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' dæmonians on the other, the line of conduct which they meant 'to pursue, and from which no sacrifices, however painful, should 'divert them. Nor were those the only claims of gratitude 'which Athens had upon the minor states of Greece: in some 'occurrences, almost immediately succeeding the struggle with 'Persia, she is found exhibiting as much wisdom, moderation ' and forbearance, as in the Persian war itself she had shown 'unexampled energy and courage.' But, notwithstanding a few passages of this description, the animus of his observations is signally hostile to the Athenians-beyond the limits of moderation and equity. With the ingenuity of these remarks, though not seldom forced in, like many of the jokes of Aristophanes, by an arbitrary process, we have no fault to find: if we complain, it is because the partisan has, ever and anon, been too strong for the annotator. It is astonishing how much his judgments have been tinged by a sort of speculative toryism, with which, as a matter of taste or of principle, in its legitimate place, we have no right to quarrel, but which cannot be soundly or successfully applied to the manners and events of the ancient world. And the effects of this spirit are frequently almost ludicrous from the perverseness with which satirical shafts, aimed at Athenian acts and usages, glance off in other directions, by no means contemplated when they were launched.
Examples will make our meaning clear. At v. 37, the honest Dicæopolis, whose general politics, by the way, are quite to the editor's liking, announces his intended opposition to the warparty in the assembly, in the following terms:
νῦν οὖν ἀτεχνῶς ἥκω παρασκευασμένος
So here I am all ready-out and out
To baffle-bawl-and blackguard down the speakers,
On this peg are hung three pages of virtuous indignation: 'Whoever wishes to be thoroughly conversant with the interior ' of an Athenian ecclesia, must be content to give the utmost at'tention to every word in this important verse,' (v. 38, baffle, bawl, blackguard down, in our humble translation.) 'It contains, as 'it were, a list of the arms which democracy had put into the hands of the lowest, and most worthless of the Athenian citizens, for 'defeating the purposes of the best and wisest among them." 'Ib. Boar (to bawl.) Of this mode of defeating the most important measures, or enforcing the most violent and unjustifiable ' schemes in the assembly, two remarkable instances are record
'ed,' &c. &c. &c. As if the same things were not done at every public meeting in our best of possible ages and countries! As if clamour, interruption, and vituperation, not the less poignant from its improved polish, had not been resorted to as freely in our own House of Commons-and in the unreformed not a whit less than in the reformed as they ever were in the Ecclesia of Athens! As if, above all, it were not highly fit and proper that such weapons should be within the grasp of a popular body at all times, when, but for the healthy discipline of these discourtesies, little business could be transacted; and no statesman's temper, prudence, and firmness could be submitted to an ordeal that as effectually refines the ore as it consumes the dross!
Again, at v. 80, the humour of Aristophanes waxes rather broad. The ambassadors from the great king are making their report:
ἔτει τετάρτῳ δ ̓ ἐς τὰ βασίλει ̓ ἤλθομεν·
πόσου δὲ τὸν πρωκτὸν χρόνου ξυνήγαγέ ;
τῇ πανσελήνῳ· κατ ̓ ἀπῆλθεν οἴκαδε·
Ambas. In the fourth year we reach'd his seat: but he,
Gone with his troops,
on necessary business
took his ease.
Eight months upon the gold-hills.
Dicoop. Eight months! How long, then, serv'd to muster and*
One full moon
Suffic'd for that: so march'd he home again.
It might be correct in the editor to omit this foolery, but wherefore introduce the unfair gibe: Whatever may be the courtlanguage of other monarchs, that of the people-king was not of the most choice or delicate description ? Why is the sin of coarseness to be imputed to democracy and not to the times? Does Mr Mitchell wish us to parallel, or exceed, the said coarseness out of the court-records of our Virgin Queen? Was the
* We have given to this passage the turn proposed by Schütz, and, apparently, preferred by Bekker. Mr Mitchell, in his translation, wherein the passage is retained, follows Elmsley and Poinsinet.
facetiousness of Rabelais, by reason of this ingredient, offensive to the ears of most holy and most Christian potentates? Or to come lower down, was it not the profaneness rather than the filth of Swift, that drew on him the frowns of a female sovereign? And, at this hour, is there not far more affected prudery of language in republican America than in monarchical England?
For Harmodius and Aristogeiton, (Note on v. 889), we expected no quarter, and, rejoicing in the editor's eulogy of the 'fine poetry' lavished on their names, we regret only that, as to other matters, he depends on authority so inferior to his own as that of Mr Mitford. But when next Mr Mitchell refers to the stern and bloody oath of democracy recorded by Andocides,* in which these worthies are alluded to-we will beg of him merely to compare with it our ancient custom as to outlaws,-those capita lupina, who might be knocked on the head like a wolf by any one that should meet them,'† and our existing law of treason,and we venture to say, that stern and bloody democracy-little as we love it will not have the worst of the comparison. Even in that glowing train of thought which is lighted up in Mr Mitchell's mind by the single word ga tribute-money,' (v. 450), though we quote it with pleasure both for its eloquence and its praise of Attic literature, how entirely are the peculiar position of Athens after the Persian invasion,-her exposure as the prime mark of Asiatic hostility, her necessity for maintaining a strong force and an imposing attitude, and her paramount claim to wield the resources of a common country against the power of a common enemy,-thrown out of sight!
