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how to die, and herself married to Thrasea, the biographer and imitator of the younger Cato. His literary profession was made soon after his education had been completed. He had previously written several juvenile works-a tragedy, the name of which has probably been lost by a corruption in the MS. account of his life; a poem on Travelling (perhaps a record of one of his tours with Thrasea, whose favourite and frequent companion he was) in imitation of Horace's journey to Brundusium, and of a similar poem by Lucilius; and a few verses commemorative of the elder Arria. Afterwards, when he was fresh from his studies, the reading of the tenth book of Lucilius diverted his poetical ambition into a new channel, and he applied himself eagerly to the composition of satires after the model of that which had impressed him so strongly. The later Scholiasts, a class of men who are rather apt to evolve facts, as well as their causes, partly from the text itself which they have to illustrate, partly from their general knowledge of human nature, tell us that this ardour did not preclude considerable vacillation : he deliberated whether to write or not, began and left off, and then began again. One of these accounts says that he hesitated for some time between a poetical and a military life—a strange but perhaps not incredible story, which would lead us to regard the frequent attacks on the army in his Satires not merely as expressions of moral or constitutional antipathy, but as protests against a former taste of his own, which may possibly have still continued to assert itself in spite of the precepts of philosophy. He wrote slowly, and at rare intervals, so that we may easily imagine the six Satires which we possess—an imperfect work, we are told—to represent the whole of his career as a professed author. The remaining notices of his life chiefly respect the friends with whom his philosophical or literary sympathies led him to associate. The earliest of these were Caesius Bassus, to whom his sixth Satire is addressedhimself a poet of some celebrity, being the only one of his generation whom Quintilian could think of including with Horace in the class of Roman lyrists--and Calpurnius Statura, whose very name is a matter of uncertainty. He was also intimate with Servilius Nonianus, who would seem from an incidental notice to have been at one time his preceptor-a man of consular dignity, distinguished, as Tacitus informs us, not merely by high reputation as an orator and a historian, but by the polished elegance of his life. His connection with Cornutus, who was probably a freedman of the Annaean family, introduced him to Lucan; and dissimilar as their temperaments were, the young Spaniard did ample justice to the genius of his friend, scarcely restraining himself from clamorous expressions of rapture when he heard him recite his
At a later period Persius made the acquaintance of Seneca, but did not admire him. Two other persons, who had been fellow-students with him under Cornutus, are mentioned as men of great learning and unblemished life, and zealous in the pursuit of philosophy--Claudius Agathemerus of Lacedaemon, known as a physician of some name, and Petronius Aristocrates of Magnesia. Such were his occupations, and such the men with whom he lived. The sixth satire gives us some information about his habits of life, though not more than we might have been entitled to infer from our knowledge of his worldly circumstances and of the custom of the Romans of his day. We see him there retired from Rome for the winter to a retreat on the bay of Luna, where his mother seems to have lived since her second marriage, and indulging in recollections of Ennius' formal announcement of the beauties of the scene, while realizing in his own person the lessons of content and tranquillity which he had learned from the Epicureanism of Horace no less than from the Stoicism of his philosophical teachers. This may probably have been his last work-written, as some have thought from internal evidence, under the consciousness that he had not long to live, though we must not press the language about his heir, in the face of what we are told of his actual testamentary dispositions. The details of his death state that it took place on the 24th of November, A.D. 62, towards the end of his twenty-eighth year, of a disease of the stomach, on an estate of his own eight miles from Rome, on the Appian road. His whole fortune, amounting to two million sesterces, he left to his mother and sister, with a request that a sum, variously stated at a hundred thousand sesterces, and twenty pounds weight of silver, might be given to his old preceptor, together with his library, seven hundred volumes, chiefly, it would seem, works of Chrysippus, who was a most voluminous writer. Cornutus showed himself worthy of his pupil's liberality by relinquishing the money and accepting the books only. He also undertook the office of reviewing his works, recommending that the juvenile productions should be destroyed, and preparing the Satires for publication by a few slight corrections and the omission of some lines at the end, which seemed to leave the work imperfectperhaps, as Jahn supposes, the fragment of a new satire. They were ultimately edited by Caesius Bassus, at his own request, and acquired instantaneous popularity. The memoir goes on to tell us that Persius was beautiful in person, gentle in manners, a man of maidenly modesty, an excellent son, brother, and nephew, of frugal and moderate habits. This is all that we know of his life-enough to give the personal interest which a reader of his writings will naturally require, and enough, too, to furnish a bright page to a history where bright pages are few. Persius was a Roman, but the only Rome that he knew by experience was the
Rome of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero-the Rome which Tacitus and Suetonius have pourtrayed, and which pointed St. Paul's denunciation of the moral state of the heathen world. Stoicism was not regnant but militant—it produced not heroes or statesmen, but confessors and martyrs; and the early death which cut short the promise of its Marcellus could not in such an age be called unseasonable.
