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materials which such a writer might convert to excellent purpose. If the author has not done all that might be done, it must at least be allowed that he has produced a very animated and interesting work; nor is it any disparagement to his abilities to have failed in an attempt, in which none but a few extraordinary men have ever succeeded—that of writing on an ancient subject as an ancient would have written. We allude to the anachronisms of sentiment rather than to the violations of costume, which are comparatively few. We feel no pleasure in hearing prætors talk like aldermen, and flamens like church dignitaries; we might have heard it all, without going so far as the reign of Trajan for it; nor ought the heir of the Valerii to make love like the heir of the Osbaldistones.

But the greatest failure of all is in the introduction of Christianity, a subject which might have been made susceptible of the noblest effect; and this deficiency is the more unpardonable, as every thing here was at his disposal — he might have had it all his own way-00 one would have disputed the accuracy of his statements had they been ever so favourable. We confess that, from his account, we should be inclined to consider the new religion a superfluity and an impertinent intrusion. With the exception of a few fine compliments paid to the sublime theology of the Old Testament, and an elaborate description of the death of a martyr, we remember nothing that leaves any powerful impression in its favour, nor can we see how Valerius, or any one else, is the better for embracing it. Thraso himself, the martyr, is represented as having, subsequently to his conversion, joined the Roman army in the attack of Jerusalem, through pure hatred to the Jews, from whom his family had received some injuries. Almost the first act of Valerius, after his reception of the new faith, is to commit a deed of murder and treason; and the gentle Athanasia herself is introduced to us, on the same occasion, in the guise of a Helen Macgregor rather than of a Christian neophyte. Of the characters, the centurion Sabinus is by far the best. Xerophrastes, the Stoic, (we presume this is the Greek for Dr. Dryasdust,) answers to his name; nor are Licinius, his son, or the

gay widow Rubellia, much better. Dromo and Boto, the two slaves, are entertaining. Then we have the haughty priestess of Apollo, and young Sempronia, who enacts the part of Ismene or Chrysothemis to her sterner sister. The catastrophe is huddled up in an exceedingly awkward manner. It is in passages of solemn or splendid description that the author succeeds best. We extract the account of a procession made by the Sempronii to their family burial place, for the purpose of expiating the pollution which it had incurrred by having been made the scene of Christian worship. The chaunt, with which it concludes, breathes a more classical spirit than any thing in the work; it is exquisitely antique. We except the last stanza but one, of which the conception, though highly poetical, is not in the manner of ancient poetry.

But while we were moving onwards thus slowly and silently, we heard of a sudden a clang of cymbals among the trees, a little to the right hand, and the Centurion, saying, "What procession can this be?” led the way down a

ness.

Barrow path branching from the main road, which appeared to conduct towards the place from which the sound proceeded. This path was winding and dusky, being edged on either side with pines and cypresses, so that for some space we saw nothing; and the cymbals having ceased again, the Centurion said, “I suppose it is some funeral ; they have probably completed every thing, and have seen out the last gleam among the embers. Let us get on, for perhaps we may be kept back by their procession, if they are already returning."

We quickened our pace accordingly, and held on till at length a sharp turning of the road discovered to us a great number of persons who were standing quite silent, as if in contemplation of some ceremony or other spectacle ; but what it was, owing to the sinking of the ground beyond, and the intervention of such a crowd of people, we could not see. Several persons on horseback seemed, like ourselves, to have had their progress interrupted; but they were sitting quietly, and making no claim. The silence of the whole assembly was indeed such, that Sabinus motioned to me to ask no questions, adding in a low whisper,“ Take off your riding-cap; it is some religious rite, and you see every body is uncovered.”

The Centurion himself, however, was not a person to be stopped thus, without wishing to understand something further of the cause of the interruption; so ere long he began to manifest considerable symptoms of fretful

The one side of the road was guarded by a high wall, to the top of which a number of the more juvenile spectators had climbed ;-- the other by a ditch of great breadth, and full of water, beyond which was a grove of trees; and I saw him eyeing the ditch, as if considering whether, by passing it, it might not be possible, without disturbing the crowd, to get nearer the object of their attention, or at least to make progress in our journey. At last he beckoned to me to follow him, and the bold equestrian at one leap passed easily over the ditch, and all the reeds that bordered it. I imitated the ex. ample, and so did the Prætorian soldier, who had now come up to us; but as for Dromo, he was obliged to remain (patiently or impatiently) behind; for, of a truth, the animal he bestrode was in nowise calculated for such feats.

