Page images

Such are the virtues which on tyrants wait,
And such the hollow friendships of the great:

αυλικαταλλασσομενοι φονους, ομοιως μεν οις ελαμβανον ανηρουν ους εδιδοσαν" αδικωτεροι δε περι τους φιλους ησαν, ους απεκλιννυσαν μηδε μισουνlες.

-Κικέρωνος δε σφαγεντoς, εκελευσεν Αυλονιος την τε κεφαλην αποκοπηναι, και την χειρα την δεξιαν, η τες κατ' αυτου λογους εγραψε. και κομισθενων εθεατο γεγεθως, και ανακαλχαζων υπο χαρας πολλακις. εισα εμπλησθεις, εκελευσεν υπερ το βηματος και αγορα τεθηναι. .

Plut. in Anton. We are told by Appian, (p. 601.) that Popilius Lænas, who had solicited to be employed in the assassination of his protector and benefactor, (Val. Max. I. v. c. 3.) shewed Antony from a distance, while sitting in the court of judicature, the head and hand of Cicero, ludicrously moving them backwards and forwards, and that he was so delighted with this hideous spectacle, that he immediately ordered Lænas to be crowned, and rewarded him with two hundred and fifty thousand drachmas, (80721. 18s. 4d.) paying the other cut-throats employed in the proscription only the tenth part of that sum.

If any thing could have been more atrocious than Antony's assassination of Cicero, it was the baseness and ingratitude of Octavius in suffering it. We are told by Suetonius that he for some time resisted the proscription, but that when he had once acceded to it, and it was begun, he carried it on with more severity than either of his colleagues.

Restitit quidem aliquandiu collegis, ne qua fieret proscriptio, sed incoeptam utroque acerbius exercuit. Namque illis in multorum sæpe personam per gratiam et preces exorabilibus, solus magnopere contendit ne cui parceretur; proscripsitque etiam C. Toranium tutorem suum, eundemque collegam patris sui Octavii in ædilitate. 7

Suet. in Aug. 27.



Thus by the pupil was the tutor school’d, 3
While the grey statesman the green stripling ruld.
O base improvidence of manly fame!
Foul deed consign'd to everlasting shame!
Thy tame assent, which bade that blood be spilt,
Pollutes thee deeper than the assassin's guilt: 2240
Still shall the black ingratitude remain,
Nor“ all great Neptune's ocean” cleanse the stain.

His measures with his character conformid;
He sapp'd the liberty, which Julius storm’d.5


3 Utinam tam facile eum [sc. Oétavium] forenteni et honoribus et gratiâ regere ac tenere possimus, quam facile adhuc tenuimus! Cic. Epist. ad Brut.

4 Macbeth.

5 Posito triumviri nomine, consulem se ferens, et ad tuendam plebem tribunicio jure contentum; ubi militem donis, populum anonâ, cunctos dulcedine otii pellexit, insurgere PAULLATIM, munia senatus, magistratuum, legum in se trahere, nullo adversante; cum ferocissimi per acies aut proscriptione cecidissent: cæteri nobilium, quanto quis servitio promptior, opibus et honoribus extollerentur ; ac novis ex rebus aucti, tuta et præsentia quàm vetera et periculosa mallent.–Domi res tranquillæ ; EADEM MAGISTRATUUM VOCABULA. Juniores post Actiacam victoriam, etiam senes plerique inter bella civium, nati. Quotusquisque reliquus, qui rempublicam vidisset? Igitur verso civitatis statu, nihil usquam prisci


As the smooth stream, which, glistning thro' the

Glides on, and gliding mines its banks above,
So every rampart freedom could provide,
Silent sunk in, to swell the imperial tide.
Interest and fear, his principles innate,
Made him admire the brave, not emulate: 2250
Unfit for arms, he war'd against his will,
Deeming e'en conquest but a splendid ill.
And sure 'twas strange, in the same mind to see,
Such vast ambition, with timidity;'


et integri moris: omnîs exuta equalitate jussa principis aspectare.

Tacit. Annal. l. i. s History does not entirely justify the charging Octavius with notorious deficiency of personal spirit, as a soldier. Antony's accusation, dictated less by truth than spleen and enmity, cannot be admitted as decisive evidence. He uttered whatever he thought most likely to affront or injure the man whom he hated. On some occasions, particularly on a Dalmatian expedition, he led on his troops with persevering gallantry, and was grievously wounded. His courage was not always equal and steady, or like that of Julius, when necessary, ardent; nor fierce like Antony's, who hardly possessed any other great quality; but he did not shamefully decline danger, when by encountering is his reputation or interest could be


[ocr errors]



« PreviousContinue »