« VorigeDoorgaan »
« Quid de bonis”! ait : “ Servata”, refponfum. ' « Arician ergo petamus, pransuri”, addit ingens animi, & usurâ vitæ perinde, ac ceteri oppetitâ morte, inluftris. Laudata quoque Demetrii libertas, cui cùm Princeps mortem intentaret: “Quan mihi", inquit, “ hanc tibi natura minitatur". Audacia, an seminudi philosophi ignobilitas, certè non justitia, non redi amor ei salutem attulit. Helvidius autem, interdi&tâ fibi Italia, Apolloniam conceffit : foceri poftea ultor & cemulus.
'Tanta Principis sepatûsque dedecora velavit Imperio gravis, fed populo læta Tiridatis scena. Nondum visa tanta hospitum majeftas. Longo enim fuperftitiofoque, sed triumphali pompa fuperbo, itinere defuncti, aderant Tiridates ejusque uxor, Vologæsique & Pacori ac Monobazi filii. Primo in congreffu Tiridates, conftantiam factis meliùs, quàm verbis probari ratus, Neronem quidem, polito genu, salutavit, ferrum verò tradere renuit; “id servile, & Arsacidarum faftigio indignum" dictitans.. Nihil hactenus indecorum. At ftatim omnia in ludicrum versa.
« Nero barbari libertatem mirari magis, quàm æmulari, gnaTus, hospites Neapoli Puteolos duxerat, gladiatoriisque ludis monftrata Imperii magnificentia. Hos edidit Patrobius, libertus, tantoque sumptu, ut toto die foli Æthiopes, virile ac muliebre fecus, amphitheatrum fint ingrefli
. Tiridates, ut ludos honeftaret, fimulque dexteritatem oftentaret, e sede fuâ ejaculatus, duos tauros, ut fertur, uno iau tranfverberavit.
• Major fuit pompa, at semper theatralis, ciim Romam ventum est, diesque adfuit, propter nubilum aliquamdiu dilata, quâ Tiridates, Armeniæ regnum petiturus, populo Romano oftenderetur. Pridie Urbs tota, fertis nitida, luminibus collucere: vis ingens hominum viarum ftrata complere: alii plurimi domorum tectå occupare: populus albà velte, & laureatus, medium obtinere forum : cetera tenere milites, comptis fignis armisque præfulgentibus conspicui. Primâ luce Nero, triumphantis habitu, forum iniit, comitantibus senatoribus & pretorianis cohortibus. Poftquam apud roftra tribunal conscendit, curulique in fellà inter figna militaria atque vexilla refedit, Tiridates, regumque filii, ac longum famulitium, per militum ordines ad tribunal progrefli, Principem venerati funt.
• Clamor populi, ob rei novitatem veterisque fortuna ima ginem gestientis, ftatim fequutus, metum Tiridaui incuffit. Periculi anceps, obriguit: nec, indieto filentio, rediit prior conftantia. Fortè etiam Tiridates, audulationem, quæ pericula averteret, regnum adfereret, haud veritus, « le Arfacidarum fanguine ortum” profeffus eft, “ Vologæsı & Pacori regum fratrem, servum Neronis, quem ut deum æquè, ac Mithram, venerabatur: fibi nulla, nifi per eum, regni jura: eum fibi fatum, fibi fortunam effe".
• Quanto demiffiùs hæc fuerant dieta, tantò ferociùs respondit Nero. “ Huc quidem meritò venifti, ut præsens præsente me fruerere. Jura, nec a patre relicla, nec a fratribus, licèt dediffent, servata, a me accepta habeto. Te regem Armeniz do. Tu, vosque omnes, me regna dare & adimere intelligite”. Mox Tiridaten, per devexum pulpitum fubeuntem, ad genua admisit; allevatumque dextrâ exosculatus eft. Dein regnum precantem, tiarâ deductâ, diademate evinxit: plaudente multitudine, & verba supplicis, prætorio viro interpretata, ingeminante.
• Inde ad Pompeii theatrum disceflum eft. Numquam tantas apparuit auri vilitas. Non modo scena, fed interior theatri ambitus auro opertus : illud inumbrabant vela purpurea, quorum mediâ in parte Nero, currûs agitator, acu pictus videbatur, aureis ftellis circumdatus. Ante confeffum, rursus a Tiridate. fupplicatum eft: deinde juxta Principem latere dextro collocatus, spectavit ludos, in quibus nihil usurpatum, nisi auro fulgidum. Aurea oculorum delinimenta pretiofius conviviu excepit. Pòst rediere ludi, sed dedecore Imperatorio fædi, Principem enim haud puduit citharâ ludicrum in modum caneres, currumque, prasınâ veste, aurigarumque habitu, agitare,
• Inter hæc opprobria, indecoro populi plausu aucta, Tiria dates, Corbulonis virtutem reputans, nec indignationis potens, scenico Principi “ Corbulonem bonum mancipium" gratulatus test. Neronis mentem, insanâ lætitiâ vagam, non advertit bar. bari audacia, Immo publicâ de infamiâ certantibus Principis & populi ftudiis, quafi per hæc deridicula confecto bello Arme niaco, Nero Imperator consalutatur ; laureâque in Capitolium Jati, Janum clufit: hac victoriæ imagine, quàm ludicro certa. mine, foedior.'
