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be his euphemismus for being dissatisfied with his own success in them,-he in a few years quitted the bar for ever, and took up rhetoric as a profession; that he visited, in his capacity of sophist, several provinces of the Roman empire, among others, Gaul, and perhaps Spain; that, before he was forty years of age, he had realized a fortune, moderate indeed, but such as permitted him to withdraw from professional avocations, and devote himself entirely to literature; that he subsequently visited Italy, Greece, Macedon, and the various districts of his native Asia Minor-enjoying a high reputation, and mingling every where with the first society, Roman and provincial; that in advanced life he accepted an appointment of considerable importance in the service of the state ; and that (in all probability at least) his official duties fixed his ultimate residence in Egypt. The piece, which shows that he might have been a great poet had he had a mind, shows also that he was much afflicted with the gout-whence, probably, a tradition that he died of that disease. It is quite impossible to fix the year of his birth ; and all we know of the period of his death is, that it did not occur until after the reign of Commodus had begun.
By what prince he was promoted in his old age, there has been much controversy. Dodwell inclines to think that his appointment was bestowed by Avidius Cassius, the rebellious viceroy of Marcus Aurelius, in Syria, and of course lasted but for a few inonths. But the calm terms in which he himself speaks of his official occupations are scarcely to be reconciled with that hypothesis ; and on the whole, Massieu seems to be successful in his defence of the old tradition, that Marcus Aurelius was his efficient patron. The chief objection to this was, that Lucian has composed two elaborate encomiums on the Grecian consort of his imperial patron, by name Panthea; that Marcus had no wife but the fair and frail Faustina ; and that though, after her death, he took a Greek concubine to his bed, no such person could ever have been suffered, by a frugal philosopher like him, to live in the bigh splendour which Lucian ascribes to this Panthea : but it is answered, that the concubine of Aurelius held the same sort of rank with a Madame Maintenon, or a modern German sovereign's • wife of the left hand,' and must, especially in the eastern provinces, have appeared with many circumstances of imperial magnificence. As to the name Panthea, (the all-divine,) it seems to be too easily taken for granted on all sides, that this was a real one. To us it appears much more likely to be fictitious ; and it is certain that Lucian was quite accustomed to panegyrise his patrons under such appellations,--witness the Roman consular
Æsculapius, to whom he indites a long and formal apology for having saluted him one morning in a manner not quite consistent with the established etiquette. But the whole of this dispute is frivolous : we cannot imagine that Lucian was a man who would have scrupled about describing any empress or any imperial concubine in whose way he happened to be thrown, in whatever manner he thought most likely to gratify her fancy; nor is there any evidence whatever that the Panthea of his dialogues was either the wife or the mistress of the particular prince who gave him his appointment. The practised littérateur, who tells us that he had one foot in Charon's boat,' ere he got his place under government,' and who was obviously so much delighted with the dignity when he did obtain it, had, we may fairly suppose, thrown away not a few oily paragraphs in his time.
We had almost forgotten another objection, which, indeed, the Abbé Massieu seems to have considered unworthy of a serious reply; namely, that the second Antonine was little likely to patronize such an habitual persecutor of the stoics of his day, as Lucian. The satirist himself was at pains enough to proclaim that one might laugh at a Zenothemis, and yet have all manner of respect for a Zeno. But who ever fancied that Marcus employed no men of letters in the administration of the empire, but those of his own sect ?-or gravely doubted that so wise a prince might be willing to avail himself of talents like Lucian's, with whatever heterodoxy of speculative opinion he might find them combined ? The patronage which literary men of all persuasions received during this reign, was among its most striking features; and there is, perhaps, none which has been more copiously illustrated in the writings of our author himself.
The argument of Wieland, who differs from both Dodwell and Massieu on this head, and thinks that the author owed his post to Commodus, is simply this : that Lucian describes himself as having one foot in Charon’s boat at the time of his elevation, and could, according to Massieu's own chronology, have been no more than sixty years old when Aurelius died. Lucian's expression about his foot might possibly have some allusion to his gout; but who does not guess the real state of the case,-namely, that Wieland was on the wrong side of fifty when he found it so ridiculous in a gouty sexagenarian to talk of himself as old ?
We have no doubt that much remains for a skilful editor of Lucian: nothing like a chronological arrangement of his multifarious tracts has, as yet, been attempted-and surely some approximation, at least, to such an arrangement might be effected, were the style, structure and purpose of the various pieces care
fully scrutinized, and their bearings towards each other critically and philosophically weighed. There are, it is on all hands admitted, at least a dozen pieces which ought to be thrown entirely out of the collection-puerile and meaningless mimicries of the great master's peculiar manner of writing; and as many more which ought to be placed in a volume by themselves, not without their value as specimens of Lucian the professional sophist and declaimer, but wbich, mixed up among his riper compositions, have no effect but that of disappointing and confusing the reader. In the course of such an arrangement, new light would no doubt be thrown on the author's personal history; but in the meantime we must dismiss this, and turn once more from the man to the period, of which his works, even in their present condition, present, perhaps, a more complete as well as lively picture, than any other single author could supply with respect to any other period of the ancient world. For this nephew of the image-hewer of Samosata had climbed as many steps in the social scale as any Gil Blas or Hajji Baba of them all; and though we are denied the advantage of surveying the objects in precisely the same order in which they met his view, the sketches from the life have been preserved, and it is a matter of secondary importance in what order we may stick them into our portfolio. A Fenélon or a Barthélémi might find in these volumes abundant materials for an historical romance, worthy, to say the least, of a place on the same shelf with Telemachus and Anarcharsis; and, admirable as Wieland's translation is, it is impossible not to regret that the three years which it cost him had not been given to a labour in which his genius might have been exercised as well as his ingenuity.
