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ARISTIDES TO THALIA.
LETTER III. The Ides of March are come; and so said Cæsar to Spurinna; but I have passed the Ides differently from Cæsar, for M. Metellus insisted upon my accompanying him to the banks of the Tiber, to wito Dess the amusements of the commovality :-as we were walking thither, he explained the cause of this festival. The Romans, said be, are a most grateful people, for no one makes a will in their favour, or contributes to their comfort, but is reverenced with more than even proper regard; the present instance is, however, an exception to this, and the gratitude of the multitude is an inportant stimulus to others. In a period of great famine, when the crops in Sicily had failed, and the people were reduced to the most deplorable extremities, an old lady, of immense wealth, undertook to supply the Roman citizens from her own granaries : in honour of this petriotic action, the Romans have instituted this festival.
As he concluded, we turned into a street which led us near the Theatre of Macellus, and the Temple of Fortune, and making an angle to the left, passing over the palatine bridge, we beheld a number of booths, surrounded by a multitude of men and women, who expressed, by gestures and acclamations, the pleasure they derived from the exhilarating scene; drinking largely, and, with friendly nods and smiles, wishing each other to live as many years as on that day they drank cups.*
I cannot explain the cause to your satisfaction, but there is alWays something in the noisy gaiety of the populace which makes me melancholy; not that I dislike seeing them happy, but their mode of happiness is so totally different from my own, that I am glad to escape from their turbulence as soon as possible. The joys of a man of any refinement are silent, and swell the soul to an altitude which precludes utterance.
As we returned, we deviated from the direct line to pay a visit
Pompey's theatre, The theatres were merely temporary before compey conceived a design of building one that should be perma, sent, in imitation of those he had seen in Greece; the architecture
this building will not bear description for the perusal of one who every day sees those of Athens. The most celebrated one of the 1 plan was built by M. Scaurus;t the scenes were divided into * Ovid. Fasti. v. 523. Pliny...Casaliue de Urb. Rom. Spendore, lib. 2. c. S. Rom. Antiq. p. 44.
three compartments; the first consisting of one hundred and twenty marble pillars, the next of the same number of glass, and the top, decorated with gilded tablets, between which stood three thousand statues, some composed of clay, some of marble, and some likewise of brass. This had an uncommon brilliancy of effect, and excited a regret that it should be made of such perishable materials. Its size was so immense, that its area was capable of containing eighty *thousand persons.“. 1 Augustus certainly possesses the art of making himself feared, respected, and beloved, To such a height is the public enthusiasm carried, that they have erected a statue of brass to Antonius Musa*, his physician, as à token of gratitude, for maintaining him in good health. My friend, Metellus, has interrupted me with the intelligence of the wilful death of Publius Cornelius Gallus, to whom the government of Egypt was entrusted, after the death of Anthony and Cleopatra. The conduct of Gallus, however, by no means justified the partiality with which he was regarded by Cicerot, Pollio, and *Augustus himself; for, soon after his appointment, he gave evident
symptoms of possessing an inordinate ambition, and a passionate de'sire of fame; he erected statues to himself throughout Egypt, caused his military exploits to be engraven on the pyramids, and indulged himself in such unseasonable discourse over his cups, that his once intimate friend, Valerius Largus, hoping, I suppose, to ingratiate himself into the favour of Augustus, accused him of treason. The ingratitude of this man caused the Prince of the Senate, as Augustus politicly styles himself, to suspend him from his office, recal him, and deliver him over to the senate; though the shame of a disgraceful execution, or an ignominious exile, drove him to put a miserable period to his wretched existence. Upon receiving intelligence of his death, the emperor burst into tears, and lamented that he could not be angry with his friends as his necessities required. • This Cornelius Gallus was an elegiac poet; and wrote four books in praise of the accomplished Lycoris, who, disregarding his passion, followed the luxurious Anthony|l in his excursion through the various cities of Italy;-" perque nives, perque horrida castra secuta est."T This circumstance occasioned Virgil, whose fame has long since filled all Greece, to compose an eclogue, the extreme beauty of which will plead my excuse in transcribing it for you; and if you perceive
Sueton. in Vit. C. Aug. lib. 1. c. 59.
