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S 18402

PI inius Ccecil ius Secundus,

Caius.

The Letters of PI i ny the Consul .•

Vol

I [ -II

]

.

Boston,

Greenough & Stebbi ns for Lari< i n,

1809. 332;

280 pp.

M'NA copy.

THE

LETTERS

PLINY'

(1

THE

CONSUL.

'VITH OCCASION.~L RE)IARKS.

-

BY 1VILLLIJ.M MELMOTH, ESQ.

VOL. I.

-+-

BOSTON:

PUBLISH£D BY E. LAR.KIN. No. 47, COR.NHILI.•

••••••••••••

Greenough & Stebbins, Printe1's.

1809.

THE PREFACE.

-

a

PLINY may be considered in these Letters as writing his own memoirs; every epistle is a kind of historical sketch, \vhere- in ,ve have a vie,v of him in some striking attitude, either of active or contemplative life. And if that were his real design in their publication, he coull not, it should seem, have taken a more agreeable, or, perhaps, a more modest method of trans- mitting himself to posterity. To enter, therefore, into a detail concerning him, \vol.dd be only anticipating the author himself, and amusing the reader ,vith a copy, ,vhile the original stands before him. Nothing seems requ isite to be £1rther added to the piece, than just to mark the date. PLINY ,vas born in the reign of NERO,

4

THE

PREF 4.CE.

about the eight hundred and fifteenth year of Rome, and th~sixty-second of the Chris-

tian era.

As to the time of his death, an-

tiquity has given us no information; but it is conjectured, he died either a little

before, or soon after, the decease of that

excellent prince, the admirable TRAJ AN ; that is, about the year of Christ one hun- dred and sixteen. The elegance of this author's manner adds force to the most interesting" at the same time that it enlivens; the most common subjects. But the polite and spirited tum of these letters is by no means their princi- pal recommendation; they receive a much higher value, as they exhibit on.e of the most amiable and exemplary characters in all antiquity. PLINY'S whole life seems to have been employed in the exercise of every generous and social virtue. ''fo for- ward modest merit, to e.ncoura:;e ingenious

-

\'

~aJents, to Vlllalcatc oppresse

,.

·

d

Innocence,

ate some of the glorious purposes to lvhich he devoted his power, his fortune, and his

abilities.

THE

PREFACE.

But how does he rise in our es-

teem and admiration, when we see him ex- erting (with a grace that discovers his humanity as well as his politene~s) the noblest a~ts both of public and private nll",nifif.!ence, not so mllch from the abun-

dance of his wealth, as the lvisdom of his

economy? \Vhat a celebrated ancient has obsenred concemirlg the style ofthe famous Grecian

painter TIMANTHES,

is applicaJ?le to that

of }11. IN Y: "Intelligiturplus semper quam

pingitur;" his meaning is generally much fuller than his expression. This, as it heightens the difficulty of his interpreter's task, so it necessarily g:ves great scope to an objector. But in drawing after these t~xcellent masters of antIquity, the most successful are only, perhaps, the most cx-

(~tlsable; as those ,\tllO have the truest taste

of their works, will least ~xpect tu see the strength and spirit of them fully preserved in a copy. This, however, is not nlCD- tioned as claiming indulgence to any errors

A

2

6

THE

PREF .~CE.

in the present attempt; on the contrary, they are willingly resigned to just correc- tion. A true critic is a kind of censor in the republic of letters; and q,one who wish well to its interests, would desire to suppress or restrain his office. The translator, at least, has received too much advantage in the ~ourse pf this performance, from the ani- madversions of some of the best judges in both languages, not to value that enlighten- ing art, wherever it may be el:ercised ,vith the same accurate and candid spirit.

~

,

"

~-------------------------------------

-~

THE LETTERS ()F PLINY.

BOOK

FIRS'f.

LETTER I.

TO

SEPTITIUS.

YOU have frequently pressed me to nlake

a select collection of my Lette1 4 s, (if, in truth,

there be any which deserve a preference) and

gi,"e them to the public. I have selected them accordingly; not, indeed, in their proper order of

time, for I \vas not compiling a history; lJut just as they presented themselves to my hands. And no,v I 11ave only to wish that you may have no reason to repent of your advice, nor I of my t:·om

pliance: in that case, I may probably inq'uire after

the rest, '\vhich at present lie neglected, and pre-

serve tllose I shall hereafter write.

LETTER II.

TO

ARIANUSII

Farewel!.

8

THE

LETTERS

BOOK I~

which I promised in my former; requesting you, as usual, to revise and correct it. I desire this, the lnore earnestly, as I never, I think, in any. of. my former speeches-, attempted the same style of composition; for I have endeavoured to imitate your old favourite Demosthellcs, and Calvus, ,vho is lately become mine. When I say this, I mean only with.respect to their manner; for, to catch tlleir'sublime sjli1it, is given, alone, to the inspired few. My _subject, indeed, seemed naturally to lead me to this (may I venture" to call it ?) emu- lation; as it ,vas, in ger1eral, of such a nature as demanded all the thunder (Jf eloquence, even to a degree sufficient to have awakened (if it be pos- sible) that int:lolence, in which I havelong reposed. I have not, however, neglected the softer graces of my admired Tully, wherever I could, with pro- , priety, step out of my direct road, to enjoy a more

flowery path: for, it ,vas warmth, not austerity,

at which I aimed. I would not have you imagine, by this, tha~ I am bespeaking your indulgence :

un the contrary, to illduce you to eXf;:rcise the utmost severity of your criticisln~ I will confess, thf')~t neither my friends nor myself are averse from the publication of this piece, if you should join \vith us in giving the same partial vote. rrhc truth is, as I nlU~~ publish something, I wish (and it is the wish, I confess, of indolence) it might be this performance rather than any other, merely because it is already finished. At all cvel1ts, however, something I must publish, and for tnany

reasons; chiefly, because the tracts whicll I have

OF PLI~rY.

9

already sent into the worI(I, thongl. they llave long

since lost all tlleir recommendation from novelty,

are

booksellers (10 not flatter me~ l\rld let them;

since, by that innocent

am told, in request; if, irldeed, the

still, I

deceit, I

aln encouraged

to pursue 1"'.1y st\ldiesc

Farewell:;

LETTER III.

