Imágenes de páginas

huntsman finds in the woods are powerful aids to LETTERS OF PLINY THE YOUNGER.

reflection. Whenever you hunt, remember that (TRANSLATED FOR THE SOU. LIT., MESSENGER. Childowar

- you have my example for carrying a writing tablet

as as ; Compliment ; Hunting, Vode of Life ; Forensic Argument; credit me, you will meet Minerva wandering in the

Plan of Study; Education; Conjugal Affection ; Senate's
Hogors to Pallas; Female Heroism, &c.

mountains as often as Diana. Farewell.


TO FUSCUS. When I have been arguing in court, it has often You ask how I pass the summer days in my happened that the judges, though not prone in Tuscan villa. I wake spontaneously, and generally general to compromise their dignity, have risen and about six o'clock, often before and seldom later. applauded simultaneously, and as it would seem, The window blinds remain closed, for the mind is involuntarily; and often in the senate I have gained invigorated by silence and darkness. Retired from such distinction as most of all flatters my ambition. all business, and absorbed in a book or reverie, the But never did I receive higher gratification than thoughts cease to be diverted by surrounding objects; from what Tacitus lately told me. At the circus, and the eyes, having nothing to engage them, aphe said, he sat near a Roman knight and conversed pear to see whatever the mind is contemplating. with him on various literary topics; after which If engaged with an unfinished composition, I reflect the knight asked, " are you an Italian or a provin- upon it carefully, and with as close attention as if cial ?" " My literary character seems not unknown actually writing or revising; and compose more or to you,” replied Tacitus. “Then you are either less according to the facility or difficulty of the Tacitus or Pliny," the knight rejoined. To find subject. I then call an amanuensis, and admitting our names thus sacred to letters, and familiar by daylight, dictate what is thus elaborated; after reputation to those who never saw us, gave me which he leaves me for a time, but is again sedi inexpressible pleasure. Something like this had for and dismissed again. About 8 or 9 o'clock, as occurred a few days before. Fabius Rufinus, a it may chance, (for I am not very exact in measarman of character and standing, reclined near me ing time,) I repair to the portico, or summer house, at a feast; and next him a villager just come to and again compose and dictate. I then order the Rome, to whom Rufinus pointing me out, asked, carriage, and even during the ride am employed as “Do you see that man?” And then spoke of my when walking or reclining; for I consider the habits of study. “It must be Pliny then,” replied change itself a sufficient recreation without interthe man. Such an incident, to tell the truth, is to mission of study. On returning, I sleep a short me a full recompense of all my labors. The Greek time, and then walk; and next read Greek or Latin orator had a right to be proud when an old wo- in a clear loud tone, to strengthen the chest ratber man of Athens pointed him out with the words, than the voice, though both are improved by the “ There goes Demosthenes ;” and why may not I exercise. Afterwards I walk again, dress, exerexult in a similar mark of fame? Yes, I was de- cise and bathe. At supper, if my wife or a few Jighted, and shall not affect to deny it: nor need I friends only be present, some book is read aloud. fear the charge of vanity, in repeating merely what After supper we have comedies or music. Finally, others say of me, forbearing self-praise ; especially I walk with my household, which reckons some since I write to one who envies no man's good learned men in the number. Thus the evening is name and is a friend to mine. Farewell.

spent in diversified conversation, and the day,

though the longest in the year, is quickly conducted TO TACITUS.

to its close. Sometimes the order of the day is a I give you leave to langh, as doubtless you will, little varied; for if I have meditated or walked when you hear that I, your old acquaintance, Pliny, more than usual, after reading and the siesta are have actually killed three boars, and very fine ones dispatched, I ride, not in the carriage, but on horsethey are. What, you ? you ask. Yes, in truth back, which is a more expeditious because a more and honesty; and that too with little sacrifice of energetic mode of exercising. Sometimes friends philosophic ease, for, to tell the truth, I merely sat from the neighboring towns visit me, and civility near and watched the nets. I had taken with me, claims a part of the day for them; though at other not the boar spear and lance, but a pencil and rimes, when fatigued with study, they afford me a tablet; and, meantime, selecting a subject, wrote seasonable recreation. Occasionally I hunt, but down such ideas as occurred, so that I might return never without a note book, so that I may bring from the sport with a full note book, at least, if home something though I should catch nothing. with empty hands. Now, don't ridicule this mode Farmers in generai, as they seem to think, are of studying; for it is wonderful how the mind is never at leisure; so, let their complaints conimed raised by the excitement and exercise of the body. my literary diligence, which would not be discrediThe quiet solitude and deep silence which the table even 10 a city gentleman. Farewell.


