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Epicurus. I would entreat you to dismiss alto-, and colourless atoms, assumes the name of metagether things quite unworthy of your notice, if physics. We find no longer the rich succulence your observations could fall on any subject without of Herodotus, no longer the strong filament of embellishing it. You do not want these thorns Thucydides, but thoughts fit only for the slave, and to light your fire with.
language for the rustic and the robber. These Leontion. Pardon the weak arm that would writings can never reach posterity, nor serve have defended what none can reach.
better authors near us: for who would receive as Epicurus. I am not unmoved by the kindness documents the perversions of venality and party? of your intentions. Most people, and philosophers Alexander we know was intemperate, and Philip too among the rest, when their own conduct or both intemperate and perfidious: we require not opinions are questioned, are admirably prompt a volume of dissertation on the thread of history, and dexterous in the science of defence; but when to demonstrate that one or other left a tailor's bill another's are assailed, they parry with as ill a grace unpaid, and the immorality of doing so; nor a supand faltering a hand, as if they never had taken plement to ascertain on the best authorities which a lesson in it at home. Seldom will they see of the two it was. History should explain to us how what they profess to look for ; and, finding it, nations rose and fell, what nurtured them in their they pick up with it a thorn under the nail. They growth, what sustained them in their maturity; canter over the solid turf, and complain that there not which orator ran swiftest through the crowd is no corn upon it: they canter over the corn, from the right hand to the left, which assassin and curse the ridges and furrows. All schools of was too strong for manacles, or which felon too philosophy, and almost all authors, are rather opulent for crucifixion. to be frequented for exercise than for freight : Leontion. It is better, I own it, that such writers but this exercise ought to acquire us health and should amuse our idleness than excite our spleen. strength, spirits and good-humour. There is Ternissa. What is spleen? none of them that does not supply some truth Epicurus. Do not ask her; she cannot tell you. useful to every man, and some untruth equally so The spleen, Ternissa, is to the heart what Arito the few that are able to wrestle with it. If manes is to Oromazes. there were no falsehood in the world, there would Ternissa. I am little the wiser yet. Does he be no doubt; if there were no doubt, there would ever use such hard words with you? be no inquiry; if no inquiry, no wisdom, no know- Leontion. He means the evil Genius and the ledge, no genius; and Fancy herself would lie good Genius, in the theogony of the Persians; and muffled up in her robe, inactive, pale, and bloated. would perhaps tell you, as he hath told me, that I wish we could demonstrate the existence of the heart in itself is free from evil, but very utility in some other evils as easily as in this. capable of receiving and too tenacious of hold
Leontion. My remarks on the conduct and on ing it. the style of Theophrastus are not confined to him Epicurus. In our moral system, the spleen solely. I have taken at last a general view of our hangs about the heart and renders it sad and literature, and traced as far as I am able its sorrowful, unless we continually keep it in exerdeviation and decline. In ancient works we some- cise by kind offices, or in its proper place by serious times see the mark of the chisel ; in modern we investigation and solitary questionings. Othermight almost suppose that no chisel was employed wise it is apt to adhere and to accumulate, until at all, and that everything was done by grinding it deadens the principles of sound action, and and rubbing. There is an ordinariness, an indis- obscures the sight. tinctness, a generalisation, not even to be found Ternissa. It must make us very ugly when we in a flock of sheep. As most reduce what is sand grow old. into dust, the few that avoid it run to a contrary Leontion. In youth it makes us uglier, as not extreme, and would force us to believe that what appertaining to it: a little more or less ugliness is original must be unpolished and uncouth. in decrepitude is hardly worth considering, there
