In the most prosperous portion of Antony's career--for example, during
the period immediately preceding the death of Caesar--he addicted himself
to vicious indulgences of the most open, public, and shameless
character. He had around him a sort of court, formed of jesters,
tumblers, mountebanks, play-actors, and other similar characters of the
lowest and most disreputable class. Many of these companions were
singing and dancing girls, very beautiful, and very highly accomplished
in the arts of their respective professions, but all totally corrupt and
depraved. Public sentiment, even in that age and nation, strongly
condemned this conduct. The people were pagans, it is true, but it is a
mistake to suppose that the formation of a moral sentiment in the
community against such vices as these is a work which Christianity alone
can perform. There is a law of nature, in the form of an instinct
universal in the race, imperiously enjoining that the connection of the
sexes shall consist of the union of one man with one woman, and that
woman his wife, and very sternly prohibiting every other. So that there
has probably never been a community in the world so corrupt, that a man
could practice in it such vices as those of Antony, without not only
violating his own sense of right and wrong, but also bringing upon
himself the general condemnation of those around him.

Still, the world is prone to be very tolerant in respect to the vices of
the great. Such exalted personages as Antony seem to be judged by a
different standard from common men. Even in the countries where those
who occupy high stations of trust or of power are actually selected, for
the purpose of being placed there, by the voices of their fellow-men,
all inquiry into the personal character of a candidate is often
suppressed, such inquiry being condemned as wholly irrelevant and
improper, and they who succeed in attaining to power enjoy immunities in
their elevation which are denied to common men.

But, notwithstanding the influence of Antony's rank and power in
shielding him from public censure, he carried his excesses to such an
extreme that his conduct was very loudly and very generally condemned.
He would spend all the night in carousals, and then, the next day, would
appear in public, staggering in the streets. Sometimes he would enter
the tribunals for the transaction of business when he was so intoxicated
that it would be necessary for friends to come to his assistance to
conduct him away. In some of his journeys in the neighborhood of Rome,
he would take a troop of companions with him of the worst possible
character, and travel with them openly and without shame. There was a
certain actress, named Cytheride, whom he made his companion on one such
occasion. She was borne upon a litter in his train, and he carried about
with him a vast collection of gold and silver plate, and of splendid
table furniture, together with an endless supply of luxurious articles
of food and of wine, to provide for the entertainments and banquets
which he was to celebrate with her on the journey. He would sometimes
stop by the road side, pitch his tents, establish his kitchens, set his
cooks at work to prepare a feast, spread his tables, and make a
sumptuous banquet of the most costly, complete, and ceremonious
character--all to make men wonder at the abundance and perfection of the
means of luxury which he could carry with him wherever he might go. In
fact, he always seemed to feel a special pleasure in doing strange and
extraordinary things in order to excite surprise. Once on a journey he
had lions harnessed to his carts to draw his baggage, in order to create
a sensation.

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