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are to be employed. The nets used in the herring-fishery can furnish work but for few, and not many can be employed as labourers at the foundation of the new bridge. There must, therefore, be some other scheme formed for their accommodation, which the present state of affairs may easily supply. It is well known, that great efforts have been lately made to man the fleet, and augment the army, and loud complaints are made of useful hands forced away from their families into the service of the crown. This offensive exertion of power may be easily avoided, by opening a few houses for the entertainment of discarded authors, who would enter into the service with great alacrity, as most of them are zealous friends of every present government; many of them are men of able bodies and strong limbs, qualified at least as well for the musket as the pen; they are, perhaps, at present a little emaciated and enfeebled, but would soon recover their strength and flesh with good quarters and present pay.
It is more difficult to know what can be done with the ladies of the pen, of whom this age has produced greater numbers than any former time. It is indeed common for women to follow the camp, but no prudent general will allow them in such numbers as the breed of authoresses would furnish. Authoresses are seldom famous for clean linen, therefore they cannot make laundresses; they are rarely skilful at their needle, and cannot mend a soldier's shirt; they will There are some reasons for which they may make bad sutlers, being not much accustomed seem particularly qualified for a military life. to eat. I must therefore propose, that they shall They are used to suffer want of every kind; they form a regiment of themselves, and garrison are accustomed to obey the word of command the town which is supposed to be in most danfrom their patrons and their booksellers; they ger of a French invasion. They will probably have always passed a life of hazard and adven-have no enemies to encounter; but, if they are ture, uncertain what may be their state on the next day; and, what is of yet more importance, they have long made their minds familiar to danger, by descriptions of bloody battles, daring undertakings, and wonderful escapes. They have their memories stored with all the stratagems of war, and have over and over practised in their closets the expedients of distress, the exultation of triumph, and the resignation of heroes, sentenced to destruction.
once shut up together, they will soon disencumber the public by tearing out the eyes of one another.
Some indeed there are, who, by often changing sides in controversy, may give just suspicion of
their fidelity, and whom I should think likely to desert for the pleasure of desertion, or for a farthing a month advanced in their pay. Of these men I know not what use can be made, for they can never be trusted, but with shackles on their legs. There are others whom long depression, under supercilious patrons, has so humbled and crushed, that they will never have steadiness to keep their ranks. But for these men there may be found fifes and drums, and they will be well enough pleased to inflame others to battle, if they are not obliged to fight themselves.
The great art of life, is to play for much, and to stake little; which rule I have kept in view through this whole project; for, if our authors and authoresses defeat our enemies, we shall obtain all the usual advantages of victory; and, if they should be destroyed in war, we shall lose only those who had wearied the public, and whom, whatever be their fate, nobody will miss.
this kind, has now made it almost necessary to prefix the name of Magazine. There are already many such periodical compilations, of which we do not envy the reception, nor shall dispute the excellence. If the nature of things would allow us to indulge our wishes, we should desire to advance our own interest without lessening that of any other, and to excite the curiosity of the vacant, rather than withdraw that which other writers have already engaged.
Our design is to give the history, political and literary, of every month, and our pamphlets must consist, like other collections, of many articles unconnected and independent on each other.
The chief political object of an Englishman's attention must be the great council of the nation, and we shall therefore register all public proceedings with particular care. We shall not attempt to give any regular series of debates, or to amuse our readers with senatorial rhetoric. The speeches inserted in other papers have been long known to be fictitious, and produced sometimes by men who never heard the debate, nor had any authentic information. We have no design to impose thus grossly on our readers, and shall therefore give the naked arguments used in the discussion of every question, and add, when they can be obtained, the names of the speakers.
As the proceedings in parliament are unintell'gible without a knowledge of the facts to which they relate, and of the state of the nations to which they extend their influence, we shall exhibit monthly a view, though contracted yet distinct, of foreign affairs, and lay open the designs and interests of those nations which are considered by English either as friends or enemies.
Of transactions in our own country curiosity will demand a more particular account, and we shall record every remarkable event, extraordinary casualty, uncommon performance, or striking novelty, and shall apply our care to the discovery of truth, with very little reliance on the daily historians.
The lists of births, marriages, deaths, and burials will be so drawn up, that we hope very few omissions or mistakes will be found, though some must be expected to happen in so great a variety, where there is neither leisure nor opportunity for minute information.
It is intended that lists shall be given of all the officers and persons in public employment; and that all the alterations shall be noted as they happen, by which our list will be a kind of Court Register always complete.
