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sion of an actor," as Sidney Lee asserts, "loyally and uninterruptedly until he resigned all connection with the theatre within a few years of his death.” His fame as a writer of dramas so far eclipses his reputation as an actor, however, that we are not surprised to learn that within six years after his arrival in London, during which time he had served an apprenticeship in revising old plays and in assisting some other dramatists in the composition of dramas, his first independent work as a playwright was presented on the London stage.
This first play, Love's Labour's Lost, was followed, in the next nineteen years, by thirty-five other dramas, “ nearly all of which belong to the supreme rank of literature." The double profession of actor and playwright must have taxed the powers even of a Shakespeare to the utmost. It is gratifying to find abundant testimony to the great poet's amiability of temper, to his freedom from the petty jealousy which often marks the genius, and to a whole-hearted friendliness which endeared him to the finer spirits among those of his own calling.
Shakespeare was also distinguished for practical sagacity in business affairs. From his work, both as actor and playwright, he derived a substantial income. Lee estimates that, from both sources, his annual average revenue, previous to the year 1599, must
have amounted to one hundred and thirty pounds (equal in value to five thousand dollars to-day). From that date he also shared in the profits of the Globe Theatre, and held a small interest in the Blackfriars. The exceptional popularity of his plays after 1599 caused a corresponding increase in his revenues, so that, in the last few years of his life, he must have earned, according to Sidney Lee's estimate, above six hundred pounds a year in the money of the period. By thrift and good management Shakespeare was enabled to accomplish the special objects of his endeavors, viz., to retrieve his father's fallen fortunes and to secure for himself the rank and estate of an English “gentleman." In the year 1597 he purchased the largest house in Stratford, known as “New Place," and, in subsequent years, by additional purchases in town and country, he became a large landholder. In 1611 Shakespeare retired from the stage, and spent the last five years of his life in dignified leisure at “New Place." There he died, April 23, 1616, at the age of fifty-two, and was buried in the village church. But his works can never die so long, as Ben Jonson said, as men have wits to read.” The surpassing creations of Shakespeare's genius secure for him an immortality of fame.
CAIUS JULIUS CÆSAR The story of the life of Caius Julius Cæsar reads like an epic of a hero of old. In him we find the union of those qualities which, according to Homer, heroic Greece demanded in whoever should bear rule,
- valor in war, wisdom in council, eloquence in debate.
Cæsar belonged to a family which had long been prominent in Roman affairs. His birth occurred July 12, 100 B.C., at a time when Rome was torn by dissensions between classes, when party factions had brought the state almost to the verge of anarchy. Legend, usually so busy in weaving wonderful stories of early precocity in great men, is silent as to the boyhood of Julius Cæsar ; but the ardent love of the man for his mother, Aurelia, points to a happy childhood.
Cæsar owed his first public office to his uncle, the then powerful Marius, who, while he was consul, appointed his nephew a flamen dialis, or priest of Jupiter, at the age of fourteen. Three years later Cæsar cemented his connection with the Marian, or popular party, by marrying Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. A sudden turn in the wheel of revolution, however, brought Cinna to a violent death, and made his enemy, Sulla, dictator. In the general proscription which followed Cæsar narrowly escaped, but having dared to refuse to divorce his wife at Sulla's command, he was compelled to flee from Rome to avoid the wrath of the dictator. He joined the Roman forces in Asia, where he distinguished himself as a soldier, receiving a crown of oak leaves for personal bravery at the capture of Mitylene.
Upon the death of Sulla, Cæsar returned to Rome. “At this time,” says Froude, “there were but two roads to eminence in Rome, - oratory and service in the army." Since his political connections closed to him the door to military preferment, Cæsar went to Rhodes to receive training from the celebrated teacher of oratory, Apollonius Molo. On his journey, the vessel in which he sailed was captured by pirates, and Cæsar was held for ransom, the amount demanded being thirty talents about thirty thousand dollars). Cæsar ridiculed the low estimate of his value, telling the pirates that if they knew who he was, they would demand fifty talents. He showed his absolute fearlessness by threatening to crucify the pirates when he should be set at liberty. This threat he actually fulfilled.
Meanwhile, the Roman government had grown hopelessly corrupt. Roman warfare had become a synonym for plunder. Cicero, speaking in the Senate, said that "Rome had made herself abhorred throughout the world by the violence and avarice of her generals.” In the year 76 B.C. Cæsar returned to Rome, was elected military tribune as a reward for his service in Asia, and began to take an active part in the effort to reform public abuses. In 68 B.C. he was made quæstor, which also gave him a seat in the Senate. Soon afterward his defiant courage was exhibited on the occasion of the funeral of his aunt Julia, the widow of Marius. Cæsar delivered the funeral oration, and he had the insignia and images of Marius borne in the funeral procession, thus openly challenging the party of Sulla. From that time Cæsar rose rapidly, receiving in succession all the high offices in the gift of the Roman people. As consul, he instituted many measures designed to check the growing evils of aristocratic government. “The Julian Laws," as they are called, "mark an epoch in Roman history," says Froude, "for they affirmed the principles on which Roman or any other society could continue”; but not even a Cæsar could save the Roman state from its own suicidal errors.
When the term of Cæsar's consulship expired, 59 B.C., he was made military governor of all Gaul, whose warlike tribes were a continual menace to the fast-weakening Roman nation. Up to this time Cæsar's experience in military affairs had been slight, yet in less than eight years he reduced the powerful