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Full text of "A few days in Athens, being the translation of a Greek manuscript discovered in Herculaneum"

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A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS 



THE TRANSLATION 



A GREEK MANUSCRIPT 



DISCOVERED IN HERCULANEUM. 



BT 

FRANCES WRIGHT, 

AUTHOR OP 

'views of society and manners in AMERICA. 



" joining; bliss to virtue, the glad ease 

Of Epicurus, seldom understood?' 



BOSTON: 

PUBLISHED BY J. P. MENDUM. 
1850. 



;^Y::\mL V' 



Collesv 
Library 

PR 



TO 



JEREMY BENTHAM, 



AS A TESTIMONY 

OF 

HER ADMIRATION OF HIS ENLIGHTENED SENTIMENTS, 

VSEFUL LABORS, 

AND ACTIVE PHILANTHROPY, 

AND OF 
HER GRATITUDE FOR HIS FRIENDSHIP, 

THIS WORK 

IS 

RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY 

INSCRIBED 

BT 

• FRANCES WRIGHT. 



London, 
March 12th, 1822. 



1158128 



/ ifr/: 



: , . . I . .... • .., . t. T • ' , ; 



-!fi; 



TO THE READER. 



:' .:■< !• -til «') ii- .•'>« 
-■ - -Xr: . :'.!^ v,!( "to S<!t,;!-f v.i 

..lit : i-;,o' -;.; ■*■ ..v ,--..;'..•<• •».!! 

That I may not obtain credit for more learning thah 
I possess, I beg to acknowledge the assistance I have 
received in my version of the curious relict of antiquity 
now oflFeredto the public from the beautiful Italian MSS. 
of the erudite Professor of Greek in the university 
of *****. I hesitate to designate more clearly the 
illustrious Hellenist whose labors have brought to light 
this curious fragment. Since the establishment of the 
saintly domination of the Vandals throughout the territo- 
ries of the rebellious and heterodox Italy, and particu- 
larly in consequence of the ordinance of his most ortho- 
do*, most legitimate, and most Austrian majesty, bear- 
ing that his dominions being in want of good subjects, 
his colleges kie forbidden to send forth good scholars,* 
it has become necessary for the gownsmen of the classic 
peninsula to banish all profane learning from their lec- 
tures and their libraries, and to evince a holy abhorrence 



*/e ne veux pas de savans dans mes etata, je veux de bont 
sujets, was the dictum of the Austrian Autocrat to an 
Italian Professor. 



VI TO THE READER. 

of the sciences and arts which they erst professed. The 
list of the class books now employed in the transalpine 
schools is exceedingly curious ; I regret that I have mis- 
laid the one Icitely supplied to me by an illustrious Ital- 
ian exile. My memory recals to me only that, in the 
school of rhetoric, the orations of Cicero are superseded 
by those of the Marquis of Londonderry, and the philip- 
pics of Demosthenes by those of M. de Peyronnet ; that 
the professors of history have banished the decades of 
Livy for the Martyrs of Mons. de Chateaubriand ; and 
that the students of Greek, in place of the Odes of Pin- 
dar, and the retreat of the ten thousand from Cunaxa, 
construe the hexameters of the Ejiglish Laureate, and 
the advance of Louis the XVIII. upon Ghent. In this 
Btate of the Italian world of Letters, it is not surprising 
that the scholar, to whose perseverauice, ingenuity, and 
learning, the public are indebted for the following frag- 
ment, should object to lay claim to the honor which is 
his due. 

The original MS. fell into the hands of my erudite cor- 
respondent in the autumn of the year 1817, From that 
period imtil the commencement of last winter, all his 
leisure hours were devoted to the arduous task of unroll- 
ing the leaves, and decyphering the half defaced char- 
acters. The imperfect condition of the MS. soon obliged 
him to forego his first intention of transcribing the original 
•Greek ; he had reeourse, therefore, to an Italian version, 
supplying the chasms, consisting sometimes of a word, 
sometimes of a line, and occasionally of a phrase, with a 



TO THE READER. VU 

careful and laborious study of the context. While this 
version was printing at Florence, a MS. copy was trans- 
mitted to me in Paris, with a request that I would forth- 
with see it translated into the English and French lan- 
guages. The former version I undertook myself, and 
can assure the reader that it possesses the merit of fidel- 
it}'. The first erudite translator has not conceived it 
necessary to encumber the volume with marginal notes ; 
nor have I found either the inclination or the ability to 
supply them. Those who should wish to refer to the 
allusions scattered through the old classics to the char- 
acters and systems here treated of, will find much assis- 
tance from the marginal authorities of thp eloquent and 
ingenious Bayle. 

I have only to add, that the present volume comprises 
little more than a third of the original MS. ; it will be 
sufficient, however, to enable the public to form an esti- 
mate of the probable value of the whole. 



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A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



CHAPTER I. 



"Oh! monstrous," cried the young Theon, 
as he came from the portico of Zeno. "Ye 
Gods ! and will ye suffer your names to be 
thus blasphemed 1 Why do ye not strike with 
thunder the actor and teacher of such enormi- 
ties? What! will ye suffer our youth, and 
the youth of after ages, to be seduced by this 
shameless Gargettian ? Shall the Stoic portico 
be forsaken for the garden of Epicurus 7 Mi- 
nerva, shield thy city ! Shut the ears of thy 
sons against the voice of this deceiver ! " 

Thus did Theon give vent to the indignation 
which the words of Timocrates had worked 
up within him. Timocrates had been a disci- 
ple of the new school; but, quarrelling with 
his master, had fled to the followers of Zeno ; 
and to make the greater merit of his apostacy, 
and better to gain the hearts of his new friends, 



10 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

poured forth daily execrations on his former 
teacher, painting him and his disciples in the 
blackest colors of deformity ; revealing, with 
a countenance distorted as with horror, and a 
voice hurried and suppressed ^as from the ag- 
onies of dreadful recollections, the secrets of 
those midnight orgies, where, in the midst of 
his pupils, the philosopher of Gargettium offi- 
ciated as master of. the. fipcursed ceremonies 
of riot and impiety. 

Full, of these nocturnal horrors the ypung 
Thebn traversed with hasty steps the streets of 
Athens, and, issuing from the city, without per- 
ceiving that he did; so, took tlie road to ihp 
Piraeus. The noise of the harbor roused him 
to recollection, and feeling it out of tune with 
his ' thoughts, he turned up the more peaceful 
banks of Cephisus, and, seating himself on the 
stump of a withered olive, his feet almost 
washed by the water, he fell back again into 
his reverie. How long he had sat he knew not, 
when the sound of gently approaching foot- 
steps once more recalled him. He turned his 
head, and, after a 'start and gaze of astonish- 
ment, bent with veneration to the figure before 
him. It was of the middle size, and robed in 
white, pure as the vestments of the Pythia, 
The shape, the attitude, the foldings of the gar- 
ment, were such as the chisel of Phidias would 



have given to the God of Elocution. The 
head acccfrded with the rest of the figiire ; it 
sat upon the shoulders with a grace that a 
painter would have paused to contemplate — ■ 
elevated, yet somewhat inclining forward, as if 
habituated gently to seek and benevolently to 
yield attention. The face a poet would have 
gazed upon, and thought he beheld in it one of 
the images of his fancy embodied. The fea- 
tures were not cast for the statuary; they 
were noble but not regular. Wisdom beamed 
mildly from the eye, and candor was on the 
broad forehead : the mouth reposed in a soft, 
almost imperceptible smile, that did not curl 
the lips or disturb the cheeks, and was seen 
only in the serene and holy benignity that 
shone over the whole physiognomy : It was a 
gleam of sunshine sleeping on a lucid lake. 
The first lines of age were traced on the brow 
and round the chin, but so gently as to mellow 
rather than deepen expression : the hair indeed 
seemed prematurely touched by time, for it was 
of a pure silver, thrown back from the forehead, 
and fringing the throat behind with short 
curls. He received benignly the salutation 
of the youth, and gently with his hand return- 
ing it — " Let me not break your meditations ; 
I would rather share than disturb them." If 
the stranger's appearance had enchanted The- 



1^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

on, his voice did now more so : never had a 
sound so sweet, so musical, struck upon his ear. 

"Surely I behold and hear a divinity ! " he 
cried, stepping backwards, and half stooping 
his knee with veneration. 

"From the groves of the academy, I see," 
said the sage, advancing and laying his hand 
on the youth's shoulder. 

Theon looked up with a modest blush, and 
encouraged by the sweet aspect of the sage, 
replied, "No; from the Stoic portico." 

"Ah! I had not thought Zeno could send 
forth such a dreamer. You are in a good 
school," he continued, observing the youth 
confused by this remark, "a school of real 
virtue; and, if I read faces well, as I think I 
do, I see a pupil that will not disgrace its doc- 
trines." 

Theon's spirit returned; the stranger had 
that look, and voice, and manner, which in- 
stantly give security to the timid, and draw 
love from the feeling heart. "If you 6e man, 
you exert more than human influence over the 
souls of your fellows. 1 have seen you but 
one moment, and that moment has laid me 
at your feet." 

"Not quite so low, I hope," returned the 
sage with a smile; "1 had always rather be 
the companion than the master." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 13 

"Either, both," said the eager youth, and 
seizing the half-extended hand of the sage, 
pressed it respectfully to his lips. 

" You are an enthusiast, 1 see. Beware, my 
young friend ! such as you must be the best or 
the worst of men." 'm!: : ' ^ ^'.';;-' 

"Then, had 1 you for a ^uide, I should 
be the best." 

" What ! do you a stoic ask a guide ? " 

" I, a stoic ! Oh ! would 1 were ! I yet stand 
but on the threshhold of the temple." 

" But standing there you have at least looked 
within and seen the glories, and will not that 
encourage you to advance 1 Who that hath 
seen virtue doth not love her, and pant after 
her possession?" 

"True, true; I have seen virtue in her 
noblest form — Alas! so noble, that my eyes 
have been dazzled by the contemplation. I 
have looked upon Zeno with admiration and 
despair." 

" Learn rather to look with love. He who 
but admires virtue, yields her but half her due. 
She asks to be approached, to be embraced — 
not with fear, but with confidence — not with 
awe but with rapture." 

" Yet who can gaze on Zeno and ever hope 
to rival him?" 
[_" You, my young friend : Why should you 



14 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

not 1 You have innocence ; you have sensibil- 
ity; you have enthusiasm; you have ambi- 
tion — With what better promise could Zeno 
begin his career? Courage! courage! my 
son ! " stopping, for they had insensibly 
walked towards the city during the dialogue, 
and laying his hand on Theon's head, "We 
want but the will to be as great as Zeno." 

Theon had drawn his breath for a sigh, but 
his action and the look that accompanied it, 
changed the sigh to a smile. " You would 
make me vain." 

" No ; but I would make you confident. 
Without confidence Homer had never written 
his Iliad — No ; nor would Zeno now be wor- 
shipped in his portico." 

"Do you then think confidence would make 
all men Homers and Zenos7" 

"Not all; but a good many. I believe 
thousands to have the seeds of excellence in 
them, who never discover the possession. But 
we were not speaking of poetry and philosophy, 

Conly of virtue — all men certainly cannot be 
poets or philosophers, but all men may be 
virtuous." 

"I believe," returned the youth with a 
modest blush, "if I might walk with you 
each day on the boarders of Cephisus, I 
should sometimes play truant at the portico." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 15 

'*'Ye gods forbid (exclaimed the sage play- 
fully) that I should steal a proselyte ! From 
2ien6 too ? It might cost me dear. — What are 
you thinking of 7 " he resumed, after a pause: 

" I was thinking," replied Theon, " what a 
loss for man that you are not teacher in the 
gardens in place of the son of Neocles." 

" Do you know the son of Neocles ? " asked 
the sage. 

" The gods forbid that I should know him 
more than by report ! No, venerable stran- 
ger ; wrong me not so much as to think I have 
entered the gardens of Epicurus. It is not 
long that I have been in Athens, but I hope, if 
I should henceforth live my life here, I should 
never be seduced by the advocate of vice." 

" From my soul I hope the same. But 
you say you have not long been in Athens 
— You are come here to study philosophy." 

"Yes; my father was a scholar of Xeno- 
crates ; but when he sent me from Corinth, he 
bade me attend all the schools, and fix with 
that which should give me the highest views 
of virtue." 

"And you have found it to be that of 
Zeno." 

" I think I have : but I was one day nearly 
gained by a young Pythagoreari) and have 



16 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

been often in danger of becoming one of the 
academy." 

" You need not say in danger : For though I 
think you choose well in standing mainly by 
Zeno, I would have you attend all the schools, 
and that with a willing ear. There is some 
risk in following one particular sect, even the 
most perfect, lest the mind become warped and 
the heart contracted. Yes, young man ! it is 
possible that this should happen even in the 
portico. No sect without its prejudices and its 
predilections." 

''I believe you say true." 

"I know I say true," returned the sage in a 
tone of playfulness he had more than once 
used* " I know I say true; and had I before 
needed evidence to confirm my opinion, this our 
present conversation would have afforded it." 

"How so?" 

" Nay, were I to explain, you would not now 
credit me : No man can see his own prejudi- 
ces; no, though a philosopher should point 
at them. But patience, patience ! Time and 
opportunity shall right all things. Why, you 
did not think," he resumed after a short 
pause, " you did not really think you were 
without prejudices'? Eighteen, not more, if 
I may judge* by complexion, and without pre- 
judices ! Why, I should hardly dare to assert 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. W 

I was myself without them, and I beheve I 
have fought harder and somewhat longer 
against them than you can have done." 

" What would you have me do 7 " asked the 
youth, timidly. 

" Have you do? — Why, I would have you 
do a very odd thing — No other than to take a 
turn or two in Epicurus's garden." ;^ 

' " Epicurus's garden ! Oh ! Jupiter ! " .[•:■ ro 

" Very true, by Juno ! " 

" What ! To hear the laws of virtue con- 
founded and denied? — To hear vice excul- 
pated, advocated, panegyrized? — Impiety and 
atheism professed and inculcated ? — To wit- 
ness the nocturnal orgies of vice and debauch- 
ery ? — Ye gods, what horrors has Timocrates 
revealed ! " 

" Horrors, in truth, somewhat appalling, my 
young friend ; but I should apprehend Timr- 
ocrates to be a little mistaken. That the laws 
of virtue were ever confounded and denied, or 
vice advocated and panegyrized, by any pro- 
fessed teacher, 1 incline to doubt. And were I 
really to hear such things, I should simply con- 
clude the speaker mad, or otherwise that he 
was amusing himself by shifting the meaning of 
words, and that by the term virtue he under- 
stood vice, and so by the contrary! As to the 
inculcating of impiety and atheism, this may 



UB A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

be exaggerated or misunderstood. Many are 
i called impious, not for having a worse, but a 
\ different religion from their neighbors; and 
many atheistical, not for the denying of God, 
but for thinking somewhat peculiarly concern- 
ing hinL Upon the nocturnal orgies of vice 
and debauchery I can say nothing ; I am too 
profoundly ignorant of these matters, either to 
exculpate or condemn them. Such things may 
be, and I never hear of them. All things are 
possible. Yes," turning his benignant face 
full upon the youth, " even that Timocrates 
should lie." 

" This possibility had indeed not occurred to 
me." 

"No, my young friend; and shall I tell you 
why? Because he told you absurdities. Let 
an impostor keep to probability, and he will 
hardly impose. By dealing in the marvellous, 
he tickles the imagination, and carries away 
the judgment ; and judgment once gone, what 
shall save even a wise man from folly?" 

" I should truly rejoice, to find the Garget- 
tian's doctrine less monstrous than 1 have 
hitherto thought them. I say less monstrous, 
for you would not wish me to think them 
good." 

"1 would wish you to think nothing good, 
or bad either, upon nvy decision. The first and 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. tfd 

the last thing I would say to man is, think for 
yourself! It is a bad sentence of the Pytha- 
goreans, ' The master said so.' If the young 
disciple you mentioned should ever succeed in 
your conversion, believe in the metempsycho- 
sis for some other reason than that Pytha- 
goras ' taught it.' " . :.a ::. b • ! *- '' i 

"But, if I may ask, do you think well of 
Epicurus ? " 

" I meant not to make an apology for Epi- 
curus, only to give a caution against Timo- 
crates — but see, we are in the city ; and for- 
tunately so, for it is pretty nigh dark. I have 
a party of young friends awaiting me, and, but 
that you may be apprehensive of nocturnal or- 
gies, I would ask you to join us." 

" 1 shall not fear them where I have such a 
conductor," replied the youth, laughing. 

" I do not think it quite so impossible, how- 
ever, as you seem to do," said the sage, laugh- 
ing in his turn, with much humor, and entering 
a house as he spoke; then throwing open with 
one arm a door, and with the other gently 
drawing the youth along with him, "I am 
Epicurus ! " 



QV A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

-»H^:7'I Ht, CHAPTER II. 

The astonished, the affrighted Theon start- 
ed from the arm of the sage, and, staggering 
backwards, was saved, probably, from falling, 
by a statue that stood against the wall on one 
side of the door : he leaned against it, pale and 
almost fainting. He knew not what to do, 
scarcely what to feel, and was totally blind 
to all the objects around him. His conductor, 
-who had possibly expected his confusion, did 
not turn to observe it, but advanced in such 
a manner as to cover him from the view of the 
company, and, still to give time for recollection, 
stood receiving and returning salutations. 

"Well met, my sons ! and I suppose you 
say well met, also. Are you starving, or am I 
to be starved ? Have you ate up the supper, or 
only sat longing for it, cursing my delay? " 

" The latter, only the latter," cried a lively 
youth, hurrying to meet his master. Another 
and another advanced, and in a moment he 
was locked in a close circle. 

" Mercy ! mercy ! cried the philosopher, 
" drive me a step further and you will over- 
turn a couple of statues." Then, looking over 
his shoulder, " I have brought you, if he has 
not run away, a very pleasant young Corinthi- 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 21 

an, for whom, until he gain his own tongue, 
I shall demand reception." He held out his . 
hand with a look of bewitching encourage-, 
ment, and the yet faltering Theon advanced. 
The mist had now passed from his eyes, and 
the singing from his ears, and both room and 
company stood revealed before him. Perhaps, i 
had it not been for this motion, and still more 
this look of the sage, he had just now made a 
retreat instead of an advance. " In the hall of 
Epicurus — in that hall where Timoc rates had 
beheld" — oh ! horrid imagination ! " And he 
a disciple of Zeno, the friend of Clean thes — the 
son of a follower of Plato — had he crossed 
the threshhold of vice, the threshhold of the 
impious Gargettian ! " Yes ; he had certainly 
fled, but for that extended hand, and that be- 
witching smile. These however conquered. 
He advanced, and with an effort at composure, 
met the offered hand. The circle made way, 
and Epicurus presented "a friend." "His 
name you must learn from himself, I am only 
acquainted with his heart, and that, on a 
knowledge of two hours, I pronounce myself 
in love with." 

"Then he shall be my brother," cried the 
lively youth who had before spoken, and he 
ran to the embrace of Theon. 

" When shall we use our own eyes, ears, 



22 A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 

and understandings?" said the sage, gently- 
stroking his scholar's head. "See! our new 
friend knows not how to meet your premature 
afiection." 

" He waits," returned the youth archly, "to 
receive the same commendation of me that I 
have of him. Let the master say he is in 
love with my heart, and he too will open his 
arms to a brother." t 

*'I hope he is not such a fool," gaily re- 
plied the sage. Then with an accent more 
serious, but still sweeter, " I hope he will judge 
all things, and all people, with his own under- 
standing, and not with that of Epicurus, or yet 
of a wiser man. When may 1 hope this of 
Sofron," smiling and shaking his head, "cem 
Sofrontellme?" 

"No, indeed he cannot," rejoined the 
scholar, smiling and shaking his head also, 
as in mimicry of his master. 

" Go, go, you rogue ! and show us to our 
supper : I more than half suspect you have de- 
voured it." He turned, and familiarly taking 
Theon by the shoulder, walked up the room, or 
rather gallery, and entered a spacious rotunda. 

A lamp, suspended from the centre of the 
ceiling, hghted a table spread beneath it with a 
simple but elegant repast. Round the walls, 
in niches at equal distances, stood twelve stat- 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS* ' 23 

ues, the work of the best masters ; on either 
hand of these burned a lamp on a small tripod. 
Beside one of the lamps, a female figure was re- 
clining on a couch, reading with earnest study 
from a book that lay upon her knee. Her 
head was so much bowed forward as to conceal 
her face, besides that it was shadowed by her 
band, which, the elbow supported on an arm 
of the couch, was spread above her brows as a 
relief from the glare of the light. At her feet 
was seated a young girl, by whose side lay a 
small cithara, silent, and forgotten by its mis- 
tress. Crete might have lent those eyes their 
sparkling jet, but all the soul of tenderness that 
breathed from them was pure Ionian. The full 
and ruddy lips, half parted, showed two rows 
of pearls which Thetis might have envied. 
Still a vulger eye would not have rested on 
the countenance: the features wanted the 
Doric harmony, and the complexion was 
tinged as by an Afric sun. Theon, however, 
saw not this, as his eyes fell on those of the 
girl, uplifted to the countenance of her studious 
companion. Never was a book read more 
earnestly than was that face by the fond and 
gentle eyes which seemed to worship as they 
gazed. The sound of approaching feet caught 
the ear of the maiden. She rose, blushed, half 
returned the salute of the master, and timidly 



24 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

drew back some paces. The student was still 
intent upon the scroll over which she hung, 
when the sage advanced towards her, and lay- 
ing a finger on her shoulder, "What read. you, 
my daughter 1 " She dropped her hand, and 
looked up in his face. What a countenance 
was then revealed ! It was not the beauty of 
blooming, blushing youth, courting love and de- 
sire. It was the self-possessed dignity of 
ripened womanhood, and the noble majesty 
of mind, that asked respect and promised de- 
light and instruction. The features were not 
those of Venus, but Minerva. The eye looked 
deep and steady from beneath two even brows, 
that sense, not years, had slightly knit in the 
centre of the forehead, which else was uniformly 
smooth and polished as marble. The nose was 
rather Roman than Grecian, yet perfectly reg- 
ular, and though not masculine, would have 
been severe in expression, but for a mouth 
where all that was lovely and graceful habited. 
The chin was elegantly rounded, and turned in 
the Greek manner. The color of the cheeks 
was of the softest and palest rose, so pale, in- 
deed, as scarcely to be discernible until deepened 
by emotion. It was so at this moment : star- 
tled by the address of the sage, a bright flush 
passed over her face. She rolled up the book, 
dropped it on the couch, and rose. Her stature 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS, m, 

was much above the female standard, but 
every Umb and every motion was symmetry 
and harmphy- "A treatise of Theophrastus ; 
— eloquent, ingenious and chimerical. I have 
a fancy to answer it." Her voice was full 
and deep, like the tones of a harp when its 
chords are struck, by the hand of a master. 

"No one could do it better," replied the 
sage. " But I should have guessed the aged 
Peripatetic already silenced by the most acyte, 
elegant, and subtle pen of j4tti§|is," ^^ 
bowed to the compliment. .,.",' 

" Is that then the famous Leontium? " mut- 
tered Theon. " Tiraocrates must be a liar." 

" I know not," resumed Leontiifm, " that I 
should this evening have so frequently thought 
Theophrastus wrong, if he had not made me 
so continually feel that he thought himself 
right. Must I seek the cause of this in the 
writer's or the reader's vanity? " 

" Perhaps," said the master, smiling, "you 
will find that it lies in both." 

"I believe you have it," returned Lepntiuni. 
" Theophrastus, in betraying his self-love, hurt 
mine. He who is about to prove that his own 
way of thinking is right, must bear in mind 
that he is about also to prove that all other 
ways of thinking are wrong. And if this 
should make him slow to enter on l^e undejr- 

2 



26 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

taking, it should make him yet more careful, 
when he does enter on it, to do it with becom- 
ing modesty. We are surely imperiously call- 
ed upon to make a sacrifice of our own vanity, 
before we call upon others to make a sacrifice 
of theirs. But I would not particularize The- 
ophrastus for sometimes forgetting this, as I 
have never known but one who always remem- 
bers it. Gentleness and modesty are qualities 
at once the most indispensable to a teacher, 
and the most rarely possessed by him. It was 
these that won the ears of the Athenian youth 
to Socrates, and it is these," inclining to the 
Master, " that will secure them to Epicurus." 
" Could I accept your praise, my daughter, I 
should have no doubt of the truth of your 
prophecy. For, indeed, the mode of delivering 
a truth makes, for the most part, as much im- 
pression on the mind of the listener as the truth 
itself. It is as hard to receive the words of 
wisdom from the ungentle, as it is to love, or 
even to recognize virtue in the austere." He 
drew near the table as he spoke. Often during 
supper were the eyes of Theon rivetted on the 
face of this female disciple. Such grace ! such 
majesty ! More than all, such intellect ! And 
this — this was the Leontium Timocrates had 
called a prostitute without shame or measure ! 
And this was the Epicurus he had blasted with 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 27 • 

names too vile and horrible to repeat even in 
thought ! And these — continuing his inward 
soliloquy as he looked round the board — these 
were the devoted victims of the vice of an im- 
pious master, 

" You arrived most seasonably this even- 
ing," cried Sofron, addressing the Philosopher; 
"most seasonably for the lungs of two of your 
scholars." 

" And for the ears of a third," interrupted Le- 
ontium. " I was fairly driven into exile." 

"What was the subject?" asked Epicurus. 

"Whether the vicious were more justly ob- 
jects of indignation or of contempt : Metrodorus 
argued for the first, and I for the latter. Let 
the master decide." 

" He will give his opinion certainly ; but that 
is not decision." 

" Well ; and your opinion is that of ." 

" Neither." 

" Neither ! I had no idea the question had 
more than two sides." 

" It has yet a third; and I hardly ever heard 
a question that had not. Had I regarded the 
vicious with indignation, I had never gained 
one to virtue. Had I viewed them with con- 
tempt, I had never sought to gain one." 

" How is it," said Leontium, " that the 
scholars are so little familiar with the temper of 



S»l 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



their master'? When did Epicurus look on the 
^ vicious with other than compassion? " 'j^-'*-* 
'" "True," said Metrodorus. "I kndtr nbt 
how I forgot this, when perhaps it is the only- 
point which I have more than once, presumed 
to argue with him : and upon which I have 
persisted in retaining a different opinion." 

" Talk not of presumption, my son. Who 
has not a right to think for himself? Or who 
is he whose voice is infallible, and worthy 
to silence those of his fellow-men ? And re- 
member, that your remaining unconvinced by 
my arguments on one occasion, can only tend 
to make your conviction more flattering to me 
upon others. Yet, on the point in question, were 
I anxious to bring you over to my opinion, I 
know one, whose argument, better and more 
forcible than mine, will ere long most effect- 
ually do so." 

" Who mean you ? " 

" No other than old hoary Time," said the 
Master, " who, as he leads us gently onwards 
in the path of life, demonstrates to us many 
truths that we never heard in the schools, and 
some that, hearing there, we found hard to re- 
ceive. Our knowledge of human life must be 
acquired by our passage through it ; the lessons 
of the sage are not sufficient to impart it. Our 
knowledge of men must be acquired by our 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 29 

own Study of them ; the report of others will 
never convince us. When you, my son, have 
seen more of life, and studied more men, you 
will find, or at least, I think you will find, that 
the judgment is not false which makes us leni- 
ent to the failings — yea ! even to the crimes of 
our fellows. In youth, we act on the impulse 
of feeling, and we feel without pausing to 
judge. An action, vicious in itself, or that is 
so merely in our estimation, fills us with horror, 
and we turn from its agent without waiting to 
listen to the plea which his ignorance could 
,9iake to our mercy. In our ripened years, sup- 
posing our judgment to have ripened also, 
when all the insidious temptations that mis- 
guided him, and aU the disadvantages that he 
has labored under, perhaps from his birth, are 
apparent to us — it is then, and not till then, 
that our indignation at the crime is lost in our 
pity of the man." 

" I am the last," said Metrodorus, a crimson 
blush spreading over his face, " who should 
object to my master his clemency towards the 
offending. But there are vices, diflerent from 
those he saved me from, which, if not more un- 
worthy, are perhaps more unpardonable, be- 
cause committed with less temptation ; and 
more revolting, as springing less from thought- 
less ignorance than calculating depravity," j, __ 



90 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

"'"** Are we not prone," said the sage, " to ex- 
'tenuate our foibles, even while condemning 
them? And does it not flatter our self-love, to 
weigh our own vices against those of more err- 
ing neighbors 1 " 

The scholar leaned forwards, and stooping 
his face towards the hand of his master, where 
it rested on the table, laid the deepening crim- 
son of his cheek upon it. "I mean not to ex- 
culpate the early vices of Metrodorus. I love 
to consider them in all their enormity ; for the 
more heinous the vices of his youth, the greater 
"is the debt of gratitude his manhood has to 
repay to thee. But tell me," he added, and 
lifted his eyes to the benignant face of the sage, 
" tell me, oh ! my friend and guide ! was the 
soul of Metrodorus, found base or deceitful ; or 
has his heart proved false to gratitude and 
affection?" " • '' 

" No, my son, no," said Epicurus, his face 
beaming with goodness, and a tear glistening 
in his eye. "No! Vice never choked the 
warm feelings of thy heart, nor clouded the 
fair ingenuousness of thy soul. But, my son, a 
few years later, and who shall say what might 
have been? Tnist me, none can drink of the 
cup of vice with impunity. But you will say, 
that there are qualities of so mean or so horrible 
a nature, as to place the man that is governed by 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 31 

them out of the pale of communion with the 
virtuous. MaHce, cruelty, deceit, ingratitude — 
■crimes such as these, should you think, draw 
down upon those convicted of them no feelings 
more mild than abhorrence, execration, and 
scorn. And yet, perhaps, these were not al- 
ways natural to the heart they now sway. 
Fatal impressions, vicious example, operating 
on the plastic frame of childhood, may have 
perverted all the fair gifts of nature, may have 
distorted the tender plant from the seedling, 
and crushed all the blossoms of virtue in the_ 
germ. Say, shall we not compassionate the 
moral disease of our brother, and try our skill 
to restore him to health 7 But is the evil be- 
yond cure ? Is the mind strained into change- 
less deformity, and the heart corrupted in the 
core 1 Gteater then, much greater, will be our 
compassion. For is not his wretchedness 
complete, when his errors are without hope 
of correction 1 Oh ! my sons ! the wicked 
may work mischief to others, but they never 
can inflict a pang such as they endure them- 
selves. I am satisfied, that of all the miseries 
that tear the heart of man, none may compare 
with those it feels beneath the sway of baleful 
passions." 