The literary history necessarily contains an account of the labours of the learned, in which whether we shall show much judgment or sagacity, must be left to our readers to determine; we can promise only justness and candour. It is not to be expected that we can insert extensive extracts or critical examinations of all the writings which this age of writers may offer to our notice. A few only will deserve the distinction of criticism, and a few only will obtain it. We shall try to select the best and most important pieces, and are not without hope, that we may sometimes influence the public voice, and hasten the popularity of a valuable work.
Our regard will not be confined to books; it will extend to all the productions of science. Any new calculation, a commodious instrument, the discovery of any property in nature, or any new method of bringing known properties into use or view, shall be diligently treasured up wherever found.
In a paper designed for general perusal, it will be necessary to dwell most upon things of general entertainment. The elegant trifles of literature, the wild strains of fancy, the pleasing amusements of harmless wit, shall therefore be considered as necessary to our collection. Nor shall we omit researches into antiquity, explanations of coins or inscriptions, disquisitions on controverted history, conjectures on doubtful geography, or any other on those petty works upon which learned ingenuity is sometimes employed.
To these accounts of temporary transactions and fugitive performances, we shall add some dissertations on things more permanent and stable; some inquiries into the history of nature, which has hitherto been treated as if mankind were afraid of exhausting it. There are in our own country many things and places worthy of note that are yet little known, and every day gives opportunities of new observations which are made and forgotten. We hope to find means of extending and perpetuating physiological discoveries, and with regard to this article, and all others, entreat the assistance of curious and candid correspondents.
We shall labour to attain as much exactness as can be expected in such variety, and shall give as much variety as can consist with reasonable exactness; for this purpose a selection has been made of men qualified for the different parts of the work, and each has the employment assigned him, which he is supposed most able to discharge.
I CONCLUDE this work according to my promise, with an account of the Comic Theatre, and entreat the reader, whether a favourer or an enemy of the ancient drama, not to pass his censure upon the authors or upon me, without a regular perusal of this whole work. For, though it seems to be composed of pieces of which each may precede or follow without dependence upon the other, yet all the parts taken together, form a system which would be destroyed by their disjunction. Which way shall we come at the knowledge of the ancients' shows, but by comparing together all that is left of them? The value and necessity of this comparison determined me to publish all, or to publish nothing. Besides, the reflections on each piece, and on the general taste of antiquity, which, in my opinion, are not without importance, have a kind of obscure gradation, which I have carefully endeavoured to preserve, and of which the thread would be lost by him who should slightly glance sometimes upon one piece, and sometimes upon another. It is a structure which I have endeavoured to make as near to regularity as 1 could, and which must be seen in its full extent and in proper succession. The reader who skips here and there over the book, might make a hundred objections which are either anticipated or answered in those pieces which he might have overlooked. I have laid such stress upon the connection of the parts of this work, that I have declined to exhaust the subject, and have suppressed many of my notions, that I might leave the judicious reader to please himself by forming such conclusions as I supposed him like to discover as well as myself. I am not here attempting to prejudice the reader by an apology either for the ancients, or my own manner. I have not claimed a right of obliging others to determine, by my opinion, the degrees of esteem which I think due to the authors of the Athenian Stage; nor do I think that their reputation in the present time, ought to depend upon my mode of thinking or expressing my thoughts, which I leave entirely to the judgment of the public.
A DISSERTATION, &c.
Reasons why Aristophanes may be reviewed, without translating him entirely.
I was in doubt a long time, whether I should meddle at all with the Greek comedy, both because the pieces which remain are very few, the licentiousness of Aristophanes, their author, is exorbitant, and it is very difficult to draw from the performances of a single poet, a just idea of Greek comedy. Besides, it seemed that tragedy was sufficient to employ all my attention, that I might give a complete representation of that kind of writing, which was most esteemed by the Athenians and the wiser Greeks, particularly by Socrates, who set no value upon comedy or comic actors. But the very name of that drama, which in polite ages, and above all others in our own, has been so much advanced, that it has become equal to tragedy, if not preferable, inclines me to think that I may be partly reproached with an imperfect work, if, after having gone as deep as I could into the nature of Greek tragedy, I did not at least sketch a draught of the comedy.
I then considered, that it was not wholly impossible to surmount, at least in part, the difficulties which had stopped me, and to go somewhat farther than the learned writers,† who have published in French some pieces of Aristophanes; not that I pretend to make large translations. The same reasons which have hindered with respect to the more noble parts of the Greek drama, operate with double force upon my present subject. Though ridicule, which is the business of comedy, be not less uniform in all times, than the passions which are moved by tragic compositions; yet, if diversity of manners may sometimes disguise the passions themselves, how much greater change will be made in
There was a law which forbade any judge of the Areopagus to write comedy.
