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ATHENIAN BANQUETS.

BANQUET THIRD.*

f.d. Whelpley

EXRly in the evening of the appointed passengers and chariots, moving in all the day, her auditors were assembled, when ways, we should have fancied ourselves Diotima entered the banquet room, follow- traversing an open region, and not within ed by Euripides the tragic poet, and Meton the walls of a city. For here the houses the parasite. Meton placed himself oppo- were not crowded together as in Athens, but site to Cymon on the left; Socrates and stood each apart, in the midst of a park; Euripides on the right and left, in the and about them the huts of weavers and middle places ; and Lysis below Euripides, handicraftsmen were scattered numerously on the left. Thus it happened, that Soc- everywhere among the gardens. rates and Cymon were together on the " While we passed slowly over the roads right of Diotima, as on the former occa- and spaces of the city, wondering at the sions.

multitude of the people,—for if we had When the guests had fully answered counted them it must have been by thouthe first call of hunger and the wine was sands at once, I gathered many particubrought in, which they drank not raw, but lars from my master touching the history of diluted, and in moderate cups, the enter- the city and of the builders of its walls. tainer, when a silence was made, continued Some say, and these are the Magi, that the her story, as follows:

first Babylonians came from Bactria, and “The city of Babylon lies on both sides began to build the great tower of Belus the Euphrates. The river, bending like a which rises like a ruinous hill in the southserpent, creeps under the mountainous west angle of the city. They wished to wall on the northern side, and escapes raise it in honor of the Sun and of their through it at the south. Within the in- ancestors. This was at a period in remote closures of the walls,—which are banks of antiquity, when the stars held not the sun-baked clay, piled to the height of the places they now hold, and the race of men Acropolis, and inclosing the region of Ba were long-lived and of gigantic stature. bylon like a belt of barren hills, -gardens When the first Babylonians came to the watered by canals, orchards bearing apples Euphrates, they found the land without of Persia, whose seed is like a stone, fields inhabitants; but when they began to dig rich with the third harvest of the year, canals and plant gardens, and grew and a population, frugal, peaceable and wealthy, and their numbers increased, the full of ingenious industry, are at once barbarians of the north came down upon presented to your eyes ; as if the scattered them, and robbed and spoiled tm. Then villages of a well-governed kingdom had their prince made a decree, that a wall been swept together in a mass.

should be built about the whole region, “Our caravan entered the city through and that every man should contribute to a defile or breach in the wall, defended by the work : and in a few years they finished gates of brass thirty cubits in height. the inner wall. But, as it happened in From the place of entrance to our cara- Egypt, the custom of building for their vanserai near the southern wall was a kings and princes once established in the day's journey; and had it not been for the memory of the Babylonians, care was taken regularity of the roads, the splendor and that it should not fall into desuetude. The frequency of the mansions of Persian outer wall, a work of four years of man's nobles, and the crowds of horsemen, foot life, the hanging gardens of Semiramis,

* For the second Banquet, see number of this journal for November, 1846 ;—and for the first, see the number for February, of the present year.

and the great temples, beside a multitude | he is neither a story-teller, a moralizer, nor of palaces, comparable only with those of an epigrammatist; a sophist nor a maker Egypt, for extent and magnificence, were of pathetic pictures. Much less is he a thus gradually builded in the course of dramatist, like Euripides, or a master of many centuries; but the true periods of social opinions, like Diotima. He may their beginning and completion, are known smack of all these, but the business of only to the Magi who keep the records of historian, I think, is with events, and the the tower of Belus. When the Chaldeans, acts of cities, as they are moved by their a people of the north, descended upon common desires, fears and aspirations.” Mesopotamia and took Babylon, they “ You are over nice with distinctions, caused the outer wall to be restored and Socrates," replied the other; "and here heightened; but since the Persians have seems to be one made without a difference: the empire, the princes oppress the people, nor did I ever hear you so positive about and neglect their walls.

