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grazier, and the instructor of Socrates ;—the cause of the Samian war, and the writer of the celebrated Funeral Oration pronounced by Pericles in honour of its victims, of which the eloquence was so touching, that the very mothers who had been rendered child, . less followed him home with blessings, and showered garlands upon his head. Such was the celebrity of Aspasia, that Cyrus, the rival of Artaxerxes, bestowed her name upon his favourite mistress :-such was the ridicule and disrespect with which she was treated at Athens, that in the comedies she was publicly denominated “the new Omphale,” “Dejanira,” and “Juno;" nay, “the Prostitute !"
“ the Prostitute !" Such was the infatuation of Pericles for this woman, that he was never known to depart upon business, or return, without saluting her, until at last he married her;- but above all, not withstanding the infamy of her vocation, such was the decorum of her public conduct, and the overpowering splendour of her various talents, that the matrons of Athens did not hesitate to take their daughters to her house, that they might hear her dis, course, and profit by her instructions.
And who is that grave personage, said I, upon whose arm she is leaning; whose dress, without any appearance of undue attention, is yet arranged with such scrupulous propriety, and whose head appears as much too long as that of Socrates is too round ?--“That is Pericles, whose head, on account of its disproportionate length, is generally represented covered with a helmet, and who, for the same reason, has received from the comic poets the name of the onion
headed. The youth beside him is his eldest son Xanthippus; Paralus, the second of his sons, is led behind him, by Euryptolemus, his nephew; and yonder. grey-headed old man is his tutor, Anaxagoras, the Clazomenian, from his superior wisdom surnamed “Nous,” or the intelligence. In the multiplicity of his public duties, Pericles forgot to make the necessary provision for his tutor's support; the philosopher had covered up his head, and was going to starve himself, when his pupil, hearing of his situation, ran instantly to his relief, expostulated, entreated forgiveness for his neglect, and implored him not to deprive his administration of so valuable a counsellor. Uncovering his face, Anaxagoras exclaimed, “Ah, Pericles! those that have need of a lamp take care to supply it with oil.”.
At this moment Aspasia approaching the spot where I sat, disengaged her arm from that of Pericles :-“Go,” said she playfully, “and examine those glorious works: why do you bestow all your attentions upon me, and none upon those goddesses"“Because," replied Pericles, “ you are my only goddess.”_"Which of them ?” resumed Aspasia, with an arch look.—“Take care, take care,” said Socrates smiling ; "every one of those deities has been enamoured of more than one mortal, and if Pericles talks of exclusive devotion, even to a daughter of earth, he may have cause to rue their jealousy.” An obsequious smile and ready laugh followed each of these observations from a listener behind, who instantly turned round to two companions, prepared with ta-, blets to note down what he communicated in a whisper.
“ That,” said my marble colloquist, “is Cleon, the factious demagogue, repeating what he has heard to Anytus and Melitus, and begging them to write it down, that it may be added to the materials of their intended prosecution against Socrates for impiety.” Those, then, are the scoundrels, said I to myself, who succeeded at last in procuring the death of that great philosopher, spite of his pretended Agatho-dæmon, and his real virtues. Phidias, too, owed his death to pestilent and unprincipled informers of the same stamp ---being accused of sacrilege in having introduced his own effigy, as a bald old man, in the battle of the Amazons, represented upon Minerva's shield; as well as a portrait of Pericles, fighting with an Amazon, although the arm lifting up the spear was artfully contrived so as partly to conceal the face. Nor did Aspasia escape an impeachment for impiety by Hermippus, the comic poet, from which she escaped only by the exertions of Pericles, who is reported to have shed more tears in her defence, than fell from him when so many of his friends and children perished in the great plague. And had these men, said I, turning to the statue, so deep and sensitive a reverence for religion, as to feel the horror which they profess at such trifling peccadilloes ?
“ Treacherous knaves !” exclaimed the figure; “in their private orgies, and symposia, they make a' mock of every thing holy, and would trample on all the gods of Olympus, if it would advance them so many steps in their career of selfishness and ambition.”
A loud and angry babbling of tongues in one
corner of the room attracted my attention, and casting my eyes in that direction, I perceived a knot of sophists wrangling fiercely about some new refutation of the well-known syllogistic puzzle-Epimenides said all Cretans were liars ;-but Epimenides was himself a Cretan--therefore Epimenides was a liar-therefore the Cretans were not liars therefore Epimenides was not a liar. Not one of them cast a glance at the surpassing marbles, or the distinguished living characters by whom they were surrounded, and I soon found that all the realities of existence were hidden from their eyes by a dense cloud of pedantry. To them the glories of nature and art were absolutely extinct ; they lived in an atmosphere of quibbles; and while, in their perpetual and childish warfare, they were chopping at each other's heads with logic, and pelting one another with words, they would have been simply contemptible and ridiculous, had they not at the same time endeavoured, with a pestilent subtlety, to jumble right and wrong, virtue and vice, and thus confound all the elements of the moral world in one indistinguishable chaos.
What a volume of wit sparkles in the countenance of that young man, who is listening to their jargon with a sneering smile. Jibes and jeers, jokes, ridicule and burlesque, seem to be flickering in every corner of his mouth: angry sarcasm, and indignant rebuke, glimmer through the flashes of his eyes, tempered only by those gentler emanations from the muse within, which would have made him the brightest poet of his age, had not the follies and vices of Athens compelled him to become its severest comic satirist. I learnt from my communicative statue, that this was Aristophanes, watching both Socrates and the sophists, that he might burlesque them in his comedy of the Clouds; and that his two companions were Eupolis and Cratinus, the comic poets; who, in their calumnious wantonness, scrupled not to affirm that Phidias received female visitors in his house, under pretext of exhibiting his sculptures, but with the real intention of affording a cover for intrigues, and acting as a pander to Pericles.--Pyrilampes was also pointed out to me; who, because he had a collection of curious birds, particularly peacocks, was reported, upon the same scandalous authority, to purchase them merely that they might be bestowed as presents upon those women who granted their favours to Pericles.
And who is that handsome youth, said I, whose splendid armour, sparkling with steel and gold, is fashioned with such exquisite taste, and so happily adapted to display the symmetry of his fine figure ?—“That is Alcibiades," was the reply: “he has visited the Palæstra this morning, merely as an excuse for appearing here in all the graces of his military costume; but the perfumes with which he is scented, and the affected lisp, which affords him an excuse for disclosing his white teeth, show that he has been contemplating other conquests than those which are to be achieved by arms. And yet in war no one dauntless and hardy, as he fully proved at the battle of Delium, where he saved the life of Socrates, as Socrates had saved his at the fight of Potidæa.