SATIRE

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SATIRE ; in the widest sense of the word, pungent ridicule or cutting censure of faults, vices or weaknesses ; hence the phrase a " satirical person." In a narrower sense, in which it is more commonly used, it is a poem, of which ridicule and censure are the object and chief characteristic. This species of poetry had its origin with the Romans: the name is derived from satur (by no means from satyr), and refers, originally, to the mixture of subjects treated, and of metres used, in tho earlier productions of this kind. Satire i"i one of the latest branches of poetry cultivated, because it presupposes not merely much natural wit, but also acute observation, and much variety of life and manners to call this wit into exercise. In fact, it is only in an advanced state of society, where folly and vice force themselves on the public eye, that a taste can exist for this species of production. As the object of satire is always castigation, it is distinguished from mere wit, which may occupy itself simply with the ludicrousness of particular relations. The form of satire is very varied. It may be in the shape of epistles, tales, dialogues, dramas (as with Aristophanes), songs, epics, fables, &c. The most common form of satire, however, is that of a simply didactic composition. The ancients wrote their satires in iambic and dactylic verse. The moderns generally use the iambus, sometimes the Alexandrine (q. v.), sometimes the iambic verse of five feet, the latter sometimes with, sometimes without rhyme. The proper didactic satire originated, as we have said, with the Romans; and its inventor wras Lucilius: Horace, Juvenal and Persius developed it. Vulpius, Casaubon and Konig have written on the Roman satire. Of the modern satirists, we may mention, among the Italians, Ariosto, Alamanni, Salvator Rosa, Menzini, Dotti, Gasparo Gozzi, Alfieri, &c.; among the Spaniards, Cervantes, Q,uevedo and Saavedra; among the French, Regnier, Boileau, and Voltaire, &c.; among the Germans, Seb. Brand, Ulr. Hutten, Fischart, Haller, Rabener, Lichtenberg, Falk, Wieland, &c.; among the English, Donne, Rochester, Dryden, Butler, Pope, Swift, Young, Churchill, Johnson, Peter Pindar (Wolcot), Gifford, Mathias ; among the Poles, Krasiczky. The Greeks had not the proper satire. The poem of Archilochus, and that of Simonides, were more properly lampoons; and the silli had probably a didactic form, but were of the nature of parody. Entirely different from the satire was the drama satyricon of the Greeks, invented by Pratinasa mixture of tragic, at least heroic action with comic. These dramas served as interludes and afterpieces, and had a low comic character. We possess only oneĀ¦ the Cyclops of Euripides.See Eichstadt, De Dramatc GrcEcorum comicosaiyrico, &c, and Herrmann and Pinzger on the same subject.