George Lyttelton Lyttelton.

The works of George Lord Lyttelton : formerly printed separately: and now first collected together, with some other pieces never before printed (Volume 2) online

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gance be afligned to Swift. The fame good
pffice may be done to a phllofopher vain of
}iis wifdoni and virtue, or to a bigot puffed
up with fpiritual pride. The doftor's difclpline
will foon convince the firft, that, with all his
l^oafted morality, he is but a yahoo ; and the
latter, that to be holy^ he muft neceffarily be
humble, I would alfo have him apply his
fnticofmetkk wajld to the painted face of female
vanity ; and his rod, which draws blood at
every ftroke, to the hard back of infolent
folly or petulant wit. But Addifon Ihould
be employed to comfort thofe, whofe delicate
minds are dejecled with too painful a fenfe of
fome infirmities in their nature. To them
he Ihould hold his fair and charitable mvc^



raur ; which would bring to their fight their
hidden excellences, and put them in a tem-
per fit for Elyfiuin. — Adieu : continue to
efteem and love each other as you did in tlie
other world, though you were of oppofite
parties,, and (what is ftill more wonderful)
rival "wits. This alone is fufficient to entitle
you both to Elyfium.


[ i25 ]

Ulysses — Circe, In Circe's Ifuind'^.


O U Will go then, Ulyffes ; but tell me
without referve — what carries you from
me ?

tJ L'Y s s E s.
Pardon, goddefs, the weaknefs of human
nature. Mj heart will figh for my country.
It is an attachment which all my admiration
of you cannot entirely overcome.


This IS not all. I perceive you are afraid
to declare your whofe mind. But what, Ulyi-
les, do you fear? my terrors are gone. The
proudeft goddefs on earth, when (he has
favoured a mortal as I have favoured you,
has laid her divinity and power at his feet.


It may be fo, while there ftill remauis In
her heart the tendernefs of love, or in her
mind the fear of (hame. But you, Circe,
are above thofe vulgar fenfations.

*N. B. This cannot be properly called a Dialogue of the
Bead. But we have one of the fame kind amoncr Cambray'sDia^
logiiesj between Ulyffes and his companion Griilus> when turned
into a boar by the enchantments of Circe; and two or three
others, that'^re fuppofed to have paft between living pei-fons.




I underfland your caution ; it belongs td
to your charadier : and therefore^ to remove
all diffidence from you, I fwear by Styx, I
will do no manner of harm, either to yoti or
your friends, for any thing which you fay,
however offenfive it may be to my love or my
pride; but will fend you away from my
ifland with all marks of my friendfhip. Tell
me now truely, w4iat pleafures you hope to
enjoy in the barren rock of Ithaca, which can
compenfate for thofe you leave in this paradife,
exempt from all cares, and overflowing with
all delights?


The pleafures of virtue; the fupreme hap-*
pinefs of doing good. Here I do nothing.
My mind is in a palfy : all its faculties are
benumbed. I long to return into adlion, that
1 may worthily employ thofe talents, which
I have cultivated from the earlieft days of my
youth. Toils and cares fright not me. They
are the exercife of my foul ; they keep it in
health and in vigour. Give me again the fields
of Troy, rather than thefe vacantgroves. There
I could reap the bright harveft of glory ; here
I am hid, like a coward, from the eyes of
mankind, and begin to appear contemptible
in my own. The image of my former felf
haunts and fcems to upbraid me, wherefoever
I go. I meet it under the gloom of every
Ihade : it even intrudes itfelf into your pre-
fence, and chides me from your arms. Ogod-



At% unlefs you have power to lay that fph-'it,
unlefs you can make me forget myfelf ; I can-
not be happy here, I fliall every day be more


May not a wife and good man, who has
fpent all his youth in active life and honour-
able danger, when he begins to decline, be
permitted to retire, and enjoy the reft of his
days in quiet and pleafure ?


No retreat can be honourable to a wife and
good man, but in company with the Mules.
Here I arn deprived of that facred fociety.
The Mufes will not inhabit the abodes of
voluptuoufnefs and fenfual pleafure. How
can 1 ftudy, or think, while fuch % number
of beafts (and the worft beafts are men turned
into beafts) are howling, or roaring, or grunt-
ing, all about me?


There may be fbmething in this : but thi5,
I know, is not all. You fupprefs theftrongeft
reafon that dravv^s you to Ithaca. There is
another image, befides thdiX. oi your former felf^
which appears to you in this ifland ; which
follows you in your walks; which more
particularly interpofes itfelf between you and
me, and chides you from my arms. It is
Penelope, Ulyfles ; I know it is. — Don't pre-
tend to deny it. You figh for Penelope in
my bofom itfelf. — And. yet (he is not an im-


mortal. — ^^She is not, as I am, endowed by
nature with the gift of unfading youth. Se-
veral years have paft iince hers has been faded.
I might fay without vanity, that in her beft
days ihe was never fo handfome as L But
what is fhe now ?