Epicurus. There have been in all ages, and in being quite enough of it from other quarters : I all there will be, sharp and slender heads, made would stop it here however. purposely and peculiarly for creeping into the Ternissa. () what a thing is age ! crevices of our nature. While we contemplate Leontion. Death without death's quiet. But the magnificence of the universe, and mensurate we will converse upon it when we know it better. the fitness and adaptation of one part to another, Epicurus. My beloved ! we will converse upon the small philosopher hangs upon a hair or creeps it at the present hour, while the harshness of its within a wrinkle, and cries out shrilly from his features is indiscernible, not only to you, but even elevation that we are blind and superficial. He to me, who am much nearer to it. Disagreeable discovers a wart, he pries into a pore, and he calls things, like disagreeable men, are never to be it knowledge of man. Poetry and criticism, and spoken of when they are present. Do we think, all the fine arts, have generated such living things, as we may do in such a morning as this, that the which not only will be co-existent with them, but air awakens the leaves around us only to fade and will (I fear) survive them. Hence history takes perish? Do we, what is certain, think that every alternately the form of reproval and of panegyric; note of music we ever heard, every voice that ever and science in its pulverised te, in its shapeless breathed into our bosoms, and played upon its instrument the heart, only wafted us on a little Epicurus. Such grasses, like such men, may nearer to the tomb? Let the idea not sadden but deceive us. compose us. Let us yield to it, just as season Ternissa. Must I begin? You both nod. yields to season, hour to hour, and with a bright Leontion, you are poetical : I can only feel poetry. serenity, such as Evening is invested with by the I can not read it tolerably; and I am sure to forget departing Sun. once.
it if I trust to memory. Beside, there is some What! are the dews falling, Ternissa? Let thing in the melody of this in particular which I them not yet, my lovely one !
sadly fear will render me inarticulate. Ternissa. You soothe me, but to afflict me Epicurus. I will relieve you from half your after; you teach
labour, by representing the character of Peleus. Epicurus. At what just now?
Ternissa. Let me down. Ternissa. You are many years in advance of Epicurus. The part will never permit it. us, and may leave us both behind.
Ternissa. I continue mute then.
Be quiet. Epicurus. Let not the fault be yours.
I can not speak a syllable unless I am on my feet Leontion. How can it ?
again. Epicurus. The heart, O Leontion! reflects a Leontion. She will be mute a long while, like fuller and a fairer image of us than the eye can. the Pythoness, and speak at last. Ternissa. True, true, true!
Ternissa. Mischievous creature ! as if you could Leontion. Yes; the heart recomposes the dust possibly tell what is passing in my mind. But within the sepulchre, and evokes it; the eye will not you, Epicurus, let me fall, since it must too, even when it has lost its brightness, loses not (I see) be repeated so? Shall I begin? for I am the power of reproducing the object it delighted anxious to have it over. in. It sees amid the shades of night, like the Leontion. Why don't you ? we are as anxious gods.
as you are. Epicurus. Sobs, too! Ah, these can only be Ternissa, as Thetis. “O Peleus ! ( thou whom suppressed by force.
the Gods conferred on me for all my portion of Leontion. By such! She will sob all day before happiness . . and it was (I thought) too great. .' she is corrected.
Epicurus, as Peleus. “Goddess ! to me, to thy Ternissa. Loose me. Leontion makes me blush. Peleus, 0 how far more than Goddess ! why then Leontion. I ?
this sudden silence? why these tears? The last Ternissa. It was you then, false Epicurus ! we shed were when the Fates divided us, saying Why are you not discreeter? I wonder at you. If the Earth was not thine, and the brother of Zeus, I could find my way home alone, I would go directly. he the ruler of the waters, had called thee. Those Leontion. Take breath first.
that fall between the beloved at parting, are Ternissa. O how spiteful! Go away, torment- bitter, and ought to be : woe to him who wishes ing girl, you shall not kiss me.
they were not ! but those that flow again at the Leontion. Why? did he ?
returning light of the blessed feet, should be Ternissa. No indeed; as you saw. What a refreshing and divine as morn." question ! Kiss me! for shame ; he only held me Ternissa, as Thetis. “Support me, support me in his arms a little. Do not make him worse in thy arms, once more, once only. Lower not thy than he is.
shoulder from my cheek, to gaze at those features Leontion. I wonder he ventured. These little that in times past) so pleased thee. The sky is barks are very dangerous. Did you find it an serene; the heavens frown not on us : do they easy matter to keep on your feet, Epicurus ? then prepare for us fresh sorrow? Prepare for us!
