The Temple of the Muses is called by Timon the Phliasian, the satiric writer, the basket, by which term he means to ridicule the philosophers who frequent it, as if they were fattened up in a hen-coop, like valuable birds:—
Aegypt has its mad recluses,. . . . till these table orators got cured of their diarrhea of words; a pack of men, who from their itch for talking appear to me to have forgotten the Pythian oracle, which Chameleon quotes—
In the hen-coop of the Muses
Keeping up their endless fights.
Three weeks ere Sirius burns up the wheat,[p. 37] And so Mnesitheus the Athenian says that the Pythia enjoined the Athenians to honour Bacchus the physician. But Alcæus, the Mitylenæan poet, says—
And three weeks after, seek the cool retreat
Of shady house, and better your condition
By taking Bacchus for your sole physician.
Steep your heart in rosy wine, for see, the dog star is in view;And in another place he says—
Lest by heat and thirst oppress'd you should the season's fury rue.
Fill me, boy, a sparkling cup;And Eupolis says that Callias was compelled to drink by Protagoras, in order that his lungs might not be melted away before the dogdays. But at such a time I not only feel my lungs dried up, but I may almost say my heart too. And Antiphanes says—
See, the dogstar's coming up.
A. Tell me, I pray you, how you life define.And so, says he, they, disputing about the dogstar, had plenty to drink. Thus the word βρέχω, to moisten or soak, is often applied to drinking. And so Antiphanes says—
B. To drink full goblets of rich Chian wine.
You see how tall and fine the forest grows
Through which a sacred river ceaseless flows;
While on dry soils the stately beech and oak
Die without waiting for the woodman's stroke.
Eating much may bring on choking,And Eubulus has—
Unless you take a turn at soaking.
A. I Sicon come with duly moisten'd clay.
B. What have you drunk then? A. That you well may say.