Imágenes de páginas

my whole body, for never before had sci- | divinity, to breed this bateful littleness ence seemed beautiful to me, until this and conceit in any soul ?” man mingled it with divine dreams.

“I do not say that he breeds it there," " While we stood discoursing and listen- answered Lysis"; " but only that he gives ing, day began to appear. We descended occasion for it. When the master sings, the great stairs, and came in, slow and the dog barks.” scattering, to the house, the guests taking It is this barking that offends me,” their leave of me as they passed; for I and said the jester, with the same apparent Dione lingered behind with Manes and gravity. "I am accustomed to compare Pythagoras. When all were gone but the the voices of these people,” continued he, sage and the young priestess, we invited affecting a deep seriousness, “to the them to retire, which they accepting, were echoes of speeches which return only the shown each by a train of slaves into emphasized syllables.". sumptuous apartments, not unworthy to "A stiff comparison," said Lysis, be the chambers of princes. But these laughing at the gravity of the other ; but were princes indeed, for even the Pharao he continued undisturbedly. “ And the feared Pythagoras; and for Dione, she faces that speak them, I compare to tragic shone a pure star among the pure." masks, through which the words of a good

When Diotima had made an end, Lysis poet are pertly delivered. The persons thanked her for the description of the themselves I resemble to an unscoured banquet of Pythagoras, but seemed aston- kneading trough, into which the good ished at the boldness of the Egyptian housewife carelessly put her dough, but women. “I desire," said he, “ good Dio- it presently began to corrupt. For the tima, that no such sage or prophet may words of the sages themselves, they are appear in Athens, intoxicating young girls like the rain which falls equally into filthy with discourses of this kind."

sewers and golden pitchers. And for the pray," said the prophetess, effects of their words, I observe the ken"what is it that you fear for them, my nels swell most after a summer shower.” prudent friend ?”

Cymon and Lysis applauded this speech " That they learn to love banquets and heartily, and the prophetess seemed not conversations, and go a hunting after fine displeased with it. phrases, which nature forbids to any but “I will add one more,” she said, smiling,

“to your similitudes. I will compare the “A very slight consequence you men- words of the wise to the rain that unfolds tion,” said Cymon, “my kind Lysis. tender buds; and say that poisonous What harm may follow a little affecta- nightshade feels it as genially as the tion ?"

grass and grain." " When you are older, good youth, you And now, my friends,” said Lysis, will find that affectation in speech and “let Diotima continue her history; for I manners is not the innocent thing it seems see the morning entering.” to be."

· For my part,” said the young man, " How so?” inquired the jester in a “I desire to hear more of this young grave voice.

Egyptian priestess, who seems to be in "I have long noticed," answered Lysis, love with the very wise Pythagoras. Tell " that such as use an unnatural cant us in a few words, dear Diotima, what phrase, in speech or writing, make bad befell the amiable Dione.” friends, or rather no friends at all. They “ At another time,” answered the are an adaptive kind of persons, surprising prophetess, “I will relate her story, as I ly ready to shape themselves to the dis- ħad it from hearsay.” position of any one whom they wish to “Go on, then, dear prophetess,” said please ; but are for the most part full of Lysis, “ with your own story, and let cankerous animosity and contempt.'

us hear the loves of Dione at another “But how is it possible," rejoined time.” Cymon, "for the conversation of a wise “ The morning is well begun," answered and unaffected person like Pythagoras, a she," and though I desire your company, man, if I may so speak, intoxicated with good friends, I will eren break off here,

the poets."

and, if it pleases you, relate the after-for- and pitby one, like the farce after the tune of my life at another time."

tragedy,” said Lysis, “ that we may all “ Especially your spiritual history,” | go home in a good humor.” said the young man.

But the jester, making no reply, contiti“As my friends will,” answered she; ued as follows: “ but why should I be so much of a talker, “ This old woman sold cresses for a when here is one to whom the Graces are small profit; but she had a little yellow favorable, and who is better able to please dog, that brought her more money than all you than I am ?”

her simples, though she kept the best parShe said these words in so pleasant and cels in the market.” playful a tone, shining with her lustrous When the jester had got thus far with his eyes upon the rude Meton, he was abash- story, he stopped and lay quite silent, siped, and turned his head away. But ping a little wine with a dull expression. Cymon now began to show symptoms of The others waited a while, thinking he discontent; for he had hoped ere this to would go on, but Cymon grew impatient. have found a private opportunity with the “Well," said he, “and what of the prophetess, meaning to disclose his love for dog ?" her niece; but she, penetrating his thoughts, “ This dog," said the jester, “ had a fapaid no heed to him, but only joined with miliar demon, who befriended the old woLysis, who was urging the jester to man.” his part in a story, vowing, in jest, that “ But is it true ?” said the young man. if he did not, he, Lysis, would begin a “As true," answered the other, “ as the very prosy one himself. Cymon declared calendar." he would rather sleep under Lysis than “Pray go on," said Cymon, seeing that lie awake under Meton. But the jester, the jester did not proceed. who secretly desired to talk, began pres- When Meton heard this request, he ently as follows:

squeezed up the corners of his eyes with a "Since you, good Diotima, wish to hear grin, and proceeded : me, and you, grave Lysis, are of the same “ You must know, my young friend, mind, I may use my endeavors notwith that there are two kinds of demons, the standing the youth, whom I pity for his good and the bad ; and that every man condition,” (here Cymon gave a groan) has one of each appointed him at birth." “which is exactly that of the fox whó “I know it," said the other ; " but how could not get his head into the narrow- for the women? Have they a demon ?" necked jug into which the crane put his “O yes, several,” replied the jester, dinner.”

