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whatever opinion I might have conceived of her understanding, the rest of the world thought better of it. That I had never failed when I had asked her counsel, nor ever succeeded without it; with much more of the same kind, too tedious to mention; concluding that it was a monstrous behaviour to desert my party, and come over to the court. An abuse which I took worse than all the rest, as she had been constantly for several years assiduous in railing at the opposition, in siding with the court-party, and begging me to come over to it. And especially after my mentioning the offer of knighthood to her, since which time she had continually interrupted my repose with dinning in my ears the folly of refusing honours and of adhering to a party, and to principles by which I was certain of procuring no advantage to myself and my family.
'I had now entirely lost my trade, so that I had not the least temptation to stay longer in a city where I was certain of receiving daily affronts and rebukes. I therefore made up my affairs with the utmost expedition, and, scraping together all I could, retired into the country; where I spent the remainder of my days in universal contempt, being shunned by every body, perpetually abused by my wife, and not much respected by my children.
'Minos told me, though I had been a very vile fellow, he thought my sufferings made some atonement, and so bid me take the other trial.'
Julian recounts what happened to him while he was a
Rome was now the seat of my nativity, where I was born of a family more remarkable for honour than riches. I was intended for the church, and had a pretty good education; but my father dying while I was young, and leaving me nothing, for he had wasted his whole patrimony, I was forced to enter myself in the order of mendicants.
'When I was at school I had a knack of rhyming, which I unhappily mistook for genius, and indulged to my cost; for my verses drew on me only ridicule, and I was in contempt called The Poet.
'This humour pursued me through my life. My first composition after I left school was a panegyric on pope Alexander the Fourth, who then pretended a project of dethroning the King of Sicily. On this subject I composed a poem of about fifteen thousand lines, which with much difficulty I got to be presented to his holiness, of whom I expected great preferment as my reward; but I was cruelly disappointed: for when I had waited a year, without hearing any of the commendations I had flattered myself with receiving, and being now able to contain no longer, I applied to a Jesuit, who was my relation, and had the pope's ear, to know what his holiness's opinion was of my work. He coldly answered me that he was at that time busied in concerns of too much importance to attend the reading of poems.
'However dissatisfied I might be, and really was, with this reception; and however angry I was with the pope, for whose understanding I entertained an immoderate 1 contempt, I was not yet discouraged from a second 'attempt. Accordingly, I soon after produced another 'work, entitled, The Trojan Horse. This was an 'allegorical work, in which the church was introduced
* into the world, in the same manner as that machine had 'been into Troy. The priests were the soldiers in its
* belly, and the heathen superstition the city to be 'destroyed by them. This poem was written in Latin. 'I remember some of the lines:
'Mundanos scandit fatalis machina muros,
I believe Julian, had I not stopt him, would have gone through the whole poem (for, as I observed, in most of the characters he related, the affections he had enjoyed while he personated them on earth, still made some impression on him); but I begged him to omit the sequel of the poem, and proceed with his history. He then recollected himself, and, smiling at the observation which by intuition he perceived I had made, continued his narration as follows:—
'I confess to you,' says he,' that the delight in repeating 'our own works is so predominant in a poet that I find 'nothing can totally root it out of the soul. Happy 'would it be for those persons if their hearers could be 'delighted in the same manner: but alas! hence that 'ingens solitudo complained of by Horace: for the vanity of mankind is so much greedier and more general than their avarice, that no beggar is so ill received by them as he who solicits their praise.
'This I sufficiently experienced in the character of a poet; for my company was shunned (I believe on this account chiefly) by my whole house: nay, there were few who would submit to hear me read my poetry, even at the price of sharing in my provisions. The only person who gave me audience was a brother poet; he indeed fed me with commendation very liberally: but as I was forced to hear and commend in my turn I perhaps bought his attention dear enough.
'Well, Sir, if my expectations of the reward I hoped from my first poem had baulked me, I had now still greater reason to complain; for instead of being preferred or commended for the second, I was enjoined a very severe penance by my superior for ludicrously comparing the pope to a fart. My poetry was now the jest of every company, except some few who spoke of it with detestation; and I found that instead of recommending me to preferment, it had effectually barred me from all probability of attaining it.
'These discouragements had now induced me to lay down my pen, and write no more. But, as Juvenal says,
—Si discedas, Laqueo tenet ambitiosi Consuetudo mali.
'I was an example of the truth of this assertion: for I 'soon betook myself again to my muse. Indeed, a poet 'hath the same happiness with a man who is doatingly 'fond of an ugly woman. The one enjoys his muse, 'and the other his mistress, with a pleasure very little 'abated by the esteem of the world, and only under'values their taste for not corresponding with his own.
'It is unnecessary to mention any more of my poems; 'they had all the same fate; and though in reality some 'of my latter pieces deserved (I may now speak it 'without the imputation of vanity) a better success, as 'I had the character of a bad writer, I found it im
* possible ever to obtain the reputation of a good one. 'Had I possessed the merit of Homer I could have 'hoped for no applause; since it must have been a
* profound secret; for no one would now read a syllable 'of my writings.
'The poets of my age were, as I believe you know, 'not very famous. However, there was one of some 'credit at that time, though I have the consolation to 'know his works are all perished long ago. The 'malice, envy, and hatred I bore this man are incon'ceivable to any but an author, and an unsuccessful 'one; I never could bear to hear him well spoken of, 'and writ anonymous satires against him though I had 'received obligations from him; indeed I believe it 'would have been an absolute impossibility for him at 'any rate to have made me sincerely his friend.
'I have heard an observation which was made by 'some one of later days, that there are no worse men 'than bad authors. A remark of the same kind hath 'been made on ugly women, and the truth of both stands 'on one and the same reason, viz., that they are both 'tainted with that cursed and detestable vice of envy; 'which, as it is the greatest torment to the mind it 'inhabits, so is it capable of introducing into it a total 'corruption, and of inspiring it to the commission of the 'most horrid crimes imaginable.
'My life was but short; for I soon pined myself to 'death with the vice I just now mentioned. Minos told 'me, I was infinitely too bad for Elysium; and as for 'the other place, the devil had sworn he would never