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The following pages are the outcome of studies begun many years
ago in Greece and Italy. While wandering through the famed and
picturesque land of the Hellenes, rejoicing in the countless beauties
of the islands of the Ionian and Ægean seas or scaling the heights
of Helicon and Parnassus, all so redolent of the storied past, I saw
on every side tangible evidence of that marvelous race of men and
women whose matchless achievements have been the delight and
inspiration of the world for nearly three thousand years. But it was
especially while contemplating, from the portico of the Parthenon,
the magnificent vista which there meets the charmed vision, that I
first fully experienced the spell of the favored land of Hellas, so
long the home of beauty and of intellect. The scene before me was
indeed enchanting beyond expression; for, every ruin, every
marble column, every rock had its history, and evoked the most
precious memories of men of godlike thoughts and of
"A thousand glorious actions that may claim
Triumphal laurels and immortal fame."
It was a tranquil and balmy night in midsummer. The sun, leaving
a gorgeous afterglow, had about an hour before disappeared behind
the azure-veiled mountains of Ithaca, where, in the long ago, lived
and loved the hero and the heroine of the incomparable Odyssey.
The full moon, just rising above the plain of Marathon, intensified
the witchery of that memorable spot consecrated by the valor of
patriots battling victoriously against the invading hordes of Asia.
Hard by was the Areopagus, where St. Paul preached to the
"superstitious" Athenians on "The Unknown God." Almost
adjoining it was the Agora, where Socrates was wont to hold
converse with noble and simple on the sublimest questions which
can engage the human mind. Not distant was the site of the
celebrated "Painted Porch,"
[Pg viii]
where Zeno developed his famous system of ethics. In another
quarter were the shady walks of the Lyceum, where Aristotle, "the