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female flute-player, rob him of all power of commanding an audience. The noise proceeds from Alcibiades, far gone in liquor, (opodga μedowv), very vociferous and utterly unable to stand. His companions set him up against the door, with his chaplet of ivy and violets and fillets on his head. He pleads loudly for admittance, or at any rate that he may have an opportunity of transferring the fillets from his own head to those of the 'wisest and handsomest of poets' (Agathon,) for it was with this intention he had brought them with him. His prayers are not ineffectual. He is carried to that part of the couch where Agathon and Socrates are seated; and Socrates thus becomes a bone of affected contention to the two youths, in dialogue, which the manners of antiquity allow to be such as we should expect to find in a parody on the Rival Queens.
Hard drinking now commences: Alcibiades (in spite of his situation) leads the way by swallowing a flagon, which contained nearly seven * pints of wine, and Socrates needs but a very slender invitation to follow him. We are now among worse than savages. Alcibiades, apprised of the topic, which the company had been discussing, contributes, as his quota, a long eulogium in praise of Socrates. Of part of this eulogium we shall only observe, that he who has once read it, will never peruse it a second time, and that he, who has never read it, will save himself infinite disgust by never looking into it.
A company, such as the present was now become, wanted no addition to its members. A new troop of revellers, however, breaks in; and drinking is resumed on still more rigorous terms. The wiser physician, and one or two others, steal off; the rest gradually fall under the table, and Aristodemus, the narrator of what has hitherto passed, among the rest. We never can forgive the little man for a slumber so extremely mal-a-propos. The
Night and this thy sullen screen,
Still is thy lattice barr'd, my fair!-
* For similar feats of ancient drinking the reader is referred to the 11th Book of Athenæus. The general directions to an Athenian parasite, or led-captain, have been embodied, mutatis mutandis, into a modern novel.-But, Craigie, do you, pray, step down to the cellar and fetch us up a bottle of the Burgundy,1678,-it is in the fourth bin from the right-hand turn. And I say, Craigie-you may fetch up half a dozen, whilst you are about it.'
soporiferous Cydanethan woke towards morning to see Socrates, rut. Agathon, and Aristophanes still swallowing large potations; and to hear the two latter giving a forced and reluctant assent to an opinion advanced by the former, viz. that comedy and tragedy are branches of the same art; and that he who is a writer of the one, is, by the nature of things, also a writer of the other. As the dispute had probably been long, the tragic and comic bard, utterly overcome, fall fast asleep; the philosopher, having seen them tall out, (xaraxoμiσas anavтas) rises up, and with his little Boswell (κατακοιμίσας απαν αντας) the first at his heels, proceeds, (nothing hurt) to the usual business of the day;-to give lectures on temperance, sobriety and chastity-to receive lessons in* love or rhetoric from Aspasia-to tinstruct the courtezan Theodotë, how she might best prosper in her vocation-and to inspire the same ‡ doubts in his contemporaries, which he has since excited among posterity, whether he was the Silenus that his exterior figure betokened, or the Silenus te of the sculptors' shops, which, rude and grotesque to the outward view, opened to a touch, and disclosed within beautiful and exquisitely carved figures of the gods.
When the wind and the sun contended, in the Æsopic fable, for the possession of the Persian's cloak, they did not take more opposite means to effect their purpose, than did Plato and Xenophon to establish in their reader's minds the idea of a convivial Socrates. On the side of art, the acute biographer of Cyrus easily saw, that his great rival was unconquerable; but the conversation-rooms (Axa) of Athens had divided and sub-divided the excellencies and refinements of colloquial discourse too variously, to leave only one road open to distinction in it. As Plato had chosen the elaborate and artificial in conversation, Xenophon immediately seized upon the autoschediastic' or extemporary; that style of colloquial intercourse, which alternately leads and follows, receives and communicates, which wins without effort, and delights without fatiguing. The delicate lights and shades, necessarily thrown over such a narrative, appear to great disadvantage, in a concise abstract, and more particularly after the brilliant coruscations of such a Banquet and such a set of intellectual gladiators, as those pourtrayed by the Master of the Academy. But
'l'una paglia trita,
A batter l'altra dolce amor m'invita.'
The speech of Pausanias or Phædrus, held at the entertainment, just submitted to the reader's attention, appears (perhaps
• Plat. in Menex. Athen. I. v. p. 220.
+ Xen. in Memorab. 1. iii. c. 11.
with other matter) to have given great umbrage to Xenophon; and as natural acuteness suggested to him, that 'men of merit deserve to have their lighter moments recorded as well as their more serious ones,' he sat down to correct the impressions that might be made by his fellow-pupil's narrative, and to describe the conduct of their great master, as personal observation' had enabled him to see it displayed in society. In the Xenophontic Banquet, therefore, we must expect to see the most favourable light which truth would allow to be thrown over the looser hours of the originator of Grecian moral philosophy.
In the works of Plato, body always acts a very subordinate part to mind; in those of Xenophon, body and mind are put very nearly on a par. The one had known the toils and the hard fare of 2 soldier's life; the other wrote in his closet and for men who read in their closets. Plato's Banquet, accordingly, celebrates a triumphant tragedy; that of Xenophon commemorates a victory gained in the wrestling-school. The hero of the first is Agathon, a poet; the favourite in the second is a young pancratist, patronised by the wealthy Callias, and then just come out; for so must we speak in compliance with the language of modern times, and, unfortunately, with the manners of ancient times.
