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I think it probable the following fragment has been the opening fpeech of this very comedy; for in it he addreffes the People, and complains of the preference they are apt to beftow upon foreigners, to the neglect of their own countrymen "Receiving every thing "with favour that falls from their lips, and "applauding them as oracles of human wif "dom; whereas, if any one of your own "countrymen addreffes you (though in no "refpect their inferior) you look down upon "him with contempt; nay, you are ready to 66 pronounce that the man is in his dotage; cc a fool who never had fenfes, or a madman "who has loft them-but hark ye, gentlemen! "let me have a word with you at starting; "let me prevail with you to revoke these un"juft proceedings, and give a fellow-citizen "and your humble fervant a fair hearing and "impartial judgment."
I fufpect this to be a fly blow at Aristophanes, who was not an Athenian born, and perhaps at this time had not his adoption. He proceeds to lament the ftate of public affairs, and the degeneracy of the times; for in the old comedy it was usual for the poet to harangue the theatre, either in the opening of the piece, or at any convenient interval between the fcenes, VOL. III.
fometimes in his own perfon, fometimes by the mouth of the chorus. We cannot wonder if fuch fentiments as the following, delivered from the stage, fhould render Eupolis obnoxious to men in power.
Addrefs to the Audience by Eupolis.
"Of many things, which offer themselves "to my confideration, I cannot find words to "fpeak, fo penetrated am I with affliction, "when I turn my thoughts to the condition "of the commonwealth; for you must be "confcious, O citizens, it was not fo admi"niftered in times paft, when men of high "birth, men, whofe rank, fortune and merit ༦་ gave them a confideration in the ftate, filled "the firft offices of government: To fuch we
deferred, as to the deities themselves; for "they merited our refpect, and under their EC protection we enjoyed fecurity: Now we "have no other guide in our election but blind "6 ignoble chance, and on whatsoever head it "falls, though he be the worst and meaneft of "mankind, he starts up a great man at once, "and is inftalled with all proper folemnity a "rogue in ftate."
Here the poet fpeaks out of the roftrum
rather than from the ftage: This is plain bold language; and tempts me to call our countryman Ben Jonson on the scene, who was deep in all these remnants of the old Greek poets, and frequently talks the very language of the Athenian theatre.
Afper, in character of Prefenter of the play, thus opens the comedy of Every Man out of bis Humour.
Addrefs to the Audience by B. Jonfon.
Who is fo patient of this impious world,
That he can check his spirit, or rein his tongue ?-
Who can behold fuch prodigies as thefe,
And have his lips feal'd up? Not I; my foul
Was never ground into fuch oily colours,
To flatter vice and dawb iniquity :
I fear no mood fampt in a private bros,
That drunken cuftom would not shame to laugh
This is the very fpirit of the old Greek comedy, fpeaking through the organs of our English Ariftophanes, and old Ben fills the character of the prægrandis fenex, as well as he for whom it was defigned. It is the Comædia, vocem tollens, and afferting her determination to keep up her rights according to antient custom of her founders - Siquis erat dignus defcribi.—In the third year of Olymp. LXXXIX. which was two years after the decease of Cratinus, Eupolis acted his comedy called The Flatterers, Alcæus being archon. I cannot doubt but the following is a fragment of this comedy; it is a part of the speech of a parafite, and runs over a few of the arts, by which he gulls the rich boobies that fall in his way.
The Parafite of Eupolis.
and learn of me the thriving arts,
"Fine rogues we are, my friend (of that be fure)
"Next two new fuits for feafts and gala-days,
The Parafite of Ben Jonson.
Oh! your parafite
Is a moft precious thing, dropt from above,
I mufe the mystery was not made a science,
All the wife world is little else in nature
But parafites and sub-parafites. And yet
Tales for men's ears, to bait that fenfe-nor those,