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Forth through the throng of gazers the young Icilius pressed,
And stamped his foot, and rent his gown, and smote upon his breast,
And sprang upon that column, by many a minstrel sung,
Whereon three mouldering helmets, three rustling swords are hung,
And beckoned to the people, and in bold voice and clear
Poured thick and fast the burning words which tyrants quake to hear

"Now, by your children's cradles, now, by your father's graves, Be men to-day, Quirites, or be forever slaves!

For this did Servius give us laws? For this did Lucrece bleed!
For this was the great vengeance done on Tarquin's evil seed?
For this did those false sons make red the axes of their sire?
For this did Scævola's right hand hiss in the Tuscan fire?
Shall the vile fox-earth awe the race that stormed the lion's den?
Shall we, who could not brook one lord, crouch to the wicked Ten
Oh for that ancient spirit, which curbed the Senate's will!
Oh 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 a day.
Exult, ye proud Patricians! The hard-fought fight is o'er.
We strove for honours-'twas in vain: for freedom-'tis 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 your 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.
Still, like a spreading ulcer, which leech-craft may not cure,
Let your foul usance eat away the substance of the poor
Still let your haggard debtors bear all their fathers bore;
Still let your dens of torment be noisome as of yore;
No fire when Tiber freezes; no air in dog-star heat;

And store of rods for freeborn backs, and holes for freeborn feet.
Heap heavier still the fetters; bar closer still the grate;
Patient as sheep we yield us up unto your cruel hate.
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?
Ladies, who deign not on our paths to set their tender feet,
Who from their cars look down with scorn upon the wondering street
Who in Corinthian mirrors their own proud smiles behold,

And breathe of Capuan odours, and shine with Spanish gold?
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 swell the father's breast with pride;
Still let the bridegroom's arms enfold an unpolluted bride.
Spare us the inexpiable wrong, the unutterable shame,

That turns the coward's heart to steel, the sluggard's blood to flame.
Lest, when our latest hope is fled, ye taste of our despair,

And learn by proof, in some wild hour, how much the wretched dare.

Straightway Virginius led the maid a little space aside,

To where the reeking shambles stood, piled up with horn and hide,
Close to yon low dark archway, where, in a crimson flood,
Leaps down to the great sewer the gurgling stream of blood.
Hard by, a flesher on a block had laid his whittle down:
Virginius caught the whittle up, and hid it in his gown.
And then his eyes grew very dim, and his throat began to swell,
And in a hoarse, changed voice he spake, "Farewell, sweet child! Farewell
Oh! how I loved my darling! Though stern I sometimes be,
To thee, thou know'st, I was not so. Who could be so to thee!

And how my darling loved me! How glad she was to hear
My footsteps on the threshold when I came back last year!
And how she danced with pleasure to see my civic crown,
And took my sword, and hung it up, and brought me forth my gown!
Now, all those things are over-yes, all thy pretty ways,
Thy needlework, thy prattle, thy snatches of old lays;
And none will grieve when I go forth, or smile when I return,
Or watch beside the old man's bed, or weep upon his urn.
The house that was the happiest within the Roman walis,
The house that envied not the wealth of Capua's marble halls,
Now, for the brightness of thy smile, must have eternal gloom,
And for the music of thy voice, the silence of the tomb.
The time is come. See how he points his eager hand this way!
See how his eyes gloat on thy grief, like a kite's upon the prey!
With all his wit, he little deems, that, spurned, betrayed, bereft,
Thy father hath in his despair one fearful refuge left.
He little deems that in this hand I clutch what still can save
Thy gentle youth from taunts and blows, the portion of the slave;
Yea, and from nameless evil, that passeth taunt and blow-
Foul outrage which thou know'st not, which thou shalt never know.
Then clasp me round the neck once more, and give me one more kiss ;
And now, mine own dear little girl, there is no way but this."
With that he lifted high the steel, and smote her in the side,
And in her blood she sank to earth, and with one sob she died.

Then, for a little moment, all people held their breath;
And through the crowded Forum was stillness as of death;
And in another moment brake forth from one and all
A cry as if the Volscians were coming o'er the wall.
Some with averted faces shrieking fled home amain;
Some ran to call a leech; and some ran to lift the slain :
Some felt her lips and little wrist, if life might there be found;
And some tore up their garments fast, and strove to stanch the wound.
In vain they ran, and felt, and stanched; for never truer blow
That good right arm had dealt in fight against a Volscian foe.

