« AnteriorContinuar »
to lose. Its deeply religious character recommended it to.serious persons; and it was admired by critics for the many flashes of original genius which light up the crude and unwieldly design, and atone for the narrow range of thought and knowledge, as well as for the stiff pomposity that pervades the diction. A few of its passages are strikingly and most poetically imaginative, and some are beautifully touching. Immediately after the publication of his poem, he was admitted as a preacher in the United Secession Church. He died of consumption in September of the same year, before the age of thirty.
69. MIDNIGHT—THE COLISEUM.
HE stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains. Beautiful!
I learned the language of another world.
When I was wandering, upon such a night,
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Appeared to skirt the hori'zon, yet they stood
1 Cðl'i sē' um, the amphitheatre Jews. It was called the Coliseum, of Vespasian, at Rome, the largest from the colossal statue of Nero, in the world, said to have held which was placed in it. In this 110,000 spectators. The ruins are amphitheater were exhibited the still standing. It is said to have contests of gladiators and wild anibeen built in one year, by the com- mals, and other savage spectacles in pulsory labor of twelve thousand which the Romans delighted.
A grove which springs through leveled battlements,
Grõvel on earth in indistinct decay.
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
gaps of centuries ;
LORD BYRON. GEORGE GORDON BYRON, the descendant and head of an ancient and noble family, was born in London, January 22nd, 1788. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, 1805, with a rare reputation for general information, having read an almost incredible list of works in various departments of literature before the age of fifteen. He neglected the prescribed course of study at the university, but his genius kept him ever active. His first work, “The Hours of Idleness," appeared in 1807. It received a castigation from the “Edinburgh Review," to which we owe the first spirited outbreak of his talents, in the able and vigorous satire entitled, “English Bards and Scotish Reviewers," published in 1809. He took his seat in the House of Lords a few days before the appearance of this satire; but soon left for the Continent. He returned home in 1811, with two cantos of " Childe Harold,” which lie had written abroad. They were published in March, 1812, and were immediately received with such unbounded admiration, as to justify the poet's terse remark, “I awoke one morning, and found myself famous." In May of the next year, appeared his “Giaour;" in November, the “Bride of Abydos," written in a week; and, about three months after, the “Corsair," written in the almost incredible space of ten days. January 22, 1815, he was married to Miss Milbanke, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Ralph Milbanke; and his daughter, Augusta Ada, was born in December of that year. The husband and wife, for an unknown cause, separated forever, on the 15th of January of the next year. He quitted England for thc last time on the 25th of April, 1816, and passed through Flanders, and along the Rhine to Switzerland, where he resided until the close of the year. He here composed the third canto of “Childe Harold," the “Prisoner of Chillon, Darkness," "The Dream,” and a part of “Manfred.” The next year he went to Italy, where he resided several years, and where he wrote the fourth canto of “Childe Harold," “Mazeppa," "The Lament of Tasso," "Beppo,” “Don Juan," and his dramatic
Hearth, (hårth). · Glăd'iā tor, a swordplayer; a prize-fighter.
poems. In 1823 he interested himself in the struggle of the Greeks to throw off the Turkish yoke and gain their independence. In December of that year, after making his arrangements with judgment and generosity, he sailed for Greece, and arrived at Missolonghi on the 5th of January, 1824, where he was received with great enthusiasm. In three months he did much to produce harmony and introduce order; but he had scarcely arranged his plans to aid the nation, when he was seized with a fever, and expired on the 19th of April, 1824, soon after having celebrated, in affecting verses, the completion of his thirty-sixth year.
WENT to see the Colisē'um by moonlight. It is the mon
arch, the majesty of all ruins; there is nothing like it. All the associations of the place, too, give it the most impressive character. When you enter within this stupendous circle of ruinous walls and arches, and grand terraces of masonry, rising one above another, you stand upon the arēna of the old glădiatorial combats and Christian martyrdoms; and as you lift your eyes to the vast amphitheater, you meet, in imagination, the eyes of a hundred thousand Romans, assembled to witness these bloody spectacles. What a multitude and mighty array of human beings! and how little do we know in modern times of great assemblies! One, two, and three, and at its last enlargement by Constantine,' more than three hundred thousand persons could be seated in the Circus Maximus! 2. But to return to the Colisē'um ; 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 thrõnging life was here thenwhat voices, what greetings, what húrrying 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 moldering 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 neighboring Esquiline.
Constantine I., called the Great, was born A. D. 274, proclaimed emperor of Rome by the army in 306, and died in 337.
3. 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 yệt distinct and clear, as if it came there at once to reveal, and cheer, and pity the mighty desolation. But if the Colise'um 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.
4. 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.
HE seal is set.-Now welcome, thou dread power!
Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here
With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear ;
Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear,
In murinured pity, or loud-roared applause,
And wherefore slaughtered? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody circus' genial laws,
What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms—on battle-plains or listed spot ? Both are but theaters where the chief actors rot. 3. I see before me the glădiator lie :
He leans upon his hand ; his manly brow
And his drooped head sinks gradually low;
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
Like the first of a thunder-shower ; and now
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday.
72. SCENE WITH A PANTHER.
S soon as I had effected my dāngerous passage, I screened
myself behind a cliff, and gave myself up to reflection. While thus occupied, my eyes were fixed upon the opposite steeps. The tops of the trees, waving to and fro in the wildest commotion, and their trunks occasionally bending to the blast,
Dacian, (då shan), from Dacia, a quest by Trajan, in the year 103, afcountry of ancient Germany form- ter a war of fifteen years. ing the modern countries, Hungary, Góths, a celebrated nation of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transyl. Germans, warriors by profession, vania. Many of the gladiators came who, in the year 410, under their from Dacia, especially after its con- king, Alaric, plundered Rome.