« PreviousContinue »
Thespis is said to have invented an unknown kind of tragic poetry, and to have carried his plays with all their apparatus about in a cart, which were to be afted by strolers, whose faces were daubed with the lees of wine. Horace does not say the tragic muse had no existence, in any shape whatever, before Thespis; but only that he invented a new kind, unknown before : for he first made his stories entirely dramatic, and brought them on the ftage.
AFTER tragedy, the old comedy fucceeded : which took it's first hint from an ob
scene Atria sense, on purpose to make way for his emendation. " Quale tamen obfecro illud eft, vexisse plauftris poemata ? os hoc eft ut enarrat Acron, tam multa fcripfille quae posset
plauftris advehere. Mirum hoc profeéto, &c." The Dr. however saw the true meaning, but that he hurries over, and corrects,
Et plauftris vexisse poemata Thespis Qui canerent agerent que peruncli faecibus ora. id eft, vexile plauftris eos qui canerent, &c. But that Horace is to be understood in this expression, (poemata) according to its utmost latitude, į have a witness beyond all exception, the learned author of the dissertation upon the epistles of Phalaris, to oppose to the editor of Horace; who citing these words, p. 207. plauftris vexisse poemata Thespis, thus translates them, That in the beginning the PLAYS were carried about the villages in carts.
12 Hor. art. poet. 281. Succeflit vetus his Comoedia. Marc, Anton. XI, 6. Milch die pan agalwdhar j apxała
scene' song, which they sung in the festivals of Bacchus, called hence the "3 Phallic. Comedy lay neglected, and remained, according to its κωμωδία παρήχθη, παιδαγωτικής σαββησίαν έχεσα, και της άτυφίας εκ αχρήσως δι' αυτής της ευθυγρημοσύνης υπομιμονή omra. After tragedy the old comedy fucceeded, afing an ixftructive liberty of inveighing against perfonal vices, and by this direct freedom of speech was of great use to humble pride and arrogance. What Aristotle says, is worth our notice : Η δε κωμωδία, δια το μη σπεδάζεσθαι εξ αρχής, έλαθεν» και γαρ χορόν κωμωδών οψέ τολε ο άρχων έδωκεν, αλλ' εθελούλας hcar. We don't know the several changes of comedy so well, because it has not been improved since it's beginning as much as tragedy. For 'twas late e're the archon
the comic chorus : but the actors play'd voluntarily. Arift. xIQ: . 'Tis to be observed that the Archon at Athens defray'd the charges of the play, as the Ædiles did at Rome : which they term'd χορόν διδόναι. There is the fame expreffion at the latter end of Plato's Repub. L. II. which the interpreters feem to be ignorant of. “Όταν τις τοιαύτα λίγη σερί θεών χαλπανεμέν τε, και ΧΟΡΟΝ ΟΥ ΔΩΣΟΜΕΝ.
13 Η δε από των τα φαλλικά, α έτι και νυν εν πολλαίς των σόλεων διαμένει νομιζόμενα. Αrift. κεφ. δ'. And Αriftophanes, Acarn. V. 26ο. Εγώ δ' ακολαθών άσομαι το φαλλικόν. Schol. άσματα λέfoναι φαλλικά, τα επι τω φαλλα αδόμενα μέλη: έτι δε εις Διόνυσον, ή άλλοε εις Πρίαπον.. See the fchol. On the fame play, *. 242. where the story there told has a near resemblance to what the priests and diviners advised the Philistines, being amicted with emerods : viz. to make them images. And they accordingly made them images of the emerods. 1 Sam. vi. 4. & 17. But another word should be used, not emerods.
