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produced his comedy of The Knights, in which he perfonally attacks the tribune Cleon.
In the first year of Olymp. LXXXIX. he produced his first comedy of The Clouds, and in the year following his fecond of that title, which is now in our hands, and ranks as third in the volume.
In the fame year was acted his comedy of The Wafps, in which he fatirizes the General Chares for his conduct in the unfortunate expedition to Sicily.
In the fourth year of Olymp. XC. we may place his comedy intitled The Peace. In the firft of Olymp. XCI. The Lyfiftrata; and in the second of the fame Olympiad that of The Birds.
The Thefmophoriagufa, or Cerealia Celebrantes, and Concionatrices, fall within the period of Olymp. XCII. before the death of Euripides, who is fatirized in the former of these pieces. The Frogs were performed in the last year Olymp. XCIII. after the death of Euripides. The Plutus, which completes the eleven comedies ftill remaining, and the laft, to which he prefixed his own name, was produced in the fourth year of Olymp. XCVII.
It is generally fupposed that we owe these remains of Aristophanes to St. Chryfoftom, who happily
happily rescued this valuable, though small, portion of his favourite author from his more fcrupulous Chriftian contemporaries, whofe zeal was fatally too fuccefsful in destroying every other comic author, out of a very numerous collection, of which no one entire scene now remains.
SHALL now proceed to mention some other principal writers of the old comedy, of whose works, though once the favourites of the Athenian stage, few memorials furvive, and these so small and imperfect, and withal fo feparated from each other (confifting only of short quotations in the fcholiafts and grammarians) that it is a task to collect them, which nothing would compenfate but the hope of being in fome degree the inftrument of faving from abfolute extinction the names of authors once fo illuftrious,
AMIPSIAS was a contemporary of Aristophanes, and no mean rival; we have the titles of ten comedies of this author. In fome of these
his fatire was perfonal, but all of them feem by their titles to have been levelled against the reigning vices of his time, fuch as The Gamefters, The Glutton, The Beard (in which he inveighed against the hypocrify and affectation of the priests and philofophers), The Adulterers, The Sappho (wherein the morals of the fair fex were expofed), The Purse, a second attack upon the gamefters, and The Philofopher's Cloak, in which it is understood he glanced pretty severely at Socrates.
PLATO was a comic poet, high in time and character; a collection of no less than forty titles of his comedies has been made by the learned Meurfius, but very few fragments of these are remaining. Clemens afferts that Ariftophanes and Plato were mutually charged of borrowing from each other, which in one sense makes greatly to the reputation of our poet, He is quoted by Plutarch in his Alcibiades, and very honourably mentioned by the famous Galen, by Athenæus, Clemens, Julius Pollux and Suidas. There is a fragment containing four lines and a half, upon a statue of Mercury cut by Dædalus, which has an epigrammatic neatness and point in it, that induced me to render it in
rhime: He addreffes the ftatue, miftaking it
for a living figure:
"Hoa there! who art thou? Answer me-Art dumb?"
Plato wrote a comedy perfonally against the General Cleophon, and called it by his name; there are others of the fame description in his catalogue, and fome of the middle fort: There are a few lines upon the tomb of Themiftocles, which have a turn of elegant and pathetic fimplicity in them, that deferves a better tranflation than I can give.
"On the Tomb of Themistocles.
"By the fea's margin, on the watery strand, "Thy monument, Themistocles, fhall stand: "By this directed to thy native fhore
"The merchant shall convey his freighted store; "And when our fleets are fummon'd to the fight, "Athens fhall conquer with thy tomb in fight.”
The following fragment of a dialogue, between a father and a fophift, under whose tuition he had placed his fon, probably belonged either to the comedy called The Beard, or The Philofopher's Cloak: It is pretty much in the spirit of our old English drama.
"Thou haft deftroy'd the morals of my fon,
"And if I did, what harms him? Why complain you?
Pleasure, the beft of all good things on earth; "And how but thus can pleafure be obtain'd?
"Virtue will give it him.
"And what but virtue
"Is our philofophy? When have you met
"One of our fect flufh'd and difguis'd with wine?
"Not one, but all,
"All who march forth with fupercilious brow