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her soldiers, a handful only found refuge in a friendly Sicilian town. The last months of autumn in 413 B.c. were months of national consternation and household grief. Not long since we were reading of the general aspect of mourning for tho slain at Berlin and other German cities. The mourning in Athens was of a deeper dye, since it was accompanied by dismay, if not despair, for the immediate future. Syracuse had been to Athens what Moscow was for Napoleon. Yet early perhaps in the next year there reached the "violet Queen" at first rumours, then credible reports, and at last the glad assurance, that any Athenian prisoner who could recite scenes or passages from the dramas of Euripides was taken out of the dreary stonequarries of Syracuse, was kindly entreated in Sicilian homes, was nursed if sick or wounded, and if not presently restored to freedom (for such self-denial the captors prized their captives too highly), yet treated not as a slave, but as a welcome and honoured guest. Some indeed—how few or how many cannot be told—were suffered to return to Attica; and of these—poor gleanings after a bloody reaping—some can hardly have failed to go to the house of their deliverer, and with faltering voice and tearful eyes implored the gods, since they could not, to reward him. "Little thought we," they may be imagined to have said to him, "when we saw represented in your 'Trojan Women* the desolation of a hostile city, troops of warriors dragged in chains to the black ships of the Achaeans, tender and delicate princesses told off to their allotted owners; or again, in your 'Suppliants,' the wives of the slain weeping for their husbands denied burial; or that bloody meadow before the sevengated Thebes strewn with the dead in your 'Phoenicians '—little then thought we that these mimic shows were but shadows of what we beheld on the banks of the Asinarus on that dreary October morning, when, faint and worn by our night-march, and maddened by thirst, captain and soldier, hoplite and peltast, we rushed into its stream, careless of the archers that lined its banks, and hardly recking of the iron sleet that struck down our best and bravest. By the magic of your song, though 'sung in a strange land,' we poor survivors were rescued and redeemed from graves and the prison-house, from hunger and nakedness, from the burning sun and the sharp night-frosts of autumn, and from what was as hard to bear, the scoffs of the insolent foe gazing down upon us from morn to eve, and aggravating by brutal taunts and ribald jests the pains of the living and the terrors of the dying." If the character of Euripides may be inferred from his writings, the most pathetic of Greek tragic poets—he who sympathised with the slave, he who so tenderly depicted women—wept at such moments with those who were weeping before him, and was cheered by these proofs that he had not written or lived in vain.
The " Orestes " was the last play exhibited at Athens by Euripides; and he must have quitted that city shortly afterwards, if he was in exile for two years. He was a self-banished man; at least no cause is assigned for his departure. Of the three great dramatic poets whose works have in part been preserved, one only died in his birthplace. iEschylus quitted Athens in dudgeon at a charge of sacrilege, and Euripides ended his days at a foreign court. After a short sojourn in Magnesia, he went to Pella, the capital of the then small, and in the eyes of republican Greeks unimportant, kingdom of Macedonia. He was invited to it by the reigning sovereign, Archelaus, who in his way was a sort of Lorenzo de' Medici, attracting to his court artists, poets, and philosophers, and corresponding with them when at a distance. Among those whom he invited was Socrates; but he, who cared for neither money nor goods, and who spoke his mind pretty freely at all times and to all people, declined going to Pella, thinking perhaps that he would make an indifferent courtier, and knowing that despots have (as well as long hands) their caprices. Archelaus—the Macedonian kings always affected to be zealously Hellenic—established a periodical Olympic festival in honour of Jupiter and the Muses, and perhaps spoke Greek as his native tongue, and with as good accent as Frederick the Great is said to have spoken French. At Pella Euripides met with a reception that may have led bim to regret his not sooner quitting litigious and scurrilous Athens, where housewives abominated his name and doubtless pitied Choerilla and Melitto, and where orthodox temple-goers were scandalised by his theological opinions. Lucian mentions a report that the poet held some public office in Macedonia, which, seeing that he never meddled with even parish business at home, is scarcely probable. As little likely is it that he turned flatterer of kings in his later days. We can as soon believe that the grim Dante became a parasite at the court of Can Grande della Scala. Aristotle, indeed,. a more trustworthy authority than Lucian, tells the following story:—Decamnichus, a young Macedonian, and a favourite of the king, gave deep offence to Euripides by remarks on his bad breath. Complaint being made, the indiscreet youth was handed over to the incensed poet, with the royal permission to flog him; and soundly flogged he seems to have been, since Decamnichus bore his chastisement in mind for six years, and then relieved his feelings by encouraging some friends or acquaintances, Euripides being out of reach, to murder Archelaus.*
At the Macedonian court Euripides was not the only Athenian guest. His friend Agathon, flying perhaps from duns, critics, or public informers, found a royal city a pleasanter residence than a democratic one. There, was the celebrated musical composer, Timotheus, whom, when he was hissed at the Odeum some years before, Euripides is said to have consoled by predicting that "he would soon have the audience at his feet"—a prophecy that was fully realised. His presence at Pella may have been convenient to Euripides, who was then employed in putting the last touches to, if not actually composing, two of his finest plays— "The Bacchanals" and the "Iphigenia at Aulis." There, too, was Choerilus, an epic poet, who celebrated in Homeric verse the wars of the Greeks with Darius and Xerxes. The society at King Archelaus's table, - * Aristotle, Politics, v. 10, sec. 20.
so richly furnished with celebrities, very probably resembled the better-known assemblages at Sans Souci; but we do not read that the Macedonian prince put on his crown, as Frederick the Great did his cocked-hat, when his guests, Bacchi pleni, were becoming personal, or trespassing on the royal preserve of politics.
Euripides did not long enjoy " retired leisure." He died at Pella in the 76th year of his age, in the year 406 B.c, having, as is supposed, quitted Athens in 408. But his enemies, so far as it lay with them, did not permit him to depart in peace, or even in reputable fashion. One report, current indeed long after his decease, makes him to have been torn to pieces by mastiffs set upon him by two rival poets, Arrhidaeus and Cratenas; another, that he was killed by women when on his way to keep an assignation. This bit of scandal is probably an echo of his ill-repute at home as a woman-hater; and the story of the mastiffs may be a disguise of the fact that he was "cut up" by Macedonian theatrical critics. Yet one who had been handled as he was by Aristophanes and survived, might well have set at nought all dogs, biped or quadruped: and as to nocturnal trysts, they are seldom proposed, or at least kept, by gentlemen over threescore and ten.*
* This story of dogs and angry women is indeed noticed in some verses ascribed to Sophocles, who, as Schlegel says, uttered "some cutting sayings against Euripides." To readers interested in the matter, it may be convenient to be told that it is mentioned by Athenasus, book xiii. p. 557. Against Sophocles, if the gossip collected by Plutarch is accepted, there were also some "sayings" of a similar kind, and far less creditable