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the divine Providence better express its justice and wisdom to gether, than by benefiting the good, and punishing the bad, by such cross and unprobable methods ?"
345.—THE DEATH OF SOCRATES.
(FROM TAYLOR'S TRANSLATION OF THE 'PRÆDON.']
When he had thus spoken, “ Be it so, Socrates,” said Criton ; " but what orders do you leave to those who are present, or to myself, either respecting your children, or anything else, execution of which we should most gratify you ?” “What I always do say, Criton (he replied), nothing new : that if you pay due attention to yourselves, do what you will, you will always do what is acceptable to myself, to my family, and to your own selves, though you should not now promise me anything. But if you neglect yourselves, and are unwilling to live following the track, as it were, of what I have said both now and heretofore, you will do nothing the more, though you should now promise many things, and that with earnestness.” “We shall take care, therefore,” said Criton, “so to act. But how would you be buried ?" “Just as you please (said he), if you can but catch me, and I do not elude your pursuit.” And at the same time gently laughing, and addressing himself to us, "I cannot persuade Criton,” he said, “ my friends, that I am that Socrates who now disputes with you, and methodizes every part of the discourse ; but he thinks that I am he whom he will shortly behold dead, and asks how I ought to be buried. But all that long discourse which some time since I addressed to you, in which I asserted that after I had drunk the poison I should no longer remain with you, but should depart to certain felicities of the blessed, this I seem to have declared to him in vain, though it was undertaken to console both you and myself. Be surety, therefore, for me to Criton, to the reverse of that, for which he became surety for me
to the judges ; for he was my bail that I should remain; but be you my bail that I shall not remain when I die, but shall depart hence, that Criton may bear it the more easily, and may not be affected when he sees my body burnt or buried, as if I were suffering some dreadful misfortune; and that he may not say at my interment, that Socrates is laid out, or is carried out, or is buried. For be well assured of this, my friend Criton, that when we speak amiss we are not only blameable as to our expressions, but likewise do some evil to our souls. But it is fit to be of good heart, and to say that my body will be buried, and to bury it in such manner as may be most pleasing to yourself, and as you may esteem it most agreeable to our laws.”
When he had thus spoken, he arose, and went into another room, that he might wash himself, and Criton followed him: but he ordered us to wait for him. We waited therefore accordingly, discoursing over and reviewing among ourselves what had been said ; and sometimes speaking about his death, how great a calamity it would be to us; and sincerely thinking that we, like those who are deprived of their fathers, should pass the rest of our life in the condition of orphans. But when he had washed himself his sons were brought to him (for he had two little ones, and one older), and the women belonging to his family likewise came in to him: but when he had spoken to them before Criton, and had left them such injunctions as he thought proper, he ordered the boys and women to depart, and he himself returned to us. And it was now near the setting of the sun; for he had been away in the inner room for a long time. But when he came in from bathing he sat down and did not speak much afterwards: for then the servant of the Eleven* came in, and, standing near him, “I do not perceive that in you, Socrates,” said he, “which I have taken notice of in others; I mean that they are angry with me, and curse me, when, being compelled by the magistrates, I announce to them that they must drink the poison. But, on the contrary, I have found you to the present time to be the most generous, mild, and best of all the men that ever came into this place; and therefore I am well convinced that you are not angry with me, but with the
• Athenian magistrates, who had the charge of executing criminals.
authors of your present condition, for you know who they are. Now, therefore (for you know what I came to tell you), farewell; and endeavor to bear this necessity as easily as possible.” And at the same time, bursting into tears, and turning himself away, he departed. But Socrates, looking after him, said, “And thou, too, farewell; and we shall take care to act as you advise.” And at the same time, turning to us, “How courteous,” he said, “ is the behavior of that man! During the whole time of my abode here, he has visited me, and often conversed with me, and proved himself to be the best of men, and now how generously he weeps on my account! But let us obey him, Criton, and let some one bring the poison, if it is bruised ; and, if not, let the man whose business it is bruise it.” “But, Socrates,” said Criton, “ I think that the sun still hangs over the mountains, and is not set yet. And at the same time I have known others who have drunk the poison very late, after it was announced to them ; who have supped and drunk abundantly. Therefore, do not be in such haste, for there is yet time enough.” Socrates replied, “ Such men, Criton, act fitly in the manner in which you have described, for they think to derive some advantage from so doing; and I also with propriety shall not act in this manner. For I do not think I shall gain anything by drinking it later, except becoming ridiculous to myself through desiring to live, and being sparing of life, when nothing of it any longer remains. Go, therefore," said he, " be persuaded, and comply with my request."