" Oh ! " cried Theon, turning with a timid 
blush towards Epicurus, " I have long owned 



<& 



i ttW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



ihie jxDwer of virtue, but surely till this night I 
iiever felt its persuasion." 

"I see you were not bom for a stoic," said 
the master smiling, " Why, my son, what made 
you fall in love with Zeno? " 

" His virtues," said the youth, proudly. 

" His fine face, and fine talking," returned 
the philosopher, with a tone of playful irony. 
"Nay ! don't be offended; " and stretched his 
hand to Theon's shoulder, who reclined on the 
sofa next hini. "I admire your master very 
much, and go to hear him very often." 
. . "Indeed!" 

" Indeed 7 Yes, indeed. Is it so Wonderful?" 

" You were riot there " — Theon stopped 
and looked down in confusion. 

"To-day, you mean? Yes, I was; and 
heard a description of mysielf thiat might ihatch 
in pleasari'try with that in ' The Clouds '* of old 
Socrates. Fray don't you find it very like? " 
He leaned over the side of the couch, arid 
looked in Theon's face. 

"I — I — " The youth stammered and 
looked down. 

" Thinlc it is," said the sage, as if conclud- 
ing the sentence for him. 

" No, think it is not ; swear it is not ; " burst 



♦Alluding to the comedy of Aristophanes, in which 
Socrates was indecently ridiculed. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 33 

forth the eager youth, and looked as he would 
have thrown himself at the philosopher's feet. 
"Oh ! why did you not stand forth and silence 
the liar 7" 

" Truly, my son, the liar was too pleasant to 
be angry with, and too absurd to be answered." 
" And yet he was believed ? "j - ,. _ : ,_;, 
"Of course." - r t^ ■ ■ ' ;^ 

"But why then not answer him?" 
"And so I do. I answer him in my life. 
The only way in which a philosopher should 
ever answer a fool, or, as in this case, a 
knave." 

"I am really bewildered," cried Theon, gaz- 
ing in the philosopher's, and then in Leontium's 
countenance, and then throwing a glance round 
the circle. "I am really bewildered with as- 
tonishment and with shame," he continued, 
casting down his eyes, " that I should have lis- 
tened to that liar Timocrates ! What a fool 
you must think me ! " 

" No more of a fool than Zeno," said the 
sage, laughing. " What a philosopher listened 
to, I carmot much blame a scholar for believ- 
ing." 

"Oh ! that Zeno knew you ! " 

" And then he would certainly hate me." 

"You joke." 

"Q,Liite serious. Don't you know that who 

2* 



Wl A !FEW days in ATHENS. 

'qnarrelis with your doctrine, must always quar- 
rel with your practice 7 Nothing is so provok- 
ing as that a man should preach viciously and 
act virtuously.^' 

" But you do not preach viciously." 

" I hope hot. But those will call it so, aye ! 
and in honest heart think it so, who preach a 
different, it need not be a better, doctrine." 

" But Zeno mistakes your doctrine." 
- • ^' I have no doubt he expounds it wrong." 
^"""He mistakes it altogether. He believes 
that yOu own no other law — no other princi- 
ple of action — than pleasure." 

" He believes right." 

"Right? Impossible! That you teach men 
to laugh at virtue, and to riot in luxury and 
vice." 

" There he believes wrong." 

Theon looked as he felt, curious and uncer- 
tain. Be gazed first on the philosopher, and, 
when he did not proceed, timidly round the cir- 
cle. Every face had a smile on it. 

"The orgies are concluded," said Epicurus, 
rising, and turning with affected gravity to the 
young Corinthian. " You have seen the hor- 
rors of the night ; if they have left any curios- 
ity for the mysteries of the day, seek our gar- 
den to-morrow at sunrise, and you shall be in- 
itiated." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 36 

if^ b<!& ^:^l: ■''■'.'! •-' ■ W'kI 

-fyivKin^ ,o!iL CHAPTER III. .,fU 

The steecls of the sun ha(i riot mountecl ^he 
horizon, when Theon took the road to the gar- 
den. He found the gate open. The path he 
entered on was broad and even, and shaded on 
either side by rows of cork, Hme, oak, and 
other the finest trees of the forest: pursuing 
this for some way, he suddenly opened on a 
fair and varied lawn, through which the Illis- 
sus, now of the whitest silver in the pale twi- 
light, stole with a gentle and noiseless course. 
Crossing the lawn, he struck into a close 
thicket : the orange, the laurel, and the myrtle, 
hung over his head, whose flowers, slowly 
opening to the breeze and light of morning, 
dropped dews and perfumes. A luxurious indo- 
lence crept over his soul ; he breathed the airs, 
and felt the bliss of Elysium. With slow and 
measured steps he threaded the maze, till he 
entered suddenly on a small open plot of ver- 
dure in face of a beautiful temple. The place 
was three parts encircled with a wood of flow- 
ering shrubs, the rest was girded by the wind- 
ing Ilhssus, over which the eye wandered to 
glades and softly swelling hills, whose bosoms 



30 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

now glowed beneath the dyes of Aurora. The 
building was small and circular ; Doric, and of 
the marble of Paros : an open portico, support- 
ed by twenty pillars, ran round the edifice : 
the roof rose in a dome. The roseate tints of 
the east fell on the polished columns, like the 
blush of love on the cheek of Diana, when she 
stood before her Endymion. 

Theon stopped : the scene was heavenly. 
Long had he gazed in silent and calm delight, 
when his eye was attracted by the waving of a 
garment on one side of the temple. — He ad- 
vanced, and beheld a figure leaning against one 
of the pillars. The sun at that moment shot 
his first beam above the hills : it fell full upon 
the face of the son of Neocles : it was raised, 
and the eyes were fixed as in deep meditation. 
The features reposed in the calm of wisdom : 
the arms were folded, and the drapery fell in 
masses to the feet. Theon flew towards him 
then suddenly stopped, fearing to break upon 
his thoughts. At the sound, the sage turned his 
head, " Welcome, my son," he said, advancing 
to meet him, " Welcome to the garden of pleas- 
ure, may you find it the abode of peace, of 
wisdom, and of virtue." 

Theon bowed his head upon the hand of the 
master. " Teach me, guide me, make me 
what you will — my soul is in your hand." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ST 

"It is yet tender, yet pure," said the Garget- 
tian; "years shall strengthen it — Oh! let 
them not sully it ! See that luminary ! love- 
ly and glorious in the dawn, he gathers strength 
and beauty to his meridian, and passes in peace 
and grandeur to his rest. So do thou, my son. 
Open your ears and your eyes; know, and 
choose what is good ; enter the path of virtue, 
and thou shalt follow it, for thou shalt find it 
sweet. Thorns are not in it, nor is it difficult 
or steep : like the garden you have now enter- 
ed, all there is pleasure and repose." 

"Ah ! " cried Theon, "how different is vir- 
tue in your mouth and in Zeno's." 

"The doctrine of Zeno," replied the sage, 
" is sublime : many great men shall come from 
his school; an amiable world, from mine. 
Zeno hath his eye on man, I — mine on men : 
none but philosophers can be stoics; Epicu- 
reans all may be." 

" But," asked Theon, " is there more than 
one virtue?" 

"No, but men clothe her differently ; some 
in clouds and thunders ; some in smiles and 
pleasures. Doctors, niy son, quarrel more 
about words than things, and more about the 
means than the end. In the Portico, in the 
Lycaeum, in the Academy, in the school of Py- 
thagoras, in the Tub of Diogenes, the teacher 



^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

points you to virtue ; in the Garden he points 
you to happiness. Now open your eyes, my 
son, and examine the two Deities. — Say, are 
they not the same ? virtue, is it not happiness ? 
■and is not happiness, virtue?" 
.jK "Is this, then, the secret of your doctrine? " 
!,," No other." 

, .; "But — but — where then is the dispute? 
Truly, as you have said, in -words not things." 

" Yes, in a great measure, yet not altogether : 
We are all the wooers of virtue, but we are 
wooers of a different character." 

"And may she not then favor one, more 
than another?" 

" That is a question," replied the Gargettian 
playfully, "that each will answer in his own 
favor. If you ask me," he continued with one 
of his sweetest tones and smiles, "I shall 
say — that I feel myself virtuous, because my 
soul is at rest." 

" If this be -your criterion, you should with 
the stoics deny that pain is an evil." 

" By no means : so much tRfe contrary, I hold 
it the greatest of all evils, and the whole aim 
of my life, and of my philosophy, is to escape 
from it. To deny that pain is an evil is such 
■another quibble as the Elean's denial of mo- 
tion : that must exist to man which exists to 
his senses; and as to existence or non-existence 
abstracted. from them, though it may afford an 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. tt9 

idle argument for an idle hour, it can never 
enter as a truth, from which to draw conclu- 
sions, in the practical lessons of a master. To 
deny that pain is ian evil, seems more absurd 
than to deny its existence, which has also been 
done, for its existence is only apparent from its 
effect upon our senses ; how then shall we ad- 
mit the existence, and deny the effect, which 
alone forces that admittance? But we will 
leave these matters to the dialecticians of the 
Portico. I feel myself virtuous because my 
soul is at rest : With evil passions I should 
be disturbed and uneasy ; with uncontrolled 
appetites I should be disordered in body as 
well as mind, — for this reason, and for this 
reason only, I avoid both." 

"Only!" 

"Only: virtue is pleasure; were it not so, 1 
should not follow it." 

Theon was about to break forth in indignant 
astonishment : the Sage softly laid a hand upon 
his arm ; and, with a smile and bend of the 
head demanding attention, proceeded : " The 
masters Who would have us to follow virtue 
for her own sake, independent of any pleasure 
or advantage that we may find in the pursuit, 
are sublime visionaries, who build a theory 
without examining the ground on which they 
build it, who advance doctrines without exam- 



<lb 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



ining principles. Why do I gaze on the Cupid 
of Praxiteles ? because it is beautiful ; because 
it gives me pleasurable sensations. If it gave 
me no pleasurable sensations, should I find it 
beautiful ; should 1 gaze upon it ; or would 
you call me wise if then I gave a drachma for 
its possession ? What other means have we of 
judging of things than by the effect they pro- 
duce upon our senses 1 Our senses then being 
the judges of all things, the aim of all men is 
to gratify their senses : in other words, their 
aim is pleasure or happiness : and if virtue 
were not found to conduce to this, men would 
do well to shun her, as they now do well to 
shun vice." 

" You own then no pleasure but virtue, and 
no misery but vice." 

" Not at all : I think virtue only the high- 
est pleasure, and vice, or ungoverned passions 
and appetites, the worst misery. Other pleas- 
ures are requisite to form a state of perfect 
ease ; which is happiness ; and other miseries 
are capable of troubling, perhaps destroying, 
the peace of the most virtuous and the wisest 
man." 

" I begin to see more reason in your doc- 
trine," said the youth, looking up with a timid 
blush in the face of the Philosopher. 

" And less monstrous depravity," replied the 



A' FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 41 

Gargettian, laughing. " My young friend," 
he continued more seriously, " learn henceforth 
to form your judgments upon knowledge, not 
report. Credulity is always a ridiculous, often 
a dangerous failing : it has made of many a 
clever man, a fool ; and of many a good man, 
a knave. But have you nothing to urge 
against me ? You say you see more reason in 
my doctrine, which implies that you think me 
less wrong, but not right." 

" I am a young disputant," answered Theon, 
" and very unfit to engage with such a mas- 
ter." 

" That does not follow ; a bad logiciati may 
have a good understanding ; and a young mind 
may be an acute one. If my argurtient have 
truth in it, less than a philosopher will see it ; 
and if it have not, less than a logician may re- 
fute it." 

"■ I think I could urge some objections," re- 
plied Theon; "but they are so confused and 
indistinct, I almost fear to briiig them forth." 

" I dare isay I could forestall the most of 
them," said the Master. " But I had rather 
leave your mind to its own exercise. Think 
over the matter at leisure, and you shall start 
your questions some evening or morning among 
my scholars. Knowledge is better imparted 
in a dialogue than a lecture ; and a dialogue is 



42 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

not the worse for having more than two inter- 
locutors. So ! our walk has well ended with 
our subject. Let us see what friends are here. 
There are surely voices." 

Their route had been circular, and had 
brought them again in front of . the temple. 
" This is a favorite lodgment of mine," said 
the Sage, ascending the noble flight of steps 
and entering the open door. The apartment, 
spacious, vaulted, and circular, occupied the 
whole of the building. The walls were adorn- 
ed with fine copies of the best pieces of Zeuxis 
and Parrhasius, and some beautiful originals of 
Appelles. A statue, the only one in the apart- 
ment, was raised on a pedestal in the centre. 
It was a Venus Urania, by the hand of Lysip- 
pus, well chosen as the presiding deity in the 
gardens of virtuous pleasure. The ceiling, 
rising into a noble dome, represented the heav- 
ens — a ground of deep blue ; the stars, sun, 
and planets in raised gold. But two living fig- 
ures soon fixed the attention of Theon. In one 
he recognized Metrodorus, though he had not 
the evening before much observed his counten- 
ance. He stood at a painter's easel. His fig- 
ure was more graceful than dignified, his face 
more expressive than handsome. The eyes, 
dark, piercing and brilliant, were bent in a 
painter's earnest gaze on his living study. The 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



^ 



forehead was short, raised much at the temples 
and singularly over the brows. The hair of a 
dark glossy brown, short and curled. The 
cheeks at the moment deeply flushed with the 
eagerness and, perhaps, the impatience, of an 
artist. The mouth curled voluptuously, yet 
not without a mixture of satire ; the chin curv- 
ed upwards, slightly Grecian, assisted this ex- 
pression. His study was Leontium. She stood, 
rather than leaned, against a pilaster of the 
wall ; one arm supported on a slab of marble, 
an unrolled book half lying on the same, and 
half in her opened hand. The other arm, 
partly hid in the drapery, dropped loosely by 
her side. Her fine face turned a little over the 
left shoulder, to meet the eye of the painter. 
Not a muscle played ; the lips seemed not to 
breathe : so calm, so pale, so motionless — she 
looked a statue ; so noble, so severely beauti- 
ful — she looked the Minerva of Phidias. 

" I cannot do it ! " cried Metrodorus, flinging 
down his pencil. "I had need be Appelles, to 
take that face." He pushed back his easel in 
disgust. 

" What! " said Leontium, her fine features 
relaxing into a heavenly smile, " and is all my 
patience to go for nothing? " 

" I am a blundering blind Boeotian ! a sav- 
age Spartan ! " continued the disappointed ar 



44 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

tist. "There!" and seizing a brush, was 
about to demolish his work. 
^, " For your hfe ! " cried Leontium; and 
starting forward, pulled aside his hand. "Oh! 
the mad ill-temper of a genius ! Why, friend, 
if my face were half so fine as that, Juno 
would be jealous of it." 

"And who knows that she is not? A 
daub ! a vile daub ! " still muttered the impa- 
tient scholar, yet his face gradually relaxing its 
anger, as in spite of itself, till it turned to meet 
Leontium' s with a smile. 

" And there stand the Master and the young 
Corinthian laughing at you," said Leontium. 

They approached. " Are you a judge 1 " 
asked Metrodorus of Theon. 

"I am afraid not, though the confession will 
mar my compliments." 

" But I am," said the Gargettian humorous- 
ly : " And though I have all the inclination in 
the world, yet I cannot quarrel with the per- 
formance. Well outlined and finely colored. 
The attitude and air hit exactly. The features 
too — perhaps — the only possible perhaps my 
ill-nature can stumble on, perhaps the expres- 
sion is too blooming, and less mental than that 
of the original." 

" Why there — there it is ! " cried the scholar. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 45 

his face resuming all its vexation. "The look 
of an idiot instead of a genius." 

" Not quite that either : only of a Hebe in- 
stead of a Juno. More like pur Hedeia." f^ 

" Like a monster ! " muttered the angry ar- 
tist. , 

" Oh ! Hercules, oh ! Hercules ! " cried the 
sage. " What it is to rub a sore place 1 ]Bet- 
ter break a man's leg than blow a feather on 
his razed shin. Had I (turning to Theon) told 
him he had drawn a humpbacked Thersites he 
would have blessed me, rather than for this 
pretty compliment of a blooming-faced Hebe.'' 

" I might as well have done one as the 
other : they were equally like the original." 

"I must bow to that compliment," said Le- 
ontium, laying her hand on her breast, and in- 
clining with affected gravity to the painter. 

He tried in vain to resist the laugh ; then 
looking to the master— ^ '^ What would you 
have me turn it to ? " - " '• 

" As you object to a Hebe, to a philosopher 
by all means. Silver the head a little, it may 
be an admirable Epicurus." 

" Nay ! don't make the madman furious," 
said Leontium, placing her hand on Metrodo- 
rus's shoulder ; then, addressing Theon," Pray, 
young man, if you want to be a philosopher, 
never find an eye for painting, a finger for mu- 



4fis A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

sic, or a brain for poetry. Any one of these 
will keep a man from wisdom." 

" But not a woman, I suppose," retorted 
Metrodorus, " as you have all three.", 'u, i./; .>^ 

"Ready at compliments this morning: but 
if you wanted a bow for this, you should have 
given it with a more gracious face. But come, 
my poor friend ; we will try to put you in good 
humor — Nothing like a little flattery for this. 
Here, my young Corinthian ! (walking to the 
other side of the room to a newly finished pic- 
ture that stood against the wall, and beckoning 
Theon towards her) you may without skill 
perceive the beauty of this work, and the ex- 
cellence of the likeness." 

It was indeed striking. "Admirable!" 
cried Theon after a long gaze of admiration, 
and then turning to compare it with the orig- 
inal. 

" A little flattered, and more than a little, I 
fear," said Epicurus with a smile, as he moved 
towards them. 

"Flattered!" exclaimed Metrodorus; "a 
Parrhasius could not flatter such an original." 

" You see how my scholars spoil me," said 
the Gargettian to Theon. 

"But you think," continued Metrodorus, 
" that I have done it common justice." 

"Much more than common: — It is your 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 47 

master's self. The dignity of his figure, the 
grace of his attitude, the nobihty of his fea- 
tures, the divine benignity of his expression. — 
Had we not the original to worship, we might 
worship your copy." 

They were interrupted by the entrance of a 
crowd of disciples, in the midst of whose salu- 
tations young Sofron rushed in, breathless with 
r,unning and convulsed with laughter. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



%i^ 



CHAPTER IV. 



" Prepare yourselves ! Prepajre yourselves ! " 
cried the panting scholar. "Oh! Pollux! 
such a couple ! The contrast might convulse a 
Scythian." 

"What is it? What is the matter?" cried 
a dozen voices. 

"I'll explain directly — Give me breath — 
and yet I must be quick, for they are close on 
my heels. Gryphus, the cynic — some of you 
must have seen him. Well, he's coming side 
by side with young Lycaon." 

" Coming here ! " said the master smiling. 
" What can have procured me the honor of 
such a visit?" 

" Oh ! your fame, of course." 

" I suspect you are making a fool of the old 
cynic," said Epicurus. 

" Nay, if he be a fool, he is one without my 
assistance : Lycaon and I were standing on the 
steps of the Prytaneum, disputing about some- 
thing, I forget what, when by came Gryphus, 
and stopping short at bottom of the steps, ' Are 
you disciples of Epicurus, of Gargettium ? ' 
' W« are,' answered I^ for Lycaon only stood 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ^ 

Staring in amazement. ' You may show me 
the way to him then.' ' With all my heart,' I 
again replying, Lycaon not yet finding his 
tongue. ' We are, at present, for the Gardens, 
and shall hold it an honor to be conductors to 
so extraordinary a personage.' I wanted to 
put him between us, but Lycaon seemed un- 
ambitious of his share in this distinction, fof, 
stepping back, he slipped round to my other side. 
Oh ! Jupiter ! I shall never forget the contrast 
between my two companions. The rough, 
dirty, hairy cynic on my right hand, and the 
fine, smooth, delicate, pretty Aristippian on 
my left. We brought the whole street at ouy 
heels. Lycaon would have slunk away, bu)t,Jt 
held him tight by the sleeve. When we were 
fairly in the Gardens, I gave them the slip at 
a cross-path, and run on before to give timely 
notice, as you see. But, lo ! Behold ! " 

The two figures now appeared at the door. 
The contrast was not much less singular than 
the scholar had represented ; and there was a 
sort of faint prelude to a universal laugh, 
which, however, a timely look from the Master 
instantly quelled. Lycaon, from the lightness 
of his figure, and delicacy of his features and 
complexion, might have been mistaken for a 
female : his skin had the whiteness of the lily, 
and the blushing red of the rose : his lips the 
3 



^ 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



vermil of coral ; his hair soft and flowing ; in 
texture, silk ; in color, gold : his dress was 
chosen with studied nicety, and disposed with 
studied elegance : the tunic of the whitest and 
finest linen, fastened at the shoulder with a 
beautiful onyx : the sash of exquisite embroid- 
ery, and the robe of the richest Tyrian. falling 
in luxuriant folds from the shoulders, and over 
the right arm, which gracefully sustained its 
length, for the greater convenience in walking; 
the sandals, purple, with buttons of gold. Gry- 
phus, short, square, and muscular ; his tunic of 
the coarsest and not the cleanest woollen, in 
some places worn threadbare, and with one 
open rent of considerable magnitude that 
proved the skin to be as well engrained as its 
covering; his girdle, a rope: his cloak, or 
rather rag, had the appearance of a sail taken 
from the wreck of an old trader : his feet bare, 
and thickly powdered with dust : of his face, 
little more might be distinguished than the 
nose ; the lower part being obscured by a 
bushy and wide-spreading beard, and the up- 
per, by a profusion of long, tangled and grisly 
hair. The wondering disciples opened a pas- 
sage for this singular intruder, who, without 
looking to the right or the left, walked on, and 
stopped before Epicurus. 

" 1 suppose you are the Master, by the need- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ^ 

less trouble I see yon take, in coming to meet 
me." 

" When Gryphus has possibly walked a mile 
to meet Epicurus, Epicurus may without much 
trouble walk a step to meet Gryphus." 

" In my walk of a mile," returned the cynic, 
" there was no trouble : I took it for my own 
pleasure." '•"''" '*'*" '■ "^^'-^^ ^'i'<»"' ;' i^^'^ viioi 

"And my walk of a step I also took for 
mine." 

"Aye, the pleasure of ceremony ! " 

" I may hope, then, this your visit is from 
something more than ceremony — perhaps a 
feeling of real friendship, or as a mark of your 
good opinion." 

"I hate useless words," returned the cynic, 
" and am not come here either to make any, or 
hearken to any. I have heard you much talked 
of lately. Our streets and our porticoes buzz 
eternally with your name, till now all wise 
men are weary of it. I come to tell you this, 
and to advise you to shut the gates of your gar- 
dens forthwith, and to cease the harangues of a 
master; since you only pass for a philosopher 
among fools, and for a fool among philoso- 
phers." 

" I thank you for your honest advice and in- 
formation, friend; but as the object of a mas- 
ter is not to teach the wise, but only the im- 



5^ A FEW DAY§ IM ATHENS. 

wise, do you not think I may still harangue 
among fools to some little purpose, though Gry- 
phus, and all sages, will of course justly hold 
me in contempt 7 " 

" And so that fools may be made wise, the 
wise are to be plagued with folly 7 " 

"Nay, you would surely cease to think that 
folly which could make a fool wise." 

*' A fool wise ! And who but a fool would 
think that possible ? " 

" I grant it were difficult : but may it not 
also sometimes be difficult to discover who is a 
fool, and who not? Among my scholars 
there, some doubtless may be fools, and som^ 
possibly may not be fools." 

"No," interrupted the cynic; "or they 
would not be your scholars." 

"Ah ! I being a fool myself Well remind- 
ed ! I had forgot that was one of our premises. 
But then, I being a fool, and all my scholars 
being fools, I do not see how much harm can 
be done, either by my talking folly, or their 
hearkening to it." 

" No, if wise men were not forced to hearken 
al^. I tell you that our streets and our porti- 
coes buzz with your name and your nonsense. 
Keep all the fools of Athens in your gardens, 
and lock the gates, and you may preach folly 
as long and as loud p^s you please." 



JL t"EW DATS IN ATHENS. 89 

"1 have but one objection to this ; iiamely, 
thait my gardens would not hold all the fools 
of Athens. Suppose, thereifore, the wise men, 
being a smaller body, were shut into a garden, 
and the city and the rest of Attica left for the 
fools 7 " 

"I told you," cried the cynic, in a voice of 
anger, "that I hat6 uselesi^ wotds." 

" Nay, friend, why then walk a mile to 
speak advice to me 7 No wotdd so ttseless as 
those thrown at a fool." 

" Very true, very true ; " and so sayings thei 
stranger turned his back, and quitted the tem- 
ple. 

" There," said the son of Neocles to hi^ smil-' 
ing disciples, ^ is a good warning to any, or all 
of us, who would be philosophers." 

" Nay, master," crifed Sofroh, " do you think 
Ms in danger of following the pleasant example 
of this savage 1 Do you, indeed, expect to see 
Lycaori there, ^ith beard, head and clothing, 
after the fashion of Gryphus7 " 

" Not beard, head and clothing, perhaps," 
answered the Gargettian ; "pride, vanity, and 
ambition, may take less fearful coverings than 
these." \ 

"Pride, vanity, and ambition? I Should 
rather suspect Gryphiis df ' the want of all 
three." 



((4 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

" Nay, my son, believe me all those three 
qualities were concerned in the carving of those 
three frightful appendages of our cynic's per- 
son. Pride need not always lead a man to cut 
mount Athos in two, like Xerxes ; nor ambi- 
tion, to conquer a world, and weep that there 
is yet not another to conquer, like Alexander ; 
nor vanity, to look in a stream at his own face 
till he fall in love with it, like Narcissus. 
When we cannot cut an Athos, we may leave 
uncut our beard ; when we cannot mount a 
throne, we may crawl into a tub ; and when 
we have no beauty, we may increase our ugli- 
ness. If a man of small, or even of moderate 
talents, be smitten with a great desire of dis- 
tinction, there is nothing too absurd, perhaps 
nothing too mischievous, for him to commit. 
Our friend, the cynic, happily for himself and 
his neighbors, seems disposed to rest with the 
absurd. Erostratus took to the mischievous — 
to eternize his name destroying that temple, by 
the building of which Ctesiphon immortalized 
his. Be it our care to keep equally clear of the 
one as of the other." 

" Do you, then," asked Theon, " think a de- 
sire of distinction a vicious desire?" 

"I think it is often a dangerous desire, and 
very often an unhappy one." 

"But surely very often a fortunate one," 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 65 

said Leontium. " Without it, would there 
ever have been a hero? " ; 1{(V/ 5!i?M;>c : ;- 

"And perhaps returned the sage, with a 
smile, " the world might have been as happy if 
there had not." 

*' Well, without arguing for an Achilles, 
would there have been a Homer 1 " 

'' 1 agree with you," replied the Master, 
more seriously. "The desire of distinction, 
though often a dangerous, and often an un- 
happy desire, is likewise often, though I believe 
here sometimes were a better word, a fortunate 
one. It is dangerous in the head of a fool; 
unhappy, in that of a man of moderate abili- 
ties, or unfavorable situation, who can conceive 
a noble aim, but lacks the talent or the means 
necessary for its attainment. It is fortunate 
only in the head of a genius, the heart of a 
sage, and in a situation convenient for its 
development and gratification. These three 
things you will allow do not often meet in one 
person." 

" Yet," said Theon, "how many great men 
has Athens produced 7 " 

" But it is not a consequent that they were 
happy?" 

" Happy or not happy, who would refuse 
their fate?" 

" I like that feeling," replied the Garget- 



86 A TEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

tian; "nor do I dissent from it. The fate of 
greatness will always be enviable, even when 
the darkest storms trouble its course. Well- 
merited fame has in itself a pleasure so much 
above all pleasures, that it may weigh in the 
balance against all the accumulated evils of 
mortality. Grant then our great men to have 
been fortunate; are they, as you say, so 
many 1 — Alas ! my son, we may count them 
on our fingers. A generation, the most bril- 
liant in genitis, leaves out of its thousands and 
millions but three or four, or a dozen, to the 
worship, even to the knowledge of futurity." 

" And these, only these three, four, or a 
dozen, have a right to the desire of distinc- 
tion?" 

"As to the right," replied the sage, play- 
fully, "I mean not to dispute that. The right 
lies with all men in our democracy to sit in a 
tub, or to walk in a dirty tunic." 

" But you will allow of no end in ambition 
but an absurd one." 

" I have not expressed myself well, or you 
have not understood me well, if you draw that 
conclusion. 1 surely have granted our great 
men to have had great ends of ambition." 

" But is it only great men, or men destined 
to be great, that may have such ends? " 

" I allowed that others might ; 1 only said 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 57 

that they would be unhappy in consequence. 
The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true L^ 
philosophy, is to proportion our wants to our i 
possessions, our ambitions to our capacities." 

"Then," cried Metrodorus, "I have substan- 
tially proved myself this morning to be no phi- 
losopher, when I chose a study beyond the 
reach of my pencil." 

" No," said Leontium, playfully tapping his 
shoulder, "the Master will make a distinction 
between what is beyond the reach of our ca-„-- 
pacity, and what beyond the reach of our prac- 
tice. Erostratus might never have planned the 
edifice he destroyed ; Ctesiphon could not al- 
ways have planned it." The smile that ac- 
companied these words, lighted one yet more 
brilliant in the face of Metrodorus. Theon 
guessed that he fek more than admiration and 
more than friendship for this female disciple. 

" Your remark was well timed and well 
pointed," said the Master, " and has saved me 
some talkmg." 