As the great literary patron of his day is returning with Niceratus and this beautiful youth (Autolycus by name) from a horserace, he overtakes Socrates in company with his handsome pupil, Critobulus; the rest of the philosopher's retinue consisting of Hermogenes, Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynic philosophy, (the substitute, which Athenian ingenuity found out for the old comedy, when that favourite exhibition was put down by law,) and the beautiful Charmides. The house of Callias formed a common* meeting-place for Athenian sophists; but on the present occasion, its master appears to have expected little attractive company to meet his young protégé and his father (Lycon); the latter, not very brilliant in conversation, and the former, perhaps, from his age and pursuits, wholly unconversable. In such a crisis, Socrates and his followers
Callias, in consequence of this, became apparently so identified with a philosopher's ideas, that Aristotle, more than once uses the name of Callias when he wishes to distinguish between Universals and Particulars. Thus, de Interpret. c. 7. p. 39. Universals are what can be predicated of many, as the term Man'; particulars, are the proper name of an individual, as Callias.' The enormous wealth of Callias made him an excellent mark for that pestilential race of men, the informers. If Aristophanes may be believed, company of another kind also contributed to ease him of his riches. In the poet's comedy, called the Birds, a large torn fowl with plumage is produced upon the stage, and an appropriate genealogy resembles him to Callias, the son of Hipponicus. 'Noble creature!' says the satirical bard, with a look of admiration at his size and beauty: but the informers have been busy with him, and the ladies too, I see, have had a pluck at his pinions.'
must have appeared a sort of god-send; and an invitation is accordingly held out to them to join the dinner party in Peiræus, the most fashionable quarter in Athens, and, consequently, the residence of Callias. An invitation is in the present day a serious thing. It requires to be made, as the professors in the science have determined, 'le matin, à jeune, avec tout le calme du sang froid, et toute la maturité de la réflexion.' The Greeks had probably not attained to this excess of refinement, and the time of giving the invitation might have been overlooked; but there was a manner in conveying it, which, we suppose, must have appeared equivocal in all ages of the world. A man of letters, in the present day, would certainly not look to be accused of unnecessary fierté, if he hesitated to accept an invitation professedly founded upon its giving, by the accession of his company, a greater display to the master's table, than the presence of a general officer (sgarnyos), of a colonel of dragoons (inπagxns), of a busy stickler for place and office (σredagxns); and such were the terms upon which Socrates and his companions are invited to the splendid table of the son of Hipponicus.*
Whether the Socratic followers considered the manner of Callias's invitation in this offensive light, or had an eye to the trouble and expense of a bath, (and the former, from habitual modes of life, must have been a consideration to some of the party,) the invitation was, with proper compliments, rejected; Socrates objecting to Callias, in a laughing way, that the vast sums he paid to Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, and other fashionable sophists, for instruction in philosophy, seemed, in his own opinion, to give him a right to hold himself and his companions cheap, who got their philosophy, as we say, from hand to mouth, and as they could find it. The pressing entreaties of Callias, however, and a sort of promise to unlock himself upon some hitherto concealed points of philosophy, (a cloud gathering upon his brow might have also had its effect,) at length overcome the scruples of the Socratic school; some of them accordingly retire to perfume, others to bathe; and bathed or perfumed, they sit down, with other good company, to dinner; Autolycus being placed by the side of his father. It is as we can accommodate ourselves to the manners of antiquity, that the following touch will appear ridiculous or otherwise. Had Autolycus been, Autolycu, we can easily say what the feeling would have been on the side of modern readers; on the side of the narrator, it is evident that beauty excited in him that sort of feeling, common among the ancients,
* In the Protagoras of Plato, while the other sophists are lodged at their ease in the mansion of Callias, Socrates's face is unknown at the door. The Clouds had now brought their hero into more notice.
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(delodaμovia), which placed it under the immediate protection of divinity, and considered it as something awful, as well as lovely. The beauty of Autolycus,' says Xenophon,' had now the same effect upon the company present, as the appearance of 1 brilliant phænomenon in the heavens at night. Every eye was turned upon him, and none gazed without feeling a perturbation of soul. In some it effected a more than ordinary forbearance of speech, (Socrates, no doubt, came in for a share of this observation); in others it caused a sort of fidgety restlessness, and a continual change of position. All persons, who are under a celestial influence, deserve particular observation; some from the sternness such influence gives to their visage, others from the fearful tones it communicates to the voice, and a certain vehemence which it throws over all their actions; but where a temperate love has pos session of people, there the eyes have a wise benevolence in them, the voice is soft and melodious, and every motion carries with it a certain air of most perfect nobleness and gentility.' As an offset against Pausanias and Agathon in the Platonic banquet, such is declared to be the apparent feeling of Callias towards Autolycus, as all, adds the narrator, who have been initiated in the mysteries of this god, could well discern.
A Grecian feast was incomplete without a professional joker; his attractions for his laughter-loving countrymen being such that a portion of the feast was always assigned as the reward of his merit. A person of this cast (Philip by name) comes, accordingly, uninvited to Callias's entertainment, and takes his place. Whether the beauty of Autolycus had made the guests more than ordinarily grave, or whatever else was the cause, Philip's endeavours to justify the character under which he makes his appearance, are long unsuccessful; and he seemed in a fair way to gain his meal, without the usual purchase, which, to a person of his profession, would have been absolute loss of character. This did not altogether correspond with the jester's notion of things; his ridicu Lous mode of showing his displeasure, at last extracts a horse-laugh from the boyish Critobulus; and gravity once expelled, the Athenians, like the good Tirynthians of old, knew it to be too tiresome a guest to recall it in a hurry.
Supper dispatched, and the tables, according to Grecian etiquette, removed, a libation of wine succeeds to the gods, and the usual pæan is sung to Apollo. Xenophon, less purely intellectual than his great fellow-pupil, now admits, by way of revelry, (xwμos), a Syracusan, having in his train an excellent female performer on the flute, one of the dancing women, who to the attrac tions of their heels added those of their hands, and a boy, as handsome in his person as he was skilful in striking the cithara, and