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POETRY. DON'T TELL ME OF TO-MORROW. Don't tell me of to-morrow!
Give me the man who'll say, Whene'er a good deed's to be done,
“ Let's do the deed to-day." We may all command the present,
If we act and never wait ; But repentance is the phantom
Of the past that comes too late.
Don't tell me of to-morrow!
There is much to do to-day, That can never be accomplish'd,
If we throw the hours away.
Every moment has its duty :
Who the future can foretell ? Then why put off till to-morrow,
What to-day can do as well ?
Don't tell me of to-morrow ?
If we look upon the past,
We cannot do at last.
For all on this frail earth;
A moment gives it birth.
“ The Inhabitants (says a French writer) were asleep, when suddenly an impetuous wind arose, and detaching a portion of the cinders which covered the summit of Vesuvius, hurried them in whirlwinds through the air, and within a quarter of an hour entirely overwhelmed Herculaneum, Sorento, Pompeii, and the elder Pliny! Imprudent men! Why did you build Pompeii, at the foot of Vesuvius, on its lava, and on its ashes ? The roofs of the City became fields and orchards ; and one day, while the peasants were digging, something was found to resist. It was a city! It was Pompeii !"
The first indications of its site were observed so early as 1689, but it was not till 1755 that any effectual attempts were made to explore its remains. Few works are more exciting than this disinterment of a buried city. The upper stories of the houses, which appear to have consisted chiefly of wood, were either burned by the red-hot stones ejected from Vesuvius, or broken down by the weight of matter collected on their roofs and floors. With this exception, we see a flourishing city in the very way in which it existed nearly eighteen centuries ago; the buildings as they were originally designed ; the paintings undimmed by the leaden torch of Time ; household furniture left in the confusion of use ; articles of intrinsic value, abandoned in the burry of escape ; and, in some instances, the bones of the inhabitants, bearing sad testimony to the suddenness and completeness of the calamity which overwhelmed them.
One interesting instance of this suddenness is thus pointed out: “I noticed a striking memorial of this mighty interruption in the Forum, opposite the Temple of Jupiter. A new altar of white marble, exquisitely beautiful, and apparently just out of the hands of the sculptor, had been erected there ; an enclosure was building all round; the mortar, just dashed against the side of the wall, was but half spread out ; you saw the long sliding stroke of the trowel about to return and obliterate its own tract—but it never did return: the hand of the workmen were suddenly arrested ; and after the lapse of eighteen hundred years, the whole looks so fresh and new, that you would almost think the mason was only gone to his dinner, and about to come back immediately to smooth the roughness.”
id Pompeii was not completely buried by a single eruption. Eight successive layers have been traced above its ruins. In the intervals the inhabitants must have returned to secure their more valuable property. Sir William Gell mentions that a skeleton of a Pompeian was found, " who apparently for the sake of sixty coins, a small plate, and a saucepan of silver, had remained in his house till the street was already half filled with volcanic matter.” The posi
tion of the skeleton indicated that he had perished apparently in the act of escaping from his window. Other incidents of like character are no less striking. The skeletons of the Roman sentries were found, in more than one instance, at their posts, furnishing a remarkable proof of the stern military discipline of imperial Rome. The skeleton of a priest was found in one of the rooms of the Temple of Isis. Near his remains lay an axe, with which he had been trying to break through the door.
“The ruins of Pompeii (says Mr. Eustace) possess a secret power, that captivates and melts the soul ! In other times, and in other places, one single edifice, a temple, a theatre, a tomb, that had escaped the wreck of ages, would have enchanted us ; nay, an arch, the remnant of a wall, even one solitary column, was beheld with veneration; but to discover a single ancient house, the abode of a Roman in his privacy, the scene of his domestic hours, was an object of fond, but hopeless longing. Here, not a temple, nor a theatre, nor a house, but a whole city rises before us, untouched, unaltered-the very same as it was 1800 years ago, when inhabited by Romans. We range through the same street, tread the very same pavement; behold the same walls ; enter the same doors ; and repose in the same apartments. We are surrounded by the same objects; and out of the same windows we contemplate the same scenery. In the midst of all this, not : voice is heard to disturb the loneliness of the place. Perhaps the whole world does not exhibit so awful a spectacle as Pompeii; and when it was first discovered, when skeletons were found heaped together in the streets and houses, when all the utensils, and even the very bread of the poor suffocated inhabitants were discernible, what a spectacle must this ill-fated city have furnished to a thinking mind! To visit it even now is absolutely to live with the ancient Romans ; and when we see houses, shops, furniture, fountains, streets, carriages, and implements of husbandry, exactly similar to those of the present day, we are apt to conclude, that customs and manners have undergone but little alteration for the last 2000 years."
“I entered (says Dupaty) several of the rooms, and found in one of them a mill, with which the soldiers ground their corn for bread; in another an oil-mill, in which they crushed the olives. The first resembles our coffee-mills ; the second is formed of two mill-stones, which were mored by the hand, in a vast mortar, round an iron centre. In another of these rooms I saw chains still fastened to the leg of a criminal; in a second, heaps of human bones ; and in a third, a golden necklace. What is become of all the inhabitants ? We see nobody in the streets ! All the houses are open! Let us begin by visiting all the houses on the right. This is not a private house; that prodigious number of surgical instruments, shows that it must have been a surgery. These houses are very small; they are exceedingly ill-contrived; all the apartments are detached; but then what neatness, what elegance! In each of them is an inner portico, a mosaic pavement, a square colonnade, and in the middle a cistern, to collect the water falling from the roof. In each of them are hot-baths, and stoves, and everywhere paintings in fresco, in the best taste, and on the most pleasing grounds. Has Raffaelle been here to copy his arabesques ? Suppose we take a step into this temple for a moment, since it is left open. What deity do I perceive in the bottom of that niche? It is the god of Silence, who makes a sign with his finger to command silence, and points to the goddess Isis, in the further recess of the sanctuary. In the front of the porch there are three altars. Here the victims were slaughtered, and the blood, flowing along this gutter into the middle of that basin, fell from thence upon the heads of the priests. This little chamber, near the altar, was undoubtedly the sacristy. The priests purified themselves in this bathingplace. Here is a monument erected to the memory of those who had been benefactors to Isis, that is to say, to her priests. I cannot be far from the country-house of Aufidius ; for there are the gates of the city. Here is the tomb of the family of Diomedes. Let us rest a moment under these porticos, where the philosophers used to sit. I am not mistaken. The country-house of Aufidius is