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"PELHAM," " EUGENE ARAM," "ENGLAND AND THE ENGLISH,"
"Such is Vesuvius ! and these things take place in it every year. But all eruptions which have happened since would be trifling, even if all summed into one, compared to what occurred at the period we refer to
"Day was turned into night, and night into darkness- - an inexpressible quantity of dust and ashes was poured out, deluzing land, sea, and air, and burying two entira cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people were sitting in the theatre.”
DION. CASSIUS, lib. Ixvi.
(FRANKLIN LIBRARY EDITION.]
NO. 9 JOHN STREET.
SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS THROUGHOUT THE
TO SIR WILLIAM GELL,
DEAR SIR, In publishing a work of which Pompeii furnishes the subject, I can think of no one to whom it can so fitly be dedicated as yourself. Your charming volumes upon the Antiquities of that city have indissolubly connected your name with its earlier (as your residence in the vicinity has identified you with its more recent)-associations.
I trust that these pages will find you in better health than when we parted at Naples, and that, whatever example your friends
derive from your philosophy, may be drawn from an industry in intellectual acquisitions never to be wearied, rather than from a patience under suffering never to be excelled.
Ere you receive these volumes, I hope to be deep in the perusal of vour forthcoming work upon the Topography of Rome and its Vicinity." The glance at its contents wluch
you permitted me at Naples, sufficed to convince me of its interest and value; and as an Englishman, and as one who has loitered under the portico," I rejoice to think, that in adding largely to your own reputation, you will also renovate our country's claim to eminence in those departments of learning in which, of late years, we have but feebly supported our ancient reputation. Venturing thus a prediction of the success of your work, it would be a little superfluous to express a wish for the accomplishment of the prophecy! But I may add a more general hope, that you will long have leisure and inclination for those literary pursuits, to which you bring an erudition so extensive, and that they may coninue, as now, sometimes to beguile you from yourself, and never to from your friends.
I have the honour to be,
Very faithfully yours, Leamington, September 21, 1834.
THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII.
On visiting those disinterred remains of an ancient city, which, more perhaps than either the delicious breeze or the cloudless sun, the violet valleys and orange groves of the south, attract the traveller to the neighbourhood of Naples; on viewing, still fresh and vivid, the houses, the streets, the temples, the theatres of a place existing in the haughtiest age of the Roman Empire, - it was not unnatural, perhaps, that a writer who had before laboured, however unworthily, in the art to revive and to create, should feel a keen desire to people once more those deserted streets, to repair those graceful ruins, to reanimate the bones which were yet spared to his survey; to traverse the gulf of eighteen centuries, and to wake to a second existence — the City of the Dead !
And the reader will easily imagine how sensibly this desire grew upon one, who felt he could perform his undertaking, with Pompeii itself at the distance of a few miles — the sea that once bore her commerce, and received her fugitives, at his feet — and the fatal mountain of Vesuvius, still breathing forth smoke and fire, constantly before his eyes !*
I was aware, however, from the first, of the great difficulties with which I had to contend. To paint the manners and exhibit the life of the middle ages, required the hand of a master genius; yet, perhaps, the task is slight and
easy, in comparison with that which aspires to portray a far earlier and more unfamiliar period. With the men and customs of the feudal time, we have a natural sympathy and bond of alliance; those men were our own ancestors - fror those customs we received our own - the creed of our chivalric fathers is still ours — - their tombs yet consecrate our churches the ruins of their castles yet frown over our valleys. We trace in the struggles for liberty and for justice our present institutions; and in the elements of their social state, we behold the origin of our own.
But, with the classical age, we have no household and familiar associations. The creed of that departed religion, the customs of that past civilization, present little that is sacred or attractive to our northern imaginaton: they are rendered yet more trite to us by the scholastic pedantries which first acquainted us with their nature, and are linked with their recollection of studies, which, imposed as a labour, were not cultivated as a delight,
Yet the task, though arduous, seemed to me worth attempting; and in the time and the scene I have chosen, much may be found to arouse the curiosity of the read and enlist his interest in the descriptions of the author. It was the first century of our religion - it was the most civilized period of Rome -- the conduct of the story lies amid places whose relics
* Nearly the whole of this work was written the winter before last at Naples. On my return to England I was, indeed, too much occupied with political matters to have a great deal of superfluous leisure for works, purely literary, except in those, not unwelcome, intervals when the parliament going to sleep allows the objects of life to awakes - dismissing its wearied legislators, some to hunt, some to shoot - some to fatten oxen, and some to cultivate literature.