페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Pisistratus appearing the most tractable ; for he was extremely smooth and engaging in his language, a great friend to the poor, and moderate in his resentments; and what nature had not given him, he had the skill to imitate ; so that he was trusted more than the others, being accounted a prudent and orderly man, one that loved equality, and would be an enemy to any that moved against the present settlement. Thus he deceived the majority of people ; but Solon quickly discovered his character, and found out his design before any one else ; yet did not hate him upon this, but endeavored to humble him, and bring him off from his ambition, and often told him and others, that if any one could banish the passion for preëminence from his mind, and cure him of his desire of absolute power, none would make a more virtuous man or a more excellent citizen.

Thespis, at this time, beginning to act tragedies, and the thing, because it was new, taking very much with the multitude, though it was not yet made a matter of competition, Solon, being by nature fond of hearing and learning something new, and now, in his old age, living idly, and enjoying himself, indeed, with music and with wine, went to see Thespis himself, as the ancient custom was, act: and after the play was done, he addressed him, and asked him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies before such a number of people ; and Thespis replying that it was no harm to say or do so in play, Solon vehemently struck his staff against the ground : " Ah,” said he, “ if we honor and commend such play as this, we shall find it some day in our business.'

Now when Pisistratus, having wounded himself, was brought into the market place in a chariot, and stirred up the people, as if he had been thus treated by his opponents because of his political conduct, and a great many were enraged and cried out, Solon, coming close to him, said, “This, O son of Hippocrates, is a bad copy of Homer's Ulysses ; you do, to trick your countrymen, what he did to deceive his enemies.” After this, the people were eager to protect Pisistratus, and met in an assembly, where one Ariston making a motion that they should allow Pisistratus fifty clubmen for a guard to his person, Solon opposed it, and said much to the same purport as what he has left us in his poems,

You doto upon his words and taking phrase;

and again,

True, you are singly each a crafty soul,
But all together make one empty fool.

But observing the poor men bent to gratify Pisistratus, and tumultuous, and the rich fearful and getting out of harm's way, he departed, saying he was wiser than some and stouter than others; wiser than those that did not understand the design, stouter than those that, though they understood it, were afraid to oppose the tyranny.

Now, the people, having passed the law, were not nice with Pisistratus about the number of his clubmen, but took no notice of it, though he enlisted and kept as many as he would, until he seized the Acropolis. When that was done, and the city in an uproar, Megacles, with all his family, at once fled; but Solon, though he was now very old, and had none to back him, yet came into the market place and made a speech to the citizens, partly blaming their inadvertency and meanness of spirit, and in part urging and exhorting them not thus tamely to lose their liberty; and likewise then spoke that memorable saying, that, before, it was an easier task to stop the rising tyranny, but now the greater and more glorious action to destroy it, when it was begun already, and had gathered strength. But all being afraid to side with him, he returned home, and, taking his arms, he brought them out and laid them in the porch before his door, with these words : “I have done my part to maintain my country and my laws," and then he busied himself no more. His friends advising him to fly, he refused, but wrote poems, and thus reproached the Athenians in thein,

If now you suffer, do not blame the Powers,
For they are good, and all the fault was ours.
All the strongholds you put into his hands,
And now his slaves must do what he commands.

And many telling him that the tyrant would take his life for this, and asking what he trusted to, that he ventured to speak so boldly, he replied, “ To my old age.”

" But Pisistratus, having got the command, so extremely courted Solon, so honored him, obliged him, and sent to see him, that Solon gave him his advice, and approved many of his actions; for he retained most of Solon's laws, observed them himself, and compelled his friends to obey. And he himself, though already absolute ruler, being accused of murder before the Areopagus, came quietly to clear himself; but his accuser did not appear. And he added other laws, one of which is that the maimed in the wars should be maintained at the public charge.

Solon lived after Pisistratus seized the government, as Heraclides Ponticus asserts, a long time ; but Phanias the Eresian says not two full years; for Pisistratus began his tyranny when Comias was archon, and Phanias says Solon died under Hegestratus, who succeeded Comias. The story that his ashes were scattered about the island Salamis is too strange to be easily believed, or be thought anything but a mere fable ; and yet it is given, amongst other good authors, by Aristotle, the philosopher.

ARETHUSA.

BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.

I.

ARETHUSA arose

From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains,

From cloud and from crag,

With many a jag,
Shepherding her bright fountains.

She leapt down the rocks,

With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams;

Her steps paved with green

The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams :

And gliding and springing

She went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep;

The earth seemed to love her,

And Heaven smiled above her,
As she lingered towards the deep.

II.

Then Alpheus bold,

On his glacier cold,
With his trident the mountains strook

And opened a chasm

In the rocks; — with the spasm All Erymanthus shook.

And the black south wind

It concealed behind
The urns of the silent snow,

And earthquake and thunder

Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below;

The beard and the hair

Of the River God were Seen thro' the torrent's sweep,

As he followed the light

Of the fleet nymph's flight To the brink of the Dorian deep.

III.

“Oh, save me! Oh, guide me!

And bid the deep hide me, For he grasps me now by the hair!"

The loud Ocean heard,

To its blue depths stirred, And divided at her prayer;

And under the water

The Earth's white daughter Fled like a sunny beam;

Behind her descended

Her billows, unblended
With the brackish Dorian stream:

Like a gloomy stain

On the emerald main Alpheus rushed behind,

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

IV.

Under the bowers

Where the Ocean Powers Sit on their pearlèd thrones,

Thro' the coral woods

Of the weltering floods,
Over heaps of unvalued stones;

Thro' the dim beams
Which amid the streams

Weave a network of colored light;

And under the caves,

Where the shadowy waves
Are as green as the forest's night:-

Outspeeding the shark,

And the swordfish dark,
Under the ocean foam,

And up thro' the rifts

Of the mountain clifts
They past to their Dorian home.

V.

And now from their fountains

In Enna's mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks

Like friends once parted

Grown single-hearted,
They ply their watery tasks.

At sunrise they leap

From their cradles steep
In the cave of the shelving hill;

At noontide they flow

Through the woods below
And the meadows of asphodel;

And at night they sleep

In the rocking deep
Beneath the Ortygian shore;-

Like spirits that lie

In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.

[ocr errors]

AN ANCIENT GULLIVER.

(From “ The True History," by Lucian of Samosata.)

(Lucian, one of the foremost humorists and men of letters of all time, was born in Asia Minor during Trajan's reign. He studied for a sculptor, but finally went to Antioch and devoted himself to literature and oratory. He died in extreme old age. His works, written in Greek, are largely satirical burlesques on pagan philosophy and mythology and on the literature of his day, with some stories. ]

CTESIAS wrote an account of India, in which he records matters which he neither saw himself, nor heard from the

« 이전계속 »