You have told me yourfelf, in a former
converfation, when I enquired of you about
her, that fhe is faithful to my bed, and as
fond of me novv^, after tu'enty years abfence^
as at the time when I left her to go to Troy*
I left her in the bloom of youth and beauty*
How much muft her conftancv have been
tried fince that time! how meritorious is her
fidelity \ Shall I reward her with falfehood ?
Ihall I forget my Penelope, who cannot for-
get me 5 who has no pleafure fo dear to her
as the remembrance of me?


Her love is prefer ved by the continual hope
- of your fpeedy return. Take that hope fiom
her. Let your companions return ; and let
her know that you have fixed your abode
with me, that you have fixed it for ever*
Let her know that (he is free to difpofe as
fhe pleafes of her heart and her hand. Send
my pidlure to her ; bid her compare it with
her own face.— If all this does not cure her
of the remains of her pafi^ion, if you don't
hear of her marrying Eurymachus in a twelve*
month, I underftand nothing of womankind.




O cruel goddefs ! why will you force me
to tell you truths I defire to conceal? If^ by
fuch unmerited, fuch barbarous ufage, I could
lofe her heart, it would break mine. How
ihould I be able to endure the torment of
thinking that I had wronged fuch a wife?
what could make me amends for her being
no longer mine, for her being another's?
Don't frown, Circe ; I muft own (lince you
will have me fpeak) I mufb own you could
not. — With all your pride of immortal beau-
ty, with all your magical charms to affift thofe
of nature, you are not fo powerful a charmer
as fhe. You feel defire, and you give it : but
you have never felt /ove^ nor can you infpire
It. How can I love one who Vv^ould have de-
graded me into a beaft ? Penelope raifed me
into a hero. Her love ennobled, invigorated,
exalted my mind. She bad me go to the fiege
of Troy, though the parting with me was
worfe than death to herfelf. She bad me ex-
pofe myfelf there to all the perils of w^ar
among the foremofl: heroes of Greece, though
her poor heart funk and trembled at every ^
thought of thofe perils, and would have given
all its own blood to fave a drop of mine.
Then there was fuch a conformity in all our
inclinations! When Minerva was teaching
me the lefibns of wifdom, fhe delighted to
be prefent ; (lie heard, fhe retained, flie gave
thern back to m.e, foftened and fv/eetened with
the peculiar graces of her own mind.' When

Vol. IL K we


we unbent our thoughts with the charms of
poetry, when we read together the poems
of Orpheus, Mufaeus, and Linus, with what
tafte did flie difcern every excellence in them !
Aly feelings were dull, compared to hers. She
feemed herfelf to be the Mufe who had in-
fpired thofe verfes, and had tuned their lyres
to infufe into the hearts of mankind the love
of wifdom and virtue, and the fear of the
gods. Hov/ beneficent was fhe, how tender
to my people ! what care did flie take to
inftru^l them in all the finer arts ; to re-
jieve the neceiiities of the fick and aged ;
to fuperintend the education of children ; to
do my fubjecls every good office of kind in-
tercefiion ; to lay before me their wants, to
mediate for thofe who were objects of mercy,
to fue for thofe who deferved the favours of
the crown ! — ^^And Ihall I banifh myfelf for
ever from fuch a coixifort ? fnall 1 give up
her fociety for the brutal joys of a fenfual life,
keeping indeed the form of a man, but having
loft the human foul, or at leaft all its noble
and godhke powers? Oh! Circe, it is impof-
fibie; 1 cannot bear the thought.


Be gone — don't imagine that I aflc yon to
fray a moment longer. 'The daughter of the
fun is not fo meanlpirited, as to folic it a
mortal to ihare her happinels with her. It
}s a happinefs which I find you cannot enjoy,
1 pity and defpife you. All you have faid
lecms to me a jargon of fentimcnts fitter for a



filly woman than a great man. Go, read, and
fpin too, if you pleafe, with your wife. I
forbid you to remain another day in my
ifland. You fliall have a fair wind to carry
you from it. After that, may every ftorm,
that Neptune can raife, purfue and overwhelm
you ! — Be gone, I fay ; quit my fight,

U L Y S S E^.

Great goddafs^ I obey-^— but remember your

K 2 D I A-



Mercury — An Englifh Duellist —
A North- American Savage.


