Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Then I sip and I swill, and I riot at will, nor cast eye of discreet observation,

How your eye or your man's watches, guages and spans what my appetite's warmth and duration.

Never yet, by my fay, did I bid that knave lay for supper, or otherwise task him,

But a cloud ever hung on his brow, lest my tongue a cake or dish extra should ask him.

Thus from head, Sir, to feet, I'm in armour complete,-fenced and shelter'd from ev'ry disaster,

And your wine you may spare, while this (draws a case from under his vest) falls to my share, and calls me its lord and its master. Outward, form'd 'tis an ass-spare your mirth-let that pass :-in

ward holds he what asks best appliance :

(Drinks and looks at it) Rogue! as keen he surveys your pinch'd beakers he brays, and trooper-toned bids you defiance.'

With Athenians of this class a good dinner seems to have been what the resources of the publican are with the lower orders in our own country, an excellent restorer of harmony and a pledge of concord between contending parties. Male readers, who perused the taunts of the rival choruses in a former Number, must have been well aware, that the feelings, there exhibited, were much too hot to hold. Female readers, skilled in tracing the passions, and who know that nothing is unconquerable but indifference, will hear, without surprise, the conclusion of these sarcasms. A few overtures from the female chorus, a salutation upon the cheek, and a little dexterity shewn in relieving their antagonist's eye of a large gnat, which infested it, gradually overcome the wrath of the rival male chorus. ' Baggages,' exclaims its coryphæus, after a decent resistance, there's no living with them, nor without them; and yet, as the old proverb says-they are but limbs of the old-one after all. This satisfactory reconciliation is, of course, to be confirmed by a feast; and when the good feelings of an Athenian were set afloat, they were most comprehensive in their nature.

"

CHORUS.

I quaff to you, laugh to you :-suff'ring or doing,
No harm be between us for ages ensuing ;

But charity, amity, peace and good breeding;
And let a joint stave mark old troubles receding.
Oyez-let none fear

In my

numbers to hear

·

εςε θωπικαι φύσει.

Κας' εκεινο τυπος ορθως, κι κακως, ειρημενον.
ετε συν πανωλεθροισιν, ετ' ανευ πανωλέθρων.

Beautiful as these mystic types appear to the eye, we can assure our female readers, that they express neither more nor less, than what has been ventured as an equivalent in the text.

A reproach

A reproach or a sneer;
No such thoughts harbour here :
But words that drop manna,
And deeds all of honey,
To feasts invitation,
And offers of money.
Time enough, and to spare,
Has ill-luck been our fare;
Let it now be our care
The old breach to repair,
And to set things more square.
Then make proclamation,
Possessing the nation,
That he, whose
poor pittance
Demands a remittance,-
Be it two pounds or four,
Or a small matter more,-
May here be supplied ;-
With a good purse beside,
His silver and gold
More securely to hold :
This further too learning
That peace once returning,
'Tis our fixt resolution
Not to ask restitution.'-

We break in upon this long-winded joint stave to observe, that the premises and conclusion of an Athenian's liberality were not always in strict accordance; and the good-humoured poet, whom no trait of popular humour escaped, has not failed to find a niche for this.

Further notice, Sirs, take,
That a banquet we make,
For the comfort and sake,
Of a much honour'd crew,
All good men and true,
As Carystus e'er knew.
Their presence to greet,
We have pulse as is meet:
A pig and what not,
Too, are gone to the pot;
They may thus look for flesh
That is tender and fresh.-

(To the audience.) Let to-morrow then see

One and all hous'd with me ;
And come without calling,
The morning forestalling,
With your boys in a row,
And your cheeks in a glow,

S

VOL. XXIII. NO. XLV.

All

All fresh from the bath,
Taking straight the house path;
Then without explanation
Or interrogation,

Let each as if come

To his own proper home,
Forward instantly venture :—
One caution I put,

If

you find the door shut,-
"Tis a proof you can't enter.'

Among the idle, and we must be pardoned for saying, the ridiculous mistakes respecting the character of Aristophanes, none appears to us more misplaced than the received opinion, that he was a severe caustic satirist. That he could deal heavy blows, when he pleased, is most certain; but if we had to point out the most distinguishing feature in his character, we should refer to that good natured relish he displays for the popular humour, belonging to all free governments, and which shone more particularly in an Attic mob. A benevolent man shares in this feeling, from the milkiness of his nature; a thoughtful man, who observes with what cheerfulness it often conducts the poor through privations, from which the rich and the learned would shrink, sees in it one of those great compensations, by which Providence equalises mankind, and leaves the stations of rich and poor, as little more than varieties of means for gaining happiness. We think it of sufficient importance to cherish popular humour, to induce us to pursue the particular species just pointed out a little farther. A chorus, who could feast a whole audience at so small an expense, had no reason to be less profuse on other points.