a trifle. If I describe a city, why not as “ Imagine a nation of weavers and well the acts of the city: if the deeds of handicraftsmen employed in every species one man, why not the deeds of many of manufacture, living under a tyranny men ?" which forbids the possibility of honest “When you," replied Socrates, "excite riches, and you have pictured to yourselves our pity with the griefs of Alcestis, conthe population of Babylon. Their manu- signing herself to death for love's sake, factures are taken down the Euphrates and you move us with a private sorrow, and we carried by Phænician mariners to all parts are mingled in sympathy with the affection of the world. By caravans the stuffs and of a wife and husband; beyond this you look products of Babylon are distributed over for no effect. Homer also shows us AchilAsia, Bactria, and the north. By these les in his tent, mourning for Patroclus, or means a perpetual stream of every kind of pictures the tender parting of Hector with riches is poured back by commerce into his wife and child ; but these are only the the city, enriching the masters who gov- ornaments of the work, the foliage of the ern it, but not the multitude who are their column. The individuals are swept along slaves. In Babylon, as in Egypt, the in the torrent of destiny ; one by one they people are slaves.

rise, triumph for an instant, and are lost When Diotima came to this point in her forever ; but still the action moves on and story, Euripides, who leaned upon his left the war is never at an end. But when side with his eyes declined, and listening Orestes enters upon the stage, it is Orestes attentively, looked up at the narrator with and not a nation, or a history, that intera smile, and made a movement to speak. ests us. Therefore, I argue, Diotima is not Diotima perceiving it, paused instantly, a historian by nature ; her descriptions and waited for what he would say. are of individuals, of passions, of enter

“I think,” said he, “ you would write a tainments, and always of the quiet and the good history if you chose to undertake it.” easily representable ; but to me Homer.

“I think so too,” echoed Lysis : “Di seems to be the inventor of history, because otima's narrative is very agreeable.

he first subordinated the persons to the “I will venture to contradict you action. To describe the virtue of a hero, both,” said Socrates. "I do not think it or of an entire city contending and bearing lies in Diotima's power to make a good up against a common calamity, be it of history.”

war, of the inroads of the ocean, or of pesEuripides, a polité man, and ambitious tilence, or violence from abroad, or of vice withal, who would rather flatter than of- and injury in the city, --in short, of all fend, though he knew Socrates well, could those sorrows which the gods inflict upon not conceal his surprise at the seeming nations and races of men,—this seems to rudeness of his remark.

· Your reason,

me history; and if it be done as Homer friend,” said he; “your profound reason, does it, from the heart, tempering all

“She gives us pictures, descriptions, with love, with heroic courage, the interest conversations, and no history ; your histo- of the event, and the hope of fame, it is rian, to my understanding, is he who bears epical, as I think, and needs to be written you strongly along on a stream of events; | in verse. For, as the whispers of lovers

have reasoned with herself, situated as she | If it be so, it were well that our profeswas, in the manner here represented ? So sional and literary young men, who are far as men may judge of female character, compelled to a life of celibacy, should be by considering it a reflection and counter- permitted to know a truth which would part of their own, this certainly is false and enable them to bear their enforced condiunnatural. Let any of our young gentle- tion with perfect resignation. men readers look fairly and honestly into We admit the facts are often seemingly their own hearts and ask themselves, whe- against us. Fathers and mothers, with ther they can fancy themselves to be in the aid of the family “ Great Medicine. such a position with regard to two of what man,” viz., the priest, can often break Hook calls the “opposing sex,” that they down their daughters' wills, and sell or could argue the question in their minds in dispose of their domestic produce, accordthis manner:

“Here is one young lady ing to the quality of the article and the whom I love as I do my own soul ; I can state of the market; but the will, in such not live without her; nothing on earth instances, is very apt to prove troublesome shall separate us. But at the same time to the purchaser, and sometimes ends in a I cannot marry her, because we should be home consumption. These examples do poor; I will, therefore, take this other rich not, therefore, affect the general truth. one, who likes me well enough, in order But it will be urged, and the author, that it may be better in a pecuniary point with a great deal of tact

, endeavors to of view' for my real love?" We do not make it so appear, that poor Cathy was ask if any young man would act on such unconscious of the nature of her love for grounds, but only if he can fancy a state Heathcliff: she had been brought up with of mind, in which he could for an instant him; they had played together all their seriously propose to himself to act thus. lives; a kind of sisterly feeling for him was If there be any who can, he does not and all that she was actually conscious of. cannot know, what true manly affection for This is more unnatural than the other. a woman is: he may marry, and continue We can more easily fancy girl marrying his species on the face of the earth, and a man who merely pleases her, in order to leave a long epitaph behind him, but he benefit one whom she loves, than that bewill never have understood the love that ing of a marriageable age, she should not Shakspeare could paint; Juliet and Des- know the nature of her feelings towards demona will have died in vain for him. one man while on the point of uniting herFor the affection that our best English self in wedlock with another. Can we poets have sung, requires the soul to be so suppose such a state of things as a young constituted as to be disgusted with the very lady actually about to marry one man, reidea of marriage with another, while it has solving upon it, and all the while her senan affection for one. We do not under-timents in such divorcement from her passtand, thank Heaven, this gregarious love, sion, that she is innocently unconscious that favors Julia with fear and Susan in which of the two she would rather be forpride. However it may be in Paris, in ever joined with, in the chaste and holy England, and, we hope, in the dominions bond of wedded love, that of President Polk, our young gentlemen

