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laugh, and so far there can be no offence in this scene.

After all it must be allowed, that these seminaries of sophistry, which the state of Athens thought i necessary to put down by public edict, could not have been improper subjects for dramatic ridicule for if the schools were found so detrimental to the morals of youth, that the archons anıl their council, after due deliberation, resolved upon a general ex. pulsion of all masters and teachers thereunto belongs ing, and effectually did expel them, surely the poet may be acquitted, when he satirizes those obnoxious parties, whom the laws of his country in a short ime after cut off from the community.

There can be little doubt but this was a public measure founded in wisdom, if it were for no other reason, than that the Lacedæmonians never suffered a master of philosophy to open school within their realm and jurisdiction, holding them in abhorrence, and proscribing their academies as seminaries of evil manners, and tending to the corruption of youth: it is well known what peculiar care and attention were bestowed upon the education of the Spartan youth, and how much more moral this people was, who admitted no philosophers to settle amongst them, than their Athenian neighbours, in whose dissolute capital they swarmed. In fact, the enormity became too great to be redressed ; the whole community was infected with the enthusiasm of these sectaries ; and the liberties of Athens, which de. pended on the public virtue of her citizens, fell a sa. crifice to the corruptions of false philosophy : the wiser Lacedæmonians saw the fatal error of their rivals, and availed themselves of its consequences they rose upon the ruins of Athens, and it was the triumph of wisdom over wit: these philosophers

were ingenious men, but execrable citizens; and when the raillery of the stage was turned against them, the weapons of ridicule could not be more laudably employed.

As for the school of Socrates in particular, though it may be a fashion to extol it, there is no reason to believe it was in better credit than any other; on the contrary, it was in such public disre. pute on account of the infamous characters of

many of his disciples, and of the disgraceful attachments he was known to have, that it was at one time de. serted by every body except Æschines, the parasite of the tyrant Dionysius, and the most worthless man living : this Æschines, his sole and favourite disciple, was arraigned by the pleader Lysias, and convicted of the vilest frauds, and branded as a pab. bic cheat: he was a wretch, who employed the so. phistry and cunning argumentation, which he learnt of his master, to the purpose only of evading bis debts, contracted by the most profligate extravagancies : he afterwards went over to the school of Plato, and when Socrates was dead, had influence enough with Xantippe to obtain of her some dialogues from her husband's papers, which he published as his own, and set up for an author and preceptor in philosophy. It is very probable Aristophanes had in view the character of this very Æschines, when he brings his old man on the scene, consulting Socrates for sophistical evasions how to elude his creditors.

Apother of the scholars of Socrates was Simon the sophist, a man whose rapacity become a proverb (Ein wyos ágtartınútegos, Simoni rapacior.) This Simon was such a plunderer of the public money, that Aristophaues, in his strong manner says, "The tery wolves run off upon the sight of Simon.'

The despicable Cleonymus, whose cowardice was

as proverbial as Simon's rapacity, and the profligate Theorus, who buried himself in the stews at Corinth, were also fellow students under Socrates, and it is with justiodignation against such execrable characters that Aristophanes exclaims Jupiter, if thy bolts are aimed at perjury, why do these wretches, of all most perjured, Simon, Cleonymus and Theorus, escape the stroke?' Ειπεβάλλει τις επιόρκες, πώς δήτ' εχί Σίμων' ενέπρησεν, Ουδέ Κλεώνυμον, έδε Θεώρoν ; και τοι σφόδρα γ' εισέπιόρκοι.

Aristippus, the Cyreniac founder, was a distinguished disciple of the Socratic school, a parasite also in the court of Dionysius, a buffoon and drunk, ard, the avowed opposer of every thing virtuous, a master and professor of immorality, who laid down institutes of sensuality, and reduced it to a system.

Of Alcibiades I shall briefly speak, for the stories of Socrates's attachment to him are such as need not be enlarged upon; they obtain so generally, that he was vulgarly called Alcibiades's Silenus: when I glance at these reports in disfavour of a character, which probably stands so high in the opinion of the learned reader, I must hope for a candid interpretation of my motives for collecting these anec. dotes, which I do not wish to apply to any other purpose than merely to shew that Aristophanes was not singular in his attack upon this celebrated phi. losopher ; neither did this attack bear so hard against him, as many stories, then in general circulation, otherwise did : great authorities have ascribed his at. tachment to Alcibiades to the most virtuous prio. ciple ; common fame, or perhaps (more properly speaking) common defamation, turned it into a charge of the impurest nature : in like manner we

find him ridiculed for his devotion to the noted Aspasia, in whose company he is said to have passed much of his time; and Athenæus quotes some pas. sages of his dialogues with her, which he tells us were published by Herodicus, and which we must either totally reject, or allow him to have been subject to such private weaknesses and frailties as were very unsuitable to his public character : what were the real motives for his frequent visits to Aspasia, as well as for his seeming attachment to the strumpet Theodote, must be left to conjecture; of the fact there is no room to doubt. He is stigmatized for his guilty connections in his youth with his preceptor Archelaus, and yet this charge (however improbable it may seem) rests upon the authority of Aristoxenus, a man of the most candid character, and whose credit stands high with all true critics. Herodicus the historian, whom I have before mentioned, and who lived about three hundred and fifty years before the Christian æra, seems to have treated Socrates with the greatest severity, charging him with sitting up all night drinking and carousing with Agatho and others, whom when he had left drunk and asleep, he reeled into the Lyceum, more fit (in the words quoted from the relater) for the society of Homer's cannibals, than of those he found there: in this debauch it is pretended, that although Phedrus, Eryximachus and many other potent drinkers fled the company, Socrates sate to the last, swallowing drenches of wine out of enormous goblets of silver : he describes him sitting amongst lascivious revellers at a banquet, where dancing-girls and boys were exhibiting their indecent attitudes to the music of harpers and minstrels: he exposes this master of morality entering into a controversy with his scholar Critobulus upon the subject of male

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beauty ; and because Critobulus had ridiculed him for his ugliness, he asserts that Socrates challenged him to a naked exhibition, and that he actually exposed his unseemly person to a Pathic and a dancing-girl, the appointed umpires of the dispute; the conqueror was to be rewarded with an embrace from each of these umpires, as the prize of superior beauty, and the decision was of consequence given er absurdo to the philosopher, in preference to one of the handsomest young men in Greece, and he enjoyed the prize annexed to the decree. If we can believe this avecdote to have been gravely related by an historian, who lived so near to him in point of time, we shall cease to wonder that Aristophanes had the whole theatre on his side, when such stories were in circulation against the character of Socrates.

As I have no other object in view but to offer what occurs to me in defence of Aristophanes, who appears to have been most unjustly accused of taking bribes for his attack upon Socrates, and of having paved the way for the cruel sentence by which he suffered death, I shall here conclude an invidious task, which my subject, not my choice, has laid upon me.

In our volume of Aristophanes, the comedies are not placed according to the order of time in which they were produced : there is reason to think that The Acharnensians was the first of its author; it was acted in the last year of Olymp. LXXXV. when the edict was reversed which prohibited the representation of comedies; and it is said that Aris. tophanes brought it out in the name of Callistratus the comedian.

In the last year of Olymp. LXXXVIII, he produced his comedy of The Knights, in which he personally attacks the tribune Cleon.

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