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matter as possible, choosing rather to give so great a man the benefit of their ignorance, than lose any part of their reverence for his wisdom. One thing must not be forgotten; that this pretension to an unusual sense of his attendant spirit assisted in getting him into trouble. He was accused of introducing false gods, - a singular charge, which shows how much the opinion of a guardian deity had gone out of use. On the other hand, he argued (with a true look of feeling, and which must afterwards have had great effect), that it was not his fault if he beheld in omens and intimations the immediate influence of his guardian angel, and not merely the omens themselves. That he did believe in the latter somehow or other, is generally admitted.
It is not a little curious, that this is the only story of a good demon that has come down to us in the records of antiquity. Some philosophers had theirs long afterwards; but these were evident imitations. Stories of bad demons, according to the vulgar notion, are more numer
Two are to be found in the life of Apollonius of Tyana. Another is in Pausanus, and a third is the famous one of Brutus. These injurious persons were seldom however bad by nature. They become so from ill usage, being in fact, the souls of men who had been ill treated when alive.
ON THE GENII OF ANTIQUITY AND THE
HE bad demon was thought to be of formidable
shape, black, frowning, and brutal. A man, according to Pausanias, fought with one, and drove him into the sea. As we have told the
story before (in the “Indicator”), * and it is little to tell, we shall proceed to give the noblest passage ever written about demons, in the scene out of Shakespeare. The spirit that appeared to Brutus has been variously represented. Some made it of the common order of malignant appearances; others have described it as resembling Cæsar. This was the light in which it was beheld by our great poet.
With what exquisite art; that is to say, with what exquisite nature, has he not introduced this scene, and made us love and admire the illustrious patriot, who having done what he could upon earth, and prepared for his last effort, is about to encounter the menaces of fate. How admirably, by the help of the little boy and the lute, has he painted him, who was only a dictator and a warrior because he was a great humanist, the Platonic philosopher in action, the ideal, yet not passionless, man, — such a one as Shakespeare loved, not because he loved only select human nature, but because he loved all that human nature contained !
We must confess, that in our opinion the address to the Ghost is not so good as in simple old Plutarch. There is too much astonishment and agitation in it; if not for na
* In the article on the “Household Gods of the Ancients." - ED.
ture, at least for the superinduced and philosophic nature, that we are led to suppose was in Brutus ; and the same objection inight be made to what follows. The household are called up in too much alarm. It is Brutus's care for his servants, his bidding them take their rest, and what he says to the little lute-player, overcome with sleep, that render the scene so charming. The divine scene also between him and Cassius, where he tells him that “Portia is dead," has just preceded it.
Brutus. Lucius, my gown. [Exit Lucius.] Farewell, good Messala ;
Cassius. O, my dear brother !
Every thing is well.
Farewell, every one.
[Excunt Cas., Tit., and Mes. Re-enter Lucius with the gown.
Give me the gown. Where is thy instrument?
Lucius. Here in the tent.
What, thou speak'st drowsily?
Luc. Varro and Claudius.
Enter Varro and CLAUDIUS.
Var. So please you, we will stand, and watch your pleasure.
[Servants lie down.
[Nusic and a song.
It may be, I shall otherwise think me.
Luc. I was sure, your lordship did not give it me.
Bru. Bear with me, good boy, I am much forgetful.
Luc. Ay, my lord, an it please you.
It does, my boy.
Luc. It is my duty, sir.
Bru. I should not urge thy duty past thy might; I know young bloods look for a time of rest.
Luc. I have slept, my lord, already.
Bru. . It is well done; and thou shalt sleep again ;
Enter the Ghost of CÆSAR.
Ghost. Thy evil spirit, Brutus.
Why com'st thou?
Ay, at Philippi.
(He sits down.
Boy! Lucius! Varro! Claudius! sirs awake!
Luc. The strings, my lord, are false.
Bru. He thinks, he is still at his instrument. —
Luc. My lord?
Bru. Sleep again, Lucius. — Sirrah, Claudius !
Var. My lord.
Ay: saw you any thing?
Nor I, my lord.
Var. and Clau. It shall be done, my lord.
The Roman genius appears to have been a very material sort of personage compared with the Greek demon, and altogether addicted to earth. We know not where it is found that he was first called gerulus, or a carrier on of affairs : perhaps in Varro; but whether as gerulus, or as genius (the spirit of things generated), the Romans made him after their own likeness, and gave him as little to do with the stars as possible. The Romans had not the fancy of the Greeks, and cared little for their ethereal pleasures. Accordingly, their attendant spirit was either fighting and conquering (on which occasion he took the wings of victory, as you may see in the imperial sculptures), or he was dining and enjoying himself: sitting under his plane-tree and drinking with his mistress. To