Christian to use. To me it sounds of war. Such an injunction loses its vitality unless addressed to a victor. It is a proud heathen sentiment, teaching a virtue kindred to those which built up the military grandeur of Rome; but it wants the gentleness, softness, and sympathy of the Christian sentiments. If you end with pacisque imponere morem1 there can be no falling off. This is an elevated sentiment, complete in itself; though I cannot disguise that the word imponere implies a force, which should not be invoked even in the cause of peace. It is an imperfection to be observed in all classical literature, so far as I am competent to speak of it, that the relations of man to man are viewed in it from a very low plane. If the virtues of magnanimity and generosity are inculcated, if people are warned against selfishness, the teachings are all narrowed to their own country. It is sweet to die for one's country,—so the poets sing; but they do not say it is sweet to suffer for right, for humanity, for the suffering man, though at the farthest pole. It is difficult, therefore, to apply the morality of the classics to our times. The sentiments which strike us by a certain exterior of virtue are often found to involve principles selfish, unjust, and cruel. No Roman ever wrote from the elevation of the Second Commandment, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The gentle nature of Virgil, formed for the reception of such a truth, was unconscious of it. I hope you will pardon my homily. Yours faithfully,
To Dr. Samuel G. Howe, London.Boston, Aug. 31, 1843.dear, dear Howe,—Your precious letter from London of Aug. 2 amused and touched me. It is a mark of distinction, certainly, to be blackballed by kings.2 Greene, who is here now, says you are on the black list of Naples, and doubts if you can find admission there. And will Austria receive the rejected of Prussia? During the last week and more, we have had Lieber here,—also Greene from Rome. Both talk of you with warm affection. Greene is gentle and kind, and remembers well the little feasts with you. He has only a very short leave of absence, and will be in Rome in November. He tells us of art and literature. Have I announced to you a translation of ten cantos of Dante by young Dr. Parsons,—the dentist,—of Winter Street, which has much merit, and is a prelude to a translation in the same style of the whole work? But all mere literary intelligence pales before Hillard's great triumph on Phi Beta Kappa. His success far surpassed his or my most sanguine expectations. The oration was two hours in the delivery,—every word by heart,—with his silver tongue, musical as Apollo's lute, enchaining a very large audience of beautiful women and fastidious men in rapt attention.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
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