Page:The battle of the books - Guthkelch - 1908.djvu/222

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stuff, I presume, may very well be allowed to busy Phalaris's head, which found room in the thoughts of Augustus.

" But why so much ado ? " says our keen observer, " could not the Syracusian have written to Stesichorus, and at the price of some present met with success ? " I agree with the Doctor that a present is sometimes an expeditious method of doing business. I have known several things, in my lifetime, stick for want of it. However here it was improper, for Stesichorus was not only the greatest poet but one of the greatest men in Sicily. His brother Helianax was a law-giver [vo/xo^eTTys], Suidas tells us, and he himself probably in the government of Himera, or at least consulted by 'em in extraordinary cases, as appears by his apologue in Aristotle's Rhetoric ; and the true way of prevailing with such a man to employ his excellent pen, was to offer him, not money, but a subject that deserved it. Some of his brother poets, indeed, were to be tempted this way ; but they were men of mean birth and education, and were to make their fortunes by their pens, and no wonder therefore that they were mercenary.

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