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PAGE 2. Statutes of Columbia College and its Associated Schools; to.
which are added the Permanent Resolutions and Orders of
the Board of Trustees. 8vo, pp. 92. New-York: 1866.
Report of the Managers of the Accumulating Fund. Svo.
New-York : 1868.
Mississippi. By FREDERICK A. P. BARNARD, LL.D.
ment. 8vo, pp. 104.
321 1. The_Red Book, or Royal Calendar for England, Scotland,
Ireland, and America, for the year 1817.
3. Cassell's Representative Biographies. VII. CELTIC Music............
336 1. The Music of the Most Ancient Nations, particularly of the
Assyrians, Egyptians, and Hebrews, with special reference
researches into Popular Songs, Traditions, and Customs.
By CARL ENGEL.“
anecdotes of, and occasional observations on, the Music of
present : comprising the lives of eminent composers and
Doc. 2 vols.
l'entière soumission de la Gaule à la domination Romaine.
...... 339 1. The Inaugural Address of President Grant. 2. Troo Specches in Congress, etc.
IX. NOTES AND CRITICISMS............
368 368 376 379 381 388
NATIONAL QUARTERLY REVIEW.
MARCH, 186 9.
Art. 1.-1. Diogenes Laertii de Clarorum Philosophorum,
Vitis, Dogmatibus, etc. Libri Decem. (Lives and Doctrines of the Ancient Philosophers, etc. Ten Books.) By
DIOGENES LAERTES. 2. The Dialogues of Lucian. 3. Lives of Alexander, Fabius Maximus, etc. PLUTARCH. 4. La Vita di Diogene Cinico. (The Life of Diogenes the
Cynic.) GRIMALDI. It is a remarkable fact that none of the higher order of thinkers have set any value on fame. Most of them have sought to avoid it, or, at least, proved themselves entirely indifferent to it. Thus it is that the very existence of Homer will ever be a matter of dispute among the most learned men; while the superiority of the Iliad and the Odyssey to all other epics is universally acknowledged by nations the most dissimilar in their tastes—indeed by every, nation that can be regarded as capable of forming an intelligent opinion on the subject. The author was content to charm all who heard him; he was too sublime a genius to be influenced by vanity. Yet what has he lost by this? If many have denied his existence, have not many also denied the existence of the Creator of the universe ?
As little is known of Æsop, the great fabulist, as of Homer. The instructive wisdom and beauty of the fables with which
VOL. XVIII.—NO. XXXVI.
his name is associated, are acknowledged by all; but because 'little or nothing is known of the author, some are pleased to maintain that he was but a myth. It is sufficiently evident that Socrates cared nothing for fame; and that his pupil, the divine Plato, was equally indifferent to it, is shown by the fact that he represents himself in his noblest and most eloquent works, only as the reporter of his master's thoughts.
Pythagoras was not merely careless of fame—he always avoided it, and inculcated as a duty on his disciples, that they also would spurn it. Virgil was quite as careless of fame as his master Homer. This is fully proved by the request lie made shortly before his death, that his greatest work should be burned. It was different with Horace and Ovid; both, although of a high order, were intellects of an inferior stamp, compared with the author of the Æneid, and accordingly neither was indifferent to fame.*
Nor have the great minds of modern times been less unmindful of what the world might say. There are many ordinary authors who wrote long before the time of Shakespeare of whom we have full biographies; they have themselves left us abundant particulars of their lives; but scarcely any thing certain is known of the great dramatist. Of those who flourished nearer our own time, suffice it to mention Swift and the author of the Junius Letters. That both were men
* While Virgil gives all the glory to his patron in his fine peroration at the close of his (teorgics, the two minor poets boast of having built themselves everlasting monuments. No authors present more striking contrasts in this respect. Thus Virgil concludes his admirable pastoral, perhaps the best ever written, with all the modesty of a bashful maiden, reminding his reader that while he sang Tityrus in inglorious ease beneath the beechen shade, victorious Cæsar was extending his laws over willing realms:
“Illo Virgilium me tempore dulcis alebat
Parthenope, studiis florentem ignobilis oti;
Tityre, te patulæ cecini sub tegmine fagi."
