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very great) could form no just idea of the cause, nor consequently ground a true method of cure; whichever was the reason, few or none escaped : but they generally died the third day from the first appearance of the symptoms, without a fever or other bad circumstance attending. And the disease, by being communicated from the sick to the well, seemed daily to get ahead and to rage the more, as fire will do, by laying on fresh combustibles. Nor was it given by conversing with only, or coming near the sick, but even by touching their clothes, or anything that they had before touched. It is wonderful what I am going to mention; which, had I not seen it with my own eyes, and were there not many witnesses to attest it beside myself, I should never venture to relate, however credibly I might have been informed about it : such, I say, was the quality of the pestilential matter, as to pass not only from man to man, but, what is more strange, and has been often known, that anything belonging to the infected, if touched by any other creature, would certainly infect, and even kill that creature in a short space of time : and one instance of this kind I took particular notice of; namely, that the rags of a poor man just dead, being thrown into the street, and two hogs coming by at the same time, and rooting amongst them, and shaking them about in their mouths, in less than an hour turned round and died on the spot. These accidents, and others of the like sort, occasioned various fears and devices amongst those people that survived, all tending to the same uncharitable and cruel end; which was, to avoid the sick, and everything that had been near them, expecting by that means to save themselves. And some, holding it best to live temperately and to avoid excesses of all kinds, made parties, and shut themselves up from the rest of the world; eating and drinking moderately of the best, and diverting themselves with music, and such other entertainments as they might have within doors; never listening to anything from without, to make them uneasy. Others maintained free living to be a better preservative, and would baulk no passion or appetite they wished to gratify, drinking and revelling incessantly from tavern to tavern, or in private houses ; which were frequently found deserted by the owners, and therefore common to every one, yet avoiding, with all this irregularity to come near the infected. And such, at that time, was the public distress, that the laws, human and divine, were no more regarded ; for, the officers to put them in force being either dead, sick, or in want of persons to assist them, every one did just as he pleased. A third sort of people chose a method between these two ; not confining themselves to rules of diet like the former, and yet avoiding the intemperance of the latter; but, eating and drinking what their appetites required, they walked everywhere with odors and nosegays to smell to; as holding it best to corroborate the brain : for they supposed the whole atmosphere to be tainted with the stink of dead bodies, arising partly from the distemper itself, and partly from the fermenting of the medicine within them. Others of a more cruel disposition, as perhaps the most safe to themselves, declared, that the only remedy was to avoid it: persuaded, therefore, of this, and taking care of themselves only, men and women in great numbers left the city, their houses, relations, and effects, and fled into the country : as if the wrath of God had been restrained to visit those only within the walls of the city; or else concluding, that none ought to stay in a place thus doomed to destruction. Divided as they were, neither did all die, nor all escape ; but falling sick indifferently as well those of one as of an. other opinion, they who first set the example by forsaking others now languish themselves without mercy. I pass over the little regard that citizens and relations showed to each other; for their terror was such, that a brother often fled from his brother, a wife from her husband, and, what is more uncommon, a parent from its own child. On which account, numbers that fell sick could have no help but that the charity of friends, who were very few, or the avarice of servants, supplied ; and even these were scarce, and at extravagant wages, and so little used to the business, that chey were fit only to reach what was called for, and observe when they died; and this desire of getting money often cost them their lives. And many lost their lives who might have escaped had they been looked after at all. So that, between the scarcity of servants and violence of the distemper, suck numbers were continually dying as made it terrible to hear as well as to behold. Whence, from mere necessity, many customs were introduced, different from what had been before known in the city. It had been usual, as it now is, for the women who were friends and neighbors to the deceased to meet together at his house, and to lament with his relations; at the same time the men would get together at the door, with a number of clergy, according to the person's circumstances ; and the corpse was carried by people of his own rank, with the solemnity of tapers and singing, to that church where the person had desired to be buried; which custom was now laid aside, and, so far from having a crowd of women to lament over them, that great numbers passed out of the world without a single person : and few had the tears of their friends at their departure ; but those friends would laugh, and make themselves merry; for even the women had learned to postpone every other concern to that of their own lives. Nor was a corpse attended by more than ten, or a dozen, nor those citizens of credit, but fellows hired for the purpose ; who would put them. selves under the bier, and carry it with all possible haste to the nearest church ; and the corpse was interred, without any great ceremony, where they could find room. With regard to the lower sort, and many of a middling rank, the scene was still more affecting; for they, staying at home either through poverty or hopes of succor in distress, fell sick daily by thousands, and having nobody to attend them, generally died : some breathed their last in the streets, and others shut up in their own houses, when the stench that came from them made the first discovery of their deaths to the neighborhood. And indeed, every place was filled with the dead. A method was now taken, as well out of regard to the living, as pity for the dead, for the neighbors, assisted by what porters they could meet with, to clear all the houses, and lay the bodies at the doors; and every morning great numbers might be seen brought out in this manner; from whence they were carried away on biers, or tables, two or three at a time; and sometimes it has happened, that her wife and her husband, two or three brothers, and a father and son, have been laid on together : it has been observed also, while two or three priests have walked before a corpse with their crucifix, that two or three sets of porters have fallen in with them; and, where they knew but of one, they have buried six, eight, or more : nor was there any to follow, and shed a few tears over them; for things were
come to that pass, that men's lives were no more regarded than the lives of so many beasts. Hence it plainly appeared, that what the wisest in the ordinary course of things, and by a common train of calamities, could never be taught, namely, to bear them patiently,—this, by the excess of those calamities, was now grown a familiar lesson to the most simple and unthinking. The consecrated ground no longer containing the numbers which were continually brought thither, especially as they were desirous of laying every one in the parts allotted to their families, they were forced to dig trenches, and to put them in by hundreds, piling them up in rows, as goods are stowed in a ship, and throwing in little earth till they were filled to the top. Not to rake any farther into the particulars of our misery, I shall observe, that it fared no better with the adjacent country; for, to omit the different castles about us, which presented the same view in miniature with the city, you might see the poor distressed laborers, with their families, without either the plague of physicians, or help of servants, languishing on the highways, in the fields, and in their own houses, and dying rather like cattle than human creatures; and growing dissolute in their 'manners like the citizens, and careless of everything, as supposing every day to be their last, their thoughts were not so much employed how to improve as to make use of their substance for their present support: whence it happened that the flocks, herds, &c., and the dogs themselves, ever faithful to their masters, being driven from their own homes, would wander, no regard being had to them, among the forsaken harvest, and many times, after they had filled themselves in the day, would return of their own accord like rational creatures at night. What can I say more, if I return to the city ? unless such was the cruelty of Heaven, and perhaps of men, that between March and July following it is supposed, and made pretty certain, that upwards of a hundred thousand souls perished in the city only; whereas, before that calamity, it was not supposed to have contained so many inbabitants.
343.-PRIAM AND ACHILLES.
HOMER. (We give two translations of a well-known passage in Homer, that the reader may compare the modes in which two poets render the same author, according to their different theories of Art. The first is from Pope's translation of the Iliad; the second is a fragment by Mr. Leigh Hunt.)
With solemn pace through various rooms he went,
Unseen by these, the king his entry made;
As when a wretch (who, conscious of his crime,
“Ah, think, thou favor’d of the powers divine !