The news produced the same consternation as that which was produced among the conspirators at Adonijah’s banquet, when they heard of the measures taken by the dying David. There was a panic-stricken dispersion, and every one pretended to be grieved, or ignorant of what was going on. Caius, in stupified silence, expected death instead of empire. Macro alone did not lose his presence of mind. With the utmost intrepidity, he gave orders that the old man should be suffocated by heaping over him a mass of clothes, and that every one should then leave the chamber. Such was the miserable and unpitied end of the Emperor Tiberius, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. Such was the death, and so miserable had been the life, of the man to whom the Tempter had already given “the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them,” when he tried to tempt with them the Son of God. That this man should have been the chief Emperor of the earth at a time when its true King was living as a peasant in his village home at Nazareth, is a fact suggestive of many and of solemn thoughts.
THE REIGN OF CAIUS.
The poet Gray, in describing the deserted deathbed of our own great Edward III., says:—
“Low on his funeral
couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye afford
A tear to grace his obsequies!
* * * * *
“The swarm that
in the noontide beam were born?
Gone to salute the rising Morn.
Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o’er the azure realm,
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind’s sway,
That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.”
The last lines of this passage would alone have been applicable to Caius Caesar. There was nothing fair or gay even about the beginning of his reign. From first to last it was a reign of fury and madness, and lust and blood. There was an hereditary taint of insanity in this family, which was developed by their being placed on the dizzy pinnacle of imperial despotism, and which usually took the form of monstrous and abnormal crime. If we would seek a parallel for Caius Caesar, we must look for it in the history