« IndietroContinua »
excesses, and rendered him ultimately perfidious and cruel. The most singular part of his character was, the mixture of boldness and irresolution which it combined; but the lesson we receive from it, lies in the miseries of that suspicion and remorse which he had created in his own mind by his atrocities, and which rendered him as wretched on the throne, or at the head of his army, as in the dungeon where he terminated his unhappy life. The portraits of the other principal characters who figured in the Jugurthine war, are all well brought out. That of Marius in particular is happily touched. The parallel drawn between Cato and Cæsar is one of the most celebrated passages in the history of the Conspiracy.
The subjects chosen by Sallust form two of the most important and prominent topics in the history of Rome. The periods, indeed, which he describes, were painful, but they were interesting. Full of conspiracies, usurpations, and civil wars, they chiefly exhibit the mutual rage and iniquity of embittered factions, furious struggles between the patricians and plebeians, open corruption in the senate, venality in the courts of justice, and rapine in the provinces. This state of things, so forcibly painted by Sallust, produced the Conspiracy, and even, in some degree, formed the character of Catiline. But it was the oppressive debts of individuals, the temper of Sulla's soldiers, and the absence of Pompey with his army, which gave a possibility, and even a prospect of success to a plot which affected the vital existence of the commonwealth, and which, although arrested in its commencement, was one of those violent shocks which hasten the fall of a state. The higtory of the Jugurthine war exhibits a more extensive field of action, and a greater theatre of war, though the war itself was not so important or menacing to the vital interests and immediate safety of Rome. No prince, except Mithridates, gave so much employment to the Roman arms. In the course of no war-not even the second Carthaginian—were the people more desponding, and in none were they more elated with success. As a piece of composition this narrative deserves to rank very high. Nothing can be more interesting than the account of the vicissitudes of this contest. The talents, the endless resources, the total want of principle, the sufferings of conscience—all found combined in the character and condition of Jugurtha-stand forth in vivid and picturesque colors, and convey a moral lessor not easily to be effaced.
C. CRISPI SALLUSTII
CA TI L IN A R I U M.
I. OMNES homines, qui sese student præstare ceteris animalibus, summa ope niti decet, ne vitam silentio transeant, veluti pecora, quæ natura prona atque ventri obedientia finxit. Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est: ’animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur: alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum belluis commune est. : Quo mihi rectius videtur ingenii quam virium opibus gloriam quærere, et, quoniam vita ipsa, qua fruimur, brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxime longam efficere. Nam divitiarum et formæ gloria * fluxa atque fragilis est; virtus clara æternaque habetur. Sed diu magnum inter mortales certamen fuit, vine corporis an virtute animi res militaris magis procederet; nam et prius quam incipias, consulto, et ubi consulueris, mature facto opus est. Ita utrumque per se indigens,
, alterum alterius auxilio eget.
II. Igitur initio reges (nam 'in terris nomen imperii id primum fuit) diversi, pars ingenium, alii corpus exerce
bant: etiamtum vita hominum sine cupiditate agitabatur, sua cuique satis placebant. ? Postea vero quam in Asia Cyrus, *in Græcia Lacedæmonii et Athenienses coepere urbes atque nationes subigere, libidinem dominandi causam belli habere, maximam gloriam in maximo imperio putare; tum demum periculo atque negotiis compertum est in bello plurimum ingenium posse. 'Quod si regum atque imperatorum animi virtus in pace ita uti in bello valeret, æquabilius atque constantius sese manæ haberent; 'neque aliud alio ferri, neque mutari ac misceri omnia cerneres. Nam imperium facile his artibus retinetur, quibus initio partum est. Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et æquitate libido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus immutatur. Ita imperium semper 5 ad optimum quemque a minus bono transfertur. Quæ homines arant, navigant, ædificant, virtuti omnia parent. Sed multi mortales, dediti ventri atque somno, indocti incultique vitam, sicuti peregrinantes, transiere; quibus profecto contra naturam corpus voluptati, anima oneri fuit. vitam mortemque juxta æstimo, quoniam de utraque siletur. • Verum enimvero is demum mihi vivere atque frui anima videtur, qui, aliquo negotio intentus, præclari facinoris aut artis bonæ famam quærit. Sed in magna copia rerum aliud alii natura iter ostendit.
III. Pulchrum est bene facere rei publicæ; etiam bene dicere haud absurdum est ; vel pace vel bello clarum fieri licet; et qui fecere, et qui facta aliorum scripsere, multi laudantur. Ac mihi quidem, tametsi haudquaquam par gloria sequitur scriptorem et auctorem rerum, tamen in primis arduum videtur res gestas scribere: primum, quod facta dictis sunt exæquanda; dehinc, * quia plerique, quæ delicta reprehenderis, malevolentia et invidia dicta putant; ubi de magna virtute atque gloria bono