his countrymen, and when he died in the city of Catana, in the

is said to have been the author of fifty dramatic pieces. Another dramatic poet of this period was Phrynicus; he was the first who introduced the female mask upon the stage. His most celebrated production was the tragedy of the “Siege of Miletus," founded upon the sacking of that city by the Persian troops. The representation of this tragedy had such an effect upon the Athenian audience, that the magistrates prohibited its future representation, and condemned the author to a fine of a thousand drachmas.

CHAPTER III. Literature of the Greeks. Stesichorus. Anacreon. Simonides.

Pindar. Æschylus. Sophocles. Euripides.

Stesichorus, Anacreon and Simonides, flourished about the same time, that is about 520 years before Christ. Tesias, or Stesichorus, was a native of Himera, in Sicily, and although he was not a native of Greece, and did not even visit that country until late in life, we have chosen to introduce him in this place, among Greek poets, because of the fame he acquired, and because his poems were written in the Doric, one of the dialects into which the language of Greece was divided. He composed twenty-six books of odes, epigrams and other poems, all of which are lost, except a few fragments scattered through the works of later writers. As a lyric poet he is said to have been unequalled except by Pindar, and he is even said to have equalled Homer in sublimity and grandeur of conception, and energy and eloquence of language. He held a distinguished place in the affections of

island of Sicily, he was buried at the public expense; a tomb was erected to his memory, near one of the city gates, which was afterwards called by his name, and divine honors were decreed him.

Anacreon, whose fame is familiar to all lovers of wine and mirth, and who is well known in modern times and to English readers, by means of the elegant translation of his odes by Moore,


was born at Teos, a city of lonia. He was early distinguished for his poetical abilities; his lively character and social disposition strongly recommended him to those of similar character, to whom the fascinations of the sparkling bowl presented irresistible allurements. He enjoyed the friendship of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, and of Hipparchus, son of Pisistratus, both liberal patrons of learning and learned men, the latter of whom sent a fiftyoared galley to bring him from Teos to Athens. Of the poetry of Anacreon it may with justice be said, that “the principal characteristic beauties consist of a singular simplicity of diction, a careless felicity and uncommon delicacy of expression, and although almost exclusively devoted to amatory and bachanalian subjects, they exhibit a wonderful fertility of invention and variety of illustration.” The moral character of Anacreon has been variously represented, as it has been the subject of investigation by his friends, or his enemies, both of whom have, no doubt, suffered their partialities and prejudices to carry them too far, to enable them to form a correct estimate. On the one hand he has been represented as a drunkard-as

old Anacreon wet with wine, And crown'd with wreathes of Lesbian vine."

On the other he is described as worthy of imitation in private and domestic life-as a model of moral purity. If the sentiments of an author, as contained in his works, are to be considered as evidences of his real character and opinions, and if the celebration of love and wine in poetic numbers, involve immorality, then the character of Anacreon cannot escape the censure of the rigidly moral. Although he may not have been an habitual drunkard, we think his devotion to the “jolly god," and his fondness for wine, are manifest in almost every line of his works,

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But if to-morrow comes, when then-
I'll haste to quaff my wine again.
And thus while all our days are bright,
Nor time has dimm'd their blooming light,
Let us the festal hours beguile
With mantling cup and cordial smile,
And shed from every bowl of wine,
The richest drop on Bacchus' shrine!"

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Besides odes and epigrams, Anacreon is said to have written elegies and hymns, nearly all of which have perished in the general wreck of ancient learning. The following beautiful “Reflections at sea, on a moonlight evening,” show that although the praises of wine principally occupied the muse of Anacreon, yet she sometimes tuned her lyre to other strains.

“'T is sweet, upon the vessel's side
To stand, and view the passing tide,
Sadly to mark the silent scene
In summer evening's close serene;
To myse on one, who far away,
Perhaps beholds his setting ray;
And at the sight may think, the while,
What welcome words, what cheerful smile,
Shall greet the youth whose love taught toil
Has driven her from his native soil.

Such thoughts can sweetly soothe the soul
That bends, a slave, to Love's control!
Heedless he hears old ocean roar,
And waste his fury on the shore;
Tranquil and calm, he boldly braves
The howling hurricane and dashing waves.

