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from us, glittering in his brilliant armor, and his face just as brilliant with the light of a great and trusting spirit. As he turned from the last embraces of the noble Portia, he seized me in his arms, who stood jingling his sword against his iron greaves, and imprinting upon my cheek a kiss, bade me grow a man at once, to take care of the household, while they were gone with the good emperor to fight the enemies of Rome in Asia. He was, as I remember him, of a quick and fiery temper, but he was always gentle toward me, and has bound me to him for ever.' 'The gods prosper you!' cried Fausta, 'as surely they will. It is a pious work to which you put your hand, and you will succeed.' 'Do not, Fausta,' said Gracchus, ' lend the weight of your voice to urge our friend to measures which may be rather rash than wise, and may end only in causing a greater evil than that which already exists. Prudence must govern us as well as affection. By venturing yourself at once into the dominion of Persia, upon such an errand, it is scarcely less than certain that you would perish, and without effecting your object. We ought to consider, too, I think, what the condition and treatment of Calpurnius are, before too great a risk is incurred for his rescue. He has now, we are to remember, been at the capital of the great king thirteen years You have hinted that he had been kindly regarded by the son of Sapor. Possibly his captivity amounts to no more than a foreign residence— a sort of exile. Possibly he may, in this long series of years, have become changed into a Persian. I understand your little lip, Fausta, and your indignant frown, Lucius; but what I suggest is among things possible it cannot be denied; and can you deny it not so very unlikely, when you think what the feelings of one must have been to be so wholly forgotten and abandoned by his native country, and that country, Rome, the mistress of the world, who needed but to have stretched forth the half of her power to have broken for ever the chains of his slavery, as well as of the thousands who with him have been left to linger out their lives in bondage. If Calpurnius has been distinguished by the son of Sapor, his lot, doubtless, has been greatly lightened, and he may now be living as a Persian prince. My counsel is, therefore, that the truth in this regard be first obtained, before the life of another son, and the only inheritor of so great a name, be put in jeopardy. But what is the exact sum of what you have learned, and upon which we may rely, and from which reason and act V 'Our knowledge,' I replied, 'was derived from a soldier, who, by a great and happy fortune, escaped and reached his native Rome. He only knew what he saw when he was first a captive, and afterward, by chance, had heard from others. He was, he said, taken to serve as a slave about the palace of the king, and it was there that for a space he was an eye-witness to the cruel and insulting usage of both Valerian and Calpurnius. That was but too true, he said, which had been reported to us, that whenever the proud Sapor went forth to mount his horse, the Emperor was brought, in the face of the whole court, and of the populace who crowded around, to serve as his footstool. Clothed in the imperial purple, the unfortunate Valerian received upon his neck the foot of Sapor, and bore him to his saddle. It was the same purpose that Calpurnius was made to serve for the young prince Hormisdas. But, said the soldier, the prince pitied the young and noble Roman, and would gladly, at the beginning, have
spared him the indignity put upon him by the stern command of his haughty and cruel father. He often found occasion at these times, while standing with his foot upon his neck, to speak with Calpurnius, and to express his regrets and his grief for his misfortunes, and promise redress, and more, if he ever came to the throne. But the soldier was soon removed from the vicinity of the royal palace, and saw no more of either Valerian or Calpurnius. What came to his ears was, generally, that while Valerian was retained exclusively for the use of Sapor, Calpurnius was after a time relinquished as entirely into the hands of Hormisdas, in whose own palace he dwelt, but with what portion of freedom, he knew not. That he was living at the time he escaped, he was certain. This, Gracchus, is the sum of what we have heard; in addition only, that the Emperor sunk under his misfortunes, and that his skin, fashioned over some substance so as exactly to resemble the living man, is preserved by Sapor, as a monument of his triumph over the legions of Rome.' 'It is a pitiful story,' said Fausta, as I ended: 'for a brave man it has been a fate worse than death; but having survived the first shame, I fear me my father's thought will prove a too true one, and that long absence, and indignation at neglect, and perhaps gratitude and attachment to the prince, who seems to have protected him, will have weaned him from Rome. So that we cannot suffer you, Lucius, to undertake so long and dangerous a journey upon so doubtful an errand. But those can be found, bold and faithful, who for that ample reward with which you could so easily enrich them, would venture even into the heart of Ecbatana itself, and bring you back your brother alive, or advertise you of his apostacy or death.' 'What Fausta says is just,' observed Gracchus, 'and in few words prescribes your course. It will not be a difficult thing, out of the multitudes of bold spirits who crowd the capital, Greek, Roman, Syrian, and Arab, to find one who will do all that you could do, and, I may add, both more and better. You may find those who are familiar with the route, who know the customs of Persia, who can speak its language, and are even at home in her capitals, and who would be infinitely more capable than either you or I, or even Fausta, to manage to a happy issue an enterprise like this. Let this then be our decision; and be it now our united care to find the individual to whom we may commit this dear but perilous service. And now enough of this. The city sleeps, and it were better that we slept with it. But first, my child, bring harmony into our spirits by one of those wild, sad airs which you are accustomed to sing to me upon the harp of the Jews. It will dispose Lucius to pleasant dreams.' I added my importunities, and Fausta, rising, moved to an open window, through which the moon was now pouring a flood of silver light, and seating herself before the instrument which stood there, first swept its strings with an easy and graceful hand. 'I wish,' said she, ' I could give you the song which I am going to sing in the language of the Hebrews, for it agrees better, I think, with the sentiment and the character of the music, than the softer accents of the Greek. But every thing is Greek now.' So saying, she commenced with a prelude more sweetly and profoundly melancholy than even the wailing of the night wind among the leafless trees of the forest. This was followed by — an ode shall I call it ? — or a hymn ? — for it was not what we mean by a song. Nor was the music
like any other music I had ever heard, but much more full of passion; broken, wild, plaintive, triumphant, by turns, it stirred all the deepest feelings of the heart. It seemed to be the language of one in captivity, who, refusing to sing one of the songs of his country for the gratification of his conquerors, broke out into passionate strains of patriotism, in which he exalted his desolated home to the Heavens, and prophesied in the boldest terms her ultimate restoration to power and glory. The sentiment lost nothing coming to the ear clothed in the rich music of Fausta's voice, which rose and sank, swelled and died away, or was full of tears or joy, as agreed with the theme of the poet. She was herself the poet, and the captive, and the Jew, so wholly did she abandon herself to the sway of the thoughts which she was expressing. One idea alone, however, had possessed me while she sang — to which, the moment she paused, I first gave utterance. 'And think you, Fausta,' said I, ' that while the captive Jew remembers his country, the captive Roman will forget his? Never! Calpurnius, if he lives, lives a Roman. For this I thank your song. Melancholy and sad in itself, it has bred joy in my soul. I shall now sleep soundly.' So saying, we separated.
