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by the desperate state of the republic, assumed the fortitude of a hero; discarded all fear; despised all danger; and when he could not free his country from a tyranny, provoked the tyrants to take that life which he no longer cared to preserve. Thus, like a great actor on the stage, he reserved himself, as it were, for the last act; and after he had played his part with dignity, resolved to finish it with glory.
1. Cesar was endowed with every great and noble quality that could exalt human nature, and give a man the ascendant in society: formed to excel in peace, as well as in war; provident in counsel, fearless in action, and executing what he had resolved with amazing celerity; generous beyond measure to his friends; placable to his enemies; and for parts, learning, eloquence, scarce inferior to any man.
2. His orations were admired for two qualities which are seldom found together, — strength and elegance. Cicero ranks him among the greatest orators that Rome ever bred; and Quintilian says, that, he spoke with the same force with which he fought, and if he had devoted himself to the bar, would have been the only man capable of rivaling Cicero.
3. Nor was he a master only of the politer arts; but conversant also with the most abstruse and critical parts of learning; and, among other works which he published, addressed two books to Cicero on the analogy of language, or the art of speaking and writing correctly.
4. He was a most liberal patron of wit and learning, wheresoever they were found; and out of his love of those talents, would readily pardon those who had employed them against himself; rightly judging that by making such men his friends, he should draw praises from the same fountain from which he had been aspersed.
5. His capital passions were ambition and love of pleasure, which he indulged in their turns to the greatest excess; yet the first was always predominant, to which he could easily sacrifice all the charms of the second, and draw pleasure even from toils and dangers, when they ministered to his glory. For he thought tyranny,* as Cicero says, the greatest of goddesses; and had frequently in his mouth averse of Euripides, which expressed the image of his soul, that, if right and justice were ever to be violated, they were to be violated for the sake of reigning. This was the chief end and purpose of his life; the scheme that he had formed from his early youth; so that, as Cato truly'declared of him, he came with sobriety and meditation to the subversion of the republic.
6. He used to say that there were two things necessary to acquire and to support power — soldiers and money, which yet depended mutually upon each other. With money, therefore, he provided soldiers, and with soldiers extorted money; and was of all men the most rapacious in plundering both friends and foes, sparing neither prince, nor state, nor temple, nor even private persons who were known to possess any share of treasure.
7. His great abilities would necessarily have made him one of the first citizens of Rome; but, disdaining the condition of a subject, he could never rest till he had made himself a monarch. In acting this last part, his usual prudence seemed to fail him, as if the height to which he was mounted had turned his head and made him giddy; for, by a vain ostentation of his power, he destroyed the stability of it; and as men shorten life by living too fast, so, by an intemperance of reigning, he brought his reign to a violent end.
A Curtain Lecture of Mrs. Caudle.—Douglas Jerrold.
[In which she expresses her displeasure at her husband's lending an umbrella, t]
1. Bah! that's the third umbrella gone since Christmas. What were you to do? Why, let him go home in the rain, to be sure. I'm very certain there was nothing about him that could spoil. Take cold, indeed! He does n't look like
* The word "tyranny" is here used for the possession only of abso' lute power, not the abuse of it.
t This lesson presents an excellent field for the display of what may be called the colloquial style of reading. Anger generally expresses itself with rapidity, and the character of a scold is best sustained by great rolubility of language.
one of the sort to take cold. Besides, he'd have better taken cold than taken our umbrella.
2. Do you hear the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear the rain? And, as I'm alive, if it is n't St. Swithin's day! Do you hear it against the windows? Nonsense! you don't impose upon me; you can't be asleep with such a shower as that! Do you hear it, I say? O! you do hear it! Well, that's a pretty flood, I think, to last for six weeks; and no stirring all the time out of the house. Pooh! don't think me a fool, Mr. Caudle; don't insult me; he return the umbrella! Anybody would think you were born yesterday. As if anybody ever did return an umbrella!
3. There: do you hear it? Worse and worse. Cats and dogs, and for six weeks: always six weeks; and no umbrella! I should like to know how the children are to go to school tomorrow! They shan't go through such weather; I am determined. No; they shall stop at home and never learn anything (the blessed creatures!), sooner than go and get wet! And when they grow up, I wonder who they '11 have to thank for knowing nothing; who, indeed, but their father? People who can't feel for their own children ought never to be fathers.
