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The Spacious Firmament on high
With all the blue Etherial Sky,
And Spangled Heav'ns, a Shining Frame,
Their great Original proclaim:
Th' unwearied Sun, from Day to Day,
Does his Creator's Pow'r display,
And publishes to every Land
The Work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the Evening Shades prevail,
The Moon takes up the wondrous Tale,
And nightly to the list'ning Earth,
Repeats the Story of her Birth:
While all the Stars that round her burn,
And all the Planets in their Turn,
Confirm the Tidings as they rowl,
And spread the Truth from Pole to Pole.

What though, in solemn Silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
What tho' nor real Voice nor Sound
Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
In Reason's Ear they all rejoice,
And titter forth a glorious Voice,
For ever singing, as they shine,
"The Hand that made us is Divine."


(Second Century A.D.)

According to his 'Varia Historia,' Aelianus Claudius was a native of
Praeneste and a citizen of Rome, at the time of the emperor Hadrian. He
taught Greek rhetoric at Rome, and hence was known as "the Sophist." He
spoke and wrote Greek with the fluency and ease of a native Athenian,
and gained thereby the epithet of "the honey-tongued". He lived to be
sixty years of age, and never married because he would not incur the
responsibility of children.

The 'Varia Historia' is the most noteworthy of his works. It is a
curious and interesting collection of short narratives, anecdotes, and
other historical, biographical, and antiquarian matter, selected from
the Greek authors whom he said he loved to study. And it is valuable
because it preserves scraps of works now lost. The extracts are either
in the words of the original, or give the compiler's version; for, as he
says, he liked to have his own way and to follow his own taste. They are
grouped without method; but in this very lack of order - which shows that
"browsing" instinct which Charles Lamb declared to be essential to a
right feeling for literature - the charm of the book lies. This habit of
straying, and his lack of style, prove Aelianus more of a vagabond in
the domain of letters than a rhetorician.

His other important book, 'De Animalium Natura' (On the Nature of
Animals), is a medley of his own observations, both in Italy and during
his travels as far as Egypt. For several hundred years it was a popular
and standard book on zoölogy; and even as late as the fourteenth
century, Manuel Philes, a Byzantine poet, founded upon it a poem on
animals. Like the 'Varia Historia', it is scrappy and gossiping. He
leaps from subject to subject: from elephants to dragons, from the liver
of mice to the uses of oxen. There was, however, method in this
disorder; for as he says, he sought thereby to give variety and hold his
reader's attention. The book is interesting, moreover, as giving us a
personal glimpse of the man and of his methods of work; for in a
concluding chapter he states the general principle on which he composed:
that he has spent great labor, thought, and care in writing it; that he
has preferred the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of wealth; that
for his part, he found more pleasure in observing the habits of the
lion, the panther, and the fox, in listening to the song of the
nightingale, and in studying the migrations of cranes, than in mere
heaping up of riches and finding himself numbered among the great; and
that throughout his work he has sought to adhere to the truth.

Aelianus was more of a moralizer than an artist in words; his style has
no distinctive literary qualities, and in both of his chief works is the
evident intention to set forth religious and moral principles. He wrote,
moreover, some treatises expressly on religious and philosophic
subjects, and some letters on husbandry.

The 'Varia Historia' has been twice translated into English: by Abraham
Fleming in 1576, and by Thomas Stanley, son of the poet and philosopher
Stanley, in 1665. Fleming was a poet and scholar of the English
Renaissance, who translated from the ancients, and made a digest of
Holinshed's 'Historie of England.' His version of Aelianus loses nothing
by its quaint wording, as will be seen from the subjoined stories. The
full title of the book is 'A Registre of Hystories containing martiall
Exploits of worthy Warriours, politique Practices and civil Magistrates,
wise Sentences of famous Philosophers, and other Matters manifolde and
memorable written in Greek by Aelianus Claudius and delivered in English
by Abraham Fleming' (1576).

