previous next


Then Diogenianus, taking the cup, said: Methinks this is very sober discourse, which makes me believe that the wine doth not please you, since I see no effect of it; so that I fear I ought to be corrected. Indeed many sorts of music are to be rejected; first, tragedy, as having nothing familiar enough for an entertainment, and being a representation of actions attended with grief and extremity of passion. I reject the sort of dancing which is called Pyladean from Pylades, because it is full of pomp, very pathetical, and requires a great many persons; but if we would admit any of those sorts that deserve those encomiums which Socrates mentions in his discourse about dancing, I like that sort called Bathyllean, which requires not so high a motion, but hath something of the nature of the Cordax, and resembles the motion of an Echo, a Pan, or a Satyr frolicking with love. Old comedy is not fit for men that are making merry, by reason of the irregularities that appear in it; for that vehemency which they use in the parabasis is loud and indecent, and the liberty they take to [p. 391] scoff and abuse is very surfeiting, too open, and full of filthy words and lewd expressions. Besides, as at great men's tables every man hath a servant waiting at his elbow, so each of his guests would need a grammarian to sit by him, and explain who is Laespodias in Eupolis, Cinesias in Plato, and Lampo in Cratinus, and who is each person that is jeered in the play. Concerning new comedy there is no need of any long discourse. It is so fitted, so interwoven with entertainments, that it is easier to have a regular feast without wine, than without Menander. Its phrase is sweet and familiar, the humor innocent and easy, so that there is nothing for men whilst sober to despise, or when merry to be troubled at. The sentiments are so natural and unstudied, that midst wine, as it were in fire, they soften and bend the rigidest temper to be pliable and easy. And the mixture of gravity and jests seems to be contrived for nothing so aptly as for the pleasure and profit of those that are frolicking and making merry. The love-scenes in Menander are convenient for those who have already taken their cups, and who in a short time must retire home to their wives; for in all his plays there is no love of boys mentioned, and all rapes committed on virgins end decently in marriages at last. As for misses, if they are impudent and jilting, they are bobbed, the young gallants turning sober, and repenting of their lewd courses. But if they are kind and constant, either their true parents are discovered, or a time is determined for the intrigue, which brings them at last to obliging modesty and civil kindness. These things to men busied about other matters may seem scarce worth taking notice of; but whilst they are making merry, it is no wonder that the pleasantness and smoothness of the parts should work a neat conformity and elegance in the hearers, and make their manners like the pattern they have from those genteel characters.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1892)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: