no grief, the news of his fate
spreads throughout town and every supper venue too:
At your burial your friends applaud
Even though they deemed you a fraud

ipse dies pulchro distinguitur ordine rerum:
sportula, deinde forum iurisque peritus Apollo
atque triumphales, inter quas ausus habere
nescio quis titulos Aegyptius atque Arabarches,
cuius ad effigiem non tantum meiiere fas est.
uestibulis abeunt ueteres lassique clientes
uotaque deponunt, quamquam longissima cenae
spes homini; caulis miseris atque ignis emendus.
optima siluarum interea pelagique uorabit
rex horum uacuisque 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
luxuriae sordes? quanta est gula quae sibi totos
ponit apros, animal propter conuiuia natum!
poena tamen praesens, cum tu deponis amictus
turgidus et crudum pauonem in balnea portas.
hinc subitae mortes atque intestata senectus.
it noua nec tristis per cunctas fabula cenas;
ducitur iratis plaudendum funus amicis.

Posterity will add nothing to our ways,
Our children won’t outwish the present mores,
Every single vice has reached a new low.
It’s time to square the yards and say sail ho!
Someone might add: “but are you so smart
As to tackle such matters and such goals?
Whence will you derive the guileless art
That inflamed the ancient writers’ souls?”
“Is there someone whose name I don’t dare
To mention? Well I really couldn’t care
Less whether Mucius agrees with me”.
“Sure, take on Tigellinus and you’ll be
Burning on a standing pole with fume
coming out of your open breast and
You will be leaving a trailing flume-
Like furrow in the arena’s sand”.
“What about him who gave the wolf’s bane
To three uncles? Must he be carried on a skein
Of feathers to look down on us?”
“When you meet him seal your lips
Or there’s going to be a witness
Ready to say “there goes the grass”
So to shun all risky slips
You may talk about Aeneas,
Rutulum, Achilles killed in the war
And also Hylas by all much searched for
And lost in a cistern along with his urn,
But when raging Lucilius is on fire,
With a blade drawn and displayed,
He who hears - though steeped in hidden vice -
Blushes and feels his guts perspire.
Hence all the wailing and the ire.
So, you had much better think it twice
Before the trumpets sound the alarm:
Once you have donned a steel helmet
It’s too late to circumvent the harm
“Then I shall try and limit myself to inveigh
Against those lying in a casket
Along the Latina or the Flaminian Way”

nil erit ulterius quod nostris moribus addat
posteritas, eadem facient cupientque minores,
omne in praecipiti uitium stetit. utere uelis,
totos pande sinus. dices 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?"
pone Tigillinum, taeda lucebis in illa
qua stantes ardent qui fixo gutture fumant,
et latum media sulcum deducit harena.'
qui dedit ergo tribus patruis aconita, uehatur
pensilibus plumis atque illinc despiciat nos?
'cum ueniet contra, digito compesce labellum:
accusator erit qui uerbum dixerit "hic est."
securus licet Aenean Rutulumque ferocem
committas, nulli grauis est percussus Achilles
aut multum quaesitus Hylas urnamque secutus:
ense uelut stricto quotiens Lucilius ardens
infremuit, rubet auditor cui frigida mens est
criminibus, tacita sudant praecordia culpa.
inde ira et lacrimae. tecum prius ergo uoluta
haec animo ante tubas: galeatum sero duelli
paenitet.' experiar quid concedatur in illos
quorum Flaminia tegitur cinis atque Latina.

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