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Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G3v p102]

Ad statuam Bacchi.

On the statue of Bacchus.

In πολυσάρκους iudices, pretio positos.

Against fat-cat judges who got their place for a price.

Bacche pater, iudex apiana insignis in uva,
Patritios inter dinumerate senes:
Disce coronatis modicè crateribus uti,
Non est in multo mens bene docta mero.

Father Bacchus, eminent judge of muscatel grapes,* Numbered among the patrician senators [or old men]: Learn to use your garlanded drinking-bowls in moderation, The mind is not well instructed in an excess of wine.
* Apianus means beloved of bees. (The muscatel is a sweet grape.)

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G4r p103]

ALIUD.

Pampineis Lenaee[1] pater redimite corollis,
Fascia cui longum cingit odora caput:
Cui philira intextae praecingunt tempora vittae,
Inficit & rubeas uva Falerna[2] genas:
Cuique gravi exundat pendens abdomine venter,
Iureque laetitiae diceris esse dator:
Quae te adlegerunt nostris suffragia rostris?
Quae tibi in orchestra fata dedere locum?
Quae vota in nostrum te conscripsere senatum?
Unde tibi latus clavus[3], & unde toga?
Te iurata latent sancti consulta senatus,
Te legum & iuris pagina sacra fugit:
Quid distent nosti cellis Chia vina Falernis,
Ergo tibi vitae sit status ille tuae.
An te patritium regina pecunia fecit?
Illa magistratus una creare potest:
Nostra quoque ignavis subsellia complet onagris,
Et queritur populus iura deesse sibi.
Ecce igitur stomachans rubricam tendit Apelles,
Ne sutor soleas egrediare tuas.

Father Bacchus, crowned with garlands of vine-leaves, Whose long hair [lit. head] a sweet-smelling band encircles: A fillet with an interwoven clasp* encircles your temples, And Falernian grapes stain your cheeks red: And your overhanging belly bulges out from the heavy bulk of your body [lit. from your heavy abdomen], And you are called the lawgiver of jollity: How come you have been voted onto our benches of justice? What fates gave you a place in the Senate?† What votes returned you to our Parliament? Where did you get your broad stripe and [senatorial] gown? The sworn decrees of the holy Senate are a closed book to you, And the sacred writ [lit. page] of the laws and of justice escapes you: You know how the wines of Chios differ from the cellars [store-houses] of Falernum, So let that be your place in life [lit. let that station of your life be yours]. Or was it mistress Money made you a senator? She alone is able to bestow high office: Yes, our bench is full of indolent donkeys, And the people complain they have no laws. So look, bad-tempered Apelles is tabling a motion, To stop you cobbler getting too big for your boots [lit. overstepping your sandals].
* Lit. ‘to whom the temples a lime-bark clasp (band) of an interwoven (plaited, interlaced) fillet encircle’. Philira is for ‘philyra’, a linden-tree, and by extension the inner bark of that tree, from which bands for chaplets were made.
† The orchestra was the place where the Senate sat in the theatre; hence it refers to the Senate itself. We might say ‘gave you a seat in the chamber’.

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G4v p104]

NARRATIO PHILOSOPHICA.

SEmeles filium non solùm nova vinearum
descriptione, sed & Africae Asiaeque triumphis
clarum Indi apud Nysam,[4] beneficiorum memores
in templis suis, deinde & nostri in subselliis loca-
verunt: in quo quanquam ea corporis forma elu-
ceat, quae procul ab omni studiorum contentio-
ne nullam scientiae doctrinaeque significationem
habet, credendum est tamen illi aut pecunia, aut
gratiosorum suffragiis, tantum dignitatis gradum
inter suos obtigisse. Cui enim plus palatum quàm
cerebrum sapit, cui in immanibus poculis & epu-
lari convivatione omnia sunt, qui iuris sorbendi
magis quàm dicendi peritus est, qui denique nullum
scientiae genus cognitione attigit, is aliqua sua ex-
cellenti virtute, aut privatis in remp. benefactis
tantum in senatu locum videatur esse consecutus?
Quòd si aliquis nostrum forte miretur, quo tan-
dem modo eiusmodi homines eum vitae cursum
tenere potuerint, ut tandiu nullo adversante mu-
nus illud tueri possent: est certè quòd miretur ma-
gis, aliquos ex eo numero esse inventos, qui sor-
te lites & controversias longo tempore termina-
rent: quibus si impunè nullo usu, nulla subiecta
scientia in illis honoribus versari licuit, quae tan-
ta in obaesis & bardis hominibus impeditio est,
quo minus eas munerum renuntiationes quas per
coëmptionem aere & libra factam sibi paraverunt,
obire possint? Nam cur reddendi iuris necessita-
tem pretio non proscribant, quam summa pecu-
nia sibi prensaverunt? Cur eas leges in officii admi-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [G5r p105] nistratione diligenter colant, quae si fuissent obser
vatae, in magistratu illo nunquam essent designa-
ti? Neque verò in litibus finiendis ius consiliarium
coguntur adhibere, in quo illi nihil operae & labo
ris posuerunt. Si enim antiquitus antequam ullae
populis leges essent descriptae, qui sententias fe-
rebant, bene ad aequitatem, & ad litigantium leva
tionem appositè putantur iudicasse, cur non isti
homines principem illam naturae legem
sequentes, optimè rem quaecunque
in quaestionem cadet pote-
runt expli-
care?

Notes:

1.  Lenaeus, from the Greek ληναῖος: an epithet of Bacchus, as god of the wine-press.

2.  Falernum: Possibly the best-known ancient Roman wine, from Campania.

3.  The broad purple stripe (made of murex, see no. 12, [FCPb015]) on the tunic was reserved for Senators (while equites were allowed a narrow stripe). The modern equivalent would be the bands of ermine on a robe in the British House of Lords.

4.  Nysa: a sacred mountain in Greek myth, where the god Dionysus was born. It was believed to be in Ethiopia, but during the campaigns of Alexander the Great, another candidate was found in the valley of the Swat (India).



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