It is with difficulty that I persuade myself, that it is I who am sitting and writing to you from this great city of the East. Whether I look upon the face of nature, or the works of man, I see every thing different from what the West presents; so widely different, that it seems to me, at times, as if I were subject to the power of a dream. But I rouse myself, and find that I am awake, and that it is really I, your old friend and neighbor, Piso, late a dweller upon the Coelian hill, who am now basking in the warm skies of Palmyra, and, notwithstanding all the splendor and luxury by which I am surrounded, longing to be once more in Rome, by the side of my Curtius, and with him discoursing, as we have been wont to do, of the acts and policy of the magnificent Aurelian. But to the purpose of this letter, which is, in agreement with my promise, to tell you of my fortunes since I parted from you, and of my good or ill success, as it may be, in the prosecution of that affair which has driven me so far from my beloved Rome. O, Humanity! why art thou so afflicted? Why have the immortal gods made the cup of life so bitter? And why am I singled out to partake of one that seems all bitter? My feelings sometimes overmaster my philosophy. You can forgive this, who know my sorrows. Still I am delaying to inform you concerning my journey and my arrival. Now I will begin. As soon as I had lost sight of you weeping on the quay, holding in your hand the little Gallus, and of the dear Lucilia leaning on your arm, and could no longer, even by mounting upon the highest part of the vessel, discern the waving of your hands, nor cause you to see the fervor with which I returned the sign of friendship, I at once left off thinking of you, as far as I could, and to divert my thoughts, began to examine, as if I had never seen them before, the banks of the yellow Tiber.