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“ Philopemen,” says he, “what's the meaning of " this?" “Oh,” answered the other, “ I am paying “ interest for my bad appearance.”

Scipio Æmilianus, who lived four and fifty years, never made any acquisition in all his life, and when he died, left only four and forty marks of silver plate, and three of gold, though he had been master of all the wealth of Carthage, and had enriched his soldiers more than any other general. Being deputed by the senate of Rome with full powers to restore discipline in the towns and provinces, and to inspect kings and nations, though descended from one of the most illustrious families in Rome, and adopted into one of the richest, and though he had so august a character to support in the name of the Roman empire, he carried with him but one friend, and he was a [x] philosopher, and five servants, one of which dying upon the road, he contented himself with the four that remained, till one came from Rome to supply his place. As soon as he came to Alexandria with his small retinue, his fame discovered him, notwithstanding all the care his modesty had taken to prevent it, and drew all the city to meet him upon his landing. [y] His personal one, without any other attendance but that of his virtues, his actions, and his triumphs, was enough to extinguish, even in the eyes of the people, the vain splendor of the king of Egypt, who was advanced to meet hiin with all his court, and drew upon him alone the eyes, the acclamations, and applauses of all the world.

[:] These examples teach us, that we ought not to value men by their outward appearance, any more than a horse by his trappings. An extraordinary merit may lie hid under a mean habit, as a rich garment may cover enorinous vices. They shew us in the second place, that greater courage and resolution is required, than [x] Panætius.

tu amplitudinis pondus secum Dj Cùm per socios & exteras ferret, estimabatur. gentes iter faceret, non mancipia lib. 4. cap. 3. n. 13. sed victoriæ numerabantur; nec, [2] Senec. Ep. 47. quantum auri & argenti, sed quan

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Val. Max.



one would easily imagine, to become superior to popular opinions, and to get the better of the false infamy which the world is pleased to cast upon a plain, poor, and frugal manner of living. Seneca, as much a philosopher as he was, or bad a mind to be thought, had always somewhat of this false shame hanging about him; and [a] he owns hiinself, that going down sometimes to his country-seat in an ordinary chariot, he has blushed against his inclination at being caught upon the road in such an equipage by persons of distinction ; a certain proof, as he says himself

, that he had not thoronghly reduced to practice what he had said and wrote upon the advantages of a frugal life. He that blushes at a mean chariot, adds he, is fond of a finer. And he has made little progress in virtue, who dares not openly declare in favour of poverty and frugality, and is at all concerned about the judgment of spectators.

[6] Agesilaus, king of Lacedæmon, was herein a greater philosopher than Seneca

A Spartan education had armed him against this false shame. Pharnabasus, governor of one of the provinces belonging to the king of Persia, had desired to treat of peace with hiin; and the interview was appointed in the open field. The first appeared in all the poinp and luxury

, of the Persian court. He was dressed in a purple robe embroidered with gold and silver. The ground was spread with rich carpets, and fine cushions were laid to sit down upon. Agesilaus, in a very plain dress, without any ceremony, sat himself down upon the grass. The pride of the Persian was confounded at his behaviour, and unable to support the comparison, paid homage to the plainness of the Lacedæmonian, by following his example. And this, because a quite different train, which far outshone all the gold and silver of Persia, surrounded Agesilaus, and gained him reverence; I mean, his name, his reputation, his victories, and the terror of his arms, which made the king of Persia tremble even upon his throne.

[a] Vix à ine obtineo, ut hoc ve- certam fidem & immobilem. Qui hiculum velim videri meum. Durat sordido vehiculo erubescit, pretioso adhuc perversa recti verecundia. gloriatur. Parum adhuc profeci, Quoties in aliquem comitatum lau. nondum audeo frugalitatem palam tiorem incidimus, invitus erubesco: ferre: etiam nunc curo opiniones quod argumentum est, ista quz viatorum. Id. Ep. 87. probo, quæ laudo, nondum habere [b] Plut. in Vit. Ages.


The emperors [c] Nerva, [d], Trajan, [e] Antoninus, and [f] Marcus Aurelius, sold the palaces, the gold and silver plate, the valuable furniture, and all the superfluities they could dispense with, which their predecessors had heaped up through a desire of possessing solely whatever was exquisitely curious. These princes, as also Vespasian, Pertinax, Severus, Alexander, Claudius II. and Tacitus, who were raised to the empire by their merit, and whom all ages have admired as the best and greatest of princes, always affected a great simplicity in their apparel, their furniture, and outward appearance, and despised whatever had the least tincture of pomp and luxury. By retrenching all useless expences, [g] they found a greater fund in their own modesty, than the most avaricious in all their spoils; and without endeavouring to set themselves off by any outward lustre, [hi] shewed they were only emperors by the care they took of the public. In every thing else they resembled other citizens, and lived like private men. But the lower they stooped in their condescensions, the greater and more august they appeared.

