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The People

BY TOMMASO CAMPANELLA

(Italian philosopher, 1568-1639. Translation by John Addington

Symonds)

THE people is a beast of muddy brain

That knows not its own strength, and therefore stands
Loaded with wood and stone; the powerless hands
Of a mere child guide it with bit and rein;

One kick would be enough to break the chain,
But the beast fears, and what the child demands
It does; nor its own terror understands,
Confused and stupefied by bugbears vain.
Most wonderful! With its own hand it ties
And gags itself-gives itself death and war
For pence doled out by kings from its own store.
Its own are all things between earth and heaven;
But this it knows not; and if one arise

To tell this truth, it kills him unforgiven.

FROM ECCLESIASTES

(Hebrew, B.C. 200)

HEN I returned and saw all oppressions that are

THE

done under the sun: and behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive; yea, better than them both did I esteem him which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

[graphic][merged small]

ISIDORE KONTI (American

ulptor, born 1862; group from the Buffalo Exposition)

Tiberius Gracchus

(Tribune of the Roman People)

BY PLUTARCH

(Greek, A.D. 50-120)

TIBERIUS, maintaining an honorable and just cause,

and possessed of eloquence sufficient to have made a less creditable action appear plausible, was no safe or easy antagonist, when, with the people crowding around the hustings, he took his place and spoke in behalf of the poor. "The savage beasts," said he, "in Italy, have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the meantime nothing in it but the air and light; and, having no houses or settlements of their own, are constrained to wander from place to place with their wives and children." He told them that the commanders were guilty of a ridiculous error, when, at the head of their armies, they exhorted the common soldiers to fight for their sepulchers and altars; when not any amongst so many Romans is possessed of either altar or monument, neither have they any houses of their own, or hearths of their ancestors to defend. They fought indeed and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and the wealth of other men. They were styled the masters of the world, but had not one foot of ground they could call their own.

Captive Good Attending Captain Ill

BY EURIPIDES

(Athenian tragic poet, B.C. 480-406; the most modern of ancient writers. Translation by John Addington Symonds)

OTH some one say that there be gods above?

DOTH

There are not; no, there are not. Let no fool, Led by the old false fable, thus deceive you. Look at the facts themselves, yielding my words No undue credence; for I say that kings Kill, rob, break oaths, lay cities waste by fraud, And doing thus are happier than those Who live calm pious lives day after day. How many little states that serve the gods Are subject to the godless but more strong, Made slaves by might of a superior army!

Poverty

BY ALCAEUS

(Greek lyric poet, B.C. 611-580; banished for his resistance to tyrants. Translation by Sir William Jones)

HE worst of ills, and hardest to endure,

THE

Past hope, past cure,

Is Penury, who, with her sister-mate

Disorder, soon brings down the loftiest state,

And makes it desolate.

This truth the sage of Sparta told,

Aristodemus old,

"Wealth makes the man." On him that's poor

Proud Worth looks down, and Honor shuts the door.

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