, a Grecian poet, wit, and somewhat of a philosopher, uas born in the 35th olympiad, or 558 B.C. and is said to have died in his ninetieth year. He was a native of Ceos, one of the Cyclades, in the neighbourhood of Attica, and became the preceptor of Pindar. Both Plato and Cicero speak of him, not only as a good poet ana musician, but also as a man of wisdom and virtue. His lengthened life gave him an opportunity of knowing a great number of the first characters in antiquity, with whom he was in some measure connected. Fabncius informs us that he was contemporary, and in friendship with Pittacus of Mitylene, Hipparchus, tyrant of Athens, Pausanias, king of Sparta; Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse also with Themistocles, and with Alcuudes, king of Thessaly. X uophon, in his dialogue upon tyranny, makes him one of the interlocutors. His famous answer to Hiero. as recorded by Cicero, has been often quoted as a proof, not only of his wisdom, hut his piety. When Hiero asked of him a definition of God, he requested a day to consider of it; when this was expired, he doubled the time, and thus he did repeatedly, till the monarch desired to know his reason for this proceeding “It is,” said he,“because the longer I reflect on the question, the more difficult it appears to be.

In his old age, perhaps from seeing the respect which money procured to such as had lost the charms of youth, and the power of attaching mankind by oiiier means, he became somewhat mercenary and avaricious. He was frequently employed by the victors at the games to write panegyrics and odes in their praise, before his pupil Pindar had exercised his talents in their behalf; but Simonides would never gratify their vanity in this particular, till he had first tied them down to a stipulated sum for his trouble: and, upon being upbraided for his meanness, he said that he had two coffers, in one of which he i <id, for many years, put his pecuniary rewards; the other was for honours, verbal thanks, and promises; that the first was pretty well filled, but the last remained always empty. Anu he made no scruple to confess, in his old age, that of all the enjoyments of life, the love of money was the only one of which time had not deprived him. He was of course frequently reproached with this vice, but always defended himself | with good humour. Upon being asked by Hiero’s queen, whether it was most desirable to be learned or rich, he answered that it was far belter to be rich; for the learned were always dependent on the rich, and waiting at their doors; whereas he never saw rich men at the doors of the learned. When he was accused of being so sordid as to sell part of the provisions with which his table was furnished by Hiero, he said he had done it, in order, “to display to the world the magnificence of that prince, and his own frugality.” To others he said, that his reason for accumulating wealth was, that “he would rather leave money to his enemies, after death, than be troublesome to his friends when living.

He obtained the prize in poetry at the public games when he was eighty years old. According to Suidas, he added four letters to the Greek alphabet: and Pliny assigns to him the eighth string of the lyre; but these claims are disputed by the learned. Among the numerous poetical productions, of which, according to Fabricius, antiquity has made him the author, were his many songs of victory and triumph, for athletic conquerors at the public games. He is likewise said to have gained there, himself, the prize in elegiac poetry, when ^schylus was his competitor. His poetry was so tender and plaintive, that he acquired the cognomen of Meliceutes, i. e. sweet as honey, and the tearful eye of his muse was proverbial. Dr. Warton, who has an elegant paper in the Adventurer (No. 89) partly on the merits of this poet, remarks that he was celebrated by the ancients for the sweetness, correctness, and purity of his style, and his irresistible skill in moving the passions. Dionysius places him among those polished writers, who excel in a smooth volubility, and flow on, like plenteous and perennial rivers, in a course of even and uninterrupted harmony. Addison has an ingenious paper on Simonides’ “Characters of Women,” in the Spectator (No. 209). This considerable fragment of Simonides, preserved by Stobaius, was published in Greek by Kohler, at Gottingen, 1781, 8vo, and he also published the Latin only, in 1789, to which professor Heyne prefixed a letter on the condition of women in ancient Greece. Simonides’s fragments of poetry are in Stephens’s Pindar, 1560, and other editions of the ancient lyric poets. 1

1 Fabric. Bibl. Graec. Burney’s Hist, of Music, vol. I. Hist, de Simonide, by M. de ISoissy, 1755, 8vo. —Saxii Onomast.