Page images

RIENDS, who would have acquitted me, I would like to talk with you about this thing which has happened, before I go to the place at which I must die. Stay then awhile, for we may as well talk with one another while there is time. You are my friends, and I should like to show you the meaning of this event which has happened to me O my judges for so I may truly call you, I should like to tell you of a wonderful circumstance:

select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare this with the other days and nights of his life; and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think this man-I will not say a private man, but even the great king-will not find many such days or nights, when compared with others. Now if death is like this I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night.

But if death is the journey to another placeand there, as men say, all the dead are what good can be greater than

this? If, indeed, when the pilgrim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges who are said to give judgment there-Minos, and Rhadamanthus, and Eacus, and Triptolemus, and other sons of God who were righteous in their own life-that pilgrimage will be worth making.


I strove with none; for none was
worth my strife.

Nature I loved and, next to Nature,

fires of life;

It sinks, and I am ready to depart.

"I strove With None," by Walter Savage Landor

Hitherto the famil- I warmed both hands before the
iar oracle within me
has constantly
been in the habit
of opposing me,
even in trifles, if I
was going to make
a slip or err in any matter; and now, as
you see, there has come upon me the last
and worst evil. But the oracle made no
sign of opposition, either as I was leaving
my house and going out in the morning,
or while I was speaking, at anything
which I was going to say; and yet I have
often been stopped in the middle of a
speech; but now in nothing that I either
said or did touching this matter has the
oracle opposed me. What do I take to
be the explanation of this! I will tell you.
I regard this as a great proof that what
has happened to me is a good; and that
those who think that death is an evil are
in error. For the customary sign would
surely have opposed me had I been going
to evil and not to good.

Let us reflect in another way, and we
shall see that there is no great reason to
hope that death is a good. For one of
two things either death is a state of
nothingness; or, as men say, there is a
change and migration of the soul from
this world to another.

Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to

Above all, I shall then be able to continue my search into true and false knowledge, as in this world, so also in that. And I shall find out who is wise, and who pretends to be wise and is not. What would not a man give to be able to examine the leader of the Trojan expedition; or Odysseus, or Sisyphus, or numberless others-men and women, too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking questions!-in another world they do not put a man to death for asking questions; assuredly not. For besides being happier in that world than in this, they will be immortal, if what is said be true. Wherefore, be of good cheer about death, and know of a certainty that no evil can happen to a good man, either in this life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods, nor has my own

approaching end happened by mere chance. But I see clearly that to die and be released was better for me; and therefore the oracle gave no sign.

For which reason, also, I am not angry with my condemners or with my accusers. They have done me no harm, although they did not mean to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them. Still I have

a favor to ask of them When my sons grow up, I would ask you, my friends, to punish

them. And I would

have you trouble

them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches or anything more. than about virtue.

ISSIPATIONS, vices, . . . . a certain class of philosophers have asserted to be a natural preparative for entering on active life; a kind of mud bath, in which the youth is, as it were, necessitated to steep, and, we suppose, cleanse himself, before the real toga of Manhood can be laid on him. We shall not dispute much with this class of philosophers; we

A little work, a little play
To keep us going—and so, good- hope they are mis-


taken; for Sin and Remorse so easily beset us at all

stages of life, and are always such indifferent company, that it seems hard we should, at any stage, be forced and fated not only to meet but to

yield to them, and

even serve for a term in their leprous armada. We hope it is not so.

Clear we are, at all events, it can not be the training one receives in this Devil's service, but only our determining to desert from it, that fits us for true manly Action. We become men, not after we have been dissipated, and disappointed in the chase of false pleasure; but after we have ascertained, in any way, what impassable barriers hem us in through this life; how mad it is to hope for contentment to our infinite soul from the gifts of this extremely finite world; that a man must be sufficient for himself; and that for suffering and enduring there is no remedy but striving and doing. Manhood begins when we have in any way made truce with Necessity; begins even when we have surrendered to Necessity, as the most part only do; but begins joyfully and hopefully only when we have reconciled ourselves to Necessity; and thus, in reality, triumphed over it, and felt that in Necessity we are free.-Burns.

God is the I of the Infinite.-Hugo.

A little warmth, a little light
Of love's bestowing—and so, good-

A little fun, to match the sorrow
Of each day's growing-and so,
good morrow!

A little trust that when we die
We reap our sowing! And so

“A Little Work,” by George du Maurier

Or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing, then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are really something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands

The hour of my departure has arrived, and we go our ways-I to die, and you to live. Which is better, God only knows. -From Socrates' Talk to His Friends before Drinking the Hemlock.