"Pogor." How much is contained in this word, and what a landmark in political science does it form for those who may 'themselves be called to sway the rod of empire, and have "to 'read their history in a nation's eye!" On one side of this little 'word we see Athens comparatively unimportant and insignifi'cant, yet, if the pleasing pictures of Isocrates (Orat. Areop.) be ' not a rhetorician's dream, free and happy; and, if the noble sen'timents ascribed to her by Herodotus (viii. 143, 4.) be correct, 'deserving at once both happiness and freedom. On the other side is beheld Athens, possessed of all that wealth and power can 'bestow, yet restless and discontented at home; hated and feared ' among her dependants abroad; mistress of a glorious literature which will never allow her name to be forgotten, yet herself 'rapidly setting into dim night, and her pale star only occasionally rising above the horizon to remind thoughtful minds of that 'day of vengeance and compensation which awaits national as well
Appendix, p. 260.
VOL. LXI. NO. CXXIV.
† Blackstone, iv. 320.
as individual guilt. Whence had come the mighty change? One 'source at least will be found in the all-important word before us. • When the Persian left the sacred soil of Greece, he left behind ❝ him an enemy far more fatal than his sword or bow-the plunder of a rich and luxurious camp, and a body of noble prisoners, easily convertible into riches. From that moment the love of Persian gold seems to have become as predominant among the Greeks as their original fears of Medic iron, and even of Medic dress (Herodot. vi. 112.) had been; and the mischievous consequences among their two leading states were only of later or earlier date, according to the nature of their respective institutions. The Spartan monarch, Pausanias, stood among the 'magnificent spoils of Platæa, and made an ostentatious display (Herodot. ix. 82.) of virtuous poverty and temperance: the wretched man knew not how soon the demons of luxury and ❝ avarice were to take possession of his very soul. The more expeditious Athenians, with Themistocles their guide, took ship after the battle of Salamis, and carried to the islands the news of the 'victory-and an application for money. (Herodot. viii. 112.) It was a combination of things which no Athenian ever after lost sight of. Henceforth, in their lighter and their graver literature, in the language of the common Athenians, and the workings of their statesmen's minds, the proofs of this growing appetite for gold meet us at every turn. The tragic muse pointed to Persia as the very harbour of treasure (Esch. Persæ, 255); the comic talked of its gold distributed by bushels (Arist. Ach. 108. Ed. • Br.) The common people dwelt on the 1200 camel-loads from which it was supplied (Dem. 185, 22); while in the minds of the gravest politicians seemed to run a constant current of two prevailing ideas, and those almost convertible terms, money and ships, ships and money.* That statesmen should have shared the madness will cause no surprise; a large revenue had through their unwise policy become indispensable to Athens; and many were the hungry mouths they had now to feed. This first play of Aristophanes presents us (to say nothing of soldiers and seamen) with a large body of Ecclesiasts, who did not afford their ⚫ deliberative wisdom for nothing; his "Wasps" will let loose upon us some thousands of cormorants equally clamorous for law, for oratory, and-three obols; while the "knights" will bring us into the very focus and virulence of the disease among that
Well, Mr Mitchell, and so said, we believe, Mr Tierney, and often en applauded for saying it: Give me a powerful navy and a exchequer, and I defy the world in arms!' These are just the ir own greatness-money and ships, ships and money.
"accursed crew whose mouths were alike gagged or opened by the precious metals; men who, for mercenary motives, marred all that the generous mind of Solon had planned, and who have made 'the very names of demagogue and democracy stink in the nostrils of those who care little to see their fellow-creatures wealthy and powerful, but who care much to see them virtuous and happy!'One does not often meet with such writing among the foot-notes. of a volume adapted to the use of schools and universities,' but the rhetoric has galloped too hard for the author's discernment to keep pace with it.
It is worse where positive inconsistency can be pointed out as the result of this anti-Athenian temper. Thus, who so much bepraised, both by Mr Mitford and by Mr Mitchell, as Aristides? Yet, in this very matter of tribute he recognised, as well he might, the principle of the exaction, however equitable might be the assessment which he himself imposed. Moreover, this aristocratical person, as he is often called, this just person as he is more honourably named, struck the first deadly blow at the oligarchy of Athens. To all the Athenians, says Plutarch,* whose comments on the policy of the proceeding are worth perusal, he gave after the battle of Platea the right of admission to offices of government. Solon's constitution showed great deference to wealth; Aristides overturned it. No more property qualifications-no more 500 measure ment-no more equestrian privileges, cried this sweeping reformer. So bold a beginning left little for the people and Pericles to do in the march of republicanism. They might be wrong: Aristides then could hardly be right.
It is worse still where an old misrepresentation is adopted, or where a new misinterpretation is introduced, for the sake of a sarcastic reflection. What business had the writer of that treatise on the Athenian constitution, which is ascribed to Xenophon, to say that, under it, abuse of the entire commonwealth was restrained, while opulent, high born, and powerful individuals were freely given up to the lash? If such a restriction ever existed, either it was not in the time of Aristophanes, or he treated it with about as much ceremony as our newspapers do the standing orders of Parliament. Yet Mr Mitchell, a translator of the Knights-aware of the conspicuous part played by the allegorical Demus in that bold dramatic satire-repeats the asser
*Plut. Aristid. c. 22.
Pentacosiomedimni, or, as we might express it, 2000 peck men, (dry measure,) or 5000 gallon men (liquid measure,) rated according to their annual income in kind.