"I am not sure of that," cried Sofron, step- 
ping forwards ; "for though Leontium has so 
nicely worded the distinction between want of 
capacity and want of practice in the general, I 
should like to be told, how a man is to make 
this distinction between his own in particular ? 
For instance, 1 have a fancy to turn philoso- 

3* 



^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

pher, and supersede my master ; how am I to 
tell, at my first nonplus in logic or invention, 
whether the defect be in my capacity or my 
practice 1 " 

" If it be only in the last, I apprehend you 
will easily perceive it ; if in the first, not so 
readily. A man, if he set about the search, 
will quickly discover his talents ; he may con- 
tinue it to his death without discovering his 
deficiencies. The reason is plain ; the one 
hurts our self-love, the other flatters it." 

" And yet," interrupted Theon, " 1 think, in 
my first interview with the Philosopher of 
Gargettium, he remarked, that tliousands had 
the seeds of excellence in them who never 
found them out." 

"I see you have a good memory," returned 
the Master, " I did say so, and I think it still. 
Many might have been heroes, and many phi- 
losophers, had they had a desire to be either ; 
had accident or ambition made them look into 
themselves, and inquire into their powers ; but 
though jewels be hid in a sack of oats, they 
will never be found, unless the oats be shaken. 
Remember, however, ve are now speaking of 
one class of men only — the ambitious : and 
the ambitious will never have any seeds in 
them, bad or good, that will not generate and 
produce their proper fruit. Ambition is the 



A F*\itr dAVS IN AtHEiNS. J|L 

^ ^\ 

spur, and the necessary spur, of a great mind 
to great action; when acting upon a week 
mind it impels it to absurdity, or sours it with 
discontent." 

'' Nay, then," said Sofron, " 'tis but a dan- 
gerous inmate, as minds go ; and I, for one, 
had better have none of it, for I doubt I am 
not born to be an Epicurus, and I am certain I 
have no inchnation to be a Gryphus." 

" Well," said the Master, '' we have at least 
to thank Gryphus for our morning's dialogue. 
If any of us wish to prosecute it farther, we 
may do it over our repast — the sun has 
reached his noon, so let us to the bath." 

They left the temple, and crossing the gar- 
dens in an opposite direction from that by 
which Theon had entered, soon reached a gate, 
which, to his surprise, opened on a court at the 
back of the Gargettian's house, the same in 
which he had supped the preceding evening. 



90. A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

Ti' ^^vr '1 filis'i;; ^ 

-f CHAPTER V. 

The fervor of the day had dechned, when 
Theon issued to the street from the house of 
Epicurus : at that instant he met in the face 
his friend Cleanthes ; he ran to his embrace ; 
but the young stoic, receding with mingled as- 
tonishment and horror — " Ye gods ! from the 
house of Epicurus 7 " 

" I do not marvel at your surprise," returned 
Theon, " nor, if I recall my own feelings of yes- 
terday, at your indignation." 

"Answer me quickly," interrupted Clean- 
thes; "is Theon yet my friend?" 
ri,;';* And does Cleanthes doubt it? " 
(t" What may I not doubt, when I see you 
come from such a mansion ? " 

" Nay, my brother," said Theon, kindly 
throwing his arm round the neck of his friend, 
and drawing him onwards, " I have been in 
no mansion of vice, or of folly." 

"I do not understand you," returned the 
stoic, but half yielding to his kindness ; "I do 
not know what to think, or what to fear." 

"Fear nothing; and think only good," said 
the Corinthian : " True, I come from the gar- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 61^ 

dens of pleasure, where I have heard very little 
of pleasure, and a very great deal of virtue." 

" I see how it is," returned the other ; " you 
have lost your principles, and I, my friend." 

"I do not think I have lost the first, and I 
am very sure you have not lost the last ! " 
."No!" exclaimed Cleanthes; "but I tell 
you, yes ; " and his cheeks flushed, and his 
eyes flashed with indignation : "I have lost 
my friend, and you have lost yours. Go ! " he 
continued, and drew himself from the arm of 
Theon. " Go ! Cleanthes hath no fellowship 
with an apostate and a libertine." ..it 

" You wrong me ; and you wrong Epicu- 
rus," said his friend, in a tone of more re- 
proach than anger : "But I cannot blame you ; 
yesterday I had myself been equally unjust. 
You must see him, you must hear him, Clean- 
thes. This alone can undeceive you — can 
convince you ; convince you of my innocence, 
and Epicurus's virtue." 

" Epicurus' s virtue! your innocence? — 
What is Epicurus to me 7 What is he, or 
should he be to you ? Your innocence 1 And 
is this fastened to the mantle of Epicurus : see 
him to be convinced of your innocence 1 " 

" Yes, and of your own injustice : Oh ! 
Cleanthes, what a fool do I now know myself 
to have been ! To have listened to the lies of 



6V A FEW DAYS m ATHENS. 

Timocrates ! To have believed all his absur- 
dities ! Come, my friend ! come with me and 
behold the face of the Master he blasphemes ! ' 

" TheoHj one master, and but one master, is 
mine. To me, whether Timocrates exagger- 
ate or even lie, it liiatters nothing." 

"It does, or it should," said the Corinthian. 
" Will a disciple of Zeno not open his eyes to 
truth? Not see an error and atone for it, by 
acknowledging it ? I do not ask you to be the 
disciple of Epicurus — I only ask you to be 
just to him, and that for your own sake, more 
than mine, or even his." 

"I see you are seduced — I see you are 
lost," cried the stoic, fixing on him a look in 
which sorrow struggled with indignation. " I 
thought myself a stoic, but I feel the weakness 
of a woman in my eyes. — Thou wert as my 
brother, Theon ; and thou — thou also art be- 
guiled by the Syren — left virtue for pleasure, 
Zeno for Epicurus." 

"I have not left Zeno." 

" You cannot follow both — you cannot be 
in the day and under the night at one and the 
same time." 

" I tell you there is no night in the gardens 
of Epicurus." 

" Is there ho pleasure there," cried the stoic, 
his mouth and brows curling with irony. 



A PEW DAYS IN AtHENS. 6^ 

>' " Yes, there is pleasure there : the pleasure 
of wisdom and virtue." 

"Ah! have you learnt the cGargettian sub- 
tleties so soon ? You have doubtless already 
worshipped virtue under the form of the cour- 
tezan Leontium; and wisdom under that of 
her master and paramour, the son of Neocles." 

" How little you know of either ! " returned 
Theon. " But I knew as little yesterday." 

Clean thes stopped. They were before the 
stoic portico. " Farewell ! Return to your 
gardens. Farewell ! " 

" We do not yet part," said Theon : " Zeno 
is still my master." He followed his friend up 
the steps. A crowd of disciples were assem- 
bled, waiting the arrival of their master. 
Some, crowded into groups, listened to the har- 
angues of an elder or more able scholar : others 
walking in parties of six or a dozen, reasoning, 
debating, and disputing: while innumerable 
single figures, undisturbed by the buzz around 
them, leaned against the pillars, studying each 
from a manuscript, or stood upon the steps 
with arms folded, and heads dropped on their 
bosoms, wraped in silent meditations. At the 
entrance of Cleanthes, the favored pupil of 
their master, the scholars made way, and the 
loud hum slowly hushed into silence. He ad- 
vanced to the centre, and the floating crowd 



&$ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

gathered and compressed into a wide and deep 
circle. All eyes bent on the youth in expec- 
tant curiosity, for his countenance was dis- 
turbed, and his manner abrupt. 

Cleanthes was of the middle size : so slen- 
der, that you wondered at the erectness of his 
gate and activity of his motion. His neck was 
small; his shoulders falling; his head ele- 
gantly formed ; the hair smooth and close cut ; 
the forehead narrow, and somewhat deeply 
hned for one so young : the eyebrows marked 
and even, save a slight bend upwards, as by a 
frown, above the nose. The eyes blue ; but 
their giaze was too earnest, and their spirit too 
clear, to leave any of the melting softness so 
usual with that color: — And yet there were 
moments when this would appear in them ; 
and when it did, it went to the soul of him 
who observed it, but such moments were short 
and rare. The nose was finely and perhaps 
too delicately turned ; the mouth — mild and 
always in repose. The cheeks were thin, and 
though slightly flushed, the face had a look of 
paleness till enthusiasm awoke, and deepened 
all its dyes. The whole expression had more 
spirituality and variety, and the manner more 
agitation, than you would have looked for in 
the first and favorite pupil of Zeno. The 
youth turned a rapid glance round the circle : 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. (m 

he threw out his right arm ; the mantle dropped 
from his shoulder, and in a varied, piercing, 
and yet melodious voice he began — ■ 

''My friends! My brothers! Disciples of 
Zeno and of virtue. Give ffle your ears, and 
awake your faculties ! How shall I tell the 
dangers that surround you? How shall I 
paint the demon that would ensnare you ; 
Timocrates hath escaped from his enchant- 
ments, and told us that riot and revelling were 
in his halls, that impiety was in his mouth; 
vice in his practice ; deformity in his aspect : 
and we thought that none but souls born for 
error, already steeped in infamy, or sunk in 
effeminacy, could be taken in his toils and se- 
duced by his example. But behold ! he hath 
changed his countenance — he hath changed 
his tongue : — amid his revels he hath put on 
the garb of decency: in his riot he talks of 
innocence; in his licentiousness, of virtue. 
Behold the youth ! they run to him with greedy 
ears — they throng his gardens and his porti- 
coes. Athens, Attica, Greece, all are the Gar- 
gettian's. Asia, Italy, the burning Africa and 
the frozen Scy thia — all, all send ready pupils 
to his feet. Oh ! what shall we say 1 Oh ! 
how shall we Stem the torrent 1 Oh ! how 
shall we fence our hearts — ^ how our ears from 
the song of the Syren 7 — to what mast shall 



66 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

we bind ourselves, to what pilot shall we trust, 
that we may pass the shores in safety without 
dashing on the rocks ? — But why do I speak 1 
Why do I enquire? Why do I exhort? -Is 
not the contagion already among us ? In 
the school of Zeno — in this portico — in this 
circle are there not waverers — Yea, are there 
not apostates 1 " Emotion choked his utter- 
ance : he paused, and glanced his kindled eyes 
round upon the audience. Every breath was 
held in expectation ; each looked on the other 
in doubt, dismay, and inquiry. Theon's heart 
beat quick and high : he advanced one step, 
and raised his arm to speak ; but Cleanthes, 
gathering his breath, again in a rapid voice 
continued : — 

" Does this silence speak conscious guilt, or 
startled innocence 1 The last : I will believe 
the last. Praise be to the gods ! praise to our 
guardian, Minerva! praise to our great, our 
glorious master, there are yet some sons left to 
Athens and to Greece, who shall respect, fol- 
low, and attain to virtue! Some choice and 
disciplined souls who shall stand forth the light 
and ornament of their age, and whose names 
shall be in honor with those yet unborn. 
Rouse, rouse up your energies ! Oh ! be firm 
to Zeno, and to virtue ! I tell you not — Zeno 
tells you not, that virtue is found in pleasure's 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 67 

repose. Resistance, energy, watchfulness, pa- 
tience, and endurance — these, these must be 
your practice, must be your habit, ere you can 
reach the perfection of your nature. The as- 
cent is steep, is long, is arduous. To-day you 
must ascend a step, and to-morrow a step, and 
to-morrow, and to-morrow — and yet shall 
you be far from the summit, from rest, and 
from security. Does this appal you? Does 
this disgust you ? Go then to the Gardens ! 
Go to the man of Gargettium — he who calls 
himself philosopher, and who loves and teaches 
folly ! Go, go to him, and he shall encourage 
and soothe you. He shall end your pursuit, 
and give you your ambition ! He shall show 
you virtue robed in pleasures, and lolling in 
ease ! He shall teach you wisdom in a song, 
and happiness in impiety ! — But I am told, 
that Timocrates hath lied ; that Epicurus is 
not a libertine ; nor Leontium a prostitute ; nor 
the youth of the Garden the ministers to their 
lusts. Be it so. Timocrates must answer to 
himself, whether his tale be the outpourings of 
indignant truth, or the subtle inventions of ma- 
levolence : with his own conscience be the se- 
cret : to us it matters nothing. We, who have 
nought to do with the doctrines of Epicurus, 
have nought to do with his practice. Let him 
who would vindicate the one, vindicate the 



W A ii^ DAYS IN ATHENS. 

Other: let him come forth and say, that the 
master in the Gardens is not only pure in ac- 
tion, but perfect in theory. Let him say, that 
he worships virtue as virtue, and shuns vice as 
vice. Let him say that he arms the soul with 
fortitude, enobles it with magnanimity, chast- 
ens it with temperance, enlarges it with benefi- 
cence, perfects it With justice ; — and let him 
rnoreover say, that he does this, not that the 
soul so schooled and invigorated may lie in the 
repose of virtuOj but that it may exult in its 
honor, and be fitted for its activity. Fie on 
that virtue which prudence alone directs ! 
Which teaches to be just that the laws may 
not punish, or our neighbors revenge: — to be 
enduring — because complainings were useless, 
and weakness would bring on us insult and 
contempt : — to be tempierate — that our body 
may keep its vigor, our appetites retain their 
acuteness, and our gratifications and sensuali- 
ties their zest : — to serve our friends — that 
they may serve us; — our country — because 
its defence and well-being comprehends our 
own. Why all this is well — but is there 
nothing more? Is it our ease alone we shall 
study, and not our dignity? — Though all my 
fellow-men were swept away, and not a mor- 
tal nor immortal eye were left to approve or 
condemn — should I not here — within this 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHEN?. fljBi^ 

breast, have a judge to dread, and a friend tp 
conciliate 7 Prudence and pleasure ! Was jfi 
from such principles as these that the virtue of 
Solon, of Miltiades, of Aristides, of Socrates, of 
Plato, of Xenophon, of all Qur heroes ^nd all 
our sages, had its spring and its nourishment? 
Was it such virtue as this that in Lycurgus 
put by the offered crown 1 — that in Lepnidas 
stood at Thermopylae? — that in the dying 
Pericles gloried that he had never caused a citr 
izen to mourr^ 7 W§is it such virtue as this -r^. 
that spoke ill Socrates before his judges 7 -rr 
that sustained him in his prison — and when 
the door was open, and thp sail^ of the ready 
ship unfurled, made him prefer death tp fligh|^ 
hi^ dignity to his existence 7 " ;>: 

Again the young orator paused, but his in- 
dignant soul seemed s.till to speak frpm his 
flashing eyes. His cheeks glowed as fire, and 
the big drops rolled from his forehead. At 
this moment the circle behipd him gave way 
Zeno advanced into the midst : he^topd by the 
head and shoulders above the crowd : his 
breast, broad and manly : his limbs, cast in 
strength and symmetry : his gait, erect, calm, 
and dignified : his features, large, grand, and 
regular, seemed sculptured by the chisel for a 
coUossal divinity: the forehead, broad and se- 
rene, was marked with the even lines of wis- 



7^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

dom and age ; but no harsh wrinkles, nor play- 
ing muscles disturbed the repose of his cheeks, 
nor had sixty years touched with one thread of 
silver his close black hair ; the eyes, dark and 
full, fringed with long straight lashes, looked in 
severe and steady wisdom from under their 
correct and finely arched brows : the nose 
came from the forehead, straight and even : the 
mouth and chin, were firm and silent. Wis- 
dom undisturbable, fortitude unshakeable, self- 
respect, self-possession, and self-knowledge per- 
fected, were in his face, his carriage, and his 
tread. 

He stopped before the youth, who had turned 
at his approach. " My son," fixing his calm 
gaze on the working countenance of his pupil, 
" what hath disturbed thy soul? " Cleanthes 
laid a hand on his laboring breast : he made 
one violent effort for composure and speech : it 
failed. The hot blood forsook his cheeks : it 
rushed again : again it fled : he gasped, and 
dropped fainting at the feet of his Master. 






A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ' 71 

-Old i^iiJ 3iii"«7!^tmi '.>iifi .f=^»aoi ski iiocfo utma 
-t*\> i^Tf >.f) Mid •ifn '^.JHti^H •' ,' i>i'f7i'r>.^'i Hisi 

CHAPTER VI. ','7-'' 

• lOU .■* iK'ti ■• ;! ii- «fe ff 

Theon rushed forward : He knelt ; he raised 
the head of his friend : Breathless, agitated, 
terrified, he called his name with the piercing 
cry of agony and despair. All was commotion 
and confusion. The scholars pressed forward 
tumultuously ; but Zeno, raising his arm, and 
looking steadily round, cried " Silence ! " The 
crowd fell back, and the stillness of night suc- 
ceeded. Then motioning the circle towards 
the street, to give way and admit the air, he 
stooped and assisted Theon to support his re- 
viving pupil. Cleanthes raised his head, 
turned his eyes wildly around, and then fixed 
them on his master. 

"Gently," said Zeno, as the youth strug- 
gled in their arms for recollection, " gently, my 
son." But he made the effort : he gained his 
feet, and throwing out his arm to a pillar near 
him, turned his head aside, and for some mo- 
ments combated with his weakness in silence. 
His limbs still trembled, and his face had yet 
the hues of death, when, pressing Jiis hand 
with convulsive strength a,gainst the pillar, he 
proudly drew up his form, turned his eyes 



fZi ^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

again upon his master, and mustering his bro- 
ken respiration, "Blame me, but do not de- 
spise me." 

'' I shall do neither, my son : the weakness 
was in the body, not the mind." 

" There has been want of command in both. 
I ask not to be excused." Then turning round 
to his companions, " I may be a warning if not 
an example. The Spartans expose the drunk- 
enness of their Helots to confirm their youth in 
sobriety ; let tlie weakness of Cle^nthes teach 
the sons of Zeno equanimity ; and let them 
say. If in the portico weakness he found, what 
shall it be ip the Gardens! But," he contin- 
ued, addressing his master, " will Zeno pardon 
the scholar who, while enforcing his nervous 
doctrines on 0:t^ers, has swerved from them 
himself?" 

" Thou judgest thy fault as thou shouldst 
judge it," returned Zeno ; " but comfort, my 
son ! He who knows, and knowing can ac- 
knowledge his deficiency, though his foot be 
not on the summit, yet hath he his eye there. 
But say the cause, and surely it must be a 
great one, that coulii disturb the self-possession 
of my disciple." 

" The cause was indeed a great one; no less 
than the apostacy of a scholar from Zeno to 
Epicurus." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ^ 

Zeno turned his eyes round the circle : there 
was no additional severity in them, and no 
change in his manner, or in his deep, sonorous 
voice, when, addressing them, he said, "If one 
or more, or all of my disciples be wearied of 
virtue, let them depart. Let them not fear up- 
braidings or exhortations ; the one were useless 
to you, the other unworthy of me. He who 
sighs for pleasure, the voice of wisdom can 
never reach, nor the power of virtue touch. In 
this Portico truth will never be softened to 
win a sickly ear ; nor the severity of virtue, 
will it ever be veiled to win a feeble heart. 
He who obeys in act and not in thought; 
he who disciplines his body and not his 
mind ; he who hath his foot in the Portico, 
and his heart in the Gardens ; he hath no 
more to do with Zeno, than a wretch sunk in 
all the effeminacy of a Median, or the gross 
debauchery of a Scythian. There is no mid- 
way in virtue ; no halting place for the soul 
but perfection. You must be all, or you may 
be nothing. You must determine to proceed 
to the utmost, or I encourage ye not to begin. 
I say to ye, one and all, give me your ears, 
your understandings, your souls, and your en- 
ergies, or depart ! ^^ Again he looked round 
upon his scholars. A long and deep silence 



74 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

succeeded: when young Theon, breaking 
through his awe, and his timidity, advanced 
into the centre, and craving sufferance with 
his hand, addressed the assembly. 

" Though I should forfeit the esteem of 
Zeno and the love of his disciples, I have 
no choice but to speak. Honor and justice 
demand this of me : jQ.rst, to remove suspicion 
from this assembly ; next, to vindicate the 
character of a sage Avhom the tongue of a liar 
bath traduced; and, lastly, to conciliate my 
own esteem, which I value beyond even the 
esteem of the venerated Zeno, and of my be- 
loved Cieanthes." He paused; and turning 
to Zeno, — " With permission of the master, I 
would speak." 

"Speak, my son: we attend." Zeno re- 
treated among his disciples ; and Cieanthes, 
anxious and agitated for his friend, placed 
himself behind the screen of a pillar. With a 
varying cheek and a tremulous voice, the 
youth began : — 

"In addressing an assembly accustomed to 
the manly elocution of a Zeno, and the glow- 
ing eloquence of a Cieanthes, I know I shall 
be forgiven by my companions, and I hope 
even by my severe master, the blushes and 
hesitations of timidity and inexperience. I 
open my mouth for the first time in public ; 



A PEW DAYS IN ATHENS. W , 

and in t^rhat a public is it 1 Let hot, fhef^fdre, 
my confusion be thought the confusion of 
guilt; but, as it truly is, of bashful inexpe- 
rience. First, to remove suspicion from this 
assembly : — let not the scholars look with 
doubt on each other ; let not the master look 
with doubt on his scholars. I am he who 
have communed with the son of Neocles ; — ^ I 
am he who have entered the gardens of pleas- 
ure ; — I am he whom Cleanthes hath pointed 
at as the apostate from Zeno to Epicurus." A 
tumult arose among the scholars. Surprise, 
indignation, and scorn, variously looked from 
their faces, and murmured from their tongues. 

" Silence ! " cried Zeno, casting his severe 
glance round the circle. " Young man, pro- 
ceed." 

This burst of his audience rather invigorated 
than dashed the youth. He freely threw forth 
his arm ; his eyes lighted with fire, and the 
ready words flowed from his lips : — "I merit 
not the hiss of scorn, nor the burst of indigna- 
tion. Desist, my brothers, till my artless tale 
be told ; — till you have heard, not my apolo- 
gy, but my justification. Yesterday, at this 
hour, I left the Portico, heated to fury by the 
phillippic of Timocrates against Epicurus and 
his disciples ; indignant at the city that did 
not drive such a teacher from its walls ; 



76 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

against the gods who did not strilce him with 
their thunders. Thus venting my feelings in 
soliloquy, after a long ramble I seated myself 
on the banks of Cephisus, and was awakened 
from a reverie by the approach of a stranger : 
his aspect had the wisdom of a sage, and the 
benignity of a divinity. I yielded him the 
homage of youthful respect and admiration : 
he condescended to address me. He gave me 
the precepts of virtue with the gentle and hon- 
ied tongue of kindness and persuasion. I 
listened, I admired, and I loved. We did not 
conclude our walk until sunset : he bade me 
to his supper. I entered his house, and he told 
me I beheld Epicurus. Could 1 have drawn 
back 7 Should I have drawn back % No : my 
heart answers, no. Your sufferance, my 
friends ! Do not interrupt me ! Do not call 
me an apostate ! In the presence of the gods ; 
in the presence of my master, whom 1 fear as 
them ; in the presence of my own conscience, 
which I fear more than both, I swear that I 
am not so ! I mean not to explain or to justify 
the philosophy of Epicurus : I know but little 
of it. I only know — I only affirm, that his 
/ tongue has given new warmth to my love of 
virtue, and new vigor to my pursuit of it : — 
I only affirm, that persuasion, simple,' un garn- 
ished persuasion, is in his lips ; benevolence in 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. W 

his aspect ; urbanity in his manners : generos- 
ity, truth, and candor in his sentiments : —I 
only affirm, that order, innocence, and content, 
are m his halls and his gardens; peace and 
brotherly love with his disciples ; and that, in 
the midst of these, he is himself the philoso- 
pher, the parent, and the friend. I see the 
sneer of contempt upon your lips, my broth- 
ers ; alas ! even on the unperturbed counte- 
nance of my master I read displeasure." 

" No, my son," said Zeno, "thou dost not. 
Continue thy artless tale. If there be error, 
it lies with the deceiver, not the deceived. 
And you, my sons and disciples, banish from 
your faces and your breasts every expression 
and every thought unworthy of your honest 
companion, and your upright sect. For re- 
member, if to abhor falsehood and vice be no- 
ble, to distrust truth and innocence is mean. 
My son, proceed." ' 

" Thanks for your noble confidence, my 
master : it makes me proud, for I deserve it 
Yes ! even should I, as I perceive you appre- 
hend, be deceived, I feel that this open confes- 
sion of my present perfect conviction is honor- 
able both to myself and to Zeno. — It proves 
that in his school I have learnt candor, though 
I have yet to learn discernment. And yet, 
methinks, however imperfect my youthful dis- 



78 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

cernment, it is not now in error. If ever I saw 
siropJe, unadorned goodness ; if ever I heard 
simple, unadorned truth ; it is in — it is from 
Epicurus. Again your sufferance, my friends ! 
Again yoiu: sufferance, my master ! I am 
not — I wish not to be, a disciple of the Gar- 
dens : virtue may be in them — excuse me, 
virtue is in them, but there is a virtue in the 
Portico which I shall worship to my latest 
hour. Here, here I first learned — here I first 
saw to what a glorious height of greatness a 
mortal might ascend — how independent he 
might be of fortune ; how triumphant over fate ! 
Young, innocent, and inexperienced, I came to 
Athens in search of wisdom and virtue. ' At- 
tend all the schools, and fix with that which 
shall give you the noblest aims,'^ said my 
father, when he gave me his parting blessing. 
He being an academician, I had, of course, 
somewhat imbibed the principles of Plato, and 
conceived a love for his school : On first hear- 
ing Crates, therefore, I thought myself satis- 
fi«id. Accident made me acquainted with a 
young Pythagorean : I Hstened to his simple 
precepts ; X loved his virtues, and almost fell 
into his superstitions. From these Theophras- 
tus awakened me ; and I was nearly fixed as 
a. Peripatetic, when I met the eloquent, enthu- 
siastic Cleanthes. He brought, nae to the Por- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS, 79 

tico, where I found all the vTrtues of all the 
schools united, and crowned with perfection. 
But when I preferred Zeno, 1 did not despise 
my former masters. I still sonietimes visit the 
Lycaeum and the Academy, and still the 
young Pythagorean is my friend. A pure 
mind should, I think, respect virtue wherever 
it be found : and if then iti the Lycseum and 
the Academy, why not the Gardens 7 Zeno, 
in teaching austerity, does not teach intoler- 
ance; much less, 1 am sure, does he teach 
ingratitude : and if I did not feel for the sage 
of Gargettinm both respect and love, I wer^ 
the most ungrateful soul in Athens ; and if 
feeling both, I feared to acknowledge both, I 
were the meanest. And now, my brothers, 
ask yourselves what would be your indigna- 
tion at the youth, who for his vices being driv- 
en from this Portico, should run to the Lycse- 
um, and accuse, to the sons of Aristotle, our 
great Zeno of that sensuality and wickedness 
which had here wrought his own disgrace, and 
his own banishment? Would ye not hate 
such a wretch ? Would ye not loathe him 1 
Would ye not curse him 7 My brothers ! this 
day have 1 learned such a wretch to be Timo- 
crates. Is he here 7 — I hope he is : I hope 
he hears me denounce him for a defamer and 
an in grate." 



80 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

" 'Tis false ! " cried Timocrates, bursting in 
fury from the crowd. " 'Tis false ! I swear " — 

"Beware of perjury ! " said a clear, silver 
voice, from without the circle. " Give way, 
Athenians ! 'Tis for me to take up this quar- 
rel." 

The crowd divided. Every eye turned 
towards the opening. Theon shouted with 
triumph, Timocrates stood blank with dis- 
may — for they recognised the voice and the 
form of the son of Neocles. 



A FEW DITS- IN ATHENSV 



CHAPTER VII. 



Sft 



The Sage advanced towards Theon : he laid 
a hand on either of his shoulders, and kissed 
his glowing forehead. " Thanks to my gener- 
ous defender. Your artless tale, my son, if it 
have not gained the ear of Zeno, hath fixed 
the heart of Epicurus. Oh ! ever keep this 
candor and this innocence ! " He turned his 
benign, face round the circle: "Athenians! 
I am Epicurus." This name so despised and 
execrated, did it not raise a tumult in the as- 
sembly? No; every tongue was chained, 
every breath suspended, every eye riveted 
with wonder and admiration. Theon had said 
the truth: it was the aspect of a sage and a 
divinity. The face was a serene mirror of a 
serene mind : its expression spoke like music 
to the soul. Zeno's was not more calm and 
unruffled; but here was no severity, no au- 
thority, no reserve, no unapproachable majes- 
ty, no repelling superiority: all was benevo- 
lence, mildness, openness and soothing encour- 
agement. To see, was to love ; and to hear, 
was to trust. Timocrates shrunk from the 

4* 



^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

eye of his master: it fell upon him with a 
fixed and deep gaze, that struck more agony 
into his guihy soul, than had the flash of a 
Cleanthes, or the glance of a Zeno. The 
wretch sunk beneath it : he trembled ; he 
crouched ; he looked as he v/ould have suppli- 
cated mercy; but his tongue cleaved to his 
palate, and shame withheld him from quite 
dropping on his knees. " Go ! I will spare 
thee. Give way, Athenians ! " The scholars 
opened a passage : again the Sage waved his 
hand, and the criminal slunk away. 

"Your pardon, Zeno," said the Gargettian, 
" I know the youth : he is not worthy to 
stand in the Portico." 

"I thank you," returned the Master, "and 
my disciples thank you. The gods forbid that 
we should harbor vice, or distrust virtue. I 
see, and I recant my error : henceforth if 1 can- 
not respect the teacher, I shall respect the 
man." 

"I respect both," said Epicurus, reclining 
his head to the stoic. " I have long known 
and admired Zeno : I have often mixed with 
the crowd in his Portico, and felt the might of 
his eloquence. I do not expect a similar return 
from him, nor do I wish to allure his scholars 
to my Gardens. I know the severity of their 
master, and the austerity, may I say, the intol- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ^ 

erance of his rules. But for one," and he laid 
his hand upon the head of Theon, " for this 
one, I would bespeak clemency. Let not that 
be imputed to him as a crime, which has been 
the work of accident and of Epicurus : and 
let me also say for him, as well as for my- 
self — he has lost in the Gardens no virtues, if 
a few prejudices." 

