Strep. Well now, I will tell yon from what we first began to rail at one another. After we had feasted, as you know, I first bade him take a lyre, and sing a song of Simonides, "The Shearing of the Ram." But he immediately said it was old-fashioned to play on the lyre, and sing while drinking, like a woman grinding parched barley.
Phid. For ought you not then immediately to be beaten and trampled on, bidding me sing, just as if you were entertaining cicadæ?
Strep. He expressed, however, such opinions then too within, as he does now; and he asserted that Simonides was a bad poet. I bore it at first, with difficulty, indeed, yet nevertheless I bore it. And then I bade him at least take a myrtle-wreath and recite to me some portion of Æschylus; and then he immediately said, "Shall I consider Æschylus the first among the poets, full of empty sound, unpolished, bombastic, using rugged words?" And hereupon you can't think how my heart panted. But, nevertheless, I restrained my passion, and said, "At least recite some passage of the more modern poets, of whatever kind these clever things be." And he immediately sang a passage of Euripides, how a brother, O averter of ill! debauched his uterine sister. And
- "O ye, who patiently explore
The wreck of Herculanean lore!
What rapture, could you seize
Some Theban fragment, or unroll
One precious, tender-hearted scroll
Of pure Simonides!" Wordsworth.
- "Women while grinding used to beguile their labours with a song; and they had a peculiar class of songs, called ἐπιμύλιοι ᾠδαί." Brunck. Plutarch has preserved one of these,—
Ἄλει, μύλα, ἄλει·
καὶ γὰρ Πιττακὸς ἀλεῖ,
μεγάλης Μιτυλήνης βασιλεύων.
Grind, mill, grind,
For Pittacus too is a grinder,
Of great Mitylene the king.
- "Dasselbe hat er drinnen, ganz dasselbe schon geäussert." Droysen.
- See Süvern, Clouds, p. 37, 38.
- "Was Neues nach dem Zeitgeschmack voll philosoph'scher Schule." Droysen.
- Alluding to the Æolus of Euripides, which turned upon the loves of Macareus and Canace. Ovid. Trist. ii. 884.
"Nobilis est Canace fratris amore sui."