ess wretch of a libeller who chose to sacrifice them. Nor were the bad effects of these calumnies confined to public scorn--they often went to the pecuniary ruin of families; sometimes, as in the case of Socrates, afterwards to the death of their object. At length the miscreants proceeded to open impiety, and held up the gods, no less than men to derision.
These abuses continued to contaminate the people and disgrace the country with daily augmented profligacy till a change took place in the government, which took the administration from the multitude and vested it in a few chosen men. The corruptions of the stage were then attended to, and the poets were restrained by law from mentioning any man's name on the stage. With this law terminated that which is called THE OLD COMEDY.
So far was this law from producing the salutary effect expected from it, that it rendered the poison more mischievous by depriving it of the grossness which in some degree operated as an antidote to its baleful effects. T