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on account of the weather; and though we often put out to sea, yet we were as often driven back. At length, wearied with the delay, we resolved to prosecute our voyage; and, although the sea seemed inore than usually agitated, we ventured forward.
3 “The gulf of Charybdis, which we approached, seemed ; whirled round in such a manner, as to form a vast holiow, verging to a point in the centre. Proceeding onward, and turning my eyes to Ætna, I saw it cast forth large volumes of smoke, of mountainous sizes, which entirely covered the island, and blotted out the very shores from my view. This together with the dreadful noise, and the sulpburous stene which was strongly perceived, filed me with prehensions : that some more dreadful calamity was impen thg.
4 “The sea itself seemed to wear a very unusual appearance: they who have seen a lake in a violent shower of rain, covered all over with bubbles, will conceive some idea of its agitations. My surprise was still increased, by the calmness and serenity of the weather; not a breeze, not a cloud, which might be supposed to put all nature thus into motion. I therefore warned my companions, thatan earthquake was approaching; and, after some time, making for the shore with. all possible diligence, we landed at Tropæa, happy and thankful for having escaped the threatening dangers of the sea
5 “But our triumphs at land were of short duration; for we had scarcely arrived at the Jesuits' College, in that city, when our ears were stunned with a horrid sound, resembling that of an infinite number of chariots, driven fiercely for ward ; the wheels rattling, and the thongs cracking Soon after this, a most dreadful earthquake ensued; the whole tract upon which we stood scemed to vibrate, as if we were in the scale of a balance that continued wavering. This motion, however, soon grew more violent; and being no longer able to keep my legs, I was thrown prostrate upon the ground. In the mean time, the universal ruin round me, redoubled ny amazement.
6 “The crash of falling houses, the tottering of torvers, and . the groans of the dying, all contributed to raise my terrori and despair. On every side of me, I saw nothing but a scene of ruin; and danger threatening wherever I should fly. I recommended myself to God, as my last great refuge.
7 “At that hour, O how vain was every sublunary happiness! Wealth, honour, empire, wisdom, ali mere useless sound3, and as empty as the bubbles of the deep! Just standing on the threshold of eternity,nothing but God was my pleasure; and the nearer I approached, I only loved him the more. !
e 8“ After some time, however, finding that I remained un. hurt, amidst the general concussion, 1 resolved to venture fo safety; and running as fast as I could, I reached the shore but almost terrified out of my reason. I did not search long here, till I found the boat in which I had landed; and my companions also, whose terrors were even greater than mine Our meeting was not of that kind, where every one is desi rous of telling his own happy escape; it was all silence, and gloomy dread of impending terrors.
9 “I.eaving this seat of desolation, we prosecuted ou voyage along the coast; and the next day came to Rochetta where we fanded, although the earth still continued in vio dent agitations. But we had scarcely arrived at our inn, wher we were once more obliged to return to the boat; and, i about half an hour, we saw the greater part of the town, an the inn at which we had put up, dashed to the ground, bu rying the inhabitants beneath the ruins,
10 “In this manner, proceeding onward in our little ves sel, finding no safety at land, and yet, from the smallness o our boat, having but a very dangerous continuance at sea we at length landed at Lopizium, a castle midway between Tropæa and Euphæmia, the city to which, as I said before we were bound. Here, wherever I turned my eyes, ngth ing but scenes of ruin and horror appeared ; towns and cas tles levelled to the ground; Stromboli, though at sixty mile distance, belching forth flames in an unusual manner, and with a noise which I could distinctly hear.
11 “But my attention was quickly turned from more re ·mote, to contiguous danger. The rumbling sound of an approaching earthquake, which we by this time were grow acquainted with, alarmed us for the consequences; it every moment seemed to grow louder, and to approach neares The place on which we stood now began to shake mos dreadfully : so that being unable to stand, my companio and I caught hold of whatever shrub grew next to us, a supported ourselves in that manner.
12 “ After some time, this violent paroxysm ceasing, we again stood up, in order to prosecute our voyage to Euphæ mia, which lay within sight. In the mean time, while we were preparing for this purpose, I turned my eyes toward the city, but could see only a frightful dark cloud, that seem ied to rest upon the place. This the more surprised us, a 1 he weather was so very serene.
13 “We waited, therefore, till the cloud had passed away then turning to look for the city, it was totally sunk, derful to tell ! nothing but a dismal and putrid
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seen where it stood. We looked about to find some one that could tell us of its sad catastrophe, but could see no person. All was become a melancholy solitude; a scene of hideous desolation.
14 “ Thus proceeding pensively along, in quest of some human being that could give us a little information, we at length saw a boy sitting by the shore, and appearing stupi
fied with terror. Of him, therefore, we inquired concerncing the fate of the city ; but he could not be prevailed on to give us an answer.
15 “We entreated him, with every expression of tenderness, and pity to tell us ; but his senses were quite wrapt up in the contemplation of the danger he had escaped. We of fered him some victuals, but he seemed to loath the sight. We still persisted in our offices of kindness; but he only pointed to the place of the city, like one out of his senses, and then, running up into the woods, was never heard of after. Such was the fate of the city of Euphæmia.
