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resemblance to that of Ion. Like him, she is truly pure-minded and devout: like him, also, her ministration at the altar is a labour of love. Deeply religious, she is also tender and sympathising with another's woe; and so soon as she is convinced that the beautiful Greek who has so long taken sanctuary at the tomb of Proteus is the lawful wife of the shipwrecked stranger, she favours their escape. She says,—

"To piety my nature and my will
Incline: myself I reverence, nor will stain
My father's glory; neither will I grant
That to my brother which will mark my name
With infamy: for Justice in my heart
Has raised her ample shrine; for Nereus
This I hold, and Menelaus will strive to save."

It has already been observed that the "Ion" displays the sympathy of the poet with virtue and piety in man: the character of Theonoe shows that the supposed misogynist was equally impressed with, as well as able to delineate, purity and piety in woman.

CHAPTER X.

THE CYCLOPS.

"This is as strange a thing as e'er I looked on.
He is as disproportioned in his manners
As in his shape."

—"Tempest."

We can hardly be grateful enough for the care or caprice of the grammarian or the collector of old plays who has preserved for us one sample of the Greek satyric drama. Some uncertainty still exists about the precise nature of this curious appendage to the tragic Trilogy; but without such aid as we get from the "Cyclops" of Euripides, we should depend on fragments or guess-work, if not be quite in the dark. Even with this single plank from the general wreck of these after-pieces before us, we look at the species through a veil. The severe and solemn ^Eschylus is recorded to have been a successful composer of such light and cheerful pieces; but this bit of information by no means helps to clear up doubts. Sweetness may have come out of the strong, but of what kind was JSschylean mirth, or even relaxation from gravity 1 The decorous Sophocles is reported to have enacted the part of Nausicaa, and played at ball with the handmaidens of the princess in a satyric story evidently taken from one of the most beautiful scenes in the Odyssey. But how the serene and majestic artist managed to comport himself under such circumstances we have still to wonder. All we know for certain about the Greek fourth play is, that it was intended to soothe and calm down the feelings of the spectators after they had been strained and agitated by the prophetic swan-song of Cassandra, by the wail of Jason for his murdered children, by the scene in which Orestes flies from the Furies, or that wherein the noble Antigone and the loving Haemon are clasped together in their death-embrace.

Such relaxation of excited feeling was in the true spirit of Greek art in its best days, which required even in the hurricane of tragic passion a moderating element, and the means of returning to composure. Let not, however, the English reader imagine that, although the satyric drama was designed to send home the audience in a tranquil and even cheerful mood, it bore any resemblance to farce, much less to burlesque. Welcome as parodies of scenes or verses from "the lofty grave tragedians" were to Athenian ears, skilful as the comic writers were in such travesties, a Greek audience in the time of Euripides would have hurled sticks, stones, and hard-shelled fruit at the buffoons who committed such profanation. "Hamlet," if performed at Athens, would not have been followed by "a popular farce "! Perhaps there i3 no better definition of the satyric

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drama than this—and it is one of ancient date—it was "a sportive tragedy." It was not written by comic, but always by tragic poets: it was in some measure a performance of " state and ancientry." Seldom, if ever, was it acted apart from tragedy. It may have been a shadow or reminiscence of the primeval age of stageplays, when the actors were all strollers and the theatre was a cart. Prone to change in their favour or affection to their rulers—ostracising or crowning them as the whim of the moment suggested—the Athenians were very conservative in their opinions on art, and so may have chosen to retain a sample of the rude entertainments of Thespis, even in the "most high and palmy state" of the tragic drama. The satyric dramatis personce were grave and dignified personages,—demigods and heroes, kings and prophets, councillors and warriors,—who spoke a dialogue, as Ulysses does in the "Cyclops," only a little less grave than that of the preceding tragedies, perchance a little more ironical than the buskin would have allowed. To make wild laughter was the function of the comedian; to excite cheerfulness rather than mirth was probably the function of these appendages.

In a city where the Homeric poems were sung or said in the streets, the story of Ulysses and the Cyclops was as familiar to the ears of gentle and simple as "household words." The plot of it and some of the humour are Homer's. But the one-eyed giant of the Odyssey is a solitary bachelor, and the Chorus of Satyrs, indispensable for the piece, was a later invention. In Homeric days, Sicily and southern Italy were the wonder-land of the eastern Greeks. Like Prospero's island, they were thought to harbour very strange beasts. In SiGily dwelt a band of gigantic brethren, who lived, while they had nothing better to eat, on the milk, cheese, and mutton supplied by their flocks, but who were always glad to mend their fare by devouring strangers unlucky enough to come into their neighbourhood. This ill luck befell Ulysses and his ship's crew—sole survivors of the Ithacan flotilla—on their return from Troy. Contrary winds had driven them far from their course: want of water compelled them to land on the Sicilian shore. In quest of spring or brook, they go to the cavern of the Cyclops. He, fortunately for them, is not just then at home; but his servants, Silenus and the Satyrs, are within, and after a short parley with their unexpected visitors, they consent to supply their need, and even to sell the Greek captain some of their master's goods, tempted by the quite irresistible bribe of a flask of excellent wine. It may be as well to say at once what had brought such strange domestics into the Cyclops' country, and thus the reader will see why they were so glad to taste wine again, and why they acted dishonestly in selling the lambs and kids. The Satyrs had lost their lord and master Bacchus, who had been carried off by Tyrrhenian pirates. So they left their homes in Arcadian highland or Thessalian woods, and went to sea in quest of him, lovers of the wine-cask as they were. Probably these hairy and unkempt folks were imperfectly versed in navigation, or they may have had a drunken steersman, or the winds may have been as perverse as they were to

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