[All the selections following are from 'A Registre of Hystories']


Hercules (as some say) assuaged the tediousness of his labors, which he
sustayned in open and common games, with playing. This Hercules, I say,
being an incomparable warriour, and the sonne of Jupiter and Latona,
made himselfe a playfellowe with boys. Euripides the poet introduceth,
and bringeth in, the selfe same god speaking in his owne person, and
saying, "I play because choyce and chaunge of labors is delectable and
sweete unto me," whiche wordes he uttered holdinge a boy by the hande.
Socrates also was espied of Alcibiades upon a time, playing with
Lamprocles, who was in manner but a childe. Agesilaus riding upon a
rude, or cock-horse as they terme it, played with his sonne beeing but a
boy: and when a certayn man passing by sawe him so doe and laughed there
withall, Agesilaus sayde thus, Now hold thy peace and say nothing; but
when thou art a father I doubt not thou wilt doe as fathers should doe
with their children. Architas Tarentinus being both in authoritie in
the commonwealth, that is to say a magestrat, and also a philosopher,
not of the obscurest sorte, but a precise lover of wisdom, at that time
he was a housband, a housekeeper, and maintained many servauntes, he was
greatly delighted with their younglinges, used to play oftentimes with
his servauntes' children, and was wonte, when he was at dinner and
supper, to rejoyce in the sight and presence of them: yet was Tarentinus
(as all men knowe) a man of famous memorie and noble name.


There was in Sicilia a certaine man indued with such sharpnesse,
quicknesse, and clearnesse of sight (if report may challenge credite)
that hee coulde see from Lilybaeus to Carthage with such perfection and
constancy that his eies coulde not be deceived: and that he tooke true
and just account of all ships and vessels which went under sayle from
Carthage, over-skipping not so much as one in the universall number.

Something straunge it is that is recorded of Argus, a man that had no
lesse than an hundred eyes, unto whose custody Juno committed Io, the
daughter of Inachus, being transformed into a young heifer: while Argus
(his luck being such) was slaine sleeping, but the Goddess Juno so
provided that all his eyes (whatsoever became of his carkasse) should be
placed on the pecock's taile; wherupon (sithence it came to passe) the
pecock is called Avis Junonia, or Lady Juno Birde. This historic is
notable, but yet the former (in mine opinion) is more memorable.


A certain young man of Lacedaemonia having bought a plot of land for a
small and easy price (and, as they say, dogge cheape) was arrested to
appear before the magistrates, and after the trial of his matter he was
charged with a penalty. The reason why hee was judged worthy this
punishment was because he being but a young man gaped so gredely after
gain and yawned after filthy covetousness. For yt was a most commendable
thing among the Lacedaemonians not only to fighte against the enemie in
battell manfully; but also to wrestle and struggle with covetousness
(that misschievous monster) valliauntly.


Gorgias Leontinus looking towardes the end of his life and beeing wasted
with the weaknes and wearysomenesse of drooping olde age, falling into
sharp and sore sicknesse upon a time slumbered and slept upon his soft
pillowe a little season. Unto whose chamber a familiar freend of his
resorting to visit him in his sicknes demaunded how he felt himself
affected in body. To whom Gorgias Leontinus made this pithy and
plausible answeer, "Now Sleep beginneth to deliver me up into the
jurisdiction of his brother-germane, Death."


The ende of Calanus deserveth no lesse commendation than it procureth
admiration; it is no less praiseworthy than it was worthy wonder. The
manner, therefore, was thus. The within-named Calanus, being a sophister
of India, when he had taken his long leave and last farewell of
Alexander, King of Macedonia, and of his life in lyke manner, being
willing, desirous, and earnest to set himselfe at lybertie from the
cloggs, chaines, barres, boults, and fetters of the prison of the body,
pyled up a bonnefire in the suburbs of Babylon of dry woodde and chosen
sticks provided of purpose to give a sweete savour and an odoriferous
smell in burning. The kindes of woodde which hee used to serve his turne
in this case were these: Cedre, Rosemary, Cipres, Mirtle, and Laurell.
These things duely ordered, he buckled himselfe to his accustomed
exercise, namely, running and leaping into the middest of the wodstack
he stoode bolte upright, having about his head a garlande made of the
greene leaves of reedes, the sunne shining full in his face, as he
stoode in the pile of stycks, whose glorious majesty, glittering with
bright beams of amiable beuty, he adored and worshipped. Furthermore he
gave a token and signe to the Macedonians to kindle the fire, which,
when they had done accordingly, hee beeing compassed round about with
flickering flames, stoode stoutly and valiauntly in one and the selfe
same place, and dyd not shrincke one foote, until hee gave up the ghost,
whereat Alexander unvailyng, as at a rare strange sight and worldes
wonder, saide (as the voice goes) these words: - "Calanus hath subdued,
overcome, and vanquished stronger enemies than I. For Alexander made
warre against Porus, Taxiles, and Darius. But Calanus did denounce and
did battell to labor and fought fearcely and manfully with death."


Timothy, the son of Conon, captain of the Athenians, leaving his
sumptuous fare and royall banqueting, beeing desired and intertained of
Plato to a feast philosophicall, seasoned with contentation and musick,
at his returning home from that supper of Plato, he said unto his
familiar freends: - "They whiche suppe with Plato, this night, are not
sick or out of temper the next day following;" and presently upon the
enunciation of that speech, Timothy took occasion to finde fault with
great dinners, suppers, feasts, and banquets, furnished with excessive
fare, immoderate consuming of meats, delicates, dainties, toothsome
junkets, and such like, which abridge the next dayes joy, gladnes,
delight, mirth, and pleasantnes. Yea, that sentence is consonant and
agreeable to the former, and importeth the same sense notwithstanding in
words it hath a little difference. That the within named Timothy meeting
the next day after with Plato said to him: - "You philosophers, freend
Plato, sup better the day following than the night present."


The Lacedaemonians were of this judgment, that measureable spending of
time was greatly to be esteemed, and therefore did they conforme and
apply themselves to any kinde of laboure moste earnestly and painfully,
not withdrawing their hands from works of much bodyly mooving, not
permitting any particular person, beeing a citizen, to spend the time in
idlenes, to waste it in unthrifty gaming, to consume it in trifling, in
vain toyes and lewd loytering, all whiche are at variance and enmity
with vertue. Of this latter among many testimonyes, take this for one.

When it was reported to the magistrates of the Lacedaemonians called
Ephori, in manner of complaint, that the inhabitants of Deceleia used
afternoone walkings, they sent unto them messengers with their
commandmente, saying: - "Go not up and doune like loyterers, nor walke
not abrode at your pleasure, pampering the wantonnes of your natures
rather than accustoming yourself to exercises of activity. For it
becometh the Lacedaemonians to regarde their health and to maintaine
their safety not with walking to and fro, but with bodily labours."


Socrates, seeing Alcibiades puft up with pryde and broyling in ambitious
behavioure (because possessor of such great wealth and lorde of so large
lands) brought him to a place where a table did hang containing a
discription of the worlde universall. Then did Socrates will Alcibiades
to seeke out the situation of Athens, which when he found Socrates
proceeded further and willed him to point out that plot of ground where
his lands and lordships lay. Alcibiades, having sought a long time and
yet never the nearer, sayde to Socrates that his livings were not set
forth in that table, nor any discription of his possession therein made
evident. When Socrates, rebuked with this secret quip: "And art thou so
arrogant (sayeth he) and so hautie in heart for that which is no parcell
of the world?"


Prodigall lavishing of substance, unthrifty and wastifull spending,
voluptuousness of life and palpable sensuality brought Pericles,
Callias, the sonne of Hipponicus, and Nicias not only to necessitie, but
to povertie and beggerie. Who, after their money waxed scant, and turned
to a very lowe ebbe, they three drinking a poysoned potion one to
another (which was the last cuppe that they kissed with their lippes)
passed out of this life (as it were from a banquet) to the powers


(389-314 B.C.)

The life and oratory of Aeschines fall fittingly into that period of
Greek history when the free spirit of the people which had created the
arts of Pindar and Sophocles, Pericles, Phidias, and Plato, was becoming
the spirit of slaves and of savants, who sought to forget the freedom of
their fathers in learning, luxury, and the formalism of deducers of
rules. To this slavery Aeschines himself contributed, both in action
with Philip of Macedon and in speech. Philip had entered upon a career
of conquest; a policy legitimate in itself and beneficial as judged by
its larger fruits, but ruinous to the advanced civilization existing in
the Greek City-States below, whose high culture was practically
confiscated to spread out over a waste of semi-barbarism and mix with
alien cultures. Among his Greek sympathizers, Aeschines was perhaps his
chief support in the conquest of the Greek world that lay to the south
within his reach.