TO C,A\NINUS RUFUS.

HO\V

stp.nds

Comum,·

that favourite

scene of yours and mine? What becomes of the

pleasaIlt villa, the vernal portico, the shady plane-

,rystal canal, so agreeably winding

tree-waik, thf

alonr, its flowery banks, together ,vith the charm-

the

purposes of use and beauty ? What have you to

tell 111e of tIle firm yet soft gestatio,f th~ sunny

bath, the public saloon, the

ing

la,ket

below, ",hien

serves,

at

once,

private dining-room,

and all the elega!'t apal'tments for repose".both

at noon § and night ? Do these possess my fCiend,

and divide his time with pleasillg vicissitude ? Or

• The city wl1ere Pliny was born: it still subsists, and is now called C01:;O, situated upon the lake Larius~ or IIf!g~ di Como, in the duchy of Milan.

t The lake Larius, upon the banks of which this villa was situated.

_ *A piece of ground set apart for the purpose of exercising, either on horseback, or in their vehicles; it was g'~neral1ycon- tiguous to their gardens, and laid out in the form of a cirellS.

§ It 'vas customary among the Romans to slcep in the middle

of the day; and they had apartments for that purpose distinct

€tomtheir bedchambel's.

10

THE LETTERS

l~OOK 1.

do the affairs of the \vorld, as usual, call him frequently from this ag~eeable retreat? If the scene of your enjoy·ments lies \vholly th~re, you are happy: if not, }·ou are la;}der the common error of mankind. But leave, my friend, (for . certainly it is time) the sordid pursuits of life to others, and devote }·ourself, in this calm and undisturbed recess, entirely to pleasures of tile studious kind. Let these employ your idle as lvell as serious ho·urs; let them be, at once, your busint;~s and your amusement; the subjects of

}Tour waking and even sleepirlg thoughts: pro-

duce something that shall be rea!1~7 and for ever

your own

All YOllr other pos5cssions will pass

from one master to another: thi8 alone, \vhen once yours, \vilI remain yours for ever. As I well know the temper and genius of him to whom I arn addressing myself, I must exhort you to think of your ~_bilities as they desel've; do ju.stice

to those excelle'nt talents you possess,

and

the

,vorld-, believe me, will certainly do so too. 'veIl.

Fare

LETTER IV.

TO POMPEIA CELERINA.

YOU might perceive, by my last short let·

ter, I had no occasion for y()~rs, to inform me of

the various conveniencits you enjoy at your sev-

eral villas.

The elegant accommodations \vhich

are to be found at rJarnia,*

Ocriclllum,t

Carso-

• Now called Narni, a city in Ombr;&, in the ducby of Spo-

Icto.

t OtricoJi, in

the same duchy.

BOOK I.

OF PLI~ f.

1I

Ia,t Pernsia,§particularly the pretty bath at Narnia,

I am extremely well acquainted lvith. The fact is,

I have a property in every thing which belongs to

you; and I know of no other difference between your house and my own, than that I am more care-

fully attend~d in the forn,er than the latter.

You

may, perhaps, have occasion to make the same observation in your turn, ,vhenever you shall give me your company here; and I wish for it, not only that you may partake of 11line \vith the same ease and freedom that I do of yours, but to awaken the industry of my domestics, ,vho are grown some- what careless in their attendance upon me. A long course of mild treatment is apt to wear out the impressions of a,ve in servants; whereas, ne,v faces quicken tlleir diligence, and they are gene- rally more inclined to plea::;e tlleir 111aster by atten- tions to his guest, than to t~inlsc!f. Fare\vell.

LETTER V.

TO

VOCONIUS

R()?tIANlTS.

DID you ever sec a m~re al~jf~c4".and r}lcan

r

spirited creature than Regulus has 31)p{'~lred sir the death of Domitian ; during whose reign his conduct ,vas no less infamous, thollgll more con- cealed, than under Nero's? He has l.ately express- ed some apprehensions of my resentmellt: and, jl1deed, he has reason; for I look upon him with the utmost indignatioll. He not only promoted tile prosecution against R~sticus Artllenus, but

t. Carsola, in tile same duchy.

~e

§ Perugia, ill Tuscany.

12

TIlE

LETTERS

BOOK

~.

exulted in his death; insomuch, that he actually

recited and published a libel upon his mt!mory,

wherein he styles him, t"~ stoic'lI IJft~: adding, that " he was atigmllted- by the wllllnd he receiv-

" ed in the cause of Vitellius :" such is the strain

of lus eloquence! He fell so furiously upon the

• The impropriety of this expressioD, in the original, seems to lie in the word 8tigmolum, which Regulus, probably, either cIJined through affectation, or used through ignoranee. It is

a word, at least, which does not ceeur in any author of .11thor- ity: The translator has endeavoured, therefore, to pn5ert'e the same sort of impropriety, lJy using an e:cpreAicm cf the

Ilk--;, ~tnwarranted stamp.

It ~:.observable how careful the Romans V'ere of presej~g the purity of t.heir language. It seem£ even to have lx-en a point which they thought wOrtby the attention of the state it- self; for, we find the CumeaDI not daring to make use of ~e Latin Iaogtblce in their public acts, without having first obtain- ed leave in form:- And Tiberiu&, himself, would Dot ha2ard the word monopolium, in the senate, without makin, an aen for employing a foreign term.t Seneca gives it as a eert~iQ maxim, that whereycr a general &Ise taste in style and expr::s- sion ill'cvaiis, it is an infallible sign of a corruption of mann( rs in that people: a liberty of introducing oblOlet~ words, lr forming new ones, is a mark, be tllinks~ of an equal lice!'tiou 5- ness of the moral kind.* Accordingly, it is o"senel,!J thelC is scarce more than eight or ten iostanecs of new worJa ea 1 be producer. from the most approved Roman writers, in tlle! course of tw~ or three centuries. It is possible, however, L delicacy of this sort may be carri~d too far; and, in fact, ""C

find 8om~ I)f their belt writers complaining of the pO\~erty of

their language notwithstanding, Tully bas ,"el£turcd to assert it was more copious than the Greek.··

c:e

Liv. 1. 40. c.42.

*Ep. 114.

Suet. in Tib. c. 71. II Sanael. BUJ' Ho~.

t

§ Luc,'. t. 33~. ~* D . P'

e

In

I

Quintil. 8. S.

