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I think it probable the following fragment has been the opening speech of this very comedy; for in it he addresses the People, and complains of the preference they are apt to bestow upon foreigners,' to the . neglect of their own countrymen “Receiving everything “ with favour that falls from their lips, and
applauding them as oracles of human wif“ dom; whereas, if any one of your own countrymen
you (though in no « respect their inferior) you look down upon “ him with contempt; nay, you are ready to
pronounce that the man is in his dotage ;
a fool who never had senses, or a madman “ who has lost them—but hark ye, gentlemen! " let me have a word with you at starting; " let me prevail with you to revoke these un. “just proceedings, and give a fellow-citizen ~ and your humble servant a fair hearing and impartial judgment.”
I suspect this to be a lly blow at Aristophanes, who was not an Athenian born, and perhaps at this time had not his adoption. He proceeds to lament the state 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 scenes, VOL. III.
sometimes in his own person, sometimes by the mouth of the chorus. We cannot wonder if such sentiments as the following, delivered from the stage, should render Eupolis obnoxious to men in power.
Address to the Audience by Eupolis, « Of many things, which offer themselves "to my confideration, I cannot find words to « speak, fo penetrated am I with affliction, " when I turn my thoughts to the condition “ of the commonwealth ; for you must be & conscious, 0 citizens, it was not so admi“ nistered in times past, when men of high “birth, men, whose rank, fortune and merit
gave them a confideration in the state, filled “ the first offices of government: To such we “ deferred, as to the deities themselves; for " they merited our respect, and under their
protection we enjoyed security: Now we « have no other guide in our election but blind « ignoble chance, and on whatsoever head it “ falls, though he be the worst and meanest of « mankind, he starts up a great man at once, « and is installed with all proper folemnity a
rogue in state.”
Here the poet speaks out of the roftrum rather than from the stage: 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.
Asper, in character of Presenter of the play, thus opens the comedy of Every Man out of his Humour.
Address to the Audience by B. Jonson.
I fear no mood fampt in a private brow,
That drunken cufton would not fame to laugh
This is the very spirit of the old Greek comedy, speaking through the organs of our English Aristophanes, and old Ben fills the character of the prægrandis fenex, as well as he for whom it was designed. It is the Comeedia, vocem tollens, and asserting her determination to keep up her rights according to antient custom of her founders -- Siquis erat dignus describi. - 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 parasite, and runs over a few of the arts, by which he gulls the rich boobies that fall in
The Parasite of Eupolis, " Mark now, and learn of me the thriving arts, " By which we parasites contrive to live : “ Fine rogues we are, my friend (of that be sure) “ And daintily we gull mankind. Observe! “ First I provide myself a nimble thing “ To be my page, a varlet of all crafts ;
“ Next two new suits for feasts and gala-days, “ Which I promote by turns, when I walk forth " To sun myself upon the public square : " There if perchance I spy some rich dull knave, " Strait I accost him, do him reverence, “ And, faunt'ring up and down, with idle chat “ Hold him awhile in play; at every word, “ Which his wife worship utters, I stop short « And bless myself for wonder; if he ventures « On some vile joke, I blow it to the skies, “ And hold my sides for laughter-Then to supper u With others of our brotherhood to mess " In some night-cellar on our barley cakes, " And club inventions for the next day's shift."
The Parasite of Ben Jonson.
Ob! your parasite Is a moji precious thing, dropt from above, Not bred’mongst clods and clot-poles here on earth. I muse the mystery was not made a science, It is so liberally profeft. Almost All the wise world is little else in nature But parasites and sub-parasites. And yet I mean not those, that have your bare town-art, To know who's fit to feed them; bave no house, No family, no care, and therefore mould Tales for men's ears, to bait that sensenor those, With their court dog -tricks, that can fawn and fleer, Make their revenue out of legs and faces, Echo, My Lord, and lick away a moth; K 3