A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2) eBook

Philip Thicknesse
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2).
the fortnight I staid after in his house; for I could not bear to leave a town where I had two or three very agreeable acquaintance, and one (Mons. Seguier) whose house was filled as full of natural and artificial curiosities, as his head is with learning and knowledge.  Here too I had an opportunity of often visiting the Amphitheatre, the Maison Carree, (so Mons. Seguier writes it) and the many remains of Roman monuments so common in and about Nismes.  I measured some of the stones under which I passed to make the tout au tour of the Amphitheatre, they were seventeen feet in length, and two in thickness; and most of the stones on which the spectators sat within the area, were twelve feet long, two feet ten inches wide, and one foot five inches deep; except only those of the sixth row of seats from the top, and they alone are one foot ten inches deep; probably it was on that range the people of the highest rank took their seats, not only for the elevation, but the best situation for sight and security; yet one of these great stones cannot be considered more, in comparison to the whole building, than a single brick would be in the construction of Hampton-Court Palace.  When I had the sole possession (and I had it often) of this vast range of seats, where emperors, empresses, Roman knights, and matrons, have been so often seated, to see men die wantonly by the hands of other men, as well as beasts for their amusement, I could not but with pleasure reflect, how much human nature is softened since that time; for notwithstanding the powerful prevalency of custom and fashion, I do not think the ladies of the present age would plume their towering heads, and curl their borrowed hair, with that glee, to see men murdered by missive weapons, as to die at their feet by deeper, tho’ less visible wounds.  If, however, we have not those cruel sports, we seem to be up with them in prodigality, and to exceed them in luxury and licentiousness; for in Rome, not long before the final dissolution of the state, the candidates for public employments, in spite of the penal laws to restrain it, bribed openly, and were chosen sometimes by arms as well as money.  In the senate, things were conducted no better; decrees of great consequence were made when very few senators were present; the laws were violated by private knaves, under the colour of public necessity; till at length, Caesar seized the sovereign power, and tho’ he was slain, they omitted to recover their liberty, forgetting that

    “A day, an hour, of virtuous Liberty
    Is worth a whole eternity of bondage.”
                Addison’s CATO.

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A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, Volume II (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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