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Thanks to Mother Earth, or Vifta, to Silvanks, and their Genius, in the fame manner. But as alí Festivals have a double Reason of their Inftitution: the first of Religion, the other of Recreation, for the unbending of our Minds: So both the Grecians and Romans agreed, after their Sacrifices were perform'd, to spend the remainder of the Day in Sports and Merriments; amongst which, Songs and Dances, and that which they call'd Wit (for want of knowing better) were the chiefest Entertainments. The Grecians had a Notion of Satires, whom I have already defcrib'd; and taking them, and the Sileni, that is the young Satires and the old, for the Tutors, Attendants, and humble Companions of their Bacchus, habited themselves like those Rural Deities, and imitated them in their Rustick Dances, to which they join'd Songs, with some sort of rude Harmony, but without certain Numbers; and to thefe they added a kind of Chorus.
The Romans alfo (as Nature is the fame in all Places) tho' they knew nothing of those Grecian Demi-Gods, nor had any Communication with Greece, yet had certain Young Men, who at theit Festivals danc'd and sung after their uncouth manner, to a certain kind of Verse, which they call'd Saturnian; what it was, we have no certain light from Antiquity to difcover; but we may conclude, that, like the Grecian, it was void of Art, or at least with very feeble beginnings of it. Those ancient Romans, at thefe Holy days, which were a mixture of Devotion and Debauchery, had a Custom of reproaching each other with their Faults, in a sort of extempore Poetry, or rather of tunable hobling Verfe; and they answer'd in the fame kind of gross Raillery; their Wit and their Musick
being of a piece. The Crecians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the same, in the Persons of their petulant Satires : But I am afraid he mistakes the matter, and confounds the Singing and Dane cing of the Satires, with the Rustical Entertainments of the first Romans. The Reason of my Opinion is this; that Casaubon finding little light from Antiquity, of these beginnings of Poetry, amongst the Grecians, but only these Representa, tions of Satires, who carry'd Canisters and Cornucopias full of several Fruits in their Hands, and danc'd with them at their Publick Feasts : And afterwards reading Horace, who makes mention of his homely Romans, jesting at one another in the same kind of Solemnities, might suppose those wanton Satires did the same. And especially because Horace possibly might seem to him, to have shewn the Original of all Poetry in general, including the Grecians as well as Romans: Tho' 'tis plainly otherwise, that he only describ'd the begins ning, and first Rudiments of Poetry in his own Country. The Verses are these, which he cites from the First Epistle of the Second Book, which was written to Augustus.
Agricolæ prisoi, fortes, parvoque beati,
At Harvest home, with Mirth and Country-Cbeer Restor'd their Bodies for another Year; Refresh'd their Spirits, and renewed their Hope Of such a future Feaji, and future Crop. Then with their Fellow-Joggers of the Ploughs,; Their little Children, and their faithful Spouse; A Sow they New to Vesta's Deity; And kindly Milk, Silvanus, pour'd to thee. With Flow'rs, and Wine, their Genius they ador'd; 4 port Life, and a merry, was the Word. From flowing Cups defaming Rhymes ensue, And at each other homely Taunts they threw.. Yet since it is a hard Conje&ure, that fo Great a Man as Casaubon fhou'd misapply what Horace writ concerning ancient Rome, to the Ceremonies and Manners of ancient Greece, I will not infift on this Opinion, but rather judge in general, That fince all Poetry had its Original from Religion, that of the Grecians and Romans had the fame beginning : Both were invented at Festivals of Thankfgiving: And both were prosecuted with Mirth and Kailiery, and Rudiments of Verse: Amongst the 4 Greeks, by those who represented Satires; and a: mong the Romans, by real Clowns.
For, indeed, when I am reading Casaubon on these two Subjects, methinks I hear the same Story told twice over with very little Alteration. : Of which Dacier taking notice, in his Interpretation of the Latin Verses which I have translated, says plainly, that the beginning of Poetry was the same, with a small variety, in boch Countries: And that the Mother of it in all Nations, was Devotion. But what is yet more wonderful, that most learned Critique takes notice also, in his Illustrations on the Firft Epifle of the Second Book, that as
the Poetry of the Romans, and that of the Grecians, had the same beginning at Feafts of Thanksgiving, as it has been observ'd; and the old Comedy of the Greeks which was invećtive, and the Satyr of the Romans which was of the fame Nature, were begun on the very fame Occasion, so the Fortune of both in process of time was just the same; the old Comedy of the Grecians was forbidden, for its too much Licence in expofing of particular Persons, and the rude Satyr of the Romans was also punish'd by a Law of the Decemviri, as Horace tells us, in these Words:
Libertasque recurrentes accepta per Annos Lufit amabiliter, donec jam savus apertam In rabiem verti capit jocus; & per honestas Ire domos impune minax : Doluere cruento Dente lacessiti; fuit inta&tis quoque cura Conditione super communi Quinetiam Lex, Panoque lata, quæ nollet carmine quemquam Defcribi; vertere modum formidine fuftis ; Ad benedicendum dele&tandumque redatti. The Law of the Decemviri was this : Siquis Oocentalit malum Carum, five Condidifit, quod Infamiamfaxit, Flagitiumve alteri, Capital efto. A frange likeness, and barely poffible : But the Critiques Being all of the same Opinion, it becomes me to be filent, and to submit to better Judgments than my own.
But to return to the Grecians, from whofe Satirick Drama's, the elder Scaliger and Heinfins, will have the Roman Satyr to proceed, I am to take a view of them first, and see if there be any such Defcent from them as those Authors have pretended.
Thespis, or whosoever he were that invented Tragedy, (for Authors differ) mingl’d with them
a Chorus and Dances of Satires, which had before been us'd, in the Celebration of their Festivals ; and there they were ever afterwards retain’d. The Character of them was also kept, which was Mirth and Wantonefs : And this was given, I suppose, to the Folly of the common Audience, who foon grow weary of good Sense ; and as we daily fee, in our own age and Country, are apt to forsake Poetry, and still ready to return to Buffoonry and Farce. From hence it came, that in the Olympique Games, where the Poets contended for four Prizes, the Satirique Tragedy was the last of them; for in the rest, the Satires were excluded from the Chorus. Amongst the Plays of Euripides, which are yet remaining, there is one of these Satiriques, which is call'd the Cyclops; in which we may see the Nature of those Poems; and from thence conclude, what Likeness they have to the Roman Satyr.
The Story of this Cyclops, whose Name was Polyphemus, so famous in the Grecian Fables, was, That Ulyles, who with his Company was driven. on the coast of Sicily, where those Cyclops inhabited, coming to ask Relief from Silenus, and the Satires, who were Herdsmen to that one-ey'd Giant, was kindly receiv'd by them, and entertain'd; 'till
being perceiv'd by Polyphemus, they were made Prisoners, against the Rites of Hospitality, for which Ulyses eloquently pleaded, were afterwards put down in the Den, and some of them devour'd: After which, Ulyles having made him drunk, when he was alleep thrust a great Firebrand into his Eye; and so revenging his dead Followers, escap'd with the remaining Party of the living: And Silenus, and the Satires, were freed from their Servitude under Polyphemus, and remitted to their first Liberty, of attending and accompanying their Patron Bacchus.