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resolution grew, the terrors before us seemed to vanish. Most of the company, who had swords in their hands, marched on with great spirit, and an air of defiance, up the road that was commanded by Death; while others, who had thought and contemplation in their looks, went forward in a more composed manner up the road possessed by Envy. The way above these apparitions grew smooth and uniform, and was so delightful, that the travellers went on with pleasure, and in a little time arrived at the top of the mountain. They here began to breathe a delicious kind of ether, and saw all the fields about them covered with a kind of purple light, that made them reflect with satisfaction on their past toils ; and diffused a secret joy through the whole assembly, which showed itself in every look and feature. In the midst of these happy fields, there stood a palace of a very glorious structure. It had four great folding-doors that faced the four several quarters of the world. On the top of it was enthroned the Goddess of the mountain, who smiled upon her votaries, and sounded the silver trumpet which had called them up, and cheered them in their passage to her palace. They had now formed themselves into several divisions ; a band of historians taking their stations at each door, according to the persons whom they were to introduce.
On a sudden, the trumpet, which had hitherto sounded only a march, or a point of war, now swelled all its notes into triumph and exultation. The whole fabric shook, and the doors flew open. The first who stepped forward was a beautiful and blooming hero, and, as I heard by the murmurs round me, Alexander the Great. He was conducted by a crowd of historians. The person who immediately walked before him was remarkable for an embroidered garment, who, not being well acquainted with the place, was
conducting him to an apartment appointed for the reception of fabulous heroes. The name of this false guide was Quintus Curtius. But Arrian and Plutarch, who knew better the avenues of this palace, conducted him into the great hall, and placed him at the upper end of the first table. My good Demon, that I might see the whole ceremony, conveyed me to a corner of this room, where I might perceive all that passed, without being seen myself. The next who entered was a charming virgin, leading in a venerable old man that was blind. Under her left arm she bore a harp, and on her head a garland. Alexander, who was very well acquainted with Homer, stood up at his entrance, and placed him on his right hand. The virgin, who it seems was one of the nine sisters that attended on the Goddess of Fame, smiled with an ineffable grace at their meeting, and retired.
Julius Cæsar was now coming forward; and though most of the historians offered their service to introduce him, he left them at the door, and would have no conductor but himself.
The next who advanced was a man of an homely but cheerful aspect, and attended by persons of greater figure than any that appeared on this occasion. Plato was on his right hand, and Xenophon on his left. He bowed to Homer, and sat down by him.
& The rhetorical style of Quintus Curtius may warrant the fancy of his embroidered garment,' but cannot so well justify the severe censure implied in the words ' false guide.' Nor can his geographical errors support so heavy a charge, for they are likewise the errors of the original Greek relators from who he borrowed the materials of his history. On the score of immorality he is more inexcusable; but even this objection applies only to a line or two of his work, on a subject, with respect to which, both Latin and Greek historians are more or less licentious, and all equally reprehensible. The following fine passage is quoted from this agreeable writer, as an apology for some notes in the course of this work: ‘Equidem plura transcribo quam credo; nam nec affirmare sustineo de quibus dubito, nec subducere quæ accepi.'
It was expected that Plato would himself have taken a place next to his master Socrates; but on a sudden, there was heard a great clamour of disputants at the door, who appeared with Aristotle at the head of them. That philosopher, with some rudeness, but great strength of reason, convinced the whole table, that a title to the fifth place was his due, and took it accordingly.
He had scarce sat down, when the same beautiful virgin that had introduced Homer brought in another, who hung back at the entrance, and would have excused himself, had not his modesty been overcome by the invitation of all who sat at the table. His guide and behaviour made me easily conclude it was Virgil. Cicero next appeared, and took his place. He had inquired at the door for one Lucceius to introduce him ; but, not finding him there, he contented himself with the attendance of many other writers, who all, except Sallust“, appeared highly pleased with the office.
We waited some time in expectation of the next worthy, who came in with a great retinue of historians, whose names I could not learn, most of them being natives of Carthage. The person thus con
h The exception in the text alludes to the mutual hatred said to have subsisted between Cicero and Sallust, mentioned here the rather as it serves to explain a censure on Sallust's · History of Catiline,' in Tatler, No. 62. The .enmity between these two writers, of very different characters, must have been great indeed, if the bitter invectives that bear their names, are to be considered as genuine. They are curious specimens of Roman ribaldry, of some value for the sake of their language, which is in the best style of Latinity. The oration ascribed to Sallust, if not a real original, is an artful imitation of his manner of writing. From the declamation fathered on Cicero, it appears that Sallust's aversion to him was merely personal, and that it did not extend either to his wife Terentia, or his daughter Tullia.
