The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter.
by heart.  But, if I know you at all, you are more likely to be groping for analogies between the characters in Petronius and those you will come across in the first months of your new London life.  Quartilla you will hardly escape, or Tryphoena either; Fortunata will pester you with her invitations, and, if you visit the National Gallery (though I hear they intend, now, to close it) or the Turkish Baths, you must beware of Eumolpus:  while if the others cross your path by night you will do well to bear in mind the warning given to an earlier poet by a greater Roman even than Petronius: 

     Questi non hanno speranza di morte,
       E la lor cieca vita e tanto bassa,
       Che invidiosi son d’ogni altra sorte. 
     Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa,
       Misericordia e giustizia gli sdegna: 
       Non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa.

On which high note I shall leave you to enjoy the Satyricon, and shall hope to hear from you, presently, what your opinion of it is.

C. K. Scott Moncrieff.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY EARL OF RUMNEY

Master-General of Their Majesties Ordinance, and of Their Majesties most Honourable Privy-Council, Constable of Dover-Castle, and Lord Warden of the Cinque-Ports.

My Lord,

Good men think the meanest friend no more to be dispis’d, than the politick the meanest enemy; and the generous would be as inquisitive to discover an unknown esteem for ’em, as the cautious an unknown hatred:  This I say to plead myself into the number of those you know for your admirers; and that the world may know it, give me leave to present you with a translation of Petronius, and to absolve all my offences against him, by introducing him into so agreeable company.  You’re happy, my Lord, in the most elegant part of his character, in the gallantry and wit of a polite gentleman, mixt with the observation and conduct of a man of publik employments; And since all share the benefit of you,’tis the duty of all to confess their sence of it, I had almost said, to return, as they cou’d, the favour, and like a true author, made that my gratitude which may prove your trouble:  But what flatters me most out of the apprehensions of your dislike, is the gentleman-like pleasantry of the work, where you meet with variety of ridicule on the subject of Nero’s court, an agreeable air of humour in a ramble through schools, bagnio’s temples, and markets; wit and gallantry in armours, with moral reflections on almost every accident of humane life.  In short, my Lord, I shall be very proud to please a Sidney, an house fertile, of extraordinary genio’s, whose every member deserves his own Sir Philip to celebrate him; whose characters are romances to the rest of mankind, but real life in his own family.

I am, my Lord, Your Lordships most devoted Humble Servant, W. BURNABY.

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The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.