" Son of Neocles," said Zeno, " I feared you 
yesterday, but I fear you doubly to-day. Your 
doctrines are in themselves enticing, but com- 
ing from such lips, I fear they are irresistible. 
Methiiiks I cast a prophet's eye on the map of 
futurity, and I see the sage of Gargettium 
standing on the pinnacle of fame, and a world 
at his feet. The world is prepared for this : the 
Macedonian, when he marched our legions to 
the conquest of Persia, struck the death-blow 
at Greece. Persian luxury, and Persian effem- 
inacy, which before crept, now came with 
strides upon us. Our youth, dandled on the 
lap of indulgence, shall turn with sickened ears 
from the severe moral of Zeno, and greedily 
suck in the honied philosophy of Epicurus. 
You will tell me that you too teach virtue. It 
may be so. 1 do not see it ; but it may be so. 
I do not conceive how there can be two vir- 
tues, nor yet how two roads to the same. 
This, however, I shall not argue. I will grant 



84], A.: FfiW- DAjyS; m ATi^BJCS^ 

tJiEiit ii>; yovir system, as elucidated by your 
practice, there may be something to admire, 
and much to love ; but when your practice 
shall be dead, and your system alone shall sur- 
vive, where then shall be the. security of its in- 
nocence; — where the antidote of its poison? 
Think not that men shall take the good and 
not the evil ; soon they shall take the evil and 
leave the good. They shall do more; they 
shall pervert the very nature of the good, and 
m:^ke of the whole, evil immixed. Soon, in 
the shelter of your bowers, all that is vicious 
shall find a refuge. Effeminacy shall steal in 
i^ijder the name of ease; sensuality and de- 
bauchery in the place of innocence and refine- 
ment; the pleasures of the body instead of 
those of the mind. Whatever may be your 
virtues, they are but the virtues of tempera- 
mjent,; not of discipline ; and such of your fol- 
lowers as shall be like you in temperament 
may be like you in practice : but let them have 
boiling passions and urgent appetites, and your 
doctrines shall set no fence against the torrent; 
shall ring no alarm to the offender. Tell us 
not that that is right which admits of evil con- 
struction — ■ that that is virtue which leaves an 
open gate to vice. 1 said that with a proph- 
et's eye I saw your future fame; but such 
fame as I foresee can but ill satisfy the ambi- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. Wl 

tion of a sage. Your Gardens shall be crowd- 
ed, but they shall be disgraced ; your name 
shall be in every mouth, but every mouth 
shall be unworthy that speaks it; nations shall 
have you in honor, but ere it is so they shall be 
in ruin : our degenerated country shall worship 
you, and expire at your feet. Zeno, meantime, 
may be neglected, but he shall never be slan- 
dered ; the Portico may be forsaken, but shall 
never be disgraced ; its doctrines may be dis- 
carded, but shall never be misconstrued. I 
am not deceived by my present popularity. 
No school now in such repute as mine ; but 
I. know this will not last. The iron and the 
golden ages are run ; youth and manhood are 
departed ; and the weakness of old age steals 
upon the world. But, Oh ! son of Neocles ! in 
this gloomy prospect a proud comfort is mine : 
I have raised the last bulwark to the fainting 
virtue of man, and the departing glory of na- 
tions c — I have done more : when the virtue 
and glory of nations shall be dead, and when 
in their depraved generations some solitary 
souls, born for better things, shall see and 
mourn the vices around them, here in the 
abandoned Portico shall they find a refuge ; 
here, shutting their eyes upon the world, they 
shall learn to be a world to themselves ; — 
here, steeled in fortitude, shall they look down 
in high, unruffled majesty on the slaves and 



SIP A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

the tyrants of earth. Epicurus ! when thou 
canst say this of the Gardens, then, and not 
till then, call thyself a sage and a man of vir- 
tue." He ceased ; but his full tones seemed 
yet to sound in the ears of his listening audi- 
tors. There was a long pause, when the Gar- 
gettian in notes, like the breathing flutes of Ar- 
cadia, began his reply. 

*' Zeno, in his present speech, has rested 
much of the truth of his system on its expedi- 
ency : I therefore shall do the same by mine. 
The door of my Gardens is ever open, and my 
books are in the hands of the public ; to enter 
therefore, here, into the detail or the expound- 
ing of the principles of my philosophy were 
equally out of place and out of season. ' Tell 
us not that that is right which admits of evil 
construction ; — that that is virtue which leaves 
an open gate to vice.' This is the thrust 
which Zeno now makes at Epicurus ; and did 
it hit, I grant it were a mortal one. From the 
flavor, we pronounce of the fruit ; from the 
beauty and the fragrance, of the flower ; and 
in a system of morals, or of philosophy, or of 
whatever else, what tends to produce good we 
pronoimce to be good, what to produce evil, 
we pronounce to be evil. I might indeed sup- 
port the argument, that our opinion with re- 
gard to the first principles of morals has 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 87 

nought to do with our practice; — that wheth- 
er I stand my virtue upon prudence, or propri- 
ety, or justice, or benevolence, or self-love, that 
my virtue is still one and the same ; — that the 
dispute is not about the end, but the origin ; 
that of all the thousands who have yielded 
homage to virtue, hardly one has thought of 
inspecting the pedestal she stands upon ; that 
as the mariner is guided by the tides, though 
ignorant of their causes, so does a man obey 
the rules of virtue though ignorant of the prin- 
ciples on which those rules are founded ; and 
that the knowledge of those principles would 
affect the conduct of the man, no more than 
acquaintance with the causes of the tides 
would affect the conduct of the mariner. But 
this I shall not argue ; in doing so I might 
seem but to fight you flying. I shall meet 
your objection in the face. And 1 say — that 
allowing the most powerful effects to spring 
from the first grounds of a moral system ; — 
the worst or the best, — that mine, if the best 
is to be so judged by the good it does and the 
evil it prevents, must be ranked among the 
best. If, as you say, and I partly believe, the 
iron and the golden ages are past, the youth 
and the manhood of the world, and that the 
weakness of old age is creeping on ^s, — then, 
as you also say, our youth, dandled on the lap 



8iB A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

of indulgence, shall turn with sickened ears 
from the severe moral of Zeno ; and then / 
say, that in the Gardens, and in the Gardens 
only, shall they find a food, innocent, yet adapt- 
ed to their sickly palates; an armor, not of 
iron fortitude, but of silken persuasion, that 
shall resist the progress of their degeneracy, or 
throw a beauty even over their ruin. But, 
perhaps, though Zeno should allow this last 
eiFect of my philosophy to be probable, he will 
not approve it : his severe eye looks with 
scorn, not pity, on the follies and vices of the 
world. He would annihilate them, change 
them to their opposite virtues, or he would 
leave them to their full and natural sweep. 
' Be perfect, or be as you are. 1 allow of no 
degrees of virtue, so care not for the degrees of 
vice. Your ruin, if it must be, let it be in all 
its horrors, in all its vileness : let it attract no 
pity, no sympathy: let it be seen in all itS' 
naked deformity, and excite the full measure 
of its merited abhorrence and disgust.' Thus 
says the sublime Zeno, who sees only man as 
he should be. Ttjus says the mild Epicurusj 
who sees man as he is : With all his weak- 
nesses, all his errors, all his sins, still owning 
fellowship with him, still rejoicing in his Avel- 
fare and sighing over his misfortunes : I call 
from my Gardens to the thoughtless, the head- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 89 

Strong, and the idle. — ' Where do ye wander, 
and what do ye seek 1 — Is it pleasure 7 behold 
it here. Is it ease 1 enter and repose.' Thus 
do I court them from the table of drunkenness 
and the bed of licentiousness : I gently awaken 
their sleeping faculties, and draw the veil from 
their understandings. ' My sons ! do you seek 
pleasure 7 I seek her also. Let us make the 
search together. You have tried wine, you 
have tried love ; you have sought amusement 
in revelling, and forgetfulness in indolence. 
You tell me you are disappointed : that your 
passions grew, even while you gratified them ; 
your weariness increased even while you slept. 
Let us try again. Let us quiet our passions, 
not by gratifying, but subduing them ; let us 
conquer our weariness, not by rest, but by ex- 
ertion.' Thus do I win their ears and their 
confidence. Step by step I lead them on. I 
lay open the mysteries of science ; I expose the 
beauties of art ; I call the graces and the muses 
to my aid ; the song, the lyre, and the dance. 
Temperance presides at the repast ; innocence, 
at the festival ; disgust is changed to satisfac- 
tion ; listlessness, to curiosity ; brutality, to el- 
egance; lust gives place to love; Bacchanalian 
hilarity to friendship. Tell me not, Zeno, that 
the teacher is vicious who washes depravity 
from the youthful heart ; who lays the storm 



99 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

of its passions, and turns all its sensibilities to 
good. I grant that I do not look to make men 
happy. To teach them that in the discharge 
of their duties as sons, as husbands, as fathers, 
as citizens, lies their pleasure and their inter- 
est ; — and when the sublime motives of Zeno 
shall cease to affect an enervated generation, 
the gentle persuasions of Epicurus shall still be 
heard and obeyed. But you warn me that I 
shall be slandered, my doctrines misinterpret- 
ed, and my school and my name disgraced. I 
doubt it not. What teacher is safe from ma- 
levolence, what system from misconstruction ] 
And does Zeno really think himself and his 
doctrines secure 1 He knows not, then, man's 
ignorance and man's folly. Some few genera- 
tions, when the amiable virtues of Epicurus, 
and the sublime excellence of Zeno shall live 
no longer in remembrance or tradition, the 
fierce or ambitious bigots of some new sect 
may alike calumniate both ; proclaim the one 
for a libertine, and the other for a hypocrite. 
But I will allow that I am more open to de- 
traction than Zeno: that while your school 
shall be abandoned, mine shall more probably 
be disgraced. But it will be the same cause that 
produces the two effects. It will be equally 
the degeneracy of man that shall cause the 
discardmg of your doctrines, and the perver- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 91 

sion of mine. Why then should the prospect 
of the future disturb Epicurus more than Ze- 
no 7 The fault will not lie with me any more 
than you ; but with the vices of my followers, 
and the ignorance of my judges. I follow my 
course, guided by what I believe to be wis- 
dom; with the good of man at my heart, 
adapting my advice to his situation, his dispo- 
sition, and his capacities. My efforts may be 
unsuccessful, my intentions may be calumniat- 
ed ; but as I know these to be benevolent, so 
I shall continue these, unterrified and unruffled 
by reproaches, unchilled by occasional ingrati- 
tude and frequent disappointment." He ceas- 
ed, and again laying his hand on the shoulder 
of Theon, led him to his Master. " I ask not 
Zeno to admire me as a teacher, but let him 
not blame this scholar for loving me as a 
man." 

"1 shall not blame him," said the Stoic, 
" but I wish that 1 may not soon distrust him. 
I wish he may not soon forget Zeno, and for- 
sake the Portico." 

The shades of evening now fell on the city, 
and the assembly divided. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



The sun was in its fervor, when Theon 
issued from one ctf the pubHc baths. He was 
not disposed for rest, yet the heat of the streets 
was insuiferable. " I will seek the Gardens," 
he thought, " and loiter in their cool shades 
until the Master join me." Reaching the 
house of the Gargettian, and the entrance to 
the Gardens being -shorter through it than by 
the public gate, he entered, and sought the pas- 
sage he had before traversed. He however 
took a wrong one, and, after wandering for 
some time, opened a door, and found himself 
in a library. Epicurus was sitting in deep 
study, with his tablets before him ; his pen in 
one hand, his forehead supported on the other. 
Metrodorus, on the opposite side of the room, 
was engaged in transcribing. 

Theon stopped, and, making a short apolo- 
gy, hastily retired. " Stay ! " cried the Mas- 
ter. Theon again entered, but did not ad- 
vance much within the threshhold. 

" When I bade you stay, I did not mean to 
fix you as doorkeeper. Come in, and shut the 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. ^ 

door behind you." Theon joyfully obeyed; 
and hurried to seize the extended hand of the 
sage. " Since you have intruded on the sanc- 
tuary, I shall not drive you out." He motion- 
ed the youth to a place on his couch. " And 
now, what pretty things am I to say to you for 
your yesterday's defence of the wicked Gar- 
gettian ? You should have come home Avith 
me last night, when we were both hot from the 
combat, and then I could have made you an 
eloquent compliment in full assembly at the 
Symposium, and you would as eloquently 
have disclaimed it with one of your modest 
blushes." 

" Then, truly, if the Master had such an in- 
tention, I am very glad I did not follow him. 
But I passed the evening at my own lodgings, 
with my friend Clean thes." 

" Trying to talk him into good humor and 
charity, was if?" 

" Something so." 

" And you succeeded 1 " 

" Why, I don't know ; he did not leave me 
in worse humor than he came." ' 

"Nay, then it must have been in better. 
Explanation always approaches or widens the 
differences between friends." 

"Yes, "but we also entered into argument." 

" Dangerous ground that, to be sure. And 



04 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



your fight, of course, ended in a drawn Isat- 
tle 7 " 

" You pay me more than a merited compli- 
ment, in concluding that to be a thing of 
course." 

" Nay, your pardon ! I pay you any thing 
but a compliment. It is not that I conclude 
your rhetoric and your logic equal, but your 
obstinacy and your vanity." 

" Do you know, I don't think myself either 
obstinate or vain," said Theon, smiling. 

" Had I supposed you did, I might not have 
seen occasion to give you the information." 

" But on what grounds do you think me 
obstinate and vain ? " 

" Your years ; your years. And do you 
think there is a man under twenty that is not 
both?" 

" Why, I should think an old man, at least, 
more obstinate than a young one." 

"I grant you when he is obstinate, which is 
pretty often, but not quite always ; and when 
he is vain, the same. But whilst many old 
men have vanity and obstinacy in the superla- 
tive degree, all young men have those quali- 
ties in the positive. I believe your share to be 
tolerably moderate, but do not suppose that 
you have no share at all. Well, and now tell 
me, was it not a drawn battle 7 " 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 95 

"I confess it was. At least, we neither of 
us convinced the other." 

" My son, it would have added one more to 
the seven wonders- if you had. I incline to 
doubt, if two men, in the course of an olym- 
piad, enter on an argument from the honest 
and single desire of coming at the truth, or if, 
in the course of a century, one man comes 
from an argument convinced by his oppo- 
nent." 

"Well, then, if you will allow me no credit 
for not being convinced, you may at least for 
my not being silenced, I, so young an arguer, 
and Cleanthes so practised a one ! " 

" You broke the ice beforehand yesterday in 
the Portico," said the Philosopher, tapping his 
shoulder. "After that generous instance of 
confidence, I shall not marvel if you now find 
a tongue upon all proper occasions. And trust 
me, the breaking of the ice is a very impor- 
tant matter. Many an orator has made but 
one spring to the land, and his legs, after he 
had taken courage to make the first stroke. 
Cleanthes himself found this. You know his 
history ? He first appeared in Athens as a 
wrestler, a stranger to philosophy and learning 
of all kinds. In our streets, however, the 
buzz of it could not fail to reach him. He ran 
full speed into the school of Crates. His curi- 



96 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

osity, joined to his complete ignorance, gave 
him so singular an appearance, and produced 
from him so many simple questions, and blun- 
dering replies, that he received from his fellow 
disciples the nickname of the Ass. But the Ass 
persevered, and soon after, entering the Portico 
he applied with such intense diligence to the 
unravelling the mysteries of Zeno's philoso- 
phy, that he speedily secured the esteem of his 
Master, and the respect of his companions. 
But his timidity was for some time extreme, 
and probably nothing but a sudden excitement 
could have enabled him to break through it. 
This, however, accidentally occurred, and he 
is now the ready and powerful orator that you 
know him." 

" I have often heard," said Theon, " and real- 
ly not without some scepticism, the change 
that a few years have wrought in Clean- 
thes; — a brawny wrestler I who could believe 
it? and a dull, ignorant Barbarian ! " 

" The world always adds marvel to the 
marvellous. A brawny wrestler he never was ; 
though certainly something stouter and squar- 
er in person than he is now ; and though igno- 
rant, he was not dull. Intense application, 
and some say, the fasting of poverty, as well 
as temperance, rapidly reduced his body, and 
spiritualized his mind." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ' S[J 



'' The fasting of poverty ! " ^cried Theon, 
" do you believe this ? ** ,;'^;';, ' '" r^^'' ' . ''1^ 

"I fear it is possible," returned the MaLStei*. 
"At least it is asserted that he possessed but 
four drachms when he left the school of wres- 
tling for that of philosophy ; and it does not 
well appear that he now follows any other 
trade than that of a scholar ; one which cer- 
tainly brings very little nourishment to the 
body, whatever it might do to the mmd." 

" But his Master; do you think Zeno would 
suffer him to want the necessaries of life ? " 

" The actual necessaries, somehow or other, 
he certainly has ; but I can believe he will 
make very few serve, and procure those few 
with some difficulty, rather than be indebted 
even to his Master." ; 

" Or his friend ! " said Theon. 

,"Nay, remember, you are not a friend of 
very long standing, and something his junior 
in years." 

" But should that prevent him from giving 
me his confidence on such an occasion?" 

" Perhaps not, but allow something to the 
Stoic pride." 

" I can allow nothing to it here." 

"No, because it touches your own. ^Thus 
do I tread on the pride of Plato ^ said Dioge- 



98 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

nes, setting his foot on the robe of the Aca- 
demic. ' Ye5, with the greater pride of Dio- 
genes,' returned Plato. But 1 have made vou 
grave, which was not my intention. Metrodo- 
rus, how go you on7 " 

" Writing the last word. — There ! — And 
now," rising and advancing towards Theon, 
"let me embrace the youth who so nobly took 
up the vindication of my insulted Master. 
Perhaps you may not know how peculiarly I 
am indebted to you. Timocrates is the broth- 
er of Metrodorus." 
^ "How!" 
, " 1 blush to own it." 

" You need not blush, my loved son ; you 
have done more than a brother's duty towards 
him, and more than a disciple's duty towards 
me. I suppose," turning to Theon, " as you 
are a Stoic, you have not read the able treati- 
ses of Metrodorus in support of my doctrines, 
and defence of my character. In the last, in- 
deed, he has done more than I wished." 

" I own I have not, but I will read them." 

" What ! in the face of Zeno 1 " 

" Aye, and of the whole Portico." 

"We need not doubt the young Corinthian's 
courage," said Metrodorus, " after his noble 
confidence yesterday." 

" I see the Master has not been silent " re- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. »«[ 

turned Theon, "and that he has given me 
more praise than is my due." 

" Metrodorus can tell you that is not my 
custom," said the Gargettian. " By Pollux ! 
if you continue your visits to the Garden, you 
must look to be handled very roughly. I aim 
the blow at every fault I see ; and I have a 
very acute pair of eyes. I find out the most 
secret sins, — turn the souls of my scholars in- 
side out ; so be warned in time ! " 

" I do not fear you," returned the Corinth- 
ian. ! 

"Not fear me, you rogue ? " 

" No, I love you too well. But," continued 
Theon, "let me now make my acknowedg- 
ments to the Master for his coming forward so 
seasonably yesterday, and giving me the victo- 
ry. How you astonished me ! I almost took 
you a second time for a divinity." 

"I will tell you how it happened," returned 
Epicurus: "Chancing to be called into the 
street yesterday, just after you left the house, 
I saw your meeting with Cleanthes; and 
guessing from his first address, that you would 
have to stand a siege, I followed you to the 
Portico, and took my place, unnoticed, among 
the crowd, ready, if occasion should require, to 
offer my succor." 

" And you heard then all that passed? " ^ 



100 JL FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

t,. "Idid." 

" I beg your pardon for the digression," said 
Theon ; "but I think you have more forbear- 
ance and more candor than any man I ever 
heard of." 

^' If it be so, these useful quahties have not 
been attained witliout much study and disci- 
pline ; for Zeno is mistaken in thinking all my 
virtues the children of temperament, 1 very 
early perceived candor to be the quality the 
most indispensable in the composition of a phi- 
losopher, and therefore very early set my 
whole efforts to the attaining of it. And when 
once I fairly engaged in the work, I did not 
find it either long or difficult I had naturally 
a mild temper, and a sensitive heart, and these 
gifts were here of inconceivable use to me. 
Feeling kindly towards my fellow-creatures, I 
could the easier learn to pity rather than hate 
their faults ; to smile, rather than frown at 
their follies. — This was a great step gained, 
but the next was more difficult — to be slow 
in pronouncing what is a fault, and what is a 
folly. Our superstition would haunt with the 
furies the man who should take his sister to 
wife, while the customs of Egypt would com- 
mend him. How has tbe astronomer been 
laughed at, who made the earth revolve round 
the stationary sun ; and yet who can say but 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS^ 101 

the age may come, when this shall be estab* 
lished as a truth 7 Prejudices, when once seen 
as prejudices, are easily yielded. The diffi- 
culty is to come at the knowledge of them. A 
thousand lectures had I read to myself, ere I 
could calmly say, upon all occasions, It does 
not follow that the thing is, because I thifik it 
is ; and till I could say this, I never presumed 
to call myself a philosopher. When I had 
schooled myself into candor, I found I was pos- 
sessed of forbearance ; for, indeed, it is hardly 
possible to possess the one without the other." 
" I cannot understand," said Theon, " how, 
with your mildness, your candor, and your 
good humor, you have so many enemies." 
"Am I not the founder of a new sect? " ^ 
" Yes, but so have been many others." 
"And you think I have more enemies than 
any 7 If it be so, perhaps in those peaceable 
qualities you have enumerated, you may seek 
the cause. Remember the Cynics and Stoics, 
(and I believe most of my enemies are either 
among them, or of their making,) do you think 
any of those three unprcsuming virtues would 
secure their approbation 7 They do not love 
to see a man take the place of a philosopher, 
without the airs of one, and, as you may per- 
ceive, 1 want these most entirely. Then you 
must remember also my popularity ; for o 



102 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

course my mildness, candor, and good humor, 
along with other agreeable virtues which shall 
be nameless, help to secure me a thousand 
friends ; and he who has many friends, must 
have many enemies, for you know he must be 
the mark of envy, jealousy, and spleen." 

" I cannot endure to think that it should be 
so," said Theon. 

" Much less can 1," said Metrodorus. 

"My sons, never pity the man who can 
count more than a friend for every enemy, and 
I do believe that I can do this ! Yes, my 
young Stoic, Zeno may have fewer enemies, 
and as many disciples, but I doubt if he have 
so many devoted children as Epicurus." 

"I know he has not," cried Metrodorus, 
curling his lip in proud scorn. 

"You need not look so fierce upon your 
knowledge," said the Master, smiling. 

" You are too mild, too candid," returned 
the scholar, " and that is your only fault." 

" Then I am a most faultless person, and I 
only wish I could return the compliment to 
Metrodorus, but his lip curls too much, and his 
cheeks are too apt to kindle." 

" I know it, I know it," said the scholar. 

" Then why not mend it? " 

" Because I am not at all sure, but that it is 
better unmended. If you would but turn more 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 103 

fiercely upon your enemies, or let me do so for 
you, they would respect you more, for they 
would fear you more." 

" But as I am not a god, nor a king, nor a 
soldier, I have no claim to fear ; and as I am a 
philosopher, I have no wish for it. Then, as 
to respect, do yoir really think yourself more 
worthy of it than your Master 1 " 

" Nay," said Metrodorus, blushing, " that is 
too severe a rub." 

"Grant that it was merited. No, no, my 
son, we will convince all we can, we will 
silence as few as possible, and we will terrify 
none." 

"Remember the exit of Timocrates," said 
Theon, " was not that made in terror?" 

" Yes ; but it was the work of his conscience, 
not of my eyes ; if the first had been silent, I 
imagine he would have stood the last very 
well." 

" Do not name the wretch," cried Metrodo- 
rus indignantly. " Oh ! my young Corinthian, 
did you know all the patience and forbearance 
that his Master had shown towards him, all 
the pains he took with him, the gentleness with 
which he admonished him, the seriousness 
with which he warned him, the thousand 
times that he forgave him ; and then at last, 
when he dared to insult his Master's adopted 



104 [ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

child, the lovely Hedeia, and the indignant dis- 
ciples thrust him from the Gardens, he goes to 
our enemies, the enemies of his Master, and 
feeds their malice with infernal lies. Curses 
of the furies on the wretch ! " 

"Fie! how darestthou?" said Epicurus, 
thrusting his scholar indignantly from him. 
" Thy anger is unworthy of a man, how much 
then of a brother ! Go, and recollect thyself, 
my son ! " softening his voice, as he saw a 
tear in Metrodorus's eye. — " The Corinthian 
will accompany you to the Gardens, I will join 
you when 1 have concluded this treatise." — 
Metrodorus took the arm of Theon, and they 
left the apartment. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 1Q5 



CHAPTER IX. 



"Do not," said Metrodorus to Tlieon, 
" take me as the best sample of the pupils of 
Epicurus. We are not all so hot brained and 
hot tongued." 

" Nay! " returned his companion, " I am too 
young in philosophy to blame your warmth. 
In your place, I should have been as hot my- 
self." 

''I am glad to hear it. I hke you the better 
for the sentiment. But the sun scorches dread- 
fully, let us seek shelter." 

They turned into a thicket, and proceeding 
some way, caught on the still air the notes of a 
flute. They advanced and came to a beauti- 
ful bank of verdure, bordered by the river, and 
shadowed by a group of thick and wide 
spreading oaks. " It is Leontium," said Me- 
trodorus. " No other in Attica can breathe the 
flute so sweetly." They turned one of the 
trunks, and found her lying on the turf; her 
shoulder leaning against a tree, and her figure 
raised on one elbow. Beside her was seated 
the black eyed girl, whom Theon had before 

5* 



106 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

seen; her taper fingers twining into a wreath 
the scented flowers, which were lightly thrown 
into her lap by the gay Sofron, who stood at 
some distance among the shrubs." 

" Enough ! enough ! " said the gentle voice 
of the girl, as the youth shook down in show- 
ers the leaves and nectareous odors of the over- 
ripe blossoms. "Enough! enough! stay thy 
hand, thou heedless ravager ! " 

" Thank thee for thy words, although they 
chide me," said the boy, letting go the bough 
which he had just seized, with a bound, light 
as that of the shrub when it sprung upward 
from his hand. " Thou hast but one feeling in 
thy soul, Boidion ; and thy nature belies the 
sunny clime which saw its birth. Friendship 
is all to thee, and that friendship is but for 
one." 

"In truth, thou repayest his cares but 
coldly," said Leontium, taking the pipe from 
her mouth, and smiling on the dark haired 
maiden. 

" But I repay not thine coldly," said Boid- 
ion, kissing the hand of her friend. 

"I am well punished for the neglect of my 
morning's lecture," said Sofron impatiently, as 
he snatched his book from the ground, and 
turned away. 

" Part not in anger, brother ! " exclaime 



•A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 107 

Boidion. But the youth had vanished, and in 
his place, Metrodorus and Theon stood before 
^her. 

The startled girl was about to rise, when 
Leontium laying her hand on her arm, '' Rest 
thee, thou timid fawn," and the maiden re- 
sumed her seat. 

" I rejoice," said Theon, as he placed him- 
self with Metrodorus by the side of Leontium, 
and took up the pipe which had fallen from 
her hand, " I rejoice to find this little instru- 
ment restored to Athens." 

" Say not restored to Athens," returned Le- 
ontium, "only admitted into the Garden. I 
doubt our vain youth still remember the curse 
of Alcibiades, and looking in their mirror, vow 
that none but fools would play on it." 

"This recalls to me," said Theon, "that I 
have heard, among the various reports con- 
cerning the Garden current in the mouths of 
the Athenians, very contradictory ones as to 
the place allowed in it to the sciences and lib- 
eral arts, and to music in particular." 

" I suppose," said Metrodorus, " that you 
heard our whole employment was eating, 
drinking, and rioting in all licentiousness." 
* " True I did hear so ; and I fear I must con-, 
fess, half believed it. But I also heard your 
licentiousness described in various ways; 



108 . A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

sometimes as grossly sensual, enlivened by no 
elegancies of art ; veiled, adorned, if I may 
use the expression, by no refinement. In 
short, that Epicurus laughed as well at the fine 
arts as the grave sciences. From others again, 
I learned that music, dancing, poetry, and 
painting were pressed into the service of his 
philosophy; that Leontium strung the lyre, 
Metrodorus the harp, Hedeia moved in the 
dance, Boidion raised the song to Venus; that 
his halls were covered with voluptuous pic- 
tures, the walks of his gardens lined with in- 
decent statues." 

" And you may now perceive the truth," re- 
plied Metrodorus, " with your own eyes and 
ears." 

"But," said Leontium, " the young Corin- 
thian may be curious to know the sentiments 
of our Master, and his advice regarding the 
pursuit of the sciences and the liberal arts. I 
can readily perceive," addressing herself to 
Theon, "the origin of the two contradictory 
reports you have just mentioned. The first 
you would hear from the followers of Aristip- 
pus, who, though not acknowledging the name, 
follow the tetiets of his philosophy, and have 
long been very numerous in our degenerate 
city. These, because Epicurus recommends 
but a moderate culture of those arts, which by 



. A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 109 

them are too often made the elegant incentives 
to Hcentious pleasure, accuse him of neglect- 
ing them altogether. The Cynics, and other 
austere sects, who condemn all that ministers 
to the luxury, ease, or recreation of man, exag- 
gerate his moderate use of these arts into a 
vicious encouragement of voluptuousness and 
effeminacy. You will perceive, therefore, that 
between the two reports lies the truth. Every 
innocent recreation is permitted in the Garden. 
It is not poetry, but licentious poetry, that Ep- 
icurus condemns; not music, but voluptuous 
music ; not painting, but licentious pictures ; 
not dancing, but loose gestures. Yet thus he 
displeases alike the profligate and the austere, 
for these he is too moderate, and for those too 
severe. With regard to the sciences, if it be 
said, that they are neglected among us, I do 
not say that our Master, though himself versed 
in them, as in all other branches of knowledge, 
greatly recommends them to our study. But 
that they are not unknown, let Polyoenus be 
evidence. He, one of the most amiable men 
of our school, and one most highly favored by 
our Master, you must have heard mentioned 
throughout Greece as a profound geometri- 
cian." 
1 "Yes," replied Theon ; "but I have also 



110 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

heard, that since entering the Garden, he has 
ceased to respect his science." 

''I am not aware of that," said Leontium, 
" though I beheve he no longer devotes to it 
all his time, and all his faculties. Epicurus 
called him from his diagrams, to open to him 
the secrets of physics, and the beauties of eth- 
ics ; to show him the springs of human action, 
and lead him to the study of the human mind. 
He taught him that any single study, however 
useful and noble in itself, was yet unworthy 
the entire employ of a curious and powerful 
intellect : that the man who pursued one line 
of knowledge, to the exclusion of others, 
though he should follow it up to its very head, 
would never be either learned or wise : that he 
who pursues knowledge, should think no 
branch of it unworthy attention ; least of all, 
should he confine it to those which are uncon- 
nected with the business, and add nothing to 
the pleasures of life : that further not our ac- 
quaintance with ourselves, nor our fellows ; 
that tend not to enlarge the sphere of our affec- 
tions, to multiply our ideas and sensations, nor 
extend the scope of our inquiries. On this 
ground, he blamed the devotion of Polyoenus 
to a science that leads to other truths than 
those of virtue, to other study than that of 
man." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. Ill 

"I am obliged to you for the explanation," 
said Theon; "not because I could any longer 
have given credit to the absurd reports of your 
Master's enemies ; but because whatever opens 
to me the character and opinions of such a 
man, interests and improves me." 

" You will find this," said Metrodorus, " the 
more you consider them. The life of Epicurus 
is a lesson of wisdom. It is by example, even 
more than precept, that he guides his disciples. 
Without issuing commands, he rules despoti- 
cally. His wishes are divined, and obeyed as 
laws ; his opinions are repeated as oracles ; his 
doctrines adopted as demonstrated truths. All 
is unanimity in the Garden. We are a family 
of brothers, of which Epicurus is the father. 
And I say not this in the praise of the scholars, 
but the Master. Many of us have had bad 
habits, many of us evil propensities, many of 
us violent passions. That our habits are cor- 
rected, our propensities changed, our passions 
restrained, lies all with Epicurus. What I 
myself owe him, none but myself know. The 
giddy follower of licentious pleasure, the head- 
strong victim of my passions, he has made me 
taste of the sweets of innocence, and brought 
me into the calm of philosophy. It is thus — 
thus, by rendering us happy, that he lays us at 
his feet, — thus that he gains, and holds the 



112 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

empire of our minds, — thus that by provmg 
himself our friend, he secures our respect, our 
submission, and our love. He cannot but 
know his power, yet he exerts it in no other 
way, than to mend our lives, or to keep them 
innocent. In argument, as you may have ob- 
served, he always seeks to convince rather 
than sway. He is as free from arrogance as 
from duplicity; he would neither force an 
opinion on the mind, nor conceal from it a 
truth. Ask his advice, and it is ever ready, — 
his opinion, and he gives it clearly. Free from 
prejudice himself, he is tender to that of 
others ; yet no fear of censure, or desire of pop- 
ularity, ever leads him to humor it, either in 
his lessons, or his writings. Candor, as you 
have already remarked, is the prominent fea- 
ture of his mind ; it is the crown of his perfect 
character. — 1 say this, my young Corinthian, 
who know him. His soul, indeed, is open to 
all ; but I have approached very near it, and 
considered its inmost recesses. Yes, I am 
proud to say it — I am one of those he has 
drawn most closely into his intimacy. With 
all my imperfections and errors, he has adopted 
me as a son ; and, inferior as I am in years, 
wisdom, and virtue, he deigns to call me his 
friend." 
. Tears here filled the eyes of the scholar ; — 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 113 

he seemed about to resume, when a shght 
sound made the party turn their heads, and 
they saw the Master at their side. — " Do not 
rise, my children, I will seat myself among 
you." Theon perceived he had heard the 
closing sentence of Metrodorus, for the water 
glistened in his eyes as he fixed them tenderly 
upon him. " Thanks, my son, for this tribute 
of thy gratitude ; I have heard thy eulogy, and 
I accept it joyfully. Let all men," and he 
turned his eye upon Theon, " be above flatte- 
ry ; but let not a sage be above praise. He 
that is so is either arrogant or insincere. For 
myself, 1 own that the commendations of my 
friends fill ^me with triumph, as the assurance 
of their affection does with satisfaction. The 
approbation of our familiars, who are with us 
in our secret hours, hear our private converse, 
know the habits of our lives, and the bent of 
our dispositions, is, or should be to us, fat 
more pleasing and triumphant than the shouts 
of a multitude, or the worship of the world." 

There was a pause of some minutes, when 
Leontium took up the word. "I have been 
explaining, though very shortly and imper- 
fectly, your views concerning the studies most 
proper to be pursued by men. I believe the 
Corinthian has some curiosity on this point." 

Theon assented. . i 



114 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

"Knowledge," said the Master, " is the best 
riches that man can possess. Without it, he is 
a brute ; with it, he is a god. But hke happi- 
ness, he often pursues it without finding it ; or, 
at best, obtains of it but an imperfect glimpse. 
It is not that the road to it is either dark or dif- 
ficult, but that he takes a wrong one ; or if he 
enters on the right, he does so unprepared for 
the journey. Now he thinks knowledge one 
Avith erudition, and shutting himself up in his 
closet, he cons all the lore of antiquity; he 
fathoms the sciences, heaps up in his memory 
all the sayings of the dead, and reckoning the 
value of his acquisitions by the measure of the 
time and labor he hath expended on them, he 
is satisfied he hath reached his end, and from 
his retirement, looking down upon his more 
ignorant, because less learned, brethren, he 
calls them children and barbarians. But, 
alas ! learning is not wisdom, nor will books 
give understanding. Again, he takes a more 
inviting road : he rushes into the crowd ; he 
rolls down the stream of pleasure ; he courts 
the breath of popularity ; he unravels or 
weaves the riddles of intrigue ; he humors the 
passions of his fellows, and rises upon them to 
name and power. Then, laughing at the cre- 
dulity, ignorance, and vice, he hath set his 
throne upon, he says, that to know the world is 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 115 

the only knowledge, and to see to dupe it, is to 
be wise. Yet knowledge of the world is not 
knowledge of man, nor to triumph in the pas- 
sions of others, is not to triumph over our own. 
No, my sons, that only is real, is sterling 
knowledge, which goes to make us better and 
happier men, and which fits us to assist the 
virtue and happiness of others. All learning 
is useful, all the sciences are curious, all the 
arts are beautiful ; but more useful, more curi- 
ous, and more beautiful, is the perfect know- 
ledge and perfect government of ourselves. 
Though a man should read the heavens, un- 
ravel their laws, and their revolutions ; though 
he should dive into the mysteries of matter, 
and expound the phonomena of earth and air; 
though he should be conversant with all the 
writings, and the sayings, and the actions of 
the dead ; though he should hold the pencil of 
Parrhasius, the chisel of Polycletes, or the lyre 
of Pindar ; though he should do one or all of 
these things, yet know not the secret springs 
of his own mind, the foundation of his opin- 
ions, the motives of his actions ; if he hold not 
the rein over his passions ; if he have not clear- 
ed the mist of all prejudices from his under- 
standing ; if he have not rubbed off all intol- 
erance from his judgments; if he know not to 



116 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

weigh his own actions, and the actions of oth- 
ers, in the balance of justice — that man hath 
not knowledge ; nor, though he be a man of 
science, a man of learning, or an artist, he is 
not a sage. He must yet sit down, patient, at 
the feet of philosophy. With all his learning, 
he hath yet to learn, and perhaps a harder 
task, he hath to unlearn." 

The Master here paused, but the ears of 
Theon still hung upon his lips. " Do not 
"cease," he exclaimed. "1 could listen to you 
through eternity." 

" I carmot promise to declaim quite so long," 
returned the sage, smiling. "But if you wish 
it, we will follow out the topic when we have 
joined our other friends." 

They rose, and bent their steps to the public 
walk. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHEN^. 117 



CHAPTER X. 



Epicurus stood in the midst of his expectant 
scholars. " My sons," he said, " why do you 
enter the Garden 1 Is it to seek happiness, or 
to seek virtue and knowledge ? — Attend, and 
I will show you that in finding one, you shall 
find the three. To be happy, we must be vir- 
tuous; and when we are virtuous, we are 
wise. Let us then begin: and first, let us 
for awhile hush our passions into slumber, 
forget our prejudices, and cast away our van- 
ity and our pride. Thus patient and mod- 
est, let us oome to the feet of Philosophy; 
let us say to her, ' Behold us, scholars and 
children, gifted by nature with faculties, afiec- 
tions, and passions. — Teach us their use, and 
their guidance. Show us how to turn them to 
account — how best to make them conduce 
to our ease, and minister to our enjoyment.' 

" 'Sons of earth,' says the Deity, 'you have 
spoken wisely ; you feel that you are gifted by 
nature with faculties, affections, and passions ; 
and you perceive that on the right exertion 
and direction of these depends your well-being. 
It does so. Your aflections both of soul and 



118 'a few days in ATHENS. 

body may be shortly reduced to two, pleasure 
and pain ; the one troublesome, and the other 
agreeable. It is natural and befitting, there- 
fore, that you shun pain, and desire and. follow 
after pleasure. Set forth then on the pursuit ; 
but ere you start, be sure that it is in the right 
road, and that you have your eye on the true 
object. Perfect pleasure, which is happiness, 
you will have attained when you have brought 
your bodies and souls into a state of satisfied 
tranquillity. To arrive at this, much previous 
exertion is requisite ; yet exertion, not violent, 
only constant and even. And first, the body, 
with its passions and appetites, demands grati- 
fication and indulgence. But beware ! for 
here are the hidden rocks which may ship- 
wreck your bark on its passage, and shut you 
out forever from the haven of repose. Pro- 
vide yourselves then with a skilled pilot, who 
may steer you through the Scylla and Charyb- 
dis of your carnal affections, and point the 
steady helm through the deep waters of your 
passions. Behold her ! It is Prudence, the 
mother of the virtues, and the handmaid of 
wisdom. Ask, and she will tell you, that 
gratification will give new edge to the hunger 
of your appetites, and that the storm of the 
passions shall kindle with indulgence. Ask, 
and she will tell you, that sensual pleasure is 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 119 

pain covered with the mask of happiness. Be- 
hold, she strips it from her face, and reveals 
the features of disease, disquietude, and re- 
morse. Ask, and she will tell you, that hap- 
piness is not found in tumult, but tranquillity ; 
and that, not the tranquillity of indolence and 
inaction, but of a healthy contentment of soul 
and body. Ask, and she will tell you, that a 
happy life is like neither to a roaring torrent^ 
nor a stagnant pool, but to a placid and crystal 
stream, that flows gently and silently along. 
And now. Prudence shall bring to you the 
lovely train of the virtues. Temperance, 
throwing a bridle on your desires, shall gradu- 
ally subdue and annihilate those whose present 
indulgence would only bring future evil ; and 
others more necessary and more innocent, she 
shall yet bring down to such becoming moder- 
ation, as shall prevent all disquiet to the soul, 
and injury to the body. Fortitude shall 
strengthen you to bear those diseases which 
even temperance may not be efficient to pre- 
vent ; those afflictions which fate may level at 
you; those persecutions which the folly or 
malice of man may invent. It shall fit you 
to bear all things, to conquer fear, and to meet 
death. Justice shall give you security among 
your fellows, and satisfaction in your own 
breasts. Generosity shall endear you to others, 



120 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

and sweeten your own nature to yourselves. 
Gentleness shall take the sting from the malice 
of your enemies, and make you extract double 
sweet from the kindness of friends. Gratitude 
shall lighten the burden of obligation, or render 
it even pleasant to bear. Friendship shall put 
the crown on your security and your joy. 
With these, and yet more virtues, shall pru- 
dence surround you. And, thus attended, 
hold on your course in confidence, and moor 
your barks in the haven of repose.' 

" Thus says Philosophy, my sons, and says 
she not wisely ? Tell us, ye who have tried 
the slippery paths of licentiousness, who have 
given the rein to your passions, and sought 
pleasure in the lap of voluptuousness ; tell us, 
did ye find her there J No, ye did not, or ye 
would not now inquire of her from Epicurus. 
Come, then, Philosophy hath shown ye the 
way. Throw off your old habits, wash impu- 
rity from your hearts ; take up the bridle of 
your passions ; govern your minds, and be 
happy. And ye, my sons, to whom all things 
are yet new; whose passions, yet in the bud, 
have never led you to pain and regret ; ye who 
have yet to begin your career, come ye, also ! 
Philosophy hafh shown ye the way. Keep 
your hearts innocent, hold the bridle of your 
passions, govern your minds, and be happy. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 121 

But, my sons, methinks I hear you say, ' You 
have shown us the virtues rather as modifiers 
and correctors of evil, than as the givers of ac- 
tual and perfect good. Happiness, you tell us, 
consists in ease of body and mind ; yet temper- 
ance cannot secure the former from disease, 
nor can all the virtues united ward affliction 
from the latter.' True, my children, Philoso- 
phycannot change the laws of nature; but she 
may teach us to accommodate to them. She 
cannot annul pain ; but she can arm us to bear 
it. And though the evils of fate be many, are 
not the evils of man's coining more? Nature 
afflicts us with disease ; but for once that it is 
the infliction of nature, ninety-nine times it is 
the consequence of our own folly. Nature lev- 
els us with death ; but how mild is the death 
of nature, with Philosophy to spread the pil- 
low, and friendship to take the last sigh, to the 
protracted agonies of debauchery, subduing the 
body by inches, while Philosophy is not there 
to give strength, nor friendship consolation, but 
while the flames of fever are heated by impa- 
tience, and the stings of pain envenomed by 
remorse ! And tell me, my sons, when the 
body of the sage is stretched on the couch of 
pain, hath he not his mind to minister delight 
to him 7 Hath he not conscience whispering 
that his present evil is not chargeable to his 
6 



12J A FBW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

own past folly, but to the laws of nature, 
which no effort or foresight of his could have 
prevented? Hath he not memory to bring to 
him past pleasures, the pleasures of a well- 
spent life, on which he may feed even while 
pain racks his members, and fever consumes 
his vitals ? Or, what if agony overpower his 
frame, and cripple his faculties, is there not 
death at hand to reach him deliverance? 
Here, then, is death, that giant of terror, acting 
as a friend. But does he interrupt our enjoy- 
ments as well as our sufferings ? And is it for 
this we fear him? Ought we not rather to 
rejoice, seeing that the day of life has its bright 
and its clouded hours, that we are laid to sleep 
while the sun of joy yet shines, before the 
storm of fate has broken our tranquillity, or 
the evening of age bedimmed our prospect? 
Death, then, is never our foe. When not a 
friend, he cannot be worse than indifferent. 
Forwhih we are, death is not ; and while death 
is, we ^are not. To the wise, then, death is 
nothing. Examine theulls of life, are they not 
of our own creation, or take they not their 
darkest hues from our passions or our igno- 
tance ? What is poverty, if we have temper- 
ance, and can be satisfied with a crust, and a 
draught from the spring ? — if we have mod- 
esty, and can wear a woollen garment as glad- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 123 

ly as a Tyrian robe 1 What is slander, if we 
have no vanity that it can wound, and no an- 
ger that it can kindle 1 What is neglect, if we 
have no ambition that it can disappoint, and 
no pride that it can mortify 1 What is perse- 
cution, if we have our own bosoms in which 
to retire, and a spot of earth to sit down and 
rest upon 1 What is death, when without su- 
perstition to clothe him with terrors, we can 
cover our heads, and go to sleep in his arms 1 
What a list of human calamities are here ex- 
punged — Poverty, slander, neglect, disappoint- 
ment, persecution, death ! What yet remains 1 
Disease 1 That, too, we have shown temper- 
ance can often shun, and Philosophy can al- 
ways alleviate. But there is yet a pain, which 
the wisest and the best of men cannot escape ; 
that all of us, my sons, have felt, or have to 
feel. Do not your hearts whisper it 1 Do you 
not tell me, that in death there is yet a 
sting 7 That ere he aim at us, he may level 
the beloved of our soul 1 The father, whose 
tender care hath reared our infant minds — 
the brother, whom the same breast hath nour- 
ished, and the same roof sheltered, with whom, 
side by side, we have grown like two plants 
by a river, sucking life from the same fountain 
and strength from the same sun — the child 
whose gay prattle delights our ears, or whose 



124 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

opening understanding fixes our hopes ; the 
friend of our choice, with whom we have ex- 
changed hearts, and shared all our pains and 
pleasures, whose eye hath reflected the tear of 
sympathy, whose hand hath smoothed the 
couch of sickness. Ah ! my sons, here is in- 
deed a pain, a pain that cuts into the soul. 
There are masters who will tell you otherwise, 
who will tell you that it is unworthy of a man 
to mourn even here. But such, my sons, 
speak not the truth of experience, or Philoso- 
phy, but the subtleties of sophistry and pride. 
He who feels not the loss, hath never felt the 
possession. He who knows not the grief, hath 
never known the joy. See the price of a 
friend in the duties we render him, and the 
sacrifices we make to him, and which, in mak- 
ing, we count not sacrifices, but pleasures ! 
We sorrow for his sorrow; we supply his 
wants, or if we cannot, we share them. We 
follow him to exile. We close ourselves in his 
prison ; we soothe him in sickness ; we strength- 
en him in death : nay, if it be possible, we 
throw down our life for his. Oh ! what a 
treasure is that for which we do so much ! 
And is it forbidden us to mourn its loss? If it 
be, the power is not with us to obey. Should 
we, then, to avoid the evil, forego the good ? 
Shall we shut love from our hearts, that we 



k FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 125 

may not feel the pain of his departure? No* 
happiness forbids it. Experience forbids it. 
Let him who hath laid on the pyre the dearest 
of his soul, who hath washed the urn with the 
bitterest tears of grief — let him say if his heart 
hath ever formed the wish that it had never 
shrined within it whom he now deplores. Let 
him say if the pleasures of the sweet commun- 
ion of his former days doth not still live in 
his remembrance. If he love not to recall the 
image of the departed, the tones of his voice, 
the words of his discourse, the deeds of his 
kindness, the amiable virtues of his life ! If, 
while he weeps the loss of his friend, he smiles 
not- to think that he once possessed him. He 
who knows not friendship, knows not the pur- 
est pleasure of earth. Yet if fate deprive us of 
it, though we grieve, we do not sink ; Philoso- 
phy IS still at hand, and she upholds us with 
fortitude. And think, my sons, perhaps in the 
very evil we dread, there is a good ; perhaps 
the very uncertainty of the tenure gives it val- 
ue in our eyes ; perhaps all our pleasures take 
their, zest from the known possibility of their 
interruption. What were the glories of the 
sun, if we knew not the gloom of darkness 1 
What the refreshing breezes of morning and 
evening, if we felt not the fervors of noon 1 
Should we value the lovely flower, if it bloom- 



^ 



126 A raw davs in atuens. 

ed eternally ; or the luscious fruit, if it hung 
always on the bough 7 Are not the smiles of 
the heavens more beautiful in contrast with 
their frowns, and the delights of the seasons 
more grateful from their vicissitudes 1 Let us 
then be slow to blame nature, for perhaps in 
her apparent errors there is a hidden wisdom. 
Let us not quarrel with fate, for perhaps in our 
evils lie the seeds of our good. Were our body 
never subject to sickness, we might be insensi- 
ble to the joy of health. Were our life eternal, 
our tranquillity might sink into inaction. 
Were our friendship not threatened witli inter- 
ruption, it might want much of its tenderness. 
This, then, my sons, is our duty, for this is our 
interest and our happiness : to seek our pleas- 
ures from the hands of the virtues, and for the 
pain which may befall us, to submit to it with 
patience, or bear up against it with fortitude. 
To walk, in short, through life innocently and 
tranquilly : and to look on death as its ge^itle 
termination, which it becomes us to meet with 
ready minds, neither regretting the past, nor 
anxious for the future. ' ' 

The Sage had scarcely ceased, when a scho- 
lar advanced from the crowd, and bowing his 
head with reverence, stooped and touched the 
knees of his Master. " Refuse not my hom- 
age," he said, " nor call the expression of it 



A FEW DAYS JN ATttENg, 127 

presumptuous." Epicurus raised him in his 
arms, " Colotes, I am more proud of the hom- 
age of thy young mind, than I should be of that 
of the assembled crowd of Olympia. May thy 
master, my son, never lose his power over it, 
as 1 feel that he will never abuse it.JJ,j^ ^^^^p 

-: : -. i ^-i.j >>..! -;. . -J ■. . :,.: Ioo:> on )-y( 

-ilj'^. •>7i.^?^-.>:;jqo n'l hoitlf.d^t ?;f?W TJ/; -'/IT .'•.(.-■Mi 

!».fij ilo'-ile i'l'rfr gn.'Ueud j>viii9WiiK> f;yi> A' ,"'>ifr 

■i.i;to-? Tioifn'^sdisYoi ■^r/ihrcT'^ v;fol a hni; ,-:s:>ii 

'■ boifjni B^J8kiih^ orlT jiaNno.' ': 

J ''iM ')o '.'DiOT rB'ji::;im .'.-rfj dti.v i' I''! 

Un'r2 '■'rA -Jivrr hoi'rh'l tnjii i'.hl 

Off] ;>!'; uo(|i;sn'.'': ii-v/t ct h-jiig 

. MCKi -,;f'.IT -^ .fiiiil m ir>.'r;!:[cv/ii 

/j;>f f^'ii v/Oid) od?,c. J uczrMl '* ! -"j-iu 

:;7 ■! bill; t!fi.->vi .v ••■r?;^-^ »: or ;9'ni':i'ViO';M '• — .-r ■;! 

-■■■ 'hi" • ! :i:- ■^!!itir'0?'-t'-.rf T ' " ■"" l;-:;^; . M:i-:(V 



•flj 



iiUS A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 

-it:-- 

Ji;*:. io^al CHAPTER XL 

The sun had far declined from its meridian, 
yet no cool breeze tempered the fervors of the 
heat. The air was chained in oppressive still- 
ness, when suddenly a bustling wind shook the 
trees, and a low growling reverberated round 
the horizon. The scholars retired before the 
threatening storm; but Theon, his ear still 
filled with the musical voice of the sage, and 
his heart imbued with his gentle precepts, lin- 
gered to feed alone upon the thoughts they had 
awakened in him. " How mad is the folly of 
man ! " he said, as he threw his back against a 
tree. — " Professing to admire wisdom and love 
virtue, and yet ever persecuting and slander- 
ing both. — How vain is it to look for credit 
by teaching truth, or to seek fame by the road 
of virtue ! " 

" Thy regret is idle, my son," said a well 
known voice in his ear. 

" Oh ! my guardian spirit ! " cried the 
startled youth — " Is it you ? " 

"I linger," said the Gargettian, "to watch 
the approach of the storm, and I suppose you 
do the same." 



.A FPW DAYS IN ATHENS. 129 

"No," returned the yputhj ^'I hardly heed- 
ed the heavens.'', ]«;;; — v -^^-fjiJl'Si ;.-;| jo L . I-i 

"They are singular, however, at this ilio- 
ment." Theon looked where the sage point- 
ed ; a dark mass of vapors was piled upon the 
head of Hymettus, from which two columns, 
shooting forth like the branches of some giant 
oak, spread themselves over the sky. The op- 
posing sun, fast travelling to the horizon, look- 
ed red throu^ the heated atmosphere, and 
flashed a deep glare on their murky sides. 
Soon half the landscape was blackened with 
the sinking clouds, that each moment increas- 
ing in bulk and density, seemed to touch the 
bosom of the earth. The western half glowed 
with a brilliant light, like molten gold. The 
distant outline was marked with a pencil of 
fire, while the gardens and villas that speck- 
led the plaid, seemed illuminated in jubilee. 

" See," said the sage, stretching his hand 
towards the gilded scene, " see the image of 
that fame which is not founded in virtue. 
Thus bright may it shine for a moment, but 
the cloud of oblivion or infamy corner fast to 
cover its glory." . v:j in A 

"Is it so V said Theon. " Do not the vile 
of the earth fill the tongues of men, and are not 
the noble forgotten'? Does not the titled mur- 
derer inscribe his name on the tablets of eter- 

6* 



130 A FE"Vr DAYS IN ATHENS. 

nity, with the isword which is dipped in the 
blood of his fellows 1 — And does not the man 
who hath spent his youth, and manhood, and 
age, in the courts of wisdom — who has plant- 
ed peace at the hearth, and given truth to the 
rising age, does he not go down to the grave in 
silence, his bones unhonored, and his name 
forgotten 1 " 

" Possibly his name; but, if he have planted 
peace at the hearth, and given truth to the ris- 
ing age, surely not his better part — his vir- 
tues. Do not confound noise with fame. The 
man who is remembered, is not always honor- 
ed; and reflect, what a man toils for, that 
probably [will he win. The titled murderer, 
who weaves his fate with that of empires, will 
with them go down to posterity. The sage, 
who does his work in the silence of retirement, 
unobserved in his own generation, will pass 
into the silence of the grave, unknown to the 
future." 

"But suppose he be known? How few 
worshippers crowd to his shrine, and what 
millions to that of the other ! " 

"And those few, my son, who are they? 
The wise of the earth, the enlightened patriot, 
the discerning philosopher. And who are the 
millions? The ignorant, the prejudiced, and 
the idle. Nor yet, let us so wrong the reason 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 131 

of our species, as to say, that they always give 
honor to the mischievous rather than the use- 
ful — gratitude to their oppressors, rather than 
their benefactors. In instances they may be 
blind, but in the gross they are just. The 
splendor of action, the daring of enterprise, or 
the glitter of majesty, may seize their imagin- 
ation, and so drown their judgment, but never 
is it the tyranny of power, the wantonness of 
cruelty, the brutality of vice, which they adore, 
any more than it is the innocence and useful- 
ness of virtue, which they despise. The unit- 
ed experience of mankind has pronounced vir- 
tue to be the great good : nay, so universal is 
the conviction, that even those who insult her 
in their practice, bow to her in their under- 
standing. Man is for the most part more fool 
than knave, more weak than depraved in ac- 
tion, more ignorant than vicious in judgment ; 
and seldom is he, so weak and so ignorant, as 
not to see his own interest, and value him who 
promotes it. But say, that he often slanders 
the virtuous, and persecutes the wise ; he does 
it more in error than from depravity. He is 
credulous, and on the report of malice, takes 
virtue for hypocrisy : — he is superstitious, and 
some of the truths of wisdom appear to him 
profane. Say he does homage to vice ; — you 
will find when he does it, he believes her to be 



130 A rsw DAYS m ATHKNS. 

virtue. Hypocrisy has masked her deformity, 
or talent decked her with beauty. Is here, 
then, subject for wrath? Rather, surely, for 
compassion. Is here matter for disgust? 
Rather, surely, for exertion. The darker the 
ignorance, the more praise to the sage who 
dispels it ; — the deeper the prejudice, more 
fame to the courage which braves it. But 
may the courage be vain ? May the sage fall 
the victim of the ignorance he combats ? — He 
may ; he often has. But ere he engage, knows 
Jie not the risk ? — The risk is to himself ; the 
profit to mankind. To a benevolent soul, the 
odds is worth the throw ; and though it be 
against him at the present, he may win it in 
the future. The sage, whose vision is cleared 
from the mists of prejudice, can stretch it over 
the existing age, to the kindling horizon of the 
succeeding, and see, perhaps, unborn genera- 
tions weeping the injustice of their fathers, and 
worshipping those truths which they con- 
demned. Or is it otherwise 7 Lives he in the 
old age of the world, and does he see the 
stream of time flowing through a soil yet more 
.rank with prejudice and evil ? Say, then, — 
were the praise of such a world a fit object of 
;his ambition, or shall he be jealous of the fame 
which ignorance yields to the unworthy ? But 
any way, my son, it is not the voice of fame 



.A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 133 

that we should seek in the practice of virtue, 
but the peace of self-isatisfaction. The object 
of the sage is to make himself independent of 
all that he cannot command within himself. 
Yet, when I speak of independence, I mean 
not indifference ; while we make ourselves suf- 
ficient for ourselves, we need not forget the 
crowd about us. We are not wise in the con- 
tempt of others, but in calm approbation of 
ourselves." 

" Still dost thou drop thy head, my son 7 " 
said the gentle philosopher, laying a hand on 
the shoulder of his young friend, 
ji •** Your words sink deep into my soul," re- 
plied Theon; "yet they have not chased tha^ 
mejancholy they found there. I have not such 
a world in myself as to be independent of that 
about me, nor can I forgive the offences of my 
fellows, merely because they commit them 
from ignorance. Nay, is not their very ignor- 
ance often a crime, when the voice of truth is 
whispering in their ear?" 

" And if they do not hear her whisper in 
the one ear, it is because prejudice is crying 
aloud into the other." 

" Prejudice ! I hate prejudice," said Theon. 

" And so do I," said the Master. 

"Yes, but I am provoked with it." 

" I suspect that will not remove the evil." ; 



^134 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

" Nothing will remove it. It is inherent in 
men's nature." 

' " Then as we are men, it may be inherent 

•in ours. Trust me, my son, it is better to cor- 
rect ourselves, than to find fault with our 
neighbors." 

" But is it not allowed to do both 1 Can we 
help seeing the errors of the world in which 
we live, and seeing, can we help being angry 
at them ? " 

" Certainly not the seeing them, but I hope, 

:very possibly, the being angry with them. 
He that loses temper with the folly of others, 
shows that he has folly himself. In which 
case they have as much right to complain of 
his, as he of theirs. And have I not been 
trying to show you, that when you are wise 
you will be independent of all that you cannot 
command within yourself 7 You say you are 

• not so now. I admit it, but when you are 
wise you will be so. And till you are wise, 
you have surely no title to quarrel with anoth- 
er's ignorance." 

" I can never be independent of my friends," 
returned Theon. "I must ever feel the injus- 
tice done to them, though I might be regard- 
less of that which affected merely myself" 

" Why so 1 What would enable you to 
disregard that done to yourself 7 " 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 135 

" Conscious innocence. Pride, if you will. 
Contempt of the folly and ignorance of my 
judges." ' • 

" Well, and are you less conscious of the in- 
nocence of your friend 1 If you are, where is 
your indignation ? And if you are not, have 
you less pride for him than for yourself 7 Do 
you respect that folly and ignorance in his 
judges that you despise in your own 1 " 

"I believe it will not stand argument," said 
Theon. " But you must forgive me if, when 
I contemplate Epicurus, I feel indignant at the 
slander which dares to breathe upon his pu- 
rity." 