expansion; and if such time be denied, it is no I often argue with a learned and ingenious man fault in the orator, but a grievous one in the judge. who considers brevity as the highest excellence in This opinion is supported by the laws, which give forensic arguments. 1 however think brevity de- abundant time, and recommend, not brier, but cosirable, if the case will admit it; otherwise, it is pious, or at least elaborale arguments, which are a mere prevarication, to omit what ought to be incompatible with brevity except in the most unimspoken, or to pass slightly over what ought to be portant cases. I will add what that excellent amplified and fixed in the mind by reiteration. In master observation has taught me. I have had many cases argument gathers force and weight by some experience as an advocate, a counsellor and progression, and sinks into the mind, as steel pierces a judge. Men's ininds are variously moved, and the body, as much by protracted impulsion as by arguments which seem feeble often produce a great a sudden blow. In this conflict of opinions we iropression. Our judgments, feelings and prejuresort to authorities; and from the Greeks he cites dices are much diversified; and hence, from the Lysias against me, and Cato and the Gracchi from same argument we often draw different conclusions, our own countryman, whose orations are certainly and sometimes the same conclusion, but by different very brief and concise. To Lysias I oppose De- mental processes. And besides, each man is parmosthenes, Æschines, Hyperides and many others: tial to his own original view; and is apt to regard and against Cato and the Gracchi, counterpoise the speaker as a deep logician when he hears him Pollio, Cæsar, Cælins and especially Cicero, whose insisting on what his own sagacity had already longest oration is adjudged his best. And in point discovered. Therefore, all should be given someof fact, every good book, like other good things, is thing which they can recognize as just and regard better for its size. It is admitted that statues, with partial favor. Regulus once said to me in a images, paintings, and in short, the figures of men casual interview, “ You think it necessary to urge and animals in general, if designed with taste, are all that can be said in every case ; but I at once highly recommended by ample dimensions. The perceive the throat and grasp that”—and, indeed, same principle obtains in works of the mind; and he grapples manfully with whatever he seizes, but magnitude alone seems often to give weight and often mistakes his mark. I replied that a man might authority to books. All this and much more I often mistake the knee, or the calf, or the ankle for the urge in support of my opinion; but he contrives to throat. “For myself,” said I, “ since I can not evade it, (being extremely subtle and versatile in always discern the throat, I assault every part sucargument,) and contends that these men, on whose cessively, and in short leave no stone unturned.authority I rely, published their orations at greater As in agriculture, I cultivate vineyards and fields, length than they delivered them. I think dif- as well as rear nurseries of trees; and in fields sow ferently. Many speeches of various orators might not wheat or rice alone, but barley, beans and other be alleged, and among others, Cicero's for Muræna, pulse; so in pleading I sow various seeds broad Varenus, &c., in which the crimes charged are cast, and reap whatever comes up. For the minds indicated by a brief and barren catalogue of titles of the judges are not less obscure and deceptive alone. From these it is evident that he spoke than the qualities of the soil and the changes of the much in court which was omitted in his published weather. Nor have I forgotten what praise the specches. In the oration for Cluentius he said comic poet Eupolis gives that consummate orator that he had argued the cause at large, without Pericles : assistance, in accordance with the ancient custom; “For passion's rapid energy he knew, and in that for Cornelius, that he had spoken four Yet could be gentle and persuasive too; days. Nor can we doubt that in a speech of several

Could calm the heart, diffusing peace around, consecutive days he must have dilated amply what

Or leave a sting to rankle in the wound.” was afterwards reduced so as to be compressed But Pericles himself could never have blendinto one large pamphlet. But a forensic argument ed soft persuasion and soothing gentleness with is not an oration, it might be objected. I know brevity and rapid energy, or with either, (for that some persons think so; but I am well con- these expressions are pot synonymous,) unless vinced, (though perhaps I am wrong,) that a good an ample range had been allowed him. For to law speech may be an indifferent oration, but not soothe and to persuade demand a liberal scope of conversely; for an oration is the exemplar and amplification ; and he may leave a sting in the archetype, as it were, of forensic speaking. Ac- minds of his hearers, who not simply punctures, cordingly, in the best of each kind, we find a thou- but fixes it deeply. Add what another comediant sand extemporaneous strokes of art; and even says of the same Pericles : sometimes in published speeches, as in that against He thundered, lightened and convulsed all Greece:"Verres ; an artist? What artist ?—you say well : it was Polycletus. It follows therefore that pleading

for it is not a short and mutilated speech, but a approaches perfection as it resembles an oration,

* «παντα denique λιθον κινώ.provided sufficient time be allowed to give it due

† Aristophanes.

