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in a Goat, with the Legs and Feet of that Crea-
Bounty they suppos’d they were owing for their Corn and Wine, and other Helps of Life. And the ancient Romans, Horace tells us, paid their Thanks to Mother Earth, or Vefta, to Silvanus, and their Genius, in the same manner. Bus as all Festivals have a double Reason of their Institution ; 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 chiefelt Entertainments. The Grecians had a Notion of Satires, whom I have already describ'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 these they added a kind of Churus.
The Romans alfo (as Nature is the same 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 their Festivals danc'd and fung 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 discover ; 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 Verse ; and they answer'd in the same kind of gross Raillery , their Wit and their Musick being of a piece. The Grecians, says Casaubon, had formerly done the faine, in the Persons of their petulant Satires : But I am afraid he mistakes the matter, and confounds the Singing and Dancing of the Satires, with the Ruftical 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 Representations 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, jefting at one another in the fame Kind of Solemnities, might fuppofe those wanton Satires did the same. And especially bes cause Horace possibly might seem to him, to have fhewn the Original of all Poetry in general, including the Grecians as well as Romans : Tho''tis plainly otherwise, that he only describ'd the Beginning, and first Rudiments of Poetry in his own Country. The Verses are thefe, which he cites from the First Epitle of the Second Book, which was written to Auguftus.
Agricole prifci, fortes, parvoque beati,
Our brawny Clowns of old, who turn'd the Soil,
Feast, and future Crop.
And kindly Milk, Silvanus, pour’d to thee. With Flow'rs, and Wine, tbeir Genius they ador'd; Afport Life, and a merry, was the Word. From flowing Cups defaming Rbyimes ensue, And at each other homely Taunts obey threw.
Yet fince it is a hard Conjecture, that fo Great a Man as Casaubon shou'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 faine Be. ginning: Both were invented at Festivals of Thanks. giving : And both were prosecuted with Mirth and Raillery, and Rudiments of Verse : Among the Greeks, by those who represented Satires ; and amongst the Romans, by real Clowns.
For, indeed, when I am reading Casaubon on these two Subje&s, methinks I hear the same Story told twice over with very little Alteration. Of which Dacier Itaking notice, in his Interpretation of the Latin Verfes which I have trandated, says plainly, that the Beginning of Poetry was the same, with a sinall Variety, in both Countries : And that the Mother of it, in all Nations, was Devotion. But what is yet more wonderful, that most learned Critique takes notice allo, in his Illustrations
on the First Epistle of the Second Book, that as the Poetry of the Romans, and that of the Grecians, had the fame Beginning, at Feafts of Thanksgiving, as it has been observ'd ; and the old Comedy of the Greeks which was Invective, and the Satyr of the Romans which was of the same 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 exposing 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 :
Libertafque recurrentes accepta per annos
The Law of the Decemviri was this ; Siquis Occentajit malam Carum, sive Condidifit, quod Infamiam faxit, Flagitiumve alteri, Capital efto. A strange Likeness, and barely possible. But the Critiques being all of the fame Opinion, it becomes me to be filent, and to submit to better Judgments than my own.
But to return to the Grecians, from whose Satirick Draina's, the elder Scaliger and Heinsius, will have the Roman Satyr to proceed, I am to take a view of them first, and see if there be any fuch Descent from them as those Authors have pretended.
Thespis, or whosoever he were that invented Tragedy, (for Authors differ) mingl’d with them