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of this high honor not to be deprived?
When informed by a messenger of the arrival of his daughter, the unhappy father laments his hard fate in the following beautiful and pathetic language:
In what a chain of fate
how shall I address
There is much of the simplicity of nature in the first interview between Agamemnon and Iphigenia:
Iph. My father, to thy arms I wish to run,
Aga. Enjoy thy wish: of all my children thou
Iph. Absent so long, with joy I look on thee.
Clytemnestra having learnt from a servant of her house, the determination of Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter, to appease the rage of the goddess Diana, endeavors to dissuade him from his purpose, but without effect, although aided by the pathetic and eloquent appeal of Iphigenia:
Had I, my father, the persuasive voice
Ah! kill me not in youth's fresh prime,
To this speech so affecting, and so well calculated to touch the heart of the most obdurate, Agamemnon replies:
to dare this, is dreadful to me,
Iphigenia is led to the altar, and as Chalcas is about to strike the fatal blow, she suddenly disappears, and a goat of uncommon size and beauty, is found in her stead.
the sons of Atreus stood,
wben sudden to the view
Euripides having incurred the displeasure of his own countrymen, retired to the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, who honored him with his favor and friendship. His end was unfortunate, having been devoured by dogs in the seventy-eighth year of his age. When the news of his death was received at Athens, Sophocles, who was about to exhibit one of his tragedies, notwithstanding their mutual enmity, appeared in mourning, and made his actors come on the stage without crowns. The Athenians requested his bones from Archelaus, that they might bestow upon them the rites of an honorable burial. Archelaus, desirous of preserving in Macedonia the remains of so distinguished a man, refused their request. The Athenians afterwards raised a cenotaph to his memory.*
After the time of the three great poets, we have thus briefly noticed, no other tragic poet of distinction rose in Greece. The poetic talents of succeeding writers appear to have been exclusively directed to comedy, and Thalia assumed the seat of Melpomene.
* Potter's trans. of the works of Eschylus and Euripides. Anachar. Travels, vol 6. Potter's Grec. Ant. Cours de Litterature par La Harpe. Francklin's Sophocles. Lempreire's Class. Dic. Gillie's Greece. Mitford's Greece. Plutarch's Liver.
new: Eupolis, Cratinus, Aristophanes, Crates, Alexis, Antiphanes,
What is properly called comedy, is supposed to have been invented by Epicharmus, a Pythagorean philosopher of Syracuse, who flourished about four hundred and sixty years before the birth of Christ. Although a philosopher, he cultivated the garden of polite literature, and was the author of about forty co medies, most of which were distinguished for a refined morality, and were selected as models for imitation by Plautus, a celebrated Roman comic writer.
Greek comedy was divided into the old, the middle and the new. In the first it was common to represent on the stage known individuals by name, who happened to be remarkable either for their their moral doctrines and opinions in philosophy. To repress this license, thus freely indulged, in which, to gratify personal feeling, the most illustrious and distinguished characters were introduced in ludicrous situations, laws were enacted, forbidding the mention of the names of living persons, which gave rise to what was called the middle comedy. The comic poets, being thus prohibited from introducing and holding up to ridicule, the names and characters of living individuals, adopted a plan, that by means of masks, dress and imitation of gesture and manner, they so plainly designated the persons intended to be satirized, that they were at once recognised. This was distinguished by the name of the middle comedy. The public rulers perceiving that the poets thus eluded the law which forbade the mention of names, and which was designed to protect the characters and feelings of individuals from wanton and malicious attacks, found 1 it
necessary to enact another, banishing from the stage all allusion to individuals, and restricting the representation to the delineation and exposition of general manners. This was called the Puci comedy We now design to notice the most distinguished
poets, in these several departments ou divisions of ancient comedy.
In the old comedy, Cratinus, Eupolis, and Aristophanes, were contemporaries and competitors for the comic wreath. They each enjoyed a high reputation, but Aristophanes appears to have been the most successful candidate, having been distinguished by the title of “Prince of the old comedy.” During the period of their rivalship, the magistracy prohibited the representation of comedies at Athens, which was in force two years. When Enthymenas was chosen archon, he revoked the edict, and Thalia was reinstated in her honors by the abovementioned comic poets, who were in high favor with the people, on account of the boldness with which they attacked, and the severity with which they lashed, the vices and follies of the times, and particularly of certain elevated individuals.
Eupolis atque Cratinus, Aristophanesque poetæ,
Hor. Lib. 1, Sat, 4.
The conic poets in its earliest age,
Cratinus was an Athenian by birth; he composed thirty comedies, which were distinguished for a lively and highly ornamented style; scarcely a single fragment, however, is now to be found. He lived to the great age of ninety-seven, notwithstanding he led a dissipated life. He was greatly addicted to wine, so much so, that he asserted no author could be good for any thing, who did not love his bottle, and offer frequent libations to Bacchus. It is to him Horace alludes in his epistle to Mæcenas:
Prisco si credis, Mæcenas docte, Cratino,
Hor. Ep. 19.
To sage Cratinus if you credit give,