For my part, I absolve all lovers of shows and music from intemperance; yet I cannot altogether agree with Aristoxenus, who says that those pleasures alone deserve [p. 377] the approbation ‘ fine.’ For we call viands and ointments fine; and we say we have finely dined, when we have been splendidly entertained. Nor, in my opinion, doth Aristotle upon good reason free those complacencies we take in shows and songs from the charge of intemperance, saying, that those belong peculiarly to man, and of other pleasures beasts have a share. For I am certain that a great many irrational creatures are delighted with music, as deer with pipes; and to mares, whilst they are horsing, they play a tune called ἱππόθορος. And Pindar says, that his songs make him move,
As brisk as Dolphins, whom a charming tuneAnd certain fish are caught by means of dancing; for during the dance they lift up their heads above water, being much pleased and delighted with the sight, and twisting their backs this way and that way, in imitation of the dancers. Therefore I see nothing peculiar in those pleasures, that they should be accounted proper to the mind, and all others to belong to the body, so far as to end there. But music, rhythm, dancing, song, passing through the sense, fix a pleasure and titilation in the sportive part of the soul; and therefore none of these pleasures is enjoyed in secret, nor wants darkness nor walls about it, according to the women's phrase; but circuses and theatres are built for them. And to frequent shows and music-meetings with company is both more delightful and more genteel; because we take a great many witnesses, not of a loose and intemperate, but of a pleasant and genteel, manner of passing away our time.
Hath raised from th' bottom of the quiet flood.