[Illustration: AESCHINES]

Aeschines was born in 389 B.C., six years before his lifelong rival
Demosthenes. If we may trust that rival's elaborate details of his early
life, his father taught a primary school and his mother was overseer of
certain initiatory rites, to both of which occupations Aeschines gave
his youthful hand and assistance. He became in time a third-rate actor,
and the duties of clerk or scribe presently made him familiar with the
executive and legislative affairs of Athens. Both vocations served as an
apprenticeship to the public speaking toward which his ambition was
turning. We hear of his serving as a heavy-armed soldier in various
Athenian expeditions, and of his being privileged to carry to Athens, in
349 B.C., the first news of the victory of Tamynae, in Euboea, in reward
for the bravery he had shown in the battle.

Two years afterward he was sent as an envoy into the Peloponnesus, with
the object of forming a union of the Greeks against Philip for the
defense of their liberties. But his mission was unsuccessful. Toward the
end of the same year he served as one of the ten ambassadors sent to
Philip to discuss terms of peace. The harangues of the Athenians at this
meeting were followed in turn by a speech of Philip, whose openness of
manner, pertinent arguments, and pretended desire for a settlement led
to a second embassy, empowered to receive from him the oath of
allegiance and peace. It was during this second embassy that Demothenes
says he discovered the philippizing spirit and foul play of Aeschines.
Upon their return to Athens, Aeschines rose before the assembly to
assure the people that Philip had come to Thermopylae as the friend and
ally of Athens. "We, your envoys, have satisfied him," said Aeschines.
"You will hear of benefits still more direct which we have determined
Philip to confer upon you, but which it would not be prudent as yet
to specify."

But the alarm of the Athenians at the presence of Philip within the
gates was not allayed. The king, however, anxious to temporize with them
until he could receive his army supplies by sea, suborned Aeschines, who
assured his countrymen of Philip's peaceful intentions. On another
occasion, by an inflammatory speech at Delphi, he so played upon the
susceptibilities of the rude Amphictyones that they rushed forth,
uprooted their neighbors' harvest fields, and began a devastating war of
Greek against Greek. Internal dissensions promised the shrewd Macedonian
the conquest he sought. At length, in August, 338, came Philip's victory
at Chaeronea, and the complete prostration of Greek power. Aeschines,
who had hitherto disclaimed all connection with Philip, now boasted of
his intimacy with the king. As Philip's friend, while yet an Athenian,
he offered himself as ambassador to entreat leniency from the victor
toward the unhappy citizens.

The memorable defense of Demosthenes against the attack of Aeschines was
delivered in 330 B.C. Seven years before this, Ctesiphon had proposed to
the Senate that the patriotic devotion and labors of Demosthenes should
be acknowledged by the gift of a golden crown - a recognition willingly
accorded. But as this decision, to be legal, must be confirmed by the
Assembly, Aeschines gave notice that he would proceed against Ctesiphon
for proposing an unconstitutional measure. He managed to postpone action
on the notice for six years. At last he seized a moment when the
victories of Philip's son and successor, Alexander, were swaying popular
feeling, to deliver a bitter harangue against the whole life and policy
of his political opponent. Demosthenes answered in that magnificent
oration called by the Latin writers 'De Corona' Aeschines was not upheld
by the people's vote. He retired to Asia, and, it is said, opened a
school of rhetoric at Rhodes. There is a legend that after he had one
day delivered in his school the masterpiece of his enemy, his students
broke into applause: "What," he exclaimed, "if you had heard the wild
beast thunder it out himself!"