It remains for us to express a wish, that our language were enriched with a complete and eloquent version of the writings of this illustrious ancient. That of Gordon exhibits grofs defects and imperfections; and those of former translators are Atill perhaps more unworthy of the great original.
ART. IX. Questions sur L'Encyclopédie, &c.--Questions arising on the Encyclo
pædia. Vols. VI. VII. VIII. IX. N the Appendixes to our 44th and 46th volumes, we gave an ac
count of the foregoing parts of this publication ; and shall now proceed, without preface, or introductory formality, to the contents of the volumes before us.
The sixth volume begins with the word FABLE ; on which the ftrictures are, for the most part, very juft, but yet generally known, Who does not know that fable is of higher antiquity than the Grecian era ? Who does not know that the fable of the Satyr and the Traveller is an absurd sale? The Traveller, who breathes upon his
fingers to warm them, and on his broth to cool it, should not, cef. tainly, have been turned out of doors for it. He acted like a man of sense, and the Satyr was a fool. It is juftly observed, under this article, that La Fontaine's fables will be read by people of all characters in all ages ; but Boileau's by men of letters only: but the critic does too much honour to Le Pluche, by paffing any censure on his scheme of abolishing the heathen mythology as impious, and of fubftituting St. Pusper and Santueil for Ovid and Horace, Perfectly ridiculous! This article concludes with a pleasant poem, called an Apology for Fable.
FANATICISM. An epigram is here quoted from Bertaud, bifhop of Sees, alluding to the perverting of religion to fanaticism ;
Ainf du plumage qu'il ent
Il s'en fervit pour for dommage. The idea is fine, but the epigram is miserable. It has the same effect that a good story ill-told has. Literally, the bishop says,
thus Icarus perverted the use of the plumage that he had ; he received it for his safety, and he used it for his
destruction.' But the principal idea, and the applying beauty, vanish here, or rather da Dot appear at all. They ought by all means to be preserved,
Thus Icarus, on wings empower'd to rise,
Fell by too far presuming on the kies. We will trust to the indulgence of our Readers for offering the thought thus modified; it is certain nothing can be more insipid than the French epigram.
Women. A paffage in the celebrated Spirit of Laws is very jusly sefuted under this article. Montesquieu fays, that, among the Greeks, the women were never conhdered as objects worthy of love; and that their love was of a certain species, which deserves not to be named. For this he quotes the authority of Plutarch. But it is a gross misrepresentation, pardonable only in a Montesquieu, a writer To frequently hurried, by the torrent of his ideas, into incoherencies and mistakes. Plutarch, in his Dialogue on Love, has several interJocutors. It is in this Dialogue, that ihe philosopher himself, under the character of Daphneus, fays, that there is something of divinity in the love of women. He compares
this love to the fun that ani. mates nature. He places the supreme happiness of human kind in conjugal affection, and concludes with a noble eulogium on the vistue of Epponina.
The memorable adventure, relative to that lady, came under Plutarch's immediate cognizance ; for he lived, when it happened, in the house of Vefpafian. The heroine being informed that her husband Sabinus, when beaten by the emperor's troops, had concealed himself in a deep cave between Franche-Comté and Champagne, made herself a voluntary prisoner with him, waited upon him, supported him for many years, and had children by him: At length being apprehended, together with her husband, and brought þefore Vespasian, who exprefled his furprise at her courage and forjitude, I have lived, said she, under ground and in darkness, happier than you have on the summit of power and in the light of the fun. Thus it appears that Plutarch speaks in a manner perfe&ly contrary to what Montesquieu represents. He even expresies himself with a degree of sensibility that borders on enthusiasm when he Speaks of women. See more on this subject, p. 922, 523..
