Imagens das páginas

than three hundred thousand persons could be seated in the Circus Maximus!

But to return to the Coliseum : we went up under the conduct of a guide upon the walls and terraces, or embankments which supported the ranges of seats. The seats have long since disappeared; and grass overgrows the spots where the pride, and power, and wealth, and beauty of Rome sat down to its barbarous entertainments. What thronging life was here then !—what voices, what greetings, what hurrying footsteps up the staircases of the eighty arches of entrance! And now, as we picked our way carefully through the decayed passages, or cautiously ascended some mouldering flight of steps, or stood by the lonely walls-ourselves silent, and, for a wonder, the guide silent too—there was no sound here but of the bat; and none came from without but the roll of a distant carriage, or the convent bell from the summit of the neighbouring Esquiline.

It is scarcely possible to describe the effect of moonlight upon this ruin. Through a hundred rents in the broken walls, through a hundred lonely arches and blackened passage-ways, it streamed in, pure, bright, soft, lambent, and yet distinct and clear, as if it came there at once to reveal, and cheer, and pity the mighty desolation. But if the Coliseum is a mournful and desolate spectacle as seen from within, without, and especially on the side which is in best preservation, it is glorious. We passed around it; and, as we looked upward, the moon shining through its arches, from the opposite side it appeared as if it were the coronet of the heavens, so vast was it, or like a glorious crown upon the brow of night.

I feel that I do not and can not describe this mighty ruin. I can only say that I came away paralyzed, and as passive as a child. A soldier stretched out his hand for a gratuity, as we passed the guard; and when my companion said I did wrong to give, I told him that I should have given my cloak if the man had asked it. Would you break any spell that worldly feeling or selfish sorrow may have spread over your mind, go and see the Coliseum by moonlight



TAEY led a lion from his den,
The lord of Afric's sun-scorched plain;
And there he stood, stern foe of men,
And shook his flowing mane.
There's not, of all Rome's heroes, ten
That dare abide this game.
His bright eye nought of lightning

His voice was like the cataract.

They brought a dark-haired man along, Whose limbs with gyves of brass were

bound; Youthful he seemed, and bold, and

strong, And yet unscathed of wound. Blithely he stepped among the throng, And careless threw around A dark eye, such as courts the path Of him who braves a Dacian's wrath.

Then shouted the plebeian crowd,Rung the glad galleries with the sound; And from the throne there spake aloud A voice,-“Be the bold man unbound! And, by Rome's sceptre, yet unbowed, By Rome, earth's monarch crowned, Who dares the bold, the unequal strife, Though doomed to death, shall save his


Joy was upon that dark man's face; And thus, with laughing eye, spake he: Loose


the lord of Zaara's waste, And let my arms be free: ' He has a martial heart,' thou sayest:-But oh! who will not be A hero, when he fights for life, For home and country, babes and

And he has bared his shining blade,
And springs he on the shaggy foe:
Dreadful the strife, but briefly played;-
The desert-king lies low;
His long and loud death-howl is made;
And there must end the show.
And when the multitude were calm,
The favourite freed-man took the palm.

Kneel down, Rome's emperor beside!”
He knelt, that dark man;—o'er his

Was thrown a wreath in crimson dyed;
And fair words gild it now:
“Thou art the bravest youth that ever

To lay a lion low;
And from our presence forth thou go'st
To lead the Dacians of our host."

Then flushed his cheek, but not with

And grieved and gloomily spake he:
My cabin stands where blithely glide
Proud Danube's waters to the sea :
I have a young and blooming bride,
And I have children three;
No Roman wealth or rank can give
Such joy as in their arms to live.


My wife sits at the cabin door,
With throbbing heart and swollen

While tears her cheek are coursing

She speaks of sundered ties.
She bids my tender babes deplore
The death their father dies;
She tells these jewels of my home,
I bleed to please the rout of Rome.

And thus I for the strife prepare :
The Thracian falchion to me bring;
But ask th' imperial leave to spare
The shield,-a useless thing.
Were I a Samnite's rage to dare,
Then o'er me would I fling
The broad orb; but to lion's wrath
The shield were but a sword of lath."

I cannot let those cherubs stray
Without their sire's protecting care;
And I would chase the griefs away
Which cloud my wedded fair."
The monarch spoke; the guards obey;
And gates unclosed are:
He's gone!--No golden bribes divide
The Dacian from his babes and bride.


THE seal is set. Now welcome, thou I see before me the gladiator lie: dread power!

He leans upon his hand; his manly Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which

brow here

Consents to death, but conquers agony, Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight And his drooped head sinks gradually hour

low; With a deep awe, yet all distinct from And through his side the last drops, fear;

ebbing slow Thy haunts are ever where the dead From the red gash, fall heavy, one by walls rear

one, Their ivy mantles, and the solemn Like the first of a thunder-shower; and scene

now Derives from thee a sense so deep and The arena swims around him/he is clear,

gone, That we become a part of what has been, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed And grow unto the spot, all-seeing, but

the wretch who won. unseen.

He heard it, but he heeded not--his And here the buzz of eager nations ran,

eyes In murmured pity, or loud-roared ap- Were with his heart, and that was far plause,

away : As man was slaughtered by his fellow- He recked not of the life he lost, nor man.

prize; And wherefore slaughtered? wherefore, But where his rude hut by the Danube but because

laySuch were the bloody Circus' genial laws, There were his young barbarians all at And the imperial pleasure.—Where- play, fore not?

There was their Dacian mother he What matters where we fall to fill the

their sire, maws

Butchered to make a Roman holiday.-Of worms-on battle-plains or listed All this rushed with his blood. - Shall spot?

he expire, Both are but theatres where the chief actors And unavenged ?--Arise, ye Goths, and glut rot.


your ire !



