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"Then turning out a veffel like a tun,
"Simp'ring exclaim'd-Observe! I drink but one.” (PHERECRATES.)
Athenæus has preferved a confiderable fragment from this author, extracted from his comedy of The Miners, which I look upon to be as curious a fpecimen of the old comedy as I have met with. It is a very luxuriant description of the riches and abundance of fome former times to which he alludes, ftrongly dafhed with comic ftrokes of wild extravagance and hyperbole. Thefe Miners were probably the chorus of the drama, which no doubt was of a fatirical fort, and pointed at the luxuries of the rich. By the mention made of Plutus in the firft line, we may fuppofe that thefe Mines were of gold, and probably the deity of that precious metal was one of the perfons of the drama.
FROM THE MINERS OF PHERECRATES.
"The days of Plutus were the days of gold; "The feafon of high feeding and good cheer: "Rivers of goodly beef and brewis ran "Boiling and bubbling thro' the fteaming ftreets, "With islands of fat dumplings, cut in fops "And flippery gobbets, moulded into mouthfuls, "That dead men might have swallow'd; floating tripes "And fleets of faufages in luscious morfels
"Stuck to the banks like oyfters: Here and there,
"For relishers, a falt-fifh season'd high
"Swam down the favoury tide: When foon behold!
"The portly gammon failing in full state
"Upon his fmoaking platter heaves in fight,
"If your mouth waters now, what had it done, "Cou'd you have seen our delicate fine thrushes "Hot from the fpit, with myrtle-berries cramm'd, "And larded well with celandine and parsley, "Bob at your hungry lips, crying-Come eat me! "Nor was this all; for pendant over-head "The fairest choiceft fruits in clusters hung; "Girls too, young girls juft budding into bloom, "Clad in tranfparent vests, stood near at hand "To ferve us with fresh rofes and full cups “Of rich and fragrant wine, of which one glafs "No fooner was dispatch'd, than strait behold! "Two goblets, fresh and sparkling as the first, "Provok'd us to repeat the encreasing draught. "Away then with your ploughs, we need them not, "Your scythes, your fickles, and your pruning-hooks!
"Away with all your trumpery at once!
"Seed-time and harvest-home and vintage wakes-◄ "Your holidays are nothing worth to us.
"Our rivers roll with luxury, our vats
"O'erflow with nectar, which providing Jove
"Showers down by cataracts; the very gutters
"From our houfe-tops fpout wine, vast forests wave
"Whofe very leaves drop fatnefs, finoaking viands "Like mountains rife-All nature's one great feaft.”
AMPHIS, the fon of Amphicrates an Athenian, was a celebrated comic poet: We have the titles of one and twenty comedies, and he probably wrote many more: By thefe titles it appears that he wrote in the fatirical vein of the old comedy, and I meet with a ftroke at his contemporary Plato the philofopher. He has a play intitled The Seven Chiefs against Thebes, which is probably a parody upon Efchylus, and proves that he wrote after the perfonal drama was prohibited There is another called The Dicers; and by feveral scattered paffages he appears to have expofed the perfons of drunkards, gamefters, courtefans, parafites, and other vicious characters of his time, with great moral feverity: There are alfo two comedies, intitled Women's Love and Women's Tyranny.
HERMIPPUS was a writer of the old comedy, and an Athenian. No less than forty comedies are given to this author by Suidas; he attacks Pericles for his diffolute morals, and in one of his plays calls him King of the Satyrs, advising him to affume the proper attributes of his lafcivious character: He was the fon of Lyfides, and the brother of Myrtilus, a comic writer also.
HIPPARCHUS, PHILONIDES and THEOPOMPUS complete the lift of poets of the old comedy. Philonides, before he became a votary of the mufe, followed the trade of a fuller, and, if we are to take the word of Aristophanes, was a very filly vulgar fellow, illiterate to a proverb. Athenæus and Stobæus have however given us fome fhort quotations, which by no means favour this account, and it is probable there was more fatire than truth in Ariftophanes's character of him. Theopompus is described as a man of excellent morals, and though he was long afflicted with a defluxion in his eyes, which put him from his ftudies, time has preferved the titles of twenty-four comedies of his compofing: Very little remains upon record either of him or his works.
One short fragment of Philonides is all that remains of his works, and it is a specimen which convinces me that we must not always take the character of a poet from a contemporary wit, engaged in the fame ftudies.
FRAGMENT OF PHILONIDES. "Because I hold the laws in due refpect,
"And fear to be unjust, am I a coward ?
Meek, let me be to all the friends of truth, "And only terrible amongst its foes."
----Soli æquus virtuti atque ejus amicis.
I now take leave of what is properly called The Old Comedy: In the further prosecution of this work (if that shall be permitted to me) it is my intention to review the writers of the Middle, and conclude with thofe of the New Comedy.
TM duq dol...
REJUDICE is fo wide a word, that if we would have ourselves understood, we muft always ufe fome auxiliary term with it to define our meaning: Thus when we speak of national prejudices, prejudices of education, or religious prejudices, by compounding our expreffion we convey ideas very different from each other.
National prejudice is by fome called a virtue, but the virtue of it confifts only in the proper application and moderate degree of it. It muft be confeffed a happy attachment, which can reconcile the Laplander to his freezing fnows, and the African to his fcorching fun. There are fome portions of the globe fo partially ́en