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and they have fallen, ‘blessed with the best capacity of doing right,' victims to the allurements of the world.
Now the Quakers know all this, for though not of the world, they are still in it, surrounded by its contagions, and disgusted by its frivolity. Hence their charity for the errors of the young, viewing them rather as diseases they could hardly have avoided, than as voluntary acts of evil. People generally do not know what good these kind folks do. How many hearts they fortify; how many souls they save; how many dissolute they reform; what blessings they scatter over the hills of Pennsylvania !
LINES TO A POET.
TRINITY CHURCH.YARD, NEW-YORK.
Oh what a priceless mine of wealth within thee hoarded lies!
Sipping a cup, whose waters were as 'Marah to the soul,'
Thinking how many a brow smiled o'er a heart all dead and cold,
LUCIUS M. P180, FROM ROME, TO FAUSTA, THE DAUGHTER OF GRACCHUS, AT PALMYRA.
BY TRE AUTHOR OF THE PALMYRA LETTERS.
The record which follows, is by the hand of me, NICHOMACHUS, once the happy servant of the great Queen of Palmyra, than whom the world never saw a queen more illustrious, or a woman adorned with brighter virtues. But my design is not to write her eulogy, or recite the wonderful story of her life. That task requires a stronger and a more impartial hand than mine. The life of Zenobia by Nichomachus, would be the portrait of a mother and a divinity, drawn by the pen of a child and a worshipper.
My object is a humbler, but perhaps also a more useful one. It is to collect and arrange, in their proper order, such of the letters of the most noble Lucius Mannis Piso, as shall throw most light upon bis character and times, supplying all defects of incident, and filling up all chasms that may occur, out of the knowledge which, more exactly than any one else, I have been able to gather concerning all that relates to the distinguished family of the Pisos, after its connection with the more distinguished one still, of the Queen of Palmyra.
It is in this manner that I propose to amuse the few remaining
years of a green old age, not without hope both to amuse and benefit others also. This is a labor, as those will discover who read not unsuitable to one who stands trembling on the verge of life, and whom a single rude blast may in a moment consign to the embraces of the universal mother. I will not deny that my chief satisfaction springs from the fact, that in collecting these letters, and binding them together by a connecting narrative, I am engaged in the honorable task of tracing out some of the steps by which the new religion has risen to its present height of power. For whether true or false, neither friend nor foe, neither philosopher nor fool, can refuse to admit the regenerating and genial influences of its so wide reception upon
the Roman character and manners. If not the gift of the gods, it is every way worthy a divine origin; and I cannot but feel myself to be worthily occupied in recording the deeds, the virtues, and the sufferings, of those who put their faith in it, and in times of dan. ger and oppression, stood forth to defend it. Age is slow of belief. The thoughts then cling with a violent pertinacity to the fictions of its youth, once held to be the most sacred realities. But for this I should, I believe, myself long ago have been a Christian. I daily pray to the Supreme Power that my stubborn nature may yet so far yield, that I may be able, with a free and full assent, to call myself a follower of Christ. A Greek by birth, a Palmyrene by choice and adoption, a Roman by necessity — and these are all honorable names — I would yet rather be a Christian than either. Strange that with so strong desires after a greater good, I should remain fixed where I have ever been! Stranger still, seeing I have moved so long in the same sphere with the excellent Piso, the divine Julia — that emanation of God and the God-like Probus ! But there is no riddle so hard for man to read as himself. I sometimes feel most inclined toward the dark fatalism of the Stoics, since it places all things beyond the region of conjecture or doubt.
Yet if I may not be a Christian myself — I do not, however, cease both to hope and pray - I am happy in this, that I am permitted by the Divine Providence to behold, in these the last days of life, the quiet supremacy of a faith which has already added so much to the common happiness, and promises so much more. Having stood in the midst, and looked upon the horrors of two persecutions of the Christians — the first by Aurelian and the last by Diocletian — and which seemed at one moment as if it would accomplish its work, and blot out the very name of Christian — I have no language in which to express the satisfaction with which I sit down beneath the peaceful shadows of a Christian throne, and behold the general security and exulting freedom enjoyed by the many millions throughout the vast empire of the great Constantine. Now, every where around, the Christians are seen, undeterred by any apprehension of violence, with busy hands rëerecting the demolished temples of their pure and spiritual faith; yet not unmindful, in the mean time, of the labor yet to be done, to draw away the remaining multitudes of idolaters from the superstitions which, while they infatuate, degrade and brutalize them. With the zeal of the early apostles of this religion, they are applying themselves, with untiring diligence, to soften and subdue the stony heart of hoary Paganism, receiving but too often, as their only return, VOL. XI.
curses and threats now happily vain - but often again retiring from the assault, leading in glad triumph captive multitudes. Often, as I sit at my window, overlooking, from the southern slope of the Quirinal, the magnificent Temple of the Sun, the proudest monument of Aurelian's reign, do I pause to observe the labors of the artificers who, just as it were beneath the shadow of its columns, are placing the last stones upon the dome of a Christian church. Into that church the worshippers shall enter unmolested; mingling peacefully, as they go and return, with the crowds that throng the more gorgeous temple of the idolaters. Side by side, undisturbed and free, do the Pagans and Christians, Greeks, Jews, and Egyptians, now observe the rites, and offer the worship, of their varying faiihs. This happiness, we owe to the wise and merciful laws of the great Constantine. So was it, long since, in Palmyra, under the benevolent rule of Zenobia. May the time never come, when Christians shall do otherwise than now; when, remembering the wrongs they have received, they shall retaliate torture and death upon the blind adherents of the ancient superstitions !
