Part 2 out of 5
"More happy than the gods is he,
Who soft reclining sits by thee;
His ears thy pleasing talk beguiles,
His eyes thy sweetly dimpled smiles.
This, this, alas! alarmed my breast,
And robbed me of my golden rest."
Philothea interrupted her, by saying, "I should much rather hear
something from the pure and tender-hearted Simonides."
But the giddy damsel, instead of heeding her request, abruptly
exclaimed, "Did you observe the sandals of Artaphernes sparkle as he
walked? How richly Tithonus was dressed! Was it not a magnificent
Philothea, smiling at her childish prattle, replied, "It was gorgeous,
and well fancied; but I preferred Plato's simple robe, distinguished
only by the fineness of its materials, and the tasteful adjustment of
"I never saw a philosopher that dressed so well as Plato," said Eudora.
"It is because he loves the beautiful, even in its minutest forms,"
rejoined Philothea; "in that respect he is unlike the great master he
reverences so highly."
"Yes--men say it is a rare thing to meet either Socrates or his robe
lately returned from the bath," observed Eudora; "yet, in those three
beautiful statues, which Pericles has caused to be placed in the
Propylæa, the philosopher has carved admirable drapery. He has clothed
the Graces, though the Graces never clothed him. I wonder Aristophanes
never thought of that jest. Notwithstanding his willingness to please
the populace with the coarse wit current in the Agoras, I think it
gratifies his equestrian pride to sneer at those who are too frugal to
buy coloured robes, and fill the air with delicious perfumes as they
pass. I know you seldom like the comic writers. What did you think of
"His countenance and his voice troubled me, like the presence of
evil," answered Philothea. "I rejoiced that my grandfather withdrew with
us, as soon as the goblet of the Good Genius passed round, and before he
began to dance the indecent cordax."
"He has a sarcastic, suspicious glance, that might sour the ripest
grapes in Chios," rejoined Eudora. "The comic writers are over-jealous of
Aspasia's preference to the tragic poets; and I suppose she permitted
this visit to bribe his enmity; as ghosts are said to pacify Cerberus
with a cake. But hark! I hear Geta unlocking the outer gate. Phidias has
returned; and he likes to have no lamp burn later than his own. We must
quickly prepare for rest; though I am as wakeful as the bird of Pallas."
She began to unclasp her girdle, as she spoke, and something dropped
upon the floor.
Philothea was stooping to unlace her sandal, and she immediately picked
It was a beautiful cameo of Alcibiades, with the quiver and bow of Eros.
Eudora took it with a deep blush, saying, "Aspasia gave it to me."
Her friend looked very earnestly in her face for a moment, and sighed as
she turned away. It was the first time she had ever doubted Eudora's
"Two several gates
Transmit those airy phantoms. One of horn,
And of sawn ivory one. Such dreams as pass
The gate of ivory, prove empty sounds;
While others, through the polished horn effused,
Whose eye soe'er they visit, never fail."
The dwellings of Anaxagoras and Phidias were separated by a garden
entirely sheltered from public observation. On three sides it was
protected by the buildings, so as to form a hollow square; the remainder
was screened by a high stone wall. This garden was adorned with statues
and urns, among which bloomed many choice shrubs and flowers. The entire
side of Anaxagoras' house was covered with a luxuriant grape-vine, which
stretched itself out on the roof, as if enjoying the sunshine. The
women's apartments communicated by a private avenue, which enabled the
friends to see each other as conveniently as if they had formed one
The morning after the conversation we have mentioned, Philothea rose
early, and returned to her own dwelling. As she passed through the
avenue, she looked into the garden, and smiled to see, suspended by a
small cord thrown over the wall, a garland, fastened with a
delicately-carved arrow, bearing the inscription--"To Eudora, the most
beautiful, most beloved."
Glad to assist in the work of reconciliation, she separated the wreath
from the string, and carried it to her for whom it was intended.
"Behold the offering of Philæmon!" she exclaimed, joyfully: "Dearest
Eudora, beware how you estrange so true a heart."
The handsome maiden received her flowers with evident delight, not
unmingled with confusion; for she suspected that they came from a
greater flatterer than Philæmon.
Philothea returned to her usual avocations, with anxiety somewhat
lessened by this trifling incident.
Living in almost complete seclusion, the simple-hearted maiden was
quite unconscious that the new customs, introduced by Aspasia, had
rendered industry and frugality mere vulgar virtues, But the restraint
of public opinion was unnecessary to keep her within the privacy of
domestic life; for it was her own chosen home. She loved to prepare her
grandfather's frugal repast of bread and grapes, and wild honey; to take
care of his garments; to copy his manuscripts; and to direct the
operations of Milza, a little Arcadian peasant girl, who was her only
attendant. These duties, performed with cheerful alacrity, gave a fresh
charm to the music and embroidery with which she employed her leisure
Anaxagoras was extremely attached to his lovely grandchild; and her
great intellectual gifts, accompanied as they were by uncommon purity of
character, had procured from him and his friends a degree of respect not
usually bestowed upon women of that period. She was a most welcome
auditor to the philosophers, poets, and artists, who were ever fond of
gathering round the good old man; and when it was either necessary or
proper to remain in her own apartment, there was the treasured wisdom of
Thales, Pythagoras, Hesiod, Homer, Simonides, Ibycus, and Pindar. More
than one of these precious volumes were transcribed entirely by her own
In the midst of such communion, her spirit drank freely from the
fountains of sublime knowledge; which, "like the purest waters of the
earth, can be obtained only by digging deep,--but when they are found,
they rise up to meet us."
The intense love of the beautiful, thus acquired, far from making the
common occupations of life distasteful, threw over them a sort of poetic
interest, as a richly painted window casts its own glowing colours on
mere boards and stones. The higher regions of her mind were never
obscured by the clouds of daily care; but thence descended perpetual
sunshine, to gild the vapour.
On this day, however, Philothea's mind was less serene than usual. The
unaccountable change in Eudora's character perplexed and troubled her.
When she parted from her to go into the Acropolis, she had left her as
innocent and contented as a little child; and so proud and satisfied in
Philæmon's love, that she deemed herself the happiest of all happy
beings: at the close of six short months, she found her transformed into
a vain, restless, ambitious woman, wild for distinction, and impatient
All this Philothea was disposed to pity and forgive; for she felt that
frequent intercourse with Aspasia might have dazzled even a stronger
mind, and changed a less susceptible heart. Her own diminished
influence, she regarded as the inevitable result of her friend's present
views and feelings; and she only regretted it because it lessened her
power of doing good where she was most desirous to be useful.
Several times, in the course of the day, her heart yearned toward the
favourite of her childhood; and she was strongly impelled to go to her
and confess all her anxieties. But Eudora came not, as she had ever been
wont to do, in the intervals of household occupation; and this obvious
neglect drove Philothea's kind impulses back upon her heart.
Hylax, as he ran round the garden, barking and jumping at the birds in
the air, instantly knew her voice, and came capering in, bounding up at
her side, and licking her hand. The tears came to Philothea's eyes, as
she stooped to caress the affectionate animal: "Poor Hylax," said she,
"_you_ have not changed." She gathered some flowers, and twined them
round the dog's neck, thinking this simple artifice might bring a visit
from her friend.
But the sun went down, and still she had not caught a glimpse of Eudora,
even in the garden. Her affectionate anxiety was almost deepening into
sadness, when Anaxagoras returned, accompanied by the Ethiopian boy.
"I bring an offering from the munificent Tithonus," said the
philosopher: "He came with my disciples to-day, and we have had much
discourse together. To-morrow he departs from Athens; and he bade me say
that he hoped his farewell gift would not be unacceptable to her whose
voice made even Pindar's strains more majestic and divine."
The boy uncovered an image he carried in his arms, and with low
obeisance presented it to Philothea. It was a small statue of Urania,
wrought in ivory and gold. The beautiful face was turned upward, as if
regarding the heavens with quiet contemplation. A crown of golden
planets encircled the head, and the scarf, enamelled with deep and vivid
azure, likewise glowed with stars.
Philothea smiled, as she glanced round the apartment, and said, "It is a
humble shrine for a Muse so heavenly."
"Honesty and innocence are fitter companions for the gods, than mere
marble and gold," replied the philosopher.
As a small indication of respect and gratitude, the maiden sent Tithonus
a roll of papyrus, on which she had neatly copied Pindar's Odes; and the
boy, haying received a few oboli for his trouble, returned charged with
thanks and good wishes for his master.
Philothea, spontaneously yielding to the old habit of enjoying
everything with her friend, took the statue in her arms, and went
directly to her room. Eudora was kind and cheerful, but strangely
fluttered. She praised the beautiful image in the excessive terms of one
who feels little, and is therefore afraid of not saying enough. Her mind
was evidently disturbed with thoughts quite foreign to the subject of
her conversation; but, making an effort at self-possession, she said, "I
too have had a present: Artaphernes sent it because my voice reminded
him of one he loved in his youth." She unfolded a roll of perfumed
papyrus, and displayed a Persian veil of gold and silver tissue.
Philothea pronounced it fit for the toilette of a queen; but frankly
confessed that it was too gorgeous to suit her taste.
At parting, she urged Eudora to share her apartment for the night. The
maiden refused, under the pretext of illness; but when her friend
offered to remain with her, she hastily replied that she should be much
As Philothea passed through the sheltered avenue, she saw Milza
apparently assisting Geta in cleansing some marbles; and thinking
Phidias would be pleased with the statue, she asked Geta to convey it to
his room. He replied, "My master has gone to visit a friend at Salamis,
and will not return until morning." The maiden was much surprised that
her friend had made no allusion to this circumstance; but she forbore to
return and ask an explanation.
Another subject attracted her attention and occupied some share of her
thoughts. She had observed that Geta and Milza appeared much confused
when she spoke to them. When she inquired what Geta had been saying, the
pretty Arcadian, with an averted face, replied, "He called me to see a
marble dog, barking as if he had life in him; only he did not make any
"Was that all Geta talked of?" said Philothea.
"He asked me if I liked white kids," answered the blushing peasant.
"And what did you tell him?" inquired the maiden.
With a bashful mixture of simplicity and archness, the young damsel
answered, "I told him I liked white kids very much."
Philothea smiled, and asked no more questions. When she repeated this
brief conversation to Anaxagoras, he heard it with affectionate interest
in Milza's welfare, and promised to have a friendly talk with
The wakefulness and excitement of the preceding night had been quite at
variance with the tranquil regularity of Philothea's habits; and the
slight repose, which she usually enjoyed in the afternoon, had been
disturbed by her grandfather, who came to say that Paralus was with him,
and wished to see her a few moments, before they went out to the Piræus
together. Being therefore unusually weary, both in body and mind, the
maiden early retired to her couch; and with mingled thoughts of her
lover and her friend, she soon fell into a profound sleep.
She dreamed of being with Paralus in an olive grove, over the deep
verdure of which shining white blossoms were spread, like a silver veil.
Her lover played upon his flute, while she leaned against a tree and
listened. Soon, the air was filled with a multitude of doves, flocking
from every side; and the flapping of their wings kept time to the music.
Then, suddenly, the scene changed to the garden of Phidias. The statues
seemed to smile upon her, and the flowers looked up bright and cheerful,
in an atmosphere more mild than the day, but warmer than the moon.
