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He applied himself with great diligence to the liberal arts, both Greek and Latin. In his Latin style, he affected to imitate the Messala Corvinus,1 a venerable man, to whom he had paid much respect in his own early years. But he rendered his style obscure by excessive affectation and abstruseness, so that he was thought to speak better extempore, than in a premeditated discourse. He composed likewise a lyric ode, under the title of " A Lamentation upon the Death of Lucius Caesar; " and also some Greek poems, in imitation of Euphorion, Rhianus, and Parthenius.2 These poets he greatly admired, and placed their works and statues in the public libraries, amongst the eminent authors of antiquity. On this account, most of the learned men of the time vied with each other in publishing observations upon them, which they addressed to him. His principal study, however, was the history of the fabulous ages, inquiring even into its trifling details in a ridiculous manner; for he used to try the grammarians, a class of men which, as I have already observed, he much affected, with such questions as these: "Who was Hecuba's mother? What name did Achilles assume among the virgins? What was it that the Sirens used to sing?" And the first day that he entered the senate-house, after the death of Augustus, as if he intended to pay respect at once to his father's memory and to the gods, he made an offering of frankincense and wine, but without any music, in imitation of Minos, upon the death of his son.
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