صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

« Then turning out a vefsel like a tun,
Simpʻring exclaim d-Observe! I drink but one.”

(PHERECRATES.) Athenæus has preserved a considerable frag. ment from this author, extracted from his comedy of The Miners, which I look upon to be as curious a specimen of the old comedy as I have met with. It is a very luxuriant description of the riches and abundance of some former times to which he alludes, strongly dashed with comic strokes of wild extravagance and hyperbole. These Miners were probably the chorus of the drama, which no doubt was of a satirical fort, and pointed at the luxuries of the rich. By the mention made of Plutus in the first line, we may suppose that these Mines were of gold, and probably the deity of that precious metal was one of the persons of the drama.


“ The days of Plutus were the days of gold ; “ The season of high feeding and good cheer : *"* Rivers of goodly beef and brewis ran “ Boiling and bubbling thro' the steaming streets, 6 With islands of fat dumplings, cut in sops “ And llippery gobbets, moulded into mouthfuls, • That dead men might have swallow'd ; floating tripes “ And fleets of fausages in luscious morsels “ Stuck to the banks like oysters : Here and there,

• For relishers, a falt-fish season'd high • Swam down the favoury tide: When soon behold! “ The portly gammon failing in full state “ Upon his fimoaking platter heaves in fight, “ Encompass’d with his bandoliers like guards, “ And convoy'd by huge bowls of frumenty, “ That with their generous odours scent the air."

“ You stagger me to tell of these good days, “ And yet to live with us on our hard fare, " When death's a deed as easy as to drink.” “ If your mouth waters now,

what had it done, 6 Cou'd


have seen our delicate fine thrushes “ Hot from the spit, 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 choicest fruits in clusters hung; “ Girls too, young girls just budding into bloom, Clad in transparent vests, stood near at hand “ To serve us with fresh roses and full cups Of rich and fragrant wine, of which one glass “ No sooner 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 fcythes, your sickles, 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. 66 Our rivers roll with luxury, our vats « O’erflow with nectar, which providing Jove 6 Showers down by cataracts; the very gutters “ From our house-tops spout wine, vast forelts wave

66 Whose

“ Whofe very leaves drop fatness, sinoaking viands
Like mountains rise-All nature's one great feast."

Amrus, the son 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 these titles it appears that he wrote in the satirical vein of the old comedy, and I meet with a stroke at his contemporary Plato the philofopher. He has a play intitled The Seven Chiefs against Thebes, which is probably a parody upon Æschylus, and proves that he wrote after the personal drama was prohibited : There is another called The Dicers; and by several scattered passages he appears to have exposed the persons of drunkards, gameters, courtesans, parasites, and other vicious characters of his time, with great moral severity: There are also two comedies, intitled IV omen'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 assume the proper attributes of his lascivious character: He was the son of Lysides, and the brother of Myrtilus, a comic writer also.


HIPPARCHUS, PHILONIDES and TheQpOMPus complete the list of poets of the old comedy. Philonides, before he became a votary of the muse, followed the trade of a fuller, and, if we are to take the word of Aristophanes, was a very silly vulgar fellow, illiterate to a proverb. Athenæus and Stobæus have however given us fome short quotations, which by no means favour this account, and it is probable there was more satire than truth in Aristophanes'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 studies, time has preserved 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 PHILONI DE S. “ Because I hold the laws in due respect, " 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.

[ocr errors]

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 those of the New Comedy.

: : No LXXIX.

PREJUDICE is fo wide a word, that if

we would have ourselves understood, we must always use some auxiliary term with it to define our meaning: Thus when we speak of national prejudices, prejudices of education, or religious prejudices, by compounding our expression we convey ideas very different from each other..

National prejudice is by some called a virtue, but the virtue of it consists only in the proper application and moderate degree of it. It must be confessed a happy attachment, which can reconcile the Laplander to his freezing snows, and the African to his scorching sun. There are some portions of the globe fo partially en


« السابقةمتابعة »