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Vol. X-77

lofty and majestie oration that thunders, lightens see whether yours or his mode of expression is and throws all into mingled tumult. “Some mea- preferable. If in any respects yours is better, sure, however, should be observed :"—who denies you will have just ground of self-gratulation; bat it ? Yet he as much fails to keep that measure some cause to blush, if yours is inferior in all. who sinks below, as who soars above the proper Nor will it be amiss to select occasionally the most mean,-he who is too succinct, as much as he who celebrated authors, and thus contend with the highis too diffuse. You hear the epithets feeble and est. The effort may be bold, but not improper, sterile as often as turgid and redundant. In the because it is withdrawn from the public view. one case the orator exceeds his subject; in the Yet we see many acquire fame by daring rivalry other he fails to develop it properly : each errs of this sort; and some who can scarcely follow in part, but one from weakness and the other from their authors as humble imitators, presumptuously strength; and the latter is the fault of a noble in- hope to surpass them. Occasionally revise what tellect, though not of a chastened taste. In say- you have written, after you have had time to forget ing this, I do not mean to commend excessive pro- it, and retain, erase, interline and alter as improlixity even in Homer; but rather,

ving judgment dictates. It is a heavy and weari“His words fell deepening like the winter's snow."

some task perhaps, but of benefit proportioned to

the effort it costs, to return with resolution to a disNor yet am I always displeased with

carded essay, and interweave with the old fabrie A story brief indeed, and unadorned,"

new figures harmonizing with the whole. Your although, if forced to choose, I should prefer an first aspiration, I am aware, is forensic eloquence ; oration that fell like snow, that is copious, deepen- but notwithstanding, I would not advise you to culing, continuous, and in short, celestial and divine. tivate exclusively a contentious and argumentative “But many prefer short speeches :"—they do, but style : for the mind is strengthened by exercise in the indolent alone, whose fastidious objections it various departments of thought; as the earth's ferwere ridiculous to respect as reasonable. And if tility is restored by a succession of different crops. you take them into counsel, you will have to pro- I would have you at times compose a historical scribe all speeches, long or short. Thus far you essay; at times practise epistolary writing, and at have my opinion, which I am willing to change if other times compose verses; for at the bar a style you oppose it ; but in that case I beg you will ex- of narration, not historical simply, but almost poetic, plain your reasons for dissenting. I ought, 'tis is often requisite ; and brevity and parity of extrue, to bow to your dictum alone; but in a matter pression abound most in letters. In versification, of such importance, I would rather be vanquished do not attempt a long, continuous poem-for tbat by reason than authority. So then, if you agree requires much time to perfect—but short and piwith me, you can write as short a letter as you quant epigrams, which may aptly employ the interlike; but write nevertheless, for I want my judg- vals of leisure occurring in every occupation. ment confirmed. If you think me wrong, however, Such versicles we call jeux d' esprit;* but trifles then prepare a long and elaborate epistle. A sub- though they are, they sometimes gain as much tle form of bribery, is it not ?—to burthen your celebrity as graver compositions; and therefore let dissent with the labor of a long letter, and let you me assume the poet in urging you to cultivate off with a short one in case you concur with me. poetry. Farewell.

As ductile wax receives whatever form

The artist's plastie fingers would impart,
And Cupid pow, now Venus bright and warm,

Now Mars, and Pallas now displays his art;

As water's sacred stream will flames arrest, You ask what plan of study I think you ought to

Or deck the dewy turf with vernal flowers ;

So should the mind, with every art imprest, pursue in your present agreeable retreat. It is A3 variously display its various powers.t highly useful, and many writers advise it, to trans

* The translator has ventured to use a French plurase, late Greek into Latin, or Latin into Greek; for by because the original word lusus has a half technical measthis exercise you attain a correct and elegant phra-ing, which the English will hardly reach. Bat apology is seology, store of metaphors, and the art of clear scarcely necessary, for Pliny's letters are quite coprousty and forcible statement, as well as the mind's general besprinkled with Greek, a language which, in point of reimprovement in imitating the best models. Be- finement, fashion and foppery, bore nearly the same relation sides, the translator must encounter fairly many

to the Latin that the French does to the English.