MERCURY, Charon's boat is on th^
other fide of the water. Allow me,
before it returns, to have fome converfation
with the North-American Savage, whom you
brought hither with me. I never before favv
one of that fpecies. He looks very grimly. —
Pray, fir, what is your name ? I underfland
you fpeak Englifli.

S A V. A G E.

Yes, I learnt it in my childhood, having
been bred for fome years among the Englilh
of New York. But, before I was a man, I
returned to my valiant countrymen, the Mo-
hawks; and having been villainoufly cheated
by one of yours in the fale of fome rum, I
never cared to have any thing to do with them
afterwards. Yet I took up the hatchet for them
with the refl of my tribe in the late Vv^ar againfl
France, and w^as killed while I was out upon a
fcalping party. But I died very well fatisfied :
for my brethren were viftorious ; and, before
I was fhot, I had glorioufly fcalped {even
men, and five women and children. In a
former war I had performed (till greater ex-
ploits.-. My name is the Bloody Bear: it was
given me to exprefs my fiercenefs and valour.

2 DUEL-*



Bloody Bear, I reiped you, and am much
your humble fervant. My name is Tom
Pufliwell, very well known at Arthur's. I
am a gentleman by my birth, and by profef-
fion a gamefter and man of honour. I have
killed men in fair fighting, in honourable
fingle combat ; but don't underftand cutting
the throats of women and children.


Sir, that is our way of making war. Every
nation has its cuftoms. But, by the grimnefs
of your countenance, and that hole in your
brealt, I prefume you were killed, as I was,
in fome fcalping party. How happened it
that your enemy did not take off your fcalp ?


Sir, I was killed in a duel. A friend of
mine had lent me a fum of money. After
two or three years, being in great want him-
felf, he afked me to pay him. I thought his
demand, which was fomewhat peremptory,
an affront to my honour ; and fent him a
challenge. We met in Hyde Park. The
fellow could not fence : I was abfolutely the
adrolteft fwordfman in England. So I gave
him three or four wounds; but at laft heran
upon me with fuch impetuofity, that he put
me out of my play, and I could not prevent
him from whipping me through the lungs. I
died the next day, as a man of honour fliould,
without any fniveling figns of contrition or
lepentanice : and he will follow me foon ;

K 3 for



for his furgeon has declared his wounds to be
mortal. It is faid that his Vvife is dead of
grief, and that his family of feven children
will be undone by his death. So I am well
revenged ; and that is a comfort. For my
part, 1 had no wife — I always hated mar-
riage : my whore will take good care of her-
lelf, and my children are provided for at the


Mercury, I won't go in a boat w^ith that
fellow. He has murdered his countryman ;
he has murdered his friend : I fay poiitively,
I won't go in a boat with that fellow. 1 will
Iwim over the river: I can fwim like a duck,
M E R c u R Y.

Swim over the Styx! it muft not be done ;
it is againpL the laws of Pluto's empire. You
muft go in the boat, and be quiet.


Don-t tell me of laws. I am a Savage : I
value no laws. Talk of laws to the Englifli-
man : there are laws in his country, and yet
vou fee he did not regard them ; for thev
could never allowhimto kill his fellow-fubjeft,
in time of peace, becaufe he alked him to
pay a debt. I know indeed that the Englifn
are a barbarous nailrm ; but they cannot pof-
libly be \.k^ brutal as to make fach things

M E R C U J^ Y.

You reafon well againft him. But how
tomes it that you are fo offended with mur

dcr ;


der; you, who have frequently maffacred wo-
men in their fleep, and children in the

cradle ?


I killed none but my enemies : I never killed
my own countrymen; I never killed my
friend. — Here, take my blanket, and let it
cpm.e over in the boat ; but fee that the mur-
derer does not fit upon it, or touch it. If he
does, I will burn it inftantly in the fire I fee
yonder. Farewell. — I am determined to fwim
over the water,


By this touch of my Vv^and, I deprive the©~
of all thy ftrength. — -Sivim now if thou canft.


This is a potent enchanter.— Reftore me
my ftrength, and I promife to obey thee.


I reftore it; but be orderly, and do as I bid
you ; otherwife worfe will befall you.


Mercury, leave him to me. I'll tutor him
for you. Sirrah Savage, doft thou pretend
to be aftiamed of my company ? doft thou
know that I have kept the beft company in
England }


I know thou art a fcoundrel. — Not pay thy
debts! kill thy friend v^ho lent thse money
for afking thee for it ! Get out of my fight*
I will driye thee into Styx,

■ K 4. M E R^



Stop — I command thee. No violence. —
Talk to him calmly.