Then Criton, hearing this, gave a sign to the boy that stood near him; and the boy departing, and having stayed for some time, came back with the person that was to administer the poison, who brought it pounded in a cup. And Socrates, looking at the man, said, “Well, my friend (for you are knowing in these matters), what is to be done ?" “Nothing (he said) but, after you have drunk it, to walk about, until a heaviness takes place in your legs, and then to lie down: this is the manner in which you have to act.” And at the same time he extended the cup to Socrates. And Socrates taking it-and indeed, Echecrates—with great cheerfulness, neither trembling nor suffering any change for the worse in his color or countenance, but as he was used to do, look. ing up sternly at the man. “What say you," he said, “as to
making a libation from this potion ? may I do it or not ?” “We can only bruise as much, Socrates,” he said, “as we think sufficient for the purpose.”
I understand you,” he said ; " but it is both lawful and proper to pray to the gods that my departure from hence thither
prosperous : which I entreat them to grant may be the case.” And, so saying, he stopped, and drank the poison very readily and pleasantly. And thus far indeed the greater part of us were tolerably well able to refrain from weeping : but when we saw him drinking, and that he had drunk it, we could no longer restrain our tears. And from me indeed, in spite of my efforts, they flowed, and not drop by drop; so that, wrapping myself in my mantle, I bewailed myself
, not indeed for his misfortune, but for my own, considering what a companion I should be deprived of. But Criton, who was not able to restrain his tears, was compelled to rise before me. And Apollodorus, who during the whole time prior to this had not ceased from weeping, then wept aloud with great bitterness, so that he infected all who were present except Socrates. But Socrates, upon seeing this, exclaimed, “What are you doing, you strange men! In truth, I principally sent away the women lest they should produce a disturbance of this kind; for I have heard that it is proper to die among well-omened sounds. Be quiet, therefore, and maintain your fortitude.” And, when we heard this, we were ashamed, and restrained our tears. But he, when he found during his walking about that his legs became heavy, and had told us so, laid himself down on his back. For the man had told him to do so. And at the same time, he who gave him the poison, touching him at intervals, examined his feet and legs. And then, pressing very hard on his foot, he asked him if he felt it. But Socrates answered that he did not. And after this he pressed his thighs, and thus, going upwards, he showed us that he was cold and stiff. And Socrates also touched himself, and said that when the poison touched his heart he should then depart. But now the lower part of his body was almost cold; when, uncovering himself (for he was covered), he said (and these were his last words), “Criton, we owe a cock to Æsculapius. Discharge this debt therefore for me, and do not neglect it.” “It shall be done,” said Criton ; "but consider whether you have any other commands." To this inquiry of Criton he made no reply; but shortly after he moved himself and the man uncovered him. And Socrates fixed his eyes; which, when Criton perceived, he closed his mouth and eyes. This, Echecrates, was the end of our companion ; a man, as it appears to me, the best of those whom we were acquainted with at that time, and, besides this, the most prudent and just.
346.—THE BEST ENGLISH PEOPLE.
THACKERAY. [It is remarkable how, within the last quarter of a century, the novel has been the principal reflector of manners-how the players have, to great ex tent, foregone their function of being " the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time.” It was not so when Fielding and Smollett held "the mirror up to nature" in the modern form of fiction, whilst Goldsmith and Sheridan took the more ancient dramatic method of dealing with humors and fashions. The stage has still its sparkling writers – England is perhaps richer in the laughing satire, and fun of journalism than at any period; but the novel, especially in that cheap issue which finds its entrance to thousands of households, furnishes the chief material from which the future philosophical historian will learn what were our modes of thought and living-our vices and our follies-our pretensions and our realities in the middle of the nineteenth century. The fashionable novel, as it was called, has had its day; writers have found out that they must deal with " mankind," and not with coteries. Amongst the most successful of all those who have come after Mr. Dickens, not as an imitator, but in a truly original vein -is William Makepeace Thackeray. His. Vanity Fair,' from which we extract a somewhat isolated portion, is a masterly production-the work of an acute observer-sound in principle, manly in its contempt of the miserable conventionalities that make our social life such a cold and barren thing for too many. Never was the absur desire for display, which is the bane of so much real happiness, better exposed than in the writings of Mr. Thackeray. He is the very antagonism of that heartless pretence to exclusiveness and gentility which acquired for its advocates and expositors the name of the silver-fork school.” Such authors as this produce incalculable benefit, and will do much to bring us back to that old English simplicity--the parent of real taste and refinement-which sees nothing truly to be ashamed of but profligacy and meanness.)
Before long, Beckey received not only “the best" foreigners (as the phrase is in our poble and admirable societv slang), but