+ Madame Dacier, M. Boivin.
the same method which I have taken in several tragic pieces, which is, that of giving an exact analysis as far as the matter would allow, from which I deduce four important systems. First, Upon the nature of the comedy of that age, ex-without omitting that of Menander. Secondly, Upon the vices and government of the Athenians. Thirdly, Upon the notion we ought to entertain of Aristophanes, with respect to Eschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Fourthly, Upon the jest which he makes upon the gods. These things will not be treated in order, as a regular discourse seems to require, but will arise sometimes separately, sometimes together, from the view of each particular comedy, and from the reflections which this free manner of writing will allow. I shall conclude with a short view of the whole, and so finish my design.
Jocularities! The truth is, that they are so much changed by the course of time, that pleasantry and ridicule become dull and flat much more easily than the pathetic becomes ridiculous.
That which is commonly known by the term jocular and comic, is nothing but a turn of pression, an airy phantom, that must be caught at a particular point. As we lose this point, we lose the jocularity, and find nothing but dulness in its place. A lucky sally, which has filled a company with laughter, will have no effect in print, because it is shown single and separate from the circumstances which gave it force. Many satirical jests, found in ancient books, have had the same fate; their spirit has evaporated by time, and has left nothing to us but insipidity. None but the most biting passages have preserved their points unblunted.
But, besides this objection, which extends universally to all translations of Aristophanes, and many allusions of which time has deprived us, there are loose expressions thrown out to the populace to raise laughter from corrupt passions, which are unworthy of the curiosity of decent readers, and which ought to rest eternally in proper obscurity. Not every thing in this infancy of comedy was excellent, at least it would not appear excellent at this distance of time, in comparison of compositions of the same kind, which lie before our eyes; and this is reason enough to save me the trouble of translating, and the reader that of perusing. As for that small number of writers who delight in those delicacies, they give themselves very little trouble about translations, except it be to find fault with them; and the majority of people of wit like comedies that may give them pleasure, without much trouble of attention, and are not much disposed to find beauties in that which requires long deductions to find it beautiful. If Helen had not appeared beautiful to the Greeks and Trojans but by force of argument, we had never been told of the Trojan war.
On the other side, Aristophanes is an author more considerable than one would imagine. The History of Greece could not pass over him when it comes to touch upon the people of Athens; this alone might procure him respect, even when But he was not considered as a comic poet. when his writings are taken into view, we find him the only author from whom may be drawn a just idea of the comedy of his age; and farther, we find in his pieces, that he often makes attacks upon the tragic writers, particularly upon the three chief, whose valuable remains we have had under examination; and what is yet worse, fell sometimes upon the state, and upon the gods themselves.
History of Comedy.
III. I shall not repeat here what Madame Dacier, and so many others before her, have collected of all that can be known relating to the history of comedy. Its beginnings are as obscure as those of tragedy, and there is an appearance that we take these two words in a more extensive meaning; they had both the same original, that is, they began among the festivals of the vintage, and were not distinguished from one another but by a burlesque or serious chorus, which made all the soul and all the body. But, if we give these words a stricter sense, according
The chief heads of this discourse.
II. These considerations have determined me to follow, in my representation of this writer,
• Menander, an Athenian, son of Diopythus and Hegistrata, was apparently the most eminent of the writers of the new comedy. He had been a scholar of Theophrastus: his passion for the women brought infamy upon him: he was squint-eyed, and very lively. Of the one hundred and eighty comedies, or, according to Suidas, the eighty which he composed, and which are all stated to be translated by Terence, we have now only a few fragments remaining. He flourished about the 115th Olympiad, 318 years before He was drowned as he was the Christian Era. bathing in the port of Piræus. I have told in another place, what is said of one Philemon, his antagonist, not so good a poet as himself, but one who often gained the prize. This Philemon was older than him,
and was much in fashion in the time of Alexander the Great. He expressed all his wishes in two lines: "To have health, and fortune, and pleasure, and never to be in debt, is all I desire." He was very covetous, and was pictured with his fingers hooked, so that he set his comedies at a high price. He lived about a hundred years, some say a hundred and one. Many tales are told of his death; Valerius Maximus says, that he died with laughing at a little incident:
seeing an ass eating his figs, he ordered his servant to drive her away; the man made no great haste, and the ass eat them all. "Well done," says Philemon, "now give her some wine."-Apuleius and Quintilian placed this writer much below Menander, but gave him the second place.
to the notion which has since been formed, comedy was produced after tragedy, and was in many respects a sequel and imitation of the works of Eschylus. It is in reality nothing more than an action set before the sight by the same artifice of representation. Nothing is different but the object, which is merely ridicule. This original of true comedy will be easily admitted, if we take the word of Horace, who must have known better than us the true dates of dramatic works. This poet supports the system which I have endeavoured to establish in the second discourse* so strongly as to amount to demonstrative proof.