We rode very quickly, therefore, along the margin of the trees, and ere we had reached the bottom of the declivity on which they grew, I perceived plainly that we had come close to the Sempronian monument, and that the ceremony, whatever it might be, was taking place immediately in front of the old tower upon the road. We gave our horses to the soldier, and contrived with some difficulty to gain the bank on the side of the way immediately over against it—the same place, in fact, where the Cretan slave had taken his station among the pine-trees, on the night when all those things occurred of which I have already spoken to you. Like him, we placed ourselves as quietly as we could behind the trunks of the trees, and, indeed, for our purpose, there could have been no better situation. We were contented, however, to occupy it as much as possible without attracting observation ; for it was evident, in spite of the curiosity that detained so great a multitude near at hand, there must be something mysterious or ominous of nature in that which was taking place, since not one of the crowd had dared to come forward, so as to be within hearing of the officiators.

And these, indeed, were a very melancholy-looking group. For men, and women, and children of every age, to the number it may be of an hundrel, appeared all standing together sorrowfully, and in garments of black; while, in the midst of them, and immediately by the base of the monument, two or three veiled priests, with their necessary assistants, seemed to be preparing for sacrifice a strong black bull, whose hoofs spurned the dust as they held him, and his gilded horns glittered in the light of the declining sun. Sabinus no sooner discovered the arrangement of the solemn company, than he suspected what was their occupation, and he whispered to me, while as yet all was silent, “ Be sure, these are all the kindred of the Sempronii. Without question they have come to purify the mausoleum, and to avert, according to the custom of antiquity, the vengeance of the violated manes. Behold,” said he, “that tall and stately figure, close to the head of the animal on the right hand; that, I know, is Marcia-yes, Marcia Sempronia-she that is priestess of Apollo the Palatine. Without doubt, these by her are her brothers.”

“ Some of her near relations they must be," I made answer, also in a whisper ; “ for observe you that young woman, whose face is wrapped in her mourning veil, and whose sobs are audible even through all its folds? I had one glimpse of her countenance this moment, and I am sure it is the young Sempronia, the cousin and companion of the unfortunate Athanasia-the daughter of Lucius the senator."

“ Poor girl,” replied Sabinus, “ From my heart do I pity her. See how she is in agony from thinking of that which hath befallen her friend. They are all joining hands, that the nearest of the kindred touching the priest, his deed may appear manifestly to be the deed of all. The Priestess of Apollo takes hold of the left hand of him that wields the axe, and they are all hand in hand. She, poor soul, alas! she is ill able to take any part in their service; and they all appear sufficiently downcast.”

At this inoment, one of the officiators sounded a few mournful notes upon a trumpet, and its solitary echo thrilled the air. The priest who held the axe, clave at one blow the forehead of the blindfold bull. The blood streamed, and wine streamed with it abundantly, upon the base of the mausoleum; and then, while we were yet gazing on the convulsions of the dying animal, the trumpet sounded a second time, and the whole company sung together, the sacrificing priest leading and directing them. Distinct above all, yet low and stedfast rather than loud, I heard the voice of the stately Priestess of Apollo; but as for poor Sempronia, her notes were broken, and her assistance feeble.

The shadows of the tower and of the pine-trees lay strongly upon them, and I thought there was something of a very strange contrast between the company and their chaunt on the one hand, and the beautiful sculptures, full of all the emblems of life and happiness on the other, with which, according to the gay dreams of Grecian fancy, the walls of the funereal edifice itself had here and there been garnished. Fauns, and torch-bearing nymphs and children, crowned with garlands, and wreathed groups and fantastic dances, seemed to enliven almost to mockery the monumental marbles ; but one felt the real gloominess both of death and superstition, in the attitudes and accents of the living worshippers.

