Parthagica Directory 07
Death gives a life to some men and women compared with which their so-called existence here is as nothing. Which is the truer life of Shakespeare, Handel, that divine woman who wrote the "Odyssey," and of Jane Austen--the life which palpitated with sensible warm motion within their own bodies, or that in virtue of which they are still palpitating in ours? In whose consciousness does their truest life consist--their own, or ours? Can Shakespeare be said to have begun his true life till a hundred years or so after he was dead and buried? His physical life was but as an embryonic stage, a coming up out of darkness, a twilight and dawn before the sunrise of that life of the world to come which he was to enjoy hereafter. We all live for a while after we are gone hence, but we are for the most part stillborn, or at any rate die in infancy, as regards that life which every age and country has recognised as higher and truer than the one of which we are now sentient. As the life of the race is larger, longer, and in all respects more to be considered than that of the individual, so is the life we live in others larger and more important than the one we live in ourselves. This appears nowhere perhaps more plainly than in the case of great teachers, who often in the lives of their pupils produce an effect that reaches far beyond anything produced while their single lives were yet unsupplemented by those other lives into which they infused their own.
In fact, violence mingled itself continually, in those times, with almost all public proceedings, whenever any special combination of circumstances occurred to awaken unusual excitement. At one time, when Caesar was in office, a very dangerous conspiracy was brought to light, which was headed by the notorious Catiline. It was directed chiefly against the Senate and the higher departments of the government; it contemplated, in fact, their utter destruction, and the establishment of an entirely new government on the ruins of the existing constitution. Caesar was himself accused of a participation in this plot. When it was discovered, Catiline himself fled; some of the other conspirators were, however, arrested, and there was a long and very excited debate in the Senate on the question of their punishment. Some were for death. Caesar, however, very earnestly opposed this plan, recommending, instead, the confiscation of the estates of the conspirators, and their imprisonment in some of the distant cities of Italy. The dispute grew very warm, Caesar urging his point with great perseverance and determination, and with a degree of violence which threatened seriously to obstruct the proceedings, when a body of armed men, a sort of guard of honor stationed there, gathered around him, and threatened him with their swords. Quite a scene of disorder and terror ensued. Some of the senators arose hastily and fled from the vicinity of Caesar's seat to avoid the danger. Others, more courageous, or more devoted in their attachment to him, gathered around him to protect him, as far as they could, by interposing their bodies between his person and the weapons of his assailants. Caesar soon left the Senate, and for a long time would return to it no more.