“ but with this difference that the wo'Stop, good sir,” said the prophetess, man's demon, be it good or evil, is not albeginning to laugh at the sight of Cymon's lowed to manifest itself to her directly, sad countenance. “This is no story, but but must appear in some other shape : a very cruel amusement.”

whereas the man's demon may enter into Before Meton begins his story," said him directly, and become spiritually visiLysis, “I insist that he tell us in what ble to himself, without external appearparticulars our friend here resembles the ance.” ox.”

“I never heard that before," said Cy“Because," said the jester, “it is his mon, with a look of surprise. fate to be unable to enjoy anything deep “ Your not having heard it makes nothor witty, (which is the case with all lovers.) ing against it,” said the jester; " but it I, who resemble the crane, could sip noth- is certain that this dog had a demon ing out of his flat dish ; and now, he as who was a friendly genius to his mislittle of my witticisms, that have a depth tress.” and a pith for a deep sense to get at, “ Was the dog a female ?" said the (though I say it.) I will tell you a story young man, musingly. of an old woman that lived in the Piræus Thereupon Lysis and the jester burst not long ago, and what a cunning way she into a laugh, but the prophetess diseovtook to get a living."

ered no emotion of any kind. "Let the story, good joker, be a short " I wished to know," said the young

man, “whether the demons of males might | ers shouting, as if intoxicated ; and while inhabit female animals.”

we listened, some began to beat at the gate; "Pray what conjurations have you in and presently it was opened and a number hand ?" said Lysis, continuing to laugh. of young men with garlands on their But seeing Diotima look offended, he mo- heads, came into the court calling for Diotioned the jester to continue his story ; but tima. She immediately rose, and going to Cymon would not be put off, and ap- the door, they saluted her and threw their pealed with his question to the prophetess. garlands at her feet, and presented gifts of She assured him mildly,

wine and other delicacies, and one threw “Those who profess to know the na- a rich robe over her shoulders, and kneelture of the good and evil demons, declare | ing down kissed her hand as if she had they are of no sex, and can inhabit a | been a princess. She received their gifts, male or a female body at pleasure.' and having dismissed them courteously, Meton objected.

returned to the banquet room, where her "I feel certain to have seen women,' guests were waiting in some wonder as to said he,“ possessed by the male demons, the result. When they saw her returning some good and some evil.”

with the purple robe upon her shoulders, But Diotima would not suffer him to having the air of a princess, they were proceed.

struck with astonishment. But she only " I restrict you,” said she, “ to the fin- dismissed them, after appointing another ishing of this story, for it is broad morning, day to finish her story, and bidding Cyand I hear banqueters going home from mon attend her in another apartment. the ward feast."

Then having saluted her, they left the Just at this moment there was a noise house. of voices in the street, some singing, oth


The establishment of a people in the | The arts which they pursue are well enjoyment of liberty and competency is known, and have not yet gone out of use. allowed by all writers to be the noblest But of that order of conquerors who busy work in which a man of great spirit can themselves chiefly about the foundations be engaged ; but as the opportunity of of their own States, the world is not half composing constitutions and building up so well informed; not because their work institutions of freedom is rare, and happens is any less difficult and praiseworthy than only once in a century or more, it well that of the warlike order, but that it rebecomes the ambitious spirits of those ages quires a subtlety and refinement of genius which offer none of these fortunate occa- which historians either do not always apsions to look about them, lest, for mere preciate, or will not be at the pains to set want of occupation, they fall into contempt, before the world in a proper light. and play the miserable part of eulogists, A great politician, lately retired from and defenders of antiquated systems. Their office, and who employs the leisure of his only chance for distinction lies in being old age in reading, and meditation upon the first to pull down what their fathers his own experience, proposes to write a established. Military conquerors of the volume for the use of statesmen, and for despotic order have rare opportunities of politicians, by which he shall guide them immortalizing themselves in this fashion. I to a more systematic and effectual de

[ocr errors]

struction of their institutions, than they To destroy the interests of a nation the ever could accomplish under the merely most effectual methods are obviously those natural impulse of ambition and the love which will sink the largest amount of of change.

labor and capital, or which will turn the We happen to be very intimate with labor and capital of the people into the least the designer of this treatise, which its au- productive channels. This cannot be done thor means to entitle The New Machia- immediately, or in one generation, and the vel; or a Treatise on the Art of Destroying most that we of this time can do is to bea Nation from within.” The first part will gin the work. be a profound essay on the nature and “Having by a judicious working upon uses of Opinion, and of the various arts of opinion, induced the people to elect an creating it. Of this portion a friend quite Executive sufficiently ignorant, obstinate, competent to the task, has promised us a and àmbitous, you have then to provide a popular review.