Presently, one of the smiling statues became a living likeness of
Eudora, and with delighted expression gazed earnestly on the ground.
Philothea looked to see what excited her admiration--and lo! a large
serpent, shining with green and gold, twisted itself among the flowers
in manifold involutions; and wheresoever the beautiful viper glided,
the blossoms became crisped and blackened, as if fire had passed over
them. With a sudden spring the venomous creature coiled itself about
Eudora's form, and its poisoned tongue seemed just ready to glance into
her heart; yet still the maiden laughed merrily, heedless of her danger.
Philothea awoke with a thrill of anguish; but thankful to realize that
it was all a dream, she murmured a brief prayer, turned upon her couch,
and soon yielded to the influence of extreme drowsiness.
In her sleep, she seemed to be working at her embroidery; and Hylax came
and tugged at her robe, until she followed him into the garden. There
Eudora stood smiling, and the glittering serpent was again dancing
Disturbed by the recurrence of this unpleasant dream, the maiden
remained awake for a considerable time, listening to the voices of her
grandfather and his guests, which still came up with a murmuring sound
from the room below. Gradually her senses were lulled into slumber; and
again the same dream recurred to distress and waken her.
Unable longer to resist the strength of her impressions, Philothea
arose, and descending a few of the steps, which led to the lower part of
the house, she looked into the garden, through one of the apertures that
had been left in the wall for the admission of light. Behind a statue of
Erato, she was sure that she saw coloured drapery floating in the
moonlight. Moving on to the next aperture, she distinctly perceived
Eudora standing by the statue; and instead of the graceful serpent,
Alcibiades knelt before her. His attitude and gesture were impassioned;
and though the expression of Eudora's countenance could not be seen,
she was evidently giving him no ungracious audience.
Philothea put her hand to her heart, which throbbed violently with
painful emotion. Her first thought was to end this interview at all
hazards; but she was of a timid nature; and when she had folded her robe
and veil about her, her courage failed. Again she looked through the
aperture and saw that the arm of Alcibiades rested on the shoulder of
her misguided friend.
Without taking time for a second thought, she sprang down the remaining
steps, darted through the private avenue into the garden, and standing
directly before the deluded girl, she exclaimed, in a tone of earnest
With a half-suppressed scream, the maiden disappeared. Alcibiades, with
characteristic boldness, seized Philothea's robe, exclaiming, "What have
we here? So help me Aphrodite! it is the lovely Canephora of the
gardens! Now Eros forsake me if I lose this chance to look on her
heavenly face again."
He attempted to raise the veil, which the terrified maiden grasped
convulsively, as she tried to extricate herself from his hold.
At that instant, a stern voice sounded from the opposite wall; and
Philothea, profiting by the sudden surprise into which Alcibiades was
thrown, darted through the avenue, bolted the door, and in an instant
after was within the sanctuary of her own chamber.
Here the tumult of mingled emotion subsided in a flood of tears. She
mourned over the shameful infatuation of Eudora, and she acutely felt
the degradation attached to her own accidental share in the scene. With
these thoughts was mingled deep pity for the pure-minded and excellent
Philæmon. She was sure that it was his voice she had heard from the
wall; and she rightly conjectured that, after his prolonged interview
with Anaxagoras, he had partly ascended the ladder leading to the
house-top, and looked through the fluttering grape-leaves at the
dwelling of his beloved.
The agitation of her mind prevented all thoughts of sleep. Again and
again she looked out anxiously. All was hushed and motionless. The
garden reposed in the moonbeams, like truths, which receive no warmth
from the heart--seen only in the clear, cold light of reason. The plants
were visible, but colourless; and the statues stood immovable in their
silent, lifeless beauty.
Persuasive is the voice of Vice,
That spreads the insidious snare.
Early the next morning, painful as the task was, Philothea went to
Eudora's room; for she felt that if she ever hoped to save her, she must
gain influence now.
The maiden had risen from her couch, and was leaning her head on her
hand, in an attitude of deep thought. She raised her eyes as Philothea
entered, and her face was instantly suffused with the crimson flush of
shame. She made no reply to the usual salutations of the morning, but
with evident agitation twisted and untwisted some shreds that had fallen
from her embroidery.
For a moment her friend stood irresolute. She felt a strong impulse to
put her arm around Eudora's neck and conjure her, even for her own sake,
to be frank and confiding; but the scene in the garden returned to her
memory, and she recoiled from her beloved companion, as from something
Still ignorant how far the deluded girl was involved, she felt that the
manner in which she deported herself toward her, might perhaps fix her
destiny for good or evil. With a kind, but trembling voice, she said,
"Eudora, will you tell me whether the interview I witnessed last night
was an appointed one?"
Eudora persevered in silence, but her agitation obviously increased.
Her friend looked earnestly in her excited countenance for a moment,
and then said, "Eudora, I do entreat you to tell me the whole truth in
"I have not yet learned what right you have to inquire," replied the
Philothea's eyes were filled with tears, as she said, "Does the love we
have felt for each other from our earliest childhood, give me no claim
to your confidence? Had we ever a cake, or a bunch of grapes, of which
one did not reserve for the other the largest and best portion? I well
remember the day when you broke the little marble kid Phidias had given
you. You fairly sobbed yourself to sleep in my lap, while I smoothed
back the silky curls all wet with your tears, and sung my childish songs
to please you. You came to me with all your infant troubles--and in our
maturer years, have we not shared all our thoughts? Oh, still trust to
the affection that never deceived you. Believe me, dear Eudora, you
would not wish to conceal your purposes and actions from your earliest
and best friend, unless you had an inward consciousness of something
wrong. Every human being has, like Socrates, an attendant spirit; and
wise are they who obey its signals. If it does not always tell us what
to do, it always cautions us what not to do. Have you not of late
struggled against the warnings of this friendly spirit? Is it safe to
contend with him, till his voice recedes, like music in the distance,
and is heard no more?"
She looked earnestly in Eudora's face for a moment, and perceiving that
her feelings were somewhat softened, she added, "I will not again ask
whether the meeting of last night was an appointed one; for you surely
would repel the suspicion, if you could do so with truth. It is too
evident that this insinuating man has fascinated you, as he already has
done hundreds of others; and for the sake of his transient flattery, you
have thrown away Philæmon's pure and constant love. Yet the passing
notice of Alcibiades is a distinction you will share with half the
maidens of Athens. When another new face attracts his fancy, you will be
forgotten; but you cannot so easily forget your own folly. The friends
you cast from you can never be regained; tranquillity of mind will
return no more; conscious innocence, which makes the human countenance a
tablet for the gods to write upon, can never be restored. And for what
will you lose all this? Think for a moment what is the destiny of those
women, who, following the steps of Aspasia, seek happiness in the homage
paid to triumphant beauty--youth wasted in restless excitement, and old
age embittered by the consciousness of deserved contempt. For this, are
you willing to relinquish the happiness that attends a quiet discharge
of duty, and the cheerful intercourse of true affection?"
In a tone of offended pride, Eudora answered: "Philothea, if I were what
you seem to believe me, your words would be appropriate; but I have
never had any other thought than that of being the acknowledged wife of
"Has he then made you believe that he would divorce Hipparete?"
"Yes--he has solemnly sworn it. Such a transaction would have nothing
remarkable in it. Each revolving moon sees similar events occur in
Athens. The wife of Pericles had a destiny like that of her namesake; of
whom the poets write that she was beloved for awhile by Olympian Zeus,
and afterward changed into a quail. Pericles promised Aspasia that he
would divorce Asteria and marry her; and he has kept his word. Hipparete
is not so very beautiful or gifted, as to make it improbable that
Alcibiades might follow his example."
"It is a relief to my heart," said Philothea, "to find that you have
been deluded with hopes, which, however deceitful, render you
comparatively innocent. But believe me, Eudora, Alcibiades will never
divorce Hipparete. If he should do so, the law would compel him to
return her magnificent dowry. Her connections have wealth and influence;
and her brother Callias has promised that she shall be his heir. The
paternal fortune of Alcibiades has all been expended, except his estate
near Erchia; and this he knows full well is quite insufficient to
support his luxury and pride."
Eudora answered warmly, "If you knew Alcibiades, you would not suspect
him of such sordid motives. He would throw money into the sea like dust,
if it stood in the way of his affections."
"I am well aware of his pompous wastefulness, when he wishes to purchase
popularity by lavish expenditure," replied Philothea. "But Alcibiades
has found hearts a cheap commodity, and he will not buy with drachmæ,
what he can so easily obtain by flattery. Your own heart, I believe, is
not really touched. Your imagination is dazzled with his splendid
chariots of ivory inlaid with silver; his unrivalled stud of Phasian
horses; his harnesses of glittering brass; the golden armour which he
loves to display at festivals; his richly-coloured garments, fresh from
the looms of Sardis, and redolent with the perfumes of the East. You are
proud of his notice, because you see that other maidens are flattered by
it; because his statue stands among the Olympionicæ, in the sacred
groves of Zeus, and because all Athens rings with the praises of his
beauty, his gracefulness, his magnificence, and his generosity."
"I am not so weak as your words imply," rejoined Eudora. "I believe that
I love Alcibiades better than I ever loved Philæmon; and if the consent
of Phidias can be obtained, I cannot see why you should object to our
For a few moments, Philothea remained in hopeless silence; then, in a
tone of tender expostulation, she continued: "Eudora, I would the power
were given me to open your eyes before it is too late! If Hipparete be
not beautiful, she certainly is not unpleasing; her connections have
high rank and great wealth; she is virtuous and affectionate, and the
mother of his children. If, with all these claims, she can be so lightly
turned away for the sake of a lovelier face, what can you expect, when
your beauty no longer has the charm of novelty? You, who have neither
wealth nor powerful connections, to serve the purposes of that ambitious
man? And think for yourself, Eudora, if Alcibiades means as he says, why
does he seek stolen interviews at midnight, in the absence of Phidias?"
"It is because he knows that Phidias has an uncommon regard for
Philæmon," replied Eudora; "but he thinks he can, in time, persuade him
to consult our wishes. I know, better than you possibly can, what
reasons I have to trust the strength of his affection. Aspasia says she
has never seen him so deeply in love as he is now."
"It is as I feared," said Philothea; "the voice of that siren is luring
you to destruction."
Eudora answered, in an angry tone, "I love Aspasia; and it offends me to
hear her spoken of in this manner. If you are content to be a slave,
like the other Grecian women, who bring water and grind corn for their
masters, I have no objection. I have a spirit within me that demands a
wider field of action, and I enjoy the freedom that reigns in Aspasia's
house. Alcibiades says he does not blame women for not liking to be shut
up within four walls all their life-time, ashamed to show their faces
like other mortals."
Quietly, but sadly, Philothea replied: "Farewell, Eudora. May the powers
that guide our destiny, preserve you from any real cause for shame. You
are now living in Calypso's island; and divine beings alone can save you
from the power of her enchantments."
Eudora made no response, and did not even raise her eyes, as her
companion left the apartment.
As Philothea passed through the garden, she saw Milza standing in the
shadow of the vines, feeding a kid with some flowers she held in her
hand, while Geta was fastening a crimson cord about its neck. A glad
influence passed from this innocent group into the maiden's heart, like
the glance of a sunbeam over a dreary landscape.
"Is the kid yours, Milza?" she asked, with an affectionate smile.
