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The chief Merit of this Satire seerns to be its giving so exact an Account of a Roman Entertainment, and the Manner of Feasting eighteen hundred Years ago.
i Fundanius was an excellent Writer of Comedy, and is celebrated as such by our Poet, in Satire X. Book I. This humorous Account of Rufus's Feast is therefore, with great Propriety, put into his Mouth.
2 Dacier tells us, that the Boar was tainted. What Authority he has for this Affertion we know not. Horace says no such thing. Rufus's pretending that its being ciught when the Wind was Southerly had made the Flesh more tender and delicate, afforded Matter enough for Ridicule, without this arbitrary Conjecture.
3 Chium maris expers.) This may fignify Chian Wine, which had not paffed the Seas, or which had not been diluted with Sea Water. For the Greeks often mixed a little of this Water with their Wines, to refine and purify them. The Translator has taken it in the former Sente. It seems probable that Rufus endeavoured to impose on his Guests, by giving them Itrong Italian for the true Chian Wine.
4 Divitias miseras !] The Wines of Falernus and Alba were esteemed the best. Horace here calls them wretched Wealth, or wretched Hoards, because Rufus had not the Heart to produce them, unless they should be called for by his Guests. 5
The Beds on which the Romans reclined to eat were usually of the fame Shape and Make, and held no more than three Persons. Over these they threw a Quilt, stuffed with Feathers. On this Pillows were laid, to support the Backs of the Guests.
Being settled on the Beds, they washed their Hands; and then were served with Garlands of Roses and other Flowers. The middle Bed was the most honourable ; and the Middle of that the highest Place.
6 - infra
infra Varius.) Infra aliquem cubare, to lie below any one, is the same as to lie in one's Bosom ;' as St. John is said to have done in our Saviour's; whence some have thought that either the same Custom was observed in almost all Nations, or else that the Jews, having been lately conquered by Pompey, conformed themselves in this, as in many other Respects, to the Example of their Masters. KENNET's Roman Antiq. Part II. BookV.
7 Porcius and Nomentanus were two Buffoons, who were invited by Rufus to entertain Macenas and the Company.
8 poft hoc me docuit melimela, &c.] The Sides of the Dish were probably garnished with these Apples, as was customary with the Romans. See Seneca de Providentiâ.
9. Et foleas pofcit.] The Solea was a Sort of Sandal without any Upper-Leather, so that it covered only the Sole of the Foot, being fastened above with Straps and Buckles. They properly belonged to the Ladies, and were looked upon as effeminate in the other Sex. Cicero. exposes Verres and Clodius for wearing them ; and Scipio was censured on the same Account. DUNSTER.
Rufus called for his Sandals, in order to go out and give Directions for more victuals to be brought in.
The Ridicule in this Satire seems to be chiefly pointed at the Impertinence and false Delicacy of Rufus, and not at the Badness of his Provision.
It is of the Dramatic Kind, and may be considered as the Scene of a Comedy. There is one Particular very remarkable, which is this ; though the Friends of Man senas are very free in their Raillery, he himself does not utter a Word. Herein Horace has observed what the French call la Bienseance, Decency, or Decorum, (a Rule not always practised by the Ancients) with great Address. For though Rufus was in fact a Babbler and a Coxcomb, it would not have becoine Mecenas to railly his Friend at his own Table for an Entertainment which was intended to do him Honour,
Dacier and other Critics have taken a great deal of Pains (but, I think, without Success) to prove that every Dish was wretched, and ill-chofen.
We shall conclude these Remarks with exhibiting, at one View, the Situation of Rufus's Guests, and his Bill of Fare, collected from this Satire. The Order in which the Dishes are placed, being merely conjectural, is submitted to the Ladies, who may range them according to their own Taste.
SERVILIUS, MÆCENAS, VIBIDIUS,
A Boar, with Anchovy Sauce ;
Wild Fowl ;
Third Course. (To repair the Loss sustained by the Falling of the
A Crane ;
Wings of Hares;
The MISE R's FEAST; Being the SAME SATIRE Imitated.
By EDWARÒ BURNABY GREENE, Esq; A Dialogue between one of the Guests and
The Laughter of our Neighbour's Feast;
And now, to cloak the Miser's Cheat,
The Crumbs now swept with skilful Care
Such Wines (our Niggard cries) as these • Did ne'er, I own, my Palate please;
They may be good; but I've a Store, (That muft, I'm sure, regale you more. • Taste; I am certain you'll befriend it ; And, as the best, I dare commend it.