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was love of country which led Homer to sing the exploits of the heroes of Greece before the walls of Troy, and thus to become the first spark in kindling the intellect of that wonderful people. Of Athens, the oldest poetic fragment we have is a sort of hymn, composed in celebration of the assassination of a tyrant. It was the standing dinner song for centuries to the whole people; and it has been said by one who knew human nature well, that if Brutus could have composed as good a one on the death of Cæsar, Rome would never have relapsed under the tyranny of the emperors. Soon after the establishment of the Athenian republic by Solon, Pisistratus a demagogue, by a mean flattery of the people, usurped the government, and made himself the tyrant of Athens. But though a usurper, his government was on the whole mild and liberal, and he was permitted to die in possession of the supreme authority. His sons, Hippias and Hipparchus, attempted to tread in his footsteps, but in vain. They inherited all their father's tyranny with none of his virtues. A conspiracy was formed to rid the city of them, and re-establish a free government. Two
noble youths, Harmodius and Aristogiton, undertook the task, and approaching the tyrants with their swords concealed in myrtle boughs, succeeded in putting one of them to death. Their plan however, on the whole, miscarried for the time, and both were seized and slain. But their blood was the seed of liberty. In three years the other brother was expelled, and Athens again was free. That event was celebrated by the following ode, which became inexpressibly dear to every Athenian heart.
"Verdant myrtle's branchy pride
Shall my thirsty blade entwine;
Such, Aristogiton, thine.
Noblest youths! in islands blest,
Not like recreant idlers dead;
And with godlike Diomed.
While the muse your fame shall tell;
At your feet the tyrant fell.
Equal laws and liberty;
People valiant, firm and free!
It was an ardent patriotism, thus cherished, thus expressed, and thus inculcated, which made Greece what she afterwards became. It breathed that indomitable energy into her armies, before which the millions of Asia fled in dismay on the plains of Marathon and Platea, and made her by turns, small as she appeared upon the map of the earth, alternately the admiration and the terror of the world.
There is, beside the love of country, a sentiment deep rooted within us, of sympathy with our kind, which cannot perhaps, be better denominated than by the name of humanity. The best expression which this sentiment has ever found was by a Roman, himself a poet. "I am a man, and nothing which concerns humanity fails deeply to move my heart.” It is this secret sympathy, which is one of the principal causes of our delight in literature. For what is all literature but the presentation to the human mind of the actions, the condition, the thoughts, feelings, sufferings, the joys and sorrows of our fellow men? It is not so much the gratification of mere curiosity, or the increase of practical knowledge, as it is the pleasure
of sympathy, which leads us to read of the distant and the past. This is the reason of the absorbing interest we always feel in a personal narrative, perhaps above every other species of composition. We feel, that however long ago, or however remote the actor or the sufferer lived, he was our brother. A mother's bosom pillowed his infancy as well
To him, home, and life, and hope were dear. The same sun lighted him, the same earth cherished him, and his prospect was shut in by the same surrounding sky. It is not Robinson Crusoe, the English sailor, that the boy follows to his desolate island, and reads of with such breathless interest through many a glimmering page, it is himself identified with Robinson Crusoe. So great is the power of sympathy, that when that lone adventurer finds himself the only inhabitant of that solitary isle, cut off from the world, and all intercourse with his species, the beating heart of the little reader is almost as much concerned, as if he were there himself; and when, after gazing day after day in vain upon the unchanging expanse of the all-surrounding sea, and listening to the monotony of its sullen roar, a
sail at last gladdens the sight of the exile, the little sympathizer is almost as much relieved as if he, and not his hero, were about to step upon her deck.
This strong syınpathy with our species is the cause of much of the pleasure we experience in reading history. We cannot avoid, even if we would, identifying ourselves with the various actors in the scene. in their enterprises with almost as much ardor as if it were still uncertain whether they should succeed. We fight their battles as bravely as if it were still undecided who should be victorious. This interest is increased just in proportion to the particularity of the narrative, to the minuteness of the delineation of characters, persons, costumes and manners. The beauty and flowing locks of Absalom, profligate and parricide as he was, interest us more powerfully in his fate, in spite of our moral judgments, than we are capable of becoming in a much better man, whose name alone, written in the Sacred Records, presents us only with a dim abstraction. Poetry, which dwells in particulars instead of the generals of history, supplies this defect, and can take a bare event