Aeschines was what we call nowadays a self-made man. The great faults of
his life, his philippizing policy and his confessed corruption, arose,
doubtless, from the results of youthful poverty: a covetousness growing
out of want, and a lack of principles of conduct which a broader
education would have instilled. As an orator he was second only to
Demosthenes; and while he may at times be compared to his rival in
intellectual force and persuasiveness, his moral defects - which it must
be remembered that he himself acknowledged - make a comparison of
character impossible.

His chief works remaining to us are the speeches 'Against Timarchus,'
'On the Embassy,' 'Against Ctesiphon,' and letters, which are included
in the edition of G.E. Benseler (1855-60). In his 'History of Greece,'
Grote discusses at length - of course adversely - the influence of
Aeschines; especially controverting Mitford's favorable view and his
denunciation of Demosthenes and the patriotic party. The trend of recent
writing is toward Mitford's estimate of Philip's policy, and therefore
less blame for the Greek statesmen who supported it, though without
Mitford's virulence toward its opponents. Mahaffy ('Greek Life and
Thought') holds the whole contest over the crown to be mere academic
threshing of old straw, the fundamental issues being obsolete by the
rise of a new world under Alexander.


From the 'Oration against Ctesiphon'

In regard to the calumnies with which I am attacked, I wish to say a
word or two before Demosthenes speaks. He will allege, I am told, that
the State has received distinguished services from him, while from me it
has suffered injury on many occasions; and that the deeds of Philip and
Alexander, and the crimes to which they gave rise, are to be imputed to
me. Demosthenes is so clever in the art of speaking that he does not
bring accusation against me, against any point in my conduct of affairs
or any counsels I may have brought to our public meetings; but he rather
casts reflections upon my private life, and charges me with a
criminal silence.

Moreover, in order that no circumstance may escape his calumny, he
attacks my habits of life when I was in school with my young companions;
and even in the introduction of his speech he will say that I have begun
this prosecution, not for the benefit of the State, but because I want
to make a show of myself to Alexander and gratify Alexander's resentment
against him. He purposes, as I learn, to ask why I blame his
administration as a whole, and yet never hindered or indicted any one
separate act; why, after a considerable interval of attention to public
affairs, I now return to prosecute this action....

But what I am now about to notice - a matter which I hear Demosthenes
will speak of - about this, by the Olympian deities, I cannot but feel a
righteous indignation. He will liken my speech to the Sirens', it seems,
and the legend anent their art is that those who listen to them are not
charmed, but destroyed; wherefore the music of the Sirens is not in good
repute. Even so he will aver that knowledge of my words and myself is a
source of injury to those who listen to me. I, for my part, think it
becomes no one to urge such allegations against me; for it is a shame if
one who makes charges cannot point to facts as full evidence. And if
such charges must be made, the making surely does not become
Demosthenes, but rather some military man - some man of action - who has
done good work for the State, and who, in his untried speech, vies with
the skill of antagonists because he is conscious that he can tell no one
of his deeds, and because he sees his accusers able to show his audience
that he had done what in fact he never had done. But when a man made up
entirely of words, - of sharp words and overwrought sentences, - when he
takes refuge in simplicity and plain facts, who then can endure
it? - whose tongue is like a flute, inasmuch as if you take it away the
rest is nothing....

This man thinks himself worthy of a crown - that his honor should be
proclaimed. But should you not rather send into exile this common pest
of the Greeks? Or will you not seize upon him as a thief, and avenge
yourself upon him whose mouthings have enabled him to bear full sail
through our commonwealth? Remember the season in which you cast your
vote. In a few days the Pythian Games will come round, and the
convention of the Hellenic States will hold its sessions. Our State has
been concerned on account of the measures of Demosthenes regarding
present crises. You will appear, if you crown him, accessory to those
who broke the general peace. But if, on the other hand, you refuse the
crown, you will free the State from blame. Do not take counsel as if it
were for an alien, but as if it concerned, as it does, the private
interest of your city; and do not dispense your honors carelessly, but
with judgment; and let your public gifts be the distinctive possession
of men most worthy. Not only hear, but also look around you and consider
who are the men who support Demosthenes. Are they his fellow-hunters, or
his associates in old athletic sports? No, by Olympian Zeus, he was
never engaged in hunting the wild boar, nor in care for the well-being
of his body; but he was toiling at the art of those who keep up

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