We have noticed several inaccuracies with regard to names and things. Ostia is written Ostium ; this, however, is not so bad as the blunder of the Edinburgh Reviewer on Demosthenes, who supposes that the Oritæ must come from a place called Oritum. We have also the Janicular for Janiculum; Anthony as a prænomen ; and Athanasia as a name originally pagan. The compound, Xerophrastes, contains no less than three barbarisms. The eagle is used as synonymous with centurion in general, whereas it was only used to designate the primipilus, or first centurion of the legion, who had the charge of the legionary eagle. And the ladies and gentlemen of the story are described as sitting together in the Amphitheatre, like the good folks at Drury-lane, notwithstanding the edict of Augustus, by which separate seats were assigned to the women.

FRAGMENTS OF A ROMAN TALE.

It was an hour after noon. Ligarius was returning from the Campus Martius. He strolled through one of the streets which led to the forum, settling his gown, and calculating the odds on the gladiators who were to fence at the approaching Saturnalia. While thus occupied, he overtook Flaminius, who, with a heavy step and a melancholy face, was sauntering in the same direction. The light-hearted young man plucked him by the sleeve.

“ Good day, Flaminius. Are you to be of Catiline's party this evening? “ Not I.”

Why so ? Your little Tarentine girl will break her heart.” " No matter. Catiline has the best cooks and the finest wine in Rome. There are charming women at his parties. But the twelve-line board and the dice-box pay for all. The Gods confound me if I did not lose two millions of sesterces last night. My villa at Tibur, and all the statues that my father the prætor brought from Ephesus, must go to the auctioneer. That is a high price, you will acknowledge, even for Phoenicopters, Chian, and Callinice.”

“ High indeed, by Pollux."

" And that is not the worst. I saw several of the leading senators this morning. Strange things are whispered in the higher political circles.”

*** The Gods confound the political circles. I have hated the name of politician ever since Sylla’s proscription, when I was within a moment of having my throat cut by a politician, who took me for another politician. While there is a cask of Falernian in Campania, or a girl in the Suburra, I shall be too well employed to think on the subject.”

“ You will do well,” said Flaminius gravely, “ to bestow some little consideration upon it at present. Otherwise, I fear, you will soon renew your acquaintance with politicans, in a manner quite as unpleasant as that to which you allude.”

Averting Gods! what do you mean?”
" I will tell you. There are rumours of conspiracy.

The order of things established by Lucius Sylla has excited the disgust of the people, and of a large party of the nobles. Some violent convulsion is expected.”

VOL, I. PART I.

D

- I can

" What is that to me? I suppose that they will hardly proscribe the vintners and gladiators, or pass a law compelling every citizen to take a wife.”

“ You do not understand. Catiline is supposed to be the author of the revolutionary schemes. You must have heard bold opinions at his table repeatedly.”

I never listen to any opinions upon such subjects, bold or timid.”

Look to it. Your name has been mentioned.” “ Mine! good Gods! I call heaven to witness that I never so much as mentioned Senate, Consul, or Comitia, in Catiline's house."

Nobody suspects you of any participation in the inmost counsels of the party. But our great men surmise that you are among those whom he has bribed so high with beauty, or entangled so deeply in distress, that they are no longer their own masters. I shall never set foot within his threshold again. I have been solemnly warned by men who understand public affairs; and I advise you to be cautious.”

The friends had now turned into the forum, which was thronged with the gay and elegant youth of Rome. tell you more,” continued Flaminius; “ somebody was remarking to the Consul yesterday how loosely a certain acquaintance of ours tied his girdle. Let him look to himself,' said Cicero, • or the state may find a tighter girdle for his neck."

- Good Gods! who is it? You cannot surely mean6. There he is.”

Flaminius pointed to a man who was pacing up and down the forum at a little distance from them. He was in the prime of manhood. His personal advantages were extremely striking, and were displayed with an extravagant but not ungraceful foppery. His gown waved in loose folds; his long dark curls were dressed with exquisite art, and shone and steamed with odours; his step and gesture exhibited an elegant and comcmanding figure in every posture of polite languor. But his

ountenance formed a singular contrast to the general appearance of his person. The high and imperial brow, the keen aquiline features, the compressed mouth, the penetrating eye, indicated the highest degree of ability and decision. He seemed absorbed in intense meditation. With eyes fixed on the ground, and lips working in thought, he sauntered round the area, apparently unconscious how many of the young gallants of Rome were envying the taste of his dress, and the ease of his fashionable stagger.

« Good Heaven!” said Ligarius, • Caius Cæsar is as unlikely to be in a plot as I am.”

Not at all.”

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