1

8Uv In.Z

I

'

Of'

Plin. Ep. 13, 1. 4.

BOOK

1.

OF

PLIKY.

character of Herennius Senecio, who was capi~uly convicted upon the information of ~Ietius Carus 1

that the latter said to him, one day, Pray, what

hU8ine88 have you'Dlith my dead meT!? Did I ever

i.'lterf~re in th~ affair of Cra3&U8, or Camerillu8 ?

These, you know, were ,-ictims to Regulus, in ~ero's time. For these reasons, he imagines I

am highly exasperated; and, therefore, when he recited his last piece, did not give me an invita-

tion.

dangerous snare he once laid for me, when he and

Rusticus

I were pleading before the centumTiri.·

had desired me to be counsel for ArioniIla, Ti-

mon's wife:

III the course of my defence, I strongly insisted

lll)on a decree which had b~en formerly made by

:ile ,,-orthy Modestus, at that time banished by

Domitian. No\v behold Regulus in his true col ours: " Pra}-," says he, ~ what are YOllr sentiments

Besides, he has not forgotten, it seems, the

Regulus was engaged against her.

., of l\lodestus ?"

You will e~;-;ily judge howex-

tremely hazardous it would have It?-en to ha,-e an-

s,,'cred ir.;. his favour, and how infamou: if the re-

But some guardian power, I am pcrsuad-

,~ersc.

tt A scieet body of men who fOl-med a eourt of judicature,

Their jurisdiction extended

called the centum~iral court.

chieny, if Dot entirely, to 'luestions concerniog ,,-iUs and intes-

tatc estates; for, though Tully, in Lis first book de O,tore, enumerates otder pointl whieh came in question before them,

) et 1);1iscus· is of opinion (and \l'ith gr(::.~probability) that, in latter times, their business was singly confined to the cases

first mentioned. amounted to 180.

• Le

Their numbel", as appeaN by our author,

t

in 'If;·!;.

~

14

THE LETTER~

BOOK

I.

eel, assisted l11e iTi this emergenc? "I would tell ~, }rOl! my sentiments," I stIid, " if that were a mat- ., ter for the consideration of tlle centumviri.,J ~,(iii ile repeated his question. I replied, "It

;, was not customary to examine witnesses to the

" character of a man, after sentence had passed

~, upon him."

He pressed me a tllird time: " I

" do not inlJuir~,';'said he, " 'What you think of Mo-

" delltufs in general; I only aBk your opinion of hia

" loyalty."--" Since you will have my sentiments,

I returned, " I thi11k it illegal e-/}en to a8k

" a qi.{e8tion concerning a jlerson wlzo stand8 con-

,~ then,"

" 'Victed."

This silenced him; and I ,vas univer

sally applauded and congratulated, tt!at, without wounding my character by an advantageous, per-

haps, though ungenerous anSlver, I llad not entan-

gled myself in so insidious a snare. Regulus, conscious of this llDworthy treatment, llas solicited Crecilius Celer, and Fabius Justus, to use their

interest to bring about a reconciliation between

us.

And, lest this should nQt be sufficient, he has

applied also to Spurinna for the same purpose; to

'V:I0(n he came in the humblest Inanner, (for he is the :!lust abject creature living, ,vhere he has any thing to fear) and entreated Ilim to c~11 UpOll me

very early the next morning, and endeavow·, by

any means, to soften my resentment; "for,"

says

he, " I can no longer support myself under tllis

" anxiety of mind."

Accordingly,

I ,vas awak-

ened, the follo,ving day, with a message from Spu- rinna, il1forming me that he \vould wait upon me.

I ~ent ,vord back,

I \vould call upon Ilim j 110\\·"

BOOK

I.

OF

PLINY.

15

e~ri both of us mutually setting out to pay this visit, we met under Livia's portico. He acquaint- ed me with the commission he had received froln Regulus, and interceded for him, as became so worthy a man in behalf of one of a very different character, without greatly pressing the thing. I ought not, I said, to conceal from him the true

state of the case, and after I should have informed

him, I would leave it to himself to consider what answer was proper for me to return. "But, I cannot positivel;-," I added, " determine any thing till Mauricus* (il1ho 'lDaB then in exile). shall re turn, by whose sentiments I think myself obliged ·to be entitely guided in this affair." ~~ few da}~s after, Re<;ulus met me as I was attending \~pon the prretor, and calling me aside, said, he was afraid I deeply resented an expression he had once. made use of, in his reply to me and Satrius Rufus, before the centumviri, to this purpose: Rufu8 and

.that other, 'Who alfecta to rival Tully, and to despi8e

tile eloquence of our agt. I answered, that no\v, indeed, I perceived he spoke it with a sneer, since he owned he meant it so; otherwise it might have passed for a compliment. I was free to own, I said, that I endeavoured to imitate Cicero, and ,vas, by no means, contented with taking my ex- ample from modern eloquence; for I looked I1pon it as a very absurd thing not to copy the best

models of every kind.

continued I, " that. you, who remp.mber so ,veIl

But," how happens it,"

':$ Brothel' to RustiCl1S Arulenus, who had been put to death

~~rJun the information of this Regulus.

16

TilE

LETTP'RS

BOOK

I.

\vhat p~~ed upon tJlis \)~casion, should have for-

gotten that other, when you pusbed me so strongly concerning the !oyalty of Modestus ?" Confounde(} by this unexpected question, pallid as he always is, he turned still paler. After a good deal of

hesitation, he said, it was not at me he aimed; it

\vas only at Modestus.

01)serve no,v, I besec£ll

Y(;U, the imp!a~blc spirit of this fellow, who was !~{)tashamed thus to confess himself capable of ir}sulting the unfortunate. But the reason he gave, in justification of this infamous proceeding, is pleasant. "He W'rot~," said he, " in a certain letter, which \vas read to Domitian, that I was the most execrable of all scoundrels :" and the char- "lcter l\fodestus gave of him was the truth, beyond all manner of controversy. Here, I ~link,I broke

ofT tIle conversation, being desirous to reserve to

lnyself the liberty of acting as I should see proper,

\Vilen Mauricu~ returns.

