« PreviousContinue »
13. CAIUS GRACCHUS, CITED BEFORE THE CENSORS, APPEALS TO THE
PEOPLE. - Original Adaptation from J. S. Knowles.
Ye men of Rome, there is no favor, now,
Tribune, Fear not, Censors! I would raise no tumult; This hand 's the first to arm against the mar. Whoc'er he be, that favors civil discord :
I have no gust for blood, nor for oppression!
The laws! the laws! Of common right the guard, -
14. GALGACTS TO THE CALEDONIANS. - Original Abridgment from Tacitus.
REFLECTING on the origin of this war, and on the straits to which we are reduced, I am persuaded, O Caledonians, that to your strong hands and indomitable will is British liberty this day confided. There is no retreat for us, if vanquished. Not even the sea, covered as it is by the Roman fleet, offers a path for escape. And thus war and arms, ever welcomed by the brave, are now the only safety of the cowardly, if any such there be. No refuge is behind us; naught but the rocks,
id the waves, and the deadlier Romans : men whose pride you have vainly tried to conciliate by forbearance; whose cruelty you have vainly sought to deprecate by moderation. The robbers of the globe, when the land fails, they scour the sea. Is the enemy rich, — they are avaricious; is he poor, they are ambitious. The East and the West are unable to satiate their desires. Wealth and poverty are alike coveted by their rapacity. To carry off
, to massacre, to make seizures under false pretences, this they call empire; and when they make a desert, they call it peace!
Do not suppose, however, that the prowess of these Romans is equal to their lust. They have thrived on our divisions. They know how to turn the vices of others to their own profit. Casting off all hope of pardon, let us exhibit the courage of men to whom salvation and glory are equally dear. Nursed in freedom as we have been, unconquered and unconquerable, let us, in the first onset, show these usurpers what manner of men they are that Old Caledonia shelters in her bosom! All the incitements to victory are on our side.
Wives, parents, children, these we have to protect; and these the Romans have not. They have none to cry shame upon their flight; none to shed tears of exultation at their success, Few in numbers, fearful from ignorance, gazing on unknown forests and untried seas, the Gods have delivered them, hemmed in, bound and helpless, into our hands. Let not their showy aspect, their glitter of silver and gold, dismay you. Such adornments can neither harm nor protect from harm. In
very line of the enemy we shall find friends. The Britons, the Gauls, the Germans, will recognize their own cause in ours. Here is a leader; here an army! There are tributes, and levies, and badges of servitude, - impositions, which to assunie, or to trample under fint forever, lies now in the
Forth, then, Caledonians to the field! Think of your ancestors! Think of your descendants :
15. ICILIUS ON VIRGINIA'S SEIZURE. - T. B. Macaulay.
Now, by your children's cradles, — now, by your fathers' graves Be men to-day, Quirītés, or be forever slaves ! For this did Servius give us laws ? For this did Lucrece bleed? For this was the great vengeance wrought on Tarquin's evil seed ? For this did those false sons make red the axes of their sire ? For this did Scævõla's right hand hiss in the Tuscan fire ? Shall the vile earth-fox awe the race that stormed the lion's den? Shall we, who could not brook one lord, crouch to the wicked Ten ? O for that ancient spirit which curbed the Senate's will!. O for the tents which in old time whitened the Sacred Hill! In those brave days our fathers stood firmly, side by side ; They faced the Marcian fury; they tamed the Fabian pride ; They drove the fiercest Quinctius an outcast forth from Rome : They sent the haughtiest Claudius with shivered fasces home. But what their care bequeathed us, our madness flung away : All the ripe fruit of threescore years was blighted in day. Exult, ye proud Patricians! The hard-fought fight is o'er. We strove for honors, -'t was in vain : for freedom, 't is no more. No crier to the polling summons the eager throng ; No Tribune breathes the word of might, that guards the weak from
wrong. Our very hearts, that were so high, sink down beneath
will. Riches, and lands, and power, and state — ye have them :— keep
them still. Still keep the holy fillets ; still keep the purple gown, The axes and the curule chair, the car, and laurel crown: Still press us for your cohorts, and, when the fight is done, Still fill your garners from the soil which our good swords have won. But, by the Shades beneath us, and by the Gods above, Add not unto your cruel hate your yet more cruel love! Have ye not graceful ladies, whose spotless lineage springs From Consuls, and High Pontiffs, and ancient Alban kings? Then leave the poor Plebeian his single tie to life The sweet, sweet love of daughter, of sister, and of wife ; The gentle speech, the balm for all that his vexed soul endures, The kiss, in which he half forgets even such a yoke as yours. Still let the maiden's beauty swel] the father's breast with pride; Still let the bridegroom's arms enfold an unpolluted bride ·