Epicurus. We may venture, in such parties of ah me! the word of Zeus is spoken : our Achilles pleasure, on waves which the sun shines on; we is discovered : he is borne away in the black holmay venture on affections which, if not quite low ships of Aulis, and would have flown faster tranquil, are genial to the soul. Age alone inter- than they sail, to Troy." poses its chain of icy mountains, and the star “Surely there are those among the Gods, or above their summit soon drops behind. Heroes among the Goddesses, who might have forewarned and demigods have acknowledged it. Recite to me; and they did not! Were there no omens, Do me, O Ternissa! in proof of this, the scene of auguries, no reams, to shake thee from thy secuPeleus and Thetis.
rity? no priest to prophesy? And what pastures Ternissa. You do not believe in goddesses; and are more beautiful than Larissa's ? what victims I do not believe in age.
more stately? Could the soothsayers turn aside Leontion. Who fears neither, can repeat it. their eyes from these?"
Epicurus. Draw, each of you, one of these blades Epicurus, as Peleus. “ Approach with me and of grass I am holding, and the drawer of the touch the altar, O my beloved ! Doth not thự shortest shall repeat it.
finger now impress the soft embers of incense ! Ternissa. O Epicurus! have you been quite fair? how often hath it burned, for him, for thee! And Epicurus. Why doubt me?
the lowings of the herds are audible for their Ternissa. Mine, I see, is the shortest. I drew leaders, from the sources of Apidanus and Enipeus out from your closed hand the blade which stood to the sea-beach. They may yet prevail." above the other.
Ternissa, as Thetis. Alas! alas! Priests can
foretell but not avert the future; and all they can Ternissa, as Thetis. “He must perish ; and at give us are vague promises and abiding fears." Troy; and now.”
Epicurus, as Peleus. “Despond not, my long- Epicurus, as Peleus. “ The now of the Gods is lost Thetis ! Hath not a God led thee back to more than life's duration : other Gods and other me? why not hope then he will restore our son? worlds are formed within it. If indeed must Which of them all hath such a boy offended ?" perish at Troy, his ashes will lie softly on
Ternissa, as Thetis. “Uncertainties.. worse than hers. Thus fall our beauteous son! thus rest uncertainties .. overthrow and overwhelm me." Achilles !"
Epicurus, as Peleus. “There is a comfort in Ternissa, as Thetis. “Twice nine years have the midst of every uncertainty, saving those which scarcely yet passed over his head, since 'O the perplex the Gods and confound the godlike, youth of Æmathia! ( the swift, the goldenLove's. Be comforted! not by my kisses, but by my haired Peleus !' were the only words sounded in words. Achilles may live till our old-age. Ours! the halls of Tethys. How many shells were broken Had I forgotten thy divinity ? forgotten it in thy for their hoarseness ! how many reproofs were beauty? Other mortals think their beloved par- heard by the Tritons for interrupting the slumbers take of it then mostly when they are gazing on ... of those who never slept ! But they feigned their charms; but thy tenderness is more than sound sleep: and joy and kindness left the godlike; and never have I known, never have I hearts of sisters. We loved too well for others to wished to know, whether aught in our inferior love us. nature may resemble it."
