The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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My Part is now but begun, and my Glory must be sustained by the Use I make of this Victory; otherwise my Loss will be greater than that of Pompey.  Our personal Reputation will rise or fall as we bear our respective Fortunes.  All my private Enemies among the Prisoners shall be spared.  I will forget this, in order to obtain such another Day.  Trebutius is ashamed to see me:  I will go to his Tent, and be reconciled in private.  Give all the Men of Honour, who take part with me, the Terms I offered before the Battel.  Let them owe this to their Friends who have been long in my Interests.  Power is weakened by the full Use of it, but extended by Moderation.  Galbinius is proud, and will be servile in his present Fortune; let him wait.  Send for Stertinius:  He is modest, and his Virtue is worth gaining.  I have cooled my Heart with Reflection; and am fit to rejoice with the Army to-morrow.  He is a popular General who can expose himself like a private Man during a Battel; but he is more popular who can rejoice but like a private Man after a Victory.

What is particularly proper for the Example of all who pretend to Industry in the Pursuit of Honour and Virtue, is, That this Hero was more than ordinarily sollicitous about his Reputation, when a common Mind would have thought it self in Security, and given it self a Loose to Joy and Triumph.  But though this is a very great Instance of his Temper, I must confess I am more taken with his Reflections when he retired to his Closet in some Disturbance upon the repeated ill Omens of Calphurnia’s Dream the Night before his Death.  The literal Translation of that Fragment shall conclude this Paper.

Be it so [then. [1]] If I am to die to-Morrow, that is what I am to do to-Morrow:  It will not be then, because I am willing it should be then; nor shall I escape it, because I am unwilling.  It is in the Gods when, but in my self how I shall die.  If Calphurnia’s Dreams are Fumes of Indigestion, how shall I behold the Day after to-morrow?  If they are from the Gods, their Admonition is not to prepare me to escape from their Decree, but to meet it.  I have lived to a Fulness of Days and of Glory; what is there that Caesar has not done with as much Honour as antient Heroes?  Caesar has not yet died; Caesar is prepared to die.


[Footnote 1:  [than]]

* * * * *

No. 375.  Saturday, May 10, 1712.  Hughes.

  ’Non possidentem multa vocaveris
  Recte beatum:  rectius occupat
    Nomen beati, qui Deorum
      Muneribus sapienter uti,
  Duramque callet Pauperiem pati,
  Pejusque Letho flagitium timet.’


I have more than once had occasion to mention a noble Saying of Seneca the Philosopher, That a virtuous Person struggling with Misfortunes, and rising above them, is an Object on which the Gods themselves may look down with Delight. [1] I shall therefore set before my Reader a Scene of this kind of Distress in private Life, for the Speculation of this Day.

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.