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lus, gives the invention to Thespis. In the Antho. logia there are two epigrams, which expressly say the same ; one begins-icwidos iugeya TETO-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 TIespis 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

selves by those of Δημοι and Πραττειν, and

upon

this rests the Peloponnesians' pretensions to be consi. dered as the inventors of the drama: he then refers to what he considers as the truc source and foun. dation of the drama, the works of Homer: and throwing aside all others, as tales not worth re. lating, proceeds to the execution of his plan, viz. The definition and elucidation of the tragic poem.

These suggestions were thrown out by Aristotle for no other purpose, as it should seem, but to cast a ridicule upon every other account of the discovery of the drama, but his own; for he might as well have given the invention of comedy to the Megarensians for their being notorious laughers; réws Mryzgıxós to laugh like a Megarensian' being a phrase in vulgar use with the Athenians; nay in. deed he might have gone a step further, and given them tragedy also, for Megarensian tears were as proverbial as Megarensian laughter ; but a true Athenian would have answered, that the former alluded only to the onions, which their country abounded in, and was applied in ridicule of those who counterfeited sorrow: in short the Megarensians seem to have been the butts and buffoons of the Athenians, and held in sovereign contempt by them. As for the Peloponnesian etymologies, Aristotle must have known that neither the one nor the other had the laest foundation ; and that there is not a comedy of Aristophanes, in which he does not use the verb Agão frequently and in the mouths of Athenian speakers ; in his Birds I find it within a few lines of the verb Mgarleiv, and used by one and the same speaker; I have no doubt the like is true of Kώμαι, but I did not think the search worth following.

Bacchus and the Satyrs were both source and subject of the first drama, and the jocund rites of

that deity were celebrated at all times and under all governments with the same uprestrained festivity : this celebration was too closely interwoven with popular superstition to be checked by the most jea. lous of tyrants; the privileged seasons of Bacchus were out of the reach of the magistrate ; nor was the old satirical masque of the Athenians in Pisistra. tus's time less licentious than that of the Megarensians in their freest state; though it soon happened that the republic of Megara became an oligarchy, and the monarchy of Athens was converted into a republic.

The manner in which the drama was struck out may naturally be accounted for. The Greeks from early time were in the habit of chaunting songs and extemporary verses in the villages in praise of Bacchus at the Trina Dyonisia, which times answer to March, April, and January ; afterwards they performed these sorgsor dithyrambs at the Panathenæa, which were celebrated in the month of August, The Athenians were of all people living the most addicted to raillery and invective; these villagesongs and festivities of Bacchus gave a scope to the wildest extravagancies of mummery and grimace, mixt with coarse but keen raillery from the labourers and peasants concerned in the vintage: the women from their carts, masqued and disguised with lees of wine, and men accoutred in rude grotesque habits like satyrs, and crowned with garlands of ivy and violets, vented such prompt and irregular sallies, as their inebriated fancies furnished on the instant, or else rehearsed such little traditional and local ballads in Iambic metre, as were in fashion at the time ; accompanying them with extravagant gesticulations and dances incidental to the subject, and suitable to the character of the deity they were celebrating.

The drunken festivities of the antient Danes, when they sacrificed to their rural deities–Annux ut ipsis contingeret felicitas, frugumque et annonæ uberrimus proventusand the Highland ceremonies and libations of the Bel-tein arc of this character.

The Athenian calendar was crowded with these feasts : drinking-matches were rewarded with prizes and even crowns of gold; their Phallic ceremonies were of this description : they used vehement gesticulations in reading and speaking; their rhapsodists carried this habit to excess, and in the dithyrambic hymn every outrageous gesture, which enthusiasm inspires, was put in practice : the dithyramb was conceived in a metaphorical inflated style, stuffed with an obscure jargon of sounding phrases, and performed in honour of Bacchus.

In these dithyrambic verses and Phallic songs we have the foundation of tragedy and comedy ; the solemn and swelling tone of the first, and the petulant vivacity of the latter, appositely point to the respective character of each. The satire and scurrility they indulged from their vintage waggons, their masks and disguises in the hairy habits of satyrs, their wanton songs and dances at the Phallic ceremonies, and the dark bombast of the dithyramb, chanted by the rhapsodists with every tumid and ex. travagant action, all together form a complete outline of the first drama : as soon as dialogue and repartee were added, it became to allintents a masque, and in this state it is discovered in very early times throughout the villages of Greece. When it had reached this period, and got something like the shape of a drama, it attracted the curiosity of the villagers, who in reward for their amusement in the spectacle decreed a prize to the performance agreeable to the object in view and the means of the spec

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