Sidor som bilder

Refresh d their Spirits, and renew'd their Hope
Of such a future Feast, and future Crop.
Then with their Fellow-Joggers of the Ploughs,
Their little Children, and their

faithful Spoufe ;
A Sow they few to Vefta's Deity ;
And kindly Milk, Silvanus, pour'd to thee.
With Flow'rs, and Wine, their Genius they ador
A foort Life, and a merry, was the Word.
From flowing Cups, defaming Rhymes enfue,
And at each other homely Taunts they threws

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 Remans had the same Beginning: Both were invented at Festivals of Thanksgiving: And both were prosecuted with Mirth and Raillery, and Rudiments of Verse : Amongit the Greeks, by those who represented Satires; and amongst the Romans, by real Clowns.

For, indeed, when I am reading Cafaubon 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, fays plainly, that the Beginning of Poetry was the fame, with a small 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 also, in his Illufrations on the First Epiftle of the Second Book, that as the Poetry of the Romans, and that of the Grecians, had the famé 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 fame Nature, were begun on the very fame Occasion, so the Fortune of both in process of time was just the fame; the old Comedy of the Grecians was forbidden, for its too much Licence in exposing of parti, cular Persons, and the rude Satyr of the Romans was also punish'd by a Law of the Decemviri, as Horace tells using in these Words:

Libertafque recurrentes accepta per annos
Lufit amabiliter, donec jam fævus apertam
In rabiem verti cæpit jocus ; & per honeftas
Ire domes impune minax: Doluere cruento
Dente lacefiti ; fuit inta&tis quoque cura
Conditione Super communi: Quinetiam Lex
Panaque lata, malo


nollit carmine quem quam Defcribi, vertere modum formidine fuftis ; Ad: bene dicendum delectandumque redacti.

The Law of the Decemviri was this; Siquis. OccentalAt malum Carum, five Condidifit, quod Infamiam faxit, Flagitiumve alteri, Capital efto. A strange Likeness, and barely possible: 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 whose Satirick Drama'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 such Descent from them as those Authors have pretended.

Thespis, or whosoever he were that invented Tragedy, (for Authors differ) mingi'd with them a Chorus and Dancers of Satires, which had before been as'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 Wantonness: And this was given, I suppose, to the Folly of the common Aus


dience, 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 reft, the Satires were excluded from the Chorus. Among 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, fo famous in the Grecian Fables, was, That Ubylles, 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 kindiy receiv'd by them, and entertain'd; 'till being perceiv'd by Polyphemus, they were made Prisoners against the Rites of Hospitality, for which Ulyffes eloquently pleaded, were afterwards put down in the Den, and some of them devour'd; after which Ulyfes having made him drunk, when he was asleep, 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 the Servitude under Polyphemus, and remitted to their firft Liberty of attending and accompanying their Patron Bacchus.

This was the Subject of the Tragedy, which being one of those that end with a happy Event, is therefore by Aristotle judg'd below the other Sort, whose Success is unfortunate Notwithstanding which, the Satires; who were part of the Dramatis Persone, as well as the whole Chorus, were properly introdued into the Nature of the Poem, which is mix'd of Farce and Tragedy.


The Adventure of Ulyses was to entertain the Judging Part of the Audience ; and the uncouth Persons of Silenus, and the Satires, to divert the Common People with their gross Railleries.

Your Lordship has perceiv'd by this time, that this Satirique Tragedy, and the Roman Satyr, have little Resemblances in any other Features. The very Kinds are different: For what has a Pastoral Tragedy to do with a Paper of Verses satyrically written? The Cha. racter and Raillery of the Satires, is the only thing that cou'd pretend to a Likeness: Were Scaliger and Heinsius alive to maintain their opinion. And the first Farces of the Romans, which were the Rudiments of their Poetry, were written before they had any Communication with the Greeks; or indeed, any Knowledge of that People.

And here it will be proper to give the Definition of the Greek Satirique Poem from Casaubon, before I leave this Subject. The Satirique, says he, is a Dramatique Poem, annex'd to a Tragedy ; having a Chorus, which consists of Satires : The Persons represented in it, are ile luftrious Men: The A&ion of it is great ; the Style is partly serious, and partly jocular; and the Event of the Action most commonly is happy.

The Grecians, besides these Satirique Tragedies, had another Kind of Poem, which they callid Silli; which were more of Kin to the Roman Satyr: Those Silli were indeed invective Poems, but of a different Species from the Roman Poems of Ennius, Pacuvius, Lucilius, Horace, and the rest of their Successors. They were so callid, says Casaubon in one place, from Silenus, the Foster-Fa. ther of Bacchus ; but in another Place, bethinking himself better, he derives their Name Sao To oinaavein from their Scoffing and Petulancy. From fome Frage ments of the Silli, written by Timon, we may find, that they were Satirique Poems, full of Parodies; that is, of Verses patch'd up from great Poets, and turn’d

into another Sense than their Author intended them. Such among the Romans is the famous Cento of Aufonius ; where the Words are Virgil's : But by applying them to another Sense, they are made the Relation of a Wedding-Night; and the Act of Consummation fulfomely describ'd in the very Words of the moft Modeft amongst all Poets. Of the fame manner are our Songs, which are turn’d into Burlesque, and the serious Words of the Author perverted into a ridiculous Meaning. Thus in Timon's Silli the Words are generally thofe of Homer, and the Tragique Poets ; but he applies them Satirically, to some Customs and Kinds of Philosophy, which he arraigns. But the Romans not ufing any of these Parodies in their Satires; sometimes, indeed, repeating Verses of other Men, as Persius cites some of Nero's; but not turning them into another Meaning, the Silli cannot be suppos’d to be the Original of Roman Satyr. To these Silli, confifting of Parodies, we may properly add the Satires which were written against particular Persons; such as were the Jambiques of Archilochws against Lycambes, which Horace undoubtedly imitated in some of his Odes and Epodes, whose Titles bear a sufficient Witness of it: I might also name the Invective of Ovid against Ibis; and many others : But these are the Under: Wood of Satyr, rather than the Timber-Trees: They are not a general Extenfion, as reaching only to some individual Person. And Horace seems to have purg'd himself from those splenetick ReAections in those Odes and Epodes, before he undertook the Noble Work of Satires, which were properly fo call'd.

Thus, my Lord, I have at length difengag'd myself from those Antiquities of Greece; and have prov'd, I hope, from the beft Critiques, that the Roman Satyr was not borrow'd from thence, but of their own Manufacture: I am now almost gotten into my depth ; at


« FöregåendeFortsätt »