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For this reason, upon the second day of the Saturnalian festival, the famous Onesicrates invited certain persons, the best skilled in music, to a banquet; by name Soterichus [p. 104] of Alexandria, and Lysias, one of those to whom he gave a yearly pension. After all had done and the table was cleared,—To dive, said he, most worthy friends, into the nature and reason of the human voice is not an argument proper for this merry meeting, as being a subject that requires a more sober scrutiny. But because our chiefest grammarians define the voice to be a percussion of the air made sensible to the ear, and for that we were yesterday discoursing of Grammar,—which is an art that can give the voice form and shape by means of letters, and store it up in the memory as a magazine,—let us consider what is the next science to this which may be said to relate to the voice. In my opinion, it must be music. For it is one of the chiefest and most religious duties belonging to man, to celebrate the praise of the Gods, who gave to him alone the most excelling advantage of articulate discourse, as Homer has observed in the following verses:—
With sacred hymns and songs that sweetly please,
The Grecian youth all day the Gods appease;
Their lofty paeans bright Apollo hears,
And still the charming sounds delight his ears.

Now then, you that are of the grand musical chorus, tell your friends, who was the first that brought music into use; what time has added for the advantage of the science; who have been the most famous of its professors; and lastly, for what and how far it may be beneficial to mankind.

1 Il. I. 472.

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