Resuming the results of the last four sections, we find two separate forms of masculine passion clearly marked in early Hellas--a noble and a base, a spiritual and a sensual. To the distinction between them the Greek conscience was acutely sensitive; and this distinction, in theory at least, subsisted throughout their history. They worshipped Erôs, as they worshipped Aphrodite, under the twofold titles of Ouranios (celestial) and Pandemos (vulgar, or volvivaga); and, while they regarded the one love with the highest approval, as the source of courage and greatness of soul, they never publicly approved the other. It is true, as will appear in the sequel of this essay, that boy-love in its grossest form was tolerated in historic Hellas with an indulgence which it never found in any Christian country, while heroic comradeship remained an ideal hard to realise, and scarcely possible beyond the limits of the strictest Dorian sect. Yet the language of philosophers, historians, poets and orators is unmistakable. All testify alike to the discrimination between vulgar and heroic love in the Greek mind. I purpose to devote a separate section of this inquiry to the investigation of these ethical distinctions. For the present, a
quotation from one of the most eloquent of the later rhetoricians will sufficiently set forth the contrast, which the Greek race never wholly forgot: 1--
"The one love is mad for pleasure; the other loves beauty. The one is an involuntary sickness; the other is a sought enthusiasm. The one tends to the good of the beloved; the other to the ruin of both. The one is virtuous; the other incontinent in all its acts. The one has its end in friendship; the other in hate. The one is freely given; the other is bought and sold. The one brings praise; the other blame. The one is Greek; the other is barbarous. The one is virile; the other effeminate. The one is firm and constant; the other light and variable. The man who loves the one love is a friend of God, a friend of law, fulfilled of modesty, and free of speech. He dares to court his friend in daylight, and rejoices in his love. He wrestles with him in the playground and runs with him in the race, goes afield with him to the hunt, and in battle fights for glory at his side. In his misfortune he suffers, and at his death he dies with him. He needs no gloom of night, no desert place, for this society. The other lover is a foe to heaven, for he is out of tune and criminal; a foe to law, for he transgresses law. Cowardly, despairing, shameless, haunting the dusk, lurking in desert places and secret dens, he would fain be never seen consorting with his friend, but shuns the light of day, and follows after night and darkness, which the shepherd hates, but the thief loves."
And again, in the same dissertation, Maximus Tyrius speaks to like purpose, clothing his precepts in imagery:--
"You see a fair body in bloom and full of promise of fruit. Spoil not, defile not, touch not the blossom. Praise it, as some wayfarer may praise a plant-even so by Phbus' altar have I seen a young palm shooting toward the sun. Refrain from Zeus' and Phbus? tree; wait for the fruit-season, and thou shalt love more righteously."
With the baser form of paiderastia I shall have little to do in this essay. Vice of this kind does not vary to any great extent, whether we observe it in Athens or in Rome, in Florence of the sixteenth or in Paris of the nineteenth century; 2 nor in Hellas was it more noticeable than elsewhere, except for its comparative publicity. The nobler type of masculine love developed by the Greeks is, on the contrary, almost unique 3 in the history of the human race. It is that which more than anything else distinguishes, the Greeks from the barbarians of their own time, from the Romans, and from modern men in all that appertains to the emotions. The immediate subject of the ensuing inquiry
will, therefore, be that mixed form of paiderastia upon which the Greeks prided themselves, which had for its heroic ideal the friendship of Achilles and Patroclus, but which in historic times exhibited a sensuality unknown to Homer. 1 In treating of this unique product of their civilisation I shall use the terms Greek Love, understanding thereby a passionate and enthusiastic attachment subsisting between man and youth, recognised by society and protected by opinion, which, though it was not free from sensuality, did not degenerate into mere licentiousness.
7:1 Max. Tyr., Dissert., ix.
7:2 See Sismondi, vol. ii. p. 324; Symonds, Renaissance in Italy, Age of the Despots, p. 435; Tardieu, Attentats aux Murs, Les Ordures de Paris; Sir R. Burton's Terminal Essay to the "Arabian Nights"; Carlier, Les Deux Prostitutions, etc.
7:3 I say almost, because something of the same sort appeared in Persia at the time of Saadi.
8:1 Plato, in the Phædrus, the Symposium, and the Laws, is decisive on the mixed nature of paiderastia.