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MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO, the great Roman orator, statesman and philosopher, was born at Arpinum, January 30, 106 before Christ. He was slain, in the 64th year of his age, by the hand of an assassin whom he had once successfully defendod. This was done at the instigation of Mark Antony, whom he bad bitterly assailed in fourteen scorching invectives; from one of which we select the following.
CICERO AGAINST MARK ANTONY.
(Translated by) LORD BROUGHAM.* 1. This one day—this blessed individual day-I say, this very point of time in which I am speaking-defend it, if you can! Why is the Forum wedged in with armed troops ? Why stand your satellites listening to me sword in hand ? Why are the gates of the Temple of Peace not flung open ? Why have you marched into the town, men of all nations,—but chiefly barbarous nations,—savages from Ituræa, armed thus with slings?
2. You pretend that it is all to protect your person. Is it not better far to die a thousand deaths, than be unable to live in one's own country without guards of armed men ? But trust me, there is no safety in defenses like these. We must be fenced round by the affections and the good-will of our countrymen, not by their arms, if we would be secure.
3. Look back, then, Mark Antony, on that day when you abolished the Dictatorship; set before your eyes the delight of the Senate and People of Rome; contrast it with the traffic you and your followers are now engaged in—then you will be sensible of the vast difference between glory and gain. Yet, as some stricken with a morbid affection, an obtuseness of the senses, are unable to taste the flavor of their food, so profligate, rapacious, desperate men, lose the relish of true fame.
4. But, if the glory of great actions has no charms for you, can not even fear deter you from wicked deeds? You have no apprehension of criminal prosecutions—be it so; if this arises
* For a sketch of Brougham, see Exercise XXXIX.
from conscious innocence, I commend it; but, if it proceeds from your reliance upon mere force, do you not perceive what it is that awaits him who has thus overcome the terrors of the law ?
5. But, if you have no dread of brave men and patriotic citizens, because your person is protected from them by your satellites, believe me your own partisans will not bear with you much longer; and what kind of life is his whose days and niginta are distracted with the fear of his own followers ? Unless, indeed, you have bound them to you by greater obligations than those by which Cæsar had attached some of the very men who put him to death; or that you can, in any one respect, be compared to him.
6. In him there was genius, judgment, memory, learning, circumspection, reflection, application. His exploits in war, how mischievous soever to his country, were yet transcendent. Bent for years upon obtaining supreme power, he had accomplished his object with vast labor, through countless perils. By his munificence, by public works, by largesses, by hospitality, he had won over the thoughtless multitude; he had attached his followers by his generosity, his adversaries by his specious clemency. In a word, he had introduced into a free state, partly through fear of him, partly through tolerance of him, a familiarity with slavery.
7. With that great man I may compare you as regards the lust of power: in no other thing can you be, in any manner or way, likened to him. But out of a thousand ills which he forced into the constitution of our commonwealth, this one good has come, that the Roman people have now learned how far each person is to be trusted, to whom they may commit themselves, against whom they must be on their guard. Do these thiogg never pass through your mind? Do you not comprehend that it suffices for brave men to have learned how beautiful the deed, how precious the service, how glorious the fame of extirpating a tyrant? When mankind could not endure Apesar, will they hear thee? Henceforward, trust me, they will flock emulously to this work, nor wait for the lingering opportunity - 8 Regard the commonwealth for a moment, Mark Antony, I do
beseech you. Think of the race you are sprung from, not the generation you live with. Be on what terms you please with me; but return into favor with your country. That, however, is your own affair-I will declare my course. Young, I stood by the country-old, I will not desert her. I defied the arms of Catiline--I will not tremble at yours! Nay, I should cheerfully fing myself into the gulf, if my death would restore the public freedym, and the sufferings of the Roman people could thus be exasperated at once to the crisis which has been so long coming on!