See Scriptores Hist. Rom. tom. ii. p. 768. Heidelb. folio, 3 tom. 1743; and Ciceronis Opera, pars v. Oration. tom. ii. p. 3320, edit. Verburgij. Amstel. 1724.
ducted, who was Hannibal', seemed much disturbed, and could not forbear complaining to the board of the affronts he had met with among the Roman historians ; 'who attempted,' says he, to carry me into the subterraneous apartment; and, perhaps, would have done it, had it not been for the impartiality of this gentleman,' pointing to Polybius, “who was the only person, except my own countrymen, that was willing to conduct me hither.'
The Carthaginian took his seat, and Pompey entered with great dignity in his own person, and preceded by several historians. Lucan the poet was at the head of them, who observing Homer and Virgil
i This decided preference of Hannibal, to the utter exclusion of his conqueror, is certainly arbitrary, and given in contradiction to the truth of history, which records few characters more illustrious in all respects, or better vouched in every particular, than that of Scipio Africanus. This visionary retinue of the nameless historians of Carthage might have served, less exceptionably, as ushers in the fabulous apartment; but here they do not seem to be the most proper officers. The indiscriminate censure of the whole body of Roman historians appears to be presumptuous and unsupported. Nor is the authority of Polybius well alledged in aid of the fanciful testimonies of imaginary writers; for his ó lovasos, as he styles Scipio, is evidently his hero, whom he labours to celebrate with great pains to little purpose, if it be possible, after all, to wrest from his writings a decisive proof of Hannibal's superiority, either on the score of fame or merit. Scipio's claim of preference to Hannibal, founded on the right of conquest, cannot escape notice, or be thought inadmissible here, for in the same right, Julius Cæsar takes place of Pompey, and of Cato the younger. Moreover, when the cruel Carthaginian was preferred to his generous victor, it was lucky that no disturbance was bred by Hannibal's attempting to dispute precedency with the choleric hero at the head of the table. Plutarch mentions a curious instance of Hannibal's tenacious adherence to the niceties of form and etiquette; and both Livy and Plutarch record his comparative opinions of himself and Alexander, disclosed without reserve in the fine-turned compliment which he paid to Scipio at Ephesus. See Livy, lib. XXXV. apud Script. Hist. Rom. Heidelb. folio, tom. i. p. 275; and Plutarch's "Life of T. Q. Flaminius. No mention is made of the particular language in which the company conversed; nor is it said, that Hannibal complained of the Roman Historians in the Punic, tongue; but both Polybius and Livy take particular notice, that his conversations with Scipio were carried on by means of interpreters. See Polybius, Amst. 1670, 8vo. tom. ii. lib. xv. 6. p. 967; and Livy, lib. xxx. cap. xxx, ut supra. tom. i. p. 502.
at the table, was going to sit down himself, had not the latter whispered him, that whatever pretence he might otherwise have had, he forfeited his claim to it, by coming in as one of the historians. Lucan was so exasperated with the repulse, that he muttered something to himself; and was heard to say, 'that since he could not have a seat among them himself, he would bring in one who alone had more merit than their whole assembly :' upon which he went to the door, and brought in Cato of Utica. That great man approached the company with such an air, that showed he contemned the honour which he laid a claim to. Observing the seat opposite to Cæsar was vacant, he took possession of it, and spoke two or three smart sentences upon the nature of precedency, which, according to him, consisted not in place, but in intrinsic merit; to which he added, that the most virtuous man, wherever he was seated, was always at the upper end of the table.' Socrates, who had a great spirit of raillery with his wisdom, could not forbear siniling at a virtue which took so little pains to make itself agreeable. Cicero took the occasion to make a long discourse in praise of Cato, which he uttered with much vehemence. Cæsar answered him with a great deal of seeming temper; but, as I stood at a great distance from them, I was not able to hear one word of what they said. But I could not forbear taking notice, that in all the discourse which passed at the table, a word or nod from Homer decided the controversy.
After a short pause, Augustus appeared, looking around him with a serene and affable countenance upon all the writers of his age, who strove among themselves which of them should show him the greatest marks of gratitude and respect. Virgil rose from the table to meet him ; and though he was an