16 “As we continued our melancholy course along the shore, the whole coast, for the space of two hundred miles, presented nothing but the remains of cities; and men scattered, without a habitation, over the fields. Proceeding thus along, we at length ended our distressful voyage by arriving at Naples, after having escaped a thousand dangers both at sea and land.”
Letter from Pliny to GEMINIUS.
U though they are themselves under the abject dominion of every vice, show a kind of malicious resentment against the tirrors of others, and are most severe upon those whom they ahost resemble? yet, surely, a lenity, of disposition, even in Lersons who have the least occasion for clemency themselves, w of all virtues the most becoming.
2 The highest of all characters, in my estimation, is his, twho is as ready to pardon the errors of mankind, as if he were every day guilty of some himself ; and, at the same time, as cautious of committing a fault, as if he never forgave one. It is a rule then which we should, upon all occasions, both private and public, most religiously observe: “to be inexorable to our own failings, while we treat those of the rest of the world with tenderness, not excepting even such as for give none but themselves.”
3 I shall, perhaps, be asked, who it is that has given occama ion to these reflections. Know then that a certain person
lately—but of that when we meet-though; upon second thoughts, not even then ; lest, whilst I condemn and expose his conduct, I shall act counter to that maxim I particularly recommend. Whoever, therefore, and whatever he is, shall remain in silence: for though there may be some use, perhaps, in setting a mark upon the man, for the sake of example, there will be more, however, in sparing him, for the sake of humanity. Farewell.
MELMOTH'S PLINY. . : SECTION III. Letter from Pliny to MARCELLINUS on the death of an amia
ble young woman. T WRITE this under the utmost oppression of sorrow: the 1 youngest daughter of my friend Fundanus, is dead! Never surely was there a more agreeable, and more amiable young person, or one who better deserved to have enjoyed a long, I had almost said, an immortal life! She had all the wisdom of age and discretion of a matron, joined with youthful sweetness and virgin modesty.
2 With what an engaging fondness did she behave to her father! How kindly and respectfully receive his friends! How affectionately treat all those who, in their respective offices, had the care and education of her! She employed much of her time in reading, in which she discovered great strength of judgment; she indulged herself in few diversions, and those with much caution. With what forbearance, with what patience, with what courage, did she endure her last illness!
3 She complied with all the directions of her physicians ; she encouraged her sister, and her father ; and, when all her
strength of body was exhausted, supported herself by the » single vigour of her mind. That, indeed, continued, even
to her last moments, unbroken by the pain of a long illness, or the terrors of approaching death; and it is a reflection which makes the loss of her so much the more to be lamented. A loss infinitely severe! and more severe by the particular conjuncture in which it happened!
4 She was contracted to a most worthy youth; the wed. ding-day was fixed, and we were all invited.-How sad a change from the highest joy, to the deepest sorrow! How shall I express the wound that pierced my heart, when I heard Fundanus himself, (as grief is ever finding out circum- stances to aggravate its affliction,) ordering the money he had
designed to lay out upon clothes and jewels, for her marriage, to be employed in myrrh and spices for her funeral !
5 He is a man of great learning and good sense, who has appled himself, from his earliest youth to the potetest and
most elevated studies : but all the maxiins of fortitude which he has received froin books, or advanced himself, he now absolutely rejects; and every other virtue of his heart gives place to all a parent's tenderness. We shall excuse, we shall even approve his sorrow, when we consider what he has lost. He has lost a daughter who resembled him in his manners, as well as his person; and exactly copied out all her father.
6 If his friend Marcellinus shall think proper to write to him, upon the subject of so reasonable a grief, let me remind him not to use the rougher arguments of consolation, and such as seein to carry a sort of reproof with them; but those of kind and sympathizing humanity.
7 Time will render him more open to the dictates of reason: for as a fresh wound shrinks back from the hand of the surgeon, but by degrees submits to, and even requires the means of its cure; so a mind, under the first impressions of a misfortune, shuns and rejects all arguments of consolation, but at length; if applied with tenderness, calmly and willingly acquiesces in them. Farewell. MELMOTH'S PLINY.
On discretion. T HAVE often thought, if the minds of men were laid open, I we should see but little difference between that of a wise man, and that of a fool. There are infinite reveries, num. berless extravagances, and a succession of vanities, which pass through both. The great difference is, that the first knows how to pick and cull his thoughts for conversation, by suppressing some, and communicating others; whereas the oth er lets them all indifferently fly out in words. This sort of discretion, however, has no place in private conversation between intimate friends. On such occasions, the wisest men very often talk like the weakest; for indeed, talking with a friend, is nothing else than thinking aloud.
o Tully has therefore very justly exposed a precept, delivered by some ancient writers, That a man should live with his enemy in such a manner, as might leave him room to be. come his friend; and with his friend, in such a manner, that, if he became his enemy, it should not be in his power to hurt him. The first part of this rule, which regards our behayjour towards an enemy, is indeed very reasonable, as well as very prudential; but the latter part of it, which regards our behaviour towards a friend, savours more of cunning than of discretion : and would cut a man off from the greatest pleas. ures of life, which are the freedoms of conversation'with a bosom friend. Besides that, when a friend is turned into an