4. But I know why you lent the umbrella: oh! yes, 1 know very well! I was going out to tea at dear mother's to
# morrow: you knew that, and you did it on purpose. Don't tell me! you hate to have me go there, and take every mean advantage to hinder me. But don't you think it, Mr. Caudle; no, sir; if it comes down in buckets full, I '11 go all the more. No; and I won't have a cab! Where do you think the money's to come from? You've got nice high notions at that club of yours!
5. A cab, indeed! Cost me sixteen-pence, at least. Sixteen-pence! two-and-eight-pence; for there's back again. Cabs, indeed! I should like to know who's to pay for 'em; for I'm sure you can't, if you go on as you do, throwing away your property, and beggaring your children, buying umbrellas!
6. Do you heaT the rain, Mr. Caudle? I say, do you hear it? But I don't care — I'll go to mother's to-morrow — I will; and what's more, I '11 walk every step of the way; and you know that will give me my death. Don't call me a foolish woman; it's you that's the foolish man.
7. You know I can't wear clogs; and with no umbrella, the wet's sure to give me a cold: it always does i but what do you care for that? Nothing at all. I may be laid up, for what you care, as I dare say I shall; and a pretty doctor's bill there '11 be. I hope there will. It will teach you to lend your umbrellas again. I should n't wonder if I caught my death: yes, and that's what you lent the umbrella for. Of course!
8. Nice clothes 1 get, too, traipsing* through weather like this. My gown and bonnet will be spoiled quite. Need n't I wear 'em, then? Indeed, Mr. Caudle, I shall wear 'em. No, sir; I'm not going out a dowdy, to please you, or anybody else. Gracious . knows! it is n't often that I step over the threshold; — indeed, I might as well be a slave at once: better, I should say; but when I do go out, Mr. Caudle, I choose to go as a lady.
9. O! that rain — if it is n't enough to break in the windows. Ugh! I look forward with dread for to-morrow! How I am to go to mother's, I'm sure I can't tell; but if I die, I '11 do it. No, sir; I won't borrow an umbrella: no; and you shan't buy one. Mr. Caudle, if you bring home another umbrella, I '11 throw it into the street. Ha! And it was only last week I had a new nozzle t put to that umbrella. I'm sure if I'd have known as much as I do now, it might have gone without one. Paying for new nozzles for other people to laugh at you!
10. 0! it's all very well for you; you can go to sleep. You've no thought of your poor patient wife, and your own dear children; you think of nothing but lending umbrellas! Men, indeed! — call themselves lords of the creation! pretty lords, when they can't even take care of an umbrella!
11. I know that walk to-morrow will be the death of me. But that's what you want: then you may go to your club, and do as you like; and then nicely my poor dear children will be used; but then, sir, then you '11 be happy. O! don't tell me! I know you will: else you'd never have lent the umbrella! You have to go on Thursday about that summons; and, of course, you can't go. No, indeed: you don't go without the umbrella. You may lose the debt, for what I care — it won't be so much as spoiling your clothes — better lose it; people deserve to lose debts who lend umbrellas!
12. And I should like to know how I'm to go to mother's
♦This word, which means to walk carelessly or shUtishly, is rarely used except in anger or derision.
tThe good lady probably means a ferule, but in the height of her displeasure she is not very choice in her expressions.
withoiit the umbrella. O! don't tell me that 1 said I would go; that's nothing to do with it, — nothing at all. She '11 think I'm neglecting her; and the little money we 're to have, we shan't have at all; — because we've no umbrella.
13. The children, too ! — (dear things !) — they '11 be sopping wet: for they shan't stay at home; they shan't lose their learning; it's all their father will leave them, I'm sure! But they shall go to school. Don't tell me they should n't; (you are so aggravating, Caudle, you'd spoil the temper of an angel!) they shall go to school: mark that! and if they get their deaths of cold, it's not my fault; I did n't lend the umbrella.
14. "Here," says Caudle, in his manuscript, " I fell asleep, and dreamed that the sky was turned into green calico, with whalebone ribs: that, in fact, the whole world revolved under a tremendous umbrella!"
1. Like the baseless fabric of this vision,
Ajyd, like the unsubstantial pageant faded,
2. The world is still deceived with ornament.
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
3. How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
* This lesson consists of detached paragraphs from Shakspears