THIS discourse being ended, and Philinus hummed, Lysimachus began again, What sort of exercise then shall we imagine to be first? Racing, as at the Olympian games? For here in the Pythian, as every exercise comes on, all the contenders are brought in, the boy wrestlers first, then the men, and the same method is observed when the cuffers and fencers are to exercise; but there the boys perform all first, and then the men. But, says Timon interposing, pray consider whether Homer hath not determined this matter; for in his poems cuffing is always put in the first place, wrestling next, and racing last. At this Menecrates the Thessalian surprised cried out, Good God, what things we skip over! But, pray sir, if you remember any of his verses to that purpose, do us the favor to repeat them. And Timon replied: That the funeral solemnities of Patroclus had this order I think every one hath heard; but the poet, all along observing the same order, brings in Achilles speaking to Nestor thus:
With this reward I Nestor freely grace,And in his answer he makes the old man impertinently brag:
Unfit for cuffing, wrestling, or the race.
I cuffing conquered Oinop's famous son,And again he brings in Ulysses challenging the Phaeacians [p. 249]
With Anceus wrestled, and the garland won,
And outran Iphiclus.
To cuff, to wrestle, or to run the race;and Alcinous answers:
Neither in cuffing nor in wrestling strong,So that he doth not carelessly confound the order, and, according to the occasion, now place one sort first and now another; but he follows the then custom and practice, and is constant in the same. And this was so as long as the ancient order was observed.
But swift of foot are we.