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tion: though the rich, the noble and the influential by their virtues or their talents might be held up to ridicule on the stage, Athens had still its law of libel, by which the majesty of the sovereign people was protected!' He allows, however, (v. 586.) that so far from extenuating the liberties he had taken with this sovereign people, Aristophanes abides by and 'justifies them. Referring to the deceptions which were played on the popular ear in the assembly by foreign ambassadors, he asserts that these tricks had been stopped by the biting satire of his two former comedies; and for having done this he pro'ceeds to declare that he has been the author of great benefits to his country, even though he has shown in the presence of the tributary states, in what manner popular Governments are conducted (nuo nuongaτoûvтai) i. e. how easily they are made the dupes of their own vanity and the arts of designing men.' The words marked by italics are, we think, misinterpreted by Mr Mitchell. We agree with two learned correspondents,' whom he quotes, that there is no particular stress on democracy; it so happened that the Governments were democratical, and therefore he uses the term dnuongaтouvrai.' In short, the poet is complaining of the manner in which the subject states were governed; but the editor must have his fling at the form of Government. An ex-member for a northern county would meet him with the lately ministerial quotation,
That which is best administered, is best.'
We will not say as much for either democracy or-despotism. It has always appeared to us strange, that many able menthe subject of these strictures among them have not found it possible to censure the Athenians without compensating for this austerity by an extravagant adulation of their Spartan enemies. If one must be damnatory, why not vituperate both ? That they should both be in the right,' said a Scotch advocate, of a Scotch judge, who maintained that though a learned brother differed from himself on a particular point, each might have good grounds for his opinion—' surpasses all bounds of possibility-but it may very easily happen that they should both be in the wrong." To the Lacedæmonian character and policy, as far as they were contrasted with those of Athens, Mr Mitchell might apply this saying of the witty lawyer. But, although he once just hints a fault' in his favourites, that they are his favourites, in no small degree, and not slightly
Note on v. 448.
+ Note on p. xviii. of the Introduction.
at the expense of the rival state, is made only too conspicuous throughout the present publication. He cannot even allude to the early and frequent use of the article in the Doric syntax, without adding in this little peculiarity may be traced much ' of what constituted the Spartan character;-exalted piety, 'self-dignity, and a sense of what belonged to others as well as 'to herself. The Apollo, the Sparta, the Athens.' * And, in the Introduction, it seems as if enough could not be said of the superiority of Lacedæmon to Athens in the property-the blood -the integrity-and-do we read aright ?—the intelligence of her citizens. With respect to the sources of the Spartan income, it should not be forgotten that that income, as well as the Athenian, was helped out by occasional tribute (anopogà) received from the confederate Greeks, during the period of the Lacedæmonian supremacy but, letting that pass, and not to dwell on sundry well-authenticated anecdotes, which bear hard upon the reputation of this people for honesty, we cannot avoid asking who are Mr Mitchell's foremost witnesses in behalf of their much-lauded goodness, and of the preference for them evinced by the minor Grecian communities at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war? There is the exile Thucydides. Did he ever-mildly as he speaks of the affair+—really forget or forgive the disgrace inflicted upon him by his Attic countrymen? There is the exile Xenophon. Is not the soreness of his feelings towards Athens only equalled by the excess of his partiality for Sparta? Would that both of these great writers had imbibed the spirit of their greater predecessor in the walks of history! Herodotus, too, though selfbanished, was still an exile. Yet in his candid pages no one can detect a symptom of unfairness to his worthless fellow-citizens of Halicarnassus. If Athens and Sparta must be weighed against each other, let his hand hold the balance, and we have no fears for the result.
But we are referred to modern authorities. Only listen cries Mr Mitchell-to the learned and eloquent' Müller. That an editor of Aristophanes should regard German scholars with complacency-considering what the two Schlegels and many of their classical compatriots have done for the fame of the poetis nothing wonderful; nevertheless we are much mistaken if the glaring faults, as well as the great merits of these scholars, have not been noted by Mr Mitchell too accurately to admit of his chiming in with that servile pack in this country, which is ever ready to open, full cry, at the heels of any one, reared within the precincts of a German university. That Müller read largely
for his work upon the Dorians, and that he writes vivaciously, cannot be denied; but, had the historian himself been fed upon black broth, he could not have manifested a more exclusive veneration for his Spartan hobby, or a more resolute contempt for fair play in his allusions to the Attic race. It would be easy and amusing to substantiate this charge by a variety of instances. Let us examine, here, the grounds of his assertion, that up to the time of the Persian war, all mental excellence, so far from being banished from Sparta, flourished there in the utmost perfection;'*-for this assertion, it appears, has guided Mr Mitchell in his startling comparative estimate, noticed above, of Spartan and Athenian intelligence.
