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should counteract their beneficence. We no longer | have those valiant creatures among us; to which privation I attribute it chiefly that we possess more eloquence indeed and learning than those who have them, but less bodily activity and strength.
Cyrus. There are other and better reasons, O Xenophon, for these things. You are unbelievers in the true religion, and have sunk through your idleness on the bosom of false gods: you clasp graven images, falling at the feet of such as have any.
Xenophon. O Cyrus, I have observed that the authors of good make men very bad as often as they talk much about them; whether it be to punish us for our presumption, or merely to laugh at us, I do not know; nor have I ever heard my master Socrates discourse upon the question. Certain it appears to me from whatever I have read, that the powerful and the wise lose both their power and their wisdom the moment they enter into this dim and sacred inclosure; just as, on entering the apartment of the women in your country, you lay aside both slipper and turban, and cover the head with only the extremity of the robe.
Cyrus. We will try to keep ourselves no less cool and orderly on our argument, if thou wilt come into it with me. And now inform me, O most excellent, on what difference in religion or government you Greeks denominate all other nations, and among the rest even us, barbarians? Xenophon. If, O Cyrus, I may (as I believe I may) rely on thy wisdom, thy modesty and moderation, I will answer the question to the best of my abilities.
Cyrus. I, who aspire to the throne of my ancestors, can not be angry at the voice of truth, nor offended that a guest should execute my wishes.
Xenophon. Courtesy and gentleness distinguish the Persians from other mortals. They are less subject to cruelty than any race among men, unless sceptres lie across their path. Now, Cyrus, those things must surely be the worst of things which render the most humane of men the most inhumane. I deviate a little way from the main question, like my teacher, for the purpose of asking a preparatory one, which may lead me back again, and enable me to conduct thee smoothly and pleasantly. Pray inform me, O Cyrus, since I am about to be a leader in thy army, what are thy orders if I should happen to intercept the concubines of any hostile satrap?
Cyrus. O Xenophon, keep thy hands, thy eyes, thy desires, away from them, as becomes thy gravity of wisdom and purity of heart, expressed in a countenance where we discern and venerate the beauty of seriousness and reserve.
Xenophon. O Cyrus, I am a hunter, and, being so, a deviser of stratagems, and may perchance take others than concubines. I dare not utter what labours in my bosom: in vain fidelity excites and urges me.
Cyrus. Speak, O best Xenophon! Xenophon. If then destiny should cast down before me the horse of thy brother Artaxerxes, and the chances of war, or Mars after due sacrifice, should place him in my power, what is my duty?
Cyrus. Canst not thou, having in turn with others of thy countrymen the command of ten thousand Greeks, do thy duty without consulting me, in cases which, being unforeseen, are discretionary?
Xenophon. The fall of a king is terrible. Cyrus. The rebound is worse. When your Saturn fell from heaven, did any God or mortal lend a hand to raise him up again?
Xenophon. It were impiety to contend against Jupiter.
Cyrus. It were madness to contend against Destiny. According to your fables, Saturn came first; then came Jupiter. The same divine right of expelling and occupying will be asserted as occasion may require. But Destiny saw the order of things rise, and sees it continue: and Gods before her are almost as little and weak as we are: she teaches them to repeat her words and obliges them to execute her will. If thou hast any wisdom, as thou surely hast, O disciple of Socrates the mage, never ask me another question on such a contingency: but answer me now, I entreat thee, about the strange word barbarian, at which (I hear) there are satraps and royalets who take offence when you apply it to them.
Xenophon. Attribute not the invention of the word to us, O Cyrus! I have been as studious to know the derivation of it, as thou art; for it is not Greek. On the return of Plato (of whom perhaps thou hast heard some mention) from Egypt, I learned from him that the expression was habitual with the priests of that country, whence we, who have borrowed much knowledge from the Egyptians, borrowed also this term. They apply it as we do, to all strangers indiscriminately: but originally it signified those only who live nearest to them, and whom on that account, as is customary with every nation in the world, they hated most. The Africans to the westward are called by themselves ber-ber, a generic name, and probably of honourable import.
Cyrus. O Xenophon, thou art indeed a treasury of wisdom; and in addition to it, I pray thee, do the Gods, as I have heard, manifest to thee future events in dreams?
Xenophon. Some they have truly laid open
Cyrus. Couldst not thou, O most wonderful, pray to them (not telling them that I said anything about the matter) to give thee one about the success of my arms? For our own pure religion does not allow us to expect or to pray for such an intervention.
that in this manner the expression came first among the *Plato says nothing on the subject: it seems probable Greeks, who would otherwise, we may suppose, have taken
the name of some nearer and more ferocious tribe.
Xenophon. If we had an oracle near, I would consult it. For dreams usually are confined to the eventual good or evil of the dreamer; although there are instances to the contrary; but in these instances the dreams fall upon minds peculiarly gifted, and properly fitted for their reception.
Cyrus. I have asked the Sun several times for counsel; and yet I never could collect out of his radiance any certain sign or token. Only once it was attended by a lark, suddenly
"Springing from crystal step to crystal step
Thus one of our old poets, in a volume laid up at Persepolis, describes her. The lark herself, and the recollection of the lines, comforted and animated me greatly; first the bird, merry and daring; then the brightness of the air; and lastly, but principally, the words "that she was rising where none could follow her." This must certainly mean myself: for who can suppose that Artaxerxes at that moment saw another lark doing the like, or remembered the same verses, which came upon me like a voice inspired?
Xenophon. Although larks are not strictly birds of augury, like eagles and vultures, and swans and herons, and owls and chickens, yet in this country, and against the Sun, and upon such an occasion, the appearance hath its weight with me, O Cyrus! However I would not neglect to sharpen the scimitar, and to see that the horses be well exercised and have plenty of oats and barley in the manger, and that their manes be carefully combed, lest the adversary think us disorderly and unprovided, and inclined to flight. For the immortal Gods have often changed their minds upon finding us too confident and secure, or too negligent and idle, and have enlightened ours, to our cost, with a new and contrary interpretation of sentences uttered by their oracles. Cyrus. On reflecting a little, I think these oracles in general are foolish things.
Xenophon. I wish, O blameless Cyrus, that such a word had never overflown the enclosure of thy teeth, as the divine Homer says.
Cyrus. I wonder, O most intelligent and thoughtful Xenophon, that you Greeks, so few as there are of you, should worship such a number of Gods.
Cyrus. He added that, immense as is the glorious orb, it is only a dewdrop on the finger of God, shining from it under the light of his countenance, as he waves his paternal blessing over the many-peopled world.
Xenophon. This is poetry, but oriental. Strange absurdity! when Jupiter is barely a foot taller than I am; as may be well imagined by his intermingling with our women, and without inconvenience on either side: at least I have heard of none recorded by the priests. He has indeed a prodigious power of limb, and his expansion at need is proportionate to his compactness.
Cyrus. Give me thy sentiments, freely and entirely.
Xenophon. I can not but marvel then, O Cyrus, at the blindness of the Persians. There is no other great nation, at all known to us, that does not acknowledge a plurality and variety of Gods; and this consent, so nearly universal, ought to convince the ingenuous and unprejudiced. I see the worst consequences to a government in countenancing the adoration of a single one, to the exclusion and mortification of the rest.
Cyrus. Perhaps to such a loose fabric as a republic.
Xenophon. In a monarchy no less. Power hath here too its gradations; the monarch, the mages, and the satraps.
Cyrus. Do not you see at once the beauty of this form? No government is harmonious or rational without three estates; none decorous or stabile. The throne must have legs; but the legs must never stand uppermost: the king bears upon the mages, they bear upon the floor, or people. The king reserves to himself omnipotence; he grants to his mages omniscience; to his people, in the body, omnipresence. In this manner he divides himself; but all is one. Where power is so well poised, in case of urgency we might impose taxes to the amount of nearly a tenth, and rarely hear a murmur in the land. you, the magistrates of free Greeks, were to demand a fifteenth of the property in Attica for the purposes of government, the people would stone you. Now unquestionably that regimen is the best which has constantly the most power over them; as that is the best riding by which the horse is managed the most easily and quietly, in even places and uneven. Nothing is truer or
Xenophon. And I, O Cyrus, that you who have occasion for so many, and particularly just at pre-plainer. If we had as many gods and temples as sent, should adore but one. The Sun (I would speak it without offence) is nothing but an orb of fire; although, as some say, of a prodigious magnitude, hardly less than the Peloponnese.
you have, and if our deities and priests had as good appetites, our armies must be smaller, our horses leaner, and there would be more malignity and discord in the provinces. For all sects, all favourers I mean of particular gods and goddesses, are united in one sentiment, that their deities are equally fond of picking bones and breaking them. Xenophon. Our religion is most beautiful.
Cyrus. Extremely so on the outside. In this external beauty, as in that of women when it is extreme, there is little expression, little sense. Our ritual is the best that can be devised for any hot climate. In order to adore the Sun at his
trated into theirs. I know that in sound policy you never should let an ally whom you have served be greater than yourself, if you can prevent
whom you attack, should come off the worse for it in the end. Individuals whom you succour in private life may sometimes be grateful; kings never are. They will become of an unfriendly temper toward you, were it only to prove to others, and to persuade themselves, that they were powerful and flourishing enough to have done without you.
rising, we must (it is needless to say) rise early. This is the time of day when the mind and body are most active, and most labour can be performed both by men and cattle. Hence agriculture it; and that those whom you assist, like those flourishes among us. Cleanliness, the consequence of our ablutions, is another spring of activity and health. We possess large sandy plains, which never would be cultivated unless they produced myrrh, benzoin, lavender, and other odours; the only sacrifices we make to God. The earth offers them to her Creator where she hath nothing else to offer; and he receives with a paternal smile, in these silent downs remote from groves, from cities and from temples, her innocent oblations, her solitary endearments, her pure breath. I do not complain that the Boeotians kill a bull for the same purpose: but a bull is that to which others beside gods and priests could sit down at table and the richer plains of Boeotia would be cultivated whether Jupiter ate his roast beef or not.
Xenophon. There are many reasons, O Cyrus, politically speaking, for your religion; but it is not founded on immutable truth, nor supported by indubitable miracles.
Cyrus. What things are those?
Xenophon. I could mention several, attested by thousands. Those of Bacchus, who traversed your country, are remembered still among you: but as Apollo is the God from whom at this crisis we may hope a favourable oracle, I would represent to you his infancy, his flight in the arms of Latona, and his victory over the serpent: all as evident as that he sits above us arrayed in light, and is worshipped by you, O Cyrus, although in ignorance of his godhead.
Cyrus. I have heard about these things: and since perhaps we may consult his oracle, I will not question his power or deity until that is over. About the event I have more curiosity than inquietude, knowing the force of legitimacy on the minds of men.
Why dost thou sigh, my friend? do I appear to thee light, irresolute, inconstant?
Xenophon. Not thou, O Cyrus; but thy evil station. Nothing is so restless as royalty: not air, nor ocean, nor fire: nothing can content or hold it. Certainties are uninteresting and sating to it; uncertainties are solicitous and sad. In its weakness it ruins many, in its strength more. Thou, O Cyrus, art the most intelligent of kings, and wilt be (let me augur it) the most potent. Think that the immortal Gods have placed thee on thy eminence only as their sentinel, whose watch is long and wide, stationing thee at the principal gate in the encampment of mankind. Great is the good or evil that is about to flow far and near under thee.
Cyrus. Far and near! These words I think are rather ill placed, by one who was the disciple of Socrates the mage. They have however their meaning, their propriety, and, in thy eyes, their right order. Thou, O Xenophon, I perceive, wouldst wish to penetrate into my thoughts relating to the Athenians: I have already pene
If the victory should be mine, as can not be doubted. . I being born the son of a king, Artaxerxes not. . there is no danger that so small a people as the Athenians should attempt to divide the kingdom, or to compromise it in any way between us: nor would I suffer it: but Policy is my voucher that I will assist you against your enemies in such a manner however as to provide that you shall always have some, and dangerous enough at least to attract your notice. I say these words to you in pure confidence. To a friend here speaks a friend; to a wise man here speaks no simple one.
Xenophon. If you would worship, O Cyrus, the Gods of Greece, I should be the more confident of success.
Cyrus. I have indeed at times, to a certain degree, a faith in auguries, in which I know the Greeks are expert: but although your religion is in her youth, your Gods are as avaricious as old-age could make them. Every religion that starts up, beyond Persia, takes only as much truth to stand upon as will raise her safely to men's purses. The Egyptian priests have extensive lands: Attica is poorer in soil: there it is requisite to have oracles too and sacrifices, gold and cattle, oil and milk, wax and honey. If this religion should be succeeded by another, as it must be when the fraud is laid open, the populace will follow those enthusiasts who threw down the images of the Gods, and will help them the next morning to raise up others in the same places, or even those elsewhere, differing but in name. Pride will at first put on the garment of Humility; and soon afterward will Humility raise up her sordid baldness out of Pride's. Change in rituals is made purely for lucre, and, under the name of Reformation, comes only to break up a virgin turf or to pierce into an unexplored mine. Religion with you began in veneration for those who delivered you from robbers: it will end in the discovery that your temples have been ever the dens of them. But in our hopes we catch at straws; the movement of a feather shakes us; the promise of a priest confirms us.
Let us now go to the stables: I have intelligence of a noble tiger, scarcely three days' hard riding from us. The peasant who found the creature shall be exalted in honour, and receive the government of a province.
Xenophon. Is the beast a male or female, to the best of his knowledge ?
Cyrus. A female: she was giving milk to her | young ones. On perceiving the countryman, she drew up her feet gently, and squared her mouth, and rounded her eyes, slumberous with content; and they looked, he says, like sea-grottoes, obscurely green, interminably deep, at once awakening fear and stilling and compressing it.
Xenophon. Fortunate he escaped her! We might have lost a fine day's hunting in ignorance of her lair.
Cyrus. He passed away gently, as if he had seen nothing; and she lay still, panting. Come, thou shalt take thy choice, O wonderful Xenophon, of my spears.
up stairs again and seated, "Really," said he, "I am now of your opinion: there is no sincerity in this people: I don't mean the old gentleman, whoever he is."
Landor. And what think you then of the porter?
LANDOR, ENGLISH VISITER, AND FLORENTINE VISITER. DESCENDING the staircase of Palazzo-Medici, | went our way. When my visiter and myself were which I inhabit, I observed the venerable old gentleman, its proprietor, walking up and down gravely before his own apartment. He seemed to avoid my salutation; whether the most modest of men did not wish to speak while a stranger was with me, or whether he was returning to his room for anything. However, as he had seen me, I went up to him, inquired after his health, which has been long declining, and then after the Granduke's, who had been confined to his bed four days, as I learnt the day preceding. I now saw the reason why the Marchese turned away: tears were in his eyes and running down his cheeks copiously. He took my hand, lifted it between his on a level with his heart, and said, "He is in his last agonies!"
While I stood silent, for I was affected deeply at seeing in tears an old man, majestic in gait and stature, and cordially my friend, I fancied I heard more footsteps in the street than usual, and that people walked faster and stopped oftener. I heard no songs. It was probably the first hour, by daylight at least, since the building of the city, unless in the time of siege or plague or under the duke of Athens, that you could have heard none; for the Florentines by nature are joyous and noisy as grasshoppers. I turned, and seeing the porter at the gate, who had been asking some questions, I called to him. He must have heard me, yet he went into his lodge and said nothing. I followed him, and wishing to hear a more favourable report, inquired how the Granduke was.
"Sir," said the porter, "I hope you do not think me wanting in respect: I can hardly tell you."
'Let us hope then he is better." "He is with God."
He turned his back on me: his grey hairs glimmered with the tremulous motion of his head, until he rested his brow against the wall. Not wishing to pursue my walk, nor deeming it decorous, I proposed to my visiter that he should return and sit down again. At this instant a young man overtook us with a quick step.
"Better it had been me, ten thousand times," cried he.
"Luigi!" said I, knowing his voice, "stop a moment: is it quite certain?"
"I am happy you stopped me," replied he. "I was running to my father: it would have halfkilled him."
English Visiter. I did not see him nor hear what he said; you went alone into the lodge. But the young man carries it too far.
Landor. The Granduke has given him nothing; and which of his ministers, think you, is not proud of saying to himself, "I can withhold an office worth a crown a day from the descendant of our first Granduke?"
English Visiter. What! and are these two gentlemen of that family? Is it possible they can be thus affected at the decease of one who occupied the throne of their ancestors? I should as soon have expected it from you. And truly I never saw you less disposed to talk on the meeting of an old acquaintance, or less capable (you must excuse me) of saying something worth hearing.
Landor. I never said anything in my lifetime so worthy of making an impression on the mind, as what you heard from that young man. Treasure it up in your recollection: lose nothing, as you hope for heaven, of that which may give you a better opinion of your fellow-creatures, a just and worthy one of God's great work. How good and glorious when the right affections are unsuppressed by the perverse; when love, pity, gratitude, are in vigour; when Death himself warms our hearts and elevates our affections. Then are we indeed redeemed from our fallen state.
English Visiter. You are coming round, I perceive: I shall see you a king's friend ere long. Landor. God grant it!
English Visiter. Well! at least you have no hypocrisy but, upon my soul, I did not think you so very.. let me say at least. unguarded. You would really (don't be angry) be bribed then.
Landor. Really and truly.
English Visiter. Your smile is a fixed one; and must I believe you? I would have sworn that you never would have changed your principles; not even to be prime minister. Landor. Swear nothing.
English Visiter. No, after this, indeed. You have acted very inconsistently; not only in the Few more words passed between us, and we change of your principles, but in the management
of your talents. In the time of Castlereagh, there was indeed but little hope from a fellow who never read a book through, even at school, and who was once proved by a friend in joke not to know the latitude of England by ten or any other number of degrees. Canning, however, is a scholar, and, what is more to the purpose, he is obliged to pick up sad sticks.