Thus was passed my first evening in Palmyra.
A REVERIE, A BRIDAL, AND A FUNERAL.
I was alone, within an antique fane,
Of Europe's storied soil: with awe I scanned
Its pillard vastness, gorgeously revealed
In the rich twilight, showered through tinted panes
As from dissolving rainbows. Suddenly
The long dim vista of each sombre aisle —
Where, niched in gloom, rude feudal effigies
Frowned above dateless tombs — seemed populous;
From pedestal and shrine, mitred and mailed,
Leapt Id " M and warrior. From the bannered choir
They snatched the blazoned pennons. Noble steeds,
Crested with plumes, scarce reined by squire and groom,
Came bounding by. Then column, wall, and roof
Melted in air, and on my dreaming gaze
Burst the chivalric grandeur of the past 1
I stood, in gloom and silence, in God's house,
A spear's length from His altar; but my soul
Was up in arms — horsed! and with lance in rest
Scouring the torrid wastes of Palestine!
I sharedthe fight — the chase — the bivouac
By the sweet fountain, thatched with leaves of palms,
And columned by their stems, and laved my brow
In its clear wave —an unsunned diamond,
Set in the desert's gold. f
My day dream changed.
With swan-like motion, floated at his side.
My dream dissolved.
A low, sweet voice, whose natural music seemed
Long years swept on. A kinless wanderer
There is a spirit leading us, unseen,
Vol. vii. 44
Tends to the thing we love. An influence,
Kindred to this, allured me once again
'Mid unforgotten scenes of by-gone bliss,
To find them tenantless. Tree, stream, and flower
Were all unchanged, and symphonies,
Familiar to my heart as 'household words,'
Seemed floating round me. 'T was illusion all:
The lips were dust which breathed them. Wending thence,
Saddened yet happier, I sought again—
'Twas in my homeward path — the ancient pile
To me so memorable. Again I stood
Before its altar : now't was victimless;
And radiant, on the well-remembered spot
Where knelt the lovely one, a golden beam,
Shot through some crevice of the shafted pane,
Fell like an angel's glance— another sun,
Marking where tier's was dimmed.
Even as I gazed, Burst through the vaulted silence a full tide Of melody, and up the central aisle Swept the black pageant, with whose heartless pomp Pride comes to crown the worm. Onward it passed: The pall was lifted: on the time-worn floor, Where danced that sunbeam, was the coffin placed. The silver 'scutcheon lightened in its glow, And on its burnished shield I read her name, Who, from the spot her bier now rested on, I had seen rise a bride. Nor was this all: The very priest whose holy ministry Had made her matron, now, with solemn voice, Espoused her to the grave. And he was there, The death-divorced, in hypocritic weeds, To mourn above his victim.
The damp cell, Whose gloomy portal at the last great trump Shall open an untried eternity, Received the broken-hearted. Low, deep sobs Of late repentance from their bosoms burst Who called the dead their daughter—for they, too, And all the bridal train — how changed their guise! — Were grouped with weeping eyes around her dust. 'Ashes to ashes!' And the sullen plunge Of kindred clay upon the clay beneath Echoed the dread betrothal. Thick and fast Rolled in the crumbling clods, the human dust Of buried generations, mixed with bones, Fragments of half-obliterated man.
'T was finished: through the massive Saxon arch The last dark form had vanished, when a step Stirred in the silence, and a manly form Strode from a pillar's shade, and with bared head Paused by the fresh-heaved mound. He saw me not, For every faculty of sight and soul Seemed swallowed up in a dull, aching sense Of utter desolation. Sorrow's load Had dammed its inward fountain, and his eyes Were dewless, even as his withered heart. Reverently, as o'er a saint enshrined, he stooped And kissed the earth above the treasure-vault That held his broken jewel. Kneeling there, He looked on high, and then his lip unbent Its curve of agony, and from his soul Despair fell like a cloud; for holy Hope, Who, chased from earth, poises her plumes for heaven, Pointed where, angel-robed before the throne, His chosen walked, with glory on her brow. Peace came to him that hour, and he went forth Religiously rejoicing. 'T was not lone, Ere he, too, dropped life's burthen, and lay down By her who should have shared and lightened it.