It is no easy matter, I

well know, to d.estroy Regulus; he is rich, and at the head of a party; there are many with whom l\e bas credit,· and more that are afraid of him:

a passion that will sometimes prevail even beyond

• There seems to b3,",c been a cast of uneommon blackness jn the character of this Jtegulus; otl1crwise the benevolen.t l'liny would scarce have singled him out, as he bas in this and sonlC following letters, for the object of his warmest contempt :&ud io(lignation. Yet, infamous as hc appears to have been,

IIC ,,-as not, it seeDlS, ,,·itltout his flatterers and admirers; an,l

:t contemporary poet frequentJ, reln·csents him as One of the lilost fiDishcd char-deter of the :age, both in eloquence and vir- J. ne; particularly ill the fono,,- iug epigram, occasioned by hie;

'''~'-';'l'~fron) an imnlinellt danger.

;

BOOK

I.

OF

PLINY.

17

friendship itself.

are not so strong, but they may be loosened; and

the popularity of a bad man is nolaore to be de-

But, after all, ties of this sort

Itur ad HercuJej gelidas qlla Tiburia arees, Canaque Bulphureis .I1lhula/umat aquis ;

Rura nemluque sacrum, dilectaqtle jugera .lJl'U8i.~, Signa' 'Vicina quart1.l8 ab urbe lapis:

Bie rums £Iti'Va8 prlZ8taba

PorticUB umbra8 :

,~

net/, quam petie 1uroum Porhem aut:a lle/aa !

,,'\am subieQ eoUaps" ruit, cum mole 8tlb ilia

Ge8tatua bijflgi8 RegulU8 easet equi8.

tiVi,mrum ti11lmt MItra. FfJrtuna querelae, Que par tam magn« I'm erat in:vidi4e. &'·unc et damna ju'Vant; 81mt ipsa pericula tanti:

Stantia non poterant tecta probare Deos. MAR T. Lib. 1. Ep. 13.

'Vhere leads the way to Tybur's shady towers,

And snow-white Albula sulphureous pours,

villa stands, from Rome a little space ; every muse delights to haunt the plact:.

-\.

~nd

Here once a Artie lent her cooling shade;

Alas! how near to impious guilt betrayed !

Sudden it fell; what time the steeds convey

Safe from her nodding walls great Regulus 3,va.r.

To erosh that head, not even Fortune dared,

And the world's general indignation fe:u·~d.

Blest be the ruin, be the danger blest!

The .tanding pile had ne'er the go(ls confcst.

But poets, especially needy ones, sueb as "TC lrnow l\Iartiul was, arc not generally the most fa:thful painters in this ,,-ay ; and of the t,,·o copies of Regulus now before \l!\, there t.an be no doubt ",hieh mnst resembled the original. If antiquity had delivered down to us more of these dra,,'ings of the same per

sons by different bands, the troth of characters might be easier

ascertained, and many of those, which we now view witll hiS,1t admiration, would greatly sink, perhaps, in our esteerr,; :IS "'(~ must ha'·e conceived a very favourable idea of ReS'\11u~, if \\'C

n

2

IS

THE

LETTERS

nOOK

I.-

pended

UpOll tllan he is himself.

Ho,vever (to

repeat it again) I

shall do nothing in this a~3jr

till Mauricu9turns.

He is

a man

of sound

judgment and great sagacity, formed upon long

experience, and who, from his observations on the past, well knows how to judge of the future. I shall consult with him, and think myself justi- fied either in pursuing or dropping this affair, as h~ shall advise. In the meanwhile, I thought '

lowed this account to that friendship which sub-

sists between us, and gives

you don undoubted

right to be informed, not only of all my actions, hllt all my designs.

F~.re,yell.

LETTER. VIr

'fO

CORXELIUS

l

ACITUS.

CERT.l\INLY you ,viiI laugh (and laugh

YOll ll1ay) wilen I tell you, that YOllr old acqllaint-

~lllCC is tllrned sportsman,

lloble boars. \Vhat! (you ,vill say with astonish~

lllcnt) p,liny!-ElJen he. However, I indulged, ~lt the same time, my beloved inactiyity; and,

~rhilst I sat at m}9 nets, you \vould have found me,

and has captured three

110t ,vith my spear, but my pencil and tablet by lny side. I mused and ,vrote, being resolved, if

I returned ,vith my hands empty, at least to come

had never seen his pictul'e but from ~Iartial's pencil. E\"cn liol'ace bimself, we find giving a very different air to his Lol llu~;· from that in vibich he is represented by Patcrculus.t

[Jib

.

.i

Oel. 9,

t

I.ib. ~, 1 (\2.

BOOK

I.

l£.

home \l"ith my memorandums full. Bclie,"e mc this manner of studying is not to be despised :

you cannot conceive how greatly exercise con- tributes to enliven the imagination. There is, besides, something in the solemnity of the venera- ble woods ,,,ith ,vhich one is surrounded, together \vith that profound silence· which is opserved on these occasioDR, that strongly inclines the mind to meditation. For the future, therefore, let me ad- vise you, wllenever you hunt, to take alollg with you your pencil and tablets, as ,veIl as your basket and bottle: for be assured you will find Minerva

as fond of traversing the hills as Diana. ,veIl.

it By thE: circumstance of Biience, here mentioned, as well as by the whole air of tbis ~~!#"'r, it is plain the hunting here recommended was of a Tery different kind from what is prac- tised amongst us. It is probable the wild boars were allured into their nets by some kind of prey, with which they wer~ baited, ,vbilc the sportsman watched at a di8ta~~e; in silence and concealment. Something, at least, of this manner is here plainly implied, and is necessary to be hinted to the English 1'eader, in order to his conceiving the propriety of Pliny's sen- tinlent, ,\\,hich otherwise must seem absurd. This, perhaps,

Fare-

as driving L"esc

animals into toils, by the assistance of hounds, is mentioned by

Vlas their usual method of hunting in summer;

I-Iorace as a winter exercise:

-Czun toOO1lti, anntt8 hibernu8 JO't'i8

1mbres 7I,ivesqtte comparat, Trudit acre8 },inc et hi1,r fnulta cane .Apro8 ill, obstante. plaga8. Epop. H.

-When rain and snows appear,

And ,vintl·Y Jove loud thunders o'er the YC8l'J '

"Tith hounds he drives into the toils,

·fbe foaming boar.