Landor. They resemble the dragon-fly: I see his hard eyes and heavy body (heavy it is for a fly) and see not what it is that bears him up above my hedge: so filmy and apparently so inadequate is the finer part of him. Such are the insects now in office. Canning is himself an understrapper; a Gil Blas turned sour, and with a tendency to the vapid.
an ante-chamber filled with fine pictures: every countenance in the portraits seemed to smile on him, every landscape bloomed before him. He had little taste or time for them: onward he followed the valet: the folding-doors of the drawingroom flew open: the whole family were there assembled. Sieur Dorcas being loudly announced, all eyes were instantaneously fixed on him. Madame Mozzi and her aja rose from their seats: and the former, smiling graciously, turned again to the company, and presented "the Illustrissimo who would have done such honour to them all, had he not fixed his attentions on the least worthy of the family." They bowed to the sieur. "And now," said Madame Mozzi to the aja," you will do me the favour, my dear friend, to read aloud the elegant note of the British secretary." The aja wiped her glasses, placed them across the slender ridge they befitted, and, without any change of voice or physiognomy, read it slowly through. The husband took Sieur Dorcas by the hand, apologised for the necessity he was under of leaving him so soon after his intro
English Visiter. What would you have? Public men and public women may alike be designated by one trisyllable. Ministers come into office by giving as a pledge their virtue, their judgment, and their sentiment. They resign themselves bound hand and foot to the faction that hoodwinks the crown; a faction existing in every kingly government; and they distribute employ-duction, and wished him all possible success in ments according to the lists presented to them, being permitted to insert out of their own families and partisans a limited assortment of names. Here they may stick in a bishop, here they may prick a judge, here they may cushion an envoy; but leaving room on each side of him for another to bench his secretary, and a third to boot his courier.
his negotiation. The other relatives complimented him on the peculiar frankness of the English character, of which they protested they had never seen before so charming a specimen : the lady told him with an air of sweet concern and tender reproof, that she only lamented to find him somewhat colder than his note had promised. In reply to the smiles that were lurking and trembling in the unsteady dimples of her lips, he bit his angrily, twitched up one side of his shirt-collar, bowed as well as he had learnt to bow, and withdrew. He found the servants ranged upon the staircase. His conductor told him it was customary in Tuscany to give a mancia on the first good fortune, and hoped his Excellency would remember it.
Landor. The court of England has not been quite so observant of merit in its appointment of diplomatists to the smaller courts, as, no doubt, it has to the higher. We residents in Tuseany have been more amused by some of them than edified or flattered. One Sieur Dorcas, a secretary of legation, no sooner found himself in possession of his hundred pounds a year, than he bought a pony, hired the best saddle and bridle English Visiter. I believe the story to be true in that were to be let out, presented a bunch of all its parts and circumstances: for I have heard it flowers (when the season was somewhat advanced) frequently, even in England: and indeed wherever to the lady of highest rank he met at the Cascine, a tale of consummate impudence is related, the and manifested his resolution to be cavaliere ser- Sieur Dorcas comes forward as regularly as the viente wherever he found beauty and cookery. sentinel in a German clock at the hour. But He soon introduced himself to Madame Mozzi, a no man of the most ordinary attainments among lady of great personal attractions, good-humoured, us has reason to despair of office, if that man poswitty, well-informed, and whose house enjoys the sesses a lucrative and a high one who came from reputation of an admirable kitchen. The next Ireland half naked, offered his services to the morning he addressed a billet to her, declaring publisher of a periodical work at two guineas that she had pleased him, and desiring to know a week, and, writing in defence (as he tells us) at what hour she would be ready to receive his of our laws and religion, shocked a good old visit. She answered him frankly, and proposed woman in her hospitality, which at that time he that the interview should take place in the found very useful, by seasoning her leg of lamb evening. Sieur Dorcas ran to the milliner's, and pigeon-pie with the coarsest and stalest of bought a frill; to the perfumer's, a bottle of Eau- irreligion. Cumberland said he was the most de-Cologne; to a friend's, and borrowed a cambric vulgar man in the least elegant and least decorous handkerchief. Observing that his gloves bore of nations; but that he could forgive him if he the marks of the bridle, he put them into his were not also the most malignant in the least pocket before he knocked at the door. This he spiteful. I can account for it only from the facidid once and softly. It opened as by magic: and lity with which his old associates despise him, a servant in a rich livery, with a lively saluta-and the violent effort he makes at mutual distion ushered him up-stairs. He passed through dain. I dare to profess myself a christian; in