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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 4 - Chapter 7
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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 4 - Chapter 7 Post by :cashgalore Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1520

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Pausanias, The Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance - Book 4 - Chapter 7


That night, as Agesilaus was leaving the public table at which he supped, Periclides, who was one of the same company, but who had been unusually silent during the entertainment, approached him, and said, "Let us walk towards thy home together; the moon is up, and will betray listeners to our converse should there be any."

"And in default of the moon, thy years, if not yet mine, permit thee a lanthorn, Periclides."

"I have not drunk enough to need it," answered the Chief of the Ephors, with unusual pleasantry; "but as thou art the younger man, I will lean on thine arm, so as to be closer to thine ear."

"Thou hast something secret and grave to say, then?"

Periclides nodded.

As they ascended the rugged acclivity, different groups, equally returning home from the public tables, passed them. Though the sacred festival had given excuse for prolonging the evening meal, and the wine-cup had been replenished beyond the abstemious wont, still each little knot of revellers passed, and dispersed in a sober and decorous quiet which perhaps no other eminent city in Greece could have exhibited; young and old equally grave and noiseless. For the Spartan youth, no fair Hetaerae then opened homes adorned with flowers, and gay with wit, no less than alluring with beauty; but as the streets grew more deserted, there stood in the thick shadow of some angle, or glided furtively by some winding wall, a bridegroom lover, tarrying till all was still, to steal to the arms of the lawful wife, whom for years perhaps he might not openly acknowledge, and carry in triumph to his home.

But not of such young adventurers thought the sage Periclides, though his voice was as low as a lover's "hist!" and his step as stealthy as a bridegroom's tread.

"My friend," said he, "with the faint grey of the dawn there comes to my house a new messenger from the camp, and the tidings he brings change all our decisions. The Festival does not permit us as Ephors to meet in public, or, at least, I think thou wilt agree with me it is more prudent not to do so. All we should do now, should be in strict privacy."

"But hush! from whom the message--Pausanias?"

"No--from Aristides the Athenian."

"And to what effect?"

"The Ionians have revolted from the Spartan hegemony, and ranged themselves under the Athenian flag."

"Gods! what I feared has already come to pass."

"And Aristides writes to me, with whom you remember that he has the hospitable ties, that the Athenians cannot abandon their Ionian allies and kindred who thus appeal to them, and that if Pausanias remain, open war may break out between the two divisions into which the fleet of Hellas is now rent."

"This must not be, for it would be war at sea; we and the Peloponnesians have far the fewer vessels, the less able seamen. Sparta would be conquered." "Rather than Sparta should be conquered, must we not recall her General?"

"I would give all my lands, and sink out of the rank of Equal, that this had not chanced," said Agesilaus, bitterly.

"Hist! hist! not so loud."

"I had hoped we might induce the Regent himself to resign the command, and so have been spared the shame and the pain of an act that affects the hero-blood of our kings. Could not that be done yet?"

"Dost thou think so? Pausanias resign in the midst of a mutiny? Thou canst not know the man."

"Thou art right--impossible. I see no option now. He must be recalled. But the Spartan hegemony is then gone--gone for ever--gone to Athens."

"Not so. Sparta hath many a worthy son beside this too arrogant Heracleid."

"Yes; but where his genius of command?--where his immense renown?--where a man, I say, not in Sparta, but in all Greece, fit to cope with Aristides and Cimon in the camp, with Themistocles in the city of our rivals? If Pausanias fails, who succeeds?"

"Be not deceived. What must be, must; it is but a little time earlier than Necessity would have fixed. Wouldst thou take the command?"

"I? The Gods forbid."

"Then, if thou wilt not, I know but one man."

"And who is he?"


Agesilaus started, and, by the light of the moon, gazed full upon the face of the chief Ephor.

"Thy kinsman, Dorcis? Ah! Periclides, hast thou schemed this from the first?"

Periclides changed colour at finding himself thus abruptly detected, and as abruptly charged; however, he answered with laconic dryness,--

"Friend, did I scheme the revolt of the Ionians? But if thou knowest a better man than Dorcis, speak. Is he not brave?"



"No. Tut! thou art as conscious as I am that thou mightest as well compare the hat on thy brow to the brain it hides as liken the stolid Dorcis to the fiery but profound Heracleid."

"Ay, ay! But there is one merit the hat has which the brow has not--it can do no harm. Shall we send our chiefs to be made worse men by Eastern manners? Dorcis has dull wit, granted; no arts can corrupt it; he may not save the hegemony, but he will return as he went, a Spartan."

"Thou art right again, and a wise man, Periclides. I submit. Thou hast my vote for Dorcis. What else hast thou designed? for I see now that whatever thou designest that wilt thou accomplish; and our meeting on the Archeion is but an idle form."

"Nay, nay," said Periclides, with his austere smile, "thou givest me a wit and a will that I have not. But as chief of the Ephors I watch over the State. And though I design nothing, this I would counsel,--On the day we answer the Ionians, we shall tell them, 'What ye ask, we long since proposed to do.' And Dorcis is already on the seas as successor to Pausanias."

"When will Dorcis leave?" said Agesilaus, curtly.

"If the other Ephors concur, to-morrow night."

"Here we are at my doors, wilt thou not enter?"

"No. I have others yet to see. I knew we should be of the same mind."

