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Alexis to an inquisitive fellow, who observed him in his latter years slowly crawling along the streets of Athens, and demanded what he was doing—Nothing; replied the feeble veteran, and of that very disease I am dying.–Stobæus has the fame anecdote, and I think it unlikely for a man, who preserved fo vigorous a mind, as Plutarch says he did, to extreme old age, to be what Athenæus calls him 'ofopáros, a glutton; I conclude therefore that the Deipnosophist was in the mistake of Congreve's Jeremy, who suspected Epictetus was a real cook, whereas he only wrote receipts. I have one of these now before me from the pen of Alexis, which does not seem to speak of the Epicurean fummum bonum with all that respect and approbation, which a glutton would naturally profess for it-This it is
“ I figh'd for ease, and, weary of my lot,
I think it will also bear a doubt whether a vo. luptuary could find in his heart to vent such
irony as the following against the great fupe porters of his system, harlots and procuresses; I confess it shews Alexis to have been deep in the fecrets of their vocation, but a libertine in practice would be branded for a traitor, if he was to tell such tales of the academy he belonged toHe is speaking of the commodious fisterhood of procuresses
". They fly at all, and, as their funds encrease, “ With fresh recruits they still augment their stock, “ Moulding the young novitiate to her trade; « Form, feature, manners, every thing so chang', " That not a trace of former self is left.
Is the wench short? a triple sole of cork « Exalts the pigmy to a proper fize.
" Is she too tall of ftature? a low chair “ Softens the fault, and a fine easy stoop « Lowers her to sandard-pitch-If narrow-hipt, “ A handsome wadding readily supplies “ What Nature ftints, and all beholders cry, • See what plump haunches !-Hath the nymph
“ perchance “ A high round paunch, stuft like our comic drolls, " And strutting ont foreright ? a good stout bulk “ Pushing athwart Mall force th’intruder back.
“ Hath the red brows? a little foot will cure 'em. 66 Is the too black ? the ceruse makes her fair : “ Too pale of hue ? the opal comes in aid. “ Hath the a beauty out of fight? Disclose it ! © Strip nature bare without a blush-Finé teeth ? “ Let her affect one everlasting grin, “ Laugh without stint But ah! if laugh Me cannota
And her lips won't obey, take a fine twig
set her on the bitt
and the pearly row, 66 Will the or will she not, perforce appears."
This passage I have literally rendered, and I suspect it describes the artifices of an impure toilet with precision enough to shew that these Grecian models are not absolutely antiquated by the intervention of so many centuries. Our modern puffers in perfumery may have carried artificial complexions and Circassian bloom to a higher state of perfection; I dare say they have more elaborate means of staining carrotty eyebrows than with simple foot, and cannot think of comparing a little harmless opal with their poisonous farrago of pastes, pomatums and pearl powders; but I would have my fair and virtuous countrywomen take notice that the substitution of stuft hips originated with the Athenian prostitutes, with this advantage on the side of good sense, that the inventors of the fashion never applied false bottoms to those, whom Nature had provided with true ones; they feem to have had a better eye for due proportion than to add to a redundancy, because in fome cases it was con. venient to fill up a vacuum.
As I address this friendly hint to the plumper part of the fair sex, I shall rely upon the old proverb for their good-humour, and hope they will kindly interpret it as a proof that my eye is fometimes directed to objects, which their's cannot superintend, and as they generally agree to keep certain particulars out of fight, a real friend to decency will wish they would consent to keep them a little more out of mind also,
E are indebted to Vitruvius for a quo
tation in the beginning of his Sixth Book, taken from one of the dramas of Alexis, to the following effect--Whereas all the other “ ftates of Greece compel the children of defti“ tute parents without exception to provide for “ the support of them who begot them, we of « Athens," says the poet,“ make the law bind“ing upon such children only, who are be“ holden to their parents for the blessing of a « liberal education.”—The proviso was certainly a wise one, and it is with justice that the
poet gives his countrymen credit for being the authors of it.
Alexis in one of his comedies very appositely remarks that the nature of man in some re“ spects resembles that of wine, for as fermen« tation is necessary to new wine, fo is it also
to a youthful spirit; when that process is over and it comes to settle and subside, we may then and not till then expect to find a
permanent tranquillity.” This allufion he again takes up, probably in the same scene, though under a different character, and cries out_“I am now far advanced in the evening “ of life's day, and what is there in the nature “ of man, that I should liken it to that of wine, “ seeing that old age, which recommends the « latter, mars the former? Old wine indeed " exhilarates, but old men are miserable to them« selves and others.” Antiphanes the comic poet has struck upon the same comparison but with a different turn_“ Old
and old wine," says he, “may well be compared ; let either of “ them exceed their date ever so little, and the “ whole turns four."
Julius Pollux says that Alexis named one of his comedies Tuvaixootpatia, and there are some passages, which we may presume are reliques of