+ Subjoined are the original words of this indifferent things which the careless reader escapes. In this epigram : way the understanding and judgment are ripened. Ut laus est ceræ, mollis cedensque sequatur It will also be well to select from books you bave

Si doctos digitos, jussaque fiat opus,

Et nunc informet Marlem, castaunque Minervam, read some theme of which you remember the sub- Nunc Venerem effingat, nunc Veneris puerum ; stance and argument, and write as if in emulation; Utque sacri fontes non sola incendia sistoni, after which, compare your production with your

Sæpe etiam flores vernaque prata juvant :

Sic hominum ingenium fecui ducique per artes author's and examine every sentence critically to Non rigidas docta mobilitate decet,

In this way have the minds of the greatest ora- | board and travelling expenses and other incidental tors, and even of the greatest men, been invigo- charges now paid for tuition in distant towns-all rated or amused-indeed, I may say, both amused which are a heavy tax-and with the money thus and invigorated; for it is wonderful how the intel- saved employ competent teachers ? For myself, I lect is refreshed and quickened by such light exer- have no child, it is true, but for the good of our cises. They give expression to love, hate, resent-community, as for a child, or parent rather, I am ment, pity, compliment-in short, all that belongs willing 10 advance a third of whatever sum you to life, or is canvassed in courts and law-suits. are pleased to contribute. Indeed, I would proThere is also an advantage common to this and all mise the whole, but I fear that such a gift might other versification, that the constraint of rhythm be misapplied to improper purposes, as I have enables us to wanton with delight in unfettered observed has frequently happened when teachers prose, as we most willingly engage in what expe- have been hired at the public expense. For this rience teaches us we can do with greatest facility.- evil there is but one remedy, which is, to leave the

Perhaps I have already written more than you negotiation of the contract to the parents alone, by wished; yet one thing is omitted, for I have not which a deep interest in selecting well is superadded told you what books you ought to read, though that to the conscientious obligation. For men are not you might infer from the directions given for wri- apt to be careless of their own interests, though ting. But remember the adage, “ Read much, but they often neglect those of others; and they will not many books;" and therefore select carefully be induced to see that none but competent precepthe best authors in their respective lines. Which tors are engaged, if the cost is to be defrayed in these are, it is superfluous to point out; and besides, part by them as well as by myself. Therefore dethis letter is already so unconscionably long that liberate and resolve, and assume a liberal spirit the time it urges you to spend in study is consumed from my example, who desire that what I have to in reading it. So, resume your pen, and proceed contribute may be as large as possible. You can with your interrupted labors, or else select some not adopt a measure more honorable and beneficial thing from the topics I have recommended. Fare- to your children, or more grateful to your country. well.

Let them be educated here where they are born, and then they will early learn to love their natal

soil, and to prefer it as a residence before all others. TO TACITUS.

And I trust you may employ professors of such I am glad to hear of your safe return to the city. sort hither from neighboring towns, just as your

celebrity that in a short time young men will reYou have come too at a time when I have special children now repair to complete their education at need of your assistance. I have been staying distant colleges." I have thought it best to comthese few days at Tusculanum, in order to perfect municate all that occurred, from the fountain head, a little work now on hand, fearing that if my dili

so to speak, that you might better know how great gence is remitted before it is finished, I shall hardly

an obligation you will confer by undertaking what be persuaded to resume it. Meantime, that my fit

I enjoin. I commission you therefore, and conof industry may not be interrupted, I beg leave, in

sidering the importance of the subject, I even beg what may be called a precursory letter, to antici

you, that among the many men of letters whom pate a request which will be renewed when I see

your literary fame assembles round you, you will you. But first understand the occasion. A short

seek out preceptors to whom proposals may be time since, while on a visit to my birth-place, a

made ; but with this reservation, that my faith is youth, the son of one of my countrymen,* came to

not to be given to any, since all the details of the pay his respects to me. I inquired whether he was

contract must be left to the parents themselves. pursuing a course of study. He replied that he

They will judge and select : to myself I reserve was. “Where?” I asked. “At Milan." " Why not here?" “ Because we have no teachers here," merely a portion of the trouble and expense. There

fore, if you find a man who relies so far on his acreplied his father, who was present and had himself brought the boy. “And why are there none ?" quirements, let him go with the express understand

ing that he must consider nothing certain but his I asked ;-“ for it deeply concerns you who are

own competent ability. Farewell. fathers,” (and by good fortune many fathers heard me,) " to have your children finish their education here. For, where can a boy have a more agreea

TO VALENS. ble residence than in his native town? or be better restrained from bad habits than under his father's

After speaking, lately, before the judges in Quadeye? or be more cheaply educated than at home? ruple session, I happened to think of the time when, How much better would it be then to retrench the as a young man, I had practised in the same court.