Agesilaus made no reply; but as he entered the court-yard of his house, he muttered uneasily,--"And if Lysander is right, and Sparta is too small for Pausanias, do not we bring back a giant who will widen it to his own girth, and rase the old foundations to make room for the buildings he would add?"

* * * * *

(UNFINISHED.) The pages covered by the manuscript of this uncompleted story of "Pausanias" are scarcely more numerous than those which its author has filled with the notes made by him from works consulted with special reference to the subject of it. Those notes (upon Greek and Persian antiquities) are wholly without interest for the general public. They illustrate the author's conscientious industry, but they afford no clue to the plot of his romance. Under the sawdust, however, thus fallen in the industrial process of an imaginative work, unhappily unfinished, I have found two specimens of original composition. They are rough sketches of songs expressly composed for "Pausanias;" and, since they are not included in the foregoing portion of it, I think they may properly be added here. The unrhymed lyrics introduced by my father into some of the opening chapters of this romance appear to have been suggested by some fragments of Mimnermus, and composed about the same time as "The Lost Tales of Miletus." Indeed, one of them has been already printed in that work. The following verses, however, which are rhymed, bear evidence of having been composed at a much earlier period. I know not whether it was my father's intention to discard them altogether, or to alter them materially, or to insert them without alteration in some later portion of the romance. But I print them here precisely as they are written.


* * * * *


_Partially borrowed from Aristophanes' "Peace," v. 1127, etc.

Away, away, with the helm and greaves,
Away with the leeks and cheese!(1)
I have conquer'd my passion for wounds and blows,
And the worst that I wish to the worst of my foes
Is the glory and gain
Of a year's campaign
On a diet of leeks and cheese.

* * * * *

I love to drink by my own warm hearth,
Nourisht with logs from the pine-clad heights,
Which were hewn in the blaze of the summer sun
To treasure his rays for the winter nights
On the hearth where my grandam spun.

I love to drink of the grape I press,
And to drink with a friend of yore;
Quick! bring me a bough from the myrtle tree
Which is budding afresh by Nicander's door.
Tell Nicander himself he must sup with me,
And along with the bough from his myrtle tree
We will circle the lute, in a choral glee
To the goddess of corn and peace.
For Nicander and I were fast friends at school.
Here he comes! We are boys once more.

When the grasshopper chaunts in the bells of thyme
I love to watch if the Lemnian grape(2)
Is donning the purple that decks its prime;
And, as I sit at my porch to see,
With my little one trying to scale my knee,
To join in the grasshopper's chaunt, and sing
To Apollo and Pan from the heart of Spring.(3)
Listen, O list!

Hear ye not, neighbours, the voice of Peace?
"The swallow I hear in the household eaves."
Io Aegien! Peace!
"And the skylark at poise o'er the bended sheaves,"
Io Aegien! Peace!
Here and there, everywhere, hear we Peace,
Hear her, and see her, and clasp her--Peace!
The grasshopper chaunts in the bells of thyme,
And the halcyon is back to her nest in Greece!


_Imitated from the "Knights" of Aristophanes_, v. 505, etc.

Chaunt the fame of the Knights, or in war or in peace,
Chaunt the darlings of Athens,(4) the bulwarks of Greece
Pressing foremost to glory, on wave and on shore,
Where the steed has no footing they win with the oar.(5)

On their bosoms the battle splits, wasting its shock.
If they charge like the whirlwind, they stand like the rock.
Ha! they count not the numbers, they scan not the ground,
When a foe comes in sight on his lances they bound.

Fails a foot in its speed? heed it not. One and all(6)
Spurn the earth that they spring from, and own not a fall.
O the darlings of Athens, the bulwarks of Greece,
Wherefore envy the lovelocks they perfume in peace!

Wherefore scowl if they fondle a quail or a dove,
Or inscribe on a myrtle, the names that they love?
Does Alcides not teach us how valour is mild?
Lo, at rest from his labours he plays with a child.

When the slayer of Python has put down his bow,
By his lute and his lovelocks Apollo we know.
Fear'd, O rowers, those gallants their beauty to spoil
When they sat on your benches, and shared in your toil!

When with laughter they row'd to your cry "Hippopai,"
"On, ye coursers of wood, for the palm wreath, away!"
Did those dainty youths ask you to store in your holds
Or a cask from their crypt or a lamb from their folds?

No, they cried, "We are here both to fight and to fast,
Place us first in the fight, at the board serve us last!
Wheresoever is peril, we knights lead the way,
Wheresoever is hardship, we claim it as pay.

"Call us proud, O Athenians, we know it full well,
And we give you the life we're too haughty to sell."
Hail the stoutest in war, hail the mildest in peace,
Hail the darlings of Athens, the bulwarks of Greece!


(1) (Greek: Turou te kai kromuon). Cheese and onions, the rations furnished to soldiers in campaign.

(2) It ripened earlier than the others. The words of the Chorus are, (Greek: tas Laemnias ampelous ei pepainousin aedae).

(3): Variation--"What a blessing is life in a noon of Spring."

(4) Variation--"The adorners of Athens, the bulwarks of Greece."

(5) Variation--"Keenest racers to glory, on wave or on shore, By the rush of the steed or the stroke of the oar!"

(6) Variation--"Falls there one? never help him! Our knights one and all."

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's Novel: Pausanias, the Spartan: An Unfinished Historical Romance

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