" And do you think you were yourself an 
object of indignation, when you spoke of him 
as a monster of vice"? " ! 

" Yes, I feel I was." ^ 

" But he felt otherwise," said the Master, 
"and which, think you, is likely to feel most 
wisely 1 " 

"Ah! I hope it is Epicurus," said the 
youth, snatching his instructor's hand. Their 
conversation was here interrupted by the burst- 
ing of the storm. The fire flashed round the 
horizon, the thunder cracked over the zenith, 
and the first big drops fell from the burdened 
clouds. I" We are near the Temple," said the 
sage, "let us seek shelter under its portico. 



126 A. FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 

We may watch the storm there, without a wet 
skin." They had hardly gained it, when the 
rain poured down intorrents. Ihssus, whom 
the burning sun had of late faded into a feeble 
rill, soon filled and overflowed his bed : wave 
after wave, in sudden swell, came roaring 
down, as if he now first burst to life from the 
womb of his parent mountain. But the vio- 
lence of the storm soon spent its strength. Al- 
ready the thunder broke with longer intervals, 
and a faint light, like the opening of morning, 
gleamed over the western heavens. At length 
the sun cleared his barrier of clouds. He stood 
on the verge of the waves, and shot his level 
rays over the blazing Salamis and the glisten- 
ing earth. The sage stood with his young 
friend in silent admiration, when the eye of the 
latter was attracted by a horseman, who came 
full gallop over the plain, directly towards 
them. The object of his attention had nearly 
reached the river, when he perceived the rider 
to be a female. The swift feet of the steed 
now touched the opposite brink. " Great 
Jove ! she will not attempt the passage ! '^ ex- 
claimed the youth, as he sprung towards the 
river. " Stop ! stop ! " he cried. She checked 
the rein, but top late. The animal, accustom- 
ed to the passage, and blinded by speed, 
plunged into the flood. Theon tore his robe 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 137 

from his shoulders, and was about to make the 
plunge on his side, when he was grasped by 
Epicurus. 

" Be not rash. The horse is strong, and the 
rider skilful," The voice that uttered these 
words was calm and distinct, but its wonted 
music was changed into the deep tone of sup- 
pressed horror. Even at that moment, the 
accent struck Theon's ear. 

" Do you know her ] Is she your friend 7 Is 
she dear to you? If so — ," he made another 
effort to throw himself forward, but was still 
restrained by Epicurus. He looked into the 
philosopher's face. There was no motion in it, 
save a quivering round the mouth, while the 
eyes were fixed in aching gaze on the strug- 
gling animal. He breasted the water midway, 
when seemingly frightened at the rapidity of 
the current, he tried to turn. The rider saw 
the danger, she curbed the rein, she tried with 
voice and effort to urge him to the conflict. 
Theon looked again at the sage. He saw he 
had loosened his mantle, and was prepared to 
try the flood. "I conjure you, by the gods ! " 
said the youth, " what is my life to yours 7 " 
He grasped the sage in his turn. " Let me 
save her! I will save her — I swear it!" 
They both struggled a moment for the leap. 
" 1 swear," continued Theon, with furious en- 



138 A TEW FAYS IN ATHENS, 

ergy, " that if you go, I will follow." He 
made another effort, and dashed from the hold 
of Epicurus into the river. Naturally strong, 
he was doubly so at this moment. He felt no^ 
fear, he saw not danger. In a moment he 
was in the centre of the current — another 
stroke, and he had seized the mane of the 
steed. But the terrified animal even then 
gave way to the stream. The rider still strug- 
gled for her seat. But her strength fast failed, 
she stretched out her hand with a feeble cry of 
despair. Theon shot forward yet swifter than 
the tide ; he drove with a shock against the 
horse, and caught with one arm the expiring 
girl. Then, half yielding to the current, he 
parted with the other the roaring waters, and 
with effort almost superhuman grappled with 
their fury. Panting, choking, bewildered, yet 
never relaxing, he reached, but he knew not 
how, the land. When he recovered recollec- 
tion he found himself lying on a couch, in the 
arms of Epicurus. " Where am I," he said, 
" and where is the lovely girl7 " 

"Safe, safe, as her generous deliverer. Oh! 
my son ! now indeed my son, when I owe to 
thee my Hedeia." 

"Was it your adopted child, then ?" cried 
the youth, with a shout of delirious joy, as he 
threw himself on the breast of the sage. " But 



A. FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 139 

tell me," he said, rising and looking round on 
Metrodorus, who, with two other scholars, 
stood beside the couch, " how came I here? " 

"1 believe," said Metrodorus, "the Master 
swam to your aid — at least, we found him 
lifting you and Hedeia from the water." 

" I watched your strength, my son, and re- 
served mine till it should fail ; when I observ- 
ed it to do so, I came to your assistance. 
Now, compose yourself awhile, and I will go 
and put myself into a dry tunic." 



T ;'.''j 'Hi i 



' '<•>':]''>'■-{ '.iJ' (•"•:( :■ • ' '■■ i f -'(Oni 

[■■j'/.y* ,(;j;(it ( . ■ ' , 

. .'li' ' ' '\':i [.'11.0 ilrjiJii'li 
■ •I'J^flO'.l ill!.'/ 

M '■■' ' ■ ' 



140 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

iiaLrriiuT ri>f>'-»{ lav 

ial.el4 5i. CHAPTER XIL 

ia'ui hanot '"'■ 

Theon, rising recruited from the warm bath, 
and his hmbs being well rubbed with oint- 
ments, joined the party at supper in health and 
spirits. It consisted of the Master, Leontium, 
Metrodorus, and two other scholars, whose 
persons were new to him. There was some- 
thing in the gentle manners of one, not unmix- 
ed with a little awkwardness, the grave repose 
of his features, the abstract thought that lined 
his forehead, and fixed his mild eye, that led 
him to guess it was Polyoenus. The other, 
whose gait had the dignity of manhood, and 
the polish of art; whose face, without being 
handsome, had that beauty which refined sen- 
timent and a well stored mind always throw 
more or less into the features ; whose whole 
appearance showed at once the fine scholar and 
the amiable man, fixed instantly Theon's at- 
tention and curiosity. All received the youth 
with congratulations, and Metrodorus, as he 
held him in his embrace, jokingly upbraided 
him as a greedy and barbarous invader, who 
was carrying ofl", in his single person, the 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 141 

whole love and honor of the Garden. " But 
yet," he added, " have a care; for I doubt you 
have secured the envy also." . yd i) ti!') 

"I believe it," said Theon. "At least I 
know I should envy you, or any of your frater- 
nity, who had risked his life, aye, or lost it, in 
the service of your Master, or any your Master 
loved." 

" Well said, my dear youth," said the 
stranger, taking his hand ; " and when you 
have seen more of the nymph you so gallantly 
rescued, you will perhaps think the man a no 
less object of envy, who should risk his life 
for her, or any she loved." 

They moved to the table, when Leontium 
whispered Theon, "Hermachusof Mytelene, 
the bosom friend of Epicurus." 

" I thank you," replied Theon, " you have 
well read my curiosity." 

The party were about to place themselves, 
when a sound in the passage turned all eyes to 
the door. *' Yes, nurse, you may just peacea- 
bly let me take my own way. Go, go, I am 
quite well, quite warm, and quite active. I 
tell you, you have rubbed my skin off — would 
you rub away my flesh too 7 " And in came, 
with the light foot of a nymph of Dian, the 
young Hedeia. A white garment, carelessly 
adjusted, fell, with inimitable grace, over her 



142 A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 

airy form ; in equal negligence, her long hair, 
still moist from the recent waves, and dishev- 
elled by the anxious rubbing of her careful at- 
tendant, hung down her shoulders to her zone. 
Her face, though pale from late alarm and fa- 
tigue, beaming with life and joy. Her full 
dark eyes sparkling with intelligence, and her 
lips, though their coral was slightly faded, 
lovely with smiles. In one hand she held a 
goblet, in the other a chaplet of myrtle. 
" Which is my hero 7 " she asked, in a voice 
more sweet than the evening zephyr, as she 
looked round the board. "Am I right?" ap- 
proaching Theon. The youth, as he gazed on 
the lovely face, forgot to answer. " Nay, is it 
a statue? " leaning forward, and gazing in her 
turn, as if in curious inspection. 

" No, a slave," said Theon, half smiling, 
half blushing, as he stooped his knee, while 
she placed the garland on his head. 

"I come to pledge you,"" she said, putting 
the cup to her lips, " and to bid you pledge 
me," presenting it with bewitching grace to 
the youth. He took it in speechless ecstasy 
from her taper fingers, and turning that side 
to his mouth which had received the touch of 
her's, quaffed off at once the draught of wine 
and love. 

"Beware," said a voice in his ear; "it is 



A TEVr DAYS IN ATHENS. 143 

the cup of Circe." He turned, Polyoenus stood 
behind him ; but when he saw his motionless 
features, he could hardly believe the whisper 
had been uttered by him. 

'• J. know," continued the fair one, pointing 
to the table, " there is but cold beverage here 
for a drowned man. My wise father may 
know to give comfort to the mind, but come to 
ray good nurse, when you want the comfort of 
the body. She is the most skilful compoimder 
of elixirs, philters, and every palatable medi- 
cine that you might haply find in all Greece, 
all Asia, aye, or all the earth. And now make 
way," putting back the surrounding company, 
and leading Theon by the arm to the upper 
end of the table. " Behold the king of the 
feast." 

" That is, if you are the queen," said the in- 
toxicated youth. J 

"Oh! certainly," placingherself by hisside, 
" I never refuse consequence, whenever I can 
get it." 

" Wherever you can take it, you mean," 
said the Master laughing. 

•' And is not that every where?" said Her- 
machus, bowing to the fair girl. 

" Yes, I believe it is. A pretty face, my 
friends, may presume much; a willful nature 



XAi A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

may carry all things. I have both to perfec- 
tion; have I not"?" 

"Praise to Venus, and the Graces!" said 
Leontium; "our sister has brought a heart as 
gay from the college of Pythagoras, as she 
took into it." 

" To be sure ; and did you expect other- 
wise ? Psha ! you philosophers know nothing 
of human nature. I could have told you be- 
fore this last experiment, that humor lies in 
contrast, and that a wag will find more sub- 
ject in a synod of grave sages than a crew of 
laughing wits. You must know," turning to 
Theon, "I have been on a visit to a wise man, 
a very wise man, who has followed from his 
youth up the whim, and all very wise men 
have whims, of restoring the neglected school 
of Pythagoras to its pristme greatness. Ac- 
cordingly, he has collected and brought up 
some dozen submissive youths to his full satis- 
faction ; for not one of them dare know his 
right hand from his left, but on his master's 
authority, doubly backed by that of the great 
founder. They have, in short, no purse of 
their own, no time of their own, no tongue of 
their own, no will of their own, "and no 
thought of their own. You cannot conceive a 
more perfect community. One more virtu- 



L FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 145 

ously insipid, more scientifically absurd, or 
more wisely ignorant." -^ 

"Fie, fie, you giddy jade," said the Master, 
smiling, while he tried to frown. 

"Giddy, not at all. I am delivering grave 
matter of fact story." 

"And we are all ear," said Hermachus, " so 
pray let us have the whole of it." 

" The whole 7 nay, you have it already. 
An abode of the blessed ; a house with twelve 
bodies in it, and one brain to serve them all." 

"Why," replied Hermachus, "I believe you 
have at home some hundred bodies in the same 
predicament. " •-],,,/ 

" To be sure; and so I told the sage Pytha- 
gorean, when he looked so complacently on 
his twelve pieces of mechanism, and assured 
him that were it not for me, there would not 
be a single original in the Garden save the 
Master. I assure you, father, I gave just as 
matter of fact a description of your household, 
as I now do of the old Pythagorean's. And, a 
most singular coincidence, I remember he 
cried, ' Fie, fie,' just as you did now. Once 
more, it was a most perfect household; witt 
the men, all peace, method, virtue, learning 
and absurdity: with the women, all silence 
order, ignorance, modesty, and stupidity." . 

"And pray, sister," said Metrodonis, "what 

7 



14^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

made you leave a society that afforded such 
food to your satire? " 

" Because, brother, the richest food cloys the 
fastest. I passed three days to my perfect sat- 
isfaction ; a fourth would have killed me." 

" And your friends, too," said the philos- 
opher, shaking his head. 

" Killed them ? They never knew they had 
life, till I found it out for them. No, no, I left 
sore hearts behind me. The Master indeed, — 
ah! the Master! — Poor man, shall I confess 
it? Before I left the house, he caught one of 
his pupils looking into a mirror with a candle, 
heard that another had stirred the fire with a 
sword, and oh ! more dreadful than all, tliat a 
third had swallowed a bean.* If I could have 
staid three days longer, I might have wound 
my girdle round the necks of the whole dozen, 
brought them on my back, and laid them at 
the feet of Epicurus." 

"And what said the Master all this time?" 
said Leontium. 

"Said he? what said he? umph ! I never 
heard what he said, for I was reading what he 
felt." 

"And what felt he?" asked Hermachus, 



♦Alluding to the ■whimsical superstitions of Pythngoras, 
or, perhaps it wet* mpre just to say, e^ia followers. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 147 

"Just what yo«« have felt — and you too," 
looking at Polycenus. "Aye, and you also, 
very sage philosopher ; " and turning short 
round to Theon, " what you have to feel, if 
you have to feel, if you have not yet felt — 
that I was vastly witty, vastly amusing, and 
vastly beautiful." 

" And do you think," said the Gargettian, 
"when we feel all this, we can't be angry with 



you 



1" 



" Nay, what do you think? But no, no, I 
know you all better than you know yourselves* 
And I think you cannot, or if you can, 'tis as 
the poet, who curses the muse he burns to pro- 
pitiate. Oh ! philosophy ! philosophy ! thou 
usest hard maxims and showest a grave face, 
yet thy maxims are but words, and thy face 
but a mask. A skilful histrion, who, when 
the buskin is off, paint, plaster, and garment 
thrown aside, stands no higher, no fairer, and 
no more mighty, than the youngest, poorest, 
and simplest of thy gaping worshippers. Ah f 
friends ! laugh and frown ; but show me the 
man, the wisest, the gravest, or the sourest, 
that a bright pair of eyes can't make a fool of" 

" Ah ! you proud girl," said Hermachus, 
" tremble ! remember the blue-eyed Sappho 
died at last for a Phaon." 

-'Well, if such be my fate, I must submit. 



1^ 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



I do not deny, because I have been wise hith- 
erto, that I may not turn fool with the philos- 
ophers, before I die." 

' " What an excellent school for the rearing of 
youth," said the Master, " the old Pythagorean 
must think mine." 

" Judging from me as a specimen, you mean. 
And trust me now, father, 1 am the best. Do 
I not practise what you preach ? What you 
show the way to, do I not possess ? Look at 
my light foot, look in my laughing eye, read 
my gay heart, and tell — if pleasure be not 
mine. Confess then, that I take a shorter cut 
to the goal than your wiser scholars, aye, than 
your wisest self. You study, you lecture, you 
argue, you exhort. And what is it all for? as 
if you could not be good without so much 
learning, and happy without so much talking. 
Here am I — I think I am very good, and I 
am quite sure I am very happy; yet I never 
wrote a treatise in my life, and can hardly lis- 
ten to one without a yawn." 

"Theon," said Epicurus, smiling, "you see 
now the priestess of our midnight orgies." 

" Ah ! poor youth, you must have found the 
Garden but a dull place in my absence. But 
have patience, it will be better in future." 

"More dangerous," said Polycenus. 

" Never mind him," whimpered Iledeia, in 



A. FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 149 

the Corinthian's ear, — "he is not the grave 
man that a bright pair of eyes cannot make a 
fool of. Tliis is very odd," she continued, 
looking round the board. " Here am I, the 
stranger, and one too half drowned, charged 
with the entertaining of this whole learned' 
society." 

"Nay, my girl," said the Master, "thou 
hadst need to be whole drowned, ere your, 
friends might secure the happiness of being 
listened to." 

"Indeed, I believe it's true; and consider- 
ing that the greatest pleasure of life is the be- 
ing listened to, I wonder how any one was- 
found to pick me out of the water. The Cor-, 
inthian, to be sure, did not know what he 
saved; but that the Master should wet his; 
tunic in my service, is a very unaccountable 
circumstance. Is there any reason for it in 
philosophy?" 

" I am afraid none." 

"Or in mathematics?" turning to PolycB- 
nus. "Now, just see there a proof of my ar- 
gument. Can any man look more like wis- 
dom, or less like happiness? This comes of 
diagrams and ethics. My young Corinthian, 
take warning." 

" 1 wish we could fix you to a diagram," 
said Leontium. 



150 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

' ^'The Graces forfend ! and why should you 
wish it? Think yon it would make me 
wiser 1 Let Polyoenus be judge, if 1 am not 
wiser than he. I admire the dilFerent pre- 
scriptions that are given by different doctors. 
The wife of the good Pythagorean recom- 
mended me a distaff." 

"Well," said Hermachus, " that might do 
equally." 

"Pray, why don't you take one yourself?" 
" I, you see, am busy with philosophy." 
"And so am I, with laughing at it. Ah! 
my sage brother, every man thinks Ihat perfec- 
tion, that he is himself — that the only knowl- 
edge that he possesses — and that the only 
pleasure that he pursues. Trust me, there 
are as many ways of living as there are men, 
and one is no more fit to lead another, than a 
bird to lead a fish, or a fish a quadruped." 

" You would make a strange world, were 
you the queen of it," said Hermachus, laugh- 
ing. 

"Just as strange, and no stranger than it is 
at present. For why 7 1 should take it as I 
found it, and leave it as I found it. 'Tis you 
philosophers, who would rub and twist, and 
plague and doctor it, and fret your souls out, to 
bring all its heterogeneous parts, fools, wits, 



A FEW DAYS INATHENIS. 151 

knaves, simpletons, grave, gay, light, heavy, 
long faced and short faced, black, white, 
brown, straight and crooked, tall, short, thin 
and fat, to fit together, and patient reflect each 
other, like the acorns of an oak, or the modest 
wives and helpless daughters of the good citi- 
zens of Athens ; 'tis you, I say, who would 
make a strange world, were you kings of it — 
you would shorten and lengthen, clip, pull, 
and carve men's minds to fit your systems, as 
the tyrant did men's bodies to fit his bed." 

"I grant there's some truth, my girl, in thy 
nonsense,'^ said the Master. 

" And I grant that there is not a philosopher 
in Athens, who would have granted as much, 
save thyself You will find, my young hero," 
turning to Theon, " that my father philosophi- 
ses more sense, that is, less absurdity, than any 
man since the seven sages, nay ! even than the 
seven sages philosophized themselves. He 
only lacks to be a perfectly wise man " 

"To burn," said the Master, "his books of 
philosophy, and to sing a tune to thy lyre." 

" No, it shall do to let me sing a tune to it 
myself" She bounded from the couch and 
the room, and returned in a moment, with the 
instrument in her hand. " Fear not," she 
said, nodding to the sage, as she lightly swept 



;6^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

the chords, " I shall not woo my own lover, 
but your mistress." 

" Come, Goddess ! come ! not in thy power, 

With gait and garb austere. 

And threatning brow severe, 
Like stern Olympus in the judgment hour ; 
But come with looks and heart assuring, 
Come with smiling eyes alluring. 
Moving soft to Lydian measures. 
Girt with graces, loves, and pleasures, 
Bound Avith Basilea's zone. 
Come, Virtue ! come ! in joyous tone 
We bid thee welcome to our hearth, 
For well we know, that thou alone 
Canst give the purest bliss of earth." 

" No thanks, no thanks. I shall take my 
own reward," and stealing behind Epicurus, 
she threw her white arms round his neck, and 
laid her cheek on his lips. Then rising, 
" Good dreams be with you ! " and waving 
round her hand, and throwing a smile on 
Theon, vanished in an instant. The youth 
saw and heard no more, but sat as in a dream, 
until the party divided. 

" Have a care," whispered the Master, as he 
followed him into the vestibule. "Cupid is a 
knavish god, he can pierce the hearts of others, 
and hold a shield before his own." 



▲ FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 153 



.{two >' fj Q i^h^Jir '«3ni 

••■f^ '^!J■.•» -^.fi'l' .p;-iH; 

Night's refreshing airs fanned the cheeks of 
Theon, and rustled the myrtle on his brow; 
but the subtle fever of love which swept 
through his veins, and throbbed in his heart 
and temples, was beyond their cooling influ- 
ence. The noisy business of life had now given 
place in the streets to noisy merriment. The 
song and the dance sounded from the open 
portals ; and the young votaries of Bacchus, in 
all the frenzy of the god, rushed from the 
evening banquet, to the haunts of midnight 
excess, while the trembling lover glided past to 
the stolen interview, shrinking even from the 
Hght of Day's pale sister. Theon turned ab- 
ruptly from the crowd, and sought instinctive- 
ly a public walk, at this hour always private, 
where he had often mused on the mysteries of 
philosophy, and taxed his immature judgment 
to hold the balance between the doctrines of 
her contending schools. No thoughts so deep 
and high now filled his youthful fancy. He 
wandered on, his senses steeped in delirium 
not less potent than that of wine, until his 

7* 



154 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

Steps were suddenly arrested by a somewhat 
rude rencounter with a human figure, advanc- 
ing with a pace more deUberate than his own. 
He started backwards and his eyes met those 
of Cleanthes. The stoic paused a moment, 
then moved to pass on. But Theon, however 
little he might have desired such a companion 
at such a moment, hailed him by name, and 
placed himself at his side. Again Cleanthes 
gazed on him in silence ; when Theon, follow- 
ing the direction of his glance, raised a hand 
to his temples, and removed, with a conscious 
blush, the offending garland. He held it for a 
moment; then, placing it^ in his bosom — 
"You misjudge this innocent token; — a 
pledge of acknowledgment for a life redeemed 
from the waves." 

" Would that I might receive a pledge of the 
redemption of thy virtue, Th«on, from the 
flood of destruction ! For thy sake I have 
opened the volumes of this smooth deceiver. 
And shall a few fair words and a fairer coun- 
tenance shield such doctrines from approbrium ?- 
Shall he who robs virtue of her sublimity, the 
Gods of their power, man of his immortality, 
and creation of its providence, pass for a 
teacher of truth, and expounder of the laws of 
nature ? Where is thy reason, Theon 1 where 
thy moral sense ? to see, in doctrines such as 



Jl FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 155 

these, aught but impiety and crime, or to im- 
agine, that he, who advocates them, can merit 
aught but the scorn of the wise, and the oppro- 
brium of the good?" 

" I know not such to be the doctrines of Ep- 
icurus," said the youth, " and you will excuse 
my farther reply, until I shall have exammed 
the p4>ilosophy you so bitterly, and apparently 
so justly condemn." 

" The philosophy ? honor it not with the 
name." 

" Nay," returned Theon with a smile, 
" there are so many absurdities honored with 
that appellative, in Athens, that the compli- 
ment might pass unchallenged, although ap- 
plied to one less worthy than, in my eyes, ap- 
pears the sage of Gargettium. But," prevent- 
ing the angry interruption of the stoic, " my 
slowness to judge and to censure offends your 
enthusiasm. The experience of three days 
has taught me this caution. My acquaintance, 
as yet, is rather with the philosopher than the 
philosophy ; my prejudices at first were equal- 
ly strong against both. Havmg discovered 
my error with respect to one, ought 1 not to 
read, listen, and examine, before I condemn 
the other? And, the rather, as all that I have 
heard in the garden has hitherto convinced my 
reason, and awakened my admiration and 
love." 



156 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

" Permit me the question," said Cleanthes, 
stopping short, and fixing his piercing glance 
on the countenance of his companion — '•' Honor 
ye the Gods, and believe ye in a creating 
cause, and a superintending Providence 1 " 

" Surely I do," said Theon. 

" How, then, venerate ye the man who pro- 
claims his doubt of both ? " « 

" So, in my hearing, has never the son of 
Neocles." 

" But he has and does in the hearing of the 
world." 

"I have so heard, and ranked it among the 
libels of his enemies." 

" He has so written, and the fact is acknowl- 
edged by his friends." : ■" ' 

"I will read his works," said Theon, "and 
question the writer. A mind more candid, 
whatever be its errors, exists not, I am per- 
suaded, than that of Epicurus ; I should have 
said also, a mind more free of errors. But 
he has taught me to think no mind, however 
wise, infallible." 

"Call ye such doctrines, errors? I should 
rather term them crimes." 

" I object not to the word," said Theon. "I 
will examine into this. The Gods have ye in 
their keeping ! Goo^. night." They entered 
the city, and the friends divided. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 157 

CHAPT^M Xlf . '"'■ 

Uneasy thoughts bred unquiet skimbers ; 
and Theon rose from a restless couch, before 
the first blush of Aurora tinged the forehead of 
the sky. He trod the paths of the garden, and 
waited with impatience, for the first time not 
unmixed with apprehension, the appearance of 
the Master. The assertions of Cleanthes were 
corroborated by the testimony of the public ; 
but that testimony he had learned to despise. 
They were made after perusal of Epicurus' s 
writings ; with these writings he was still un- 
acquainted. Had they been misinterpreted 1 
Cleanthes was no Timocrates. If prejudiced, 
he Was incapable of wilful misrepresentation; 
and he was too familiar with the science of 
philosophy, so grossly to misunderstand a rea- 
soner, as lucid as appeared to be Epicurus. 
These musings were soon interrupted. The 
morning star still glowed in the kindling east, 
when he heard approaching footsteps, and 
turning from the shades upon a small open 
lawn where a crystal fountain flowed from the 
inverted urn of a recumbent naiad, he was 
greeted by the Sage. 



P^ A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

"Oh ! no," exclaimed Theon, half audibly, 
as he gazed on the serene countenance before 
him, "this man is not an atheist." 

" What thoughts are with you, my son, this 
morning? " said the philosopher, with kind so- 
licitude. "I doubt your plunge in Ilyssus dis- 
turbed your dreams. Did the image of a fair 
nymph, or of a river god flit round your 
couch, and drive sleep from your eyelids?" 

"I was in some danger from the first," said 
the youth, half smiling, half blushing, " until 
a visitant of a different character, and one, I 
imagine, more wont to soothe than to disturb 
the mind, brought to my imagination a host of 
doubts and fears, which your presence alone 
has dispelled." 

"And who played the part of your incu- 
bus 1 " demanded the Sage. 

" Even yourself, most benign and indulgent 
of men." 

" Truly, I grieve to have acted so ill by thee, 
my son. It shall be well, however, if having 
inflicted the disease, I may be its physician." 

" On leaving you last night," said Theon, 
" I encountered Cleanthes. He came from the 
perusal of your writings, and brought charges 
against them which I was unprepared to an- 
swer." 

"Let us hear them, my son; perhaps, until 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS, tS9 

you shall have perused them yourself, we may 
assist your difficulty." 

" First, that they deny the existence of the 
Gods." 

"I see but one other assertion, that could 
equal that in folly," said Epicurus. 

" I knew it ! " exclaimed Theon, triumphant- 
ly ; ''I knew it was impossible. But where 
will not prejudice lead men, when even the 
upright Cleanthes is capable of slander? " 

" He is utterly incapable of it," said the 
Master; "and the inaccuracy, in this case, I 
rather suspect to rest with you than with him. 
To deny the existence of the Gods would indeed 
be presumption in a philosopher ; a presump- 
tion equalled only by that of him who should 
assert their existence." 

" How ! " exclaimed the youth, with a coun- 
tenance in which astonishment seemed to sus- 
pend every other expression. 

" As I never saw the Gods, my son," calmly 
continued the Sage, " I cannot assert their ex-- 
istence; and, that I never saw them, is no 
reason for my denying it." 

" But do we believe nothing except that of 
which we have ocular demonstration ? " 

" Nothing, at least, for which we have not 
the evidence of one or more of our senses ; that 
is, when we believe on just grounds, which, 1 



ISd A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ■ 

grant, taking men collectively, is very sel- 
dom." 

" But where would this spirit lead us ? To 
impiety ! — to Atheism ! — to all, against which 
I felt confidence in defending the character 
and philosophy of Epicurus ! '"' 

" We will examine presently, my son, into 
the meaning of the terms you have employed. 
But as respects your defence of my philosophy, 
I am sorry that you presumed so much, where 
you knew so little. Let this serve for another 
caution against pronouncing before you exam- 
ine, and asserting before you enquire. It is 
my usual custom," continued the Master, 
" with the youth who frequent my School, to 
defer the discussion of all important questions, 
until they are naturally, in the course of 
events, suggested to their own minds. Their 
curiosity once excited, it is my endeavor, so 
far as in me lies, to satisfy it. When you first 
entered the Garden, your mind was unfit for 
the examination of the subject you have now- 
started: it is no longer so: and we will there- 
fore enter upon the enquiry, and pursue it in 
order." 

"Forgive me if I express — if I acknowl- 
edge," said the youth, slightly recoiling from 
his instructor, " some reluctance to enter on 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 1"61 

the discussion of truths, whose very discussion 
would seem to argue a doubt, — and — " 
"And what then?" 
" That very doubt were a crime." 
"It is there that I wished to lead you; and 
with the examination of this point we shall 
rest, until time and circumstances .lead you to 
push the investigation farther. I have in me 
little of the spirit of prosely tism. A mere ab- 
stract opinion, supposing it not to affect the 
conduct or disposition of him who holds it, 
would be in my eyes of very minor impor- 
tance. And it is only in so far as I believe 
that all our opinions, however apparently re- 
moved from any practical consequences, do al- 
ways more or less affect one or the other — 
our conduct or our dispositions — that I am at 
the pains to correct in my scholars, those 
which appear to me erroneous. I understand 
you to say, that to enter upon the discussion of 
certain opinions, which you consider as sacred 
truths, would appear to argue a doubt of those 
truths, and that a doubt would here constitute 
a crime. Now as I think such a belief incon- 
sistent with candor and charity — two feelings, 
indispensable both for the enjoyment of happi- 
ness ourselves, and for its distribution to others, 
I shall challenge its investigation. If the 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

doubt of any truth shall constitute a crime, 
then the belief of the same truth should con- 
stitute a virtue." 

