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the old comedy. Of his many comedies, four only are preserved in the elegant "refashionments" of Terence. Two of the comedies of Terence are translations of Apollodorus. Some of those of Plautus are from the originals of Diphilus, Philemon, Demophilus, and probably of Epicharmus.
The Satyrs were a species of drama between comedy and tragedy. They took their name from a chorus of satyrs, headed by Silenus, whose antic dances and gestures formed a prominent part of the representation. Their materials were mythological and therefore belonged to tragedy. Their end was comic. Their aim was to excite laughter by the juxtaposition of the solemn and the ludicrous, a contrast which is well known to produce this effect in the highest degree. "The satyric drama was distinguished from tragedy by the kind of personages which it admitted by the catastrophe which was never calamitous, and by the strokes of pleasantry, bon-mots, and buffooneries which constituted its principal merit. It differed from comedy by the nature of the subject, by the air of dignity which reigned in some of the scenes, and the attention with which it avoided all personalities. It was distinct from both the tragic and comic drainas by certain rhythmi which were peculiar to it, by the simplicity of its fable, and by the limits prescribed to the duration of the action." For it was required to be brief as well as of a varied character, being designed merely for the purpose of entertainment and relaxation, after the more serious and absorbing interest of tragedy. Satyrs appear to have been first written by Pratinas; who unable to compete with Eschylus in tragedy, struck out a new path for himself in the invention of these grotesque and amusing parodies, which at once became so popular that it was usual thereafter, to add a satyric drama to each tragic trilogy.* Eschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were all distinguished composers of satyrs. The Cyclop of Euripides is the only extant specimen of this kind of composition.
The early history of tragedy, (the noblest and most perfect form of the drama, and doubtless, one of the most magnificent productions of the mind,) was, in all important particulars, the same with that of comedy. Like comedy, it had its origin in the songs and revels of the festivals of Bacchus. These were scenes of rustic festivity and unbounded license. The sponta
* This term was applied to the series of three tragedies which, in the early period of the drama, were brought forward at each representation.
neous effusions which they prompted (probably not unlike those of the improvisatori of Italy,) were gradually fashioned into the Dithyramb and Phallic chorus. These were aided by music, the dance and gesture. They were, at first, narrative-but, by an easy gradation, became imitative of the actions of those whose history they commemorated. Imitation, once introduced, speedily wrought important changes. To vary the perpetual recurrence of odes and recitativos, Thespis (in the sixty-first Olympiad, B. C. 535,) introduced an actor and occasional declamation between the odes. This was the basis and these the materials of tragedy. They were, to a certain extent, combined by Phrynichus, the successor and disciple of Thespis. But he who first wrought the erratic and incoherent Dithyrambic and Phallic odes into the regular chorus, and amplified the meagre scenes of Thespis into the complete and majestic drama was Eschylus. Aristotle affirms that he was the first who brought actors into the scene. He, at least, first made the dialogue the principal part, and is therefore, by nearly universal consent, styled, the father of tragedy. His works are marked by the simplicity and fire which characterize the productions of primitive, unconfined and inventive genius. His great and daring mind delighted to expatiate on the confines of human existence -among the vast and shadowy forms of fable. His favorite dramatis personae are demi-gods and heroes-his favorite themes the gigantic prowess and terrific conflicts of Titans. In strength, sublimity and energy, he stands unsurpassed, perhaps unequalled. Along with these excellencies, he exhibits the usually concomitant faults of occasional extravagance and even bombast, and, "in the arrangement of his pieces, there remains much of ancient simplicity and somewhat even of uncouth rudeness. Yet, in the estimation of the right-minded and judicious, he ranked supreme in tragedy. Even the majestic dignity of Sophocles," and, we might add, the impassioned energy of Euripides "bow, at once, before the gigantic powers of Eschylus."
The next in time, and according to the unanimous opinion of the ancients, the next in merit, was Sophocles. This truly great poet, seems in a good degree, to have blended the excellencies and avoided the defects of his precursor and follower-combining much of the sublimity and intensity of Eschylus with the moral elevation and purity of Euripides. Without descending from the dignity of Eschylus, he imparted a more human interest to the mythi which formed the common subjects of their tragedies.
His vivid apprehensions of moral goodness, did not, however, preserve him from irregularities in his early life, though they led him to lament these irregularities in his latter years, since Plato represents him as exclaiming, "I thank old age for delivering me from the tyranny of my appetites." His characteristics are thus exhibited by a recent anonymous English critic: "His language, though at times marked by harsh metaphor and perplexed construction, is pure and majestic. His management of a subject is admirable. No one understood so well the artful envelopment of the incident, the secret excitation of the feelings, and the gradual heightening of the interest up to the final crisis, when the catastrophe bursts forth in all the force of overwhelming terror or compassion. Such was Sophocles; the most perfect in dramatic arrangement, the most sustained in the even flow of dignified thought, word and tone, among the tragic triumvirate." Mr. Schlegel has bestowed on him the highest, and, to a christian mind, the most attractive encomium: "He is," says he, "of all the Grecian poets, the one whose feelings have most in common with the spirit of our religion."