I muft obey thee.— Well, fir, let me know
what merit you had, to introduce you into
good company ? vv^hat could you do ?


Sir, I gamed, as I told you. — Befides, I
kept a good table. I eat as well as any man
either in England or France.


Kat\ did you ever eat the liver of a French-
man, or his leg, or his (houlder! There is
Jine eating I I have eat twenty. My table was
always well ferved. My Vv^ife was efteemed
the beft cook for the dreffing of man's flefh
in all North" America. You will not pretend
to compare your eating with mine?


I danced very finely.


I'll dance with thee for thy ears.-— I can
dance all day long. I can dance the war^
dance with more fpirit than any man of my
nation. Let us fee thee begin it. How thou
ftandeft like a poft! Has Mercury flruck thee
with his enfeebling: rod? or art thou afhamed
to let US fee how aukward thou art ? If he
would permit me, I would teach thee to
dance in a way that thou haft never yet learnt.
But what elfe canft thou do, thou bragging
rafcal ?

P u E ^-



heavens ! muft I bear this ! What can I
do with this fellow ? I have neither fword
nor piftol. And his (liade feems to be twicq
as frrong as mine.


You muft anfwer his queftions. It was
your own defire to have a converfation with
him. He is not well bred; but he will tell
you fome truths, which you muft neceflarily
hear when you come before Rhadamanthus.
He alked you what you could 4o belides eating
and dancing.


1 fang very agreeably.


Let me hear you iing your death fong, or
the war whoop, I challenge you to fing. — .
Come, begin. — The fellow is mute. — Mer-
cury, this is a liar — He has told us nothing
but lies. Let me pull out his tongue.


^he lie given me! — and alas! 1 dare not
refent it. What an indelible difgrace to the
family of the Puihwells ! This indeed is


Here, Charon, take thefe two Savages to
your care. How far the barbarifm of the
Mohawk will excufe his horrid a6ts, I leave
Minos to judge. But v/hat can be faid for the
Other, for the Engliihman ? — The cuftom of
duellii>g ? A h?A e>ccufe at the beft I but here



it cannot avail. The fpiric that urged him
to draw his fword againft his friend is not
that of honour 'y it is the fpirit of the Furies,
and to them he mufi: go.


If he is to be punifhed for his wickednefs,
turn him over to me. I perfectly underftand
the art of tormenting. Sirrah, I begin my
work with this kick on your breech,


O my honour, my honour, to what infamy'
^rt thou fallen !

Dl A^

[ ^39 ]

Pliny the Elder— ?P liny the

Y D u N G E K,

THE account that you give me, nephew, '^►C.prmu
ot your behaviour, amid the terror3 andcp' 20.
perils that accompanied the fir ft eruption of
Vefuvius, does not pleafe me much. There
was more of vanity in it than of true mag-
nanimity. Nothing;" is great that is unnatural
and atte<5i:ed. When the earth was Ihaking
beneath you ; when the whole heaven was
darkened with fulphureous clouds ; when all.
nature feemed flilling into its final def!:ru5:ion -,
to be reading Livy, and making extraUls^ was
an abfurd affeclation. To meet danger with
courage, is manly; but to be infenfible of it,
is brutal ftupidity ; and to pretend inlenfibihty
where it cannot be fuppofed, is ridiculous
falfenefs. When you afterwards refufed to
leave your aged mother, and fave yourfelf
w^ithout her, vou indeed a£led noblv. It was
alio becoming a Roman, to keep up her
fpirits, amidli: all the horrors of that tre-
mendous Icene, by (hewing yourfelf undif-
raayed. But the real merit and glory of this
part of your behaviour is funk by the other,
which gives an air of often ration and vanity
%o the whole,

p L I N" Y

V, Epid-
i6 .1. vi.




That vulgar minds Oiould coniider my at-
tention to my ft u dies in fuch a conjuncture
as unnatural and affedled, I fliould not much
wonder. But that you would blame it as
llich, I did not apprehend ; joiu whom no
bufinefs could feparate from the Mufes ; you,
who approached nearer to the fiery ftorm,
and died by the fiilFocating heat of the


