« AnteriorContinuar »
Look, Sparta, to't-'tis her concern-not our's.
And your sighs be they deep.
Would work me distraction :
(Throws in garlic, and pounds it very small.)
Sigh we for those same folk of Megara!
Leader of the
Cry aloud, fair and foul,
(Scrapes cheese, and throws it into the bowl.)
Among the public entertainments of a people so theatrically disposed as the Athenians, none we may be sure ranked higher than the superb banquet, usually given by the triumphant tribe to the successful chorus. The prize feast (ETV) is the constant encouragement by which Aristophanes stimulates exertion in his orchestral troop, and in his Female Parliament he offers a bill of fare, which is certainly very provocative. The poet, who contrary to the usual practice, was dismissing his company in a dance, gives animation to the lower members of his dancers, by an intimation addressed to their upper organs.
Come away, come away,'
Garlic was one of the most plentiful productions of Megara.
+1 he reader of Theocritus need not be reminded of the rich milk and cheeses, which so frequently occur in the most exquisite of all pastoral poets.
It was from the odoriferous herbs on mount Hymettus, that the excellence of the Attic honey was derived.
(turns to one of the Miss, I turn me to you ; Chorus.)
Throw your legs one, and two,
(One of the Chorus.) What is bidden I do. (Leader.)
(to one of the Chorus.)
Here's another, whose flanks
At entertainments of this kind, the bard, who furnished the vic
(the whole Chorus gradually begin dancing.)
* A considerable part of what follows is, in the original, compressed into a word of more than seventy syllables! Under these circumstances, a little departure from strict translation seems allowable.
torious piece, was, of course, a most prominent guest: the poet, just quoted, had frequent occasion to experience the value of such a situation; and if we are not mistaken in a passage in Plato, he knew how to make good use of his time, when placed in it. If the following extract shews us that Aristophanes was bald, it also proves, that, like Cæsar, he tried to cover his baldness with laurels.
For oh! if success
These my rhymes to-day bless,
Will be Charge bumper high,
To our bald-headed guest ;-
Of Phoebus's mansion;
To him with the forehead
We are sufficiently masters of our subject to be aware, that it is the guests, after all, who are to decide upon the merits of a feast, and not the caterer. Downy à Saiтuμwv, says Aristotle,* (and in matters of importance, it is proper to appeal to high authorities,) a' 8% ö μαγειρος. It is possible too that our manner of handling some extracts introduced into these remarks, may have the effect of recalling to the reader's mind an homely adage in the culinary art-that the cook and the materials he works upon, often come from very opposite regions. We could perhaps advance a few words in our defence; but we hold it more decorous, as the hour is late, to make our bow in silence, and withdraw from the table. That we may not appear, however, wholly to have trifled with our readers, we shall close with a curious trait of national habits, and try to coax out of it a little moral for those who are not content to read merely for amusement. At great entertainments in Egypt, says Herodotus, a body carved in wood and most minutely resembling a corpse, was carried about and exhibited to each guest, with this admonition: Regulate your potations and your pleasures by this spectacle; for when you are dead, you will be no other than this.' However genteelly (ET) all this might have been done on the part of the corpse-bearers, the principal person
* In Polit, lib. iii. c. 11.
in the drama was certainly, as Plutarch, relating the story after Herodotus, suggests, an unseasonable sort of intruder. The worthy Baotian, who misquotes authors and himself, and who speaks of the fine arts in a tone of contempt, which must have appeared absolutely glorious to his fellow Boeotians, rarely errs on the side of good feeling; he has accordingly imparted a secret for turning even this spectacle to account. Taking times and seasons into consideration, says the philosopher of Choronea, this addition to the feast was rather misplaced; yet was it not altogether without its suitableness: it furnished a strong dissuasion against drinking and luxury, it held out powerful motives to friendship and mutual love, and it was a sort of practical homily, that life, short as it is, ought not to be made long in the commission of evil practices.
TREACHERY OF THE AKABS.
In our last Number, we mentioned in a note on Burckhardt's Travels, (p 440,) that some English officers, on their way to Palmyra, had a dispute with their Arab guides, in which one of the party, Captain Butler, of the Dragoons, was wounded: that they laid their complaint before the Pasha, and that, in consequence, several of the Arabs had been seized and decapitated.
We stated those particulars not lightly, but on the authority of a most respectable British officer, who had minuted them down on the spot from the concurrent reports of several of the natives. They afford, however, another proof, certainly not wanted, of that habitual disregard of strict truth for which the people of the east are notorious. The affair, indeed, was far more serious than we had supposed; but in the leading circumstance our correspondent was misinformed. The officers made no complaint ;-but perhaps the impression made. by our statement can by no mode be so effectually removed as by giving Captain Butler's own account, which we are enabled to do by the kindness of a revered relative of that gentleman. It is highly interesting; and we cannot dismiss it without observing, that Captain Butler and his friends appear to have conducted themselves with exemplary self-possession, intrepidity, and prudence.
Extract of a Letter, dated Smyrna, August 16th, 1819.
'As we determined on going to Palmyra, we paid another visit to the Pasha. He ordered his minister to make out the proper passports, and direct the governor of Homs, a town on the verge of the Desert, to entertain us as English princes. We had to wait ten days
before the aga could get the chief, that commanded the tribe occupying the Desert between Homs and Palmyra, to come to him. This fellow at last made his appearance, and agreed before the governors to escort us safely to Palmyra for two thousand piastres, half to be paid in advance, and the other half on our return. In the Arab costume, and mounted on dromedaries, with a Bedouin behind us, we set off through the Desert in the direction of Palmyra. As we had no arms with us of any kind, these fellows betrayed us. Instead of continuing their proper course, they struck off in another direction, and carried us to their camp. Nearly the whole of the day was taken up in debating what they should do with us. We at last told them we would go no farther; that we had neither arms nor money; that if they murdered us they would get nothing but the shirts on our backs; and that if they did not choose to conduct us back to Homs on the dromedaries, we would set out on foot and find our way as well as we could. Seeing us determined, they agreed to take us to Homs. After goading on the dromedaries at the rate of nine miles an hour, they suddenly stopped the animals, and knocked us off their backs. Not knowing their intent, we attempted to seize their arms, and a battle ensued. I succeeded in wrenching the mace from the hands of the Bedouin that rode behind me, and was preparing to make him feel the weight of it on his head, when one of them ran his lance into my arm, and another gave me a blow which immediately brought me to the ground. They then freed themselves from us, mounted their dromedaries and were soon out of sight. I know not how we escaped with our lives; we had not even a stick amongst us, whilst the Arabs were armed with iron maces, match-locks, and long lances: we all, however, got roughly handled. We followed a track in the sand, and arrived in the course of the night at a small village, the name of which I have forgot. As I had bled freely during the walk, I was unable to proceed farther that night, although my companions were anxious to get on; the next day we walked quietly into Homs: we found that the news of our adventure had preceded us, and that the whole town was in a bustle. We met a large detachment of Arabs, driving their camels as hard as they could go, who, taking us for some of their tribe, called to us to save ourselves, or we should be killed; they were pursued by several parties of cavalry, who shortly came up with them, killed a great number, and seized their beasts. In the mean time, some prisoners had been taken before the governor, and he immediately cut off all their heads Had it been in our power we would willingly have prevented so much bloodshed, but the Moslem was savage. His pride was hurt that the Arab chief had so little regard for his authority. The number of these poor creatures who lost their lives was variously stated to us; I am inclined to think they were not so numerous as they wished to make us believe.'