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1 I. Desire to excel other animals] “Sese student præstare ceteris animalibus.” The pronoun, which was usually omitted, is, says Cortius, not without its force; for it is equivalent to ut ipsi: student ut ipsi præstent. In support of his opinion he quotes, with other passages, Plaut. Asinar. i. 3, 31: Vult placere sese amicæ, i.e. vult ut ipse amicæ placeat; and Cælius Antipater apud Festum in "Topper," Ita uti sese quisque vobis studeat æmulari, i.e. studeat ut ipse æmuletur. This explanation is approved by Bernouf. Cortius might have added Cat. 7: sese quisque hostem ferre--properabat. "Student," Cortius interprets by "cupiunt."
2 To the utmost of their power] “Summâ ope,” with their utmost ability. "A Sallustian mode of expression. Cicero would have said summâ operâ, summo studio, summâ, contentione. Ennius has 'Summa nituntur opum vi.'" Colerus.
3 In obscurity] “Silentio”. So as to have nothing said of them, either during their lives or at their death. So in c. 2: Eorum ego vitam mortemque juxta æstumo, quoniam de utrâque siletur. When Ovid says, Bene qui latuit, bene vixit, and Horace, Nec vixit malè, qui vivens moriensque fefellit, they merely signify that he has some comfort in life, who, in ignoble obscurity, escapes trouble and censure. But men thus undistinguished are, in the estimation of Sallust, little superior to the brute creation. "Optimus quisque, says Muretus, quoting Cicero, "honoris et gloriæ studio maximè ducitur;" the ablest men are most actuated by the desire of honor and glory, and are more solicitous about the character which they will bear among posterity. With reason, therefore, does Pallas, in the Odyssey, address the following exhortation to Telemachus:
“Hast thou not heard how young Orestes, fir'd
With great revenge, immortal praise acquir'd ?
* * * * *
O greatly bless'd with ev'ry blooming grace,
With equal steps the paths of glory trace !
Join to that royal youth's your rival name,
And shine eternal in the sphere of fame.
5 Groveling] “Prona.” I have adopted groveling from Mair's old translation. Pronus, stooping to the earth, is applied to cattle, in opposition to erectus, which is applied to man; as in the following lines of Ovid, Met. i. 76:
“Pronaque cum spectent animalia cætera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, cælumque tueri
Jussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus."
Which Milton (Par. L. vii. 502) has paraphrased: “There wanted yet the master-work, the end
“"------ while the mute creation downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes
Beholds his own hereditary skies.
Of all yet done; a creature, who not prone
And brute as other creatures, but endued
With sanctity of reason, might erect
His stature, and upright with front serene
Govern the rest, self-knowing, and-from thence
Magnanimous to correspond with heaven.
” So Silius Italicus, xv. 84: “Nonne vides hominum ut celsos ad sidera vultus
Sustulerit Deus, et sublimia finxerit ora,
Cùm pecudes, volucrumque genus, formasque ferarum,
Segnem atque obscænam passim stravisset in alvum.
” “See'st thou not how the Deity has rais'd
The countenance of man erect to heav'n,
Gazing sublime, while prone to earth he bent
Th' inferior tribes, reptiles, and pasturing herds,
And beasts of prey, to appetite enslav'd?
” "When Nature," says Cicero, de Legg. i. 9, "had made other animals abject, and consigned them to the pastures, she made man alone upright, and raised him to the contemplation of heaven, as of his birthplace and former abode;" a passage which Dryden seems to have had in his mind when he translated the lines of Ovid cited above. Let us add Juvenal, xv. 146: “Sensum à cælesti demissum traximus arce,
Cujus egent prona et terram spectantia.
” “To us is reason giv'n, of heav'nly birth,
Denied to beasts, that prone regard the earth.
6 All our power is situate in the mind and in the body] “Sed omnis nostra vis in animo et corpore sita.” All our power is placed, or consists, in our mind and our body. The particle sed, which is merely a connective, answering to the Greek δέ, and which would be useless in an English translation, I have omitted.
7 Of the mind we--employ the government] “Animi imperio--utimur.” "What the Deity is in the universe, the mind is in man; what matter is to the universe, the body is to us; let the worse, therefore, serve the better."--Sen. Epist. lxv. Dux et imperator vitæ mortalium animus est. the mind is the guide and ruler of the life of mortals.--Jug. c. 1. " An animal consists of mind and body, of which the one is formed by nature to rule and the other to obey."--Aristot. Polit. i. 5. Muretus and Graswinckel will supply abundance of similar passages.