:\Ir. FRA~ClS.

20

THE

LETTERS

LETTER

TO

OCTATIt:S

VII.

RCFCS.

BOOK

I.

SEE to what an exalted station YOlI have raised me ! You have even invested me with a so,·ereignty equal to that which Homer attributes to his mighty Jove:

From Haven's imperial, Jove beanl bis prayer, Part he admiu, and scatters part in air.-

'Tis thus, with a nod or a fro."" I may grant or

reject your petition as I sec proper.

ous, as I am at liberty, I th:~k, to excuse myself

To be seri-

to the Bztici,t especially at rc.qr request, from

being their advocate against a single individual i so, on the other hand, to oppose a whole proTince, which I have long since attached to me by many good offices s and spared no pai-ts to oblige, e~en at the hazard of my own interest, would be acting inconsistently with my bonour, and that uniformity of conduct whic}, I knClw yon admire. I shall steer, therefore, in thi& affair, a middle course,and, of the alternatives which you propose to me, choose that \\·hich ,viII satisfy your judgment, as well as your inclination. F or I do not look 11pon myself obliged to consider so much wh"t you at present desire, as what a man of your worthy character wil! al'l:Jaya approve. 1 hope to be at

• 11-,1

la'i. DL

-

"er.

'-'-0

_)

.

t The people of B:ttiea, a part of SpaiD fompreheni!ing .\0-

dalusia and Grana('a.

BOOK

I.

OF

PLINY.

21

Rome about the 15th of Oct~ber, when we will join our united credit with Gallus, in convincing

In the

mem while, you may assure him ~f my good dis- position towards him :

him of the reasonableness of my

offer.

_--"'L The sire of men and gods, ,,9ith gracious aspect mild, e()mplian~c nods.t

For why should I not continue to qu~f:e Homer's l!'erses, since you will not put it in my l':.'wer to quote any of yours ? which yet I so passionately wish for, that I question whether I could withstand

~ such a bribe, even to plead against myoId clients, the good people of Bztica. I had almost forgot- ten to mention (wh.at, however, is of too much im- portance to be omitted) that I have received the ext:ellent dates you sent me. They are likely to pro,·e very powerful rivals to my favourite figs and morells. Farewell.

LETTER VIII.

TO

POMPEIUS

SATURNINUS.

NOTIIING could be more seasonable than the letter I received frotri you, wherein you de- sire me to communicate to you some of my com- positions: I was at that very time designing to send you one. Your request, therefore, has for- warded my intentions, and freed Dle from every thing that I had to appre!lcIld either fronl ,'our

t IHad. t. , ~lS

ot')

_M

THE

LETTEllS

BOOK

I.

refusal of this trouble, or my scruples to giye it you. Without hesitation, then, I make use of Jocr offer, as you must now take the consequence

But you mnst not ex-

pect from a man of my indolence any thing new. On the contrary·, I am going to e~treat you to

revise again the speech I made to my countrymen,

of it without reluctance.

\v hen

I

dedicated

the

public

library

which

I

founded fJr the~ use. You have a) ready, I re- member, obliged me with some remarks upon

this piece; I now beg of YOll, Lot only to take a

general yiew of the whole, but distinctly to criti- £ise it, with your usw accuracy, in all its parts. When IOU have corrected it, I shall., still be at liberty either to publish (\r suppress it: and the delay, in the mean time, will be attended with ona 6f these alternatiYes; for, while we are deliberat- ing whether it is fit for the public view; a fre- quent revisal will either make it so, or convince

me that it is not.

difficulty with me cODcerning the publicatiol1 of this haranglle, does not arise so much from the composition itself, as from the subject, which has something in it, I fear, that will look like ostenta-

Though, indeed, the principal

tion.

For, be the style evt!~ GO Vbin and unorna"'

mented, yet, as the occasion necessarily led me to speak riot only of the rauniticence of my ancest\lrl,

but of my own; my modesty will be greatly em·

barrassed

this, even when one is led into it, by a plea of ne- cessity! For, if mankind are not very fa,'S)urabl~

to pallcgyric, cycn ,vhcn g-iven us by ot]lers; ho,v

dangerous and slippery situation

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I.

OF PLI~T.

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much more difficult is it tr, reconcile them to it, ~hen it is a tribute which we pay to ourselves or to our ancestors? Honourable actions, though st7ipr;ed of all external advantages, are generally the object of envy, but particularly so, when glory is her attendant; and the wOFld is neT"cr so little disposed to detract from the rectitude of your con- duct, as when it passes unobsen"ed and unapplaud- ed. For these reasons, I freq·lently ask myself, whether I composed this harangue, such as it is, merely from a personal consideration, or with a \iew also to the pilblic ; and I am sensible, that what may be exceedingly expedient and proper in the prosecution oi any affair, may lose an its grace and fitness the moment the business is

completed: for instance, in the case before us,

n9thing could be more to my purpose than to ex-

plain at large the motives of my in!ended OOUDty; for, by this means, I accustomed my mind (0 gen- erous sentiments; grew more enamoured (.\f the

lovely forms by frequent attention to them; and

guarded, at the same time, against that repent- ance, which usually attends a hasty execution of

liberalities not

well

considered.

There arose,

also, a farther advantage from this method, as it fixect.in me a certain habitual contempt of money. For, while mankind seem to be universaUy gov· emed by an innate passion to accumulate wealth;

the

cultivation oi a more generous affection in

my o\vn breast, taught me to emancipate myself fronl the slavery of so predominant a principle :

And I thought my llonest intentiolls would be the

~'HE

LETTERS

BOOK

1.

more meritorious, as tIley should appear to pro- ceed, not from a sudden start of munificence, but from the dictates of cool and deliberate reflection.