But, how far is it true? And how far, if true in any respect, does it rest upon the native genius or original productions of the Spartans themselves? To begin with poetry. If in one branch more than another of the universal art they ought to have reached eminence, it is in the lyric, that peculiar property of the Dorian family. Accordingly we are told that the choral poetry flou'rished in no part of Greece so much as at Sparta.' What is the principal evidence of this fact? A complimentary allusion
Ἔνθα βουλαὶ μὲν γερόντων καὶ νέων ἀνδρῶν ἀριστεύοισιν ἀιχμάι,
Καὶ χοροὶ καὶ Μοῖσα καὶ ̓Αγλαΐα.†
There are counsels of the aged, and the young man's spear is strong, There the Muse and Graces flourish, there the choral dance and song. But where are the documentary proofs? Thebes points to her own Pindar to give the world assurance of a man ;'- Sparta shows only the dry bones of a catalogue: Spendon, (whose existence is doubtful,) Dionysodotus, and other names; while Müller is forced to confess that all remains of these authors have perished, because no part of their writings was prominent or distin'guished.' In the too scanty fragments of Aleman there is heard, indeed, a noble sound of minstrelsy; but Aleman, though resident at Lacedæmon, was of Lydian birth. And thus it was:
Mr Clinton (Fasti Hellenici, I. 189,) condemns Welcker's opposi tion to this true statement of Alcman's nativity. We cannot cite Mr Clinton's testimony without congratulating him on the recent termination of his arduous and admirable labours. Perhaps the pleasure with which we have welcomed his last published volume, is enhanced by finding that, on many of the topics which it embraces, such as the history of the Pelasgians, the personality of the author of the Iliad, and others of a like nature, he takes the same views that have long been taken and taught by the writer of this article.
Almost every thing good or shining about them, the Spartans, like other savages, borrowed from extraneous sources. Their great choruses were solemn and splendid: In these they were instructed by the Milesian or Athenian Tyrtæus. Bromius was extolled in public hymns at their Gymnopædia: These they imported from Crete, from Cythera, from Locris, from Colophon, and from Argos. Their music was foreign. Their dancing was no less foreign than their music.
If any one manly virtue ought to have received its poetical meed or exhortation from the self-kindled genius of Sparta, it is bravery. Yet here too they were debtors ;-debtors to an Attic borough and an adopted bard!
But did not pastoral poetry, at least, arise in Laconia? In Laconia; not in Sparta. Some rude essays of bucolic song were made by the bondmen shepherds in the north of the Lacedæmonian territory; but no Theocritus sprang from among their Spartan masters to mould these into an art.
In epic composition, Lacedæmon boasts the name of Cinathon. His works on Genealogies and Hercules have disappeared; but we will even make him welcome to the little Iliad,' or at all events to the four verses quoted from it by the Scholiast who mentions the report of his authorship!* In the drama, we were about to say that nothing was done by these intellectual rivals of the countrymen of Sophocles: that, however, would be to forget their truly barbarous talent+ for mere mimicry. They had their Deicelicta-theatrical buffoons. In this play,' says Müller, there was not (according to Sosibius) any great art; for Sparta in all things loved simplicity!'-a gentle way of expressing the plain fact that her dramatic exhibitions were somewhat inferior to those of Otaheite !
The feeble attempts of the Lacedæmonians in history deserve no notice. The very names of those who made them have often eluded scholars of vast erudition. Rhetoric they had none: logic they had none. But they had apophthegms-pithy jokesand a choice collection of riddles. Illustrious monuments of mental power and intelligence, that defy the competition of Athens! Shall we seriously argue the other side of the question? or will our classical readers just give a glance to that department of their libraries, which is crowded with Athenian poets, Athenian orators, Athenian historians, and Athenian philosophers?
Having exhausted all the bile that was unavoidably set in mo
*Schol. in Eur. Troad. 821.
† See Dr Clarke's Account of the Russians.
tion by some parts of this publication, we now turn, with great pleasure, to the more agreeable task of almost unmixed praise and acquiescence. The editor's second object, as we have said, is to throw upon the text of Aristophanes those critical lights, which the ripe and various knowledge of the present age-that virile scholarship, as Hermann has well styled it, not, we trust, forgetful of the mighty masters who furnished its earliest nutriment, and trained its aspiring nonage-can supply. Copious notes, written in English, are attached to nearly every line of the play. The vernacular annotations of certain German commentators probably gave the hint of this method; the grave authority of Dr Arnold in his valuable edition of Thucydides sanctions it; and in the hands of such men as that able scholar, and Mr Mitchell, whom no one will suspect of avoiding Latin from laziness or incapacity, it is without doubt the best mode of doing full justice to the beauties of an ancient author, and to those delicacies of idiom that may require minute exposition. In the instance before us, the remarks are generally every thing that the student would desire to find them. If to some readers the finger-post should appear to be occasionally erected where the road was plain enough without it, they will be pleased to recollect that there is a class of persons, who have not yet attained the stature of their prodigious learning. The succeeding volumes will allow the editor room to display his talent for retrenchment. Perhaps, too, since in these it will no longer be so necessary to state the mere facts of etymology and syntax, Mr Mitchell may pay more attention to the rationale of both. For, horribly absurd as many metaphysical explanations of Greek grammar and construction are, the true sources of their phenomena are often visible to acute eyes, and in such cases it is very charitable to point them out for the behoof of all whom it may concern.
A few sins of omission, and a few of commission, with which we meant to charge the commentator, appear, on consideration, too much allied to scholastic matter for the reigning taste in periodical criticism. But the illustrative passages-a delightful species of commentary, in which Mr Mitchell's thorough familiarity with Greek literature and lively sensibility to its perfections render him peculiarly happy-must not be unnoticed. He leads us through a charming variety of striking or graceful quotations, with the skill of a guide, who knows at once what things are best worth seeing, and what is the best way to show them. Thus when the phrase ou außeorías (v. 182.) elicits a citation from the Peace' of Aristophanes, he makes it evident that editorial labours have not damped his former fire as a translator. Trygæus, the hero of that comedy, is apostrophising the goddess herself: