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as imagining they would be new to you, but believing that, in your present discomposure of mind, they might possibly have escaped your attention. Tell me, then, my friend, wherefore do you indulge this excess of sorrow? Reflect, I entreat you, in what manner fortune has dealt with every one of us; that she has deprived us of what ought to be no less dear than our children, and overwhelmed, in one general ruin, our honours, our liberties, and our country. And, after these losses, is it possible that any other should increase our tears? Is it possible that a mind long exercised in calamities so truly severe should not become totally callous and indifferent to every event? But you will tell me, perhaps, that your grief arises not so much on your own account, as on that of Tullia. Yet, surely, you must often, as well as myself, have had oc. casion, in these wretched times, to reflect, that their condition by no means deserves to be regretted, whom death has gently removed from this unhappy scene. What is there, let me ask, in the present circumstances of our country, that could have rendered life greatly desirable to your daughter? What pleasing hopes, what agreeable views, what rational satisfaction could she possibly have proposed to herself, from a more extended period ? Was it in the prospect of conjugal happiness, in the society of some distinguish
ed youth* ? as if, indeed, you could have found a son-in-law, amongst our present set of young men, worthy of being entrusted with the care of your daughter! Or was it in the expectation of being thejoyful mother of a flourishing race, who might possess their patrimony with independence, who might gradually rise through the several dignities of the state, and exert the liberty to which they were born in the service and defence of their friends and country? But is there one amongst all these desirable privileges, of which we were not deprived, before she was in a capacity of transmitting them to her descendants? Yet, after all, you may still alledge, perhaps, that the loss of our children is a severe affliction; and unquestionably it would be so, if it were not a much greater to see them live to endure those indignities which their parents suffer,
I lately 4 This passage seems strongly to intimate, that the mar, riage between Dolabella and Tullia was actually dissolved before her death. It must be acknowledged, however, that a very learned and accurate critic is of opinion, that the affirmative side of this question can no more be proved from these words of Sulpicius, tban it can be inferred from those which he im. mediately adds, an ut ea liberos ex sese pareret, that Tullia died without issue ; which it is well known she did not. But there seems to be this difference between the two instances; that, with respect to the latter, Sulpicius mght very properly put the question he there does, notwithstanding Tullia’s having left a son; for although she had one, she might reasonably indulge the expectation of having more: whereas, with regard to the former, would it not have been highly injurious to her character, if Sulpicius had argued from a supposition which implied that Tullia entertained thoughts of another husband, whilst her marriage with Dolabella was still subsisting? Vid. Cpist. Tunstal. ud vir. crud. Con, Middleton. p. 186.
I lately fell into a reflection, which, as it afforded great relief to the disquietude of my own heart, it may possibly contribute, likewise, to assuage the anguish of yours. In my return out of Asia, as I was sailing from Ægina towards Megara', I amused myself with contemplating the circumjacent countries. Behind me lay Ægina, before me Megara; on my right I saw Piræeus“, and on my left Corinth? These cities, once so flourishing and magnificent, now presented nothing to my view but a sad spectacle of desolation. “Alas, (I said to myself) shall such a " short-lived creature as man complain, when s one of his species falls either by the hand of “ violence, or by the common course of nature; “ whilst in this narrow compass, so many great * and glorious cities, formed for a much longer “ duration, thus lie extended in ruins ? Re“ member, then, oh my heart! the general lot “ to which man is born, and let that thought “suppress thy unreasonable murmurs.” Believe me, I found my mind greatly refreshed and comforted by these reflections. Let me advise you, in the same manner, to represent to yourself, what numbers of our illustrious countrymen have lately been cut off at once, how much the strength of the Roman republic is impaired, and what dreadful devastation has gone forth throughout all its provinces ! And can you, with the impression of these greater calamities upon your mind, be so immoderately afflicted for the loss of a single individual, a poor, little, tender, woman? who, if she had not died at this time, must, in a few fleeting years more, have inevitably undergone that common fate to which she was born.
numbers 5 Ægina, now called Engia, is an island situated in the gulf that runs between the Peloponnesus and Attica, to which it gives its name, Megara was a city near the isthmus of Corinth.
• A celebrated sea-port at a small distance from Athens, now called Port-Lion. . ? A city in the Peloponnesus,
Reasonable, however, as these reflections are, I would call you from them awhile, in order to
lead a In the civil wars.
8 One of the finest and most elegant of all writers, either ancient or modern, has given us some reflections which arose in his mind, in walking amongst the repositories of the dead in Westminster-Abbey; which, as they are not altogether foreign to the subject of this letter, the reader, perhaps, will indulge me in the pleasure of producing, as a sort of corollaries to the sentiments of Sulpicius. “When I look upon " the tombs of the great,” (says the incoinparable Addison) “ every emotion of envy dies within me; when I read the “ epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; 66 when I meet with the grief of parents, upon a tomb-stone, “ my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of “ the parents, themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving “ for those whom we must quickly follow ; when I see kings “ lying by those who deposed them; when I consider rival “ wits, placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the “ world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sor"row and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, “ and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of " the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hun“ dred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all “ of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance toge“ ther.” Spect. Vol. 1. Numb. 26.
lead your thoughts to others more peculiarly suitable to your circumstances and character. Remember, then, that your daughter lived as long as life was worth possessing, that is, till liberty was no more; that she lived to see you in the illustrious offices of prætor, consul, and augur; to be married to some of the noblest youths in Romeo; to be blessed with almost every valuable enjoyment; and, at length, to expire with the republic itself. Tell me, now, what is there in this view of her fate, that could give either her or yourself just reason to complain? In fine, do not forget that you are Cicero; the wise, the philosophical Cicero, who were wont to give advice to others, nor resemble those unskilful empirics, who, at the same time that they pretend to be furnished with remedies for other men's disorders, are altogether incapable of finding a cure for their own. On the contrary, apply to your private use those judicious precepts you have administered to the public. Time necessarily weakens the strongest impressions of sorrow; but it would be a reproach to your character not to anticipate this its certain effect, by the force of your own good sense and judgment. If the dead retain any consciousness of what is here transacted, your daughter's affection, I am
sure, 9 To Piso, Crassipes, and Dolabella ; of each of whom an account has been occasionally given in the preceding observations.