I considered, besides, the natllre of my designs ;

I was not engaging myselfto exhibit public games or gladiatorial combats, but to estabJish an annual

fund for the support and education of ingenious

youths. The pleasures of the ::.enses are so far from wanting the oratorial arts to recommend them, that we stand in need of all the powers of

el&quence, to moderate an,l restrain their influ-

ence. But to prevail \vith tl~ose who are capable of the office, to undertake witll cllcerfulncss the disagreeable business- of education; it is necessa-

r)Y to apply, in tIle most artf1.111nanner, not only to

their interest, but their passions. If pllysicians find it expedient to lIse the IDfJst insilluating ad- dress in recommending to their paticllts a ,vllolc- some, tllOUgll, pel'haps, llnple~santregimen; rao,v

Inuch more occas.ion had he to exert all the PO\\"'-

ers of persuasion, ,vho, out of regard to the pllblic \velfare, ,vas endeavourillg to reconcile it to a nlO~t. useful, though not very popular benefaction? par- ticularly, as lny aim ,vas to reconlmend all illsti- tlltioll, calculated solely for tIle benefit of tllose

who were parents, to men, who, at preseni had

110 childrell; and to persuade tIle greater number patielltly to ,vait till tlley sllould be elltitled t. &11 honour, of whicll a fi'w ollly cO\lld ilnmc(liately partake. But as at tllat till1e, when 1. attcDlpted to explaill and ellforcc tile design alld bCllCfit of

Iny

institutiol1,

I

COllsidcred more

tile

gC!lcral

BOOK

I.

OF

PLINY.

-;)

good of my countrymen, than any reputation \vhich

nlight result to myself; so I am apprehensive, if

I should publish this piece, it will seem as if I had

a view rather to my own glory', than to the benefit

of others. I aln very sensible how much nobler it is to place the reward of virtue in the silent a~­

l~robation of onc's own breast, than in the applause of the world. Fame ought to be the consequence, not ~J~emotive of our actiolls; and though it should happen not to attelld the worthy deed, yet is it by no nle~ns tIle less meritorious for having missed the applause it· deserved. But tIle world is apt to suspect, tllat those, who celebrate their own be- neficent acts:, performed them for no other motive

than

Thus, the spleIldour of an action, ,vhich \vould have beell deemed illustrious if related by another,

to

ha,<re

the

pleasure

of

extolling

thel11.

is totally cxtinguislled when it becomes the sub- ject of one's o,vn applause. Such is the disposi-

tion of mankind, if the)· cannot blast the action,

tIley' will censure the \?anity ; and \vhether }TOU do

lvllat does not deserve particular notice, or set forth yourself what does, eitlter way you incur re-

proach. In my O\VD case~ there is a peculiar cir- cumstance that weig)ls much '\vith me. Tl1is

speech was delivered not before a general asse~­

hly of the people of Rome, but the Decurii ;* not

in tIle forllm, but a municipal assembly; I doubt, tllerefore, it ,viII appear inconsistent that I, ,"-ho,

'VIle!l I &poke it, seemed to endeavour to avoid

tic The Dccnrii welte a SOl't of senators in the municipal 01' corp019ate cities of Italy.

c

26

THE

LETTERS

BOOK

I.

popular applause, should now, by publishing this performance, appear to court it: that I, who was so scrupulGus as tlot to admit even those persons to be present \Then I pronounced this discourse, \vho were intele~ted in my benefaction, Jest it might be suspec~.ed I was actuated in this affair by any ambitious \ie,vs; should now seem to so- licit admiration, by f~r\\-l.rdly displaying it to such as have no other cone-ern in DIy munificence, than _the benefit of example. These are the scruples lvhich have occasioned my delaying to give this

piece to the public; but I submit them entirely to your judgment, which I shall ever esteem as a

c;ufficient sanction cf my conduct.

Farewell.

LETTER IX.

TO )IINUTIUS FCSDAX1:S.

\VHEN one considers bo,v the tilDe passes at Rome, one cannot but be· surprised, tIlat, take any single da}·, and it eitbf.l is, or at least seems to be, spent reasonably enoutI1J ; and yet, upon casting up the whole .sum, the amount will appear quite

otherwise.

Ask anyone, hOlY he has been em-

ployed to-day? He will tell }~OU, perhaps, " I have '~ be-cn at the ~eremony of investing the manly

" robe ;iI thia friend invitt!d me to a ,,·edding; that

- The Roman youths, at tIle Hge of se,·cl.tecn, changed tbeir

laahit, and took up the taga ~,irili8, or Dlanly gown;

wbicll occasion they ,,·ere conducted, by tile friends of tile

family, ,,·ith great eercJllony, either into the forum or capitol,

·~nd there iu,9csted ,,·itl1 tbis new robe.

upon

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"desil~ed me to attend the hearing of his cause ;

" cne begged me to be witness to his will; a710- " th~r called me to a consultation." l1hese are

offices, which seem~while one is engaged in them,

~xtremelynecessary; and yet, when, in the silence of retiremeut, we look back upon the many hours thus emplo};l~d, we cannot but condemn them a~ 50icmn impertinences. At SllCh a season one is

apt to reflect, Do'lD much of,.y life has 6een 8ftent

in trijl~8! _~t least, it is a reflection \vbieIl fre- quently occurs to me at Laurentum, after I have been employing myself in my studIes, or even in the necessary care of the animcll machine (for the body must be repaired L~d supported, if we would preserve the mind in all its vigour.) In t~at peaceful retreat, 1 neither hear nor speak an}- thing of wllich I have occasion to repent. I suf-

fer none to repeat to me the whispers of slander;

nor do I censure any man, unless myself, when I -

am dissatisfied with my compositions. live undisturbed by rumour, and free

anxious solicitudes of hope or fear, conversing

only with myself and my bocks.

ine life! pleasing and honourable repose ! l',iore, perhaps, to be desired than employments of any kind! Thou solema sea and solitary shore, best and most retired sc~ne for contemplation, ,vith ho,v mallY noble thoughts have; ye inspired me! Snatc}, then, my friend, as I ha'te, the first occa·· sion of leaving the noisy to\vn, with all its frivo-

lous pursuits, and (levote your days to study, or even resign thcln to indolence; for, as m}· ingc-

There I

frorii tIle

True and genu-

~

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BOOK

I.

nious friend Attilius pleasantly said, " It is better " to have nothing to do, than to be doing nothing."

~'are'vell.

rro A TRIUS CLE)IE~S.