PLURALITY OF Wives. Ben-Abul-Kiba, in his Mirror of the Faithful, tells us, that one of the visirs of Solyman the Great had the following conversation with an agent of Charles the Fifth
The Vifir. You dog of a Christian, for whom I had once the profoundeft regard, what right have you to reproach me with having four wives, consistent as it is with our holy laws; while you empty a dozen caks a year, and I do not touch a glass of wine? What service do you to society by spending more hours at the table than I do in bed ? I get four children a year for the service of my royal malter, you, perhaps, scarcely one. And what is the child of a sot worth His head will be clouded with the vapours of that wine which his father was so fond of. What, moreover, would you have me do, when two of my wives are lying in? Would you not allow me to avail myself of the other two, as our holy laws have directed us? And pray what do you do-how do you avail yourself in the last months of your wife's pregnancy, and during her lying in, and her indifpofitions-You must either continue in a shameful ftate of inaction, or have recourse to illicit love. You are consequently in the dilemma of two mortal fins, which must in the end send you to the devil.'
• I suppose that in our wars with you dogs of Christians we los an hundred thousand foldiers. Of course a hundred thousand girls , were to be provided for. Who should take them under their pro. tection but men of wealth ? He must be a miserable toad of a Muf. fulman, indeed, who has not spirit enough to marry four fine girls, and do 'em justice according to their merit.
• What unchristian rogues the cocks and bulls of your country must be! Has not each of them his seraglio?. It is surely with an ill grace you reproach me for having four wives, when our great Prophet had eighteen, David the Jew as many, and Solomon the Jew seven hundred, exclusive of his three hundred concubines. You see I am quite moderate. You might as juftly charge the most abftemious philosopher with gluttony, as upbraid me with entertaining four wives. You have your bottle, let me have my girl. You change your wine, let me change my wife. Let every man live agreeably to the custom of his country. Your hat is not to give law to my turban; nor your short cloak and ruff to direct my
dolman. Come, take your coffee, and kiss your German spouse, as Me is the only one you have to kiss.
The German. You dog of a Mufiulman,- for whom I have the profoundeft veneration, before I drink my coffee, I will confute your argument. He who has four wives, has four harpies, always ready to beat and abuse him. Your house must be the cave of discord Impossible that any of these women Mould love you! Each of them has but a fourth Mare in your person, and can give you at most but a fourth share in her heart. Impofi:ble for any of them to render your life agreeable! They are prisoners who see nothing, and how then Mould they be entertaining? They know no body but you,
and of course must grow weary of you. You are their absolute maller, therefore they will hate you. You are under the neceility of having them guarded by a eunuch, who gives them a whipping when they make too much noise. You put yourself on the footing with a cock; but does the cock ever cause his hens to be whipped by a capon? But, do you follow the example of animals, and imitate them as much as you please I shall love like a man. I will give my whole heart to the woman who gives me her's : and as to the bottle, with which you reproach me, though it may be a fault to drink in Arabia, in Germany it is a laudable custom. Adieu !
The Philosopher. This glorious title has been sometimes held in honour, and sometimes in disrepute, like that of the poet, che mathematician, and almost all others that depend on opinion.
Domitian banished the philosophers, and Lucian laughed at them. Bat what kind of philosophers, what mathematicians were they whom that monster, Domitian, fent into exile ? Mere jugglers, fortunetellers, miserable Jews. that made love-potions and talirmans.-And who were the philosophers that Lucian held up to public ridicule? The dregs of human kind, vagrants, impostors and conjurors.
The unthinking part of mankind often ask of those who are able to think, of what service philosophy has been to the world. And those who think, surely, may answer them, that, in England, it has been a means of destroying that frantic rage which brought Charles the first to the scaffold; in Sweden, of disabling an archbishop from spilling the blood of the first nobility, with the pope's bull in his hand; in Germany, of maintaining the peace of religion, by rendering theological disputes ridiculous; and, lastly, in Spain, of demolishing the abominable faughter-houses of the inquisition.
Priests of Rome, it is philosophy that compells you to suppress your bull in cæna Domini ; that monument of impudence and folly. 'Citizens of the world, it is philosophy that humanizes your princes of the people, it is philosophy that instructs you.
FOLLY. This is a fruitful subject, and from a writer of Mr. Voltaire's teeming genius one would have expected a curious article upon it ; but he has confined himself to the confideration of natural Folly, the causes of which it never was or will be in the power of wisdom to ascertain. To account for the diversities of intellect is impossible, and all that can be said upon the subject vain. Had this humorous writer turned his attention on this head to moral folly, to the follies of acquisition, imitation, habit and prejudice, bis obfervations must have been both entertaining and instructive; bat, on the melancholy subject of natural folly, he could have had little more to say than to expose the absurdity of attempting to account for it.
• Your learned Doctors, fays he, may perhaps tell you, that God has created foolish fouls as well as wise ones. A fool might answer, if I should believe what you say, I should be a greater ignoramus than I am. · For heaven's sake, you that are so wise, tell me wby I am a fool?
• If the Doctors had a little more fense, they would reply, we know nothing about the matter. It is impofible they should com.