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the hero of the wonderful novel that had so influenced his life had himself known this curious fancy. in the seventh chapter he tells how, crowned with laurel, lest lightning might strike him, he had sat, as tiberius, in a garden at capri, reading the shameful books of elephantis, while dwarfs and peacocks strutted round him and the flute-player mocked the swinger of the censer; and, as caligula, had caroused with the green-shirted jockeys in their stables and supped in an ivory manger with a jewel-frontleted horse; and, as domitian, had wandered through a corridor lined with marble mirrors, looking round with haggard eyes for the reflection of the dagger that was to end his days, and sick with that ennui, that terrible taedium vitae, that comes on those to whom life denies nothing; and had peered through a clear emerald at the red shambles of the circus and then, in a litter of pearl and purple drawn by silver-shod mules, been carried through the street of pomegranates to a house of gold and heard men cry on nero caesar as he passed by; and, as elagabalus, had painted his face with colours, and plied the distaff among the women, and brought the moon from carthage and given her in mystic marriage to the sun.
we can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. the only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
it is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
"that a burnt child loves the fire."