8 Of the mind we rather employ the government; of the body, the service] “Animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur.” The word magis is not to be regarded as useless. " It signifies," says Cortius, " that the mind rules, and the body obeys, in general, and with greater reason." At certain times the body may seem to have the mastery, as when we are under the irresistible influence of hunger or thirst.
9 It appears to me, therefore, more reasonable, etc.] “Quo mihi rectius videtur,” etc. I have rendered quo by therefore. " Quo," observes Cortius, "is propter quod with the proper force of the ablative case. So Jug. c. 84: Quo mihi acrius adnitendum est, etc; c. 2, Quo magis pravitas eorum admiranda est. Some expositors would force us to believe that these ablatives are inseparably connected with the comparative degree, as in quo minus, eo major, and similar expressions; whereas common sense shows that they can not be so connected." Kritzius is one of those who interprets in the way to which Cortius alludes, as if the drift of the passage were, Quanto magis animus corpori prætat, tanto rectius ingenii opibus gloriam quærere. But most of the commentators and translators rightly follow Cortius. " Quo," says Pappaur, "is for quocirca."
10 That of intellectual powor is illustrious and immortal] “Virtus clara æternaque habetur.” The only one of our English translators who has given the right sense of virtus in this passage, is Sir Henry Steuart, who was guided to it by the Abbé Thyvon and M. Beauzée. " It appears somewhat singular," says Sir Henry, "that none of the numerous translators of Sallust, whether among ourselves or among foreign nations--the Abbé Thyvon and M. Beauzée excepted--have thought of giving to the word virtus, in this place, what so obviously is the meaning intended by the historian; namely, 'genius, ability, distinguished talents.' Indeed, the whole tenor of the passage, as well as the scope of the context, leaves no room to doubt the fact. The main objects of comparison, throughout the three first sections of this Præmium, or introductory discourse, are not vice and virtue, but body and mind; a listless indolence, and a vigorous, honorable activity. On this account it is pretty evident, that by virtus Sallust could never mean the Greek ἀρετή, virtue or moral worth,' but that he had in his eye the well-known interpretation of Varro, who considers it ut viri vis (De Ling. Lat. iv.), as denoting the useful energy which ennobles a man, and should chiefly distinguish him among his fellow-creatures. In order to be convinced of the justice of this rendering, we need only turn to another passage of our author, in the second section of the Præmium to the Jugarthine War, where the same train of thought is again pursued, although he gives it somewhat a different turn in the piece last mentioned. The object, notwithstanding, of both these Dissertations is to illustrate, in a striking manner, the pre-eminence of the mind over extrinsic advantages or bodily endowments, and to show that it is by genius alone that we may aspire to a reputation which shall never die. Igitur præclara facies, magnæ divitiæ, adhuc vis corporis, et alia hujusmodi omnia, brevi dilabuntur: at ingenii egregia facinora, sicut anima, immortalia sunt." Yet it was long a subject of dispute among mankind, whether military efforts were more advanced by strength of body, or by force of intellect. For, in affairs of war, it is necessary to plan before beginning to act,10 and, after planning, to act with promptitude and vigor.'11 Thus, each12 being insufficient of itself, the one requires the assistance of the other."13
11 It is necessary to plan before beginning to act] “Priusquam incipias, consulto--opus est.” Most translators have rendered consulto " deliberation," or something equivalent; but it is planning or contrivance that is signified. Demosthenes, in his Oration de Pace, reproaches the Athenians with acting without any settled plan: ῾Οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλοι πάντες ἄνθρωποι πρὸ τῶν πραγμάτων ἐιώθασι χρῆσθαι τῷ Βουλευεσθαι, ὑμεῖς ὀυδὲ μετὰ τὰ πράγματα.
12 To act with promptitude and vigor] “Maturè facto opus est.” "Maturè facto" seems to include the notions both of promptitude and vigor, of force as well as speed; for what would be the use of acting expeditiously, unless expedition be attended with power and effect ?
14 The one requires the assistance of the other] “Alterum alterius auxilio eget.” " Eget," says Cortius, "is the reading of all the MSS." Veget, which Havercamp and some others have adopted, was the conjecture of Palmerius, on account of indigens occurring in the same sentence. But eget agrees far better with “consulto et--maturè facto opus est,” in the preceding sentence.
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