The happy little peasant raised her eyes with an arch expression, but
instantly lowered them again, covered with blushes. It was a look that
told all the secrets of her young heart more eloquently than language.
Philothea had drank freely from those abundant fountains of joy in the
human soul, which remain hidden till love reveals their existence, as
secret springs are said to be discovered by a magic wand. With
affectionate sympathy she placed her hand gently on Milza's head, and
said, "Be good--and the gods will ever provide friends for you."
The humble lovers gazed after her with a blessing in their eyes; and in
the consciousness of this, her meek spirit found a solace for the wounds
Eudora had given.
O Zeus! why hast thou given us certain proof
To know adulterate gold, but stamped no mark,
Where it is needed most, on man's base metal?
When Philothea returned to her grandfather's apartment, she found the
good old man with an open tablet before him, and the remainder of a rich
cluster of grapes lying on a shell by his side.
"I have wanted you, my child," said he, "Have you heard the news all
Athens is talking of, that you sought your friend so early in the day?
You are not wont to be so eager to carry tidings."
"I have not heard the rumours whereof you speak," replied Philothea.
"What is it, my father?"
"Hipparete went from Aspasia's house to her brother Callias, instead of
the dwelling of her husband," rejoined Anaxagoras: "by his advice she
refused to return; and she yesterday appealed to the archons for a
divorce from Alcibiades, on the plea of his notorious profligacy.
Alcibiades, hearing of this, rushed into the assembly, with his usual
boldness, seized his wife in his arms, carried her through the crowd,
and locked her up in her own apartment. No man ventured to interfere
with this lawful exercise of his authority. It is rumoured that
Hipparete particularly accused him of promising marriage to Electra the
Corinthian, and Eudora, of the household of Phidias."
For the first time in her life, Philothea turned away her face, to
conceal its expression, while she inquired in a tremulous tone whether
these facts had been told to Philæmon, the preceding evening.
"Some of the guests were speaking of it when he entered," replied
Anaxagoras; "but no one alluded to it in his presence. Perhaps he had
heard the rumour, for he seemed sad and disquieted, and joined little in
Embarrassed by the questions which her grandfather was naturally
disposed to ask, Philothea briefly confessed that a singular change had
taken place in Eudora's character, and begged permission to silent on a
subject so painful to her feelings. She felt strongly inclined to return
immediately to her deluded friend; but the hopelessness induced by her
recent conversation, combined with the necessity of superintending Milza
in some of her household occupations, occasioned a few hours' delay.
As she attempted to cross the garden for that purpose, she saw Eudora
enter hastily by the private gate, and pass to her own apartment.
Philothea instantly followed her, and found that she had thrown herself
on the couch, sobbing violently. She put her arms about her neck, and
affectionately inquired the cause of her distress.
For a long time the poor girl resisted every soothing effort, and
continued to weep bitterly. At last, in a voice stifled with sobs, she
said, "I was indeed deceived; and you, Philothea, was my truest friend;
as you have always been."
The tender-hearted maiden imprinted a kiss upon her hand, and asked
whether it was Hipparete's appeal to the archons, that had so suddenly
convinced her of the falsehood of Alcibiades.
"I have heard it all," replied Eudora, with a deep blush; "and I have
heard my name coupled with epithets never to be repeated to your pure
ears. I was so infatuated that, after you left me this morning, I sought
the counsels of Aspasia, to strengthen me in the course I had determined
to pursue. As I approached her apartment, the voice of Alcibiades met my
ear. I stopped and listened. I heard him exult in his triumph over
Hipparete; I heard my name joined with Electra, the wanton Corinthian. I
heard him boast how easily our affections had been won; I heard--"
She paused for a few moments, with a look of intense shame, and the
tears fell fast upon her robe.
In gentle tones Philothea said, "These are precious tears, Eudora. They
will prove like spring-showers, bringing forth fragrant blossoms."
With sudden impulse, the contrite maiden threw her arms around her neck,
saying, in a subdued voice, "You must not be so kind to me--it will
break my heart."
By degrees the placid influence of her friend calmed her perturbed
spirit. "Philothea," she said, "I promise with solemn earnestness to
tell you every action of my life, and every thought of my soul; but
never ask me to repeat all I heard at Aspasia's dwelling. The words went
through my heart like poisoned arrows."
"Nay," replied Philothea, smiling; "they have healed, not poisoned."
Eudora sighed, as she added, "When I came away, in anger and in shame, I
heard that false man singing in mockery:
"Count me on the summer trees
Every leaf that courts the breeze;
Count me on the foamy deep
Every wave that sinks to sleep;
Then when you have numbered these,
Billowy tides and leafy trees,
Count me all the flames I prove,
All the gentle nymphs I love."
Philothea, how could you, who are so pure yourself, see so much clearer
than I did the treachery of that bad man?"
The maiden replied, "Mortals, without the aid of experience, would
always be aware of the presence of evil, if they sought to put away the
love of it in their own hearts, and in silent obedience listened to the
voice of their guiding spirit. Flowers feel the approach of storms, and
birds need none to teach them the enmity of serpents. This knowledge is
given to them as perpetually as the sunshine; and they receive it fully,
because their little lives are all obedience and love."
"Then, dearest Philothea, you may well know when evil approaches. By
some mysterious power you have ever known my heart better than I myself
have known it. I now perceive that you told me the truth when you said I
was not blinded by love, but by foolish pride. If it were not so, my
feelings could not so easily have turned to hatred. I have more than
once tried to deceive you, but you will feel that I am not now speaking
falsely. The interview you witnessed was the first and only one I ever
granted to Alcibiades."
Philothea freely expressed her belief in this assertion, and her joy
that the real character of the graceful hypocrite had so soon been made
manifest. Her thoughts turned towards Philæmon; but certain
recollections restrained the utterance of his name. They were both
silent for a few moments; and Eudora's countenance was troubled. She
looked up earnestly in her friend's face, but instantly turned away her
eyes, and fixing them on the ground, said, in a low and timid voice, "Do
you think Philæmon can ever love me again?"
Philothea felt painfully embarrassed; for when she recollected how
deeply Philæmon was enamoured of purity in women, she dared not answer
in the language of hope.
While she yet hesitated, Dione came to say that her master required the
attendance of Eudora alone in his apartment.
Phidias had always exacted implicit obedience from his household, and
Eudora's gratitude towards him had ever been mingled with fear. The
consciousness of recent misconduct filled her with extreme dread. Her
countenance became deadly pale, as she turned toward her friend, and
said, "Oh, Philothea, go with me."
The firm-hearted maiden took her arm gently within her own, and
whispered, "Speak the truth, and trust in the Divine Powers."
Thus it is; I have made those
Averse to me whom nature formed my friends;
Those, who from me deserved no ill, to win
Thy grace, I gave just cause to be my foes;
And thou, most vile of men, thou hast betrayed me.
Phidias was alone, with a large unfinished drawing before him, on a
waxen tablet. Various groups of statues were about the room; among which
was conspicuous the beautiful workmanship of Myron, representing a
kneeling Paris offering the golden apple to Aphrodite; and by a mode of
flattery common with Athenian artists, the graceful youth bore the
features of Alcibiades. Near this group was Hera and Pallas, from the
hand of Phidias; characterized by a severe majesty of expression, as
they looked toward Paris and his voluptuous goddess in quiet scorn.
Stern displeasure was visible in the countenance of the great sculptor.
As the maidens entered, with their faces covered, he looked up, and said
coldly, "I bade that daughter of unknown parents come into my presence
Eudora keenly felt the reproach implied by the suppression of her name,
which Phidias deemed she had dishonoured; and the tremulous motion of
her veil betrayed her agitation.
Philothea spoke in a mild, but firm voice: "Son of Charmides, by the
friendship of my father, I conjure you do not require me to forsake
Eudora in this hour of great distress."
In a softened tone, Phidias replied: "The daughter of Alcimenes knows
that for his sake, and for the sake of her own gentle nature, I can
refuse her nothing."
"I give thee thanks," rejoined the maiden, "and relying on this
assurance, I will venture to plead for this helpless orphan, whom the
gods committed to thy charge. The counsels of Aspasia have led her into
error; and is the son of Charmides blameless, for bringing one so young
within the influence of that seductive woman?"
After a short pause, Phidias answered: "Philothea, it is true that my
pride in her gift of sweet sounds first brought her into the presence of
that bad and dangerous man; it was contrary to Philæmon's wishes, too;
and in this I have erred. If that giddy damsel can tell me the meeting
in the garden was not by her own consent, I will again restore her to my
confidence. Eudora, can you with truth give me this assurance?"
Eudora made no reply; but she trembled so violently, that she would have
sunk, had she not leaned on the arm of her friend.
Philothea, pitying her distress, said, "Son of Charmides, I do not
believe Eudora can truly give the answer you wish to receive; but
remember in her favour that she does not seek to excuse herself by
falsehood. Alcibiades has had no other interview than that one, of which
the divine Phoebus sent a messenger to warn me in my sleep. For that
fault, the deluded maiden has already suffered a bitter portion of shame
After a short silence, Phidias spoke: "Eudora, when I called you
hither, it was with the determination of sending you to the temple of
Castor and Polydeuces, there to be offered for sale to your paramour,
who has already tried, in a secret way, to purchase you, by the
negociation of powerful friends; but Philothea has not pleaded for you
in vain. I will not punish your fault so severely as Alcibiades ventured
to hope. You shall remain under my protection. But from henceforth you
must never leave your own apartment, without my express permission,
which will not soon be granted. I dare not trust your sudden repentance;
and shall therefore order a mastiff to be chained to your door. Dione
will bring you bread and water only. If you fail in obedience, the fate
I first intended will assuredly be yours, without time given for
expostulation. Now go to the room that opens into the garden; and there
remain, till I send Dione to conduct you to your own apartment."
Eudora was so completely humbled, that these harsh words aroused no
feeling of offended pride. Her heart was too full for utterance; and her
eyes so blinded with tears, that, as she turned to leave the apartment,
she frequently stumbled over the scattered fragments of marble.
It was a day of severe trials for the poor maiden. They had remained but
a short time waiting for Dione, when Philæmon entered, conducted by
Phidias, who immediately left the apartment. Eudora instantly bowed her
head upon the couch, and covered her face with her hands.
In a voice tremulous with emotion, the young man said, "Eudora,
notwithstanding the bitter recollection of where I last saw you, I have
earnestly wished to see you once more--to hear from your own lips
whether the interview I witnessed in the garden was by your own
appointment. Although many things in your late conduct have surprised
and grieved me, I am slow to believe that you could have taken a step so
unmaidenly; particularly at this time, when it has pleased the gods to
load me with misfortunes. By the affection I once cherished, I entreat
you to tell me whether that meeting was unexpected."
He waited in vain for any other answer than audible sobs. After a slight
pause, he continued: "Eudora, I wait for a reply more positive than
silence. Let me hear from your own lips the words that must decide my
destiny. Perchance it is the last favour I shall ever ask."
The repentant maiden, without looking up, answered, in broken accents,
"Philæmon, I will not add deceit to other wrongs, I must speak the
truth, if my heart is broken. I did consent to that interview."
The young man bowed his head in silent anguish against one of the
pillars--his breast heaved, and his lips quivered. After a hard struggle
with himself, he said, "Farewell, Eudora. I shall never again intrude
upon your presence. Many will flatter you; but none will love you as I
With a faint shriek, Eudora sprung forward, and threw herself at his
feet. She would have clasped his knees, but he involuntarily recoiled
from her touch, and gathered the folds of his robe about him.
