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for common life. 'Twas usual for him to make one person enter into a dialogue with himself, and sustain the parts of two persons. So 18 Plato teaches us in his Gorgias, ίνα μη το τι Επιχάρμε
And in his Tusculan questions, I, 8. Sed tu mihi videris Epicharmi, acuti nec insulfi hominis, ut Siculi fententiam fequi. ***
Emori nolo, fed me elle mortuum nihil aeftimo. The Greek trochaic we have in fonie fort, but very corrupted, remaining in Sextus Empiricus, p. 54. árobavew ģ TiOvévan ó por csapigeiv. Omitting the guesses of others, I think it may easily be thus restored,
Mεύγ απη θανείς όμως δε τεθνάν έχει διαφέρει. which exactly answers to Cicero's version. The philosophers Plato and Xenophon were very fond of Epicharmus. The latter cites him in his Socratic memoirs, L. II. c. 1. where the verses are thus to be ordered,
Των πόνων σωλύσιν αμϊν πάνlα ταΓαθ' οι θεόι.
Ω πονηρε συ,
μου τα μαλακά μώεο, μη τα σκλης έχης.
'Twas usual for him to inculcate the precepts of Pythagoras, as Jamblicus tells us, c. 36. So Theodoret Therap. I. p. 15. Κατα γαρ δη τον Επίχαρμον τον Πυθαγόρειον λέγω,
Nές δρη, και νες ακέει: τάλλα κωφά και τυφλά. From these and many other instances, the reader may see the propriety of the change in Theocritus of 17AIEIN into ΠΑΣΙΝ. 18 Plato in Gorg. p. 505. edit. Steph.
réunlars & wel dúo dudges Exelor, els vinavos gévwhw. An instance of this Plato gives '' foon after, according to his elegant manner. The Stoic philosophers were highly fond of this way of writing; and thus the discourses of Epictetus are for the most part written. Neither are instances of this kind wanting in Shakespeare. As in the first part of K. Hen. IV. Act. y. just before the battle Falstaff has this dialogue 20 with himself.
“ What need I be so forward with him that sc calls not on me? Well, 'cis no matter, ho
nour pricks me on : but how if honour
pricks me off, when I come on? How then? “ Can honour set to a leg! No.
Or take away the grief of " a wound? No. Honour hath no skill " in surgery then ? No.
What is honour? " A word. What is that word honour ? " Air. A trim reckoning ? Who hath it? “ He that dyed a wednesday. Doth he feel
No. Doth he hear it ? No. “ Is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead.
19 Ibid. p. 506.
zo Prince Henry should leave the stage after Falstaff says, " 'Tis not due yet : I would be loth to pay him before « his day."
" But will it not live with the living ? No. “ Why? Detraction will not suffer it. There" fore, I'll none of it : honour is a meer “ scutcheon, and so ends my catechism.”
I will mention one instance more of this old comedian's manner, which was sometimes to repeat the same thing in almost the fame words ; and this in proper characters seems to have an air of wit: you expect something, and you find nothing. 11 Τόκα μεν έν τήνους έγων ήν, τόκα δε σαρα τηνους ετών. Tunc quidem inter illosego eram, tunc autem apud illos. Plautus was a great imitator of Epicharmus, as Horace informs us in that well-known verse,
Plautus ad exemplar Siculi properare Epicharmi Dicitur.
In his Curculio, Act V. Scene IV. he has this
E malis multis, malum quod minimum eft, id minimum est malum.
21 Ariftot. rhet. 1. 3. c. ix. Demetrius wigil 'Egp. xiq.
Sir Hugh Evans, in the Merry wives of Windfor, is full of these elegant tautologies so proper to his character ; in Act I. Sc. I. Ev. « Shall “ I tell you a lie? I do despise a liar as I do
despise one that is false ; or as I despise one 6 that is not true.”
So Hamlet, in a jocose vein, says,
For if the king like not the comedy ;
Why then, belike, be likes it not, perdy. There is no reason to tire the reader with more instances, for a hint of this nature is sufficient.
Xenophon in his treatise of the Athenian republic takes notice of the excessive scurrilities of the old comedians. But the emperor Marcus Antoninus speaks more favourable of them; and says this freedom of speech had an air of discipline and instruction, and by inveighing against personal vices was of use to humble the pride and arrogance of the great. What a reflection to come from so great a man!
The az old comedy, without any scruple, exposed real persons, and brought real stories on
22 Concerning the difference of comedy, see Platonius, and the other writers of comedy prefixed to Kufter's edition of Ariftophanes. Of the old comedy were written in all
the stage, sparing neither magistrates or philosophers, a Cleo, Hyperbólus, oř Socrates,
Eupolis, atqüe Cratifus, Ariftopbanesque poetåe,
While the people kept the power in their own hands, they had full scope of indulging this licentious spirit ; but when the tyranny of a few at Athens prevailed, the poets were obliged to be more circumspect. Socrates might laugh with the laughers; but a jest upon a corrupt magistrate was felt to the quick. Hence arofe another species of comedy, called ihe middle comedy, in which the names were feigned, bụt the story was real : the chorus too was dropped, because here the poet more particularly indulged his ridiculing vein.
365 plays ; of the middle, 617 Athenatus fays he had red above 800 : of the new,
y, there were 64 poets. Menan. der alone wrote 108 plays. We have only now preserved a few of the plays of Aristophanes ; and these perhaps chiefly by the care of St. Chryfoftom.