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Historical Sketches: Volumes 1 To 3 -Blessed John Henry Newman

“Since you take my castigation in good part, I will now give you some more of it; and, to set off with Homer, let us

‘Pass on, and sing thy garniture within,’

to wit, the dwelling without roof and without door,—the hearth without fire and smoke,—walls, however, baked enough, lest the mud should trickle on us, while we suffer Tantalus’s penalty, thirst in the midst of wet;—that sad and hungry banquet, for which you called me from Cappadocia, not as for the frugal fare of the Lotophagi, but as if for Alcinous’s board for one lately shipwrecked and wretched. I have remembrance of the bread and of the broth—so they were named—and shall remember them: how my teeth got stuck in your hunches, and next lifted and heaved themselves as out of paste. You, indeed, will set it out in tragic style yourself, taking a sublime tone from your own sufferings. But for me, unless that true Lady Bountiful, your mother, had rescued me quickly, showing herself in need, like a haven to the tempest-tossed, I had been dead long ago, getting myself little honour, though much pity, from Pontic hospitality. How shall I omit those ungardenlike gardens, void of pot-herbs? or the Augean store, which we cleared out and spread over them; what time we worked the hillside plough, vine-dresser I, and dainty you, with this neck and hands, which still bear the marks of the toil (O earth and sun, air and virtue! for I will rant a bit), not the Hellespont to yoke, but to level the steep. If you are not annoyed at this description, nor am I; but if you are, much more I at the reality. Yet I pass over the greater part, from tender remembrance of those other many things which I have shared with you.”—Ep. 5.

This certainly is not a picture of comfort; and curiously contrasts with Basil’s romantic view of the same things. But for the following letter, one could fancy that it was too much even for Gregory; but on Basil seeming to be hurt, he wrote thus:—








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