The early history of Rome, as recorded by Livy and other Latin writers, was probably compiled from legendary poems that had been transmitted from generation to generation, and often rehearsed at the banquets of the great. The historian Macaulay has aimed at reconstructing some of these poetic legends, which he has given to the world under the title of “ Lays of Ancient Rome.As a specimen of these beautiful and stirring poems, the “ Story of Horatius” is here given.

It is stated by all the Latin historians, that, a few years after the expulsion of the Tarquins for their despotism and crimes, the neighbouring Etruscans, to which nation they belonged, endeavoured to restore the tyrants to power, and came against Rome with an overwhelming force. The Romans, repulsed at first, fled across a wooden bridge over the Tiber, when the Roman Consul ordered the bridge to be destroyed, to prevent the enemy from entering the city. The continuation of the legend is supposed to be narrated by one of the Roman minstrels, at a period one hundred years later than the events recorded :

But the Consul's brow was sad,

And the Consul's speech was low,
And darkly looked he at the wall,

And darkly at the foe.
Their van will be upon us

Before the bridge goes down;
And if they once may win the bridge,

What hope to save the town?

For Romans in Rome's quarrel

Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son nor wife, nor limb nor life,

In the brave days of old.

Then out spake brave Horatius,

The captain of the gate: To every man upon this earth

Death cometh soon or late; And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers,

And the temples of his gods !

Then none was for a party;

Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,

And the poor man loved the great;
Then lands were fairly portioned;

Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers

In the brave days of old.

Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,

With all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me,

Will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand

May well be stopped by three;
Now, who will stand on either hand,

And keep the bridge with me?”

Meanwhile the Tuscan army,

Right glorious to behold,
Came flashing back the noonday light,
Rank behind rank, like surges bright

Of a broad sea of gold.
Four hundred trumpets sounded

A peal of warlike glee,
As that great host, with measured tread,
And spears advanced, and ensigns spread,
Rolled slowly toward the bridge's head,

Where stood the dauntless three.

Then out spake Spurius Lartius,

A Ramnian proud was he: "Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,

And keep the bridge with thee.” And out spake strong Herminius,

Of Titian blood was he: I will abide on thy left side,

And keep the bridge with thee."

The three stood calm and silent,

And looked upon the foes,
And a great shout of laughter

From all the vanguard rose :
And forth three chiefs came spurring

Before that mighty mass;
To earth they sprang, their swords they

And lifted high their shields, and flew

To win the parrow pass.

“Horatius," quoth the Consul,

As thou say'st, so let it be.” And straight against that great array

Forth went the dauntless three.

[But the scorn and laughter of the Etruscans were soon changed to wrath and curses, for their chiefs were quickly laid

low in the dust at the feet of the “daunt- regained the opposite bank in safety. less three."]

Horatius remained facing the foe until the

last timber had fallen, when, weighed But now no sound of laughter

down with armour as he was, he "plunged Was heard among the foes.

headlong in the tide."] A wild and wrathful clamour From all the vanguard rose.

No sound of joy or sorrow Six spears' length from the entrance

Was heard from either bank; Halted that mighty mass,

But friends and foes, in dumb surprise, And for a space no man came forth

With parted lips and straining eyes, To win the narrow pass.

Stood gazing where he sank:

And when beneath the surges But hark! the cry is Astur:

They saw his crest appear, And lo! the ranks divide,

All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And the great Lord of Luna

And even the ranks of Tuscany
Comes with his stately stride.

Could scarce forbear to cheer.
Upon his ample shoulders
Clangs loud the fourfold shield,

But fiercely ran the current,
And in his hand he shakes the brand

Swollen high by months of rain: Which none but he can wield.

And fast his blood was flowing;

And he was sore in pain, (The proud Astur advances with a smile

And heavy with his armour, of

for the three Romans, and turns a look of scorn upon the flinching And oft they thought him sinking,

And spent with changing blows:

But still again he rose.
Then, whirling up his broadsword
With both hands to the height,

Curse on him!” quoth false Sextus,
He rushed against Horatius,

“Will not the villain drown? And smote with all his might.

But for this stay, ere close of day With shield and blade Horatius

We should have sacked the town!” Right deftly turned the blow.

Heaven help him!” quoth Lars Porsenna, The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh; And bring him safe to shore; It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh : For such a gallant feat of arms The Tuscans raised a joyful cry

Was never seen before." To see the red blood flow.

And now he feels the bottom; He reeled, and on Herminius

Now on dry earth he stands; He leaned one breathing-space;

Now round him throng the fathers, Then, like a wild-cat mad with wounds, Το


gory hands; Sprang right at Astur's face.


And now with shouts and clapping,
Through teeth, and skull, and helmet, And noise of weeping loud,
So fierce a thrust he sped,

He enters through the river-gate,
The good sword stood a handbreadth out Borne by the joyous crowd.
Behind the Tuscan's head !

[Then follows an account of the rewards And the great Lord of Luna

which a grateful people bestowed upon the Fell at that deadly stroke,

hero. The minstrel thus concludes the As falls on Mount Alvernus

legend :-) A thunder-smitten oak. Far o'er the crashing forest

When the good man mends his armour, The giant arms lie spread;

And trims his helmet's plume; And the pale augurs, muttering low, When the good wife's shuttle merrily Gaze on the blasted head:

Goes flashing through the loom;

With weeping and with laughter [In the meantime the axes had been Still is the story told, busily plied; and while the bridge was How well Horatius kept the bridge tottering to its fall, Lartius and Herminius In the brave days of old.

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