My mind, as usual, proceeded farther in the train *“ Municipis mei filius prætextatus." The prextexta was of reminiscences thus opened. I endeavored to Horn till the age of seventeen.

recal the names of my early associates and competitors; and of all these it appeared that I alone condemned by virtue or religion; and who, in fine, survived and continued at the bar—such changes had been trained up to love me by your judicious had mortal frailty, or fortune's inconstancy produ- influence and advice; for while you seemed to ced. Some of these lawyers are dead, others in regard my mother with the respect and affection of exile ; one has been forced from practice by age a child, you were also in some sort my preceptress and ill health ; another has retired, voluntarily, to in boyhood, and in your partial view considered me enjoy the luxury of ease ; a third commands an as promising then all that my wife thinks I now army; and a fourth is a court favorite, and thereby exhibit in maturer age. Let us both, then, offer exempt from the toils of business. I too have you the most grateful acknowledgments,-I, as known many reverses. I have been promoted, indebted to you for her, and she as recognizing a endangered, and promoted again by professional corresponding obligation, since the selection on studies; been benefitted, injured, and again am both sides was made by yourself. Farewell. benefitted by the friendship of good men. Count the years and the time is short, but seems an age

TO MONTANUS. if reckoned by vicissitudes. From such experience we learn the wholesome lesson never to despair, You will be moved both to wrath and laughter never to presume, since life's revolving orb brings when I have told you what otherwise you would such diversities of fortune. And now, if you ask never conceive. On the Tiburtine road, and within a reason for this letter,—it is my custom to com- the first milestone, (I marked the place well) is a municate all such reflections to you, in order to monument to Pallas with this inscription : In reinstruct you by the same precepts and examples ward of his fidelity and duteous obedience to his which I use for my own self conduct. Farewell. patrons, the Senate decreed him pretorian ornaments

and fifteen millions of sesterces, * —but he, content

with the honor, declined the gold. I have derer TO HISPULLA.

marvelled, it is true, that dignities of state have

oftener been the reward of fortune than of merit ; I know that you have ever been a pattern of but this epitaph is a convincing proof how rain and domestic virtue, requiting your excellent brother's worthless are such honors as those lavished on this love with love as deep and warm; and that your filth and refuse of humanity ;t honors which the affection for his daughter leads you to supply the scoundreli presumed not only to accept, but in part place of the father she has lost, as well as fulfil the to refuse, transmitting the fact to posterity in praise duties of an aunt. Doubtless, then, it will give of his moderation. Yet why be angry? It is betler you the highest pleasure to hear that she is alto- 10 laugh, that such men may know how little they gether worthy of her father, her aunt and her gain when raised above their sphere merely to be grandfather. Her natural sense is excellent, and laughed at. Farewell. her household economy admirable : she loves me well, and her love is the best pledge of conjugal virtue. Her literary taste, acquired from me, is

TO THE SAME. sedulously cultivated. She possesses my works, You will have learned from a former letter that and reads and even studies them indefatigably. my attention was arrested by this inscription on When I have an important cause to argue, she is Pallas' monument: In reward, &c.§ I afterwards filled with solicitude; and if success attends my thought it worth while to examine the decree to efforts, it gives her the deepest satisfaction. Du- which it referred; and found it so copious and fulring ils progress she stations emissaries, who report some, that the magnificent epitaph appeared modest to her whatever approbation and applause my and humble by comparison. If those ancient dig. speeches excite, and whether the decision of the nitaries, Africanus, Achaicus, Namantinus and court is in my favor. When I recite a poem, she others, or even those of later years, Marius, Scylla, sits among the audience disguised with a veil, and Pompey and the rest-for I will not descend lowerlistens to the praises bestowed with the greatest be compared with this court favorite, their honors avidity and delight. She also sings my songs, and will sink into meanness before the splendor of his. adapts them to the harp, that best of all teachers, But the Senators themselves, shall we ascribe their love, supplying to her the place of a musical in- decree to courtesy or necessity ? Courtesy I would structor. From all this I confidently hope that say, but that such a principle misbecomes so digperpetual and ever-strengthening concord will ce- nified a body. Necessity then ?—but no man, horment our union ; for her affections are not fixed ever wretched, need be reduced to this. Ambiupon my person, which declining years have now somewhat impaired, but on my character and fame;

* About £121,093 15s. sterling. See Adams' Roman antinor would a mind less elevated become a pupil on


+" in hoc cænum, in has sordes." whose education your care and instructions had

I" furcifer." been bestowed; who saw nothing under your roof 0 Repeated at length in the original.

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