There is almost as little of politics in Lucian as in Horace; but the one was careful to avoid such topics, the other could not have found them had he had a mind. It is only in his contemptuous sketches of Roman manners that we trace that deep-rooted hatred of the Roman sway, which yielded to nothing but the longdeferred pleasure of bearing a part in its administration. His family was of Greek origin; and his anxiety to be considered as thoroughly a Greek, is betrayed in his frequent jokes upon himself as a Syrian, a semi-barbarian, a person whose proper habit ought to be the candys. about as distinctly (for who dreads a jest like a jester?) as in his direct and elaborate flatteries of the Greeks proper--above all, of the Athenian community. It was in vain for Hadrian and his successors to lavish every species of imperial patronage on the vainest of all human tribés; to hellenize dress, manners, and language; to disgust their own countrymen by proclaiming Grecian taste the sole standard of excellence in letters
as well as arts; and by surrounding their persons, wherever they moved, with secretaries, parasites, and paramours of the chosen race. The Austrian dynasty might as well hope to make themselves and their nation beloved beyond the Alps by pensioning prima donnas, and choosing their confessors at Milan or Bologna. Nothing could soften the bitterness of Greek recollections ; new bridges, new temples, even new theatres were as much the emblems of their degradation as prætorian palaces or triumphal arches. They gazed, listened, applauded, and hated on as fervently as ever. Lucian, until, at the height of literary celebrity, he begins to have place in view, never alludes to the sovereigupeople without a sneer of far deeper spleen than any Greek absurdity whatever is able to provoke. But it is in his description of Rome itself that his feelings on this head come out the most fully: nor is it the least artful of his expedients that he puts all his abuse into the mouth of a Roman. But no Roman satirist ever seized on the same points which he delights to labour : they condemn patrician luxury and debauchery, but with him these are only secondary matters; the object of his relentless spleen is what every Roman author overflows with in his own person-the universal pride of the nation. A Roman, by patronizing an Attic philosopher, no more conciliated him, than he would have done so by fondling a lapdog from Melita, or a Thessalian palfrey. The air of perpetual, incontestable, serene superiority was what was intolerable; and the emigrant Abbé of Aix or Caen who has taught the language of the Great Nation in London or Vienna, or perhaps the Brahmin whom an appointment in Bishop's College has brought from Benares to Calcutta, may be among the persons most likely to sympathise with his views of the Eternal City.
Not that he spares the patricians—even in Nigrinus. The interior of this ancient Platonist's simple dwelling forms a striking contrast
to the prospect which he shows the satirist from its window. The old man is found with a book in his hand, and surrounded with busts of sages ; a board covered with geometrical figures leans against the wall behind him, and on the table there is a sphere of reeds, to represent, as it seemed, the universe.' He has no attendant but a single boy, who does not immediately admit the visitor into this retreat. The philosopher, who had studied at Athens, greets Lucian with something like the warmth of an old fellow-collegian, and hastens, as Wieland expresses it,' to lighten himself of his long-hoarded gall upon the frivolities and vices of his countrymen.' The Romans, says he, dare to speak truth once in their lives—when they make their wills; and what use do they make of this liberty? why, to command some favourite robe to be burnt with them, some particular slave to
keep watch by the sepulchre, some particular garland to be hung about the urn! And this is the end of a life spent in being carried on soft litters to luxurious baths, slaves strutting before, and crying to the bearers to beware of the puddles, and gorging at banquets, and being visited at noon-day by physicians, and all the bustle and tumult of the hippodrome, all the noise about statutes to charioteers, and the naming of horses.* These are the people whom one must approach ες το περσικον. . Kissing their vest, their hand, their bosom-never, oh, never, thank heaven! their lips; these are the gentry whose fingers are so overburthened with rings, whose hair is so fantastically curled out, who answer one's humblest salute by proxy, and who are accustomed, nevertheless, to see beggars become viceroys, and viceroys beggars, as at the shifting of a scene!- The old man proceeds to compare the repose of sober Athens with the pomp, glare, and tumult of the imperial metropolis ; and one feels, in reading the passage, in every line of which we recognise the sadness wherewith disappointed age looks back to the season of youth and hope, as if we were listening to some hoary, unbeneficed Oxonian unburthening his heart in a garret of St. James's.
While the great world of Rome was thus pursuing the career of silken debauchery amidst the din of hireling applauses, and the literati of Athens were lounging in their beautiful porticos, and consuming life in the discussion of the merits and demerits of fantastic theories, it is curious indeed to look below the surface of things, and see what sentiments prevailed in the various classes of society concerning subjects which, however pride may seek to disguise it, have in all ages possessed the deepest interest for the human mind, educated or uneducated. It is from Lucian alone that we can gather any distinct notion of the religious con dition of the heathen world in the second century. The Christian authors condemn things in the mass, and justly; they understood not, or they disdained to describe, the strange and irreconcileable feuds which were secretly tearing in pieces what seemed, to distant eyes, an unbroken web of congenial abominations. It was the want of an universally recognised supreme ecclesiastical authority, which dealt the first deadly blow to the false church of heathenism ; and the lesson was not thrown away. Infidelity and şuperstition might have gone on for many more ages, understanding, bearing with, nay aiding each other, but the old superstition split into sects, and that enmity, where there was no common
* Perhaps some of our readers may be amused with hearing what sort of names were fashionable in the old Roman stud: Spon has published an inscription which gives, among others, Dædalus, Ajax, Romulus, Roman, Gætulian, Victor, Memnon, Wolf, Pard, Pegasus, Argo, Æther, Arrow, Bolt, Dart, Sparrow, Spider, and Flea ; of which the majority were Africans.