Would ye learn the road to Laughter-

O ye who have lost the way?
Would ye have young heart though your
hair be gray?

Go learn from a little child each day.
Go serve his wants and play his play,
And catch the lilt of his laughter gay,
And follow his dancing feet as they stray;
For he knows the road to Laughter-

O ye who have lost the way!

-Katherine D. Blake.

REASON, murder, rape, and burning a dwelling house, were all the crimes that were liable to be punished with death by our good old common law. And such was the tenderness, such the reluctance to shed blood, that if recompense could possibly be made, life was not to be touched. Treason being against the King, the remission of the crime was in the crown. In case of murder itself, if compensation could be made, the next of kin might discharge the prosecution, which if once discharged, could not be revived. If a ravisher could make the injured woman satisfaction, the law had no power over him; she might marry the man under the gallows, if she pleased, and take him from the jaws of death to the lips of matrimony. But so fatally are we deviated from the benignity of our ancient laws, that there is now under sentence of death an unfortunate clergyman, who made satisfaction for the injury he attempted: the satisfaction was accepted, and yet the acceptance of the satisfaction and the prosecution bear the same date.

The Mosaic law ordained that for a sheep or an ox, four and five fold should be restored; and for robbing a house, double; that is one fold for reparation, the rest for example; and the forfeiture was greater, as the property was more exposed. If the thief came by night, it was lawful to kill him; but if he came by day, he was only to make restitution and if he had nothing he was to be sold for his theft. This is all that God required in felonies, nor can I find in history any sample of such laws as ours, except a code that was framed at Athens by Draco. He made every offense capital,

upon this modern way of reasoning"That petty crimes deserved death, and he knew nothing worse for the greatest.” His laws, it is said, were written, not with ink, but with blood; but they were of short duration, being all repealed by Solon, except one, for murder

An attempt was made some years ago to repeal some of the most absurd and cruel of our capital laws. The bill passed this house, but was rejected by the Lords for this reason: "It was an innovation, they said, and subversive of law." The very reverse is truth These hanging laws are themselves innovations. No less than three and thirty of them passed the last reign. I believe I myself was the first

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite; To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;

To defy Power, which seems


To love, and bear; to hope till Hope


From its own wreck the thing it contem


Neither to change, nor falter, nor

This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and

From "Prometheus Unbound,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

[ocr errors]

person to check the progress of them. When the great Alfred came to the throne, he found the kingdom overrun with robbers; but the silly expedient of hanging never came into his head; he instituted a police, which was, to make every township answerable for the felonies committed in it. Thus property became the guardian of property, and all robbery was so effectually stopped that in a very short time a man might travel through the kingdom unarmed, with his purse in his hand. Even in crimes which are seldom or never pardoned, death is no prevention. Housebreakers, forgers and coiners are sure to be hanged; yet housebreaking, forgery and coining are the very crimes which are oftenest committed. Strange it is that in the case of blood, of which we ought to be most tender, we should still go on, against reason and against experience to make unavailing slaughter of our fellow-creatures. A recent event has proved that policy will do what


blood can not do-I mean the late regulation of the coinage. Thirty years together men were continually hanged for coining; still it went on: but on the new regulation of the gold coin it ceased . . . .

There lies at this moment in Newgate, under sentence to be burnt alive, a girl just turned fourteen; at her master's bidding, she hid some whitewashed farthings behind her stays, on which the jury has found her guilty, as an accomplice with her master in the treason. The master was hanged last Wednesday; and the faggots all lay ready-no reprieve came till just as the cart was setting out, and the girl would have been burnt alive on the same day, had it not been for the humane but casual interference of Lord Weymouth. Sir, are we taught to execrate the incendiary fires of Smithfield, and we are lighting them now to burn a poor harmless child for hiding a whitewashed farthing! And yet this barbarous sentence, which ought to make men shudder at the thought of shedding blood for such trivial causes, is brought as a reason for more hanging and burning. -From Speech of Sir William Meredith in the House of Commons, May 13, 1777.

80 80

(VERY man is said to have his pecu

not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed. I am young and unknown to many of you. I was born, and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no wealthy or popular relations or friends to recommend me. My case is thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of the country; and, if elected, they will have conferred a favor upon me for which I shall be unremitting in my labors to compensate de But, if the good people in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.-Lincoln, to the People of Sangamon, March 9, 1832.