The author evidently suitable cabinet for guiding and instigating. regards it as the most important portion of You are to keep all real information out his work, for at the very page we find this of reach and hearing of your Executive, sentence, “ The Constitution and Laws of and fill his ear with continual flatteries, a people rest upon three columns : these so that his opinion of his own judgment, are, Prejudice, Interest and Opinion.” It where it is necessary that he have any, is unnecessary to remind the reader that be swelled to the largest. He will then whatever rests upon three legs, if one be be in a good condition to use, for carrying knocked away, will fall to the ground. out your grand scheme. Our author believes that the Prejudices Having now got your Executive ready, of a people, which are quite distinct from and in good order for the work, you their speculative Opinions, are a main sup- must begin by setting him against someport of their government, and he proposes thing, with which he shall be heartily to devote a separate treatise to the art of angry. Anger and pride together, will undermining inherited prejudices.

make him persevere.

This may be either The third part is of the Interests of a some great public institution, as a legislaNation--in what they consist, and how they tive body, a moneyed corporation, a college, are most judiciously and easily brought to a church, or a neighboring State. If you the ground. As the practical experience can engage him in a little war,' be conof our author lies chietly in that field, he tent: little wars always continue long, and having been the cause of undermining and cost more in the end than great wars, annihilating larger and more valuable Inter- which agrees with your main design. ests, than have ever before been ruined by “It may be shown that wars of conquest any private adventurer, without detriment are the best in the world for your purposes : to himself, may be regarded as perfectly forgood authority upon this topic at least. “1. They are the greatest destroyers of

One principal defect, however, has been property, by sinking productive capital in noticed by the judicious who have seen the maintenance of unproductive bodies of these treatises, and that is that the vener- men, armies, navies, office-holders, and the able writer, while he tells us how to bring vast crowd of idlers that live upon their down the edifice of state in a tasteful and means while waiting for offices; which is a magnificent style, so as to make a very great consideration. fine ruin of it, neglects to show us how “2. By a national debt, increasing the to “stand from under;" and while we read number of speculators, stock-jobbers, and

the like. our enthusiasm is checked by the reflection that some of these grand engineers might army and navy, a vast number of laborers, possibly be hoist with their own petards, mechanics, dealers and contractors, preor buried under a falling column. These, viously engaged in commercial or other it may be, are but the reflections of ner- economical pursuits for the increase of vous and over-fearful persons. To give some national wealth, are now engaged in the profaint idea of the work, we subjoin a few duction of a surplus, which is to be conacts from the plan,

sumed without render or profit to the nation. "The surplus capital of the nation, which of the working classes generally, through would otherwise have been used for the necessary effects of taxation. the cultivation of farms, the building of “ If the nation enjoyed a free trade becities, the establishment of manufactories, fore the war, you will now find it necessary and the opening of new channels of inter- to raise your tariffs as high as possible; an nal and external commerce, is now directed operation which will injure some nations upon the production of clothes, food, and benefit others; but by a skillful admunitions of war, forts, navies, &c., which, justment of duties you may succeed in instead of being a profitable investment for killing off some valuable manufactures the surplus of the national wealth, are in and stimulating others that will be of little fact a perpetual sink and drain, swallowing | or no value. Your main reliance, however, up in taxes for their after maintenance will be on taxation. The debt having been and support, those earnings of poor men, incurred, it must be paid ; but you will which would otherwise have just lifted bend all your efforts toward increasing the them a little above poverty,

number of the poor, who are always your * This last effect is of the greatest im- very dear friends; and what good man is portance to your scheme. We know there that does not wish to increase the sery well, and you must not fail to per- number of his friends ? To this end you suade the people, that a war stimulates will begin by taxing the necessaries of life, the industry of a nation, gives employ- food, fuel, clothes, &c., taking care to perment to a vast number of persons, and suade the people that the loss will fall upon employs a great amount of capital. It is the traders and producers, who will take not this first effect, however, but the good care on their part to sustain little or econdary consequences of war, which none of it. The man who saved forty dollars should occupy your attention—namely, a year will now save but twenty, and he that all this industry and wealth is em- who enjoyed twenty will have nothing to ployed, so to speak, in digging a pit to spare ; he who lived decently and saved throw in the people's money.

nothing will now live meanly and have “ Having got your war well agoing, and nothing, and those who lived 'meanly and the public debts running mountain high, laid up no earnings, will fall into poverty, Fou will now observe a three-fold effect debt and dependence. Thus by your vast on the nation: first, a general stagnation army and navy you have not only conof business, following on the close of the quered the enemy and earned a great war ; secondly, a large increase of crime name for yourself, but you have conquered ind poverty, through the return of myri- and subjected a vast body of refractory ids of adventurers ; lastly, but which will citizens, poor people, who will not fail to ippear more slowly, the enlargement of swell the ranks of the Reform party, which he class of paupers, and the depression is always yours.

« AnteriorContinuar »