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232

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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232 ROMAN DA YS.
At a banquet of intimates of the emperor, to which
only Simon, Sporus the effeminately handsome favorite,
and a few voluptuaries of rank were invited, Sporus,
under influence of the Falernian wine, said to Simon
:
" Great are thy wonderful works. Yet none of them
can be likened with the last miracle of Jesus the Naza-
rene, when he ascended living into heaven. Do that after
him, if thou canst, or own thyself beaten."
Simon answered :
" Such a thing, only the ignorant
can hold to be miraculous. In death, man casts aside
his coarser wrapping, and that which then remains is a
transfigured body, for which the stars have resistless at-
traction. But a wonder in truth, and perhaps the greatest
of all, would it be, if one clothed in his tabernacle of clay,
were to rise to Olympus. That never yet has come to
pass, though the Jews have had much talk of such
things."
" And that is impossible, even for the greatest worker
of miracles," said Nero.
" No, Caesar, for thee and Simon, nothing is impossi-
ble," interrupted the magician from Gitton.
" I take thee at thy word !
" cried the half-drunken
Nero. "Thou shalt make an ascension to heaven, before
mine eyes and the Roman people’s, or thou shalt die!"
" I will with these limbs, before thy face and that of
the all-powerful people of Rome, ascend above the clouds,
to the royal throne of my father Jove, drink Caesar’s hap.
piness in the brimming beakers of Ganymede the cup-
bearer, and afterwards come back to earth, and the god
of earth —the emperor, my friend."
"Good," cried Nero, " that will be a sight to offer the
people, the like of which has never been seen. But soon,
soon
!
"

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