"find supplied by rage"


Senior Member
Turkish - Istanbul

Below is a part of the satire written by Earl of Rochester in 17th century:

Who can abstain from Satire in this age?
What nature wants 'I find supplied by rage'.
Some do for pimping, some for treachery use;
But none's made great for being good or wise.

Although the whole satire is a mystery for me, what I can't understand at all is the second line, especially the part "I find supplied by rage".

Does he mean, that he reacts with rage (especially in his satires)? I'm totally confused here.

Thanks in advance
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Are the single quote marks in the second line the author's, or your own?

    It seems, without any further background, which you ought to supply when asking for literary interpretation, that this means:

    There is a natural need for satire. I am prompted to fill that need by my anger.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I think it very likely that 'wants' means "lacks": what does not occur in nature is supplied by other means (e.g. wealth or make-up to disguise lack of talent, wit, or beauty). But he seems to be turning the image, so that instead of courtiers supplying (remedying) nature's lack with gold, he is finding it as material for his rage and thus his satire. The courtier covers up his lack of talent by being rich, and this enrages Rochester. But the expression is unclear to me, I admit.

    By the way, the last word of the third line is 'rise', not 'use': referring to people rising in society by either treachery or pimping.


    Senior Member
    Turkish - Istanbul
    Thank you for your quick replies,

    First of all, although I’m not sure if I’m allowed to, but I would like to give a link to the whole satire:

    http://books.google.com.tr/books?id=Bs8TAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA63&lpg=PA63&dq="abstain+from+satire"&source=bl&ots=loCaQQGdsI&sig=v9dBkOlmSTmdIA4hEImEb3seBYA&hl=tr&ei=bxEZS7qxHpWi4Qapi8jOBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CB4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q="abstain from satire"&f=false

    I hope this link covers the background need.

    Cuchuflete, yes the quote marks are mine. I thought it would help viewers understand the particular part that I couldn’t make out.

    Entangledbank, thank you for your comment. But still isn’t it a broad interpretation? Because, I need to translate this piece of poetry, and I don’t know how to translate it in a similar poetic way so as to cover the meaning you suggest.

    And yes, as could be seen from the link, the last word of the third line is “rise”. Yet, I’ve come across this satire on a modern literary text with “use” instead of “rise”, which makes it even more confusing for me.

    Now, I’ve translated it according to your suggestions, but I still can’t feel satisfied with it. Maybe somebody can check the link, and come up with more insight for me… Hopefully.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Rochester's and Dryden's versions, like all translations of that period, are very broad. It might be helpful to look at the original Latin and a fairly literal English:

    Juvenal wrote Quid referam quanta siccum iecur ardeat ira, which that translator gives as "Why tell how my heart burns dry with rage".

    Of course, I appreciate you want to translate Rochester, not Juvenal, but this will help the interpretation. Note that this line comes fifteen lines after the famous difficile est saturam non scribere "It is difficult not to write satire", not straight after it as Rochester has it.
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