“ Mysterious law, true source have not yet arrived at that pitch of re

Of human offspring, sole propriety finement, where they can turn away from In Paradise of all things common else ?" the flame that burns brightly on the altar of one propitious divinity, and sacrifice This would be a condition of existence themselves upon the cold shrine of an not admitting the virtue of chastity. But other. Nor will we be so uncharitable as it is one which recent writers are so often to believe that our Anglo-Saxon damsels in the habit of assuming, that it is time it are yet so sophisticated as to require or should be said in the name of at least one admit more than one true love at a time; half of the generation, upon whom has or that there are many among them, who, devolved the mighty task of peopling this of their own accord, would debate with vast continent, we hope that it never exthemselves and resolve to marry a rich isted, or if it did, the subject was in a disman in order to benefit a poor sweetheart. eased condition. No writer has given us

trow.” Meton discharged himself of his have their arts from Egypt; for I observed nonsense at a rate which put him out of that the houses of the Babylonians resembreath; and satisfied with the laugh which bled those of Ionia, of Jerusalem, of Phoefollowed, he remained quiet for a time, with nicia, and of Egypt; and many travellers only now and then a grimace. Diotima, bave assured me that no nation on the taking advantage of the silence which fol- earth, except the Northern and Eastern lowed, went on with her story.

Scythians, are free of the traces of EgypWe entered the outer gates about sun

tian art. rise, and arrived at night before the gate of “Need I describe to you, what I saw the caravanserai; but the merchant who had only at a distance, the gardens of Semirame in charge would not expose me to the mis,—an artificial mountain raised upon curiosity of the crowds of buyers and idlers arches of brick, and covered with forest who thronged at the gate, and turning trees of immense size ;—the tower of Belus, aside, conducted me instantly to the house the first built and the loftiest of human of a Greek merchant, one Strato of. Co works,-in which live the priests of a rerinth, a man of great wealth and virtue, in ligion, so undivine in its form, and so inwhose care I should be safe from the curi- effectual in its spirit, it should be named a osity of a class of persons who take upon delusion rather, and not a belief ? We themselves to provide for the happiness of found Strato at the door of his house, engrandees, by filling their houses with wo- gaged in conversation with an officer of the men of all kinds and qualities.

Royal Guards. My master lifted me from “Of all cities in the world Babylon is the the dromedary, and embracing Strato, exleast famous for the virtue of its people ; 1 plained to him the purpose of his visit, and and I believe that a people naturally pure said something in my favor. After a moand educated to virtue, would be instantly ment's hesitation, he turned to the officer corrupted it by any chance they should and dismissed him in the most respectful occupy a city like Babylon. Being a manner imaginable; then seizing Zadec centre for the commerce of the world, it is and myself by the hand, he hurried us into filled with slaves, traders and sharpers of the house, and turning to the door shut it all nations, from Gades to the extreme east. and bolted it. The mass of its people, living in extreme “ • You are unlucky,' said he, “to have poverty, because of the oppression of the come at this moment. The person whom rich, know of no enjoyment but in the you saw with me when you came up, is a worship of Adonai, who is the personi- provider of the palace, and he has orders fication of every vice. The Persian lords, to seize or purchase all the Greek women living idly, and secure within their walls, that are brought into Babylon. I wish a vie with each other only in debauchery better fate for my country woman than to and extravagance. Among the women be buried for life in the palace, especially purity is hated, and among the men sobri- if she be such a person as you represent ety suspected. In the luxury of their lives, her.' While Strato talked with my masthe effeminacy of their manners, and the ter, I followed them through the court into grossness of their worship, this wealthy an inner chamber, and being sufficiently people are without an equal among the terrified with what I heard him say, I connations. I dare not disgust you with a ceived a hope of as good favor with him recital of what I saw and heard, even in as I had found with Manes on a like octhe streets and at the doors of the temples, casion. Though I could not think to afwhere riches strove with vice, which should fect him with my face, from which forty be most conspicuous. Actions punishable years had taken the attraction of youth, I among ourselves with death, are here prac- nevertheless removed my veil, and emticed as religious rites. Bestialities are bracing his knees as a suppliant, I besought boasted and recommended, which would him with tears to yield me the protection here condemn the doer to infamy.

