Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

In drawing attention to a great sans at Actium, moved by the authoquestion of whatsoever nature con- rity of arms ; tantum auctoritate nected with Cicero, there is no danger valebant, quantum milite :" and they of missing our purpose through any could have moved by no other. Lastwant of reputed interest in the sub- ly, as regards the personal biography, jeet. Nominally, it is not easy to as- although the same series of trials, sign a period more eventful, a revolu. perils, and calamities, would have been tion more important, or a personal in any case interesting for themselves, career more dramatic, to that pe- 1 yet undeniably they derive a separate riod—that revolution- career, power of affecting the mind from the which, with almost eqnal right, we peculiar merits of the individual conmay describe as all essentially Cice- cerned. Cicero is one of the very few Turian, by the quality of the interest pagan statesmen who can be described wbich they excite. For the age, it as a thoughtfully conscientious man. was fruitful in great men; but amongst It is not, therefore, any want of them all, if we except the sublime splendid attraction in our subject from Julian leader, none as regards splen- which we are likely to suffer. It is of dour of endowments stood upon the this very splendour that we complain, same level as Cicero. For the revo- as having long ago defeated the simlution, it was that unique event which plicities of truth, and preoccupied the brought ancient civilization into con- minds of all readers with ideas polititact and commerce with modern : cally romantic. All tutors, schoolsince, if we figure the two worlds of masters, academic authorities, together Paganism and Christianity under the with the collective corps of editors, idea of two great continents, it is critics, commentators, have a natural through the isthmus of Rome impe- bias in behalf of a literary man who rialized that the one has virtually did so much honour to literature, and communicated with the other. Civil who, in all the storms of his difficult law and Christianity, the two central life, manifested so much attachment forces of modern civilization, were to the pure literary interest. Readers upon that isthmus of time ripened into of sensibility acknowledge the effect potent establishments. And through from any large influence of deep halthose two establishments, combined cyon repose, when relieving the agitawith the antique literature, as through tions of history; as, for example, so many organs of metempsychosis, that which arises in our domestic did the pagan world pass onwards, annals from interposing between two whatever portion of its own life was bloody reigos, like those of Henry fitted for surviving its own peculiar VIII. and his daughter Mary, the forms. Yet, in a revolution thus un- serene morning of a childlike king, exampled for grandeur of results, the destined to an early grave, yet in the only great actor who stood upon the mean time occupied with benign counauthority of his character was Cicero. sels for propagating religion or for All others, from Pompey, Curio, Do- protecting the poor. Such a repose, mitias, Cato, down to the final partie the same luxury of rest for the mind,



« PreviousContinue »