• Of whatever I'm possest,
Carpet, coverlit, or vest,

Cash and jewels, of silver and gold;
Here I make spontaneous offer,
And without reserve I proffer
To the public to have and to hold.
Must your daughter make display
Upon some public day,

And her person array in all bravery?
I have fardingales and things,

Stuffs and cuffs, and ruffs and rings,
Take them all, Sirs, nor think it any knavery.

Seal and signet you may break,

Vest and vestment you may take,

Cash and jewels, and diamonds and stone;-
Only one thing I premise,

He that finds them has two eyes

Of a much clearer ken than my own.

A treasury

A treasury like this was not easily exhausted.

'

We shall give but one instance more: the comic poet acted, it has been before observed, as the gazetteer of the times, and his Foreign Intelligence' certainly furnished an intellectual repast not often found in modern journals. Thus the political fates of Prasiæ, (a town in Laconia lately destroyed by the Athenians,) of Megara, (the support given to which by the Lacedæmonians, was the principal cause of the Peloponnesian war,) and of Leontini in Sicily, (then recently suffering under the oppression of the Syracusans,) become, in the Aristophanic comedy of the Peace, the materials of an Attic myttoton or salad, and are thus served up to the audience.

SCENE-HEAVEN.

A great bowl or mortar is seen upon the stage: leeks, garlic, and cheese lie around it.

WAR, TRYGEUS.

War. (slowly and solemnly.) Laceration,
Maceration,
Grief and scorning,
Woe and Mourning,
Past all curing,
I do scan

Try.

War.

Unto man,

The much-enduring.
Cramps and stitches,
Aches and pains,
Rack his joints
And fire his veins!

Shield me, great Phœbus, 'tis indeed a mortar
Vast beyond vastness!—then, this monster's visage!
Pain, mischief, misery, are upon his front.
And do my eyes indeed take witness of him,
The god, whose very sight creates a solitude,
The truculent--the iron-faced-still settling
Upon his legs, as if for fight preparing!

Double, double,
Woe and trouble,
Triple trine,
And nine to nine,
Nine and ten,
And nine again,
I do see
For Prasia*
Hapless state!

See now, thy doom is seal'd, and ratified thy fate.

(Throws a leek into the bowl.)

Try.

A word nearly similar to Prasiæ in Greek signifies a leek.

$ 2

Try. War.

Try.

War.

Look, Sparta, to't-'tis her concern-not our's.
For Megara weep!

And your sighs be they deep.
For the fates strongly pull,
And my bowl must be full;
The loss of a fraction

Would work me distraction:
Nicely chopp'd, minced, and drest.
She may yet be at rest!

*

(Throws in garlic, and pounds it very small.)

Sigh we for those same folk of Megara!
Large floods of tears-and bitter, save the mark!
Hath he infused for them!

Leader of the
Female Chorus.

Cry aloud, fair and foul,
And for Sicily howl!
For body and soul,
She must go to the bowl;
For the pride of her state
She must yield to her fate,
And the scraper and knife
Now lie hard at her life!

(Scrapes cheese, and throws it into the bowl.) Pour we some honey‡ now from Attica Upon our work.

Among the public entertainments of a people so theatrically disposed as the Athenians, none we may be sure ranked higher than the superb banquet, usually given by the triumphant tribe to the successful chorus. The prize feast (ETTIVIXIA) is the constant encouragement by which Aristophanes stimulates exertion in his orchestral troop, and in his Female Parliament he offers a bill of fare, which is certainly very provocative. The poet, who contrary to the usual practice, was dismissing his company in a dance, gives animation to the lower members of his dancers, by an intimation addressed to their upper organs.

• Come away, come away,'
'Tis no time for delay.
If we loiter and dally,
And stand shilly shally,
"Twixt the cup and the lip
Some misfortune may slip,
And the viands tho' basted
May never be tasted.

* Garlic was one of the most plentiful productions of Megara.

†The reader of Theocritus need not be reminded of the rich milk and cheeses, which so frequently occur in the most exquisite of all pastoral poets.

It was from the odoriferous herbs on mount Hymettus, that the excellence of the Attic honey was derived.

(turns

« ZurückWeiter »