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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. 9
1
exploits that once were accomplished by patriotism and
sense of duty. These doctrines, then, were proclaimed
in the palace on the Palatine, and have never, since that
palace fell in ruins, wanted a house over their head.
Seneca’s Stoic lectures had no other effect upon Nero
than to provoke him to silent opposition ; especially as
he remarked that his teacher, under the mantle of phi-
losophy, hid a disposition too eager after this world’s
goods not to engage in conflict with his high principles.
That which in Seneca and others who revered a noble
manner of life, was weakness of will, Nero suspected as
dissimulation. And it was not long before he saw hypo-
crites in all who in word and deed did not embrace the
doctrine of the emancipation of the flesh : he estimated
men’s honesty and trustworthiness by the measure of the
audacity with which they flaunted their vices in the day-
light. The new Dionysus, drawn by the panther span of
desires, would see around him a race of men which had
cast off the last tatters of disguise, and in Menadic na-
kedness followed his car of triumph.
Nero did not know lust for power, in and for itself;
but all the more he knew the value of a position that
promised him a life of joy, and the realization of his plans
for Grecian culture. The burden of government, the
youth of seventeen wished to bear as lightly as possible,
both from want of faith in his own powers, and from de-
sire for pleasanter pursuits. And so, feast followed feast,
on the Palatine, or in the imperial villas, or in the gilded
vessels, the gold-laced and scarlet-clad oarsmen of which,
chosen from the handsomest youth of Asia, amid sounds
of music bore Caesar down the Tiber, or along the shores
of Naples or Bajae, fair as Paradise. In the second year

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