These Letters, relating chiefly to the connexion of Piso and Julia with Probus and the Christians, now follow.
I am not surprised, Fausta, that you complain of my silence. It were strange indeed if you did not. But as for most of our misdeeds we have excuses ready at hand, so have I for this. First of all, I was not ignorant that, however I might fail you, from your other greater friend you would experience no such neglect; but on the contrary, would be supplied, with sufficient fulness and regularity, with all that could be worth knowing, concerning either our public or private affairs. For her sake, too, I was not unwilling, that at first the burden of this correspondence, if I may so term it, should rest where it has, since it has afforded, I am persuaded, a pleasure, and provided an occupation, that could have been found no where else. Just as a flood of tears brings relief to a bosom laboring under a heavy sorrow, so has this pouring out of herself to you, in frequent letters, served to withdraw her mind from recollections which, dwelt upon as they were at first, would soon have ended that life in which all ours seem bound up.
Then again, if you accept the validity of this excuse, I have another which, as a woman, you will at once allow the force of. You will not deem it a better one than the other, but doubtless as good. It is this : that for a long time I have been engaged in taking possession of my new dwelling upon the Cælian, not far from that of Portia. Of this you may have heard, in the letters which have reached you, but that will not prevent me from describing to you, with more exactness than any other can have done it, the home of your old and fast friend, Lucius Manlius Piso; for I think it adds greatly to the pleasure with which we think of an absent friend, to be able to see, as in a picture, the form, and material, and position, of the house he inhabits, and even the very aspect and furniture of the room in which he is accustomed to pass the most of his time. This to me is a satisfaction greater than you can well conceive, when, in my ruminating hours, which are many, I return to Palmyra, and place myself in the circle with Gracchus, Calpurnius, and yourself. Your palace having now been restored to its former condition, I know where to find you at the morning, noon, and evening hour; the only change you have made in the former arrangements being this : that whereas when I was your guest, your private apartments occupied the eastern wing of the palace, they are now in the western, once mine, and which I used then to maintain were the most agreeable and noble of all. The prospects which its windows afford of the temple, and the distant Palace of the Queen, and of the evening glories of the setting sun, are more than enough to establish its claims to an undoubted superiority; and if to these be added the circumstance, that for so long a time the Roman Piso was their occupant, the case is made out, beyond all peradventure.
But I am describing your palace rather than my own. You must remember my paternal seat on the southern declivity of the hill, and overlooking the course of the Tiber, as it winds away to the sea. Mine is not far from it, but on the northern side of the hill, and thereby possessing a situation more favorable to comfort, during the heats of summer - I loving the city, as you well know, better if any thing during the summer than the winter months. Standing upon almost the highest point of the hill, it commands a wide and beautiful prospect, especially toward the north and east, the eye shooting over the whole expanse of city and suburbs, and then resting upon the purple outline of the distant mountains. Directly before me are the magnificent structures which crown thc Esquiline, conspicuous among which, and indeed eminent over all, are the Baths of Titus. Then, as you will conjecture, the eye takes in the Palatine and Capitol hills, catching, just beyond the last, the swelling dome of the Pantheon, which seems rather to rise out of, and crown, the Flavian Amphitheatre, than its own massy walls. Then, far in the horizon, we just discern the distant summits of the Appenines, broken by Soracte and the nearer hills.
The principal apartments are on the northern side of the palace, opening upon a portico of Corinthian columns, running its entire length, and which would not disgrace Palmyra itself. At the eastern extremity, are the rooms common to the family; in the centre, a spacious hall, in the adorning of which, by every form of art, I have exhausted my knowledge and taste in such things; and at the western extremity, my library, where at this moment I sit, and where I have gathered around me all in letters and art that I most esteem. This room I have decorated for myself and Julia — not for others. Whatever has most endeared itself to our imaginations, our minds, or our hearts, has here its home. The books that have most instructed or amused; the statuary that most raises and delights us ; the pictures on which we most love to dwell; the antiquities that possess most curiosity or value, are here arranged ; and in an order that would satisfy, I believe, even your fastidious taste.
I will not weary you with any more minute account of my new dwelling, leaving that duty to the readier pen of Julia.
Yet I can