“Why do I remember the day? why do I remind Ternissa, as Thetis. “A mortal so immutable, thee of it?... my Achilles dies! it was the day the Powers above are less."
that gave me my Achilles ! Dearer he was Epicurus, as Peleus. “ Time without grief to me than the light of heaven, before he ever would not have greatly changed me.”
saw it: and how much dearer now! when, burstTernissa, as Thetis. “ There is a loveliness ing forth on earth like its first dayspring, all the which youth may be without, and which the Gods loveliness of Nature stands back, and grows pale want. To the voice of compassion not a shell in and faint before his. He is what thou wert when all the ocean is attuned; and no tear ever dropped I first beheld thee. How can I bear again so great upon Olympus. Thou lookest as fondly as ever, and a deprivation ?” more pensively. Have time and grief done this? Epicurus, as Peleus. “O, thou art fallen ! thou and they alone ? my Peleus! Tell me again, have art fallen through my embrace, when I thought no freshly fond anxieties ?...”
on him more than on thee. Look up again ; look, Epicurus, as Peleus. “Smile thus! O smile and forgive me. No: thy forgiveness I deserve afresh ! and forget thy sorrows. Ages shall fly not ... but did I deserve thy love? Thy soliover my tomb, while thou art flourishing in im- tude, thy abasement, thy parental tears, and thy perishable youth, the desire of Gods, the light of fall to the earth, are from me! Why does aught the depths of Ocean, the inspirer and sustainer of of youth linger with me? why not come age and ever-flowing song.”
death? The monster of Calydon made (as thou Ternissa, as Thetis. “I receive thy words, I knowest) his first and most violent rush against deposit them in my bosom, and bless them. Gods this arm ; no longer fit for war, no longer a may desire me : I have loved Peleus. Our union defence to the people. And is the day too come had many obstacles; the envy of mortals, the when it can no longer sustain my Thetis ?” jealousy of immortals, hostility and persecution Ternissa, as Thetis. “ Protend it not to the skies ! from around, from below, and from above. When invoke not, name not, any Deity! I fear them we were happy they parted us : and again they all. Nay, lift me not thus above thy head, O unite us in eternal grief."
Peleus ! reproaching the Gods with such an Epicurus, as Peleus. “The wish of a Divinity is awful look; with a look of beauty which they will powerfuller than the elements and swifter than not pity, with a look of defiance which they may the light. Hence thou (what to me is impossible) not brook.” mayest see the sweet Achilles every day, every Epicurus, as Peleus. “Doth not my hand enhour."
clasp that slender foot, at which the waves of Ternissa, as Thetis. “How few ! alas how few! Ocean cease to be tumultuous, and the children of I see him in the dust, in agony, in death : I see Æolus to disturb their peace! 0! if in the celeshis blood on the flints, his yellow hair flapping in tial coolness of thy cheek, now resting on my its current, his hand unable to remove it from his head, there be not the breath and gift of immoreyes. I hear his voice ; and it calls not upon me! tality; 0! if Zeus hath any thunder-bolt in Mothers are soon forgotten! It is weakness to reserve for me; let this, my beloved Thetis, be love the weak! I could not save him! He would the hour!" have left the caverns of Ocean, and the groves Leontion. You have repeated it admirably; and and meadows of Elysium, though resounding you well deserve to be seated as you are, on the with the songs of love and heroism, for a field of only bank of violets in this solitary place. Indeed battle."
you must want repose. Why do you continue to Epicurus, as Peleus. “He may yet live many look sad ? It is all over. Ah my silly comfort ! years. Troy hath been taken once already.” That may be the reason.
Ternissa. I shall be very angry with him for my face for me with your hand. Now take it the way (if you saw it) in which he made me slip away : we can not walk in this manner. down: and I should have been so at the time, if Epicurus. No word could ever fall from you it would not have hurt the representation. without its weight; no breath from you ought to Yes, indeed, you may expect it, sir !
lose itself in the common air. Epicurus. I shall always say, " at any hour but Leontion. For shame! What would you have? this."
Ternissa. He knows not what he would have Ternissa. Talk reasonably ; and return to your nor what he would say. I must sit down again. discourse on age. I wish you had a little more I declare I scarcely understand a single syllable. of its prudence and propriety.
Well, he is very good, to teaze you no longer. Epicurus. And what else ?