IF ever polite literature flourished rtt ROIne, it certainly flourishes now; and I could give you Inany eminent ins·ta,nces: I will content myself,

llowever, with naming only Euphrates, the phi- losopher. I first became acquainted ,vith this ex- cellent person in my youth, ,vhen I served in the

I had an opportunity of convers-

army of Syria.

illg \vith hinl familiarly, and took some pains to

gain his affection: tllOUgh that, indeed, ,vas noth- ing difficult, for he is exceedingly open to access,

and actuated by those social principles he pro- fesses to teach. I should think myself extremely happy if I had as fully al1swered the expectations he, Jot that time, conceived of me, as he exceeds

every

llaps, I admire his excellencies more now, than I

did tllen-. beCa'llSe I kno,v better ho,v to appreci-

ate them; if I can with truth say, I yet know. For, as none but those ,,,110 arc skilled ill painting, stattlar}~, or the plastic art, can forIn a right judg- lnel1t of any performance in those respective Inodes of representatioll, so a man must, himself, have Dladc great advances in philosophy, before he is capable of forlning a just opinioll of a phi- losopher. However, as fur as I am qualifie(l to

But, per-

thing I had imagined of him.

BOOK

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OF

PLINY.

29

determine, Eup}lrates is possessed of so man}? shining talents, that he cannot fail to strike the most injudicious observer. He reasons with much force, acuteness, and elegance; and fre- quently rises into all the sublime and luxuriant eloquence of Plato. His style is rich and flowing, and, at the same time, so wonderfully captivating, that he forces the reluctant attention of the most un,vilIing hearer. His outward appearance is agreeable to all the rest; a fine stature, a comely aspect, long hair, and a large silver beard: cir- cumstances which, though they may probably be thought trifling and accidental, contribute, how-

ever, to gain him much reverence.

affected negligence in his 11abit; his countenance

is g;a\,e, but nut, austere; and his approach com-

mands respect, without creating awe. Distin- guiA1led (l.S he is by -the sanctity of his manners, he is no less so by his polite and affable address.

He points his eloquence against the vices, not the persons of mankind; and, ,vitllOUt severity, re-

claims tIle wanderer from the patlls of virtue. I-lis exhortations so captivate your attention, that you hang, as it were, upon IllS lips; al1d even af- ter the heart is convinced, the ear still \\-ishcs to listell to the harrnO!1ious reasoner. His falnily' consists of three children, (two of ,vhich are sons)

,vllom lle educates ,vith the utmost care. Hits fatller-ill-law, Pompeills Juliallus, as he greatly uistinguished llilnself in every otller part of his life, so l)articularly in this, that, though lIe ,vas

lliTnself of the higllest rallk in his province, yrt,

There is no

2

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LETTI:ItS

ROOK

:.

amnng Inany considerable competitors for his daughter, he preferred Euph!'3.tes, as first in mer- it, though not in dignity. But to dwell any longer upon the virtues of a man, whose conversaticn 1 am so unfortunate as not to have leisure suffi- Cie!lLY to enjoy; lvhat would it avail but to in-

crease my regret?

in the executionof a very honourable, indeed, but verytroublesome employment; iIi hearing causes, answering petitions, passing accounts, and writ- ing letters ;-but letters, alas ! where genius has no share. I sometimes comp)ai~ tr: Eu;>hrates (for I have leisure at l6ast to complain) of these llopleasing occupations. He endeavo,!~ 'tu !'om- fort me, by :}flirming, that to be engaged in L~e ser-

My time is wholly taken up

'.~ice of the public, to hear and determine causes, to expiain the laws, and administer justice, is a part, and the nub!~st part too, of philosophy;

as it is reducing to practice ~hat her professors teach in speCUlation. It may be so: but that it is as agreeahle as to spend ",·hole day's in attending to his useful convers~tion, even Ilia rhetoric will never be able to convince me. I cannot, there- fore, but strongly recommend it to you, lvho have leisure, the next til,l£' }~OU come to Rome, (and you ,viII come, I dare say, so much the sooner) to take the benefit of his ciegant and refined instruc- tions. I am not, you see, in the nunlbcr of those -:.rho en\')' others the happiness they cannot share +\lclnscivcs ; on the contrary, it 1S a very sensible

plca;,nrc to me~ 'VhCli

I find my friends in pos-

ISOOK J.

OF

PLI.:oiY.

5CssioD of an enjoyment, from which I have the

misfortune to be excluded.

Farewell.

LETTER XI

you.

TO

F ABIVS

JU5T'--S.

IT is long since I received a letter frum You will allege, perhaps, you have noth-

ing to write ; but let me have the satisfaction, at least, of seeing it under your hand, that you have nothing to write, or tell me) in the good old ;tyle, If you ar~ flJeU, I am VJ~II. I shall be contented

, i e\"'en with that; as, indeed, that single circum-

You

may possibly think I jest; but, believe me, I am

stance from G friend includes every thing.

perfectly in earnest.

In !short, all I desire is, to

know ho\\' it is with you ; fot I can no longer re- main in this ignorance without the utmost anxie-

Farewell.

~y.

TO C~,LESTBIUS TIRO.

I H.~VE suffered a most sensible 1088 ; if that

\vord is sufficiently strong to express the misfor- tune which h::.s deprived me of so excellent a man.

Corellius RuftlS is dead! and dead, too, by his own act! a circumstance of great aggra'~ation to m) affiiction ; as that sort of death which we cannot impute either to the course of nature, or the hand

of Providence, is, of all others, the most to be la- nlelltcd. It affords some consolation in the loss

52

THE

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BOOK

I·

of those friends ,vhom disease Sllatclles from us,

that they fall by the general destiny of mankind;

but tho3e, who destro}- tllemselves, leave us under the inconsolable reflection, that they had it in

tlieir po\ver to have li,·ed longer.

'Tis true, Co-

rell!us had many inducements to be fond of life; a blalneless conscience, high reputation) and great dignity of character, together with all the tender

endearments of a wife, a daughter, a grandson,

and sisters; and amidst these considerable pledges of happiness, he had many and faithful friends. Still, it must be owned, he had the highest reason (which, to a wise man, "iiI a!\vays have the force of the strongest obligation) to determine him in this resolution. He had long laboured under so tedious and painful a distemper, that even these blessings, great and valuable as they are, could Dot balance tIle evils he suffered. In his thirty-

have frequently heard him say)

he was seized with the gout in his feet. rrhis dis-

temper he received from his fa!llCr; sin trans- mitted by inheritance. A life of abstinellce and virtue hacl somewhat broken the force of this dis- temper ,vhile he had strength and youth to strug.

third year, (as I

gle \vith it ; as a manly courage

~

supported him

under the increasing weight of it in his old age. I remember, in the t:eign of Donlitian, to have made hiln a visit at his villa, near Rome, '\'here I

found

him

under

tIle utmost tortures; for

the

gout ,vas not Oilly in llis feet, but hacl spread itself

over his ,vllolc bodv.

