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The mother whom he loves shall quit her home,
Stain of his breed ! dishonouring manhood's form,
But we will combat for our fathers’ land,
Leave not our sires to stem th’unequal fight,
man of age (a sight unblest)
But Youth's fair forin, though fallen, is ever fair,
For having perish'd in the front of war. The War hymns of Tyrtæus were so popular, that Lycurgus the orator informs us of their having been sung in their camp two hundred years after the time of the poet. They possess a sobriety more peculiar to the Spartan character than to that of Greece at large. There is nothing like transport in these military appeals, no summons to a hurried or headlong attack. That was not the character of Spartan discipline. Its object was to inspire a devoted magnanimity above impetuosity. Hence even the martial music of this people was purposely calculated not to inflame, but to soothe the spirit of the combatant. They used not the trumpet in their march into battle, says Thucydides, because they wished not to excite the rage of their warriors. Their charging-step was made to the “ Dorian mood of flutes and soft recorders.” The valour of a Spartan was too highly tempered to require a stunning or rousing impulse. His spirit was like a steed too proud for the spur. Education bad hardened bis nature into a fortitude that could bear the last polish of serenity. Yet, stoic as he was, there was a holy enjoyment of patriotic battle, mixed with the calm ot' his selfpossession. History minutely describes him advancing with a cheerful countenance and majestic pace to close with his enemy; and when he was about to kill or die for his country, he measured his last steps to music that filled him with sweet and solemn associations. It was at once a delightful and terrible sight, says Plutarch, to see them marching on to the tune of their flutes, without ever troubling their order, or
confounding their ranks; their music leading them into danger with a deliberate hope and assurance, as if some Divinity had sensibly assisted them. The issue of those cool and musical approaches pretty generally shewed them superior to the most furious onsets.
The Lyric poetry of the Greeks comprehended a vast variety of strains, extending from the most earnest and sacred, to the lightest festive character. Many of their religious hymns, as we have already seen by those of the Homeridæ, partook considerably of the Epic character, that is, they related the actions of the Deities, to whom they were addressed ; and it is probable that the very ancient hymnic poetry of Bacis and Olen was of this narrative description. stition, however, often poured itself forth in Lyric numbers, and with the characteristic ardour, pride, and pomp of Lyric poetry. It was for furnishing strains of this kind that Pindar was allotted a seat of honour in the temple of Delphi, and a share of the offerings that were made to it. Nor, whilst the lyre accompanied hymns at the altar, was it less the companion of song at the social board. The instrument was given from hand to hand at convivial parties; and to play it and sing to it well, was held amongst the most esteemed accomplishments that a Greek could bring into society. In this respect the national manners were widely different from those of the Romans, who, in later times at least, thought it disreputable to sing at banquets * The Greeks considered music as a branch of liberal education, so that a supper at Rome, whatever it might have been to the palate, must have been much less agreeable to the ear than at Athens.
The singing at a Greek entertainment commenced with an anthem in honour of one or other of the gods, in which all the company joined t. This religious custom, a relic of sober antiquity, seems to have been kept up in ages less distinguished by habitual piety, just as “Non Nobis Domine” is sung after a modern dinner, or a grace repeated in our own graceless times. When the pæan was finished, the host gave the lyrè to the guest beside him, and challenged him for a song; and the most learned authorities solemnly assure us that there was no possibility for the bashful or bad singer to escape obeying this command. When he had complied, he had a right, in turn, to compel his neighbour to warble ; and thus the song went completely round. If any one was awkward at the lyre, he was permitted to sing without it, simply holding a myrtle branch in his hand; but from singing there was no refuge, as under the milder system of modern manners, either in the apology of a cold, or the offer to tell a story. There was another species of
songs to which the name of Scolia seems most particularly to belong; which did not circulate regularly, but partook more of the nature of wit combats 1. Some one of the company sung a strain, and gave the lyre and challenge to any one he chose, who, if he wished to support his credit, sung different words and turns of thought on the same subject, either from memory or extemporaneously. This kind of song, Professor Ilgen maintains, derived the name of Scolion from the oblique direction in which it passed among the rival songsters. The Scolion was of all different characters, from the utmost gravity of morals and mythology to the loosest jollity.
* This was not always the case, however :-“ Utinam extarent," says Cicero, “illa carmina quæ multis sæculis ante suam ætatem in epulis esse cantitat a singulis convivis de claroruin virorum laudibus in originibus scriptum reliquit Cato."