Then the arrow entered deeply into her heart, She rested her burning
forehead against the marble pillar, and said, in tones of agonized
entreaty, "I never met him but once."
Philothea, who during this scene had wept like an infant, laid her hand
beseechingly on his arm, and added, "Son of Chærilaüs, remember that
was the only interview."
Philæmon shook his head mournfully, as he replied, "But I cannot forget
that it was an appointed one.--We can never meet again."
He turned hastily to leave the room; but lingered on the threshold, and
looked back upon Eudora with an expression of unutterable sadness.
Philothea perceived the countenance of her unhappy friend grow rigid
beneath his gaze. She hastened to raise her from the ground whereon she
knelt, and received her senseless in her arms.
Fare thee well, perfidious maid!
My soul,--its fondest hopes betrayed,
Betrayed, perfidious girl, by thee,--
Is now on wing for liberty.
I fly to seek a kindlier sphere,
Since thou hast ceased to love me here.
Not long after the parting interview with Eudora, Philæmon, sad and
solitary, slowly wended his way from Athens. As he passed along the
banks of the Illyssus, he paused for a moment, and stood with folded
arms, before the chaste and beautiful little temple of Agrotera, the
huntress with the unerring bow.
The temple was shaded by lofty plane trees, and thickly intertwined
willows, among which transparent rivulets glided in quiet beauty; while
the marble nymphs, with which the grove was adorned, looked modestly
down upon the sparkling waters, as if awe-stricken by the presence of
their sylvan goddess.
A well-known voice said, "Enter Philæmon. It is a beautiful retreat. The
soft verdant grass tempts to repose; a gentle breeze brings fragrance
from the blossoms; and the grasshoppers are chirping with a summer-like
and sonorous sound. Enter, my son."
"Thanks, Anaxagoras," replied Philæmon, as he moved forward to give and
receive the cordial salutation of his friend: "I have scarcely travelled
far enough to need repose; but the day is sultry, and this balmy air is
"Whither leads your path, my son?" inquired the good old man. "I
perceive that no servant follows you with a seat whereon to rest, when
you wish to enjoy the prospect, and your garments are girded about you,
like one who travels afar."
"I seek Mount Hymettus, my father," replied Philæmon: "There I shall
stop to-night, to take my last look of Athens. To-morrow, I join a
company on their way to Persia; where they say Athenian learning is
eagerly sought by the Great King and his nobles."
"And would you have left Athens without my blessing?" inquired
"In truth, my father, I wished to avoid the pain of parting," rejoined
Philæmon. "Not even my beloved Paralus is aware that the homeless
outcast of ungrateful Athens has left her walls forever."
The aged philosopher endeavoured to speak, but his voice was tremulous
with emotion. After a short pause, he put his arm within Philæmon's, and
said, "My son, we will journey together. I shall easily find my way back
to Athens before the lamps of evening are lighted."
The young man spoke of the wearisome walk; and reminded him that Ibycus,
the beloved of the gods, was murdered while returning to the city after
twilight. But the philosopher replied, "My old limbs are used to
fatigue, and everybody knows that the plain robe of Anaxagoras conceals
As they passed along through the smiling fields of Agra, the
cheerfulness of the scene redoubled the despondency of the exile. Troops
of laughing girls were returning from the vineyards with baskets full
of grapes; women were grinding corn, singing merrily, as they toiled;
groups of boys were throwing quoits, or seated on the grass eagerly
playing at dice, and anon filling the air with their shouts; in one
place was a rural procession in honour of Dionysus; in another, loads of
pure Pentelic marble were on their way from the quarry, to increase the
architectural glory of Athens.
"I could almost envy that senseless stone!" exclaimed Philæmon. "It goes
where I have spent many a happy hour, and where I shall never enter
more. It is destined for the Temple of the Muses, which Plato is causing
to be built among the olive-groves of Academus. The model is more
beautifully simple than anything I have ever seen."
"The grove of Academus is one of the few places now remaining where
virtue is really taught and encouraged," rejoined Anaxagoras. "As for
these new teachers, misnamed philosophers, they are rapidly hastening
the decay of a state whose diseases produced them."
"A few days since, I heard one of the sophists talking to crowds of
people in the old Agora," said Philæmon; "and truly his doctrines
formed a strange contrast with the severe simplicity of virtue expressed
in the countenances of Solon, Aristides, and the other god-like statues
that stood around him. He told the populace that it was unquestionably a
great blessing to commit an injury with impunity; but as there was more
evil in suffering an injury than there was good in committing one, it
was necessary to have the subject regulated by laws: that justice,
correctly defined, meant nothing more than the interest of the
strongest; that a just man always fared worse than the unjust, because
he neglected to aggrandize himself by dishonest actions, and thus became
unpopular among his acquaintances; while those who were less scrupulous,
grew rich and were flattered. He said the weak very naturally considered
justice as a common right; but he who had power, if he had likewise
courage, would never submit to any such agreement: that they who praised
virtue, did it because they had some object to gain from those who had
less philosophy than themselves; and these pretended worthies, if they
could act invisibly, would soon be found in the same path with the
villain. He called rhetoric the noblest of the arts, because it enabled
an ignorant man to appear to know as much as one who was thoroughly
master of his subject. Some of the people demanded what he had to say of
the gods, since he had spoken so ably of men. With an unpleasant mixture
of derision and feigned humility, the sophist replied, that he left such
vast subjects to be discussed by the immortal Socrates. He forthwith
left the Agora, and many a loud laugh and profane jest followed his
departure. When such doctrines can be uttered without exciting
indignation, it is easy to foresee the destinies of the state."
"Thucydides speaks truly," rejoined Anaxagoras: "In the history he is
writing, he says,--The Athenian people are beginning to be more fond of
calling dishonest men able, than simple men honest; and that statesmen
begin to be ashamed of the more worthy title, while they take pride in
the other: thus sincerity, of which there is much in generous natures,
will be laughed down; while wickedness and hypocrisy are everywhere
"But evil grows weary of wearing a mask in reluctant homage to good,"
replied Philæmon; "she is ever seeking to push it aside, with the hope
that men may become accustomed to her face, and find more beauty
therein, than in the disguise she wears. The hidden thought at last
struggles forth into expression, and cherished passions assume a form in
action. One of the sophists has already given notice that he can teach
any young man how to prove that right is wrong, or wrong is right. It is
said that Xanthippus has sent his son to benefit by these instructions,
with a request that he may learn the art thoroughly, but be taught to
use it only in the right way."
"Your words are truth, my son," answered the philosopher; "and the blame
should rest on those who taint the stream at its source, rather than
with them who thoughtlessly drink of it in its wanderings. The great and
the gifted of Athens, instead of yielding reverent obedience to the
unchangeable principle of truth, have sought to make it the servant of
their own purposes. Forgetful of its eternal nature, they strive to
change it into arbitrary forms of their own creating; and then marvel
because other minds present it in forms more gross and disgusting than
their own. They do not ask what is just or unjust, true or untrue, but
content themselves with recommending virtue, as far as it advances
interest, or contributes to popularity; and when virtue ceases to be
fashionable, the multitude can no longer find a satisfactory reason for
adhering to it. But when the teachers of the populace hear their vulgar
pupils boldly declare that vice is as good as virtue, provided a man can
follow it with success, pride prevents them from seeing that this maxim
is one of their own doctrines stripped of its equestrian robes, and
shown in democratic plainness. They did not venture to deride the gods,
or even to assert that they took no cognizance of human affairs; but
they declared that offences against divine beings might be easily atoned
for by a trifling portion of their own gifts--a sheep, a basket of
fruit, or a few grains of salt, offered at stated seasons, with becoming
decorum; and then when alone together, they smiled that such concessions
were necessary to satisfy the superstitions of the vulgar. But disbelief
in divine beings, and the eternal nature of truth, cannot long be
concealed by pouring the usual libations, or maintaining a cautious
reserve. The whispered opinions of false philosophers will soon be
loudly echoed by the popular voice, which is less timid, because it is
more honest. Even thus did Midas laboriously conceal the deformity of
his head; but his barber, who saw him without disguise, whispered his
secret in the earth, and when the winds arose, the voices of a thousand
reeds proclaimed to the world, 'King Midas hath ass's ears.'"
"The secret has already been whispered to the ground," answered
Philæmon, smiling: "If it were not so, the comic writers would not be
able to give with impunity such grotesque and disgusting representations
of the gods."
"And yet," rejoined the old man, "I hear that Hermippus, who has himself
personified Hera on the stage, as an angry woman attempting to strike
infuriated Zeus, is about to arraign me before the public tribunal,
because I said the sun was merely a great ball of fire. This he
construes into blasphemy against the life-giving Phoebus."
"The accusation may be thus worded," said Philæmon; "but your real crime
is that you stay away from political assemblies, and are therefore
suspected of being unfriendly to democratic institutions. Demos
reluctantly admits that the right to hold such opinions is an inherent
part of liberty. Soothe the vanity of the dicasts by humble
acknowledgments, and gratify their avarice by a plentiful distribution
of drachmæ; flatter the self-conceit of the Athenians, by assurances
that they are the greatest, most glorious, and most consistent people
upon earth; be careful that Cleon the tanner, and Thearion the baker,
and Theophrastus the maker of lyres, are supplicated and praised in due
form--and, take my word for it, the gods will be left to punish you for
whatever offences you commit against them. They will receive no
assistance from the violet-crowned city."
"And you, my son," replied the philosopher, "would never have been
exiled from Athens, if you had debated in the porticos with young
citizens, who love to exhibit their own skill in deciding whether the
true cause of the Trojan war were Helen, or the ship that carried her
away, or the man that built the ship, or the wood whereof it was made;
if in your style you had imitated the swelling pomp of Isagoras, where
one solitary idea is rolled over and over in an ocean of words, like a
small pearl tossed about in the Ægean; if you had supped with
Hyperbolus, or been seen in the agoras, walking arm in arm with Cleon.
With such a man as you to head their party, Pericles could not always
retain the ascendancy, by a more adroit use of their own weapons."
"As soon would I league myself with the Odomantians of Thrace!"
exclaimed Philæmon, with an expression of strong disgust. "It is such
men who destroy the innocence of a republic, and cause that sacred name
to become a mockery among tyrants. The mean-souled wretches! Men who
take from the poor daily interest for a drachma, and spend it in
debauchery. Citizens who applauded Pericles because he gave them an
obolus for a vote, and are now willing to see him superseded by any man
that will give two oboli instead of one! No, my father--I could unite
with none but an honest party--men who love the state and forget
themselves; and such are not now found in Athens. The few that exist
dare not form a barrier against the powerful current that would
inevitably drive them to destruction."
"You speak truth, Philæmon," rejoined Anaxagoras: "Pallas Athenæ seems
to have deserted her chosen people. The proud Spartans openly laugh at
our approaching downfall, while the smooth Persians watch for a
favourable moment to destroy the freedom already rendered so weak by its
"The fault will be attributed to democratic principles," said Philæmon;
"but the real difficulty exists in that love of power which hides itself
beneath the mask of Democracy, until a corrupted public can endure its
undisguised features without execration. No one can believe that
Pericles lessened the power of the Areopagus from a sincere conviction
that it was for the good of the people. It was done to obtain personal
influence, by purchasing the favour of those who had sufficient reasons
for desiring a less equitable tribunal. Nor could he have ever supposed
that the interests of the republic would be advanced by men whom the
gift of an obolus could induce to vote. The Athenians have been spoiled
by ambitious demagogues, who now try to surfeit them with flattery, as
nurses seek to pacify noisy children with sponges dipped in honey. They
strive to drown the din of domestic discord in boasts of foreign
conquests; and seek to hide corruption in a blaze of glory, as they
concealed their frauds amid the flames of the treasury."