Gay Hope then yields with brightest raye
The prospect of his future days.
Around his couch she darts her beams
And bathes in bliss his shadowy dreams.
In gloomy hours a silent tear
May mark the steps of life's career:
To distant climes when forc'd away
He sadly chides the lingering day:
Yet Hope is kindly hovering nigh,
His soul to sooth, his tear to dry.
Soft she whispers future pleasures
Tasting Cupid's richest treasures."*

Simonides was not only celebrated as a poet, but from the moral tendency and philosophical character of his writings, was

* For the above translations of Anacreon, I am indebted to the interesting “Memoirs of Anacreon," by John E. Hall, Esq. published in the “Port Folio."

ranked among the philosophers of the age. He stood high in the estimation of his countrymen, and enjoyed the particular friendship of the most distinguished men of his time, among whom were Hipparchus of Athens, and Pausamas, king of Lacedemon. His poetical compositions consisted of odes, elegies, epigrams and dramatic pieces, but he was more distinguished as an elegiac than a lyric poet. His elegies particularly were remarkable for their elegance of language, and the plaintive and pathetic strain in which they were composed, which moved and interested the feelings. “No person was ever better acquainted with the sublime and delightful art of interesting and moving the passions; nor did any one paint with greater exactness those situations and misfortunes which excite pity. It is not the poet to whom we are attentive; we hear the cries and groans of a distracted family, which weeps the death of a father or a son; we see an affectionate mother struggling with her son against the fury of the waves, while a thousand gulfs yawn on all sides, and menace her with a thousand deaths; the shade of Achilles rises from the bottom of the tomb, and announces to the Greeks, about to quit the shores of Illium, the innumerable calamities which await them by sea and land."* Simonides is reproached with ingratitude, and with being the first who prayed for hire. He died at about ninety years of age. A few fragments only remain of the numerous pieces of which he was the author.

Pindar was born at Thebes in Bæotia, about 521 years before Christ, and is distinguished at the “great father of lyric poetry.” He was early trained to music and poetry under Myrtis, a woman distinguished for her talents, and soon acquired a considerable reputation. Although five times vanquished in poetic contests with Corinna, a poetess of Tanagra, near Thebes, and who was also a pupil of Myrtis, he gained the prize at the olympic games, and was crowned in the presence of assembled Greece. His odes, which are all that remain of his writings, are much admired for “sublimity of sentiment, grandeur of expression, energy and magnificence of style, boldness of metaphor, harmony of numbers, and elegance of diction." Horace compares him to a river swollen by sudden rains overflowing its banks.

Travels of Anach, vol. VI. 153, Lon. ed.

Monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres
Quem super notas aluere ripas,
Fervet, immensusque ruit profundo

Pindarus ore.

Lib. 4. Car. 2

As when a river, swollen by sudden showers,
O'er it known banks, from some steep mountain pours,
So in profound, immeasurable song,
The deep mouth'd Pindar, foaming, pours along.


Pindar owed his fame principally to the hymns he composed in honor of the gods, or to celebrate the triumph of the victors in the public games. They were repeated before the most

crowded assemblies in the temples of Greece, and always re**ceived with enthusiasm. After the death of Pindar, à statue

was erected to him in the most public place of Thebes, and at the celebration of one of the Grecian festivals, a portion of the victim which had been offered in sacrifice, was reserved for his descendants. Alexander the great, out of respect to the poet, preserved the house which he had inhabited, and reduced the rest of the city of Thebes to ashes. Thus did the pride of victory render homage to the superiority of genius.

Pindar enjoyed the friendship of, and was patronised by, Theron of Agrigentum, and Hiero of Syracuse. They were two of the most celebrated and munificent princes of the age, and were distinguished for their liberality towards learned men. Pindar took frequent occasion to celebrate their praises in lofty strains, Of Theron he speaks as follows:

Ye choral hymns, harmonious lays,

Sweet rulers of the Lyric string!
What god, what hero's godlike praise,

What mortal shall we sing?
With Jove, with Pisa's guardian god
Begin, Omuse, the Olympic ode.

Alcides, Jove's heroic son,

The second honor claims;
Who offering up the spoils from Augeas won,

Establish'd to his sire the Olympic games;
When, bright in wreaths of conquest, Theron shone.

Then of victorious Theron sing,
Of Theron, hospitable, just and great!

Fam'd Agrigentum's honor'd king,
The prop and bulwark of the state;

A righteous prince! whose flowering virtues grace,
The venerable stem of his illustrious race.

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