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Piijedon. That's news, at least, that there should be no news In this news-mo ngering Athens. Tell me, now, How goes your tragedy ?—I love the character You have chosen for your hero—Hercules— You've drawn his picture to the very life: I see him struggling to defeat the passion Which boils in his hot nature. To my thinking, The heroic struggler with temptation is Worth a whole host of easy-going plodders, Who are good for want of courage to be wicked. I see this metaphysical contest waged In him: his virtue grows more virtuous in Its keen encounter with the vehement energies Of vice. I see that he who conquers self, Can conquer all things: therefore do I love Our master Socrates—Integrity Beams in his countenance.


You've a deeper science Of fair psychology, than any boasted By our quack physiognomists. I'll tell you A curious story, worth the listening :—Yesterday, As I was standing in the sacred grove Of Academus, chatting pleasantly With Socrates, and others,—lo! there came A physiognomical professor in, And challenged all that he would read our characters By rules of what he termed Phrenology: Faith, 'twas a merry and conceited knave, Who talked of occiputs and frontal sinuses Most laughably. Well, just to try the man, Socrates let him feel his head; and after A thousand queer manipulations, Looking the while as knowing as a Nestor, He passed his verdict.


By the stars, what was it? Some flattering compliment, no doubt.


My Pheedon,
Your prejudice runs so strongly in his favour,
You'll never guess.

Then tell me,—I'm inquisitive.

He said, that Socrates was the greatest scoundrel
That ever he set eyes on.


Twas capital! for, by a happy chance,
The rascal was within an ace of the truth.

Phjedon. How mean you?

Euripides. Ah! no wonder that you stare, Just as the auditors did, who, had I not Come to the rescue, would have massacred This Mercury of pericraniums. "Forbear, (said Socrates,) the man has hit The mark he aimed at, and I like him better For speaking his opinion openly. I mav have conquered and subdued myself, By the grace of Heaven, to something passable As a character; but if I have, I've done so By waging with myself incessant war, And immolating selfishness. There never In any human breast were stronger passions Of lust, and anger, and ambition. They are broken now,—I've dashed their galling yoke Into a thousand splinters: but no other Than Death himself shall quite obliterate The scars their bloody bondage left upon me."

Ph.edon. How ended this adventure?


He invited
The man to dine with him, and gave him silver
For his honesty.

Such is his singular method
Of making friends; to act as nobody else
E'er dreams of acting. Let us walk together
To Aspasia's symposium,—I have something
I wished to argue with you.


Well, the walk, And the talk, are excellent sound recipes For a good appetite; worth all the nostrums Of your quack doctors.


You shall have them both.

The Saloon of Aspasia.

Enter Pericles, Aspasia, Socrates, Xantippe, Alcibjades, and several Athenian ladies.

Heaven's blessing on thee, my Aspasia!
When Pericles is all but dead with the cares
Of the jarring day, an evening spent with thee,
And these sweet friends, restores him, like Jove's nectar,
To the dream of youth and beauty!


Ah! my lord,
Your youth may be a dream—an idle dream;
But for my beauty, I do hope it is
A little more substantial, or my mirror
Is a sad flatterer.

You provoking creature,
How you do love to tease! I wonder Pericles
Has not long left you.


I don't wonder at it:
If Pericles to Pericles is known,
He knows that this same delicate frowardness,
Doth make Aspasia still more loveable.

Don't flatter, Socrates—I'm quite ashamed
To hear you talk so; you—a grave philosopher!
You'd make her think, with your sophistical cant,
Her very faults are amiable.

My dear sweet gentle Tippet, I do think so ;-—
But don't be jealous; if I've called her Venus,
You know I've called you Juno.


Silence, Sir!
Tippet, indeed! I will not have my name
So barbarously pronounced; I do detest
Such liberties in public;—use in future
A little less familiarity.

Never mind, Tippet, 'twill be the same thing
When we're asleep, and that most active animal,
Your saucy little tongue, forgets to prattle;
»ay, do not weep,—your tears will discompose

>• s.—Vol. v!. 2 N

Those mild and serene features, and disturb
The doves that nestle in your dimpling smiles.

Now, dear Xantippe, don't be angry with him;
Even Pericles, the most polite of men,
Cannot make prettier speeches,—they should win
The heart of any woman.

By your leave,
Lady Aspasia, I will be angry
When 1 think proper. Have I not a right
To plague him when I please? What is the use
Of a husband, if you cannot scold him when
You are in the humour?


Nay, my dear Xantippe, I really think a husband of more use Than what you mention: I find Pericles Convenient for a thousand little purposes, Besides being scolded.


What, in the name of Cupid, Could have bribed Socrates to give his hand To Tippet, as he calls her?


Alcibiades, You are a wild, impertinent jackanapes; A good-for-nothing, foppish libertine; A namby-pamby booby; a combination Of a monkey and an ass; a mere apology For a man; for you, indeed, to term me Tippet— O, breath and patience!


Don't fatigue yourself, Meekest and mildest of all wives; and 1 Will answer Alcibiades: his question Was a frank question, truly,—and as frankly Will I reply,—in thy sweet presence, lady,— I scorn to take advantage; you shall hear Before your face, the words I will not say of yon Behind your back.

Alcibiades. When were her nails cut last? Pray keep them short, dear Socrates, and take Particular care of your ears—she looks as if She'd pinch them soundly.


Faith, and so she does; And that I may be safe from her assault,

During the progress of my history,

I do beseech Aspasia and the ladies

To take my Tippet into special charge ;—

That's right—place her between you—hold her hands

Tight, or she'll scratch.—Now you shall hear my wooing.

Aspasia. Now don't be too sarcastic.


No, dear ladies,—
I won't be too sarcastic—I will tell
The merry tale right merrily. When I
Was a bachelor—heaven bless the mark !—I was
Too happy, much too happy;—So to qualify
My happiness by some discomfitures,
I looked out for a wife—ay, for a wife!
Most cross, perverse, wilful, intractable—
Me thought if I would learn true heroism,
I must dare and bear all things—I must gain
An absolute conquest o'er myself, and curb
My temper, till strong fortitude and patience
Supplant all weakness, fretfulness, and anger;—
And as I knew that all perfection grows
To what it is by practice, I resolved
To marry a downright shrew—ay, and to tame her:—
Such was my game—a dangerous one you'll say.
It was its dangerousness that made it pleasant.
I did not seek an amiable, sweet lady
Like our Aspasia;—loving hearts like hers
Are easily managed—aren't they, Pericles?
I would not marry a meek simple maiden,
In whose warm love the current of my life
Might flow as smoothly as a Lethe. No,—
Such marriage were most dull, monotonous,
Insipid, nauseating from lusciousness.
I ran another course—I saw Xantippe,
A name proverbial for a downright vixen;
The terror of all Athens. Not a man
Would venture near her; mothers warned their daughters
Not to be like Xantippe. If babies cried,
Nurses knew how to hush them in a moment,
By whispering in their ears, " Xantippe 's coming:"
Such were the charms I wanted in a bride;
I made my offer—was accepted,—and
You know the rest.

Say, have you not repented?

Not a jot. I find delight in managing
Xantippe, just for the same reason, as

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