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Well then, thou paltry wretch, explain-What were thy own devices ?
EURIPIDES. Not stories about flying stags, like yours, and griffin-horses ; Nor terms nor images derived from tapestry Persian hangings. When I received the Muse from you, I found her puffed and
pampered With pompous sentences and terms, a cumbrous huge virago. My first attention was applied to make her look genteelly, And bring her to a moderate bulk by dint of lighter diet. I fed her with plain household phrase, and cool familiar salad, With water-gruel episode, with sentimental jelly, With moral mince-meat; till at length I brought her within
compass : Cephisophon, who was my cook, contrived to make them relish. I kept my plots distinct and clear; and to prevent confusion My leading characters rehearsed their pedigrees for prologues.
ÆSCHYLUS. 'Twas well at least that you forbore to quote your own ex
traction. (This is a most characteristic bit of Athenian malice Euripides was illegitimate.)
EURIPIDES. From the first opening of the scene, all persons were in action : The master spoke, the slave replied ;-the women, old and young
ones, All had their equal share of talk.
Come then, stand forth and tell us What forfeit less than death is due for such an innovation ?
I did it upon principle, from democratic motives.
Take care, my friend; upon that ground your footing is but ticklish.
EURIPIDES. I taught these youths to speechify,
I say so too. Moreover I say, that for the public good, you ought to have been hanged
The rules and forms of rhetoric ; the laws of composition ;
I grant it all; I make it all my ground of accusation.
The whole in cases and concerns, occurring and recurring,
But for a test (perhaps the best) our pupils and adherents
bearded ; But mine are Cleitophon the smooth, Theramenes the gentle.
Marking everything amiss-
They sat them down to doze and snore. Nothing is more remarkable in this scene than the skill with which the poet has made Euripides, all along the chief object of his satire, expose his own faults in the very speeches in which he affects to magnify his merits. The translation is far above my praise, but as a woman privileged to avow her want of learning, it may be permitted to express the gratitude which the whole sex owes to the late illustrious scholar, who has enabled us to penetrate to the heart of one of the scholar's deepest mysteries; and to become acquainted with something more than the name of Aristophanes.
AUTHORS ASSOCIATED WITH PLACES.
VISIT TO DONNINGTON-BATTLE OF NEWBURY.
LORD CLARENDON-GEOFFREY CHAUCER-JOHN HUGHES.
OF all places connected with the Great Civil War, none retains traces more evident and complete of its ravages than the beautiful district which a tolerable pedestrian may traverse in a morning walk, and which comprises the site of the two battles of Newbury, and the ruins of Donnington Castle, one of the most memorable sieges of the Parliamentary Army.
I went over that most interesting ground (not, however, on foot) on one of the most brilliant days of the last brilliant autumn, with the very companion for such an excursion : one who has shown in his “ Boscobel” how well he can unite the most careful and accurate historical research with the rarer power which holds attention fixed upon the page; and who,
, possessing himself a fine old mansion at the foot of the Castle Hill, and having a good deal of the old cavalier feeling in his own character, takes an interest almost personal in the events and the places of the story.
The first of these engagements took place, according to Clarendon, on the 18th of September, 1643,
and has been most minutely related by contemporary writers, the noble historian of the Rebellion, Oldmixon, Heath, the anonymous author of “The Memoirs of Lord Essex,” and many others, varying as to certain points, according to their party predilections, but agreeing in the main. A very brief summary must answer my purpose.
Charles commanded the Royalists in person, whilst the Parliamentary forces were led by Essex, the King's object being to intercept the enemy, and prevent his reaching London. The common, then and now called “The Wash," was, together with the neighbouring lanes, the principal scene of the combat. The line of road has been in some measure altered, still sufficient indications remain to localise the several incidents of this hotly-contested field. Essex, assailed on his march from Hungerford by the fiery Rupert the evening before, encamped on the open common, “impatient,” as one of the Commonwealth narrators says,
“ of the sloth of darkness," all the more so that the King is said to have sent the Earl a challenge to give battle the next day. On that day the great battle took place, when the valour of the raw and undisciplined train-bands, the citizen soldiers, so much despised by the cavaliers, withstood the chivalry of the royal army, and enabled the General, although hotly pursued for several miles, and furiously charged by Prince Rupert, who had three horses killed under him that day, to accomplish his object, and conduct his troops to London.
Essex, previous to his advance towards Reading, sent a “ticket” to Mr. Fulke, the minister of Enborne parish, commanding him to bury all the dead on