9. For truly, if it is well nigh twenty years since I denied, in this very temple, that death ever could come before its time to a man of consular rank, how much more truly may I say so now, in my old age ? To me, Senators, death is even desirable, having lived to finish all I have undertaken to achieve. For two things only I feel anxious; the one, that my eyes may close upon the liberties of Rome — a greater boon than this Heaven has not to bestow; the other, that that fate may befall every one, which his conduct to his country has earned.
RICHARD THE THIRD AND MACBETH.
WILLIAM HAZLITT.* 1. The leading features in the character of Macbeth are striking enough, and they form what may be thought, at first, only a bold, rude, Gothic outline. By comparing it with other characters of the same author, we shall perceive the absolute truth and identity which is observed in the midst of the giddy whirl and rapid career of events. Thus he is as distinct a being from Richard 'the Third, as it is possible to imagine, though these two characters, in common hands, and, indeed, in the
hand of any other poet, would have been a repetition of the same general idea, more or less exaggerated.
2. For both are tyrants, usurpers, murderers,—both aspiring and ambitious,-both courageous, cruel, treacherous. But Richard is cruel from nature and constitution. Macbeth becomes so from accidental circumstances. Richard is, from his birth, deformed in body and mind, and naturally incapable of good. Macbeth is full of “the milk of human kindness,” is frank, sociable, generous. He is tempted to the commission of guilt by golden opportunities, by the instigations of his wife, and by prophetic warnings. “Fate and metaphysical aid” conspire against his virtue and his loyalty.
3. Richard, on the contrary, needs no prompter; but wades through a series of crimes to the hight of his ambition, from the ungovernable violence of his temper, and a reckless love of mischief. He is never gay but in the prospect or in the success of his villainies: Macbeth is full of horror at the thoughts of the murder of Duncan, which he is with difficulty prevailed on to commit; and of remorse after its perpetration. Richard has no mixture of common humanity in his composition, no regard to kindred or posterity-he owns no fellowship with others; he is “ himself alone.”
4. Macbeth is not destitute of feelings of sympathy, is accessi. ble to pity, is even made, in some measure, the dupe of his uxoriousness; ranks the loss of friends, of the cordial love of his followers, and of his good name, among the causes which have made him weary of life; and regrets that he has ever seized the crown by unjust means, since he cannot transmit it to his posterity. There are other decisive differences inherent in the two characters.
5. Richard may be regarded as a man of the world, a plotting hardened knave, wholly regardless of everything but his own ends, and the means to secure them-not so Macbeth. The superstitions of the age, the rude state of society, the local scenery and customs, all give a wildness and imaginary grandeur to his character. From the strangeness of the events that sur. round him, he is full of amazement and fear; and stands in
doubt between the world of reality and the world of fancy. He sees sights not shown to mortal eye, and hears unearthly music.
6. All is tumult and disorder within and without his mind; his purposes recoil upon himself, are broken and disjointed; he is the double thrall of his passions and his destiny. Richard is not a character of either imagination or pathos, but of pure self-will.
7. There is no conflict of opposite feelings in his breast. La the busy turbulence of his projects, he never loses his selfpossession, and makes use of every circumstance that happens, as an instrument of his long-reaching designs. In his last ex. tremity, we regard him but as a wild beast in the toils. But we never entirely lose our concern for Macbeth ; and he calls back all our sympathy by that fine close of thoughtful melancholy.
The story on which is founded the play of Macbeth is told by Holin. shed, an old English chronicler, who died about the year 1580. Duncan, king of Scotland, in reward for meritorious services, had determined to make Macbeth, one of his generals, thane of Cawdor: the previous incumbent having proved a traitor. Meantime, Macbeth had been told by three witches, that he should be made, not only thane of Cawdor, but king of Scotland. From that moment he began to meditate the death of the king, so as to realize that part of the prophecy which pointed to the possession of the crown. In this, his wife proves his evil minister; and soon, in pursuance of their foul purpose, Duncan is murdered, while a guest and asleep in Macbeth's castle. The scenes below powerfully portray the workings of guilty ambition.
SCENE FROM MACBETH.