JMC : Philosophy of Literature / by Brother Azarias


Rome was a nation of one idea, and that idea was Rome. Her ambition knew no bounds. She fought and conquered and brought the East and the West submissive to her feet. The arm of the sturdy son of the forest gave strength to her ranks. The wealth of the effeminate child of the East flowed into her coffers, and brought with it the luxury and consequent effeminacy that afterwards weakened her. All nations feared her; all courted her protection. They received it; but at the price of their liberty. Her constant intercourse with these nations, and the complexity of relations arising from home and foreign rule, gave rise to a jurisprudence that, to all intents and purposes, is to-day at the basis of the government of every civilized country. In jurisprudence, her genius expanded to the full extent of her greatness. There is its true expression, rather than in her literature, large portions of which are of Hellenic inspiration.

While Rome was still great, there arrived the fulfilment of time, the central fact of all history, towards which the traditions of primitive nations point, and from which all after-events take their march and receive their significancy -- the time which Vergil was said to have felt dawn upon the horizon of events, and of which he is supposed to sing according to his knowledge. The Redeemer of men came upon earth. Henceforth Christianity becomes a visible factor in the world's doings.

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