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their beginnings, before they are cultivated with Art and Study. However, in Occasions of Merriment they were first practis'd; and this rough-caft unhewn Poetry, was instead of Stage Plays for the space of one hundred and twenty Years together. They were made extempore, and were, as the French call them, Impromptus: For which the Tarfians of old were much renowned; and we see the daily Examples of them in the Italian Farces of Harlequin, and Scaramucha. Such was the Poetry of that falvage People, before it was turn'd into Numbers, and the Harmony of Verse. Little of the Saturnian Verses is now remaining; we only know from Authors, that they were nearer Prose than Poetry, without Feet, or Measure. They were i pomol, but not kuuetegi : Perhaps they might be us'd' in the folemn Part of their Ceremonies; and the Fefcennine, which were invented after them, in their Afternoons Debauchery, because they were scoffing and obscene.
The Fesćennine and Saturnian were the same; for as they were call's Saturnian from their Ancientness, when Saturn reign'd in Italy; they were also called Fefcennine, from Fefcennina, a Town in the fame Country, where they were first praAtis’d. The A&ors, with a grofs and rustick kind of Raillery, reproach'd each other with their Failings; and at the same time were nothing sparing of it to their Audience. Somewhat of this Cuftom was afterwards retain'd in their Saturnalia, or Feasts of Saturn, celebrated in December ; at least all kind of freedom in Speech was then allow'd to Slaves, even against their Masters; and we are not with out fome imitation of it in our Christmas Gambols. Soldiers also us'd those Fefcennine Verses, after Measure and Numbers had been added to them, at
the Triumph of their Generals : Of which we have an Example, in the 'Triumph of Julius Cæfar over Gaul, in these Expressions : Cæfar Gallias subegit, Nicomedes Cæfarem : Ecce Cæfar nunc triumpbat, qui subegis Gallias ; Nicomedes non tria umphat, qui subegit Cæfarem. The Vapours of s Wine made the first Satyrical Poets amongst the Romans; which, says Dacier, we cannot better represent, than by imagining a Company of Clowns on a Holy-day, dancing Lubberly, and upbraiding one another in extempore Doggrel, with their Defees and Vices, and the Stories that were told of them in Bake-houses and Barbers-Shops.
When they began to be somewhat better bred, and were entring, as I may fay, into the first Ru. diments of Civil Conversation, they left these Hedge-Notes, for another fort of Poem, fomewhat polish'd, which was also full of pleasant Raillery, but without any Mixture of Obscenity. This sort of Poetry appear'd under the Name of Satyr, because of its variety: And this Satyr was adorn'd with Compositions of Musick, and with Dances ; but lascivious Postures were banish'd from it. In the Tuscan Language, says Livy, the word Hister. signifies a Player · And therefore those Actors, which were first brought from Etruria to Rome, on occasion of a Pestilence; when the Romans were admonish'd to avert the Anger of the Gods by Plays, in the Year ab Urbe Condita CCCXC: Those A&ors, I say, were therefore call'd Histriones : And that Name has fince remain'd, not only to A&ors Roman born, but to all others of every Nation. They play'd not the former extempore Stuff of Fescennine Verses, or Clownila Jests; but what they a&ted was a kind
of civil cleanly Farce, with Musick and Dances, and Motions that were proper to the Subje&t.
In this condition Livius Andronicus found the Stage, when he attempted first, instead of Farces, to lupply it with a nobler Entertainment of Tran gedies and Comedies. This Man was a Grecian born, and being made a Slave by Livius Salinator, and brought to Rome, had the Education of his Patron's Children commited to him. Which Trust he discharg'd, so much to the Satisfaction of his Master, that he gave him his Liberty.