" Perhaps a duty would rather express it." 

"When you charge the neglect of any duty 
as a crime, or account its fulfilment a virtue, 
you suppose, the existence of a power to neglect 
or fulfil ; and it is the exercise of this power, 
in the one way or the other, which constitutes 
the merit or demerit. Is it not so ? " 

'' Certainly." 

" Does the human mind possess the power 
to believe or disbelieve, at pleasure, any truths 
whatsoever?" 

"1 am not prepared to answer : but I think 
it does, since it possesses always the power of 
investigation." 

" But, possibly, not the will to exercise the 
power. Take care lest I beat you with your 
own weapons. I thought this very investiga- 
tion appeared to you a crime." 

" Your logic is too subtle," said the youth, 
"for my inexperience." 

" Say rather, my reasoning too close. Did 1 
bear you down with sounding words and 
weighty authorities, and confound your under- 
standing with hair-drawn distmctions, you 
would be right to retreat from the battery." 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 163 

" I have nothing to object to the fairness of 
your deductions," said Theon. " But would 
not the doctrine be dangerous that should es- 
tablish our inability to help our belief; and 
might we not stretch the principle, until we as- 
serted our inability to help our actions 7 " 

" We might and with reason. But we will 
not now traverse the ethical pons asinorum of 
necessity — the most simple and evident of 
moral truths, and the most darkened, tor- 
tured, and belabored by moral teachers. You 
enquire if the doctrine we have essayed to es- 
tablish, be not dangerous. I reply — not, if it 
be true. Nothing is so dangerous as error, — 
nothing so safe as truth. A dangerous truth 
would be a contradicion in terms, an anomaly 
in things." 

"But what is a trnth?" said Theon. 

"It is pertinently asked. A truth I consider 
to be an ascertained fact ; which truth would 
be changed into an error, the moment the fact, 
on which it rested, was disproved." 

" I see, then, no fixed basis for truth." 

"It surely has the most fixed of all — the 
nature of thmgs. And it is only an imperfect 
insight into that nature, which occasions all 
our erroneous conclusions, whether in physics 
or morals." a 



164 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

"But where, if we discard the gods, and 
their will, as engraven on our hearts, are our 
guides in the searqji after truth 7 " 

"Our senses, and our faculties as developed 
in and by the exercise of our senses, are the 
only guides with which I am acquainted. 
And I do not see why, even admitting a belief 
in the gods, and in a superintending provi- 
dence, the senses should not be viewed as the 
guides, provided by them, for our direction and 
instruction. But here is the evil attendant on 
an ungrounded belief, whatever be its nature. 
The moment we take one thing for granted we 
take other things for granted : we are started 
in a wrong road, and it is seldom we can gain 
the right one, until we have trodden back our 
steps to the starting place. I know of but one 
thing, that a philosopher should take for grant- 
ed ; and that only because he is forced to do it 
by an irresistible impulse of his nature ; and 
because, without doing so, neither truth nor 
falsehood could exist for him. He must take 
for granted the evidence of his senses ; in oth- 
er words, he must believe in the existence of 
things, as they exist to his senses. I know 
of no other existence, and can therefore believe 
in no other : although, reasoning from analo- 
gy, I may imagine other existences to bo. 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 165 

This, for instance, I do as respects the gods. 
I see around me in the world I inhabit an in- 
finite variety in the arrangement of matter ; — 
a muhitude of sentient beings, possessing dif- 
ferent kinds, and varying grades of power and 
inteUigence, — from the worm that crawls in 
the dust, to the eagle that soars to the sun, 
and man who marks to the sun its course. It 
is possible, it is moreover probable, that, in the 
worlds which I see not, — in the boundless in- 
finitude and eternal duration of matter, beings 
may exist, of every countless variety, and 
varying grades of intelligence, inferior and su- 
perior to our own, until we descend to a mini- 
mum, and rise to a maximum, to which the 
range of our observation affords no parallel, 
and of which our senses are inadequate to the 
conception. Thus far, my young friend, I be- 
lieve in the gods, or in what you will of exist- 
ences removed from the sphere of my knowl- 
edge. That you should believe, with positive- 
ness, in one unseen existence or another, ap- 
pears to me no crime, although it may appear 
to me unreasonable : and so, my doubt of the 
same should appear to you no moral offence, 
although you might account it erroneous. I 
fear to fatigue your attention, and will, there- 



166 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

fore, dismiss, for the present, these abstruse 
subjects. 

- But we shall both be amply repaid for their 
discussion, if this truth remain with you — 
that an opinion, right or wrong, can never con- 
stitute a moral offence, nor be in itself a moral 
obligation. It may be mistaken ; it may in- 
volve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a 
truth ; or it is an error : it can never be a 
crime or a virtue." 



-ij 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ISf 

■ <^.'.*nitU h '•A%i 

CHAPTER XV. 



Theon remained transfixed to the same spot 
of earth on which the Sage left him. A con- 
fused train of thoughts travelled through his 
brain, which his reason sought in vain to ar- 
rest, or to analyze. At one moment it seemed 
as if a ray of light had dawned upon his mind, 
opening to it a world of discovery as interest- 
ing as it was novel. Then suddenly he start- 
ed as from the brink of a precipice, whose 
depths were concealed in darkness. "Clean- 
thes then had justly expounded the doctrines 
of the garden. — But did these doctrines in- 
volve the delinquency which he had hitherto 
supposed? Were they inconsistent with rea- 
son, and irreconcilable with virtue? If so, I 
shall be able to detect their fallacy," said the 
youth, pursuing his soliloquy aloud. " It 
were a poor compliment to the truths I have 
hitherto worshipped, did I shrink from their 
investigation. And yet, to question the power 
of the Gods ! To question their very exist- 
ence ! To refuse the knee of homage to that 
great first cause of all things, that speaks, and 



168 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

breathes, and shines resplendent throughout all 
animated nature ! To dispute I know not 
what — of truths, as self-evident as they are 
sacred ; which speak to our eyes and our ears ; 
to those very senses whose testimony alone is 
without appeal in the garden ! " 

" Do you object to the testimony, young 
Corinthian?" said a voice, which Th eon re- 
cognised as that of Metrodorus. 

"You arrive opportunely," said Theon; 
" that is, if you will listen to the questions of 
my doubting and embarrassed mind." 

"Say rather, if I can answer them." 

"I attribute to you the ability," said Theon, 
"since I have heard you quoted as an able ex- 
pounder of the philosophy of the garden." 

" In the absence of our Zeno," said the 
scholar with a smile, " 1 sometimes play the 
part of his Cleanthes. And though you may 
find me less eloquent than my brother of the 
porch, I will promise equal fidelity to the text 
of my original. But here is one, who can ex- 
pound the doctrine in the letter and the spirit; 
and, with such an assistant. I should not fear 
to engage all the scholars and all the masters 
in Athens." 

" Nay, boast rather of thy cause than of thy 
assistant," said Leontium, approaching, and 
playfully tapping the shoulder of Metrodorus ; 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ' 169 

" nor yet belie thy own talents, my brother. 
The Corinthian will smile at thy false mod- 
esty, when he shall have studied thy writings, 
and listened to thy logical discourses. I imag- 
ine," she continued, turning her placid gaze on 
the youth, " that you have hitherto listened to 
more declamation than reasoning. I might 
also say, to more sophistry, seeing that you 
have walked and talked in the Lyceum," 
" Say rather, walked and listened." 
" In truth and I believe it," she returned 
with a smile, "and would that your good 
sense in this, were more common; and that 
men would rest content with straining their 
ears, and forbear from submitting their under- 
standings, or torturing those of their neigh- 
bors." 

" It might seem strange," said Metrodorus, 
"that the pedantry of Aristotle should find so 
many imitators, and his dark sayings so inany 
believers, in a city, too, now graced and en- 
lightened by the simple language, and simple 
doctrines of an Epicurus. — But the language 
of truth is too simple for inexperienced ears. 
We start in search of knowledge, like the 
demi-gods of old in search of adventure, pre- 
pared to encounter giants, to scale mountains, 
to pierce into Tartarean gulfs, and to carry off 
our prize from the gripe of some dark enchant- 
8 



m 



▲ FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



er^' invulnerable to all save to charmed weap- 
ons and deity-gifted assailants. To find none 
of all these things, but, in their stead, a 
smooth road through a pleasant country, with 
a familiar guide to direct our curiosity, and 
point out the beauties of the landscape, disap- 
points us of all exploit and all notoriety ; and 
our vanity turns but too often from the fair 
and open champaign, into error's dark laby- 
rinths, where we mistake mystery for wisdom, 
pedantry for knowledge, and prejudice for vir- 
tue." 

^' I admit the truth of the metaphor," said 
Theon. " But may we not simplify too much 
as well as too little ? May we not push inves- 
tigation beyond the limits assigned to human 
reason, and, with a boldness approaching to 
profanity, tear, without removing, the veil 
which enwraps the mysteries of creation from 
our scrutiny 1 " 

"Without challenging the meaning of the 
terms you have employed," said Metrodorus, 
"I would observe, that there is little dan- 
ger of our pushing investigation too far. Un- 
happily the limits prescribed to us by our few 
and imperfect senses must ever cramp the 
sphere of our observation, as compared to the 
boundless range of things; and that, even 
when we shall have strained and improved our 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 171 

senses to the uttermost. We trace an effect to 
a cause, and that cause to another cause, and 
so on, till we hold some few links of a chain, 
whose extent, like the charmed circle, is with- 
out beginning as without end." 

" I apprehend the difficulties," observed Le- 
ontium, " which embraces the mind of our 
young friend. Like most aspirants after 
knowledge, he has a vague and incorrect 
idea of what he is pursuing, and still more, 
of what may be attained. In the schools 
you have hitherto frequented," she contin- 
ued, addressing the youth, "certain images 
of virtue, vice, truth, knowledge, are pre- 
sented to the imagination, and these abstract 
'qualities, or we may call them, figurative 
beings, are made at once the objects of specu- 
lation and adoration. A law is laid down, 
and the feelings and opinions of men are pred- 
icated upon it ; a theory is built, and all ani- 
mate and inanimate nature is made to speak 
in its support ; an hypothesis is advanced, and 
all the mysteries of nature are treated as ex- 
plained. You have heard of, and studied va- 
rious systems of philosophy ; but real philos- 
ophy is opposed to all systems. Her whole 
business is observation ; and the results of that 
observation constitute all her knowledge. She 
receives no truths, until she has tested them by 



in 



A FEW DAYS Hf ATHENS. 



experience ; she advances no opinions, imsup- 
ported by the testimony of facts ; she acknowl- 
edges no virtue, but that involved in beneficial 
actions ; no vice, but that involved in actions 
hurtful to ourselves or to others. Aliove all, 
she advances no dogmas, — is slow to assert 
what is, — and calls nothing impossible. The 
science of philosophy is simply a science of ob- 
servation, both as regards the world without 
us, and the world within ; and, to advance in 
it, are requisite only sound senses, well devel- 
oped and exercised faculties, and a mind free 
of prejudice. The objects she has in view, as 
regards the external world, are, first, to see 
things as they are, and secondly, to examine 
their structure, to ascertain their properties, 
and to observe their relations one to the other. 
— As respects the world within, or the philos- 
ophy of mind, she has in view, first, to exam- 
ine our sensations, or the impressions of exter- 
nal things on our senses ; which operation in- 
volves, and is involved in, the examination of 
those external things themselves : secondly, to 
trace back to our sensations, the first develop- 
ment of all our faculties ; and again, from 
these sensations, and the exercise of our differ- 
"ent faculties as developed by them, to trace the 
gradual formation of our moral feelings, and 
of all our emotions : thirdly, to analyze all 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 173 

these our sensations, thoughts, and emo- 
tions, — that is, to examine the quaUties of our 
own internal, sentient matter, with the same, 
and yet more, closeness of scrutiny, than we 
have apphed to the examination of the matter 
that is without us : finally, to investigate the 
justness of our moral feelings, and to weigh 
the merit and demerit of human actions; 
which is, in other words, to judge of their ten- 
dency to produce good or evil^ — to excite 
pleasurable or painful feelings in ourselves or 
others. You will observe, therefore, that, both 
as regards the philosophy of physics, and the 
philosophy of mind, all is simply a process of 
investigation. It is a journey of discovery, m 
which, in the one case, we commission our 
senses to examine the qualities of that matter 
which is around us, and in the other, endeav- 
or, by attention to the varieties of our con-» 
sciousness, to gain a knowledge of those quali- 
ties of matter, which constitute our susceptif 
bilitiesof thought and feeling." 

"This explanation is new to me," observed 
Theon, "and, I will confess, startling to my 
imagination. It is pure materialism ! " 

" You may so call it," rejoined Leontium, 
"but, when you have so called it — what 
then ? The question remains : is it true 1 c^ 
is it false?" ... . 



174 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS^ 

"I should be disposed to say — false, since 
it confounds all my preconceived notions of 
truth and error, of right and wrong." 

"Of truth and error, of right and wrong, in 
the sense of correct or incorrect is, I presume, 
your meaning," said Leontium. " You do 
not involve moral rectitude or the contrary, in 
a matter of opinion? "jni'iri'tb hn 

"If the opinion haVB-amotal or immoral 
tendency I do," said the youth. 

"A simple matter of fact can have no such 
tendency, or ought not, if we are rational crea- 
tures." ' 

"And would not, if we were always reas- 
oning beings," said Metrodorus ; "but as the 
ignorance and superstition which surround our 
infancy and youth, favor the development of 
the imagination at the expense of the judg- 
ment, we are ever employed in the coining of 
chimeras, rather than in the discovery of 
truths ; and if ever the poor judgment make 
an effort to dispel these fancies of the brain, 
she is repulsed, like a sacrilegious intruder into 
religious mysteries." 

"Until our opinions are made to rest on 
facts," said Leontium, " the error of our 
yoimg friend — the most dangerous of all er- 
rors, being one of principle -and involving 
many — must ever pervade the world. And it 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 175 

was because I suspected this leading miscon- 
ception of the very nature — of the very end 
and aim of the science he is pursuing, that I 
attempted an explanation of what should be 
sought, and of what can alone be attained. 
In philosophy — that is, in knowledge — en- 
quiry is every thing : theory and hypothesis 
are worse than nothing. Truth is but approv- 
ed facts. Truth, then, is one with the knowl- 
edge of these facta. To shrink from enquiry, 
is to shrink from knowledge. And to pre- 
judge an opinion as true or false, because it in- 
terferes with some preconceived abstraction we 
cajl vice or virtue, is as if we were to draw the 
picture of a man we had never seen, and then, 
upon seeing him, were to dispute his being the 
man in question, because unlike our picture." 
.., "But if this opinion interfered with anoth- 
er, of whose truth we imagined ourselves cer- 
-tain?" ,1 

, "Then clearly, in one oj the. other, we are 
mistaken ; and the only way to settle the diffi- 
culty, is to examine and compare the eviden- 
ces of both." 

" But are there not some truths self-evi- 
dent]" 

" There are a few which we may so call. 
That is to say, there are some facts, which we 
admit upon the evidence of a simple sensation ; 



iti 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



as, for instance, that a whole is greater than 
its part ; that two are more than one : which 
we receive immediately upon the testimony of 
our sense of sight or of touch." 

"But are there no moral truths of the same 
nature?" 

" I am not aware of any. Moral truth, 
resting entirely upon the ascertained conse- 
quences of actions, supposes a process of ob- 
servation and reasoning." 

" What call you, then, a belief in a presiding 
providence, and a great first cause ? " 

"A belief resting upon testimony; which 
belief will be true or false, according to the 
correctness or incorrectness of that testimony." 

"Is it not rather a self-evident moral 
truth ? " 

" In my answer, I shall have to divide your 
question into two. First, it cannot be a moral 
truth, since it is not deduced from the conse- 
quences of human action. It can be simply a 
truth, that is, a fact. Secondly, it is not a 
self-evident truth, since it is not evident to all 
minds, and frequently becomes less and less 
evident, the more it is examined." 

" But is not the existence of a first or creat- 
ing cause demonstrated to our senses, by all 
we see, and hear, and feel 1" 

" The existence of all that we see and heax 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 177 

and feel is demonstrated to our senses ; and the 
belief we yield to this existence is immediate 
and irresistible, that is, intuitive. — The exis- 
tence of the creating cause, that you speak of, 
is not demonstrated to our senses ; and there- 
fore the belief in it cannot be immediate and 
irresistible. I prefer the expression ' creating ' 
to ' first ' cause, because it seems to present a 
more intelligible meaning. When you shall 
have examined farther into the phenomena of 
nature, you M^ill see, that there can be as httle 
di first as a last cause." 

" But there must be always a cause, produc- 
ing an effect ? " 

"Certainly; and so your cause, — creating 
all that we see and hear and feel — must itself 
have a producing cause, otherwise you are in 
the same difficulty as before." 

"I suppose it a Being unchangeable and 
eternal, itself unproduced, and producing all 
things." 

" Unchangeable it may be, — eternal it must 
be — since every thing is eternal." 

" Every thing eternal 7 " 

"Yes; that is, the elements composing all 
substances are, so far as we know and can 
reason, eternal, and in their nature unchangea- 
ble ; and it is apparently only the different dis- 
position of these eternal and unch£^ngeal?le 

8* 



1715 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

atoms that produces all the varieties in the 
substances constituting the great material 
whole, of which we form a part. Those par- 
ticles, whose peculiar agglomeration or ar- 
rangement, we call a vegetable to-day. pass 
into, and form part of, an animal to-morrow ; 
and that animal again, by the falling asunder 
of its constituent atoms, and the different ap- 
proximation and agglomeration of the same, — 
or, of the same with other atoms, — i^ trans- 
iformed into some other substance presenting a 
new assemblage of qua.'iMes. To this simple 
exposition of the phenomci a of nature (which, 
you will observe, is not e>:,ilaining their won- 
ders, for that is impossib't. but only obs^'vug 
them,) we are led by the exercise of our sea- 
ses. In studying the e:? '.stences which sur- 
round us, it is clearly our business to rise our 
eyes, and not our imagiuftions. To see things 
as they are, is all we should attempt, and is 
all that is possible to be done. Unfortunate' y, 
"we can do but little even here, as cr.r eyas 
serve us to see but a very little way. BtU, 
were our eyes better — were they so good as to 
enable us to observe all the arcana of matter, 
Ve could never acquire any other knowledge 
of them, than that they are as they are ; — 
aniid, ifi knowing this, that is, in seeing every 
link in the chain of occurrences, we should 



A TFW^ DAYS IN ATHENS. 179 

know all that even an omniscient being could 
know. One astronomer traces the course of 
the sun round the earth, another imagines that 
of the earth round the sun. Some future im- 
provements in science may enable us to ascer- 
tain which conjecture is the true one. We 
shall then have ascertained a fact, which fact 
may lead to the discovery of other facts, and 
so on. Until this plain and simple view of the 
nature of all science be generally received, all 
the advalnces we may make in it are compara- 
tively as nothing. Until we occupy ourselves 
in examining, observing, and ascertaining, and 
not in explaining^ we are idly and childishly 
employed. — With every truth we may dis- 
cover we shall mix a thousand errors ; and, 
for one matter of fact, we shall charge our 
brain with a thousand fancies. To this lead- 
ing misconception of the real, and only possi- 
ble object of philosophical enquiry, I incline to 
attribute all the modes a«d forms of human 
superstition. The vague idea that some mys- 
terious cause not merely precedes but produces 
the effect we behold, occasions us to wander 
from the real object m search of an imaginary 
one. We see the sun rise in the east : Instead 
of confining our curiosity to the discovery of 
the time and manner of its rising, and of its 
course in the heavens, we ask also — why does 



180 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

it rise 1 What makes it move ? The more 
ignorant immediately conceive some Being 
spurring it through the heavens, with fiery 
steeds, and on wheels of gold, while the more 
learned tell us of laws of motion, decreed by 
an almighty fiat, and sustained by an almighty 
will. Imagine the truth of both suppositions : 
In the one case, we should see the application 
of what we call physical power in the driver 
and the steeds followed by the motion of the 
sun, and in the other, an almighty volition fol- 
lowed by the motion of the sun. But, in 
either case, should we understand whtj the sun 
moved? — lahy or how its motion followed 
what we call the impulse of the propelling 
power, or the propelling volition? All that 
we could then know, more than we now know, 
would be, that the occurrence of the motion of 
the sun was preceded by another occurrence ; 
and if we afterwards frequently observed the 
same sequence of occurrences, they would be- 
come associated in our mind as necessary pre- 
cedent and consequent — as cause and efiect : 
and we might give to them the appellation of 
law of nature, or any other appellation ; but 
they would still constitute merely a truth — 
that is, a fact, and envelope no other mystery, 
than that involved in every occurrence and 
every existence." l 3v? ,i;iit</A.'. 



. A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 181 

"But, according to this doctrine," said 
Theon, "there would be no less reason in at- 
tributing the beautiful arrangement of the ma- 
terial world to the motion of a horse, than to 
the volition of an almighty mind." 
'O'VIf I saw the motion of a horse followed by 
the effect you speak of, I should believe in 
some relation between them ; and if 1 saw it 
follow the volition of an almighty mind — the 
same." i 

" But the cause would be inadequate to the 
effect." 

"It could not be so, if it were the cause. 
For what constitutes the adequacy of which 
you speak 7 Clearly only the contact, or im- 
mediate proximity of the two occurrences. If 
any sequence could in fact be more wonderful 
than another, it should rather seem to be for 
the consequent to impart grandeur to the prece- 
dent — the effect to the cause, — than for the 
cause to impart grandeur to the effect. But in 
reality all sequences are equally wonderful. 
That light should follow the appearance of the 
sun, is just as wonderful, and no more so, as if 
it were to follow the appearance of any other 
body — and did light follow the appearance of 
a black stone it would excite astonishment sim- 
ply because we never saw light follow such 
an appearance before. Accustomed, as we 



A Pew days in athens. 

now are, to see light when the snn rises, our 
-wonder would be, if we did not see light when 
he rose : but were light regularly to attend the 
appearance of any other body, our wonder at 
such a sequence would, after a time, cease; 
and we should then say, as we now say, there 
is light, because such a body has risen: and 
imagine then, as we imagine noio, that we un- 
derstand why light is. 

"In like manner all existences are equally 
•wonderful. An African lion is in himself 
nothing more extraordinary than a Grecian 
horse; although the whole people of Athens 
"will assemble to gaze oii the lion, and exclaim, 
how wonderful ! while no man observes the 
horse." 

ii>ii<True — but this is the wondering of ignor- 
ance." 

"1 reply — trine again, but so is all wonder- 
ing. If, indeed, we should consider it in this 
and in all other cases as simply an emotion of 
pleasurable surprise, acknowledging the pres- 
ence of a novel object, the feeling is perfectly 
rational ; but if it imagine any thing more in- 
trinsically marvellous in the novel existence 
4han in the familiar one, it is then clearly the 
idle — that is, the unreasoned and unreflecting 
tnarvelling of ignorance. There is but one 
^eal wonder to the thinking mind : it is the ex- 
istence of all things ; that is, the existence of 



A FEW DAYS TN ATHEJ;fs.'' 183 

matter. And the only rational ground of this 
one great wonder is, that the existence of matter 
is the last link in the chain of cause and effect, 
at which we can arrive. You imagine yet 
another link — the existence of a power crea- 
ting that matter. — My only objections to this 
additional linlr, or superadded cause, are, that 
it is imagified, and that it leaves the wonder 
as before ; unless, mdeed, we si ould say that 
it has supei added other wonders, since it sup- 
poses a pWirer, or rather, an existence possess- 
ing a powef/bf which we never saw an ex- 
ample." 

\'* " How so? Does not even man possess a 
species of creating power? And do you not 
suppose, in your inert matter, that very prop- 
erty which others attribute, with tnofe reason 
it appears to me, to some superior and un- 
known existence 1 " 

• ' *' By no means. No existence, that we know 
of, possesses creating power, in the sense you 
suppose. Neither the existence we call a man, 
nor any of the existences, comprised under the 
generic names of matter, physical world, na- 
ture, &c., possesses the power of calling into 
being its own constituent elements, nor the 
constituent elements of any other substance. 
It can change one substance into another sub- 
stance, by altering the position of its particles, 
or interminghng them with others : but it can- 



Itm A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

not call into being, any more than it can anni- 
hilate, those particles themselves. The hand 
of man causes to approach particles of earth 
and of water, and by their approximation, pro- 
duces clay ; to which clay it gives a regular 
form, and, by the application of lire, produces 
the vessel we call a vase. You may say that 
the hand of man creates the vase ; but it does 
not create the earth, or the water, or the fire ; 
neither has the admixture of these substances 
added to, or subtracted from, the sum of their 
elementary atoms. Observe, therefore, there is 
no analogy between the power inherent in mat- 
ter of changing its appearance and qualities, by 
a simple change in the position of its particles, 
and that which you attribute to some unseen 
existence, who, by a simple volition, should 
have called into being matter itself, with all 
its wonderful properties. An existence posses- 
sing such a power I have never seen ; and 
though this says nothing against the possibili- 
ty of such an existence, it says every thing 
against my belief in it. And farther, the pow- 
er which you attribute to this existence — that 
of wiUing every thing out of nothing, — being, 
not only what I have never seen, but that of 
which I cannot with any distinctness con. 
ceive — it must appear to me the greatest of 
all improbabilities.'.' ,[ uu jati. «.■ , ■ 



i FEW DAYS IN ATltENS. 185 

"Ouryourig friend," observed Metrodorusj 
"lately made use of an expression, the error 
involved in which, seems to be at the root of 
his difficulty. In speaking of matter," he con- 
tinued, turning to Theon, " you employed the 
epithet inert. What is your meaning ] And 
what matter do you here designate ? " > 

" All matter surely is, in itself, inert." 

"All matter surely is, in itself, as it is," said 
Metrodorus with a smile; " and that, I should 
say, is living and active. Again, what is mat- 
ter?" 

"All that is evident to our senses," replied 
Theon, " and which stands opposed to mind." 

"All matter then is inert which is devoid of 
mind. What, then, do you understand by 
mind 7" 

" 1 conceive some error in my definition," 
said Theon, smiling. " Should I say — 
thought — you would ask if every existence 
devoid of thought was inert, or if every exis- 
tence, possessing life, possessed thought?" 

"I should so have asked. Mind or thought 
I consider a quality of that matter constituting 
the existence we call a man, which quality we 
find in a varying degree in other existences ; 
many, perhaps all animals, possessing it. Life 
is another quality, or combination of qualities, 
of matter, inherent in — we know not how 



t8f A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

many existences. We find it in vegetables ; 
we might perceive it even in stones, could we 
watch their formation, growth, and decay. 
We may call that active principle, pervading 
the elements of all things, which approaches 
and separates the component particles of the 
ever changing, and yet ever during world — life. 
Until you discover some substance, which un- 
dergoes no change, you cannot speak of inert 
matter : it can only be so, at least, relative- 
ly, — that is, as compared with other substan- 
ces." 

" The classing of thought and life among 
the qualities of matter is new to me." 

" What is in a substance cannot be separate 
from it. And is not all matter a compound of 
qualities? Hardness, extension, form, color, 
motion, rest — take away- all these, and where 
is matter? To conceive of mind independent 
of matter, is as if we should conceive of color 
independent of a substance colored : What is 
form, if not a body of a particular shape? 
What is thought, if not something which 
thinks ? Destroy the substance, and you de- 
stroy its properties ; and so equally — destroy 
the properties, and you destroy the substance. 
To suppose the possibihty of retaining the one, 
without the other, is an evident absurdity." 

" The error of conceiving a quality in th e 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 187 

abstract often offended me m the Lyceum," rev 
turned the youth, "but I never considered the 
error as extending to mind and life, any more 
than to vice and virtue." '»f!f i.b t^^yiv 'A\\ ■.> ij, 

"You stopped short with many others," said 
Leontium. " It is indeed surprising how many 
acute minds will apply a logical train of reas- 
oning in one case, and invert the process in 
another exactly similar." 
!?"/»« To return, and, if you will, to conclude 
our discussion," said Metrodorus, "I will ob- 
serve that no real advances can be made in 
the philosophy of mind, without a deep scru- 
tiny into the operations of nature, or material 
existences. Mind being only a quality of mat- 
ter, the study we call the philosophy of mind, 
is necessarily only a branch of general physics, 
or the study of a particular part of the philos- 
ophy of matter." 

" I am indebted to your patience," said the 
youth, "and would fain intrude farther on it. 
I will confine myself at present, however, to 
one observation. The general view of things, 
which you present to my mind, the simplicity 
of which I will confess to be yet more fascina- 
ting than its novelty, is evidently unfavorable 
to rehgion, — and, if so, unfavorable to vir- 
tue." 

" An opportunity will, to-day, be afforded 



■■ A PEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

you," said Leontium, " of examining this im- 
portant question in detail. At the request of 
some of our youth, the Master will himself 
give his views on the subject." 

"I am all curiosity," said Theon. "Other 
teachers have commanded my respect, inflam- 
ed my imagination, and, I believe, often con- 
trolled my reason. The son of Neocles in- 
spires me with love, and wins me to confi- 
dence by encouraging me to exercise my own 
judgment, in scanning his arguments, and ex- 
amining the groundwork of his own opinions. 
With such a teacher, and in such a school, I 
feel suspicion to be wholly misplaced ; and I 
shall now start in the road of enquiry, anxious 
only to discover truth, and willing to part with 
every erroneous opinion, the moment it shall 
be proved to be erroneous." 

Note, by the Translator. How beautifully have 
the modern discoveries in chymistry and natural philos» 
bphy, and the iriDre accurate analysis of the human 
mind — sciences unknown to the ancient world — sub- 
stantiated the leading principles of the Epicurean ethics 
and physics — the only ancient school of either, really 
deserving the name ! 