I died in doing my duty. Let me recall
to your remembrance all the particulars; and
then you fliall judge yourfelf on the difference
of your behaviour and mine. I was the
praefedl of the Roman fleet which then lay at
Mifenum. On the firft account 1 received of
the very unufual cloud that appeared in the
air, I ordered a veffel to carry me out to fome
diftance from the (hore, that I might the
better obferve the pha^nomenon, and endea-
vour to difcover its nature and caufe. This
I did as a philofopher; and it was a curiofity
proper and natural to an inquifitive mind. I
offered to take you with me, and furely you
liiould have gone; for Livy might have been
read at any other time, and iuch fpeftacles
are not frequent. When I came out from
my hou(e, I found all the inhabitants of
Mifenum flying to the fea. That I might
aflift them, and all others who dwelt on the
coaft, I immediately commanded the whole
feet to put out, and failed with it all round



the bay of Naples, fteering particularly to
thofe parts of the fhore where the danger
was greateft, and whence the affi-ighred
people were endeavouring to efcape with the
mod trepidation. Thus I happily preferved
fome thoufands of lives ; noting at the fame
time, with an unfhaken compofure and free-
dom of mind, the feveral phc^nomena of the
erupution. Toward night, as we approached
to the foot of Mount Vefuvius, our gallies
were covered with afhes, the (liowers of
which grew continually hotter and hotter;
then pumice ftones, and burnt and broken
pyrites^ began to fall on our heads ; and we
were ftopt by the obftacles which the ruins
of the volcano had fuddenly formed, by fall-
ing into the fea, and ahiioif filling it up, on
that part of the coaft. I then commanded
my pilot to fteer to the villa of my friend
Pomponianus, which, you know, was iituated
in the inmoft recefs of the bay. The wind
was very favourable to carry me thither, but
would not allow him to put off from the
fliore, as he was deiirous to do. We were
therefore conftrained to pafs the night in his
houfe. The family watched, and I (lept 1
till the heaps of piamice ftones, which in-
ceffantly fell from the clouds that had by this
time been impelled to that lide of the bay,
rofe fo high in the area of the apartment I
lay in, that, if I had ftaid any longer, I
Could not have got out; and the earthquakes
were fo violent, as to threaten every moment



the fall of the houfe. We therefore thoucrht
it more fafe to go into the open air, guard-
ing our heads, as well as we were able, with
pillows tied upon them. The wind continu-
ing contrary, and the fea very roughs we all
remained on the (hore, till the defcent of a
fulphureous and fiery vapour fuddenly op-
preifed my weak lungs, and put an end to
m.y life. In all this, I hope that I afted
as the duty of my ftation required, and with
true magnanimity. But on this occafion, and
in many other parts of your conduft, I muft
fay, my dear nephew, there was a mixture
.of vanity blended with your virtue, which
impaired and difgraced it. Without that, you
would have been one of the worthieft men
whom Rome has ever produced : for none
excelled you in fincere integrity of heart and
greatnefs of fentiments. Why would you
iofe the fubftance of glory, by feeking the
fhadow? — Your eloquence had, I think, the
fame fault as your manners ; it was generaliy
too affe^ed. You profefled to make Cicero
your guide and pattern. But when one reads
his panegyrick upon Julius Crelar, in his
oration for Marcellus, and yours upon Trajan;
the firft feems the oenuine languao-e of truth
and nature, railed and dignified with all the
majefly of the mofl fublime oratory : the
latter appears the harangue of a florid rhetori-
cian^ more defirous to fj?ine^ and to let off
his own wit, than to extol the great man
whole virtues he was praifing.




I will not queftion your judgement either
of niy life or nay writings. They might
both have been better, if 1 had not been too
foUcitous to render them perfe£l. It is per-
haps fome excufe for the afFeftation of my
llyle, that it was the fafhion of the age in
which I wrote. Even the eloquence of Ta-
citus, however nervous and fublime, was not
unafFedled. Mine indeed was more diffufe,
and the ornaments of it were more tawdry ;
but his laboured concifenefs, the conftant
glow of his difhion, and pointed brilUmicy of
his fentences, were no lefs unnaturaL One
principal caufe of this I fuppofe to have been,
that, as we defpaired of excelhng the two
great mafters of oratory, Cicero and Livy,
in their own manner, we took up another ;
which to many appeared more fliining, and
gave our compofitions a more original air. But
it is mortifying to me to fay much on this
fubjeft. Permit me therefore to refume the
contemplation of that on which our conver-
fatlon turned before. What a direful calamity
was the eruption of Vefuvius, which you have
been defcribing ! Don't you remember the
beaut}^ of that fine coaft, and of the moun-
tain itielf, before it was torn with the violence
of thofe internal fires, that forced their way
through its furface ? The foot of it was covered
with corn fields and rich meadows, inter-
fperfed with fplendid villas and magnificent
towns : the fides of it were cloathed with the


beft vines in Italy. How quick, how unex-
pected, how terrible, was the change ! All

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Online LibraryGeorge Lyttelton LytteltonThe works of George Lord Lyttelton : formerly printed separately: and now first collected together, with some other pieces never before printed (Volume 2) → online text (page 8 of 22)