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selves by those of Anuor and nealtav, and upon this rests the Peloponnesians' pretensions to be considered as the inventors of the drama: he then refers to what he considers as the true source and foun. dation of the drama, the works of Homer: and throwing aside all others, as tales not worth relating, 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 Me. garensians for their being notorious laughers; Tews Mayagıxós to laugh like a Megarensian' being a phrase in vulgar use with the Athenians; pay in. decd he might have gone a step further, and given them tragedy also, for Megarensian tears were as pro. verbial 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 tho verb Mgarleiv, and used by one and the same speaker; I have no doubt the like is true of Kuan, 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 proventus-and 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 so. lemn 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 spectators; this prize consisted of a cask of wine, and the performance before named simply Comedia or the village-song, was thenceforward called Trugædia, or the song for the cask, compounded of tgúyx and won.

These names are descriptive of the drama in its progressive stages, from a simple village-song, till it took a more complicated form by introducing the Satyrs, and employing the chorus in recitation through a whole fable, which had a kind of plot or construction, though certainly not committed to writing. In this stage, and not before, the prize of the cask of wine was given, and thence it proceeded to attract not the husbandmen and labourers only but the neighbours of better degree. The drama under the designation of Trugædia was satiric, and wholly occupied in the praise of Bacchus; it was unwritten, jocose, and confined to the villages at the seasons of the Trina Dionysia ; but after a prize however inconsiderable had been given, that prize created emulation, and emulation stimulated genius.

The village bards now attempted to enlarge their walk, and not confining their spectacles merely to Bacchus and the Satyrs began to give their drama a serious cast, diverting it from ludicrous and lascivious subjects to grave and doleful stories, in celebration of illustrious characters amongst their departed heroes ; which were recited throughout by a chorus, without the intervention of any other characters than those of the Satyrs, with the dances proper thereunto.

This spur to emulation having brought the drama a step forward, that advance produced fresh encouragement, and a new prize was now given, which still was, in conformity to the rustic simplicity of

the poem and its audience, a Goat, tgáyos, a new prize created a new name, and the serious drama became distinguished by the name of Tragædia, or the song for the goat : thus it appears that Tragedy, properly so called, was posterior in its origin to comedy; and it is worthy of remark that I'rugædia, was never applied to the tragic drama, nor Tragedia to the comic: after this comedy lost its general designation of Trugædia, and was called by its original name of the village-song or Comædia.

The next step was a very material one in point of advance,for the village-poets having been excited by emulation to bring their exhibitions into some shape and consistence, meditated an excursion from the villages into the cities, and particularly into Athens : Accordingly, in Olymp. liv. Susarion, a native of Icarius, presented himself and his comedy at that capital, rehearsing it on a moveable stage or scaf. fold, presuming on the hope that what had given such delight to the villagers, would afford some amusement to the more refined spectators in Athens: this was the first drama there exhibited, and we should naturally expect, that a composition to be acted before the citizens of the capital should be committed to writing, if we did not know that the author was on these occasions the actor of his own piece; the rude interludes of Bacchus and the Sa. tyrs being introduced upon the scene according to their old extemporary manner by the Sileni and Tityri, whose songs and dances were episodical to the drama: it continued to be the custom for authors to act their own plays in the times of Phrynichus and Æschylus, and I therefore think it probable Susa. rion's comedy was not a written drama ; and I close with the authorities for Epicharmus being the first writer of comedy, who, being retained in an elegant

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