'I'o what have all our ingenious inventions and con- 
trivances, for the analysis of material substances, led us, 
out to the atoms of Kpicurus ? To what, our accurate 
observation of the decomposition of substances, and the 
arresting and weighing of their most subtle and invisible 
elements, but to the eternail and unchangeable nature of 
thoae atoms ? We have, in the course Of oiir scrutiny, 



Jl JTBW DAYS IN ATHENS. 189 



superadded to the wonderful qualities of matter with 
which he was acquainted, those which we call attrac- 
tion, repulsion, electricity, magnetism, &c. How do 
these discoveries multiply and magnify the living pow- 
ers inherent in the simple elements of all existences, 
and point our admiration to the sagacity of that intellect 
whidi, 2,000 years ago, started in the true road of en- 
quiry ; while, at this day, thousands of teachers and 
millions of scholars are stumbling in the paths of error ! 

If we look to our mental philosophy, to what has 
our scrutiny led, but to the leading principles of Epicu- 
rean ethics ? In the pleasure, — utility, — propriety of 
human action — (whatever word we employ, the mean- 
ing is the same) — in the consequences of human ac- ^ 
-tions, that is, in their tendency to promote our good or 
our evil, we must ever find the only test of their intrin- 
sic merit or demerit. 

It might seem strange that, while the truth of the 
leading principles of the Epicurean philosophy have 
been long admitted by all sound reasoners, the abuse of 
the school and of its founder is continued to this day : 
this might and would seem strange and incomprehensi- 
ble, did we not, on every subject, find the same cow- 
ardly fear of facing, openly and honestly, the prejudices 
of men. Teachers, aware of the ignorance of those 
they teach, develope their doctrines in language intelli- 
gible only to the few ; or, where they hazard a more 
distinct exposition of truth, shelter themselves from ob- 
loquy, by echoing the vulgar censure against those who 
have taught the same truth, with more explicitness, be- 
fore them. The mass, even of what is called the edu- 
cated world, know nothing of the principles they decry, 
or of the characters they abuse. It is easy, therefore, 
by joining in the abuse against the one, to encourage a 
belief that we cannot be advocating the other. This 
desire of standing fair with the wise, without incurring 
the enmity of the ignorant, may suit with the object of 
those who acquire knowledge only for its display, or for 
the gratification of mere curiosity. But they, whose no- 
bler aim, and higher gift it is, to advance the human 
mind in the discovery of truth, must stand proof equally 



A FEW DATS IN ATHENS. 



to censure and to praise. That such lips and such pens 
should employ equivocation, or other artifice, to turn 
aside the wrath of ignorance, is degrading to themselves 
and mortifying to their admirers. The late amiable and 
enlightened teacher, Thomas Brown, of Edinburgh, 
■whose masterly exposition of old and new truths, and 
exposure of modern as well as ancient errors, has so 
advanced the science he professed, is yet chargeable 
with this weakness. Alter inculcating the leading prin- 
ciples, the whole of his beautiful system, he conde- 
scends to soothe the prejudices which all his arguments 
have tended to uproot, by passing a sweeping censure 
on the school, whose doctrines he has borrowed and 
taught. We might say — how unworthy of such a 
mind ! But we will rather say — how is it to be lament- 
ed that such a mind bears not within itself the convic- 
tion, that all truths are important to all men ; and that to 
employ deception with the ignorant, is to defeat our own 
purpose ; which is, surely, not to open the eyes of those 
who already see, but to enlighten the blind ! 



7' i:i 'i' 






Iff!; A\: 



•i FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 101 

b^ha-y^s ad liii ion iz-if ii ImA ,ao i/^jsaj&q ogcii 

-^ z^'' CHAPTER xvt ;^^'' ; ••!:-"'^ 

*^* A MORE than usual crowd attended the in- 
structions of the Sage. The gay, and the cu- 
rious, the learned, and the idle, of all ages, and 
of either sex, from the restless population of 
the city ; many citizens of note, collected from 
various parts of Attica ; and no inconsiderable 
portion of strangers from foreign states and 
countries. ^ '^. -'^'•- '*"*"■ " *> 

They were assembled on the lawn, sur- 
rounding the temple already frequently men- 
tioned. The contracting waters of Ilyssus 
flowed nearly in their accustomed bed ; and 
earth and air, refreshed by the storm of the 
preceding night, resisted the rays of the un- 
curtained sun, now climbing high in the hea- 
vens. A crowd of recollections rushed on the 
young mind of Theon, as he entered the beau- 
tiful enclosure, and gazed on the stream which 
formed one of its boundaries. His thoughts 
again played truant to philosophy, and his 
rapid glance sought another and a fairer form 
than any it found there, when the approach of 
Epicurus divided the throng, and hushed the 
loud murmur of tongues into silence. The 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



Sage passed on, and it was not till he ascended 
t he marble steps, and turned to address the as- 
sembly, that Theon perceived he had been fol- 
lowed by the beautiful being who ruled his 
fancy. The hues of Hebe now dyed her lips 
and her cheeks ; but the laughing smiles of the 
preceding evening were changed for the com- 
posure of respectful attention. Her eye caught 
that of Theon. She gave a blush and a smile 
of recognition. Then, seating herself at the 
Ji)ase of a column to the right of her father, her 
jface jesvuned its composure, and her full dark 
eyes fastened on the countenance of the Sage, 
in a ga?p .of i^ingled ^admiratiop and filial 

" Fellow citizens, and fallow jnen! We 
purpose, this day, to examine a question of 
vital importance to human kind : no less a one 
than the relations we bear to all the existences 
that surround us; the position we hold in 
^4his beautiful material world ; the origin, 
. ^he object, and the end of our being ; the 
^ source from which we proceed, and the goal 
X to which we tend. — This question embraces 
.many. It embraces all most interesting to our 
,, curiosity, and influential over our happiness. 
■ Jts correct or incorrect solution must ever regu- 
late, as it now regulates, our rule of conduct, 
,our conceptions of right and wrong ; mvist start 



JL F^W DAYS IN ATHENS. 193 

US in the road of tf yje or false enquiry, and 
either open our minds to such a knowledge of 
the wonders working in and around us, as our 
senses and faculties can attain, or close them 
forever with the bands of superstition, leaving 
us a prey to fear, the slayes of our ungoverned 
imaginations, wondering and trembling at 
every occurrence in nature, and making our 
own existence and destiny sources of dread and 
of n^ystery." 

" Ere we come to this important enquiry, it 
behooves us to see that we come with wilHng 
minds; that we say not, 'so far will we go 
and no farther ; we will make one step, but 
not twp ; we will examine, but only so long as 
the result of pur examination shall confirm our 
preconceived opinions.' In our search after 
truth, we must equally discard presumption 
and fear. We must come with our eyes and 
our ears, our hearts and our understandings, 
open ; anxious, not to find ouiselves right, but 
to discover what is right ; asserting nothing 
which we cannot prove; believing nothing 
which we have not examined ; and examin- 
ing all things fearlessly, dispassionately, per- 
severingly." 

" In our preceding discourses, and, for such 
as have not attended these, in our writings, we 
have endeavored to explain the real object of 

9 



m 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



philosophical enquiry ; we have directed you 
to the investigation of nature, to all that you 
see of existences and occurrences around you ; 
and we have shown that, in these existences, 
and occurrences, all that can be known, and 
all that there is to be known, lies hid. We 
have exhorted you to use your eyes, and your 
judgments, never your imagination ; to abstain 
from theory, and rest with facts ; and to under- 
stand that in the accumulation of facts, as re- 
gards the nature and properties of substances, 
the order of occurrences, and the consequences 
of actions, lies the whole science of philos- 
ophy, physical and moral. We have seen, in 
the course of our enquiry, that in matter itself, 
exist all causes and effects ; that the eternal 
/ particles, composing all substances, from the 
i first and last links in the chain of occurrences, 
\ or of cause and effect, at which we can arrive ; 
that the qualities, inherent in these particles, 
produce, or are followed by certain effects ; that 
the changes, in position, of these particles, pro- 
duce or are followed by certain other qualities 
and effects; that the sun appears, and that 
light follows his appearance ; that we throw a 
pearl into vinegar, and that the pearl vanishes 
from our eyes, to assume the form or forms of 
more subtle, but not less real substances ; that 
the component particles of a human being fall 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. ^ 195 

asunder, and that, instead of a man, we find a 
variety of other substances or existences, pre^ 
senting new appearances, and new properties 
or powers ; that a burning coal touches our 
hand, that the sensation of pain follows the 
contact, that the desire to end this sensation is 
the next effect in succession, and that the mus- 
cular motion of withdrawing the hand, follow- - 
ing the desire, is another. That in all this 
succession of existences and events, there is 
nothing but what we see, or what we could 
see, if we had better eyes; that there is no 
mystery in nature, but that involved in the 
very existence of all things ; and that things 
being as they are, is no more wonderful, than 
it would be, if they were different. That an 
analogous course of events, or chain of causes 
and effects, takes place in morals as in phys- 
ics : that is to say, in examining those quali- 
ties, of the matter composing our own bodies, 
which we call mind, we can only trace a train 
of occurrences, in like manner as we do in the 
external world ; that our sensations, thoughts, 
and emotions, are simply efiects following cau- 
ses, a series of consecutive phenomena, mutu- 
ally producing and produced." 

"When we have taken this view of things, 
observe how all abstruse questions disappear ; 
how all science is simplified ; all knowledge 



lis A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

rendered easy and familiar to the mind ! Once 
started in this only true road of enquiry, every 
step we make is one in advance. To what- 
ever science we apply, that is, to whatever 
part of matter, or to whichever of its qualities, 
we direct our attention, we shall, in all proba- 
bility, make important, because true, discove- 
ries. Is it the philosophy of nature in general, 
or any one of those subdivisions of it, which 
we call the philosophy of Mind, Etliics, Med- 
icine, Astronomy, Geometry, &xj., the moment 
we occupy ourselves in observing and arrang- 
ing in order the facts, which are discovered in 
the course of observation, we acquire positive 
knowledge, and may safely undertake U^A&r 
yelope it toothers." }?>,.-,- ,f 

"The ascertaining the nature of existences, 
the order of occurrences, and the consequences 
of human actions constituting, therefore, the 
whole of knowledge, what is there to prevent 
each and all of us from extending our discove- 
ries to the full limits prescribed by the nature 
of our facidties and duration of our existence 1 
What noble employment can we invent? what 
pleasure so pure, so little liable to disappoint- 
ment? What is there to hold us back? — 
What is there not to spur us forward ? Does 
our ignorance start from the very simplicity of 
knowledge ? Do we fear to open our eyes lest 



A PEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 197*- 

we should see the hght? Does the very tmtlf 
we seek alarm us in its attainment ? — How is 
it that, placed in this world as on a theatre of 
observation, surrounded by wonders and en- 
dowed with faculties wherewith to scan these 
wonders, we know so little of what is, and 
imagine so much of what is not 1 Other ani- 
mals, to whom man accounts himself superior, 
exercise the faculties they possess, trust their 
testimony, follow the impulses of their nature, 
and enjoy the happiness of which they are ca-^ 
pable. Man alone, the most gifted of all 
known existences, doubts the evidence of his 
superior senses, perverts the nature and uses of 
his multiplied faculties, controls his most inno- 
cent, as well as his noblest impulses, and turns 
to poison all the sources of his happiness. To 
what are we to trace this fatal error, this cruel 
self-martyrdom, this perversion of things from' 
their natural bent 1 In the over-development 
of one faculty and neglect of another, we must 
seek the cause. In the imagination, that 
source of our most beautiful pleasures, when 
under the control of judgment, we find the 
source of our worst afflictions." 

" From an early age I have made the nature 
and condition of man my study. I have found 
him in many countries of the earth, under the 
influence of all varieties of climate and circum- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 



Stance ; I have found him the savage lord of 
the forest, clothed in the rough skins of animals 
less rude than himself, sheltered in the crevices 
of the mountains and caves of the earth from 
the blasts of winter and heats of the summer 
sun ; 1 have found him the slave of masters de- 
based as himself, crouching to the foot that 
spurns him, and showing no signs of miscalled 
civilization but its sloth and its sensualities ; I 
have found him the lord over millions, clothed 
in purple and treading courts of marble ; the 
cruel destroyer of his species, marching 
through blood and rapine, to thrones of ex- 
tended dominion; the iron-hearted tyrant, 
feasting on the agonies of his victims, and 
wringing his treasure from the hard earned 
mite of industry ; I have found him the harm- 
less but ignorant tiller of the soil, eating 
the simple fruits of his labor, sinking to rest 
only to rise again to toil, toiling to live and 
living only to die ; I have found him the pol- 
ished courtier, the accomplished scholar, the 
gifted artist, the creating genius ; the fool and 
the knave ; rich and a beggar ; spurning and 
spurned. 

" Under all these forms and varieties of the 
external and internal man, still, with hardly 
an exception, I have found him unhappy. 
With more capacity for enjoyment than any 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. " 199 

Other creature, I have seen him surpassing the 
rest of existences only in suffering and crime. 
Why is this and from whence ? What master 
error, for some there must be, leads to results 
so fatal — so opposed to the apparent nature 
and promise of things 1 Long have I sought 
this error — this main-spring of human folly 
and human crime. I have traced, through all 
their lengthened train of consequents and cau- 
ses, human practice and human theory; I 
have threaded the labyrinth to its dark begin- 
ing ; 1 have found the first link in the chain of 
evil; I have found it — in all countries — 
among all tribes and tongues and nations ; X "' 
have found it, — Fellow-men, I have found i^ 
in — Religion ! " iT ^ 

A low murmur here rose from one part of 
the assembly. A deep and breathless silence 
succeeded. The Sage turned his gaze slowly 
around, and with a countenance, pure and 
serene as the skies which shone above him, 
proceeded: — , 

"We have named the leading error of th©^ 
human mind, — the bane of human happi- 
ness — the perverter of human virtue ! It is 
ReUgion — that dark coinage of trembling ig- 
norance! It is Religion — that poisoner of 
human felicity ! It is Religion — that blind 
guide of human reason ! It isRelijgion-^that 



SOO A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

dethroner of human virtue ! which lies at the 
root of all the evil and all the misery that per- 
vade the world ! 

" Not hastily formed, still less hastily ex- 
pressed, has been the opinion you hear this 
day. A long train of reflection led to the dis- 
carding of religion as an error, a life of obser- 
vation to the denouncing it as an evil. In 
considering it as devoid of truth, I am but one 
of many. Few have looked deeply and stead- 
ily into the nature of things, and not called in 
question belief in existences unseen and causes 
Unknown. But while smiling at the credulity 
of their fellow-beings, philosophers have 
thought reason good only for themselves. 
They have argued that religion, however 
childish a chimera in itself, was useful in its 
tendencies: that, if it rested upon nothing, it 
supported all things ; that it was the stay of 
virtue, and the Source of happiness. However 
opposed to every rule in philosophy, physical 
and moral ; however apparently in contradic- 
tion to reason and common sense, that a thing 
untrue could be useful ; that a belief in facts 
disproved or unproved could afford a sustain- 
ing prop to a just rule of practice ; the asser- 
tion came supported by so universal a testi- 
mony of mankind, and by individual names 
of such authority in practical wisdom and vir- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 201> 

tue, that I hesitated to call it mistaken. And 
as human happiness appeared to me the greats 
desideratum, and its promotion the only object 
consistent with the views of a teacher of men, 
I forbore from all expression of opinion, until I 
had fully substantiated, to my own conviction, 
both its truth and its tendency. The truth of 
my opinion is substantiated, as we have seen,, 
by an examination into the nature of things ; 
that is, into the properties of matter, which 
are alone sufficient to produce all the chances 
and changes that we behold. Its tendency is 
discovered by an examination into the moral 
condition of man. 

" The belief in supernatural existences, and 
expectation of a future life, are said to be 
sources of happiness, and stimuli to virtue. 
How, and in what way % Is it proved by ex- 
perience ] Look abroad over the earth : every 
where the song of praise, the prayer of suppli- 
cation, the smoke of incense, the blow of ssLCr 
rifice, arise from forest, and lawn, from cot-' 
tage, palace, and temple, to the gods of human 
idolatry. Religion is spread over the earth. 
If she be the parent of virtue and happiness, 
they too should cover the earth. Do they so 1 
Read the annals of human tradition ! Go 
forth and observe the actions of men ! Who 
shall speak of virtue — who of happiness, that 

9# 



202 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

hath eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to 
feel 1 No ! experience is against the assertion. 
The world is full of religion, and full of misery 
and crime. 

" Can the assertion be sustained by argu- 
ment, by any train of reasoning whatsoever 1 
Imagine a Deity under any fashion of exist- 
ence ; how are our dreams concerning him in 
an imaginary heaven to affect our happiness or 
our conduct on a tangible earth ? Affect it in- 
deed they may for evil, but how for good 1 
The idea of an unseen Being, ever at work 
around and about us, may afflict the human 
intellect with idle terrors, but can never guide 
the human practice to what is rational and 
consistent with our nature. Grant that, by 
any possibility, we could ascertain the exist- 
ence of one god, or of a million of gods : we 
see them not, we hear them not, we feel them 
not. Unless they were submitted to our obser- 
vation, were fashioned like unto us, had simi- 
lar desires, similar faculties, a similar organi- 
zation, how could their mode of existence 
afford a guide for ours? As well should the 
butterfly take pattern from the lion, or the lion 
from the eagle, as man from a god. To say 
nothing of the inconsistency of the attributes, 
with which all gods are decked, it is enough 
that none of them are ours. We are men ; 



X FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 203 

they are gods. They inhabit other worlds ; 
we inhabit the earth. Let them enjoy their 
fehcity ; and let us, my friends, seek ours. 

" But it is not that religion is merely useless. 
it is mischievous. It is mischievous by its idle 
terrors ; it is mischievous by its false morality ; 
it is mischievous by its hypocrisy ; by its fa- 
naticism ; by its dogmatism ; by its threats ; 
by its hopes; by its promises. Consider it 
under its mildest and most amiable form, it is 
still mischievous as inspiring false motives of 
action, as holding the human mind in bond- 
age, and diverting the attention from, things 
useful, to things useless. ''^ The essence of reli- 
gion is fear, as its source is ignorance. In a 
certain stage of human knowledge, the human 
mind must of necessity, in its ignorance of the 
properties of matter, and its dark insight into 
the chain of phenomena arising out of those 
properties — must of necessity reason falsely 
on every occurrence and existence in nature ; 
it must of necessity, in the absence of fact, 
give the rein to fancy, see a miracle in every 
uncommon event, and imagine unseen agents 
as producing all that it beholds. In propor- 
tion as the range of our observation is enlarg- 
ed, and as we learn to connect and arrange 
the phenomena of nature, we curtail our list of 
miracles, the number of our supernatural 



204 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

agents. An eclipse is alarming to the vulgar, 
as denoting the wrath of offended deities ; to 
the man of science it is a simple occurrence, as 
easily traced to its cause, as any the most fa- 
miliar to our observation. The knowledge of 
one generation is the ignorance of the next. 
Our superstitions decrease as our attainments 
multiply ; and the fervor of our religion de- 
clines as we draw nearer to the conclusion 
which destroys it entirely. The conclusion, 
based upon accumulated facts, as we have 
seen, that matter alone is at once the thing 
acting, and the thing acted upon, — eternal in 
duration, infinitely various and varying in ap- 
pearance; never diminishing in quantity, and 
always changing in fo?m. Without some 
knowledge of what is styled natural philoso- 
phy, or physics, no individual can attain this 
conclusion. And in a certain stage of that 
knowledge, more or less advanced according to 
the acuteness of the intellect, it will be impos- 
sible for any individual, not mentally obtuse, 
to shun that conclusion. This truth is one of 
infinite importance. The moment we consid- 
er the hostility directed against what is called 
Atheism, as the natural result of deficient in- 
formation, the mind must be diseased which 
could resent that hostility. And perhaps a 
simple statement of the truth would best lead 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 205 

to examination of the subj€«tj and to the con- 
version of mankind. f^-M »■?»« ',^i bUotr *trfT-* 
" Imagine this conversioh, my friends ! Im- 
agine the creature man in the full exercise of 
all his faculties ; not shrinking from knowl- 
edge, hut eager in its pursuit ; not bending the 
knee of adulation to visionary beings armed 
by fear for his destruction, but standing erect 
in calm contemplation of the beautiful face of 
nature ; discarding prejudice, and admitting 
truth without fear of consequences ; acknowl- 
edging no judge but reason, no censor but that 
in his own breast! Thus considered, he is 
transformed into the god of his present idola- 
try, or rather into a far nobler being, possessing 
all the attributes consistent with virtue and 
reason, and none opposed to either. How 
great a contrast with his actual state ! His 
best faculties dormant ; his judgment unawak- 
ened within him; his very senses misem- 
ployed ; all his energies misdirected ; trem- 
bling before the coinage of his own idle fancy ; 
seeing over all creation a hand of tyranny ex- 
tended ; and instead of following virtue, wor- 
shipping power ! Monstrous creation of ignor- 
ance ! monstrous degradation of the noblest of 
known existences ! Man, boasting of superior 
reason, of moral discrimination, imagines a 
being at once unjust, cruel, and inconsistent ; 



206 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

theii kissing the dust, calls himself its slave ! 
* This world is,' says the Theist, ' therefore it 
"w^'as made ' — By whom? — ' By a being more 
powerful than I.' Grant this infantine reason- 
ing, what follows as the conclusion 7 ' That 
we must fear him,' says the Theist. — And 
why 1 Is his power directed against our hap- 
piness? Does your god amuse himself by 
awakening the terrors of more helpless beings? 
Fear him then indeed we may ; and, let our 
conduct be what it will, fear him we imist. 
' He is good as well as powerful,' says the 
Theist ; * therefore the object of love.' — How 
do we ascertain his goodness ? I see indeed a 
beautiful and curious world ; but I see it full 
of moral evils, and presenting many physical 
imperfections. Is he all-powerful? perfect 
good or perfect evil might exist. Is he all- 
powerful a7id all-good? perfect good Trnist 
exist. Of the sentient beings comprised in the 
infinity of matter I know but those which I 
behold. I set no limits to the number of those 
which I behold not ; no bounds to their power. 
One or many, may have given directions to 
the elementary atoms, and may have fashioned 
this earth as the potter fashions its clay. 
Beings possessing such power may exist, and 
may have exercised it. ^^-powerful still they 
are not, or being so, they are wicked : evil ex- 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 207 

ists. I know not what mai/ be — but this my 
moral sense tells me cannot be — a fashioner 
of the world I inhabit, in his nature all-good 
and all-powerful. I see yet another impossi- 
bility ; a fashioner of this world in his nature 
all good and fore-knowing. Granting the 
possibility of the attributes, their united exist- 
ence wete an impossible supposition in the 
architect of our earth.' 

' Let us accord his goodness, the most pleas- 
ing and valuable attribute. Your god is then 
the object of our love, and of our pity. t)f 
our love, because being benevolent in his own 
nature, he must have intended to produce hap- 
piness in forming ours ; of our pity, because 
we see that he has failed in his intention. I 
cannot conceive a condition more unfortunate 
than that of a deity contemplating this world 
of his creation. Is he the author of some — 
say, of much happiness 7 of what untold mis- 
ery is he equally the author 7 1 cannot con- 
ceive a being more desperately — more hope- 
lessly wretched than that we have now pictur- 
ed. The worst of human miseries shrink into 
comparative insignificancy before those of their 
author. How must every sigh drawn from the 
bosom of man rend the heart of his god ! 
How must every violence committed on earth 
convulse the peace of heaven ! unable to alter 



208 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

what he had fashioned, how must he equally 
curse his power and his impotence ! And, in 
bewaiUng our existence, how must he burn to 
annihilate his own ! 

" We will now suppose his power without 
limit; and his knowledge extending to the fu- 
ture, as to the past. How monstrous the con- 
ception ! What demon drawn from the fe- 
vered brain of insanity, ever surpassed this 
deity in malignity ! Able to make perfection, 
he hath sown through all nature the seed of 
evil. The lion pursues the lamb ; the vulture, 
in his rage, tears the dove from her nest. 
Man, the universal enemy, triumphs even in 
the sufferings of his fellow-beings; in their 
pain finds his own joy ; in their loss, his gain ; 
in the frenzy of his violence, working out his 
own destruction ; in the folly of his ignorance 
cursing his own race, and blessing its cruel 
author ! Your deity is the author of evil, and 
you call him good; the inventor of misery, 
and you call him happy ! What virtuous 
mind shall yield homage to such ar Being 1 
Who shall say, that homage, if rendered, de- 
grades not the worshipper ? Or, who shall say, 
that homage, when rendered, shall pacify the 
idol? Will abjectness in the slave ensure 
mercy in the tyrant? Or, if it should, my 
friends, which of us would be the abject ? Are 



A FEW DAYS Hi ATHENS. 20^ 

men found bold to resist earthly oppression, 
and shall they bow before injustice, because 
she speak from Heaven 1 Does the name of 
Harmodius inspire our songs 7 Do crowns of 
laurel bind the temples of Aristogition? Let 
our courage rise higher than theirs, my friends ; 
and, if worthy of ambition, our fame ! De- 
throne, not the tyrant of Athens, but the tyrant 
of the earth ! — not the oppressor of Athenians, 
but the Oppressor of mankind ! Stand forth f 
Stand erect ! Say to this god, ' if you made 
us in malice, we will not worship you in fear. 
We will judge of you by your works : and 
judge your works with our reason. If evil 
pervade them, you are chargeable with it, as 
their author. We care not to conciliate your 
injustice, any more than to strive with your 
power. We judge of the future from the past. 
And as you have disposed of us in this world,, 
so, if it please you to continue our being, must 
you dispose of us in another. It would be 
idle to strive with Omnipotence, or to provide 
against the decrees of Omniscience. We will 
not torment ourselves by imagining your inten- 
tions ; nor debase ourselves by expostulations. 
Should you punish, in us, the evil you have 
made, you will punish it as unjustly as you 
made it maliciously. Should you reward in 



210 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

US the good, you will reward it absurdly, as it 
was equally your work, and not ours.' 

" Let us now concede in argument the union 
of all the enumerated attributes. Let us ac- 
cord the existence of a being perfect in good- 
ness, wisdom, and power, who shall have 
made all things by his volition, and decreed all 
occurrences in his wisdom. Such a being 
must command our admiration and approval : 
he can command no more. As he is good and 
wise, he fs superior to all praise ; as he is great 
and happy, he is independent of all praise. 
As he is the author of our happiness, he has 
ensured our love ; but as he is our creator, he 
may command from us no duties. Supposing 
a god, all duties rest with him. If he has 
made us, he is bound to make us happy ; and 
failing in the duty, he must be an object of 
just abhorrence to all his sentient creation. 
Kindness received must necessarily inspire 
affection. This kindness, in a divine creator, 
as in an earthly parent, is a solemn duty, — a 
sacred obligation, — the non-performance of 
which were the most atrocious of crimes. 
When performed, love from the creature, as 
from the child, is a necessary consequence, and 
an all-sufScient reward. 

''Allowing then to the Theist his god, we 
stand to him in no relation that can inspire 



A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. , ,' 211 

fear, or involve duty. He can give us no hap- 
piness that he was not bound to bestow : he 
can cherish us with no tenderness, that he was 
not bound to yield. It is for him to gratify all 
our desires, — or, if they be erroneous, to cor- 
rect them. It is for us to demand every good 
in his power to grant, or in ours to enjoy. Let 
then, the theologist banish fear and duty from 
his creed. It is love — love alone that can be 
claimed by gods or yielded by men. -^ a^j^nntf^ 

'•' Have we said enough? Surely the absur- 
dity of all the doctrines of religion, and the 
iniquity of many, are sufficiently evident. To 
fear a being on account of his po\^ier, is degrad- 
ing ; to fear him if he be good, ridiculous. 
Prove to us his existence ; and prove to us his 
perfections ; prove to us his parental care ; 
love springs up in our bosoms, and repays his 
boimty. If he care not to show us his exist- 
ence, he desires not the payment of our love, 
and finds in the contemplation of his owji 
works, their reward. ( ( 

"But, says the Theist, his existence is evi- 
dent — and, not to acknowledge it, a crime. 
It is not so to me, my friends. I see no sufii- 
cient evidence of his existence ; and to reason 
of its possibility, I hold to be an idle specula- 
tion. To doubt that which is evident is not in 
our power. To believe that which is not evi- 



3'l2 A FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 

dent, is equally impossible to us. Theist ! 
thou makest of thy god a being more weak, 
more silly than thyself. He punisheth as a 
crime the doubt of his existence ! ,Why, then, 
let him declare his existence, and we doubt no 
more. Should the wandering tribes of Scythia 
doubt the existence of Epicurus, should Epi- 
curus be angry ? What vanity — what absur- 
dity — what silliness, oh ! Theist ! do ye not 
suppose in your god I Let him exist, this god, 
in all the perfection of a poet's imagery ; I lift 
to him a forehead assured and serene. * I see 
thfte, oh ! God ! in thy power, and admire 
thee : I see thee in thy goodness, and approve 
thee. SvLCh. homage only is worthy of thee to 
receive, and of me to render.' And what does 
he reply 1 ' Thou art right, creature of my 
fashioning ! Thou canst not add nor take 
away from the sum of my felicity. I made 
thee to enjoy thy own, not to wonder at mine. 
I have placed thee amid objects of desire, I 
have given thee means of enjoyment. Enjoy, 
then ! Be happy ! It was for that I made 
thee." 

" Harken, then, my children! harken to 
your teacher ! Let it be a god or a philosopher 
who speaks, the injunction is the same : En- 
Joy, and be happy ! Is life short ? It is an 
evil : But render life happy, its shortness is 



i. FEW DAYS IN ATHENS. 213 

the only evil. I call to you, as, if he exist, 
God must call to you from heaven : Enjoy, 
and be happy ! Do you doubt the way 1 Let 
Epicurus be your guide. The source of every 
enjoyment is within yourselves. Good and 
evil lie before you. The good is — all which 
can yield you pleasure : the evil — what must 
bring you pain. Here is no paradox, no dark 
saying, no moral hid in fables. 

" We have considered the unsound fabric of 
religion. It remains to consider that, equally 
unsound, of morals. The virtue of man is 
false as his faith. What folly invented, 
knavery supports. Let us arise in our 
strength, examine, judge, and be free ! " 

The teacher here paused. The crowd stood, 
as if yet listening. " At a convenient season, 
my children, we will examine farther into ^he 
nature of man and the science of life." 

THE END. 



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