It was about two hundred years since a Stoic had first appeared in Rome as a member of the philosophic embassy which Athens despatched to propitiate the conquering city. Like his companions, he was bidden to go back to his school and lecture there, leaving the youth of Rome to receive their education, as heretofore, from the magistrates and the laws; but though the rigidity of the elder Cato triumphed for a time, it was not sufficient effectually to exorcise the new spirit. Panaetius, under whose influence the soul of Stoicism became more humane and its form more graceful, gained the friendship of Laelius, and through him of Scipio Aemilianus, whom he accompanied on the mission which the conqueror of Carthage undertook to the kings of Egypt and Asia in alliance with the republic. The foreign philosophy was next admitted to mould the most characteristic of all the productions of the Roman mind-its jurisprudence, being embraced by a long line of illustrious legists; and the relative duties of civil life were defined and limited by conceptions borrowed from Stoic morality. It was indeed a doctrine which, as soon as the national prejudice against imported novelties and a systematic cultivation had been surmounted, was sure to prove itself congenial to the strictness and practicality of the old Roman character; and when in the last struggles of the commonwealth the younger Cato endeavoured to take up the position of his great ancestor as a reformer of manners, his rule of life was derived not only from the traditions of undegenerate antiquity, but from the precepts of Antipater and Athenodorus. The lesson was one not to be soon lost. At the extinction of the republic, Stoicism lived on at Rome under the imperial shadow, and the government of Augustus is said to have been rendered milder by the counsels of one of its professors; but when the pressure of an undisguised despotism began to call out the old republican feeling, the elective affinity was seen to assert itself again. This was the complexion of things which Persius found, and which he left. That sect, as the accuser of Thrasea reminded the emperor, had produced bad citizens even under the former régime : its present adherents were men whose very deportment was an implied rebuke to the habits of the imperial court; its chief representative had abdicated his official duties and retired into an unpatriotic and insulting privacy; and the public records of the administration of affairs at home and abroad were only so many registers of his sins of omission. There was, in truth, no encouragement to pursue a different course.
Seneca's attempt to seat philosophy on the throne by influencing the mind of Nero, had issued only in his own moral degradation as the lying apologist of matricide, and the receiver of a bounty which in one of its aspects was plunder, in another corruption; and though his retirement, and still more his death, may have sufficed to rescue his memory from obloquy, they could only prove that he had learned too late what the more consistent members of the fraternity knew from the beginning. From such a government the only notice that a Stoic could expect or desire was the sentence which hurried him to execution or drove him into banishment. Even under the rule of Vespasian the antagonism was still unabated. At the moment of his accession, Euphrates the Tyrian, who was in his train, protested against the ambition which sought to aggrandize itself when it might have restored the republic. Helvidius Priscus, following, and perhaps deforming, the footsteps of his father-in-law Thrasea, ignored the political existence of the emperor in his edicts as praetor, and asserted his own equality repeatedly by a freedom of speech amounting to personal insult, till at last he succeeded in exhausting the forbearance of Vespasian, who put him to death and banished the philosophers from Italy. A similar expulsion took place under Domitian, who did not require much persuasion to induce him to adopt a policy recommended by the instinct of self-preservation no less than by Nero's example. Meantime, the spirit of Stoicism was gradually undergoing a change. The theoretic parts of the system, its physics and its dialectics, had found comparatively little favour with the Roman mind, and had passed into the shade in consequence : but it was still a foreign product, a matter of learning, the subject of a voluminous literature, and as such a discipline to which only the few could submit. It was still the old conception of the wise man as an ideal rather than a reality, a being necessarily perfect, and therefore necessarily superhuman. Now, however, the ancient exclusiveness was to be relaxed, and the invitation to humanity made more general. 'Strange and shocking would it be,' said Musonius Rufus, the one philosopher exempted from Vespasian's sentence, “if the tillers of the ground were incapacitated from philosophy, which is really a business of few words, not of many theories, and far better learnt in a practical country life than in the schools of the city. In short, it was to be no longer a philosophy but a religion. Epictetus, the poor crippled slave, as his epitaph proclaims him, whom the gods loved, turned Theism from a speculative dogma into an operative principle, bidding his disciples follow the divine service, imitate the divine life, implore the divine aid, and rest on the
divine providence. Dependence on the Deity was taught as a relative to independence of external circumstances, and the ancient pride of the Porch exchanged for a humility so genuine that men have endeavoured to trace it home to a Christian congregation. A Stoic thus schooled was not likely to become a political propagandist, even if the memory of the republic had been fresh, and the imperial power had continued to be synonymous with tyranny-much less after the assassination of Domitian had inaugurated an epoch of which Tacitus could speak as the fulfilment of the brightest dreams of the truest lovers of freedom. Fifty years rolled away, and government became continually better, and the pursuit of wisdom more and more honourable, till at last the ideal of Zeno himself was realized, and a Stoic ascended the throne of the Caesars, and the philosophy of political despair seemed to have become the creed of political hope. The character of Marcus Aurelius is one that is ever good to dwell on, and our sympathies cling round the man that could be rigorously severe to himself while tenderly indulgent to his people, whose love broke out in their fond addresses to him as their father and their brother : yet the peace of his reign was blasted by natural calamities, torn by civil discord, and tainted by the corruption of his own house, and at his death the fair promise of the commonwealth and of philosophy expired together. Commodus ruled the Roman world, and Stoicism, the noblest of the later systems, fell the first before the struggles of the enfeebled yet resisting rivals, and the victorious advances of a new and living faith.
It is not often that a poet has been so completely identified with a system of philosophy as Persius. Greece had produced poets who were philosophers, and philosophers who were writers of poetry; yet our first thought of Aeschylus is not as of a Pythagorean, or of Euripides as of a follower of the Sophists; nor should we classify Xenophanes or Empedocles primarily as poets of whose writings only fragments remain. In Lucretius and Persius, on the other hand, we see men who hold a prominent place among the poets of their country, yet whose poetry is devoted to the enforcement of their peculiar philosophical views. The fact is a significant one, and symptomatic of that condition of Roman culture which I have noticed on a former occasion. It points to an age and nation where philosophy is a permanent, not a progressive studyan imported commodity, not an indigenous growth, - where the impulse that gives rise to poetry is not so much a desire to give musical voice to the native thought and feeling of the poet and his fellow-men, as a recognition of the want of a national literature and wish to contribute towards its supply. At first sight there may seem something extravagant in pretending that Persius can be called the poet of Stoicism in the sense