T is customary to say that age should be considered, because it comes last It seems just as much to the point, that youth comes first. And the scale fairly kicks the beam, it you go on to add that age, in a majority of cases, never comes at all. Disease and accidents make short work of even the most prosperous persons. To be suddenly snuffed out in the middle of ambitious schemes is tragical enough at the best; but when a man has been grudging himself his own life in the meanwhile, and saving up everything for the festival that was never to be, it becomes that hysterically moving sort of tragedy which lies on the confines of farce. . . To husband a favorite claret until the batch turns sour is not at all an artful stroke of policy; and how much more with a whole cellara whole bodily existence! People may lay down their lives with cheerfulness in the sure expectation of a blessed mortality; but that is a different affair from giving up youth with all its admirable pleasures, in the hope of a better quality of gruel in a more than problematic, nay, more than improbable old age. We should not compliment a hungry man, who should refuse a whole dinner and reserve all his appetite for the dessert, before he knew whether there was to be any dessert or not. If there be such a thing as imprudence in the world, we surely have it here. We sail in leaky bottoms and on great and perilous waters; and to take a cue from the dolorous old naval ballad, we have heard the mermaids singing, and know that we shall never see dry land any more. Old and young, we are all on our last cruise. If there is a fill of tobacco among the crew, for God's sake pass it round, and let us have a pipe before we go!-Robert Louis Stevenson.


[DVERSITY is a medicine which people are rather fond of recommending indiscriminately as a panacea for their neighbors. Like other medicines, it only agrees with certain constitutions. There are nerves which it braces, and nerves which it utterly shatters.

-Justin McCarthy.

the waves.

Having reached the summit he seated himself by the side of a path beneath a terebinth, and let his glances wander over the lovely landscape. . . .

Lamia drew from a fold of his toga a scroll containing the Treatise upon Nature, extending himself upon the ground, and began to read. But the warning cries of a slave necessitated his rising to allow of the passage of a litter which was being carried along the narrow pathway through the vineyards. The lit

ELIUS LAMIA, born in Italy of illustrious parents, had not yet discarded the toga prætexta when he set out for the schools of Athens to study philosophy Subsequently he took up his residence at Rome, and in his house on the Esquiline, amid a circle of youthful wastrels, abandoned himself to licentious courses. But being accused of engaging in crim

inal relations with

It is not raining rain for me,
It's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
Wild flowers on the hills.

Lepida, the wife of Sulpicius Quirinus, a man of consular

rank, and being
found guilty, he
was exiled by Tiber-
ius Cæsar. At that
time he was just
entering his
years s

During the eighteen
years that his exile
lasted he traversed
Syria, Palestine,
Cappadocia, and
Armenia, and
prolonged visits
to Antioch, Cæsa-
rea, and Jerusalem.
When, after the
death of Tiberius,
Caius was raised to the purple, Lamia ob-
tained permission to return to Rome. He
even regained a portion of his possessions.
Adversity had taught him wisdom. . . .
With a mixture of surprise and vexation
he recognized that age was stealing upon
him In his sixty-second year, being
afflicted with an illness which proved in no
slight degree troublesome, he decided to
have recourse to the waters of Baiæ. The
coast at that point, once frequented by
the halcyon, was at this date the resort
of the wealthy Roman, greedy of pleasure.
For a week Lamia lived alone, without a
friend in the brilliant crowd. Then one
day, after dinner, an inclination to which
he yielded urged him to ascend the in-
clines which, covered with vines that
resembled bacchantes, looked out upon

And overwhelm the town;
It is not raining rain to me,
It's raining roses down.

The clouds of gray engulf the day ter being uncur-
tained, permit-
ted Lamia to see
stretched upon the
cushions as it was
borne nearer to him
the figure of an
elderly man of im-
mense bulk, who,
supporting his head
on his hand, gazed
out with a gloomy
and disdainful ex-
pression. His nose,
which was aquiline,
and his chin, which
was prominent,
seemed desirous of
meeting across his

lips, and his jaws were powerful. ¶ From
the first moment Lamia was convinced
that the face was familiar to him. He
hesitated a moment before the name came
to him. Then suddenly hastening towards
the litter with a display of surprise and
"Pontius Pilate!" he cried. "The gods
be praised who have permitted me to see
you once again!”

The old man gave a signal to the slaves
to stop, and cast a keen glance upon the
stranger who had addressed him.

It is not raining rain to me,

But fields of clover bloom,
Where any buccaneering bee
Can find a bed and room.

A health unto the happy,

A fig for him who frets!
It is not raining rain to me,
It's raining violets.

"April Rain,” by Robert Loveman

Pontius, my dear host," resumed the latter, "have twenty years so far whitened my hair and hollowed my cheeks that you no longer recognize your friend Ælius Lamia? "

At this name Pontius Pilate dismounted


« PreviousContinue »