Spare us the inexpiable wrong, the unutterable shame,
16. THE SPARTANS' MARCH. — Felicia Hemans. Born, 1794; died, 1835. The Spartans used not the trumpet in their march into battle, says Thucydides, because they Fished not to excite the rage of their warriors. Their charging-step was made to the Dorian nood of flutes and soft recorders. 'Twas morn upon the Grecian hills, where peasants dressed the vines; Sunlight was on Cithæron's rills, Arcadia's rocks and pines. And brightly, through his reeds and flowers, Eurotas wandered by, When a sound arose from Sparta's towers of solemn harmony. Was it the hunter's choral strain, to the woodland-goddess poured ? Did virgin hands, in Pallas' fane, strike the full-sounding chord ? But helms were glancing on the stream, spears ranged in close array, And shields flung back a glorious beam to the morn of a fearful day! And the mountain echoes of the land swelled through the deep blue sky While to soft strains moved forth a band of men that moved to die. They marched not with the trumpet's blast, nor bade the horn peal out; And the laurel-groves, as on they passed, rung with no battle shout ! They asked no clarion's voice to fire their souls with an impulse high ; But the Dorian reed, and the Spartan lyre, for the sons of liberty! And still sweet flutes, their path around, sent forth Æolian breath: They needed not a sterner sound to marshal them for death! So moved they calmly to their field, thence never to return, Save bringing back the Spartan shield, or on it proudly borne !
17. THE GREEKS' RETURN FROM BATTLE. - Ibid.
Io! they come, they come! garlands for every
shrine ! Strike lyres to greet them home! bring roses, pour ye wine! Swell, swell the Dorian flute, through the blue, triumphant sky! Let the Cittern's tone salute the sons of victory. With the offering of bright blood, they have ransomed hearth and tomb, Vineyard, and field, and flood; —lo! they come, they come! Sing it where olives wave, and by the glittering sea, And o'er each hero's grave,
sing, sing, the land is free! Mark
ye the flashing oars, and the spears that light the deep! How the festal sunshine pours, where the lords of battle sweep! Fach hath brought back his shield ; — maid, greet thy lover home! Mother, from that proud field, -Io! thy son is come! Who murmured of the dead ? Hush, boding voice! We know That many a shining head lies in its glory low. Breathe not those names to-day! They shall have their praise ere long And a power all hearts to sway, in ever-burning song.
But now shed flowers, pour wine, to hail the conquerors home.
18. ODE. - William Collins. Born, 1720; died, 1756.
19. VIRGINIUS, AS TRIBUNE, REFUSES THE APPEAL OF APPIUS CLAIDIUS.
- Original Paraphrase from Livy. I AFFIRM, 0) Romans, that Appius Claudius is the only man not entitled to a participation in the laws, nor to the common privileges of civil or human society. The tribunal over which, as perpetual Decemvir, he presided, was made the fortress of all villanies. A despiser of Gods and men, he vented his fury on the properties and persons of citizens, threatening all with his rods and axes. Executioners, not Lictors, were his attendants. His passions roaming from rapine to murder, from murder to lust, he tore a free-born maiden, as if she were a prisoner of war, from the embraces of me, her father, before the eyes of the Roman People, and gave her to his creature, the purveyor of his secret pleasures ! Ye heard, my countrymen, the cruel decree, the infamous decision. Ye beheld the right hand of the father armed against his daughter. Armed against, do I say? No, by the Gods ! armed in her behalf, — since it was to rescue her, by death, from dishonor, that I sheathed in her innocent bosom the knife! Ye heard the tyrant, when the uncle and the betrothed husband of Virginia raised her lifeless body, order them to be taken off to prison. Yes, Romans, even at that tragical moment, the miscreant Claudius was more moved by the disappointment of his gross sensual appetite than by the untimely death of the unoffending victim !
And Appius Claudius now appeals! You hear his words: “] appeal!” This man, who, so recently, as Decemvir, would have consigned a free-born maiden to bonds and to dishonor, utters that sacred expression, that safeguard of Roman liberty, _“I appeal!” Well may ye stand awe-struck and silent, O my countrymen! Ye see, at length, that there are Gods who overlook huinan affairs ; that there is such a thing as RETRIBUTION! Ye see that punishment must sooner