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78                       CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
leader of the populace, to have attained so much power.*
Aristophanes was aristocratic in his tendencies, and could not forgive the tanner, for having risen from his humble sphere.
It required much courage however to attack the leader of the democracy, with such boldness. Even the mask makers refused to make the comic mask of Cleon; and when the mask was obtained no actor dared to play the character, so that Aristophanes was obliged to act it himself. Cleon embroiled Aristophanes in three lawsuits in con­sequence of his audacity.
The choruses of these comedies had sometimes to assume very odd parts, as in the two comedies of the "Birds," and the "Wasps," where they represented those creatures. The masks were made to correspond to the character assumed, and in "The Wasps" each man had a short spear or sting, which they sometimes thrust out, or drew in, and the whole chorus would sometimes move about quickly with a buzzing noise. The wasps were a satire upon the swarm of Athenian magistrates.f
One is forcibly reminded in these plays of the recent inventions of the French Opera Bouffe.
In the later comedies, private intrigues began to form the plot, and there was no great difference between these and the plays of modern times.
* Thucydi'ies also gires an unfavorable picture of Cleon. Qroto la nil History of Greace, defends Cleon'g character.
t MuUer, p. 20T, t. 2.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III