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Emil. Immortal gods! who gave me sons like these, Forsake them not, but guard your work divine.
Titus. Think not, O best of fathers, best of men,
My heart is full this instant of affection,
Fatal to man, thou might'st have lost thy sons,
Admir'd and mourned by Rome, for Rome we die.
And spotless laurels deck thy children's tomb.
And arbiter of fate. Time, rapid fly,
Var. The hero's fire invades my secret soul:
CICERO LORD CHESTERFIELD..... V. Knox.
Cicero. MISTAKE me not. I know how to value the sweet courtesies of life. Affability, attention, decorum of behaviour, if they have not been ranked by philosophers among the virtues, are certainly related to them, and have a powerful influence in promoting social happiness. I have recommended them, as well as yourself. But I contend, and no sophistry shall prevail upon me to give up this point, that to be truly amiable, they must proceed from goodness
of heart. Assumed by the artful to serve the purposes of private interest, they degenerate to contemptible grimace and detestable hypocrisy.
Chest. Excuse me, my dear Cicero; I cannot enter farther into the controversy at present. I have a hundred engagements at least; and see yonder my little elegant French Comptesse. I promised her and myself the pleasure of a promenade. Pleasant walking enough in these elysian groves. So much good company too, that if it were not that the canaille are apt to be troublesome, I should not much regret the distance from the Thuilleries. But adieu, mon cher ami, for I see Madame **** is joining the party. Adieu, adieu!
Cic. Contemptible fop!
Chest. Ah! what do I hear? Recollect that I a man of honour, unused to the pity or the insults of an upstart, a novus homo. But perhaps your exclamation was not meant of me- -if so, why
Cic. I am as little inclined to insult as to flatter you. Your levity excited my indignation; but my compassion for the degeneracy of human nature, exhibited in your instance, absorbs my contempt.
Chest. I could be a little angry, but as bienséance forbids it, I will be a philosopher for once. A-propos, pray how do you reconcile your-what shall I call it—your unsmooth address to those rules of decorum, that gentleness of manners, of which you say you know and teach the propriety as well as myself?
Cic. To confess the truth, I would not advance the external embellishment of manners to extreme refinement. Ornamental education, or an attention to the graces, has a connexion with effeminacy. In acquiring the gentleman, I would not lose the spirit of a man. There is a gracefulness in a manly character, a beauty in an open and ingenuous disposition, which all the professed teachers of the arts of pleasing know not how to communicate.
Chest. You and I lived in a state of manners, as different as the periods at which we lived were distant. You Romans-pardon me, my dear, you Romans--had a little of the brute in you. Come, come, I must overlook it. You were obliged to court plebeians for their suffrages; and if similis simili gaudet, it must be owned, that the greatest of you were secure of their favour. Why, Beau Nash would have handed your Catos and Brutuses out of the ball-room, if they had shown their unmannerly heads in
it; and my Lord Modish, animated with the conscious merit of the largest or smallest buckles in the room, according to the temporary ton, would have laughed Pompey the Great out of countenance. Oh, Cicero, had you lived in a modern European court, you would have caught a degree of that undescribable grace, which is not only the ornament, but may be the substitute of all those laboured attainments which fools call solid merit. But it was not your good fortune, and I make allowances.
Cic. The vivacity you have acquired in studying the writings and the manners of the degenerate Gauls, has led you to set too high a value on qualifications which dazzle the lively perceptions with a momentary blaze, and to depreciate that kind of worth which can neither be obtained nor understood without serious attention and sometimes painful efforts.
Chest. That the great Cicero should know so little of the world, really surprises ine. A little libertinism, my dear, that's all; how can one be a gentleman without a little libertinism?
Cic. I ever thought that to be a gentleman, it was requisite to be a moral man. And surely you, who might have enjoyed the benefits of a light to direct you, which I wanted, were blameable in omitting religion and virtue in your system.
Chest. What! superstitious too!-You have not then conversed with your superior, the philosopher of Ferney. I thank Heaven I was born in the same age with that great luminary. Prejudice had else, perhaps, chained me in the thraldom of my great grandmother. These are enlightened 'days; and I find I have contributed something to the general illumination, by my posthumous letters.
Cic. Boast not of them. Remember you were a father. Chest. And did I not endeavour most effectually to serve my son, by pointing out the qualifications necessary to a foreign ambassador, for which department I always designed him? Few fathers have taken more pains to accomplish a son than myself. There was nothing I did not condescend to point out to him.
Cic. True: your condescension was great indeed. You were the pander of your son. You not only taught him the mean arts of dissimulation, the petty tricks which degrade nobility; but you corrupted his principles, fomented his passions, and even pointed out objects for their gratification. You might have left the task of teaching him fashionable vice to a vicious world. Example, and the corrupt
Wan treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn;
Then Cicero and his tools shall pay me blood-
To die with swords in your right hands, shall feel
I go;-but when I come-'twill be the burst
In swift and mountainous ruin. Fare you well !—
Shall quench its flame. Back, slaves! (to the Lictors.) I will return!
SPEECH OF CATILINE.....Ibid.
ARE there not times, Patricians! when great states
Have I not served the state from boyhood up,
I cannot think of't. There's no faith in earth;
This day, as if the heavens had stamped me black,
I must not throw the honourable stake,
'Tis fixed!-Past talking now!-By Tartarus!