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- The Emperor, Part 2, Volume 10. - 13/13 -


Three weeks after these events Hadrian was again in Alexandria. He kept aloof from all the festivals instituted in honor of the new god Antinous, and smiled incredulously when he was told that a new star had appeared in the sky, and that an oracle had declared it to be the soul of his lost favorite.

When Plutarch conducted the Emperor and his friends to see the Bacchus Antinous, which Pollux had completed in the clay, Hadrian was deeply struck and wished to know the name of the master who had executed this noble work of art. Not one of his companion's had the courage to speak the name of Pollux in his presence; only Pontius ventured to come forward for his young friend. He related to Hadrian the hapless artist's history and begged him to forgive him. The Emperor nodded his approval, and said:

"For the sake of this lost one he shall be forgiven."

Pollux was brought into his presence, and Hadrian, holding out his hand said as he pressed the sculptor's:

"The Immortals have bereft me of his love and faithfulness, but your art has preserved his beauty for me and for the world--"

Every city in the Empire vied in building temples and erecting statues to the new god, and Pollux, Arsinoe's happy husband, was commissioned to execute statues and busts of Antinous for a hundred towns; but he refused most of the orders, and would send out no work as his own that he had not executed himself on a new conception. His master, Papias, returned to Alexandria, but he was received there by his fellow-artists with such insulting contempt, that in an evil hour he destroyed himself. Teuker lived to be the most famous gem-engraver of his time.

Soon after Selene's martyrdom dame Hannah quitted Besa; the office of Superior of the Deaconesses at Alexandria was intrusted to her, and she exercised it with much blessing till an advanced age. Mary, the deformed girl, remained behind in the Nile-port, which under Hadrian was extended into the magnificent city of Antmoe. There were there two graves from which she could not bear to part.

Four years after Arsinoe's marriage with Pollux, Hadrian called the young sculptor to Rome; he was there to execute the statue of the Emperor in a quadriga. This work was intended to crown and finish his mausoleum constructed by Pontius, and Pollux carried it out in so admirable a manner, that when it was ended, Hadrian said to him with a smile:

"Now you have earned the right to pronounce sentence of death on the works of other masters." Euphorion's son lived in honor and prosperity to see his children, the children of his faithful wife Arsinoe--who was greatly admired by the Tiber-grow up to be worthy citizens. They remained heathen; but the Christian love which Eumenes had taught Paulina's foster-daughter was never forgotten, and she kept a kindly place for it in her heart and in her household. A few months before the young couple left Alexandria, Doris had peacefully gone to her last rest, and her husband died soon after her; the want of his faithful companion was the complaint he succumbed to.

On the shores of the Tiber, Pontius was still the sculptor's friend. Balbilla and her husband gave their corrupt fellow-citizens the example of a worthy, faithful marriage on the old Roman pattern. The poetess's bust had been completed by Pollux in Alexandria, and with all its tresses and little curls, it found favor in Balbilla's eyes.

Verus was to have enjoyed the title of Caesar even during Hadrian's lifetime, but after a long illness he died the first. Lucilla nursed him with unfailing devotion and enjoyed the longed-for monopoly of his attentions through a period of much suffering. It was on their son that in later years the purple devolved.

The predictions of the prefect Titianus were fulfilled, for the Emperor's faults increased with years and the meaner side of his mind and nature came into sharper relief. Titianus and his wife led a retired life by lake Larius, far from the world, and both were baptized before they died. They never pined for the turmoil of a pleasure-seeking world or its dazzling show, for they had learnt to cherish in their own hearts all that is fairest in life.

It was the slave Mastor who brought to Titianus the news of the sovereign's death. Hadrian had given him his freedom before he died and had left him a handsome legacy.

The prefect gave him a piece of land to farm and continued in friendly relations with his Christian neighbor and his pretty daughter, who grew up among her father's co-religionists.

When Titianus had told his wife the melancholy news he added solemnly:

"A great sovereign is dead. The pettinesses which disfigured the man Hadrian will be forgotten by posterity, for the ruler Hadrian was one of those men whom Fate sets in the places they belong to, and who, true to their duty, struggle indefatigably to the end. With wise moderation he was so far master of himself as to bridle his ambition and to defy the blame and prejudice of all the Romans. The hardest, and perhaps the wisest, resolution of his life was to abandon the provinces which it would have exhausted the power of the Empire to retain. He travelled over every portion of his dominion within the limits he himself had set to it, shrinking from neither frost nor heat, and he tried to be as thoroughly acquainted with every portion of it as if the Empire were a small estate he had inherited. His duties as a sovereign forced him to travel, and his love of travel lightened the duty. He was possessed by a real passion to understand and learn everything. Even the Incomprehensible set no limits to his thirst for knowledge, but ever striving to see farther and to dig deeper than is possible to the mind of man, he wasted a great part of his mighty powers in trying to snatch aside the curtain which hides the destinies of the future. No one ever worked at so many secondary occupations as he, and yet no former Emperor ever kept his eye so unerringly fixed on the main task of his life, the consolidation and maintenance of the strength of the state and the improvement and prosperity of its citizens."

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Incomprehensible set no limits to his thirst for knowledge You must admire it, every connoisseur must


The Emperor, Part 2, Volume 10. - 13/13

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