Vide Cicero Familiar Ep. literæ, 10. 31. 38. ** - - Diodorus, l. 53.
#Pliny, l. 8, c. 16.
some thoughts and expressions, extracted from the first idyl of Theocritus, you will find great pleasure in comparing the extreme elegance of the one, with the innocent rusticity of the other.
I feel the truth of the 69th line of this eclogue so forcibiy, that I shall close my letter with it. Omnia vincit amor fi nos cedamus amori,
Adieu. P.S. You will be rejoiced to hear that I am to be introduced to Horace in the course of a few days. Ile has given Metellus an invitation to his villa at Lucretilis, and my friend still continues the : affection he bore me at Rhodes, insomuch that he insists upon my, accompanying him whithersoever he goes; and our habits, manners, and sentiments are so nearly allied, that he seldom proposes any. thing that is not sanctioned by my concurrence. Once more farewell.
SIR HENRY LEE, AND HIS DOG.
Ar Ditchley, in the county of Oxford, the seat of Dillon, formerly belonging to Lee, Earl of Litchfield, is the portrait of Sir Henry Lee, and his trusty dog. To the dog Sir Henry was indebted for. his life, By accident it was left one night in his bedchamber, unknown to a faithless servant, who entered the room with an intent, to rob and murder his master, but was seized on his entrance by his affectionate animal. Sir Henry belonged to the noble band of Knights Tilters, Age overtook him in the thirty-third year of Queen Elizabeth, when he retired with great ceremony, and recommended, as his successor, the famous hero, the Earl of Cumberland. Sir Henry, in the year 1590, invested his successor with much form;. and in the true spirit of chivalry and romance, in the presence of the Queen, and the whole court, armed the new champion, and mounted him upon his horse, His own armour he offered at the foot of a crowned pillar, near her Majesty's feet: after which he cloathed himself in a coat of black velvet, painted under the arms; and instead of a helmet, covered his head with a buttoned cap of the country fashion. He died, aged 80, in the year 1611, and was interred in the once elegant little church of Quærendon, near Aylesbury. The epitaph tells us,
The warres abroad with honour he did passe,
The whole roof of the chapel is divided into twelve parts (answers ing to twelve windows on either side) the separation beng made by eleven principal ribs, corresponding to the number of buttresses on the outside. The space contained between any two of these ribs is, in the indenture, called a severy.
This roof is so constructed, that it has no dependance on the walls between buttress and buttress on either side, or between tower and tower, at either end of the chapel; the whole weight of the roof being so supported by the buttresses and towers, that if the abovementioned walls should be entirely taken away, the buttresses and towers only remaining, the roof would still continue as firm as it is at this hour.
But what may justly claim an equal degree of wonder is, that those large stones in the centre of each severy, which may be considered as the key-stones of the vault, might, at any time, be safely taken out, without endangering the vault itself. Hence it appears, that this roof is so geometrically contrived, that it would stand firm without either the walls or the key-stones. The mystery of constructing roofs of this kind was the original secret of Free Masons : of whom John Wastel, the master mason, contracted to employ not less than sixty, for carrying on the works of this chapel. This note I am authorized to add, by a gentleman who has made the structure of many ancient Gothic buildings, and particularly that of King's Cha. pel, his favourite study.
Of Free Masons, as they were the builders of the chapel, I shall beg leave to give the following account:
A set of foreigners, who called themselves Free Masons (because none were acquainted with the secrets of their trade, except sach as were free and accepted members of their society), are said
to have introduced the art of building with stone into England, · about the middle of the seventh century. These were formerly di
vided into parties or companies. Each company was subject to a master, a warden, and other inferior officers (names retained among Free Masons to this day): they assembled in one common room,