J

As

soon

as

I

cl1tcrcd his

cllambcr, his serYants ,vithdrew; for it ,vas his

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constant rule, never to suffer them to be present lvhen any very intimate friend was .,ith him: !i.:

even carried it so iar as to dismiss his wife upon such occasions, though worthy of the highest con· fidence. Casting his eyes round the room, "no

-, you knO\V," says he, "why I endure life under

" these cruel agonies ? It is with the hope that I

"may outlive, at least for one day, that villain."

".4~d Oh! ye gods, had you given me sL-ength,

. " as you have given me resolution, I wowd iI:&JJi-

" bly have that pleasure !~~Heaven heard his pray- er; and, having survived that tyrant, and lived

to see liberty restored,he broke through those oth- er great, but now less forcible attachments to the

world, since he could leave it in possession of se-

curity and freedom.

llls malady increased; and,

as it now grew too violent to admit of any relief

from temperance, he reSOltltely determiued to put an end to its unint:errupted attacks, by 3D effort of heroism. He had refused aii sustenance during four days, when his wife Hispulla sent our COBl- mon friend Geminius to me, with the melancholy

news, that he was resolved to die ; and that she aDd

Iler daughter having in yain joined in their most

tender persuasions to divert him from his purpose,

the only hnpe they had now left was my endeav- ours to reconcile him to life. I ran to his house

with the utmost precipitation. As I approached it,

I met a second messenger from Hispulla, who in-

formed me there was nothing to be hoped for, even from me, as he oo,v scclnc(l n10rc inflexible than

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34

THE

ever.in his resolution.

LETTERS

BOOK

I.

\Vhat confirmed their fears

was an expression he made use of to his physician, who pressed him to take some nourishment. "'Tis resolved," he replied; an expression which, as it raised my admiration of his greatness of soul, so it does my grief, for the loss of him. I am every mo- ment reflecting what a valuable friend, \vhat an ex- cellent man, I am deprived of. That he was ar- rived to his sixty-seventh year, which is an age e,·en the strongest seldom exceed, I '~"ell kno\v ;

that he is delivered from a life of continual pain ;

tl.lat he left his family anJ (what he loved even more) his country in a flourishing state: all this I know. Still I cannot forbear to lament him, as if he had been in the prime and vigour of his days ; and I lament him (shall I o\vn my 'veakness?) up- on a private account. For I have lost, oh! my friend, I have lost the witness, the guide, and the governor of my life! And,-to confess to you as I

did to Calvisius, in the first transport of my grief,-

I sadly fear, now that I am no longer undel~ his eye,

I shall not keep so strict a guard over my conduct. Speak comfort to me, not that he 'Was old, he 'Was infirm: all this I know; but by s\lpplying me ,vith some reflections that are uncommOll and resistless, that neither the commerce of the world, nor the precepts of the philosophers, can teach me. For all that I have heard, and all that I have read, oc- cur to me of themsel\'es ; but all these are by far

too weak to support me tInder so severe an affiic

tiOfl. ~"'are'vel)'

J

y

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OF

PLINY.

LETTER

XIII.

TO

SOCIUS

SESECIO.

THIS year has proved extremely fertile

in poetical prodl1ctionS: d.uring the whole month of April, scarce a day has passed wherein \ve have

entertained ,vitI) the recital of some

not been

poem. It is a pleasure to me to find, notwith-

standing there seems to be so little disposition in

the pllblic to attend assemblies of this kind, that

a taste for polite literature still exists, and men of

genius are not discouraged from producing their

performances.

the audience, which is collected upon these oc· casions, come with reluctance, loiter rotlnd the

place of assembly, join in little parties oi conver-

inquire

sation, and are perpetually

his entrance,

,vhether

It is visible, the greater part cf

sending to

tIle

author

had

made

,vhether he has read the preface, or \vhether lle has almost fillished the piece. Then, \vith an air of the greatest indifference, they just look in, and

\vithdra,v again; some by stealth, and others "!Tith

t

z

,

{

less cerenlony.

our ancestors.

It was not tilUS

ill

the titne of

It is reported, that Claudius C·re-

sar, one day heariIlg a lloise near llis palace, in- (luired the occasion; ~nd being informed that NoJlianlls was recitillg a conlposition of his, ,vent immediately to the place, alld agreeably surprised the autllor witll his presence. But now, \vere one to bespeak the cOl11pany eVe)l of tile most idle mall

living, and l'clnind hiln of tile alJpointnlent ever so

36

THE

LETTYRS

BOOK I.

often, or ever so long beforehand; either he would a~oidit under pretence of forgetfulness, or, if not,

,,""ocld look upon it as so much time lost; and for no other reason, perhaps, but because he had not

lost it.

So much the rather do tIJoae allthors de-

serve our encouragement ~d applause, who haTe resolutionto persevere in their studies,and exhibit

their per£ormances~ notwithstanding this fastidi-

For my

part, ! £carce e,-er r~fuse to be present upon such

occasions; though, to say truth, the authors have

genera1lybeen my friends,as,indeed, there are few

It is this has kept me

men of genius who are not.

ousness, or indilFere;:l",e of their audience.

in town longer than I int{~nded.

I am now, how

e\'er, at lib6rty to return into the country, and compose something myse-If; but without any in-

tention of reciting it, lest I should seem to have rather lent than given laY attendance to those i'et:itations of my friends ; fer in these, as in all

other good offices, the obligation ceases the mo-

ment von seem to eXD'!ct a return.

Fare\vell.

-

£

LETTER XI'T.

TO

Jt:NIt:S

)(ACRICt:S.

\·OU desire me to look out a proper hus· band for )·our niece: it is with justice }"ou enjoin nle that office. You were a "'itness to the esteem and affection I bore that great man, her father, and

\,·ith \vhat noble instructions Ile formed my )·outh,

and taug-Ilt me to rleserve those praises he

\\"as