At the same era with Sophocles, though born about fourteen years later, appeared the third and last distinguished ornament of the tragic drama of Greece, Euripides. His parents, as well as those of Sophocles, bestowed on him a most complete and expensive education. He was the pupil of Anaxagoras in philosophy and of Socrates in morals-and has interwoven the sentiments of both in his admirable productions. He is distinguished for his searching discrimination of the inward workings of thought and passion and his singularly vivid and kindling descriptions of them. His unrivalled pathos for which Aristotle entitles him τραγικώτατος τῶν ποιητῶν, induced Quinctilian in ancient and Fenelon in modern times to recommend him especially to the study of lawyers, and why not for the same reason, to all engaged in the cultivation of eloquence. He is remarkable for his fidelity to nature and human life. This was in fact one point of the ridicule of Aristophanes and was censured even by those critics who thought more of consistency with the rules of the drama than with the incidents of human life. He was thus characterized in contrast with his two compeers in tragedy: "Eschylus described men greater than they can be, Sophocles as they ought to be, Euripides as they are." He was also remarkable for the acuteness and vivacity of his dialogue and in
fine, for nothing more than the elevated moral tone of his tragedies. This he probably caught from the discourses and the society of Socrates, that name, which both in wisdom and goodness, stands at the head of "all Greek, all Roman fame." Socrates was not only his instructor but his intimate friend, and never attended dramatic representation but when the tragedies of Euripides were exhibited. The intimacy and esteem of such a man outweighs in favor of his mind and heart all the jeers of contemporary comedians and the censures of mere critics. To render the stage a school of virtue was the avowed purpose of this great poet, and the moral and philosophical reflections with which his compositions are replete caused him to be ranked among the sages of Greece, and procured him the merited title of the philosopher and moralist of the stage. In fact, his studious and sometimes it must be owned, unseasonable introduction of such sentiments was regarded by the ancients as one of the defects of his tragedies. But though this feature might render them less perfect as dramatic compositions, it certainly renders them more attractive to the moralist and the Christian; to those who study the antique not principally to gratify their taste or improve their intellect, but to observe the developments of conscience, the revelations of the inward law-to learn, at once, the powers and the wants of heathenism. To such minds the works of Euripides will appear among the richest and most valuable remains of antiquity-and it is perhaps this very circumstance, which has attracted to him more of the attention and admiration of the moderns than to either of his great, perhaps greater competitors. We may add that his tragedies were a favorite study of Milton.
Time has been as unsparing in the destruction of the tragic as of the comic remains of Greece. Of three alone of her many tragedians, have we any complete works remaining, and these bearing a small proportion to the great fertility of those authors. "They are," says Mr. Schlegel, "those which the Alexandrine critics included in their selection of authors, which was to serve for a basis to the study of the older Grecian literature, not as though these were the only valuable ones, but because in them the different styles of tragic art might be recognized." We possess entire only seven tragedies of Eschylus, seven of Sophocles, and nineteen of Euripides. Of these however, many were considered by the ancients the best works of their respective authors.
Having thus given a brief outline of the history, we next turn our attention to the structure of the Greek drama.
It was originally, as we have already mentioned, a string of unconnected choruses. Thespis introduced scenes and the declamation of an actor. Eschylus further developed and perfected these scenes, and added a second actor. Sophocles introduced a third; and thus, what was, at first, only an accessory, became the principal part, the body of the drama. Aristotle, the great master of dramatic criticism, has given two divisions of the drama;-the one, with reference to its quantity, the other, to its quality. Those parts which are necessary to its completeness as to quantity are four-the prologue, the episode, the exode and the chorus. The parode and stasimon are subdivisions of the chorus-the former being the first speech of the whole chorus, the latter, including all those choral odes that are without anapaests and trochees. The commoi (or general lamentations of the chorus and actors together,) are found only in some tragedies. The prologue is all that part which precedes the first entrance of the chorus. (This term has therefore entirely changed its meaning, in its application to the Roman and modern drama.) The episode all that which intervenes between the first and the last appearance of the chorus. The exode that which has no choral ode after it. The chorus consisted of the lyric interludes introduced between the scenes.
The prologue was the exposition of the subject by one of the persons of the drama. Its business was to give the spectator so much information relative to the incidents of the piece as would enable him to follow the action with intelligence and inThe episode was the entire development and progress of the plot. The exode, its consummation and result. The subject of the choral interludes was general reflections, philosophical and moral on the progress of the action-an expression of the hopes and fears awakened by the incidents-sometimes, lamentations on the calamities incident to humanity-sometimes, supplications to the Deity for assistance to the dramatic personage whose cause the chorus espoused; though, in fact, a spirit of disinterestedness and non-committal is, in general, one of its most striking characteristics.
The chorus, in its wild, abrupt and impassioned character, and in the boundless variety of its metres, may be regarded as the relic and representative of the original dithyramb. Here, the sprightly and versatile genius of the Greeks delighted to