Epicurus has an excellent heart; he would give Ternissa. O! those are quite enough.
pain to no one; least of all to you. Epicurus. There we agree. And now for obe- Leontion. I have pained him by this foolish dience to your wishes. Peleus, you observe, makes book, and he would only assure me that he does no complaint that age is advancing on him : death not for a moment bear me malice. Take the itself is not unwelcome : for he had been happier volume : take it, Epicurus ! tear it in pieces. than he could ever hope to be again. They who Epicurus. No, Leontion! I shall often look have long been wretched wish for death : they with pleasure on this trophy of brave humanity: who have long been fortunate, may with cqual let me kiss the hand that raises it !
But it is wiser in each condition to await Ternissa. I am tired of sitting: I am quite it than to desire it.
stiff: when shall we walk homeward? Ternissa. I love to hear stories of heroic men, Epicurus. Take my arm, Ternissa! in whose bosoms there is left a place for tenderness. Ternissa. O! I had forgotten that I proposed
Leontion said that even bad writers may amuse to myself a trip as far up as the pinasters, to look our idle hours: alas ! even good ones do not much at the precipice of Orithyeia. Come along ! come amuse mine, unless they record an action of love along ! how alert does the sea-air make us! I or generosity. As for the graver, why can not they seem to feel growing at my feet and shoulders come among us and teach us, just as you do? the wings of Zethes or Calaïs. Epicurus. Would you wish it?
Epicurus. Leontion walks the nimblest today. Ternissa. No, no; I do not want them: only I Ternissa. To display ber activity and strength, was imagining how pleasant it is to converse as she runs before us. Sweet Leontion, how good we are doing, and how sorry I should be to pore she is! but she should have stayed for us: it over a book instead of it. Books always make me would be in vain to try to overtake her. sigh, and think about other things. Why do you No, Epicurus! Mind! take care! you are laugh, Leontion?
crushing these little oleanders . . and now the Epicurus. She was mistaken in saying bad strawberry plants .. the whole heap . . Not I, authors may amuse our idleness. Leontion knows indeed. What would my mother say, if she knew not then how sweet and sacred idleness is.
it! And Leontion! she will certainly look Leontion. To render it sweet and sacred, the back. heart must have a little garden of its own, with Epicurus. The fairest of the Eudaimones never its umbrage and fountains and perennial flowers; look back : such are the Hours and Love, Oppor a careless company! Sleep is called sacred as tunity and Leontion. well as sweet by Homer: and idleness is but a step Ternissa. How could you dare to treat me in from it. The idleness of the wise and virtuous this manner? I did not say again I hated any. should be both, it being the repose and refresh- thing. ment necessary for past exertions and for future. Epicurus. Forgive me ! It punishes the bad man, it rewards the good : Ternissa. Violent creature ! the Deities enjoy it, and Epicurus praises it. I Epicurus. If tenderness is violence. Forgive was indeed wrong in my remark : for we should me; and say you love me. never seek amusement in the foibles of another, Ternissa. All at once ? Could you endure such never in coarse language, never in low thoughts. boldness? When the mind loses its feeling for elegance, it Epicurus. Pronounce it ! whisper it! grows corrupt and groveling, and seeks in the Ternissa. Go, go. Would it be proper ? crowd what ought to be found at home.
Epicurus. Is that sweet voice asking its heart Epicurus. Aspasia believed so, and bequeathed or me? let the worthier give the answer. to Leontion, with every other gift that Nature Ternissa. O Epicurus! you are very, very dear had bestowed upon her, the power of delivering to me .. and are the last in the world that would her oracles from diviner lips.
ever tell you were called so. Leontion. Fie! Epicurus! It is well you hide
THE EMPRESS CATHARINE AND PRINCESS DASHKOF. Catharine. Into his heart ! into his heart! If itself, the success of the other in calming it, and he escapes we perish.
the unenvied triumph of this exquisite ambition, Do you think, Dashkof, they can hear me and the calm gazes that it wins upon it. through the double door? Yes ; hark! they Catharine. Are these, my sweet friend, your heard me: they have done it.
lessons from the stoic school ? Are not they What bubbling and gurgling ! he groaned but rather the pale-faced reflections of some kind
epithalamiast from Livonia or Bessarabia ? Come, Listen ! his blood is busier now than it ever come away. I am to know nothing at present of was before. I should not have thought it could the deplorable occurrenee. Did not you wish have splashed so loud upon the floor, although his death? our bed indeed is rather of the highest.
