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Theognis has various theories to explain the meanness and falseness of the lower classes, all of them
or less true, and all of them verified by the modern parallel I have cited. He says (v. 279) that these people have to live from hand to mouth, and therefore are trained to disregard and forget just requital, if future. He says (v. 305) that they are not all bad from the mother's womb, but are brought up in bad society, and so all degenerate to a low level. Crush them under your heel, and drive them with a sharp goad (v. 847), for they are slavish. Finally (vv. 383, 899), he speaks very strongly on the degrading effects of poverty, which drag even a fine and noble mind into meanness and cowardice; for strong necessity compels him to look to his daily bread, and not to endanger it by pride and independence.
If we weigh the evidence on these great questions in the lyric fragments, as compared with the epic poems, we shall say that while on the question of religion men had begun to see and appreciate difficulties, and to repudiate low and childish views about the gods, in morals there was neither much advance nor marked retrogression. The collapse of the popular religion, which was even then in process, ought to have made men more reckless, for many are totally unhinged when old beliefs fall away from them; they have bound together all their morals with their dogmas, and cannot sustain the one without the other. But a deeper sense of moral obligation, and a sounder and stronger conviction of the duties each man owes to society - these counterbalancing forces saved the
higher and purer minds, and gave them a surer and better reason for honesty and goodness than the wrath of Athene or Apollo; and so in some minds, and those the highest, a better and nobler morality took the place of the religion of olden days. This development would doubtless have borne good fruit, and shown us the lyric age far superior to Homer's, had not the almost universal and chronic civil wars in the Greek cities embittered every relation of life, and sown the growing mind of Greece with hate and with revenge. It is to this melancholy social state—a state first checked by the tyrants—that we must ascribe the smallness of the moral progress among the Greeks of this age. I pass to kindred, but lighter topics.
Social intercourse appears to have stood far apart from the older times, and in close relation to the manners of the later Greeks, as we shall have ample occasion to notice hereafter. In feasting especially, moderate eating and drinking, combined with good conversation, had assumed in the minds of educated Greeks the position which they now hold in intellectual society. Of course all noise and clamour, such as is the fashion among our students, were intolerable to Greek refinement•Come, now,' says Anacreon,
Tennyson has well contrasted (In Mem. lxxxvi.)
That crashed the glass and beat the floor,
Even the reckless suitors of Penelope (o 401) are disgusted with the brawling of Eurymedon, when he hurls the footstool at Ulysses, and hits
. let us no longer with this clatter and din of voices (πατάγω τε κάλαλητή), practise Scythian toping at our wine, but drinking to the sound of sweet hymns (fr. 64). Yet even this is rather Homeric, and reminds us of Ulysses declaring that the highest delight is to sit at a plentiful table and hear a bard singing a pleasant lay. Other lyric poets are more advanced in their notions. Phocylides recommends light and goodhumoured banter (“déa kwritlovra) over the wine-cup. Theognis wishes that he may sit at table beside some wise man, by whose conversation he will profit (v. 563) while in another passage (v. 295 sqq.) he complains of the nuisance of a chatterbox, whom all hate, and whom no one will meet at a feast if he can help it
έχθαίρoυσι δε πάντες, αναγκαίη δ' επίμιξις
ανδρός τοιούτου συμποσίφ τελέθει. The locus classicus, however, of this epoch is the great fragment (No. 1) of Xenophanes, where he describes the requisites of an elegant and refined feast, and, being a reformer not only in religion but in society, specially inveighs against rhapsodising bards. He wants to hear a man talk from his own resources, either drawing from his experience, or suggesting moral discourse, and not one who marshals for you (OLÉTTEL) the battles of the giants or the Titans, or those of the Centaurs, inventions of the ancients—in such things there is no profit. This is quite a Platonic, or Attic attitude.
With the sustained lay, it is evident that the groanthe attending herald, and exclaim to one another: "Would that this stranger had come to grief elsewhere in his wanderings, before he came hither, in which case he would not have caused such a disturbance. But now here we are brawling about beggars, nor is there any pleasure in the goodly banquet, since low manners prevail.'
ing board and the unmixed wine departed from society, and there is no subject on which the lyric and gnomic poets have left us more copious advice than on the proper use of wine. They loved pleasure, and understood life too well ever to recommend water-drinking. But they understood it also too well not to hate surfeiting and drunkenness. While they personified wine (Ion, fr. 9) as “an untamed child and daring, young and yet not young, sweetest forerunner of loud-sounding loves, wine that elevates the mind, the president of men,' yet they knew (Euenus, fr. 2), that if out of measure he was the cause of grief or madness. In company with three (water) nymphs he is most suitable. But should he blow a full gale, he is hostile to love, and steeps us in sleep the neighbour of death.' So Critias tells us the Lacedæmonians would not allow each guest to pledge his friend in separate cups, for that this drinking of healths was the fertile cause of drunkenness. As might be expected, of all the lyric remnants, the poems attributed to Theognis contain the most numerous reflections on this subject—reflections, I mean, of a gnomic character, as contrasted with the wild license of Alcæus 1.
But in an elegy, of doubtful authorship, addressed to Simonides?, and apparently the work of no mean
1 Dicæarchus (Müll. Fragg. Hist. ii. p. 247) says that Alcæus drank watery wine out of small cups; but the extant fragments tell us that his mixture was one to two, and so stronger than that of Euenus just quoted, and that he began early, and had one cup following close upon another (à 8° étépa tdv étépav kúMię wońtw), thus compensating for the smaller size.
Bergk thinks Simonides of Amorgos, and that the author was an early Euenus, not the Sophist alluded to by Aristotle, cf. Fragg.
poet, the duties of a Greek gentleman as to wine drinking are perhaps most accurately and elegantly expounded. Wake not the friend, Simonides, among
· us whom soft sleep may overcome when he has indulged in wine, nor ask the waking man to sleep against his inclination: everything compulsory is offensive. But to him who will drink pour out without stint, it is not every night that we enjoy such luxury. But Ifor I observe moderation in honey-sweet wine-will court soothing sleep when I have gone home, and will do so, since wine is most pleasant for men to drink, neither when I am sober, nor when I am very drunk. But whosoever exceeds a measure in drinking, is no longer master of his tongue or his mind, and talks recklessly, in a manner disgraceful to the sober, and is ashamed of nothing, though modest when he was sober: now you, perceiving this, drink not to excess, but either retire before you are drunk—let not your lust compel you, like some wretched day-laboureror else stay and do not drink. But you are ever babbling that silly word “fill your glass,” and so you get drunk. For first comes the health of the guests, and then a second cup is left ready before you, and a third is for the libation to the gods, and another you keep before you, and so you know not how to refuse. He is indeed invincible, who can drink many cups and say nothing foolish. But do you enjoy good conversation sitting round the bowl, restraining one another from contention, addressing individuals so
Lyr. p. 514, note. The fragment has reached us in the collection attributed to Theognis.