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      37At seven-thirty they came back for the President's reception and dance.


      Must we, then, conclude that Socrates was, after all, nothing but a sort of glorified Greek Paley, whose principal achievement was to present the popular ideas of his time on morals and politics under the form of a rather grovelling utilitarianism; and whose evidences of natural and revealed religion bore much the same relation to Greek mythology as the corresponding lucubrations of the worthy archdeacon bore to Christian theology? Even were this the whole truth, it should be remembered that there was an interval of twenty-three centuries between the two teachers, which ought to be taken due account of in estimating their relative importance. Socrates, with his closely-reasoned, vividly-illustrated ethical125 expositions, had gained a tactical advantage over the vague declamations of Gnomic poetry and the isolated aphorisms of the Seven Sages, comparable to that possessed by Xenophon and his Ten Thousand in dealing with the unwieldy masses of Persian infantry and the undisciplined mountaineers of Carduchia; while his idea of a uniformly beneficent Creator marked a still greater advance on the jealous divinities of Herodotus. On the other hand, as against Hume and Bentham, Paleys pseudo-scientific paraphernalia were like the muskets and cannon of an Asiatic army when confronted by the English conquerors of India. Yet had Socrates done no more than contributed to philosophy the idea just alluded to, his place in the evolution of thought, though honourable, would not have been what it is justly held to beunique.Then, under a portico in front of us, a man began to undress. He threw off his dhoti and his sarong, keeping on his loin-cloth only. With outstretched arms he placed a heavy copper pot full of water on the ground, took it up between[Pg 171] his teeth, and without using his hands tilted his head back till the water poured all over him in a shower, which splashed up from the pavement, sprinkling the spectators in the front row. Next he tied his dhoti round the jar, which he refilled, and fastened the end to his long hair. Then, simply by turning his head, he spun the heavy pot round him. It looked as if it must pull his head off, but he flung it faster and faster till he presently stopped.


      As we approached Jhansi we passed a village whence all the inhabitants had fled. The houses, the little temples, the gods on their pedestals by the dried-up tankseverything was thickly coated with white dust.


      Yes, Monsieur; you put it into the right-hand pocket of your coat.

      Than rightfully to celebrate

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      We find the same theory reproduced and enforced with weighty illustrations by the great historian of that age. It is not known whether Thucydides owed any part of his culture to Protagoras, but the introduction to his history breathes the same spirit as the observations which we have just transcribed. He, too, characterises antiquity as a scene of barbarism, isolation, and lawless violence, particularly remarking that piracy was not then counted a dishonourable profession. He points to the tribes outside Greece, together with the most backward among the Greeks themselves, as representing the low condition from which Athens and her sister states had only emerged within a comparatively recent period. And in the funeral oration which he puts into the mouth of Pericles, the legendary glories of Athens are passed over without the slightest allusion,69 while exclusive prominence is given to her proud position as the intellectual centre of Greece. Evidently a radical change had taken place in mens conceptions since Herodotus wrote. They were learning to despise the mythical glories of their ancestors, to exalt the present at the expense of the past, to fix their attention exclusively on immediate human interests, and, possibly, to anticipate the coming of a loftier civilisation than had as yet been seen.

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      But the ageless order he seesThe funeral had deeply moved me, and full of emotion I approached the edge of the graves. I saw three corpses in each of them, simply wrapped in a clean, white sheet. The only decorations were some green palm branches ... the branches telling of peace.

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      CHAPTER III


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