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SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS AT CAPUA.
(ELIJAH KELLOGG.) It had been a day of triumph in Capua. Lentulus, returning with victorious eagles, had amused the populace, with the sports of the amphitheatre, to an extent hitherto unknown even in that luxurious city. The shouts of reverly had died away; the roar of the lion had ceased; the last loiterer had retired from the banquet ; and the lights in the palace of the victor were extinguished.
The moon, piercing the tissue of fleecy clouds, silvered the dew-drops on the corslet of the Roman mentinel, and tipped the dark waters of the Vulturnus with a wavy, tremulous light. No sound was heard, sare the last sob of some retiring wave, telling its story to the smooth pebbles of the beach ; and then all was still as the breast when the spirit has departed.
In the deep recesses of the amphitheatre, a band of gladiators were assembled,—their muscles still knotted with the agony of conflict, the foam upon their lips, the scowl of battle yet lingering on their brows, - when Spartacus, starting forth from amid the throng, thus addressed them :
"Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief, who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arena every shape of man or beast the broad empire of Rome could furnish, and who never yet lowered his arm. If there be one among you who can say that ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him stand forth, and say it. If there he three in all your company dare face me on the bloody sands, let them come on.
“And yet, I was not always thus,-a hired butcher, a savage chief of still more savage men ! My ancestors came from old Sparta, and settled among the vine-clad rocks and citron groves of Syrasella. My early life ran quiet as the brooks by which I sported : and when, at noon, I gathered the sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd's flute, there was a friend, the son of a neighbor, to join me in the pastime. We led our flocks to the same pasture, and partook together our rustic meal,
" One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were all seated beneath the myrtle which shaded our cottage, my grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon and Leuctra, and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, had withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war was ; but my cheeks burned, I knew not why, and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, till my mother, parting the hair from off my forehead, kissed my throbbing temples, and bade me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.
" That very night, the Romans landed on our coast. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the hoof of the war-horse; the bleeding body of my father flung amidst the blazing rafters of our dwelling! Today I killed a man in the arena; and when I broke his helmet-clasps, behold! he was my friend. He knew me, -smiled faintly,--gasped, and died ;-the same sweet smile upon his lips that I had marked, when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled some lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph.
"I told the pretor that the dead man had been my friend, generous and brave; and I begged that I might bear away the body, to burn it on a funeral pile, and mourn over its ashes. Ay! upon my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that poor boon, while all the assembled maids and matrons, and the holy virgins they call Vestals, and the rabble, shouted in derision, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercest gladiator turn pale and tremble at the sight of that piece of bleeding clay! And the pretor drew back as I were pollution, and sternly said, -Let the carrion rot; there are no noble men but Romans!'
And so, fellow-gladiators, must you, and so must I, die like dogs.
"O Rome! Rome! thou has been a tender nurse to me! Ay, thou hast given, to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher tone than a flute-note, muscles f iron and a heart of flint: taught him to drive the sword through plaited mail and inks of rugged brass, and warm it in the marrow of his foe! -to gaze into the glaring eye-balls of the fierce Numi. dian lion, even as a boy upon a laughing girl! And he shall pay thee back, till the yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled!
“Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! The strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but tomorrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet perfume from his curly locks, shall with his lily fingers pat your red brawn, and bet his sesterces upon your blood ! Hark! hear ye yon lion roaring in his den ? Tis three days since he tasted flesh; but to-morrow he shall break his fast upon yours,--and a dainty meal for him ye will be!
“If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen, waiting for the butcher's knife : if ye are men,-follow me! strike down yon guard, gain the mountain passes, and there do bloody work, as did your sires at Old Thermopylæ! Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like a belabored hound beneath his master's lash ? O comrades! warriors! Thracians !--if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves; if we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors ; if we must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle !".
THE CHESTNUT HORSE.
An Eaton stripling, training for the law,
ing ?” “Learning !-0, logic, logic !_not the shallow rules Of Locke and Bacon--antiquated fools ! But wits' and wranglers' logic; for d 'ye see, I'll prove as clear,-as clear as A, B, C, That an eel pie 's a pigeon ; to deny it, Is to say black 's not black."
“Come, let's try it!” “Well, sir; an eel pie is a pie of fish." "Agreed." “ Fish pie may be a jack pie.” “Well, well, proceed.” "A jack pie is a John pie-and, 'tis done! For every John pie must be a pie-John.”-(pigeon.) “ Bravo! bravo !" Sir Peter cries; “logic forever! That beats my grandmother, and she was clever ; But now I think on 't, 't would be mighty hard If merit such as thine met no reward; To show how much I logic love in course, I'll make thee master of a chestnut horse." "A horse !" quoth Tom, "blood, pedigree, and paces ! O, what a dash I'll cut at Epsom races !"
Tom dreamt all night of boots and leather breeches,
But no such animal the meadows cropt,
“ There, Tom, take that.”—“ Well, sir, and what be
THE NATURE OF TRUE ELOQUENCE.
(DANIEL WEBSTER.) When public bodies are to be addressed on momentous occasions, when great interests are at stake, and strong passions excited, nothing is valuable in speech further than it is connected with high intellectual and moral endowments. Clearness, force, and earnestness, are the qualities which produce conviction.
True eloquence, indeed, does not consist in speech, It cannot be brought from far. Labor and learning may toil for it, but they will toil in vain. Words and phrases may be marshaled in every way, but they cannot compass it. It must exist in the man, in the subject and in the occasion.
Affected passion, intense expression, the pomp of declamation, all may aspire after it: they cannot reach it. It comes, if it come at all, like the out-breaking of a fountain from the earth, or the bursting forth of vol. canic fires, with spontaneous, original, native force.