« السابقةمتابعة »
"Why, foolish painter, give those wings to Love ?
EUPHRON. Euphron is another poet of our Middle liit, and one whole fame has outlived the works on which it was founded. Six of his comedies only have bequeathed their names to us, and a very scanty portion of their contents. One of these was intitled Adelphi, another claimant perhaps upon Terence. Athenæus and Stobæus, (thanks to their passion for quotations and fragments!) have favoured us with a few small reliques. There is something in the following diftich of a melancholy and touching simplicity
“ Tell me, all-judging Jove, if this bé fair “ To make so short a life so full of care ?"
What next ensues I recommend to the gentlemen, who amuse themselves with cutting out work for Doctors-Commons:
“ Hence, vile adulterer, I scorn to gain
The antients had a notion, that a man, who took no care of his own affairs, was not the H 2
fittest person in the world to be entrusted with those of others; writers for the stage must make the most of vulgar errors, whilst they are in faihion, and this may have betrayed our poet into a sentiment, which modern wits will not give him much credit for
“ Let not his fingers touch the public chest,
I think the reader will acknowledge a very spirited and striking turn of thought in this short apostrophe.
“ Wretch ! find new gods to witness to new lies,
H ENI OCH U S.
Heniochus, the author of a numerous collection of comedies, was, born at Athens, a writer of a grave sententious cast, and one, who fcrupled not to give a personal name to one of his comedies, written professedly against the character of Thorucion, a certain military prefect in those times, and a notorious traitor to his country. The titles of fifteen comedies are upon the list of this poet's works: from one of
these a curious fragment has been saved, and though it seems rather of a political than a dramatic complexion, I think it's good sense is sufficient to recommend it to a place in this collection.
“ I will enumerate to you several cities, which « in the course of time have fallen into egregious “ folly and declension : You may demand why « I instance them at this time and in this place « I answer that we are now prefent in the city of « Olympia, and you may figure to yourself a “ kind of Pythian solemnity in the scene before “us-Granted ! you'll say, and what then? “ Why then I may conceive these several cities
here assembled by their representatives for the “ purpose of celebrating their redemption from “ Navery by solemn facrifices to the Genius of "Liberty: This performed, they deliver theme « selves over to be governed at the discretion of “ two certain female personages, whom I shall “ name to you—the one Democracy, Aristocracy << the other-From this fatal moment universal << anarchy and misrule inevitably fall upon those “ çities, and they are loft.”
MNESIMACHUS. This poet is recorded by Ælian and Athenæus, and by the samples we have of his co
•medy, few as they are, we may see that he was a minute describer of the familiar manners and characters of the age he lived in: I take him to have been a writer of a peculiar cast, a dealer in low and loquacious dialogue, a strong coarse colourist, and one, who, if time had spared his works, would probably have imparted to us more of the Costuma, as it is called, than any of his contemporaries : I persuade myself that the samples I am about to produce will jusify these surmises with respect to Mnelimachus.
Jonson could not describe, nor Mortimer des lineate, a company of banditti or bravos at their meal in bolder caricature, than what the follow, ing sketch displays:
« Dost know whom thou’rt to sup with, friend ?-I'll
ki tell thee; “ With gladiators, not with peaceful guests; “ Instead of knives we're arm'd with naked swords, “ And swallow firebrands in the place of food : “ Daggers of Crete are serv'd us for confections, “ And for a plate of pease a fricassee « Of shatter'd spears : the cushions we repose on " Are shields and breast-plates, at our feét á pile « Of slings and arrows, and our foreheads wreath'd “ With military enfigns, not with myrtle."
There remains a very curious fragment of a dialogue between a master and his Nave, which
lays lays open to the reader the whole catalogue of an Athenian fish-market, and after all the pains it has occafioned me in the decyphering, leaves me under the necessity of fetting down a few of the articles in their original names, not being able to find any lexicon or grammarian in the humour to help me out of my difficulty.
“ Master. Harkye, fellow! make the best « of your way to Phidon's riding-school (your “ road lies through the cypress-grove burying“ place to the forum by the public baths, where
our tribunes hold their meetings) and tell " those pretty gentlemen, who are there at their “exercises of vaulting on their horses and off “their horses (you know well enough whom I “ mean) tell.’em I say that their supper is grown « cold, their, liquor hot, their pastry dry, their “bread ftale, their roast done to powder, their “ falt-meat stript from the very bones, their
tripes, chitterlings, sausages and stuft-pud“ dings mangled and devoured by guests, who « are before-hand with 'em : The glass has gone “ round, and the wine is nearly out; the com
pany are at their frolicks, and the house thrown “out of windows-Now mark and remember
every syllable I have faid to you-Doft yawn, “ rascal ? --Let me, hear if you can repeat the “ message I have given you.