When Appius Claudius saw that deed, he shuddered and sank down,
And hid his face some little space with the corner of his gown,
Till, with white lips and bloodshot eyes, Virginius tottered nigh,
And stood before the judgment-seat, and held the knife on high.
"Oh! dwellers in the nether gloom, avengers of the slain,
By this dear blood I cry to you, do right between us twain;
And even as Appius Claudius hath dealt by me and mine,
Deal you by Appius Claudius and all the Claudian line!"
So spake the slayer of his child, and turned, and went his way;
But first he cast one haggard glance to where the body lay,
And writhed, and groaned a fearful groan; and then, with steadfast fee
Strode right across the market-place unto the Sacred Street.

Then up sprang Appius Claudius: "Stop him; alive or dead!
Ten thousand pounds of copper to the man who brings his head."
He looked upon his clients, but none would work his will.
He looked upon his lictors, but they trembled and stood still.
And, as Virginius through the press his way in silence cleft,
Ever the mighty multitude fell back to right and left.

And he hath passed in safety unto his woful home,

And there ta'en horse to tell the camp what deeds are done in Rome

By this the flood of people was swollen from every side,
And streets and porches round were filled with that o'erflowing tide
And close around the body gathered a little train

Of them that were the nearest and dearest to the slain.
They brought a bier, and hung it with many a cypress crown,
And gently they uplifted her, and gently laid her down.

The face of Appius Claudius wore the Claudian scowl and sneer,
And in the Claudian note he cried, "What doth this rabble here?
Have they no crafts to mind at home, that hitherward they stray!
Ho! lictors, clear the market-place, and fetch the corpse away!"
Till then the voice of pity and fury was not loud,

But a deep sullen murmur wandered among the crowd VOL. IV-71

Like the moaning noise that goes before the whirlwind on the deep,
Or the growl of a fierce watch-dog but half-aroused from sleep.
But when the lictors at that word, tall yeomen all and strong,
Each with his axe and sheaf of twigs, went down into the throng,
Those old men say, who saw that day of sorrow and of sin,
That in the Roman Forum was never such a dia.

The wailing, hooting, cursing, the howls of grief and hate,
Were heard beyond the Pincian hill, beyond the Latin gate.
But close around the body, where stood the little train
Of them that were the nearest and dearest to the slain,

No cries were there, but teeth set fast, low whispers, and black frowns,
And breaking up of benches, and girding up of gowns.
"Twas well the lictors might not pierce to where the maiden lay,
Else surely had they been all twelve torn limb from limb that day.
Right glad they were to struggle back, blood streaming from their heads,
With axes all in splinters, and raiment all in shreds.

Then Appius Claudius gnawed his lip, and the blood left his cheek;
And thrice he beckoned with his hand, and thrice he strove to speak;
And thrice the tossing Forum sent up a frightful yell-

"See, see, thou dog! what thou hast done; and hide thy shame in hell!
Thou that wouldst make our maidens slaves, must first make slaves of mer
Tribunes!-Hurrah for Tribunes! Down with the wicked Ten!"
And straightway, thick as hailstones, came whizzing through the air
Pebbles, and bricks, and potsherds, all round the curule chair:
And upon Appius Claudius great fear and trembling came;
For never was a Claudius yet brave against aught but shame.
Though the great houses love us not, we own, to do them right,
That the great houses, all save one, have borne them well in fight.
Still Caius of Corioli, his triumphs and his wrongs,

His vengeance and his mercy, live in our camp-fire songs.
Beneath the yoke of Furius oft have Gaul and Tuscan bowed;
And Rome may bear the pride of him of whom herself is proud.
But evermore a Claudius shrinks from a stricken field,

And changes colour like a maid at sight of sword and shield.
The Claudian triumphs all were won within the City-towers;
The Claudian yoke was never pressed on any necks but ours.
A Cossus, like a wild cat, springs ever at the face;

A Fabius rushes like a boar against the shouting chase;

But the vile Claudian litter, raging with currish spite,

Still yelps and snaps at those who run, still runs from those who smite.

