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conduct. The youthful bosom, filled with the examples of history, draws excitement from the praises lavished upon those who have preceded us, and pants for fresh fields of distinction. The laurels of Miltiades would not suffer Themistocles to sleep. It is feared that a kindred sleeplessness or unrest consumes the early thoughts of many in our day, and that, in those visions which, it is said, young men shall see, Fame and Glory too often absorb the sight. Let us turn our attention in this direction, and endeavor to ascertain the true nature of these potent attractions, and to what extent they may be justly regarded.
My subject will be FAME AND GLORY. And now, as I undertake this discussion, I feel that I enter upon a theme which has become a commonplace of declama. tion, while it has filled the aspirations of many of the noblest natures that have lived. The essay of the great Roman orator, De Gloria, which, surviving the wreck of antiquity, was lost in the darkness of the Middle Ages, cannot claim exclusive possession of the topic which he had fondly made his own; and a speaker in a Christian age may hope to combine some lights and illustrations which had not dawned even upon the exalted intellect of the righteous Heathen.
Three questions present themselves : First, What, according to common acceptance, are Fame and Glory? Secondly, To what extent, if any, are they proper motives of conduct, or objects of regard ? and, Thirdly, What are True Fame and Glory, and who are the men most worthy of honor ? In the course of our inquiry, we shall naturally be led to pass in review scenes and
characters memorable in history, and to regard from a distance some of the dazzling heights of human ambition.
I. In considering the first question, — What, according to common acceptance, are Fame and Glory? – we must look beyond the words of poets, the eulogies of orators, and the discordant voices of history and philosophy. We must endeavor to observe these nimble-footed phantoms from a nearer point of view, to follow their movements, to note their principles of life and growth, and to direct upon them the light of morality and religion. Thus we may hope to arrive at a clear perception of their true character, and perhaps, in some minds, to disenchant their pernicious power and break their unhappy sorcery.
Fame was portrayed by the poets of antiquity as a monster, with innumerable eyes to see, innumerable ears to hear, and innumerable tongues to declare what she had seen and heard :
Monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui quot sunt corpore plumæ,
Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.* In this character, however, her office was different from that commonly attached to Glory. She was the grand author and circulator of reports, of news, of tidings, good or bad, true or false. Glory seems to have escaped the unpleasing personification of her sister, Fame. These two names were often used in the same sense; but the former more exclusively designated that
* Æneis, Lib. IV. 181.
splendor of renown which was so great an object of heathen ambition. For our present purpose they may be regarded as synonymous, denoting, with different degrees of force, the reputation which is awarded on earth for human conduct.
Glory, in its common acceptance, is, then, a form or expression of public opinion. It is the judgment upon our lives or acts, which is uttered by fellow-mortals. It is the product of their voices. It is the echo of their characters and minds. Its value and significance are, of course, to be measured by the weight which is justly attached to this opinion. If the people from whom it proceeds are enlightened, benevolent, and just, their favor may be a mark of true honor. If, on the other hand, they are ignorant, heartless, or unjust, their praise must be an uncertain index of real merit, varying always in accordance with the elevation, the mediocrity, or the degradation of their intellectual and mural character.
This explanation may enable us to appreciate the different foundations of Fame in different places and times. In early and barbarous periods, homage is exclusively rendered to achievements of physical strength, chiefly in slaying wild beasts, or human beings who are termed enemies. The feasts of Hercules, which fill the fables and mythology of early Greece, were triumphs of brute force. Conqueror of the Nemean lion and the many-headed hydra, — strangler of the giant Antæus, - illustrious scavenger of the Augean stables, - grand abater of the nuisances of the age in which he lived, - he was hailed as a hero, and commemorated as a god. And at a later time honor was still continued
to mere muscular strength of arm. One of the most polite and eminent chiefs at the siege of Troy is distinguished by Homer for the ease with which he hurled a rock, such as could not be lifted even by two strong men in our day :
A ponderous stone bold Hector heaved to throw,
The snowy fleece, he tossed and shook in air.* And this was Glory, in an age which had not yet learned to regard the moral and intellectual nature of man, or that which distinguishes him from the beasts that perish, as the only source of conduct worthy of enlightened renown.
As we enter the polished periods of antiquity, ambition gleams before us in new forms, while much still remains to attest the barbarism that slowly yields to ad. vancing light. At the Olympic games, all Greece joined in competition for the prizes which were awarded to successful charioteers and athletes; and victory here was hailed as a great Glory. Poets did not disdain to sing these achievements; and the odes of Pindar the Theban eagle, whose pride of place is still undisturbed in the Grecian firmament - are squandered in commemoration of these petty or vulgar contests. In Sparta, honor was accorded to the soldier only, who returned with his shield or on it. The heavenly arts of peace yielded a dismal precedence to the-toils of war. To these were dedicated life and sacred education.
* Iliad, XII. 537.
Athens, instinct with the martial spirit, did not fail to cherish the owl of wisdom with the spear of battle, that belonged to her patron goddess. Poetry, eloquence, philosophy, history, art, held divided empire with the passion for arms; so that this city is wreathed with a Glory other and higher than that of Sparta. And yet this brilliant renown, admired through a long succession of ages, must fade and grow dull by the side of triumphs grander and holier than any achieved by force or intellect alone.
Rome slowly learned to recognize labors which were not employed in war. In her stately and imperatorial tongue, virtue — that word of highest import — was often restrained in its signification to vulgar martial courage. Her much prized crowns of honor were all awarded to the successful soldier. The title to a tri. umph, that loftiest object of ambition, was determined by the number of enemies destroyed, of whom at least five thousand must have been slain in battle without any considerable detriment to the Roman power. And her most illustrious characters cherished this barbarous spirit. Cato the Censor, that model Roman, hearing that the Athenian ambassador had captivated the youth of Rome by the charms of philosophy, abruptly dismissed them, expressing, with the spirit of a Mohawk Indian, his apprehension of its corrupting influence on a people whose only profession was war. Even Cicero, in his work of beautiful but checkered morals, where heathenism blends with truth almost Christian, commends to youth the Glory of war, while he congratulates his son Marcus on the great praise which he had obtained from Pompey and the whole army,“ by riding,