Dashkof. It is not his death that shocks me. Put your ear against the lock.
Catharine. I understand you : beside, you said Dashkof. I hear nothing.
as much before. Catharine. My ears are quicker than yours, and Dashkof. I fear for your renown. know these notes better. Let me come ... Hear Catharine. And for your own good name, ay nothing! You did not wait long enough, nor with Dashkof! coolness and patience. There! ... there again! Dashkof. He was not, nor did I ever wish him The drops are now like lead : every half-minute to be, my friend. they penetrate the eider-down and the mattress .. Catharine. You hated him. How now! which of these fools has brought his Dashkof. Even hatred may be plucked up too dog with him? What tramping and lapping! roughly. The creature will carry the marks all about the Catharine. Europe shall be informed of my palace with his feet and muzzle.
reasons, if she should ever find out that I counDashkof. O heavens !
tenanced the conspiracy. She shall be persuaded Catharine. Are you afraid ?
that her repose made the step necessary; that Dashkof. There is a horror that surpasses fear, my own life was in danger : that I fell upon my and will have none of it. I knew not this before. knees to soften the conspirators; that, only when
Catharine. You turn pale and tremble. You I had fainted, the horrible deed was done. She should have supported me, in case I had required knows already that Peter was always ordering it.
new exercises and uniforms: and my ministers Dashkof. I thought only of the tyrant. Nei- can evince at the first audience my womanly love ther in life nor in death could any one of these of peace. miscreants make me tremble. But the husband Dashkof. Europe may be more easily subjugated slain by his wife : . . I saw not into my heart : I than duped. looked not into it: and it chastises me.
Catharine. She shall be both, God willing. Catharine. Dashkof, are you then really un- Dashkof. The majesty of thrones will seem enwell ?
dangered by this open violence. Dashkof. What will Russia, what will Europe Catharine. The majesty of thrones is never in
jeopardy by those who sit upon them. A sovran Catharine. Russia has no more voice than a may cover one with blood more safely than a whale. She may toss about in her turbulence; subject can pluck a feather out of the cushion. but my artillery (for now indeed I can safely call It is only when the people does the violence that it mine) shall stun and quiet her.
we hear an ill report of it. Kings poison and Dashkof. God grant .
stab one another in pure legitimacy. Do your Catharine. I can not but laugh at thee, my republican ideas revolt from such a doctrine ? pretty Dashkof! God grant forsooth! He has Dashkof. I do not question this right of theirs, granted all we wanted from him at present, the and never will oppose their exercise of it. But safe removal of this odious Peter.
if you prove to the people how easy a matter it is Dashkof. Yet Peter loved you : and even the to extinguish an emperor, and how pleasantly and worst husband must leave surely the recollection prosperously we may live after it, is it not probaof some sweet moments. The sternest must have ble that they also will now and then try the expetrembled, both with apprehension and with hope, riment; particularly if any one in Russia should at the first alteration in the health of his consort; hereafter hear of glory and honour, and how at the first promise of true union, imperfect with- immortal are these by the consent of mankind, out progeny. Then there are thanks rendered in all countries and ages, in him who releases together to heaven, and satisfactions communi- the world, or any part of it, from a lawless and cated, and infant words interpreted ; and when ungovernable despot? The chances of escape are the one has failed to pacify the sharp cries of many, and the greater if he should have no babyhood, pettish and impatient as sovranty accomplices. Of his renown there is no doubt at