"Pericles no doubt owes his great popularity to skill in availing
himself of existing circumstances," replied Anaxagoras; "and I am afraid
that the same motives for corrupting, and the same willingness to be
corrupted, will always be found in democratic institutions."
"It has always been matter of surprise to me," said Philæmon, "that one
so humble and frugal as yourself, and so zealous for the equal rights of
all men, even the meanest citizens, should yet be so little friendly to
that popular idol which the Athenians call Demos."
The philosopher rejoined: "When I was young, I heard it said of
Lycurgus, that being asked why he, who was such a friend to equality,
did not bestow a democratic government upon Sparta, he answered: "Go and
try a democracy in your own house." The reply pleased me; and a long
residence in Athens has not yet taught me to believe that a man who is
governed by ten thousand masters has more freedom than he who is
governed by one."
"If kings had the same natural affection for their subjects that parents
have for their children, the comparison of Lycurgus would be just,"
"And what think you of the paternal kindness of this republican decree
whereby five thousand citizens have been sold into slavery, because the
unjust confiscation of their estates rendered them unable to pay their
debts?" said Anaxagoras.
"Such an edict was passed because Athens is _not_ a republic," replied
Philæmon. "All things are under the control of Pericles; and Aspasia
rules him. When she heard that I remonstrated against his shameful
marriage, she said she would sooner or later bring a Trojan horse into
my house. She has fulfilled her threat by the same means that enabled
Pericles to destroy the political power of some of his most influential
"Pericles has indeed obtained unbounded influence," rejoined Anaxagoras;
"but he did it by counterfeiting the very principle that needed to be
checked; and this is so easily counterfeited, that democracy is always
in danger of becoming tyranny in disguise. The Athenians are as servile
to their popular idol, as the Persians to their hereditary one; but the
popular idol seeks to sustain his power by ministering to that love of
change, which allows nothing to remain sacred and established. Hence,
two opposite evils are combined in action--the reality of despotism
with the form of democracy; the power of a tyrant with the
irresponsibility of a multitude. But, in judging of Pericles, you, my
son, should strive to guard against political enmity, as I do against
personal affection. It cannot be denied that he has often made good use
of his influence. When Cimon brought the remains of Theseus to Athens,
and a temple was erected over them in obedience to the oracle, it was he
who suggested to the people that a hero celebrated for relieving the
oppressed could not be honoured more appropriately than by making his
temple a refuge for abused slaves."
"Friendly as I am to a government truly republican," answered Philæmon,
"it is indeed difficult to forgive the man who seduces a democracy to
the commission of suicide, for his own advancement. His great abilities
would receive my admiration, if they were not employed in the service of
ambition. As for this new edict, it will prove a rebounding arrow,
striking him who sent it. He will find ten enemies for one in the
kindred of the banished."
"While we have been talking thus sadly," said the old philosopher, "the
fragrant thyme and murmuring bees give cheerful notice that we are
approaching Mount Hymettus. I see the worthy peasant, Tellus, from whom
I have often received refreshment of bread and grapes; and if it please
you we will share his bounty now."
The peasant respectfully returned their friendly greeting, and readily
furnished clusters from his luxuriant vineyard. As the travellers seated
themselves beneath the shelter of the vines, Tellus asked, "What news
"None of importance," replied Anaxagoras, "excepting rumours of
approaching war, and this new edict, by which so many citizens are
suddenly reduced to poverty."
"There are always those in Athens who are like the eel-catchers, that
choose to have the waters troubled," observed the peasant. "When the lake
is still, they lose their labour; but when the mud is well stirred, they
take eels in plenty. My son says he gets twelve oboli for a conger-eel,
in the Athenian markets; and that is a goodly price."
The travellers smiled, and contented themselves with praising his
grapes, without further allusion to the politics of Athens. But Tellus
resumed the discourse, by saying, "So, I hear my old neighbour,
Philargus, has been tried for idleness."
"Even so," rejoined Anaxagoras; "and his condemnation has proved the
best luck he ever had. The severe sentence of death was changed into a
heavy fine; and Lysidas, the Spartan, immediately begged to be
introduced to him, as the only gentleman he had seen or heard of in
Athens. He has paid the fine for him, and invited him to Lacedæmon;
that he may show his proud countrymen one Athenian who does not disgrace
himself by industry."
"That comes of having the Helots among them," said Tellus. "My boy
married a Spartan wife, and I can assure you she is a woman that looks
lightning, and speaks mustard. When my son first told her to take the
fish from his basket, she answered angrily, that she was no Helot."
"I heard this same Lysidas, the other day," said Philæmon, "boasting
that the Spartans were the only real freemen; and Lacedæmon the only
place where courage and virtue always found a sure reward. I asked him
what reward the Helots had for bravery or virtue. 'They are not
scourged; and that is sufficient reward for the base hounds,' was his
contemptuous reply. He approves the law forbidding masters to bestow
freedom on their slaves; and likes the custom which permits boys to whip
them, merely to remind them of their bondage. He ridicules the idea that
injustice will weaken the strength of Sparta, because the gods are
enemies to injustice. He says the sun of liberty shines brighter with
the dark atmosphere of slavery around it; as temperance seems more
lovely to the Spartan youth, after they have seen the Helots made
beastly drunk for their amusement. He seems to forget that the passions
are the same in every human breast; and that it is never wise in any
state to create natural enemies at her own doors. But the Lacedæmonians
make it a rule never to speak of danger from their slaves. They remind
me of the citizens of Amyclæ, who, having been called from their
occupations by frequent rumours of war, passed a vote that no man should
be allowed, under heavy penalties, to believe any report of intended
invasion. When the enemy really came, no man dared to speak of their
approach, and Amyclæ was easily conquered. Lysidas boasted of salutary
cruelty; and in the same breath told me the Helots loved their masters."
"As the Spartan boys love Orthia, at whose altar they yearly receive a
bloody whipping," said Tellus, laughing.
"There is one great mistake in Lacedæmonian institutions," observed
Anaxagoras: "They seek to avoid the degrading love of money, by placing
every citizen above the necessity of laborious occupation; but they
forget that the love of tyranny may prove an evil still more dangerous
to the state."
"You speak justly, my father," answered Philæmon: "The Athenian law,
which condemns any man for speaking disrespectfully of his neighbour's
trade, is most wise; and it augurs ill for Athens that some of her young
equestrians begin to think it unbecoming to bring home provisions for
their own dinner from the agoras."
"Alcibiades, for instance!" exclaimed the philosopher: "He would
consider himself disgraced by any other burthen than his fighting
quails, which he carries out to take the air."
Philæmon started up suddenly--for the name of Alcibiades stung him like
a serpent. Immediately recovering his composure, he turned to recompense
the hospitality of the honest peasant, and to bid him a friendly
But Tellus answered bluntly; "No, young Athenian; I like your
sentiments, and will not touch your coin. The gods bless you."
The travellers having heartily returned his parting benediction, slowly
ascended Mount Hymettus. When they paused to rest upon its summit, a
glorious prospect lay stretched out before them. On the north, were
Megara, Eleusis, and the cynosure of Marathon; in the south, numerous
islands, like a flock of birds, reposed on the bright bosom of the
Aegean; to the west, was the broad Piræus with its thousand ships, and
Athens in all her magnificence of beauty; while the stately buildings of
distant Corinth mingled with the cloudless sky. The declining sun threw
his refulgent mantle over the lovely scene, and temples, towers, and
villas glowed in the purple light.
The travellers stood for a few moments in perfect silence--Philæmon
with folded arms, and Anaxagoras leaning on his staff. At length, in
tones of deep emotion, the young man exclaimed, "Oh, Athens, how I have
loved thee! Thy glorious existence has been a part of my own being! For
thy prosperity how freely would I have poured out my blood! The gods
bless thee, and save thee from thyself!"
"Who could look upon her and not bless her in his heart?" said the old
philosopher: "There she stands, fair as the heaven-born Pallas, in all
her virgin majesty! But alas for Athens, when every man boasts of his
own freedom, and no man respects the freedom of his neighbour. Peaceful,
she seems, in her glorious beauty; but the volcano is heaving within,
and already begins to throw forth its showers of smoke and stones."
"Would that the gods had permitted me to share her dangers--to die and
mingle with her beloved soil!" exclaimed Philæmon.
The venerable philosopher looked up, and saw intense wretchedness in the
countenance of his youthful friend. He laid his hand kindly upon
Philæmon's arm; "Nay, my son," said he; "You must not take this unjust
decree so much to heart. Of Athens nothing can be so certainly predicted
as change. Things as trifling as the turning of a shell may restore you
to your rights. You can even now return, if you will submit to be a mere
sojourner in Athens. After all, what vast privileges do you lose with
your citizenship. You must indeed wrestle at Cynosarges, instead of the
Lyceum or the Academia; but in this, the great Themistocles has given
you honourable example. You will not be allowed to enter the theatre
while the Athenians keep the second day of their festival Anthesteria;
but to balance this privation, you are forbidden to vote, and are thus
freed from all blame belonging to unjust and capricious laws."
"My father, playful words cannot cure the wound," replied the exile,
seriously: "The cherished recollections of years cannot be so easily
torn from the heart. Athens, with all her faults, is still my own, my
beautiful, my beloved land. They might have killed me, if they would, if
I had but died an Athenian citizen."
He spoke with a voice deeply agitated; but after a few moments of forced
composure, he continued more cheerfully: "Let us speak of other
subjects. We are standing here, on the self-same spot where Aristo and
Perictione laid the infant Plato, while they sacrificed to the
life-giving Phoebus. It was here the bees clustered about his infant
mouth, and his mother hailed the omen of his future eloquence. Commend
me to that admirable man, and tell him I shall vainly seek throughout
the world to find another Plato.
"Commend me likewise to the Persian Artaphernes. To his bounty I am much
indebted. Lest he should hope that I carry away feelings hostile to
Athens, and favourable to her enemies, say to the kind old man, that
Philæmon will never forget his country or his friends. I have left a
long letter to Paralus, in which my full heart has but feebly expressed
its long-cherished friendship. When you return, you will find a trifling
token of remembrance for yourself and Philothea. May Pallas shower her
richest blessings upon that pure and gifted maiden."
With some hesitation, Anaxagoras said, "You make no mention of Eudora;
and I perceive that both you and Philothea are reserved when her name is
mentioned. Do not believe every idle rumour, my son. The gayety of a
light-hearted maiden is often unmixed with boldness, or crime. Do not
cast her from you too lightly."
Philæmon averted his face for a moment, and struggled hard with his
feelings. Then turning abruptly, he pressed the old man's hand, and
said, "Bid Philothea, guide and cherish her deluded friend, for my sake.
And now, farewell, Anaxagoras! Farewell, forever! my kind, my good old
master. May the gods bless the wise counsels and virtuous example you
have given me."
