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cal lines, that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without a possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought so transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches of Him, who is not only the standard of perfection, but of happiness!
XII.-The Combat of the Horatii and the Curiatii.—LIvy. HE combat of the Horatii and Curiatii is painted in a very natural and animated manner by Livy. The cause was this. The inhabitants of Alba and Rome, roused by ambition and mutual complaints, took the field, and were on the eve of a bloody battle. The Alban general, to prevent the effusion of blood, proposed to Hostilius, then king of Rome, to refer the destiny of both nations to three combatants of each side, and that empire should be the prize of the conquering party. The proposal was accepted. The Albans named the Curiatii, three brothers, for their champions. The three sons of Horatius were chosen for the Romans.
The treaty being concluded, the three brothers, on each side, arrayed themselves in armour, according to agreement. Each side exhorts its respective champions; representing to them that their gods, their country, their parents, every individual in the city and army, now fixed their eyes on their arms and valor. The generous combatants, intrepid in themselves, and animated by such exhortations, marched forth, and stood between the two armies. The armies placed themselves before the respective camps, and were less solicitous for any present danger, than for the consequence of this action. They therefore gave their whole attention to a sight, which could not but alarm them. The signal is given. The combatants engage with hostile weapons, and show themselves inspired with the intrepidity of two mighty armies. Both parties, equally insensible of their own danger, had nothing in view but the slavery or liberty of their country, whose destiny depended upon their conduct At the first onset, the casking of their armor, and the terrific gleam of their swords, filled the spectators with such trepidation, fear and horror, that the faculty of speech and breath seemed totally suspended, even while the hope of success inclined to neither side. But
when it came to a closer engagement, not only the motion of their bodies, and the furious agitation of their weapons, arrested the eyes of the spectators, but their opening wounds, and the streaming blood. Two of the Romans fell, and expired at the feet of the Albans, who were all three wounded. Upon their fall the Alban army shouted for joy, while the Reman legions remained without hope, but not without concern, being eagerly anxious for the surviving Roman, then surrounded by his three adversaries. Happily he was not wounded; but not being a match for three, though superior to any one of them singly, he had recourse to a stratagem for dividing them. He betook himself to flight; rightly supposing, that they would follow him at unequal distances, as their strength, after so much loss of blood, would permit. Having fled a considerable way from the spot where they fought, he looked back, and saw the Curiatii pursuing, at a considerable distance from one another, and one of them very near him. He turned with all his fury upon the foremost; and while the Alban army were crying out to his brother to succor him, Horatius, having presently dispatched his first enemy, rushed forward to a second victory. The Romans encourage their champion by such acclamations as generally proceed from unexpected success. He, on the other hand, hastens to put an end to the second combat, and slew another, before the third who was not far off, could come up to his assistance. There now remained only one combatant on each side. The Roman who had still received no hurt, fired with gaining a double victory, advances with great confidence to his third combat. His antagonist, on the other hand, being weakened by loss of blood, and spent with running so far, could scarce drag his legs after him, and being already dispirited by the death of his brothers, presents his breast to the victor, for it could not be called a contest. "Two (says the exulting Roman) two bave I sacrificed to the manes of my brothers--the third I will offer up to my country, that henceforth Rome may give laws to Alba." Upen which he transfixed him with his sword, and stripped him of his armor. The Romans received Horatius, the vicles, to their camp, with an exultation, great as their former fear. After this each ar
my buried their respective dead, but with very different sentiments; the one reflecting on the sovereignty they had acquired, and the other on the subjection to slavery, to the power of the Romans.
This combat became still more remarkable: Horatius returning to Rome, with the arms and spoils of his enemy, met his sister, who was to have been married to one of the Curiatii. Seeing her brother dressed in her lover's coat of armor, which she herself had wrought, she could not contain her grief. She shed a flood of tears, she tore her hair, and, in the transports of her sorrow, uttered the most violent imprecations against her brother. Horatius, warm with his victory, and enraged at the grief which his sister expressed, with such unseasonable passion, in the midst of the public joy, in the heat of his anger, drove a poniard to her heart" Begone to thy lover," says he, "and carry him that degenerate passion which makes thee prefer a dead enemy to the glory of thy country." Every body detested an action so cruel and inhuman. The murderer was immediately seized, and dragged before the Dumnviri, the proper judges of such crimes. Horatius was condemned to lose his life; and the very day of his triumph-had been the day of his punishment, if he had not by the advice of Tullus Hostilius, apealed from that judgment to the assembly of the people. He appeared there with the same courage and resolution that he had shown in the combat with the Curiatii. The people thought so great a service might justly excuse them, if for once they moderated the rigor of the law; and, accordingly, he was acquitted, rather through admiration of his courage, than for the justice of his cause.
XIV.--On the Power of Custom.-SPECTATOR.
HERE is not a common saying which has a better turn of sense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that custom is a second nature.-It is, indeed, able to form the man anew, and give him inclinations and capacities altogether different from those he was born with. A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong an inclination towards it, and
gives himself up so entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for some time disused. Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art or science, rises and improves in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diversions The mind grows fond of those actions it is accustomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which it has been used to walk.
If we consider, attentively, this property of human na. ture, it must instruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with that kind of life, or series of action, in which the choice of others or his own necessities may have engaged him. It may, perhaps, be disagreeable to him at first; but use and application will certainly render it not only less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.
In the second place, I would recommend to every one the admirable precept which Pythagoras is said to have given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must have drawn from the observation I have enlarged upon: "Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and custom will render it the most delightful." Men, whose circumstances will permit them to choose their own way of life, are inexcusable, if they do not pursue that which their judgment tells them is the most laudable. The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination, since by the rule above mentioned, inclination will, at length, come over to reas on, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
In the third place, this observation may teach the most sensual and irreligious man, to overlook those hardships and difficulties which are apt to discourage him from the rosecution of a virtuous life. "The Gods," says He. sind, have placed labor before virtue; the way to her
is at first rough and difficult, but grows more smooth and easy the farther you advance in it." The man who proeeeds in it with steadiness and resolution, will in a little time find that "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace."
To enforce this consideration, we may further observe that the practice of religion will not only be attended with that pleasure which naturally accompanies those actions to which we are habituated; but with those supernumerary joys of heart that rise from the consciousness of such a pleasure, from the satisfaction of acting up to the dictates of reason, and from the prospect of an happy immortality.
In the fourth place, we may learn from this observation, which we have made on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in any, the most innocent diversions and entertainments; since the mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions, and, by degrees, exchange that pleasure which it takes in the performance of its duty, for delights of a much more inferior and unprofitable nature.
The last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in human nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is, to show how absolutely necessary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next.--The state of bliss we call Heaven, will not be capable of affecting those minds which are not thus qualified for it; we must in this world gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in it during this its present state of probation.-In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a religious life.
EDANTRY, in the common sense of the word,means an absurd ostentation of learning, and stiffness of phraseology, proceeding from a misguided knowledge of books and a total ignorance of men.