“Exegi monumentum are perennius,
Regalique situ pyramidum allius, etc. Still more pompous is the glorification of Ovid over his own fame. Just in proportion as he is inferior in genius to Horace does he laud himself more :
“Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignis
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.”
oť a high order of genius none will deny; and it is equally indisputable that both despised fame.
At first sight, this indifference or contempt, on the part of great minds, may seem unaccountable. But none who reflect on what generally constitutes fame will wonder at it, since in nine cases out of ten nothing is more spurious, nothing less reliable. If it was not quite as much the work of the charlatan in the times of Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare, as it is now, it is certain that there were puffers and sycophants at each of those periods, who did not take much pains to examine whether the subjects of their eulogies possessed merit or not; and it is equally certain that many regarded it as a crime, at those times, to speak the truth, especially if the truth placed themselves in a position in which they did not wish to appear.
It is probable that there were not so many of the latter class in former times as there are now, since there were at least ten public instructors who gave their opinions freely and honestly, for every one who does so in our own time. But the old philosophers who performed their duties thus faithfully, fearless of frowns, blows, or even death itself, had, generally, to pay the penalty of their hardihood in one form or other. As for sustaining pecuniary loss to an extent that often deprived them even of the necessaries of life, that was one of the least of the evils which they expected to result to themselves from their highly useful and reformatory though self-imposed duties. We have sufficient evidence that many of them regarded it as a much greater injury to be traduced. It gave Socrates more pain to be accused of conduct of which he was incapable of being guilty, than to be condemned to the hemlock draught. But neither prevented him from denouncing the vicious and dishonest. Accordingly, he might have come down to posterity, not as one of the greatest philosophers that ever lived, but as one of the vilest of mankind, had it not so happened that there were men of genius among his disciples who were capable of vindicating his character, and whose eloquent voice is still heard. Plato and Xenophon not only saved his memory from infamy, but rendered him an object of admiration and affection to all succeeding ages. However, he was but one out of a hundred; it is certainly no exaggeration to say that for this justice done to the memory of Socrates, ninety. nine other philosophers who were benefactors of mankind were branded as the basest of mankind; whereas a much larger number of persons who had no other claim than their impudence to be considered philosophers at all, were lauded to the skies as superior to all others.
It is true that it is only in rare instances that even the names of this class have come down to us; whereas, the truly great have seldom failed to triumph over time, as well as over the malice of those whose vicious conduct, or false dishonest pretensions they denounced. But even when thus successful they have by no means escaped unscathed—like brave warriors who, although they have been victorious in battle, hare received painful wounds in the conflict. This may serve to explain why it is that the greatest thinkers of all ages have, as we have shown, despised fame, and we think it may also be regarded as satisfactory evidence that they were right in doing so.
But of all philosophers no one has been more grossly misrepresented by his contemporaries than Diogenes the Cynic, whose life and character we have chosen as the subject of the present article. We would not by any means introduce the Sinopean to our readers as a model worthy of imitation in all things, however. Even as portrayed by his friends and admirers, there are features in his character which are not to be commended. Perhaps no other philosopher of all antiquity more strikingly illustrates the inferiority of the Pagan to the Christian in his morality as well as in his religion, than Diogenes. But it would be unjust to judge him as a Christian. Even in comparing him with other pagan philosophers we must not be too exacting; if we find that others were better than he in some respects, we must not therefore condemn him.
There are several of the ancient philosophers whose character and teachings we admire ourselves much more than we do • those of Diogenes the Cynic, but since he also did much good in his time, and deserved to be ranked among the benefactors of mankind, his having some faults is no reason why we should not learn what we can from his history, and those of his