The venerable philosopher stretched forth his arms to embrace him. The
young man threw himself upon that friendly bosom, and overcome by a
variety of conflicting emotions, sobbed aloud.
As they parted, Anaxagoras again pressed Philæmon to his heart, and
said, "May that God, whose numerous attributes the Grecians worship,
forever bless thee, my dear son."
Courage, Orestes! if the lots hit right,
If the black pebbles don't exceed the white,
Pericles sought to please the populace by openly using his influence to
diminish the power of the Areopagus; and a decree had been passed that
those who denied the existence of the gods, or introduced new opinions
about celestial things, should be tried by the people. This event proved
fortunate for some of his personal friends; for Hermippus soon laid
before the Thesmothetæ Archons an accusation of blasphemy against
Anaxagoras, Phidias, and Aspasia. The case was tried before the fourth
Assembly of the people; and the fame of the accused, together with the
well-known friendship of Pericles, attracted an immense crowd; insomuch
that the Prytaneum was crowded to overflowing. The prisoners came in,
attended by the Phylarchi of their different wards. Anaxagoras retained
his usual bland expression and meek dignity. Phidias walked with a
haughtier tread, and carried his head more proudly. Aspasia was veiled;
but as she glided along, gracefully as a swan on the bosom of still
waters, loud murmurs of approbation were heard from the crowd. Pericles
seated himself near them, with deep sadness on his brow. The moon had
not completed its revolution since he had seen Phidias arraigned before
the Second Assembly of the people, charged by Menon, one of his own
pupils, with having defrauded the state of gold appropriated to the
statue of Pallas. Fortunately, the sculptor had arranged the precious
metal so that it could be taken off and weighed; and thus his innocence
was easily made manifest. But the great statesman had seen, by many
indications, that the blow was in part aimed at himself through his
friends; and that his enemies were thus trying to ascertain how far the
people could be induced to act in opposition to his well-known wishes.
The cause had been hurried before the assembly, and he perceived that
his opponents were there in great numbers. As soon as the Epistates
began to read the accusation, Pericles leaned forward, and burying his
face in his robe, remained motionless.
Anaxagoras was charged with not having offered victims to the gods; and
with having blasphemed the divine Phoebus, by saying the sun was only a
huge ball of fire. Being called upon to answer whether he were guilty of
this offence, he replied: "Living victims I have never sacrificed to the
gods; because, like the Pythagoreans, I object to the shedding of blood;
but, like the disciples of their sublime philosopher, I have duly
offered on their altars small goats and rams made of wax. I did say I
believed the sun to be a great ball of fire; and deemed not that in so
doing I had blasphemed the divine Phoebus."
When he had finished, it was proclaimed aloud that any Athenian, not
disqualified by law, might speak. Cleon arose, and said it was well
known to the disciples of Anaxagoras, that he taught the existence of
but one God. Euripides, Pericles, and others who had been his pupils,
were separately called to bear testimony; and all said he taught One
Universal Mind, of which all other divinities were the attributes; even
as Homer represented the inferior deities subordinate to Zeus.
When the philosopher was asked whether he believed in the gods, he
answered, "I do: but I believe in them as the representatives of various
attributes in One Universal Mind." He was then required to swear by all
the gods, and by the dreaded Erinnys, that he had spoken truly.
The Prytanes informed the assembly that their vote must decide whether
this avowed doctrine r endered Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ worthy of death.
A brazen urn was carried round, in which every citizen deposited a
pebble. When counted, the black pebbles predominated over the white, and
Anaxagoras was condemned to die.
The old man heard it very calmly, and replied: "Nature pronounced that
sentence upon me before I was born. Do what you will, Athenians, ye can
only injure the outward case of Anaxagoras; the real, immortal
Anaxagoras is beyond your power."
Phidias was next arraigned, and accused of blasphemy, in having carved
the likeness of himself and Pericles on the shield of heaven-born
Pallas; and of having said that he approved the worship of the gods,
merely because he wished to have his own works adored. The sculptor
proudly replied, "I never declared that my own likeness, or that of
Pericles, was on the shield of heaven-born Pallas; nor can any Athenian
prove that I ever intended to place them there. I am not answerable for
offences which have their origin in the eyes of the multitude. If
_their_ quick discernment be the test, crimes may be found written even
on the glowing embers of our household altars. I never said I approved
the worship of the gods because I wished to have my own works adored;
for I should have deemed it irreverent thus to speak of divine beings.
Some learned and illustrious guests, who were at the symposium in
Aspasia's house, discoursed concerning the worship of images, apart from
the idea of any divine attributes, which they represented. I said I
approved not of this; and playfully added, that if it were otherwise, I
might perchance be excused for sanctioning the worship of mere images,
since mortals were ever willing to have their own works adored." The
testimony of Pericles, Alcibiades, and Plato, confirmed the truth of his
Cleon declared it was commonly believed that Phidias decoyed the maids
and matrons of Athens to his house, under the pretence of seeing
sculpture; but in reality to minister to the profligacy of Pericles. The
sculptor denied the charge; and required that proof should be given of
one Athenian woman, who had visited his house, unattended by her husband
or her father. The enemies of Pericles could easily have procured such
evidence with gold; but when Cleon sought again to speak, the Prytanes
commanded silence; and briefly reminded the people that the Fourth
Assembly had power to decide concerning religious matters only.
Hermippus, in a speech of considerable length, urged that Phidias seldom
sacrificed to the gods; and that he must have intended likenesses on the
shield of Pallas, because even Athenian children recognized them.
The brazen urn was again passed round, and the black pebbles were more
numerous than they had been when the fate of Anaxagoras was decided.
When Phidias heard the sentence, he raised himself to his full stature,
and waving his right arm over the crowd, said, in a loud voice: "Phidias
can never die! Athens herself will live in the fame of Charmides' son."
His majestic figure and haughty bearing awed the multitude; and some,
repenting of the vote they had given, said, "Surely, invisible Phoebus
is with him!"
Aspasia was next called to answer the charges brought against her. She
had dressed herself, in deep mourning, as if appealing to the compassion
of the citizens; and her veil was artfully arranged to display an arm
and shoulder of exquisite whiteness and beauty, contrasted with glossy
ringlets of dark hair, that carelessly rested on it. She was accused of
saying that the sacred baskets of Demeter contained nothing of so much
importance as the beautiful maidens who carried them; and that the
temple of Poseidon was enriched with no offerings from those who had
been wrecked, notwithstanding their supplications--thereby implying
irreverent doubts of the power of Ocean's god. To this, Aspasia, in
clear and musical tones, replied: "I said not that the sacred baskets of
Demeter contained nothing of so much importance as the beautiful maidens
who carried them. But, in playful allusion to the love of beauty, so
conspicuous in Alcibiades, I said that _he_, who was initiated into the
mysteries of Eleusis, might think, the baskets less attractive than the
lovely maidens who carried them. Irreverence was not in my thoughts;
but inasmuch as my careless words implied it, I have offered atoning
sacrifices to the mother of Persephone, during which I abstained from
all amusements. When I declared that the temple of Poseidon contained no
offerings in commemoration of men that had been wrecked, I said it in
reproof of those who fail to supplicate the gods for the manes of the
departed. They who perish on the ocean, may have offended Poseidon, or
the Virgin Sisters of the Deep; and on their altars should offerings be
laid by surviving friends.
"No man can justly accuse me of disbelief in the gods; for it is well
known that with every changing moon I offer on the altars of Aphrodite,
doves and sparrows, with baskets of apples, roses and myrtles: and who
in Athens has not seen the ivory car drawn by golden swans, which the
grateful Aspasia placed in the temple of that love-inspiring deity?"
Phidias could scarcely restrain a smile, as he listened to this defence;
and when the fair casuist swore by all the gods, and by the Erinnys,
that she had spoken truly, Anaxagoras looked up involuntarily, with an
expression of child-like astonishment. Alcibiades promptly corroborated
her statement. Plato, being called to testify, gravely remarked that she
had uttered those words, and she alone could explain her motives. The
populace seemed impressed in her favour; and when it was put to vote
whether sentence of death should be passed, an universal murmur arose,
of "Exile! Exile!"
The Epistates requested that all who wished to consider it a question of
exile, rather than of death, would signify the same by holding up their
hands. With very few exceptions, the crowd were inclined to mercy.
Hermippus gave tokens of displeasure, and hastily rose to accuse Aspasia
of corrupting the youth of Athens, by the introduction of singing and
dancing women, and by encouraging the matrons of Greece to appear
A loud laugh followed his remarks; for the comic actor was himself far
from aiding public morals by an immaculate example.
The Prytanes again reminded him that charges of this nature must be
decided by the First Assembly of the people; and, whether true or
untrue, ought to have no influence on religious questions brought before
the Fourth Assembly.
Hermippus was perfectly aware of this; but he deemed that the vote might
be affected by his artful suggestion.
The brazen urn was again carried round; and fifty-one pebbles only
appeared in disapprobation of exile.
Then Pericles arose, and looked around him with calm dignity. He was
seldom seen in public, even at entertainments; hence, something of
sacredness was attached to his person, like the Salaminian galley
reserved for great occasions. A murmur like the Distant ocean was heard,
as men whispered to each other, "Lo, Pericles is about to speak!" When
the tumult subsided, he said, in a loud voice, "If any here can accuse
Pericles of having enriched himself at the expense of the state, let him
hold up his right hand!"
Not a hand was raised--for his worst enemies could not deny that he was
temperate and frugal.
After a slight pause, he again resumed: "If any man can show that
Pericles ever asked a public favour for himself or his friends, let him
speak!" No words were uttered; but a murmur of discontent was heard in
the vicinity of Cleon and Hermippus.
The illustrious statesman folded his arms, and waited in quiet majesty
for the murmur to assume a distinct form. When all was hashed, he
continued: "If any man believes that Athens has declined in beauty,
wealth, or power, since the administration of Pericles, let him give his
National enthusiasm was kindled; and many voices exclaimed, "Hail
Pericles! All hail to Athens in her glory!"
The statesman gracefully waved his hand toward the multitude, as he
replied, "Thanks, friends and brother-citizens. Who among you is
disposed to grant to Pericles one favour, not inconsistent with your
laws, or in opposition to the decrees of this assembly?"
A thousand hands were instantly raised. Pericles again expressed his
thanks, and said, "The favour I have to ask is, that the execution of
these decrees be suspended, until the oracle of Amphiaraus can be
consulted. If it please you, let a vote be taken who shall be the
The proposal was accepted; and Antiphon, a celebrated diviner, appointed
to consult the oracle.
As the crowd dispersed, Cleon muttered to Hermippus, "By Circe! I
believe he has given the Athenians philtres to make them love him. No
wonder Archidamus of Sparta said, that when he threw Pericles in
wrestling, he insisted he was never down, and persuaded the very
spectators to believe him."
Anaxagoras and Phidias, being under sentence of death, were placed in
prison, until the people should finally decide upon their fate. The old
philosopher cheerfully employed his hours in attempts to square the
circle. The sculptor carved a wooden image, with many hands and feet,
and without a head; upon the pedestal of which he inscribed Demos, and
secretly reserved it as a parting gift to the Athenian people.