of his house. Strato's countenance glowed “For the modes of living in Babylon, with satisfaction, when he saw me unveiled they resemble those of Egypt, and differ and addressing him in this fashion. 'I not greatly from our own. I am inclined will buy this woman of you, friend,' said to believe that all nations of the world he to Zadec, 'whatever be her price.' My

Yet with all this faultiness, Wuthering The world has no confidence in the Heights is, undoubtedly, a work of many courage and strengh of youth. It gives singular merits. In the first place it is not no credit. It stands before the rising race a novel which deals with the shows of like a bristling rampart. Let no young society, the surfaces and conventionalities man fancy what he might or could accomof life. It does not depict men and wo- plish if circumstances were otherwise with men guided merely by motives intelligible him than they happen to be, if he had to simplest observers. It lifts the veil and capital to start with, or if nothing ailed his shows boldly the dark side of our de- heart. The weakest vagrant in the street praved nature. It teaches how little the can quiet his conscience with such apoloends of life in the young are rough hewn gies. Neither let any young man expect the by experience and benevolence in the old. fruition of any of his early hopes. They It goes into the under-current of passion, are all mere fictions of the fancy. He may and the rapid hold it has taken of the change and change, and realize something public shows how much truth there is hid- resembling the dream; but the apple of den under its coarse extravagance. knowledge must be first eaten, and ever

Very young persons are prone to fancy after there is a flaming sword turned every that the march of life, especially in our way before the original Eden. Or he may own free country, is now, by the enlighten- have pride enough to render him indomita ment of the age, all perfectly uniform and ble; he gains nothing by it. Sooner or regular. But as soon as they fall fairly later he must succumb to wrong, or to into the ranks, they begin to perceive that disease, or age. But there is a noble satisthere is still some hurly-burly and jost- faction in holding out to the very last, and ling, and that it requires resolution to keep one may do this without being a misanfrom turning into characters resembling thrope, without turning his back to the Heathcliffs. With a very limited expe- world, or treating it with discourtesy or rience, the proportion of honest men is indifference. seen to lessen. In a short time we be

A president of one of our colleges once gin to find that men with gray

hairs are

said to a graduate at parting :—“My son, guided often by the weakest and most as this may be the last time I shall see childish passions. There are plenty of such you, and I shall never have another opporwho will sell the very souls of their own tunity of doing you any good, (he had offspring merely to keep up their dignity. never improved any previous one during

There are plenty also who will treat boys four years,) I want to advise you : Never and girls in the most overbearing manner, oppose public opinion. The great world and then go into a great rage and perse will stave right on!" cute them inveterately on the least show Whether the graduate has ever opposed of youthful anger. Boys often suppose public opinion is of no consequence; what that the old, especially those of some char we would particularly call attention to is acter and station, will regard them with the wisdom of the advice. Of course, if kindness; but they soon learn to make one is to go by public opinion, he must proper distinctions, and to cheat and flatter first ascertain, as well as he can, what pubthe right sort, thereby preparing them lic opinion is, and must then cut out and selves to be proceeded with in the same fashion his individual opinion to conform manner when their own time comes. We thereto. This process must be the constant soon find out, though it takes strong proof, habit of his soul; he must, in fact, turn that there is a large proportion among old himself wrongside out. He must sacrifice as well as young who do actually regard himself to gain what the very sacrifice rennothing but money. And so it is with a ders it impossible that he should enjoy. thousand other truths which, in early life, | The advice is so sound and may be of so had only the force of rhetorical maxims; much service, especially to the aspiring, they gradually, like the storms of the tro- among those whose occupations force them pics, at first no bigger than a man's hand, before the public, that it deserved to be but rising and expanding, cloud over the printed. sky of youthful hope, and leave us more But at the same time, there is a certain and more in the gloom of despondence. class of well-meaning characters, who, we

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