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• Strive to avoid offence, study to please,
Like the sagacious inmate of the seas,
That an accommodating colour brings,
Conforming to the rock to which he clings,
With every change of place changing his hue.'

'Fame is a jest ; favour is bought and sold ;
No power on earth is like the power of gold.'

'To rear a child is easy, but to teach
Morals and manners is beyond our reach ;
To make the foolish wise, the wicked good,
That science never yet was understood.
The sons of Esculapius, if their art
Could remedy a perverse and wicked heart,
Might earn enormous wages. But in fact
The mind is not compounded and compact
Of precept and example ; human art
In human nature has no share or part.
Hatred of vice, the fear of shame and sin,
Are things of native growth, not grafted in ;
Else wives and worthy parents might correct
In children's hearts each error and defect,
Whereas we see them disappointed still-
No scheme nor artifice of human skill,

Can rectify the passions or the will.'
All the foregoing quotations are from the translation of
Mr Hookham Frere.

ÆSCHYLUS.

DIED B.C. 456.

ESCHYLUS was a tragic poet, and, in order rightly

to understand the Greek drama, it must be borne in

mind that it was a national and religious institution, the performances taking place only three times in the course of the year, at the festivals of Bacchus, before an audience of thirty thousand people of all ranks of the community. The theatre was open to the sky, and parts of the play were sung to musical accompaniment, with occasional dancing. The stage extended from end to end in front of the semicircular tiers of seats, but was only a few feet deep, with appropriately painted scenery at the sides and background, the cost of which, as well as the hire of the actors and chorus—who wore high-heeled boots, and masks with accoustic fittings for spreading the range of their voices, that they might be more readily seen and heard—being defrayed by the wealthy for the entertainment of their fellow-citizens.

It must also be remembered that the people regarded these performances in the light of divine ceremonies, as well as competitions of literary culture ; and that their natural taste was aided by an intimate acquaintance with art and learning, which enabled them fully to appreciate both the beauties and the historical allusions in the simple but subtle plots of their poet's conception.

The plays of Æschylus were written during a very stirring epoch of Grecian history, and hence, in his views of life, he seems to address men of all ages, interesting them in the various passions which he so vividly depicts, and in the pagan creed which foreshadows dimiy many of the teachings of Christianity.

PROMETHEUS BOUND. The opening scene reveals a peak of Caucasus, with Vulcan chaining his victim to the rock, saying of Jupiter,

" Who holds a power But newly gained, is ever stern of mood.' Prometheus is left alone, and appeals, in majestic lines, to the deities of the Elements. Ocean nymphs enter and sympathise with him, begging to hear the story of his offence, which he tells them. As they depart, Oceanus arrives to offer his assistance. Then Prometheus tells the Chorus his efforts on behalf of mankind, and the maiden Io appears lamenting her lot, condemned to wander in the form of a heifer. Prometheus recognises her, and she predicts his release by Hercules. As she retires, the Chorus deprecate her ill-matched love with Jupiter, whose certain fall Prometheus in tremendous words foretells, for which Mercury is sent to threaten him with further torture. Prometheus is defiant ; the chorus of Nymphs pity him ; Mercury reproves them ; a storm arises ; Prometheus cries to mother Earth ; the ground opens, and the rock to which he is chained sinks into the abyss.

The other plays, working out his ultimate fate, are lost.

THE SUPPLIANTS. The fifty daughters of Danaus, who have fled from Ægypt, are supposed to have reached the shores of Argos, and enter supplicating Jupiter to protect them from marrying their cousins, and asserting his attributes as the one supreme god. Their father calls them to a place of sanctuary. King Pelasgus enters with his train, hears their story, hesitates from fear of the anger of Ægyptus, but yields on the maidens threatening to hang themselves in the temple. Whilst Danaus goes to conciliate the citizens, his daughters appeal again to Jupiter to aid them, for the sake of their mother Io, whose life and wanderings they relate. The people consent to succour the fugitives, who offer a prayer for the Argives. Their pursuers' ship appears in sight, and they renew their supplications. A herald commands them to embark with their suitors; the king intervenes, and the herald is dismissed. The maidens, advised by their father, prefer dwelling apart to living in the public palaces at Argos, and sing good wishes to their new country in a final ode.

THE PERSIAN S. The scene is laid in Susa, the Persian capital. The Chorus, who are the state councillors of the Great King, sing a processional hymn, expressive of anxiety at the absence of news from their host in Greece, and lamenting the nobles who are gone thither. Then they describe the grand departure of the army under Xerxes. Next the Queen Atossa enters, and relates an ominous dream, asking contemptuously where Athens is. A messenger arrives with the intelligence that the whole expedition has failed. He gives a lengthy list of the dead, and describes the fight at Salamis,-a thousand ships against thirty. The queen retires to offer libations to the dead, and prayers to the gods. The Chorus chant their lamentations, implying that the greatness of Xerxes is no more. The queen returns with offerings to call Darius from the dead, and the Chorus join in praying to him. The ghost of Darius emerges from his tomb, and he attributes the defeat to the rashness of his son, saying that Greece must be attacked no more. Still he bids Atossa show all gentleness to the offender, and returns to the realms of darkness. The Chorus chant their former glories, and Xerxes enters bemoaning his lost heroes; he is induced by questions to tell all his disasters, and the irony of the whole play is thus summed up :

* Cho.-We thought these Grecians shrank appalled at arms.
Xer.—No, they are bold and daring.'

THE SEVEN CHIEFS AGAINST THEBES. KING Eteocles and citizens are assembling in the citadel square. He says 'the gods are thanked for prosperity, and rulers blamed for disasters, but he calls upon them to defend,

*This land, your common parent, And dearest nurse.' A scout brings tidings that the Argives, led by seven chiefs, are preparing to attack the city, and the king retires to see to the defences. A chorus of Theban maidens enter, invoking the aid of the gods. Eteocles returns and rebukes them, saying,

• War is no female province, but the scene

For men ; hence, home, nor spread your mischiefs here.' He begs them, however, to continue their prayers in private, and they implore the gods again, in vivid similes, not to desert the city, or subject their homes to outrage.

The messenger returns, and describes the assembling of the enemy at each of the gates, and that Polynices is specially opposed to the king, his brother. Eteocles nominates the Theban champions to meet the opposing chiefs, amongst whom is the Sphinx, and the Chorus pray for their success. The king determines, in spite of their entreaties, to meet his brother. The Chorus, in a long ode, express the anxiety of the people, and narrate the antecedents of the family of Edipus. The messenger appears once more, and announces the safety of the city, but that the royal brothers have slain each other. As the Chorus chant a dirge, the bodies of Eteocles and Polynices are borne in procession, followed by their sisters Antigone and Ismene, with a long train of weeping women. The sisters come forward and wail their laments over the corpses. A herald proclaims the decree of the elders that Eteocles is to be buried with honour, but that Polynices is to be cast out to the birds and wolves. Antigone, however, declares that she will bury Polynices, and half the Chorus bear away his body, whilst the other half follow Ismene with that of Eteocles.

THE STORY OF ORESTES.

1. Agamemnon. On a tower of Agamemnon's palace at Argos a watchman is looking forth into the night. During ten long years he has

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