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obligations. In their due discharge consists all the nobility, and in their neglect the disgrace, of character. We are not born for ourselves only, but for our kindred and fatherland. Honour is based on our inherent excellence of nature, from which springs also truth, fellow-feeling, and justice; whilst injustice proceeds from avarice, or ambition, or from selfishness. Open violence he holds to be less odious than secret villany. War should be carried on in a generous temper, not in the spirit of extermination. It is possible to be liberal at another person's expense, as well as to ruin one's fortune by prodigal hospitality. Charity should begin at home, but is not to be narrowed by the ties of blood, or sect, or party. We should act in the spirit of the ancient law-Thou shalt keep no man from the running stream, or from lighting his torch at thy hearth.' Another component part of honour is courage, or greatness of soul, which includes a generous contempt for ordinary objects of ambition. Gesture and deportment are also necessary to the formation of character; not to care what people think of us is a sign not so much of pride as of immodesty. Want of tact produces the same discord in society as a false note in music. Nothing is so difficult as the choice of a profession, which commonly has to be made when the judgment is weakest. The noblest inheritance which a father can bequeath to his son is the fame of his virtues and glorious actions; and the saddest of all sights is that of a noble house dragged through the mire by some degenerate descendant. Cicero's comments on trades and professions read like those of modern English society. Tax-gatherers and usurers were as unpopular then as now. Retail trades and mechanics were despicable and mean, especially those ministering to appetite or luxury; but medicine, architecture, education, farming, and wholesale business were gentlemanly professions; and a merchant who retired to a landed estate was justly deserving of praise. The section ends with earnest advice to all to put their principles into practice, and to each citizen to take his place in public life, if the times demand it, though he be able to number the stars and measure out the world.
In the next book, he remarks that generally men make the fatal mistake of assuming that being honourable will clash with their interests; while, in reality, they would obtain their ends best, not by knavery and underhand dealing, but by justice and integrity. Another important question is the art of winning men's affections and confidence, for no force of power can bear up long against a current of public hate; and liberty, when she has been chained up a while, bites harder when let loose than if she had never been chained at all. The shortest road to real influence is for a man to be that which he wishes men to take him for. Then follow some sound conservative maxims. There must be no playing with vested rights, no unequal taxation, no cancelling of debts and redistribution of land to win favour with the people. And, as a man should be careful of the interests of the social body, so he should be of his own; but on this subject Cicero refers his son to Xenophon's 'Economics;' and for instruction on money matters to gentlemen on the exchange, who will teach him much better than the philosophers.
The last book opens with a saying of the elder Cato,— 'I am never less idle than when I am idle, and never less alone than when alone;' but, while declaring in favour of retirement and solitude, Cicero makes it plain that his heart was in public life. He here deals with the question -If honour and interest seem to clash, which is to give way? and his conclusion is that it is never to a man's hindrance to keep his oath ; for a violation of his conscience would be the greatest hindrance of all.
Portions of three treatises by Cicero on Political Philosophy have been preserved, namely a dialogue on 'Government,' and two discussions on 'Law;' but his historical works have all perished.
In judging of his religion we must remember that the old polytheism was dying out, and that there was nothing but speculation to take its place. In his treatise 'On the Nature of the Gods,' he examines all the current creeds, but leaves his own undefined. The debate is still, as in the other dialogues, between the different schools. One speaker declares all the speculations of previous philo
sophers to be palpable errors, and the popular mythology a mere collection of fables. The disciples of Epicurus alone are right; the universal belief of man establishes that there are gods, but we know nothing of their attributes. Another argues that the universe is the Deity, or that the Deity is the animating spirit of the universe. A third is puzzled by the existence of evil in a world said to be created and ruled by a beneficent Power; the laws of Heaven are mocked, and the thunders of Olympus are silent. The discussion ends without any resolution of the difficulties; but Cicero gives his opinion that the arguments of the Stoics have the greater probability. All truths, however, he says, have some falsehoods attached to them, which have so strong a resemblance to truth that there is no certain note of distinction which can determine our judgment and assent. Cicero's own form of scepticism is, perhaps, expressed in the following anecdote, which he puts into the mouth of an Epicurean :
'If you ask me what the Deity is, or what his nature and attributes are, I should follow the example of Simonides, who, when the tyrant Hiero proposed to him the same question, asked a day to consider of it. When the king, the next day, required from him the answer, Simonides requested two days more; and when he went on continually asking double the time, instead of giving any answer, Hiero in amazement demanded of him the reason. "Because," replied he, "the longer I meditate on the question, the more obscure does it appear.'
In his subsequent work on 'Divination' he states the arguments on both sides respecting the Roman belief in omens, auguries, and dreams, from which the conclusion is, that all argument is against it, but all belief is for it.'
In a speculative fragment, known as 'Scipio's Dream,' he says:
For all those who have preserved, or aided, or benefited their country, there is a fixed and definite place in heaven, where they shall be happy in the enjoyment of everlasting life. But the souls of those who have given themselves up to the pleasures of sense, and made themselves, as it
were, the servants of these—who, at the bidding of the lusts which wait upon pleasure, have violated the laws of gods and men—they, when they escape from the body, flit still around the earth, and never attain to these abodes but after many years of wandering.
DIED B.C. 19.
IRGIL has always been the most popular of the old classic writers, and his poems became a text-book
for school-boys within fifty years of his death. During the middle ages, when Greek literature was almost abandoned, Virgil was still a favourite; his works had passed through forty editions before Homer's were printed; and they have been translated and imitated in almost every European language. He is also credited in mediæval legends with the powers of a magician, and many marvels were attributed to his agency, both at Rome and Naples.
Virgil lived in the Augustan or golden age of Roman literature. He was born near Mantua, and liberally educated; but lost his ancestral estate during the civil wars which ended in the fall of the Republic. He, however, soon regained it, and henceforth became a poet, and one of the many flatterers of the emperor.
His 'Pastorals' were written while he was still leading a country life at his farm, and they having attracted the attention of Mecenas-the wealthy and influential patron of letters and the fine arts-the poet soon became a familiar guest at the great man's palace. At his suggestion Virgil composed the Georgics;' and, subsequently,