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saying he was a Syracusan, and ascribes to him the invention of Comedy
“ Epicharmus, the man who invented Comedy." In the conclusion, it celebrates him for the many useful maxims which he gave for the instruction of youth ; but this I am disposed to think may apply to the circumftance of his having been a schoolmaster at Syracuse ; for if we are to take our judgment of Epicharmus's drama from his imitator Plautus, perhaps its morality, though not to be overlooked amongst other excellencies, is nevertheless not the most striking feature in its character. And though it is probable that Epicharmus did not launch out into that personality, which the frees Athenians indulged to such excess, yet I can suppose him to have been not very chaste in his dialogue, from the anecdote which Plutarch gives us, of his being heavily fined and compelled to manual labour by order of Hiero for certain obscene jests, which he suffered to pass in hearing of his queen: I must ground another remark upon this anecdote, respecting the time in which he is generally thought to have struck
out his comedy, as being long antecedent to the time of Hiero; which being admitted, if will follow that he was near the close of his life, when this sentence of manual labour was executed upon him ; a kind of punishment so very unlikely to be inflicted on a man of ninety-fix Yeats by a prince of Hiero's magnanimity and benevolence, that if I am to take the anecdote for granted, I cannot affent to those authorities that have placed him fo high in time, for the purpose only of putting his title of first founder of comedy out of dispute.
Upon the whole, I think it likely the Athes nians wrote comedy as soon as the Siciliansa but that Epicharmus was the first, who formed his drama upon the poems of Homer: It is also clear, that his countryman and contemporary Phormis wrote comedy as foon, or nearly as soon as he did; for although Theocritus, in the epigram above cited, fays expressly that Epicharmus ftruck out comedy, yet it muft be remarked that Theocritus was a Syracufan by birth, living in the time of Ptolemy Lagus ; and in giving this teftimony for his fellowcitizen, it is more than probable he spoke locally of the Sicilian comedy only, as Suidas did in after times, when he faid that Epichar
mus and Phormis first struck out comedy in Sicily.
I would therefore fix Epicharmus's first comedy antecedent to Olymp. LXXV, at the lowest date, because we have it from good authority that he was teaching scholars at Syracuse four years before the Persian æra ; and this date is confirmed by the age of Phormiş, who certainly flourished in the time of Gelon, and was in great favour in the court of that prince, who was predecessor to Hiero, and was fucceeded by him in Olymp. LXXVII,
EPICHARMUS was a liberal benefactor
to the stage. Porphyry says that Apollodorus the grammarian made a collection of his plays in ten volumes; Suidas reckons fiftytwo; Lycon only thirty-five; but modern philologists have given the titles of forty, with the authorities by which they are ascertained.
It is not my purpose in these papers to make a practice of loading the page with lists of titles, which may too truly be called dead
but in the instance of an author like Epicharmus, who stands at the head of his department, every relique seems an object of some curiofity; and therefore, although the following catalogue may strike the dramatic reader as what may properly enough be called a beggarly account of empty boxes, yet I shall proceed to enumerate the titles of forty comedies, all of which are, upon good grounds of criticism, ascribed to this celebrated author.
TITLES OF THE COMEDIES OF EPICHARMUS.
The Husbandman. The Halcyon. Amycus, Son
of Neptune. The Banditti. Atalanta. The Bacche. Bufiris.
Earth and Sea. The Fathers of the People. The Bacchanalians. Diphilus. Hope. The Festival. The Celebration of the Victory. Hebe's Wedding. Juno's Nuptials. Vulcan, or The Revells. The Ambassadors to the Oracle. The Cyclops. The Reasoner. The Megarensian. The Muses. The Islands. Niobe's Wedding.
Niobe's Wedding. Ulysses the Deserter. Ulysses Shipwreckt. The Chitterlings. The Pædagogues. The Paragon. The Persians. The Statesman. Prometheus, the Fire-stealer. Pyrrha, the Wife of Deucalion. The Sirens. The Isle of Scyros. The Sphynx.
The Trojans. Philocletes. The Chorus Troop.
The same respect, which led me to insert these titles, led me also to search with all possible diligence for every fragment which I could find of Epicharmus. I wish they had been more in number, and of greater importance than they are'; but such as, they are, I have reason to believe they are the whole amount of what can be picked up from the wreck of this once valuable poet. The reader must not expect, that either in this author's instance, or that of any other Greek comedian, except in very few cases, that the particular play can be ascertained, to which the fragments belong ; for the grammarians and others, who quote them, only give the name of the author, and not that of the comedy from which they extract them. I must in this place once for all give vent to an anxiety, which presses on my mind respecting these fragments of the Greek comedy, whether the insertion of them will or will not be approved of by the generality of my readers: My sole object is to furnish them with rational and moral amusement, and if I fail of that object in these my hearty endeavours, I have taken a great deal of pains to render these passages into • Vol. III.