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Pisistratus is acquitted of being the cause of it. Farewell.
SOLON TO PISISTRATUS. · I can readily believe that you are incapable of doing me any injury, if I was to return to Athens : before you was a tyrant I was your friend, and am now no otherwise your enemy
Athenian must be, who is adverse to your usurpation. Whether it is better to be governed by the will of one man, or by the laws of the commonwealth, let
every individual judge for himself; if I could prefer a tyrant, certainly of all tyrants I should prefer Pisistratus. As to my returning to Athens, I do not think it for my honour, after having founded the constitution of my country, upon principles of freedom, to come home upon motives of convenience, and give a scandal to mankind by appearing to acquiesce under that tyranny which you have forcibly assumed, but which I, when voluntarily offered, thought proper to reject. Farewell.
The above letters are to be found in Diogenes Laertius, but the learned reader knows they are generally supposed interpolations of the sophists; it must be owned, however, they are characteristic of the writers, and, though they ought not to be received as facts in history, may be read as a speech in Livy or Guicciardini. The following anecdotes will throw a stronger light upon the character of Pisistratus, and as there is no reason to question their authenticity, they will be unanswerable witnesses to the point in question.
• At an entertainment given by Pisistratus to some of his intimates, Thrasippus, a man of violent passions and inflamed with wine, took some occasion, not recorded, to break out into the most viru
lent abuse and insult: Pisistratus, who had made no reply to his invectives, fearing that the festivity of his guests should be interrupted by the misconduct of Thrasippus, who was now got up and leaving the room, rose from his seat and entreated him to stay, assuring him that nothing he had said should be remembered to his disadvantage; instead of being pacified by an act so gracious and condescending, the brutal drunkard became more furious, and after venting all the foulest words a heated imagination could suggest, with a violence shocking to decency, and loathsome to relate, suddenly turned upon Pisistratus, as he was soliciting him to take his seat at the table, and spate in his face. Upon an insult so intolerable, the whole company rose as one man, and in particular Hippias and Hipparchus, sons of the tyrant, were with difficulty prevented from killing him on the spot. The interposition of Pisistratus saved Thrasippus, and he was suffered to go home without any violence to his person. The next morning brought him to his senses, and he appeared in the presence of Pisistratus with all proper humility, expecting to receive the punishment he merited. What must have been his selfconviction and reproach, when he was again received with the utmost complacency! Penetrated to the heart with recollection of his behaviour, and the unmerited pardon he had met with, he was proceeding to execute that vengeance on himself, which he was conscious he deserved, by rushing on his sword, when Pisistratus again interposed, and seizing his hand stopped the stroke; not content with this, he consoled him with the most soothing expressions, assured him of his most entire forgiveness, and having put him at peace with himsela, reinstated him in his
favour, and received him aç pain into the number of his intimates.'
Though it is scarce possible to find an instance of good-nature in any man's character superior to the above, I am tempted to add the following anecdote, not only as a corroborating evidence, but from the pleasure one naturally takes in hearing or relating facts that make so much to the honour of human nature, and which inspire the heart with a love for mankind.
Thrasimedes, a young Athenian, had the audacity to force a kiss upon the daughter of Pisistratus, as she was walking in public procession at a religious solemnity; transported by the violence of his passion, and considering that he had already committed an unpardonable offence, he seized her person, and forcibly conveying her on board a ship, put to sea with her on his passage to Ægina; the sons of Pisistratus pursued and overtook him, bringing him in person before their father : Thrasimedes, without betraying any marks of fear, immediately declared himself perfectly prepared to meet any punishment Pisistratus should think fit to decree; for, having miscarried in his attempt, and lost the object for which alone he wished to live, all consequences became indifferent; disappointment, not death, was his punishment; and when the greater evil had been suffered, he had little apprehension for the lesser.-Having said this, he waited his sentence : when Pisistratus, after long silence, breaking out into admiration at the resolution of Thrasimedes, instead of punishing his audacity, rewarded his passion by bestowing his daughter upon him in marriage.'
Non jam illud quæro, contrà ot me diligat illa,
Aut, quod non potis est, esse pudica velit;
If the frequency of our divorces is thus to be encouraged because they make sport for the lawyers, it may be wise to use no preventives against the plague or small-pox, because they cut out work for the doctors. Upon this principle a prudent father will breed up his sons civilians, and furnish out a library for his daughters with these edifying volumes: and if once they take kindly to their studies, there is no fear of their bringing custom to their
brothers, and driving a trade, as it is called, for their families. A convenient nest of these trials, neatly bound and gilt at the backs, will serve both as elegant furniture to their closets or bedchambers, and as repositories of science, like treatises on the chances to make them skilful in the
game. are afraid of their husbands looking into their library, they may find out a hundred devices for lettering them at the back; they may call them-Sermons to Married Women-or the Lives of the learned Ladies The Acts of the British Matrons—Commentaries on the Marriage Act - Treatises on Polygamy-or by any other title, which their wit needs no prompting to devise.
Another circumstance of the times, which will greatly aid them in their studies, is, that they have it daily and hourly in their power to resort to the fountain-head for authority, and consult the very ladies themselves, who are the heroines of these interesting narratives. These adepts in the art are to be seen in all places, and spoken to at all hours, without hindrance of business, or knowledge of a bedfellow. As these disfranchised matrons or exwives keep the best company, and make the best figures in all fashionable circles, a scholar may receive instruction without slander, and prostitute her honour without risking her reputation : a husband must be a brute indeed, who can object to this society, and a wife must be a fool indeed who does not profit by it: when a new-married woman receives these privileged ladies in her house, she sees at once the folly of being virtuous, for they are the merriest, the loudest, the best followed, and the most admired of all their sex; they never disgrace their characters by a pusillanimous repentance, they never baulk their pleasures by a stupid reformation, but keep it up with spirit, like felons that die hard at the gal