etymology, a song in country towns, when tragedy was publicly acted at the expence of the magiftrate. These village fongs were either abusive and fcurrilous, exposing the follies and failings of the neighbourhood ; or they were of the obscene kind, as more agreeable to the ridiculous figure carried in the processions of the festival. It had another name, teulwdicin the wineFong ; as mpafwdía, is the goat-Song : a vessel of wine being the prize of comedy, and a goat of tragedy. Aristophanes calls the old comedians
tpufoSainovés, in that passage, rather from their diabolical faces bedaubed with the lees of wine,
14. Ariftoph. nub. *. 298. & pe o orations, punde annonse
άπερ οι τρυξοδαίμονες έτοι. "Schol. oi spurodaópovesgooi woonlaí (lege oi xwuireod wornici] επειδή την τρύα χριόμενοι, ίνα μη γνώριμοι γένωνίαι, ότω τα αυτών ήδον ποιήματα κατά τας δδες αμάξης επικαθήμενοι. διο και παροιμία, Ως εξ αμάξης λαλεί ήγεν αναισχύνως υβρίζει. τετο δε επόμεν οι κωμικοί ποιηταί. From this paffage of Aristophanes and the scholiast, a most certain correction offers itself, of a corrupted place in Xenophon's memoirs of Socrates, where the young man complains to his father of his mother Xanthippe's cross temper, “ What, (says ** Socrates) do you think it more difficult for you to hear « what your mother says, than fo: the players when they i abuse one another tv tais squadéaos.” So I would undoubtedly read, not agalwdicos, as the present copies have it. Xen. átog. 6.6. 6'. xsq.6.
than from their prize. Such is Epicharmus found comedy, when he preserved its original name, but altered the form and nature of it ; and took, for the subject of his 16 imitation, those follies and vices of mankind, which ren
15 Το δε μύθος ποιείν, ΕπίχαρμG- και Φόρμις ήρξαν. Epipharmus and Phormis were the first who made a fable or plot in their comedies. Phormis, not Phormus, as he is wrongly called, in the introduction to Every Man out of his Humour, by Johnson.
16 Ariftot. chap. 2. speaking of the subjects of imitation observes, that men must be represented, either as they are, or better, or worse ; and instances of painters, then of poets. Homer, he says, has made men better, other poets worse, others again as they are. In this very thing lies the difference between tragedy and comedy ; for comedy endeavours to represent men worse, and tragedy better than they are. 'Εν αύτη [leg. Εν ταυτή δε τη διαφορά, και η τραγωδία προς την κωμωδίαν διέρηκεν η μεν γαρ χείρες, η δε βελφίες μιμείolan Borelas tū vớv. Again in chap. v. 'Hdè xwfewdia isin, ώσπερ είπομεν, μίμησις φαυλοκέρων μίν, και μέλος καλα πάσαν κακίαν, αλλα το αισχρά επί το γελοίον μόριον το γας γελοίον, εσιν αμάριημά τι και αίσχο ανώδυνον και 8 φθαρικόν" οίον ευθύς, το γελοίον πρόσωπον αίσχρόν τι και διεστραμμένον άνευ οδύνης. Comedy is, as I have said, an imitation of the worst, but not worst in all sort of vice, [for some vices raise indignation, horror, or pity, which are tragic pasions) but only what has a ridiculous share of what is base: for the ridiculous is a fort of defect and baseness, neither causing pain nor destruction to the fubje& in which it exifts. As for example (cubus, ex.
der them ridiculous. Theocritus fays of his "? countryman,
"A τε φωνα Δώριζ, χωνήρ ο ταν κωμωδίαν
“Eυρων ΕπίχαρμG-. And presently after, Πολλα γαρ ποτίαν ζωων τοϊς ΠΑΙΣΙΝ είχε χρήσιμα.
Μεγάλα χάρις αυτώ. . There is a small corruption in the last line but one, HAIEIN, children, instead of HALIN, all mankind. The philosophic comedian spoke what was useful for all mankind to know, and fitting
gr.] a deformed and distorted countenance, without any paint to the person, is a ridiculous countenance. Proper subjects of comic mirth are the vices which make men mean, contemptible, and ridiculous ; such are lovers, drunkards, the vain-glorious, the covetous, the coward, fops, fine ladies, and fine gentlemen, &c. These have no feeling of their own baseness ; their deformity is árcéduvos, as the philosopher says; and they are therefore ridiculous characters,
17 He came to Sicily when an infant from the island Cos, and is therefore called a Sicilian. Laert. VIII, 78. Cicero in epift. ad Attic. I. 19. Ut crebro mihi vafer ille Siculus insufurrat Epicharmus cantilenam illam fuam,
Ναφε και μέμνασ’ απιτείνάρθρα ταύτα των φρενών.