Cicero, Brut. 19. + Plutarch Sympos. I. Qu. I. 1 PWTOV MESov pony Koivws απαντες μια φωνή παιαναζοντες. .
# Ngen de Scol. Pocsi.
When the wine had circulated for a certain time however, we may conceive that a rivalship, which was likely to be confined to the wits of the
party, would be felt rather unsociable; and that the songs which required neither a retentive memory nor powers of improvisation would be resumed, and conclude the entertainment. The Kōmos was the song peculiar to the mellowest state of inebriety; and, according to Suidas, was the serenade which the tipsy lover sung at untimely hours before his mistress's habitation, sometimes concluding it, when she was unkind, with smashing her windows.
The example of Terpander, Archilochus, and Alcman, in Lyric poetry, was followed by a rich and numerous succession of poets in the same walk of composition; of whom Stesichorus, Alcæus, Sappho, Simonides, Ibycus, Bacchylides, and Anacreon, are the names of most eminent reputation. Their united æras fill up a space of about two hundred years ; during which time they peculiarly enriched three out of the four dialects of Greek.-In the Ionic, we have still the gay relics of Anacreon. Lesbos gave Alcæus and Sappho as ornaments to the Æolic dialect; and that island must have been a favourite haunt of the Lyric Muse, since it also claimed the memory of Terpander and Arion. Pindar, in the Doric dialect, perfected this species of poetry, and stands at the head of it in the universal estimation. Yet, if it be not treason to his acknowledged supremacy, I would say, that deplorably scanty as are the relics of the preceding lyrists, there are traits in them of a simple power over the affections, which are not to be met with in the more magnificent art with which Pindar addresses the imagination.-Of the Lyric poets I shall treat more in detail in another Lecture.
The Milk-maid and the Banker.
Who lived at Acton,
A crooked-back'd one,
Vicious and spiteful,
'Which had, as usual, slipp'd its anchor,
When on the road she met a certain Banker,
“ Are you from Acton, pretty lass?" he cried : “ Yes, with a curtsey she replied.
Why then you know the laundress, Sally Wrench ?”
“She is my cousin, Sir, and next-door neighbour.” “ That's lucky-I've a message for the wench,
Which needs despatch, and you may save my labour.
“Of the loving intentions you bore nie;
Will reach Acton some minutes before me."
The Farmer's Wife and the Gascon. At Neuchatel, in France, where they prepare
Cheeses that set us longing to be mites, There dwelt a farmer's wife, famed for her rare
Skill in these small quadrangular delights. Where they were made, they sold for the immense
Price of three sous a-piece;
But as salt water made their charms increase, In England the fix'd rate was eighteen-pence. This damsel had to help her in the farm,
To milk her cows and feed her hogs, A Gascon peasant, with a sturdy arm
For digging or for carrying logs,
In fact a gaby,
That Wantley's dragon, who ate barns and churches,
Of cream like nectar,
Till she had left it safe with a protector;
But lick'd his upper, then his under lip,
Which if they got,
His bowels yearn'd;
But on all sides his looks he turn'd,
Scudding from church, the farmer's wife
Flew to the dairy;
One sentence mutter,
Until she summon'd breath enough to utter
The vixen (for she was a vixen) flew
Had gulp'd her cream, nor left an atom,
But, with a look of excellent digestion,
« The Flies!”
Behold, your whiskers still are coverd thickly;
I'll make you tell another story quickly.".
Two stout Gens-d'Armes,
He turn'd to the delinquent,
As to which way the drink went. Still the same dogged answers rise, “ The Aies, my Lord,--the Aies, the Aies f" “Psha!" quoth the judge, half peevish and half pompous,
“Why, you 're non compos, You should have watch'd the bowl, as she desired,
And kill'd the flies, you stupid clown.”. “ What! is it lawful then,” the dolt inquired,
“ To kill the flies in this here town ?" “ The man 's an ass-a pretty question this ! Lawful? you booby!--to be sure it is. You've my authority, where'er you meet 'eni, To kill the rogues, and, if you like it, eat 'em.”“ Zooks !” cried the rustic, "l'm right glad to hear it.
Constable, catch that thief! may I go hang
Is n't the very leader of the gang
And gratified a double grudge;