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But your fine elegant rafcal, that can rife,
Lucian's Parasite, which is a masterpiece of character and comic writing, and Horace's dialogue between Tiresias and Ulysses (which is the fifth fatire of the fecond book) might perhaps be traced in passages of this comedy of Eupolis, if we had it entire.
Eupolis in his Lacedæmonians attacks both the public and private character of Cimon, charging him with improper partiality for the Lacedæmonians, with drunkenness, and even with an incestuous commerce with his own sister Pnyce: Plutarch takes notice of this attack, and says it had a great effect in stirring up the populace against this celebrated com. mander.
He wrote his comedy, intitled Marica, , against the orator Hyperbolus, whom Thucydides mentions to have been banished by Ostracism.
. We have the titles of upwards of twenty plays of this author's composition.
Ut templum charités, quod non labatur, haberent, invenére tuum pectus, Aristophanes.
(Jos. SCALIGER EX PLATONE.)
HIS is an eulogy the more honourable
to Aristophanes, as it fell from Plato, the disciple of Socrates. If I were to collect all the testimonies, that are scattered through the works of the learned in behalf of the author we are now about to review, I should fill my pages with panegyrics but this I am the less concerned to do, as the reader has a part of him in possession, which as it is near a fourth of the whole man, he has more than the foot by which to measure this Hercules.
Both the parentage and birth-place of Ari, stophanes are doubtful: He was an adopted, not a natural, citizen of Athens, and I incline. to think he was the son of Philippus, a native
of Ægina, where our poet had some patrimony. He was in perfon very tall, bony and robust, and we have his own authority for his baldness; but whether this was as disgraceful at Athens, as it was amongst the Romans, I have not been anxious to enquire. He was in private life of a free, apen and companiable temper, and his company was fought after by the greatest characters of the age with all possible avidity: Plato, and even Socrates, shared many social hours with him; he was much the most popular character in Athens, as the great dæmagogue Cleon experienced to his coft, not to mention Socrates himself: Every honour that could be paid to a poet was publicly bestowed upon Aristophanes by the Athenian people ; nor did they confine their rewards to honorary prizes only, but decreed him fines and pecuniary confiscations from those, who ventured to attack him with suits and prosecutions : Dionysius of Syracuse in vain made overtures to him of the most flattering fort, at the time when Æschines and Aristippus, Socratic philosophers, were retained in his court with so much infamy to their private characters, and when even Plato himself had folicited his notice by three several visits to Syracuse, where he had not the good fortune to render himself very agreeable. The fame of Aristophanes had reached to the court of Persia, and his praises were there founded by the great king himself, who considered him not only as the first poet, but as the most conspicuous personage at Athens. I do not find him marked with any other immorality, than that of intemperance with regard to wine, the fashionable excess of the time, and in some degree a kind of prerogative of his profession, a licentia poetica :: Athenæus the Deipnosophist fays he was drunk when he composed, but this is a charge that will not pass upon any man who is sober; and if we rejected it from Sophocles in the case of Æschylus, we shall not receive it but with contempt from such an accuser as Athenæus. He was not happy in his domestic connectionis, for he naturally declares that he was ashamed of his τυife - Την γυναικα δ' αισχύνομαι and 25 for his two sons, Philippus and Ararotes, they did him as little credit, and he considered them accordingly. He was blest with a good conftitution, and lived to turn above seventy years, though the date of his death is not precisely laid down.
Though he was resolute in opposing himself to the torrent of vice and corruption, which overspread the manners of his country, yet he
was far more temperate in his personal invective than his contemporaries. He was too sensitive in his nature to undertake the performance of his own parts in person, which was general with all the comic poets of his time; and he stood their raillery for not venturing to tread the stage as they did. Amipfias and Aristonymus, both rival authors, charged him with availing himfelf of the talents of other people from consciousness of his own infufficiency: Their raillery could not draw him out, till his favourite actor Calliftratus declined undertaking the part of Cleon in his personal comedy of The Knights, dreading the refentment of that powerful damagogue, who was as unforgiving as he was imperious : In this dilemma Aristophanes conquered his repugnance, and determined upon presenting himfelf on the stage for the first time in his life : He drefled himself in the character of this formidable tribune ; and having coloured his face with vermilion up to the hue of the brutal person he was to resemble, he entered on the part in such a stile of energy, and with such natural expression, that the effect was irresistible; and the proud factious Cleon was stript of his popularity, and sentenced in a fine of five talents by the knight's decree, 25 damages for the