[č] Vespasian upon solemn days drank out of a small silver cup, which had been left him by his grandmother, who brought him up. [2] Trajan's retinue

] was very modest and moderate. He had nobody to clear the way before him, and was pleased sometimes to be under a necessity of stopping in the streets to let the attendants of others pass by him.

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[C] Dio.
id Plin. Paneg.
iej Capitol.

U ] In Vit. Mar. Aurel. Vict.
Epit. & Eutrop.

[g] Plin. Paneg.

[5] Dio. lib. 66. Τη προνοία των κοινων

, αυτοκράτωρ ένομίζετο. [1] Sueton. Vit. Vespas. cap. 2. [k] Plin. Paneg.


[l] Marcus Aurelius was still more averse to every thing that had the air of pomp and luxury. He lay upon the bare ground; at twelve years old he took the habit of a philosopher; he forbore the use of guards, the imperial ornaments, and the ensigns of honour, which were carried before the Cæsars and the Augusti. Nor was this conduct owing to the ignorance of what was grand and beautiful, but to the juster and purer taste he had of both, and to an intimate persuasion that the greatest glory, and principal duty of man, especially if in power, and eminently conspicuous, is so far to imitate the Deity, as to throw himself into a condition of wanting as little as may be for himself, and doing all the good to others he is capable of.

[m] Arnold d'Ossat, who is so famous for his wonderful abilities in negotiation, though his furniture fell far short of the dignity of a cardinal, refused to accept of the money, the chariot and horses, and the damask bed, which the cardinal de Joyeuse sent him as a present three weeks after his promotion. For, [n]says he, though I have not all that is requisite to support this dignity, yet I will not for that reason renounce the abstinence and modesty I have always observed. Such a disposition is far more extraordinary and valuable, thana magnificentequipage, and rich furniture.

[0] The tribune of the people, who became an advocate for the Roinan ladies against the severity of Cato, and pleaded for the restoring to them, after the second Punic war, the right of wearing gold and silver in their apparel, seems to insinuate, that dress or ornament were in a manner their natural province; and that as they could not aspire to any preferments, to the priesthood, or the honour of a triumph, it would not only be cruel, but unjust, to refuse them a consolation, which the sole necessity of the times had taken from them. This reason might affect the

[4] M. Aur. Vit. Dio. Julian, Cæs.

[»] Vie du Card. d'Ossat.

[12] Lett. 181.
[] Liv. lib. 34, n. 74:



people, but was not very honourable to the sex, as it taxes them with weakness and meanness, in representing them as fond of trifles. Virorum hoc animos vulnerare posset, quid muliercularum censetis, quas etiam parva morent?

Yet we learn from history, that the Roman ladies generously stripped themselves of all their jewels, and presented all their gold and silver, (p) at one time to enable the republic to discharge a vow madeto Apollo, for which they had honourable distinctions granted them; [9] and at another, to redeem Rome from the Gauls, which procured them the right and privilege of being praised in funeral orations, as well as the men. [rj In the second Punic war the widows in like manner brought their gold and silver into the public treasury, to assist the state in the extreme necessity under which it groaned.

The famous Cornelia, daughter to the great Scipio, and mother to the Gracchi, is universally known. Her extraction was the noblest in Rome, and her family the richest. [s] A lady of Campania, coming to make her a visit, and lodging in her house, displayed with pomp whatever was then most fashionable and valuable for the toilet, gold and silver, jewels, diamonds, bracelets, pendants, and all the apparatus which the ancients called mundum muliebrem. Sheexpected to find somewhat stillfiner in the house of a person of her quality, and desired very importunately to see her toilette. Cornelia artfully prolonged the conversation till such time as her children came home, who were then gone to the public schools, and pointing to them as they entered, “See here, says she, are “my jewels." Et hæc, inquit, ornamenta mea sunt. We need only examine our own thoughts in relation to those two ladies, to find out how far superior the noble simplicity of the one was to the vain magnificence of the other. And indeed what merit or ability is there in buying up a large collection of precious [P] Liv. lib. 5. n. 25.

[r] Ib. lib. 24. n. 28. 19) Ib. n, go.

(s) Valer. Max. lib. 4. C. 4.


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