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above cited, or Suidas in his author of The Pentheus;' but it is further urged by a sagacious critic, that this fragment bears internal evidence of a tor. gery, being doctrine of a later date than Thespis, and plainly of the fabrication of Plato's academy: in confirmation of this remark, circumstances of a more positive nature are adduced, and Diogenes Laertius is brought forward, who actually charges Heraclides of writing certain tragedies and fathering them upon Thespis, and this charge Laertius grounds upon the authority of Aristoxenus the mu. sician: the credit of Aristoxenus as a philosopher, historian, and faithful relator of facts, is as well established with the learned world, as the character of Heraclides is notorious for plagiarism, falsehood and affectation; he was a vain rich man, a great juggler in literature, aspiring to rival Plato in his writings, and one who was detected in bribing the Pythia to decree a crown of gold and divine honours to him after his decease; a man as apt to palm his own productions upon others as he was to assume other men's productions to himself, which he was convict. ed of by Chamæleon in his spurious treatise upon Homer and Hesiod.

This practice of fathering tragedies upon great names obtained in more instances than one; for Dionysius wrote a tragedy called Parthenopæus and palmed it upon Sophocles, a bolder forgery than this of Heraclides ; and it is remarkable, that Heraclides himself was caught by this forgery, and quotes the Parthenopæus as genuine.

Plato speaking of 'The Deity uses these words Πούρω ηδονής και λύσης έδρυται το θείον-- The Deity is situated remote from all pleasure and pain :' A sentiment so coincident with the fragment quoted by Plutarch from the Pentheus ascribed to Thespis,

seems to warrant the remark before made, which supposes it to have been fabricated in the academy of Plato: This with the authority of Aristoxenus for the general forgery, and Plutarch's assertion that tragedy was satiric before Phrynichus and Æschy. Jus, will have its weight against the titles of Thes. pis's tragedies, as they are given in Suidas ; and accordingly I find that the editor of Suidas, commenting upon this very article, in effect admits the error of his author: this argument moreover accounts for the silence of Aristotle as to Thespis's tragedies.

I am aware that it has been a question with some critics, whether tragedy originated with Thespis, notwithstanding the record of the Marmor Chroni. con, and Suidas states the pretensions of Epigenes the Sicyonian prior to Thespis ; but in this he is single and unsupported by any evidence, except what Plato asserts generally in his Minos – That tragedy was extremely ancient at Athens, and that it is to be dated neither from Thespis, nor from Phrynichus ; '--some authorities also place Thespis's first tragedy in a higher period then Olymp. ixi, as it stands in the Marmor; for Laertius says • That Solon hindered Thespis from acting his tra. gedies, believing those feigned representations to be of no use.'-And Plutarch tells us - That Solon saw one of Thespis's plays, but disliking the man. ner of it, forbade him to act any more.--I need not observe that this must have passed before Pisistratus established his tyranny, which did not take place till the last year of Olymp. liv. but if these facts be admitted, they seem to be decisive as to the tragedy's being allusive to Bacchus and the Sa. tyrs in its first instance at least; because it can hardly be supposed that so profest an admirer of Homer as

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Solon was known to be, and himself a poet, would have objected to any drama formed upon his model.

As to Plato's general assertion with respect to the high antiquity of the Athenian tragedy, it seems thrownoutas a paradox, which he does not attempt to illustrate or support, and I cannot think it stands in the way of Thespiss pretensions to be considered as the father of tragedy, confirmed by so many authorities.

All these seeming difficulties will be reconciled, if we concur with the best opinions in the following particulars, viz. that tragedy, which was concerned about Bacchus and the Satyrs, was in no instance committed to writing : that Thespis's first tragedy, which Solon saw and disliked, was of this unwritten and satiric sort: that in process of time the same author actually wrote tragedy, and first acted it on a waggon in Olymp. Ixi. within the æra of Pisistratus, and according to the record of the Marmor Chronicon, so often referred to.

I will not disguise that Dr. Bentley, whose criti. cism is so conclusive for the forgery of those tragedies quoted by Plutarch and enumerated by Suidas, Julius Pollux and Clemens of Alexandria, is of opi. nion - Thespis himself published nothing in writing ;' but as there are so many testimonies for his being the father of tragedy in general, and some which expressly say he was the first writer of tra. gedy, I hope I shall not trespass too far on my reader's patience, if I lay the chief of these autho. rities before him.

The Arundel Marble, which is of date as high as Olymp. cxxix. sets forth, that “Thespis was the first who gave being to tragedy.' The epigram of Dios. corides, printed in Mr. Stanley's edition of Æschylus, gives the invention to Thespis. In the Antho. logia there are two epigrams, which expressly say the same ; one begins-wiowidos iugalec TŠTO-the other-Θέσεις όδε, τραγικην ός ανέλασε πρώτος ασύδην. Plutarch in his Solon says. That Thespis gave rise and beginning to the very rudiments of tragedy.' Clemens of Alexandria makes Thespis the contriver of tragedy, as Susarion was of comedy. Athenæus says both comedy and tragedy were struck out at Icarius, a place in Attica, where Thespis was born. Suidas records to the same ef. fect, and Donatus speaks expressly to the point of written tragedy.'-Thespis autem primas hæc scripta in omnium notitiâ protulit.-What Horace says of Thespis in his Art of Poetry, and more particularly in the_Epistle to Augustus, where he classes him with Æschylus and Sophocles, certainly implies that he was a writer of tragedy, and is so interpreted by Cruquius and the old commentator preserved in his edition. I shall add one circumstance to the above authorities, which is, that the Chorus alone performed the whole drama, till Thespis introduced one actor to their relief; this reform could hardly be made, much less be recorded by Aristotle, unless Thespis had written tragedies and published them to the world.

Upon the whole I incline to consider Thespis as the first author of the written tragedy, and to place him in Olymp. Ixi. From him tragedy descended through Pratinas, Carcinus and Phrynichus to Æs. chylus, and this is the first age of the tragic drama.

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ABOUT two centuries had elapsed from the date of Thespis's tragedy to the time when Aristotle wrote bis Poetics ; which must have been after he quitted the service of Alexander, to whom he sent a copy of that treatise : the chain of dramatists from Thespis to Euripides had been continued in regular succes. sion, and it is not to be supposed, but that he might have given a more particular and methodical account of the first inventors of tragedy, if it had fallen within the scope of his work; but this being merely critical, he takes his account of tragedy and comedy from Æschylus and Epicharmus, contenting him. self with a brief detail of such vague and dubious traditions relative to the first inventors, as common fame seems to have thrown in his way.

He loosely observes—That the people of Me. garis claim the invention of comedy ; that there is reason to think it took its origin in a popular and free form of government, which that of Megaris then was : that Epicharmus the Sicilian was far se. nior to Chionides and Magnes, the first Athenian writers of comedy :'--He also throws out an idle suggestion from the etymology of the words comedy and drama, the former of which he derives from Kágas, villages, and the latter from the verb Apăr, Ti páčvlat Apwvles. Now the people of Peloponnesus he tells us use the words Kópai and Agõv in their dialect, whereas the Athenians express

them

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