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C. JULIUS CÆSAR.

A. U. C. 706.

The lambent flame of Cæsar's fire-touch'd soul No fears could damp, nor principle control."

At

il avoit un beau génie, mais une ame souvent commune: l'accessoire chez Cicéron c'étoit la vertu, chez Caton c'étoit la gloire: Cicéron se voyoit toujours le premier, Cacon s'oublioit toujours: celui-ci vouloit sauver la république pour elle-même, celui-là pour s'en vanter. Quand Caton prevoyoit, Cicéron craignoit ; là où Caton espéroit, Cicéron se confioit ; le premier voyoit toujours les choses de sang froid, l'autre au travers de cent petites passions.

This last note on the character of Cato contains almost the whole substance of all the satires extant against Cicero.

Cicero's being unanimously chosen consul, when there was a suspicion entertained of Catiline's designs against his country, is a very strong proof that the Romans did not, like Montesquieu, consider him as less qualified than Cato to sustain a first part in the state on a great emergency. · Lucan's Pharsalia is unquestionably a very noble

poem ;

but

young readers should be cautioned against taking their impressions of Cæsar's personal character from this author. Whether he is in earnest, or only affects zeal for the republick, he takes a decided interest against that great man, and enters into the contest with all the virulence of a party-writer. To Cæsar he allows no one good quality, except courage, and imputes to

him

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At manhood's dawning of his sire bereft,
To form his mind was to Aurelia left;
And nature's lavish gifts, that mother's love 1710
With care unceasing fail'd not to improve.
All that wise schools, or wiser seers could teach,
What study could acquire, or talents reach,
His youth attain’d; nor could instruction give
More than his rare endowments could receive.
Round the sharp goal to whirl the rapid car, 1716
To launce the javelin whistling through the air,

him vices and foibles, which, so far from being in his nature, were repugnant to it. He represents him as a vain-boaster, cruel, and insolent. Cæsar was too proud and too wise to be vain ; and of all conquerors he was the most merciful and generous. His insolence, if a bold spirit of enterprize attended with constant success can properly be called so, appears but little in his writings, and in the accounts we have of his discourse. A great poet may put what words he pleases into the mouth of a hero, and comment upon them afterwards, for imagination and ingenuity are not to be restricted within common boundaries; yet experience will not be misled by them. We consider a man as insolent, who treats others with a contempt which they do not deserve, and imagines he can accomplish things beyond his means or capacity. How far this description is applicable to Julius Cæsar, the learned may determine. -annum agens sextum decimum, patrem amisit. Suet. in J. Cæs.

To

To give new spirit to the bounding horse,3
And stem the headlong torrent in its course,
None knew like him : thus manly toil supply'd
What daintier nature to his frame deny’d. 1721
While yet a youth, his dauntless brow alone
With equal menace met proud Sylla’s frown;
Till with prophetick voice the tyrant cry'd,
He many Marii in that boy espy’d.5

1725 Graceful his mien, with eloquence to charm, In peace prevailing, as in fight his arm;

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-armorum et equitandi peritissimus. Idem, ut supra. 4 —si Aumina morarentur, nando trajiciens, vel innixus inflatis utribus, ut persæpe nuntios de se prævenerit. Idem, ut supra.

-Cæsari multos Marios ineffe. Idem, ut supra. • Hanc quum habeat præcipuam laudein in communibus, non video cui debeat cedere: splendidam quamdam minimeque veteratoriam rationem dicendi tenet, voce, motu; formâ etiam magnificâ, et generosa quodam modo. Cic. in Brut.

Quid ? Oratorum quem huic antepones eorum qui nihil aliud egerunt? Quis sententiis aut acutior, aut crebrior ? Quis verbis aut ornatior aut elegantior? Cic. Epist. ad Corn. Nep.

Tanta in eo vis est, id acumen, ea concitatio, ut illum eodem animo dixisse, quo bellavit, appareat. Exornat tamen hæc omnia mira sermonis, cujus proprie studiosus fuit, elegantia. Quintil. 1. x. C. 1.

Pronuntiasse dicitur voce acutâ, ardente motu, gestuque, non sine venustate. Suet. ut sup.

Nor

Nor Tully only would have ruld the bar,
Had not ambition fir'd his soul for war.
When his bright orb ascends th' Hesperian sky,
Rome's lesser stars fade from the galaxy;" 1731
The splendour of their former rays

is

gone, Or all concenter'd shine in him alone. Whatever age had seen great Julius rise, Where'er his birth beneath th’extended skies, 1735 So vast, so various were his powers of mind, He must have been supreme, and ruld mankind.'

No

· Haud secus ac tacitum luna regnante per Arcton,

Sidereæ cedunt acies. CLAUDIAN, .

The following summary of Cæsar's character by Paterculus is worthy of being inserted:

Formâ omnium civium excellentissimus, vigore animi acerrimus, munificentiæ effusissimus, animo super humanam et naturam et fidem evectus; magnitudine cogitationum, celeritate bellandi, patientiâ periculorum, magno illi Alexandro, sed sobrio, neque iracundo simillimus ; qui denique semper et somno et cibo in vitam non in voluptatem uteretur.

1. ii. C. 41.

96 Thou art the ruins of the noblest man, « That ever lived in the tide of times.'

SHAKSPEARI. J. Cæsar.

On

No serpent, under Africk’s solstice bred, Rolling o'er firy sands, by sunbeams fed, With fiercer thirst e'er sought the quenching stream, Than his hot bosom burn'd to rule supreme. 1741 As down the o'er-seeth'd cauldron's brazen sides At length the watry distillation glides, So, while the tale of Ammon's son he read, To envy's flame, see copious tears succeed. 1745 “ Thou, happy. Greek, (he cry'd) the world had'st won, “ In earlier youth than Cæsar's name was known.” O godlike envy, yet o dire presage Of woes too sure from his maturer age! On sovereign domination long intent,' 1750 To gods and kings he trac'd his high descent;

And

On parle beaucoup de la fortune de César ; mais cet homme extraordinaire avoit tant de grandes qualités sans pas un défaut, quoiqu'il eût bien des vices, qu'il eût êté bien difficile que quelque armée qu'il eut commandée, il n'eût été vainqueur, et qu'en quelque République qu'il fût né il ne l'eût gouvernée. MONTESQUIEU, de la Grandeur des Romains, c. xi.

Multos annos regnare meditatus, magno labore, multis periculis, quod cogitarat, effecerat. Cic. Phil. 2.

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