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mires his structures; the next will do so too; in the third, the religion to which they were consecrated will be neglected; other temples will then be frequented; these will fall into decay; the priests will desert them,― for the revenues will diminish. The buildings will require repair; the weather will get in; by and by it will be dangerous to enter beneath the roof;-a storm will then put his shoulder to the wreck, or an earthquake will kick it down. The stones will lie more ready to the next race of builders than the marble of Pentilicus. Hammers and hands will help the progress. By this time Athens will have dwindled into a village ;—her arts and genius no more ;-poets and pilgrims from far countries will come to visit her. They will come again to revive the magnificence of Adrian by their descriptions. But the language in which they write will, in its turn, grow obsolete; and other Adrians and their edifices will arise, to engross the admiration of the world, and to share the fate of ours. Nature ever works in a circle. It is morning, noon, and night;-and then morning comes again. It is Adrian,-renown and neglect ;→→ and then another Adrian. It is birth, life, and death ;and then another takes our place. There is a continual beginning, continual ending; the same thing over again, and yet still different. But the folly is in thinking, that, by any human effort, the phantom of immortality can be acquired among mankind. It is possible that an individual may spring up with such wonderful talents, as that his name may last on earth five thousand years. But, what are five thousand years, or five millions, or five hundred millions, or any number that computation can reckon, when compared with what has been and is to be?'
"In saying these words, the philosopher appeared worn out, and almost on the point of expiring. I rose hastily to bring him a little water; but, before I had
done so, he somewhat recruited, and told me that he would not belie the principles on which he had so long acted, by accepting of any assistance from another. He then rose, and, tottering towards a pallet of straw covered with a piece of hair-cloth, stretched himself down, and ordered me peevishly to go away. I will return in the morning, and see how you are,' said I, in taking leave. No, don't,' said he; do not come till the evening, by which time I shall have become a nuisance, and the neighbours will be glad to assist you to put me in a hole.' Next day he was dead.
"It was evident (observes our author) that Demonax felt very much like other men, notwithstanding his apparent indifference; for I noticed, on leaving the room, that he followed me with his eye, with a languid and pathetic cast, that expressed more than words could have done; but I could not disturb his last moments by any attempt to violate the principles of his philosophy."
"But," resumed Egeria, "I think the Jew's account of the state of authors and publications in the third century is still better than this."
"The suppers of Toxotius are the most delightful repasts in Rome. Every man of celebrity is welcome to them; and the accomplishments of the host, though neither superior nor interesting, qualify him so well to conduct conversation agreeably, that all his guests are afforded an opportunity of appearing to advantage, by speaking on the subjects with which they are best acquainted. In other houses, men of greater talent are occasionally met with than the generality of those who frequent the table of this amiable man; but they are there either on business, or to gratify the vanity of the feast-giver.
"Last night we were gratified by the publication of
a new book—a short account of the Life of Maximinus, by a young man who evinced considerable ability. Toxotius gave a special banquet on the occasion, and invited a numerous assemblage of his friends; for he was desirous to obtain their patronage for the author. The best public reader in Rome was engaged, for the author himself was too diffident to do justice in that way to his work before so large a company; and, in order that nothing might be wanting to give due eclat to the publication, the manuscript had been carefully perused by the reader some time before.
"The history was written with commendable brevity, and no one disputed the correctness of the facts, or the views which the author took of the principal incidents; but he dwelt too strongly on the transactions of Maximinus after he became emperor; and it was generally thought that he adopted too much of the vulgar opinion respecting his strength, appetites, and ferocity.
"The reader acquitted himself so well, that he was much applauded at the conclusion; and the friends of Toxotius expressed themselves so pleased with the book, that the author was requested to furnish them with copies; and, that he might be able to employ the most elegant penmen, they presented him with a very liberal contribution of money.
During the time of the reading, the author watched the faces of the company with great anxiety, and was often apparently much distressed, by the curious and inquisitive looks which were from time to time cast towards him, when his expressions were not exactly according to the rules of approved taste, or his statements not in unison with the common opinion. It was, however, of great use to him to undergo this trial, painful as it no doubt was; for it enabled him to see where he failed in producing due effect, and to correct his text and narrative before committing the work to the penman."
"Among other interesting events which Hareach is supposed to have witnessed is the ceremony of the opening of the Sibylline Books, during that disastrous epoch of the fortunes of Rome, when, it is said, no less than thirty pretenders to the imperial dignity started in different provinces, at the head of as many armies. Revolt and invasion resounded on all sides, and frightful portents and calamities seemed to indicate that universal nature sympathised with the political convulsions which shook the Roman world. The sun was overcast with blackness, and a preternatural night continued for the space of several days, attended with peals of thunder, not in the air, but in the bowels of the earth, which opened in many places, and swallowed up towns and villages, with all their inhabitants. The sea swelled above its boundaries, and drowned whole cities, and a pestilence raged in Egypt, Greece, and Italy. These tremendous visitations of Divine wrath had an awful effect on the populace of Rome; and the description which Hareach gives of the opening of the Sibylline books, may be extracted as the final act of national adoration paid in Italy to the genius of the classic mythology."
THE SIBYLLINE BOOKS.
"It is now the third day, and the sun has not appeared. The clouds hang so low, that they seem to rest like masses of black marble on the roofs of the city. It is not darkness, but an obscurity much more terrible, that fills the whole air, for still all things are visible,-as distinctly so as in the brightest sunshine; but they are covered with an ashy-coloured wanness, that is the more appalling, as no light can be seen from whence it proceeds.
"The Christians expect the day of judgment, and are at prayers openly; and the magistrates tremble and forbear to enforce the edicts against them. The senate has assembled, and, unable to apply any authority to repress the menaces of God and Nature, decrees that the books of the sibyls shall be consulted.
"The preparatory sacrifices are slain, and the offerings to Jupiter laid upon the altar. A prodigious multitude of all ranks and ages has assembled round the capitol, and in the streets leading to the temple of Apollo, where the books were deposited by Augustus.
"It is announced that the sacrifice is consumed. The portals of the capitol are thrown open; and the senators in their robes, in the great chamber, are standing to receive the books. All is profound silence;-the priests and vestal virgins approach ;-the crowd fall on their knees as the procession passes; and the senators, with their hands crossed on their bosoms, bend forward with reverence, as in the presence of a coming God.
"On a golden salver, borne on the head of a child, and covered with a veil that conceals the face of the bearer, is the sacred casket which contains the prophetic volumes. The chief of the college, with whom they are deposited, and who alone can read the venerable language in which they are written, walks reverentially behind.
"The priests and vestals form a lane, from the porch of the capitol and down the stairs beyond the bottom of the hill, and the child and the interpreter ascending to the hall of the senators, the ranks close, and follow them up the steps.
"The procession has filled the area of the hall ;—the veil is raised by Faustinius ;-the casket is opened ;and the volumes are unfolded..
"The countenance of the consul is pale with anxiety and dread. The pontiff, who explores the books, searches them in vain. The last of the three volumes is in his