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(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 4’
curean pleasures ; his age reproached him, indeed, that he
did not seek this remedy for a dark humor. A humble
and trustful nature would have found relief, if not cure,
in striving after perfection. But Tiberius brooded hope-
less upon his woe.
To plaster as Augustus did the sores of society, and
seek by his own example and general laws to better its
morals, was to him like pouring water into a sieve.
With disgust, he conceived life only as a struggle between
beings unworthy of existence ; and his own position in
the fight, as the most exposed mark for every strong and
selfish will. Upon the discovery of the treachery of Se-
janus, followed—blow upon blow—the discovery that this
his only friend had murdered his only son, and that, too,
in concert with his son’s wife ! And the more merci-
lessly he now applied his defensive system, the more
frightful were the pictures of human baseness that were
unrolled before his sight, and urged him on to wilder out-
breaks. To this came added despair over the judgment
of posterity, which he had called down upon himself;
for he, who so profoundly despised the opinion of the liv-
ing, still set a value on that of races to come. This con-
tradiction is not uncommon—" nomcn erit indelebile nos-
trum :
" the sense of belonging to history, and bringing
damnation upon one’s name from the conscience of man-
kind, confirmed by every age, bends the stiffest neck.
Yet his position he must defend, since fate had willed it
his, even though he felt it to be a glaring contradiction
to offer hecatombs of wretches for the safety of a single
wretch. The longer the strife raged, the deeper he sank
into its billows ; and at last his spiritual being had van-
ished—in hate, revenge, and that instinct of self-preser-
vation which, ruthless, strikes.

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