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85

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - The Roman Emperors in Marble - 5. Nero

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THE ROMAN EMPERORS IN MARBLE. 85
Bronzt that breathes—with softer hand be it fashionedby others.
Beings (I deem so) -vith life, must others set freefrom the marble.
Choose with a daintier taste their words, and measure securely
Heaven’s circling course, and of rising stars be prophetic.
Thou O Roman, retnember, art born to counsel the nations—
That is the art which is thine—andpeace to the universe offer :
Give to the dozun-trodden grace, andwrest his arms from the mighty
Nero’s whole life shows that he was incapable of con-
ceiving anything divine, or even anything of a higher
value to life, otherwise than in the form of beauty. Such
expressions, therefore, could only irritate him. They dis-
closed the fact that under a Grecianized exterior, the
Roman still hid a barbarian ; and to drive that barbarian
out—this, Nero made the purpose of his life. He proba-
bly thought that he thus but accomplished that which
two centuries had already attempted. And in this he
displayed an energy he lacked in everything else, an
actual fanaticism for beauty, which was spurred on by his
faith in his own artistic gifts, and his dreams of victory
in games of contest sung in Pindaric songs.
In the Italian halls of art are at least four antiques,
that represent Lucius Domitius in his boyhood and the
first years of his youth. The most interesting are the
two in the Museo nazionale of Naples. A little toga-
draped statue shows him to us at about the age of eight
years. A strange face it is, this statue reveals to us : the
features in their entirety, keep the look of a still younger
childhood, while the brow and eyes have already some-
thing dreamy, that indicates a precocious sensibility.
By the side of this is to be seen a bust of Nero at fifteen
or sixteen. No one ever looked with a cheerier glance
than this youth out into the world. Enjoyment of life

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