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as far superior to their masters, both in witty reply and practical wisdom, Menander maintaining a higher tone respecting slavery than his Roman imitators; for he says,

'Live as a free man, and it makes thee free.'

The entire absence of love-scenes was another peculiarity in these dramas; for although there was generally a love story, the audience were never allowed to see the lady. Nor was the author very complimentary respecting marriages, although he admits that

• A virtuous woman is a man's salvation ;
A good wife is the rudder of the house.'

He is also honest enough to lay the fault of ill-assorted matches at the door of those who have to choose, as much as of those who are chosen :

• What boots it to be curious as to lineage,
Who was her grandfather, and her mother's mother,
Which matters nought ; while, for the bride herself,
Her whom we have to live with, what She is,
In mind or temper, this we never ask.
They bring the dowry out, and count it down,
The gold which some few months shall see the end of ;
While she who at our hearth must sit through life
We make no trial of, put to no proof
Before we take her, but trust all to chance.'


In most of his plays a soldier of fortune is introduced who indulges in long stories of his exploits, and is sometimes accompanied by a parasite to act as his foil or toady; a character common enough in Athens and Rome, but which has not found its way into the modern drama, although not unknown in society as 'the diner out.' Then there was the female slave, corresponding with our pert waiting-maid, the old nurse, and, occasionally, the family cook.

It has been remarked that Menander was more adapted to instruct than to entertain ; and some of his passages breathe a high tone of morality; for example,

'The gods have need
That man be good unto his fellow-men,
Nor thief, nor murderer from the lust of gain,
Nay covet not so much as a needle's thread,

For One stands by who sees and watches all.'

'He is well cleansed that hath his conscience clean ;' and,

• The workman still is greater than his work ; as well as the sentence adopted by St. Paul,

• Evil communications corrupt good manners.' In short, the number of quotations from his works, which have passed into household proverbs, show the estimation they were held in by those who had access to them in their integrity.

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UCIAN was born of humble parents at Samosata in 19 Asia Minor, and, on leaving school, was apprenticed

to an uncle, that he might learn his craft as a carver of images. But the uncle thrashed him, and he ran home again ; when, he relates that, in a dream, he saw two female figures—one the genius of Statuary, who offered him a living by the labour of his hands; and the other, Education, who promised to make him acquainted with the things which the noblest men in all times have done, and said, and written, and to adorn his mind with the love of the beautiful, and a thirst for knowledge. He chose the latter; and having, by some means, received the training of a rhetorician, he delivered lectures and declamations in several different countries, until he attained the age of forty, after which he settled at Athens as a literary writer, and a philosopher of the Socratic school.

In his old age, he accepted a recordership at Alexandria, the duties of which he performed by deputy, and enjoyed the emoluments for many years, being a hundred years old when he died.

The most popular of his writings are 'Dialogues of the Gods,' in which he holds up to ridicule the absurdities of the pagan religion, and satirises the fables and legends in which the people no longer believed. A fair specimen of them is that between Jupiter and Cupid, which runs as. follows:

awful person,

Cupid. Well, if I have done wrong, I am only a child, and don't know any better.

Jupiter. Child indeed! Because you have not got a beard yet, and your hair is not grey, you are to be considered a child still, old and crafty as you are.

Cupid. Why, what great harm have I done you, old as you say I am ? Jupiter. Look here, then, you mischievous imp! There is nothing that you have not turned me into,-satyr, bull, gold-pieces, swan, eagle ; but you never yet have made any woman fall in love with me for myself. If they see me they die of terror.

Cupid. Yes, no wonder, they are but mortal, and can't endure your Jupiter. How is it, then, that Apollo gets them to fall in love with him ?

Cupid. Well, Daphne, you know, ran away from him, in spite of his flowing locks and smooth face ; and if you want to make yourself attractive, you must not carry a thunderbolt about with you, but look pleasant, let your hair hang down in curls, get a purple dress, put on gilded sandals, walk with the fashionable step, and then all the women will run after you.

Jupiter. Away with you ; how could I condescend to make such a fool of myself?

Cupid. Very well, then ; give up love-making altogether (looking slyly at him); that's easy enough, you know.

Jupiter. Nay, I must go on with my courting, and you must find me some less derogatory way of succeeding than you have suggested. Upon this condition only will I let you off. -Collins.

7 In “The Council of the Gods,' polytheism is treated with admirable humour. The object of the council is to institute a strict scrutiny into the right and title of the new gods, aliens, and foreigners of all sorts, to a seat in Olympus. Momus is the spokesman, and names some gross cases of intrusion, especially the monstrous forms introduced from Eastern mythology.

In a sketch entitled “Timon,' Jupiter is asked why mortals are no longer taught to fear him, as they formerly were, by flashing lightnings and rolling thunders hurled at them—when hail was like pebbles, and each drop of rain like a river. Clearly the poets' descriptions of his terrors were nothing but sonorous words, or why do men neglect to offer sacrifices, and commit sacrilege in the temples with impunity? Then Timon inquires why his generosity to the gods and men is forgotten, now that he has spent all his riches, and has to dig for his bread. Whereupon, Jupiter


sends Mercury and Plutus to show him where to discover an immense buried treasure. But, having found it, Timon becomes a misanthrope, and when his former friends and companions flock round him again, hoping to share in his new wealth, he drives them away, and resolves henceforth to live for himself and not for others.

Passing over the 'Dialogues of the Dead,' most of which are adapted from Homer or the old mythologies, we come to · Charon's visit to the upper world,' with Mercury as his guide, one of the author's best conceptions. Having piled several mountains one upon another, they sit on the summit, and, by using an incantation, are able to see many famous cities, and what is happening in them. Charon remarks how full human life seems of trouble, and inquires what are the shadows constantly hovering in the air. These, he is told by Mercury, are the various evil passions, and also the fates with their spindles and threads. He cannot understand why their life, which he compares to bubbles floating along a stream, and quickly vanishing into nothing, should be so clung to by mortals. He would fain say to them,

Oh ! fools, why are ye so anxious ? ye cannot live for ever; none of the things ye so admire are everlasting; nor can a man carry ought away with him when he dies; naked he must depart below, and houses and land and gold must change their master, and pass into other hands.' But Mercury assures him that his preaching would be in vain, for the ears of the majority are so stopped with error and ignorance that they could not listen, and it would be labour lost to tell the few whose ears are open to the voice of truth what they know well already.

The most amusing of all his caricatures is “The Sale of * the Philosophers,' in which he holds up to derision the charlatans and impostors who sheltered themselves under the names of the celebrated sages, and the sophistries and absurdities which were promulgated as their doctrines. The scene is a slave-mart, with Jupiter and Mercury as the vendors, the philosophers in the garb of slaves to be sold, and a crowd of buyers. Pythagoras is put up as a professor who understands the harmonies of the universe, and how to live two lives. On being questioned, he tells them that he


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