Andronicus thus become a Freeman of Rome, added to his own Name that of Livius his Master; and, as I obferv'd, was the first Author of a regular Play in that Common-wealth. Being already instructed, in his Native Country, in the Manners and Decencies of the Athenian Theater, and conversant in the Archea Comædia, or old Comedy of Aristophanes, and the rest of the Grecian Poets ; he took froin that Model his own designing of Plays for the Roman Stage. The first of which was represented in the Year CCCCCXIV. lince the Building of Rome, as Tully, from the Commentaries of Atticus, has assur'd us; it was after the end of the fir& Punic War, the Year before Ennius was born. Dacier has not carry'd the Matter altogether thus far; he only says, that one Livius Andronicus was the first Stage-Poet at Rome: But I will adventure on this Hint, to advance another Propofition, which I hope the Learned will approve. And tho’ we have not any thing of Andronicus remaining to justify my Conjecture, yet 'tis exceeding probable, that having read the Works of those Grecian Wits, his Country-men, he imitated not only the Ground-work, but also the manner of their Writing. And how grave foever
his Tragedies might be, yet in his Comedies he express’d the way of Aristophanes, Eupolis, and the rest, which was to call fome Persons by their own Names, and to expose their Defects to the Laughter of the People. The Examples of which we have in the fore-mention'd Aristophanes, who turned the wife Socrates into Ridicule; and is also very free with the Management of Cleon, Alcibiades, and other Ministers
of the Athenian Government. Now if this be granted, we may ealily suppose, that the first Hint of Satyrical Plays on the Roman Stage, was given by the Greeks. Not from the Satyrica, for that has been reasonably exploded in the former part of this Discourse : But from their old Comedy, which was imitated first by Livius Andronicus. And then Quintilian and Horace must be cautiously interpreted, where they affirm, that Satyr is wholly Roman ; and a sort of Verse, which was not touch'd on by the Grecians. The Reconcilement of 'my Opinion to the Standard of their Judgment, is not, however, very difficult, fiuce they spake of Satyr, not as in its first Elements, but as it was form'd into a separate Work; begun by Ennius, pursu'd by Lucilius, and compleated afterwards by Horace. The Proof depends only on this Postulatum, that the Comedies of Andronicus, which were Imitations of the Greek, were allo I. mitations of their Railleries, and Reflections on particular Persons.
For if this be granted me, which is a most probable Supposition, 'tis easy to infer, that the first Light which was given to the Roman Theatrical Satyr, was from the Plays of Livius Andronicus. Which will be more manifestly discover'd, when I come to speak of Ennius. In the mean time I will return to Dacier.
The People, says he, ran in Crowds to thefe new Entertainments of Andronicus, as to Pieces which were more noble in their kind, and more perfect than their former Satyrs, which for some time they neglected and abandon'd.
But not long after, they took them up again, and then they join' them to their Comedies : Playing them at the end of every Draina; as the French continue at this Day to act their Farces; in the nature of a separate Entertainment from their Tragedies. But more particularly they were join'd to the Attellane Fables, lays Casaubon; which were Plays invented by the Osci. Those Fables, says Valerius Maximus, out of Livy, were temper'd with the Italian Severity, and free from any Note of Infamy or Obfcenenefs; and as an old Commentator on Javenal affirms, the Exodiarii, which were Singers and Dancers, enter'd to entertain the People with light Songs, and mimical Gestures, that they might not go away oppress’d with Melancholy, from those serious Pieces of the Theater. So that the ancient Sa-.' tyr of the Romans was in extemporary Reproaches: The next was Farce, which was brought from Tuscany : To that succeeded the Plays of Andro nicus, from the old Comedy of the Grecians ; And out of all these, sprung two feveral Branches of new Roman Satyr; like different Cyens from the same Root. Which I shall prove with as much Brevity as the Subje&t will allow.
A Year after Andronicus had open'd the Roman Stage with his new Draina's, Ennius was born; who, when he was grown to Man's Eftate, having serioufly considered the Genius of the People, and how eagerly they followed the first Satyrs, thought it wou'd be worth his Pains to refine upon the Project, and to write Satyrs not to be