Before another moon had waned, Antiphon returned from Oropus, whither he
had been sent to consult the oracle. Being called before the people, he
gave the following account of his mission: "I abstained from food until
Phoebus had twice appeared above the hills, in his golden chariot; and
for three days and three nights, I tasted no wine. When I had thus
purified myself, I offered a white ram to Amphiaraus; and spreading the
skin on the ground, I invoked the blessing of Phoebus and his prophetic
son, and laid me down to sleep. Methought I walked in the streets of
Athens. A lurid light shone on the walls of the Piræus, and spread into
the city, until all the Acropolis seemed glowing beneath a fiery sky. I
looked up--and lo! the heavens were in a blaze! Huge masses of flame
were thrown backward and forward, as if Paridamator and the Cyclops were
hurling their forges at each other's heads. Amazed, I turned to ask the
meaning of these phenomena; and I saw that all the citizens were clothed
in black; and wherever two were walking together, one fell dead by his
side. Then I heard a mighty voice, that seemed to proceed from within
the Parthenon. Three times it pronounced distinctly, 'Wo! wo! wo unto
"I awoke, and after a time slept again. I heard a rumbling noise, like
thunder; and from the statue of Amphiaraus came a voice, saying, 'Life
is given by the gods.'
"Then all was still. Presently I again heard a sound like the
multitudinous waves of ocean, when it rises in a storm--and Amphiaraus
said, slowly, 'Count the pebbles on the seashore--yea, count them
twice.' Then I awoke; and having bathed in the fountain, I threw therein
three pieces of gold and silver, and departed."
The people demanded of Antiphon the meaning of these visions. He
replied: "The first portends calamity to Athens, either of war or
pestilence. By the response of the oracle, I understand that the
citizens are commanded to vote twice, before they take away life given
by the gods."
The wish to gain time had chiefly induced Pericles to request that
Amphiaraus might be consulted. In the interval, his emissaries had been
busy in softening the minds of the people; and it became universally
known that in case Aspasia's sentence were reversed, she intended to
offer sacrifices to Aphrodite, Poseidon, and Demeter; during the
continuance of which, the citizens would be publicly feasted at her
In these exertions, Pericles was zealously assisted by Clinias, a noble
and wealthy Athenian, the friend of Anaxagoras and Phidias, and a
munificent patron of the arts. He openly promised, if the lives of his
friends were spared, to evince his gratitude to the gods, by offering a
golden lamp to Pallas Parthenia, and placing in each of the agoras any
statue or painting the people thought fit to propose.
Still, Pericles, aware of the bitterness of his enemies, increased by
the late severe edict against those of foreign parentage, felt
exceedingly fearful of the result of a second vote. A petition, signed
by Pericles, Clinias, Ephialtes, Euripides, Socrates, Plato, Alcibiades,
Paralus, and many other distinguished citizens, was sent into the Second
Assembly of the people, begging that the accused might have another
trial; and this petition was granted.
When the Fourth Assembly again met, strong efforts were made to fill the
Prytaneum at a very early hour with the friends of Pericles.
The great orator secluded himself for three preceding days, and
refrained from wine. During this time, he poured plentiful libations of
milk and honey to Hermes, god of Eloquence, and sacrificed the tongues
of nightingales to Peitho, goddess of Persuasion.
When he entered the Prytaneum, it was remarked that he had never before
been seen to look so pale; and this circumstance, trifling as it was,
excited the ready sympathies of the people. When the Epistates read the
accusation against Anaxagoras, and proclaimed that any Athenian, not
disqualified by law, might speak, Pericles arose. For a moment he looked
on the venerable countenance of the old philosopher, and seemed to
struggle with his emotions. Then, with sudden impulse, he exclaimed,
"Look on him, Athenians! and judge ye if he be one accursed of the
gods!--He is charged with having said that the sun is a great ball of
fire; and therein ye deem that the abstractions of philosophy have led
him to profane the sacred name of Phoebus. We are told that Zeus assumed
the form of an eagle, a serpent, and a golden shower; yet these forms do
not affect our belief in the invisible god. If Phoebus appeared on earth
in the disguise of a woman and a shepherd, is it unpardonable for a
philosopher to suppose that the same deity may choose to reside within a
ball of fire? In the garden of Anaxagoras, you will find a statue of
Pallas, carved from an olive-tree. He brought it with him from Ionia;
and those disciples who most frequent his house, can testify that
sacrifices were ever duly offered upon her altar. Who among you ever
received an injury from that kind old man? He was the descendant of
princes,--yet gave up gold for philosophy, and forbore to govern
mankind, that he might love them more perfectly. Ask the young noble,
who has been to him as a father; and his response will be 'Anaxagoras.'
Ask the poor fisherman at the gates, who has been to him as a brother;
and he will answer 'Anaxagoras.' When the merry-hearted boys throng your
doors to sing their welcome to Ornithæ, inquire from whom they receive
the kindest word and the readiest gift; and they will tell you,
'Anaxagoras.' The Amphiaraus of Eschylus, says, 'I do not wish to
_appear_ to be a good man, but I wish to _be_ one.' Ask any of the
poets, what living man most resembles Amphiaraus in this sentiment; and
his reply will surely be, 'It is Anaxagoras.'
"Again I say, Athenians, look upon his face; and judge ye if he be one
accursed of the gods!"
The philosopher had leaned on his staff, and looked downward, while his
illustrious pupil made this defence; and when he had concluded, a tear
was seen slowly trickling down his aged cheek. His accusers again urged
that he had taught the doctrine of one god, under the name of One
Universal Mind; but the melodious voice and fluent tongue of Pericles
had so wrought upon the citizens, that when the question was proposed,
whether the old man were worthy of death, there arose a clamourous cry
of "Exile! Exile!"
The successful orator did not venture to urge the plea of entire
innocence; for he felt that he still had too much depending on the
capricious favour of the populace.
The aged philosopher received his sentence with thanks; and calmly
added, "Anaxagoras is not exiled from Athens; but Athens from
Anaxagoras. Evil days are coming on this city; and those who are too
distant to perceive the trophy at Salamis will deem themselves most
blessed. Pythagoras said, 'When the tempest is rising,'tis wise to
worship the echo.'"
After the accusation against Phidias had been read, Pericles again rose
and said, "Athenians! I shall speak briefly; for I appeal to what every
citizen values more than his fortune or his name. I plead for the glory
of Athens. When strangers from Ethiopia, Egypt, Phoenicia, and distant
Taprobane, come to witness the far-famed beauty of the violet-crowned
city, they will stand in mute worship before the Parthenon; and when
their wonder finds utterance, they will ask what the Athenians bestowed
on an artist so divine. Who among you could look upon the image of
Virgin Pallas, resplendent in her heavenly majesty, and not blush to
tell the barbarian stranger that death was the boon you bestowed on
"Go, gaze on the winged statue of Rhamnusia, where vengeance seems to
breathe from the marble sent by Darius to erect his trophy on the plains
of Marathon! Then turn and tell the proud Persian that the hand which
wrought those fair proportions, lies cold and powerless, by vote of the
Athenian people. No--ye could not say it: your hearts would choke your
voices. Ye could not tell the barbarian that Athens thus destroyed one
of the most gifted of her sons."
The crowd answered in a thunder of applause; mingled with the cry of
"Exile! Exile!" A few voices shouted, "A fine! A fine!" Then Cleon arose
and said: "Miltiades asked for an olive crown; and a citizen answered,
'When Miltiades conquers alone, let him be crowned alone.' When Phidias
can show that he built the Parthenon without the assistance of Ictinus,
Myron, Callicrates, and others, then let him have the whole credit of
To this, Pericles replied, "We are certainly much indebted to those
artists for many of the beautiful and graceful details of that sublime
composition; but with regard to the majestic design of the Parthenon,
Phidias conquered alone, and may therefore justly be crowned alone."
A vote was taken on the question of exile, and the black pebbles
predominated. The sculptor heard his sentence with a proud gesture, not
unmingled with scorn; and calmly replied, "They can banish Phidias from
Athens, more easily than I can take from them the fame of Phidias."
When Pericles replied to the charges against Aspasia, his countenance
became more pale, and his voice was agitated: "You all know," said he,
"That Aspasia is of Miletus. That city which poets call the laughing
daughter of Earth and Heaven: where even the river smiles, as it winds
along in graceful wanderings, eager to kiss every new blossom, and court
the dalliance of every breeze. Do ye not find it easy to forgive a
woman, born under those joyful skies, where beauty rests on the earth in
a robe of sunbeams, and inspires the gayety which pours itself forth in
playful words? Can ye judge harshly of one, who from her very childhood
has received willing homage, as the favourite of Aphrodite, Phoebus, and
the Muses? If she spoke irreverently, it was done in thoughtless mirth;
and she has sought to atone for it by sacrifices and tears.
"Athenians! I have never boasted; and if I seem to do it now, it is
humbly,--as befits one who seeks a precious boon. In your service I have
spent many toilsome days and sleepless nights. That I have not enriched
myself by it, is proved by the well-known fact that my own son blames my
frugality, and reproachfully calls me the slave of the Athenian people."
He paused for a moment, and held his hand over Aspasia's head, as he
continued: "In the midst of perplexities and cares, here I have ever
found a solace and a guide. Here are treasured up the affections of my
heart. It is not for Aspasia, the gifted daughter of Axiochus, that I
plead. It is for Aspasia, the beloved wife of Pericles."
Tears choked his utterance; but stifling his emotion, he exclaimed,
"Athenians! if ye would know what it is that thus unmans a soul capable
of meeting death with calmness, behold, and judge for yourselves!"
As he spoke, he raised Aspasia's veil. Her drapery had been studiously
arranged to display her loveliness to the utmost advantage; and as she
stood forth radiant in beauty, the building rung with the acclamations
that were sent forth, peal after peal, by the multitude.
Pericles had not in vain calculated on the sympathies of a volatile and
ardent people, passionately fond of the beautiful, in all its forms.
Aspasia remained in Athens, triumphant over the laws of religion and
Clinias desired leave to speak in behalf of Philothea, grandchild of
Anaxagoras; and the populace, made good-humoured by their own clemency,
expressed a wish to hear. He proceeded as follows: "Philothea,--whom you
all know was, not long since, one of the Canephoræ, and embroidered the
splendid peplus exhibited at the last Panathenæa--humbly begs of the
Athenians, that Eudora, Dione, and Geta, slaves of Phidias, may remain
under his protection, and not be confiscated with his household goods. A
contribution would have been raised, to buy these individuals of the
state, were it not deemed an insult to that proud and generous people,
who fined a citizen for proposing marble as a cheaper material than
ivory for the statue of Pallas Parthenia."
The request, thus aided by flattery, was almost unanimously granted. One
black pebble alone appeared in the urn; and that was from the hand of
Clinias expressed his thanks, and holding up the statue of Urania, he
added: "In token of gratitude for this boon, and for the life of a
beloved grandfather, Philothea consecrates to Pallas Athenæ this image
of the star-worshipping muse; the gift of a munificent Ethiopian."
The populace, being in gracious mood, forthwith voted that the exiles
had permission to carry with them any articles valued as the gift of
The Prytanes dismissed the assembly; and as they dispersed, Alcibiades
scattered small coins among them. Aspasia immediately sent to the
Prytaneum an ivory statue of Mnemosyne, smiling as she looked back on a
group of Hours; a magnificent token that she would never forget the
clemency of the Athenian people.