Horace expresses himself thus: "Thespis is said to have been the first inventor of a species of tragedy, in which he carried about in carts, players smeared with the dregs of wine, of whom some sung and others declaimed." This was the first attempt both of tragedy and comedy for Thespis made use only of one speaker, without the least appearance of dialogue. "Eschylus afterwards exhibited them with more dignity. He placed them on a stage somewhat above the ground, covered their faces with masks, put buskins on their feet, dressed them in trailing robes, and made them speak in a more lofty style." Horace omits invention of dialogue, which we learn from Aristotle.gedy, But, however, it may be well enough inferred from the followi words of Horace; this completion is mentioned while he speaks of Eschylus, and therefore to Eschylus it must be ascribed: "Then first appeared the old comedy, with great success in its beginning." Thus we see that the Greek comedy arose after tragedy, and by consequence tragedy was its parent. It was formed in imitation of Eschylus, the inventor of the tragic drama; or, to go yet higher into antiquity, had its original from Homer, who was the guide of Eschylus. For, if we credit Aristotle, § comedy had its birth from the Margites, a satirical poem of Homer, and tragedy from the Iliad and Odyssey. Thus the design and artifice of comedy were drawn from Homer and Eschylus. This will appear less surprising, since the ideas of the human mind are always gradual, and arts are seldom invented but by imitation. The first idea contains the seed of the second; this second, expanding itself, gives birth to a third; and so on. Such is the progress of the mind of man; it proceeds in its productions step by step, in the same manner as nature multiplies her works by imitating, or repeating her own act, when she seems most to run into variety. In this manner it was that comedy had its birth, its increase, its improvement, its perfection, and its diversity.
IV. But the question is, who was the happy author of that imitation, and that show, whether only one like Eschylus of tragedy, or whether they were several? for neither Horace, nor any before him, explained this.* This poet only quotes three writers, who had reputation in the old comedy, Eupolis,† Cratinus, and Aristophanes, of whom he says, "That they, and others who wrote in the same way, reprehended the faults of particular persons with excessive liberty." These are probably the poets of the greatest reputation, though they were not the first, and we know the names of many others.§ Among these three we may be sure that Aristophanes had the greatest character, since not only the king of Persia|| expressed a high esteem of him to the Grecian ambassadors, as of a man extremely useful to his country, and Plato¶ rated him so high as to say that the Graces resided in his bosom; but likewise because he is the only writer of whom any comedies have made their way down to us, through the confusion of times. There are not indeed any proofs that he was the inventor of comedy, properly so called, especially since he had not only predecessors who wrote in the same kind, but it is at
Poct. ch. 4.
"The alterations which have been made in tra
were perceptible, and the authors of them unknown; but comedy has lain in obscurity, being not cultivated, like tragedy, from the time of its original; for it was long before the magistrates began to give comic choruses. It was first exhibited by actors who From the time that it began to take some settled played voluntarily, without orders of the magistrates.
first used masks, added prologues, increased the form, we know its authors, but are not informed who uumbers of the actors, and joined all the other things which now belong to it. The first that thought of forming comic fables were Epicharmus and Phormys, and consequently this manner came from Sicily: Crates was the first Athenian that adopted it, and forsook the practice of gross raillery that prevailed 82nd Olympiad, 450 years before our era, twelve or thirteen years before Aristophanes.
before." Aristot. ch. 5. Crates flourished in the
+ Eupolis was an Athenian; his death, which we shall mention presently, is represented differently by authors, who almost all agree that he was drowned. Elian adds an incident which deserves to be mentioned: he says (book x. Of Animals,) that one Augeas of Eleusis, made Eupolis a present of a fine mastiff, who was so faithful to his master as to worry to death a slave who was carrying away some of his comedies. He adds, that when the poet died at Egene, his dog staid by his tomb till he perished by grief and hunger.
Cratinus of Athens, who was son of Calimedes, died at the age of ninety-seven. He composed twenty comedies, of which nine had the prize: he was a daring writer, but a cowardly warrior.
Hertelius has collected the sentences of fifty Greek poets of the different ages of comedy.
Interlude of the second act of the comedy entitled "The Acharnians.'
Epigram attributed to Plato.