Hermippus took an early opportunity to proclaim the exhibition of a new
comedy called Hercules and Omphale; and the volatile citizens thronged
the theatre, to laugh at that infatuated tenderness, which in the
Prytaneum had well nigh moved them to tears. The actor openly ridiculed
them for having been so much influenced by their orator's
least-successful attempt at eloquence; but in the course of the same
play, Cratinus raised a laugh at his expense, by saying facetiously:
"Lo! Hermippus would speak like Pericles! Hear him, Athenians! Is he not
as successful as Salmoneus, when he rolled his chariot over a brazen
bridge, and hurled torches to imitate the thunder and lightning of
When the day of trial had passed, Pericles slept soundly; for his heart
was relieved from a heavy pressure. But personal enemies and envious
artists were still active; and it was soon buzzed abroad that the people
repented of the vote they had given. The exiles had been allowed ten
days to sacrifice to the gods, bid farewell to friends, and prepare for
departure; but on the third day, at evening twilight, Pericles entered
the dwelling of his revered old master. "My father," said he, "I am
troubled in spirit. I have just now returned from the Piræus, where I
sought an interview with Clinias, who daily visits the Deigma, and has a
better opportunity than I can have to hear the news of Athens. I found
him crowned with garlands; for he had been offering sacrifices in the
hall. He told me he had thus sought to allay the anxiety of his mind
with regard to yourself and Phidias. He fears the capricious Athenians
will reverse their decree."
"Alas, Pericles," replied the old man, "what can you expect of a people,
when statesmen condescend to buy justice at their hands, by promised
feasts, and scattered coin?"
"Nay, blame me not, Anaxagoras," rejoined Pericles; "I cannot govern as
I would. I found the people corrupted; and I must humour their disease.
Your life must be saved; even if you reprove me for the means. At
midnight, a boat will be in readiness to conduct you to Salamis, where
lies a galley bound for Ionia. I hasten to warn Phidias to depart
speedily for Elis."
The parting interview between Philothea and her repentant friend was
almost too painful for endurance. Poor Eudora felt that she was indeed
called to drink the cup of affliction, to its last bitter drop. Her
heart yearned to follow the household of Anaxagoras; but Philothea
strengthened her own conviction that duty and gratitude both demanded
she should remain with Phidias.
Geta and Milza likewise had their sorrows--the harder to endure, because
they were the first they had ever encountered. The little peasant was so
young, and her lover so poor, that their friends thought a union had
better be deferred. But Milza was free: and Anaxagoras told her it
depended on her own choice, to go with them, or follow Geta. The
grateful Arcadian dropped on one knee, and kissing Philothea's hand,
while the tears flowed down her cheeks, said: "She has been a mother to
orphan Milza, and I will not leave her now. Geta says it would be wrong
to leave her when she is in affliction."
Philothea, with a gentle smile, put back the ringlets from her tearful
eyes, and told her not to weep for her sake; for she should be resigned
and cheerful, wheresover the gods might place her; but Milza saw that
her smiles were sad.
At midnight, Pericles came, to accompany Anaxagoras to Salamis. Paralus
and Philothea had been conversing much, and singing their favourite
songs together, for the last time. The brow of the ambitious statesman
became clouded, when he observed that his son had been in tears; he
begged that preparations for departure might be hastened. The young man
followed them to the Piræus; but Pericles requested him to go no
further. The restraint of his presence prevented any parting less formal
than that of friendship. But he stood watching the boat that conveyed
them over the waters; and when the last ripple left in its wake had
disappeared, he slowly returned to Athens.
The beautiful city stoood before him, mantled in moonlight's silvery
veil. Yet all seemed cheerless; for the heart of Paralus was desolate.
He looked toward the beloved mansion near the gate Diocharis; drew from
his bosom a long lock of golden hair; and leaning against the statue of
Hermes, bowed down his head and wept.
"How I love the mellow sage,
Smiling through the veil of age!
Age is on his temples hung,
But his heart--his heart is young!"
A few years passed away, and saw Anaxagoras the contented resident of a
small village near Lampsacus, in Ionia. That he still fondly cherished
Athens in his heart was betrayed only by the frequent walks he took to a
neighbouring eminence, where he loved to sit and look toward the Ægean;
but the feebleness of age gradually increased, until he could no longer
take his customary exercise. Philothea watched over him with renewed
tenderness; and the bright tranquillity he received from the world he
was fast approaching, shone with reflected light upon her innocent soul.
At times, the maiden was so conscious of this holy influence, that all
the earthly objects around her seemed like dreams of some strange
One morning, after they had partaken their frugal repast, she said, in a
cheerful tone, "Dear grandfather, I had last night a pleasant dream; and
Milza says it is prophetic, because she had filled my pillow with fresh
laurel leaves. I dreamed that a galley, with three banks of oars, and
adorned with fillets, came to carry us back to Athens."
With a faint smile, Anaxagoras replied, "Alas for unhappy Athens! If
half we hear be true, her exiled children can hardly wish to be restored
to her bosom. Atropos has decreed that I at least shall never again
enter her walls. I am not disposed to murmur. Yet the voice of Plato
would be pleasant to my ears, as music on the waters in the night-time.
I pray you bring forth the writings of Pythagoras, and read me something
that sublime philosopher has said concerning the nature of the soul, and
the eternal principle of life. As my frail body approaches the Place of
Sleep, I feel less and less inclined to study the outward images of
things, the forms whereof perish; and my spirit thirsteth more and more
to know its origin and its destiny. I have thought much of Plato's
mysterious ideas of light. Those ideas were doubtless brought from the
East; for as that is the quarter where the sun rises, so we have thence
derived many vital truths, which have kept a spark of life within the
beautiful pageantry of Grecian mythology."
"Paralus often said that the Persian Magii, the Egyptian priests, and
the Pythagoreans imbibed their reverence for light from one common
source," rejoined Philothea.
Anaxagoras was about to speak, when a deep but gentle voice, from some
invisible person near them, said:
"The unchangeable principles of Truth act upon the soul like the sun
upon the eye, when it turneth to him. But the _one_ principle, better
than intellect, from which all things flow, and to which all things
tend, is Good. As the sun not only makes objects visible, but is the
cause of their generation, nourishment, and increase, so the Good,
through Truth, imparts being, and the power of being known, to every
object of knowledge. For this cause, the Pythagoreans greet the sun with
music and with reverence."
The listeners looked at each other in surprise, and Philothea was the
first to say, "It is the voice of Plato!"
"Even so, my friends," replied the philosopher, smiling, as he stood
The old man, in the sudden joy of his heart, attempted to rise and
embrace him; but weakness prevented. The tears started to his eyes, as
he said, "Welcome, most welcome, son of Aristo. You see that I am fast
going where we hope the spirit is to learn its own mysteries."
Plato, affected at the obvious change in his aged friend, silently
grasped his hand, and turned to answer the salutation of Philothea. She
too had changed; but she had never been more lovely. The colour on her
cheek, which had always been delicate as the reflected hue of a rose,
had become paler by frequent watchings; but her large dark eyes were
more soft and serious, and her whole countenance beamed with the bright
stillness of a spirit receiving the gift of prophecy.
The skies were serene; the music of reeds came upon the ear, softened by
distance; while the snowy fleece of sheep and lambs formed a beautiful
contrast with the rich verdure of the landscape.
"All things around you are tranquil," said Plato; "and thus I ever found
it, even in corrupted Athens. Not the stillness of souls that sleep, but
the quiet of life drawn from deep fountains."
"How did you find our peaceful retreat?" inquired Philothea. "Did none
"Euago of Lampsacus told me what course to pursue," he replied; "and not
far distant I again asked of a shepherd boy--well knowing that all the
children would find out Anaxagoras as readily as bees are guided to the
flowers. As I approached nearer I saw at every step new tokens of my
friends. The clepsydra, in the little brook, dropping its pebbles to
mark the hours; the arytæna placed on the rock for thirsty travellers;
the door loaded with garlands, placed there by glad-hearted boys; the
tablet covered with mathematical lines, lying on the wooden bench,
sheltered by grape-vines trained in the Athenian fashion, with a distaff
among the foliage; all these spoke to me of souls that unite the wisdom
of age with the innocence of childhood."
"Though we live in indolent Ionia, we still believe Hesiod's maxim, that
industry is the guardian of virtue," rejoined Anaxagoras. "Philothea
plies her distaff as busily as Lachesis spinning the thread of mortal
life." He looked upon his beautiful grandchild, with an expression full
of tenderness, as he added, "And she does indeed spin the thread of the
old man's life; for her diligent fingers gain my bread. But what news
bring you from unhappy Athens? Is Pericles yet alive?"
"She is indeed unhappy Athens," answered Plato. "The pestilence is still
raging; a manifested form of that inward corruption, which, finding a
home in the will of man, clothed itself in thought, and now completes
its circle in his corporeal nature. The dream at the cave of Amphiaraus
is literally fulfilled. Men fall down senseless in the street, and the
Piræus has been heaped with unburied dead. All the children of Clinias
are in the Place of Sleep. Hipparete is dead, with two of her little
ones. Pericles himself was one of the first sufferers; but he was
recovered by the skill of Hippocrates, the learned physician from Cos.
His former wife is dead, and so is Xanthippus his son. You know that
that proud young man and his extravagant wife could never forgive the
frugality of Pericles. Even in his dying moments he refused to call him
father, and made no answer to his affectionate inquiries. Pericles has
borne all his misfortunes with the dignity of an immortal. No one has
seen him shed a tear, of heard him utter a complaint. The ungrateful
people blame him for all their troubles, as if he had omnipotent power
to avert evils. Cleon and Tolmides are triumphant. Pericles is deprived
of office, and fined fifty drachmæ."
He looked at Philothea, and seeing her eyes fixed earnestly upon him,
her lips parted, and an eager flush spread over her whole countenance,
he said, in a tone of tender solemnity, "Daughter of Alcimenes, your
heart reproaches me, that I forbear to speak of Paralus. That I have
done so has not been from forgetfulness, but because I have, with vain
and self-defeating prudence, sought for cheerful words to convey sad
thoughts. Paralus breathes and moves, but is apparently unconscious of
existence in this world. He is silent and abstracted, like one just
returned from the cave of Trophonius. Yet, beautiful forms are ever with
him, in infinite variety; for his quiescent soul has now undisturbed
recollection of the divine archetypes in the ideal world, of which all
earthly beauty is the shadow."
"He is happy, then, though living in the midst of death," answered
Philothea: "But does his memory retain no traces of his friends?"
"One--and one only," he replied. "The name of Philothea was too deeply
engraven to be washed away by the waters of oblivion. He seldom speaks;
but when he does, you are ever in his visions. The sound of a female
voice accompanying the lyre is the only thing that makes him smile; and
nothing moves him to tears save the farewell song of Orpheus to
Eurydice. In his drawings there is more of majesty and beauty than
Phidias or Myron ever conceived; and one figure is always there--the
Pythia, the Muse, the Grace, or something combining all these, more
spiritual than either."
As the maiden listened, tears started from fountains long sealed, and
rested like dew-drops on her dark eyelashes.
Farewell to Eurydice! Oh, how many thoughts were wakened by those words!
They were the last she heard sung by Paralus, the night Anaxagoras
departed from Athens. Often had the shepherds of Ionia heard the
melancholy notes float on the evening breeze; and as the sounds died
away, they spoke to each other in whispers, and said, "They come from
the dwelling of the divinely-inspired one!"