So now 'twas seen of Appius. When stones began to fly,

He shook, and crouched, and wrung his hands, and smote upon his thigh
"Kind clients, honest lictors, stand by me in this fray!
Must I be torn in pieces? Home, home the nearest way!"
While yet he spake, and looked around with a bewildered stare,
Four sturdy lictors put their necks beneath the curule chair;
And fourscore clients on the left, and fourscore on the right,
Arrayed themselves with swords and staves, and loins girt up for fight.
But, though without or staff or sword, so furious was the throng,
That scarce the train with might and main could bring their lord along
Twelve times the crowd made at him; five times they seized his gown;
Small chance was his to rise again, if once they got him down:
And sharper came the pelting; and evermore the yell-
"Tribunes! we will have Tribunes!"-rose with a louder swell:
And the chair tossed as tosses a bark with tattered sail,
When raves the Adriatic beneath an eastern gale,
When the Calabrian sea-marks are lost in clouds of spume,
And the great Thunder-Cape has donned his veil of inky gloom.
One stone hit Appius in the mouth, and one beneath the ear;
And ere he reached Mount Palatine, he swooned with pain and fear.
His cursed head, that he was wont to hold so high with pride,
Now, like a drunken man's, hung down, and swayed from side to side;
And when his stout retainers had brought him to his door,

His face and neck were all one cake of filth and clotted gore.
As Appius Claudius was that day, so may his grandson be!
God send Rome one such other sight, and send me there to see!


It can hardly be necessary to remind any | rhus, King of Epirus, came to their help with reader that, according to the popular tradition, a large army; and, for the first time, the two Romulus, after he had slain his grand-uncle great nations of antiquity were fairly matched Amulius, and restored his grandfather Numi- against each other. tor, determined to quit Alba, the hereditary domain of the Sylvian princes, and to found a new city. The gods, it was added, vouchsafed the clearest signs of the favour with which they regarded the enterprise, and of the high destinies reserved for the young colony.

This event was likely to be a favourite theme of the old Latin minstrels. They would naturally attribute the project of Romulus to some divine intimation of the power and prosperity | which it was decreed that his city should attain. They would probably introduce seers foretelling the victories of unborn Consuls and Dictators, and the last great victory would generally occupy the most conspicuous place in the prediction. There is nothing strange in the supposition that the poet who was employed to celebrate the first great triumph of the Romans over the Greeks might throw his song of exultation into this form.

The fame of Greece in arms, as well as in arts, was then at the height. Half a century earlier, the career of Alexander had excited the admiration and terror of all nations from the Ganges to the Pillars of Hercules. Royal houses, founded by Macedonian captains, still reigned at Anticch and Alexandria. That ba:barian warriors, led by barbarian chiefs, should win a pitched battle against Greek valour guided by Greek science, seemed as incredible as it would now seem that the Burmese or the Siamese should, in the open plain, put to flight an equal number of the best English troops. The Tarentines were convinced that their country. men were irresistible in war; and this conviction had emboldened them to treat with the grossest indignity one whom they regarded as the representative of an inferior race. Of the Greek generals then living, Pyrrhus was indisputably the first. Among the troops who The occasion was one likely to excite the were trained in the Greek discipline, his Epistrongest feelings of national pride. A great rotes ranked high. His expedition to Italy was outrage had been followed by a great retribu- a turning-point in the history of the world. He tion. Seven years before this time, Lucius Pos- found there a people who, far inferior to the thumius Megellus, who sprang from one of the Athenians and Corinthians in the fine arts, in noblest houses of Rome, and had been thrice the speculative sciences, and in all the refineConsul, was sent ambassador to Tarentum, with ments of life, were the best soldiers on the face charge to demand reparation for grievous in- of the earth. Their arms, their gradations of juries. The Tarentines gave him audience in rank, their order of battle, their method of intheir theatre, where he addressed them in such trenchment, were all of Latian origin, and had Greek as he could command, which, we may all been gradually brought near to perfection, well believe, was not exactly such as Cineas not by the study of foreign models, but by the would have spoken. An exquisite sense of the genius and experience of many generations ridiculous belonged to the Greek character; of great native commanders. The first words and closely connected with this faculty was a which broke from the king, when his practised strong propensity to flippancy and imperti- eye had surveyed the Roman encampment, nence. When Posthumius placed an accent were full of meaning:-"These barbarians," wrong, his hearers burst into a laugh. When he he said, "have nothing barbarous in their mili remonstrated, they hooted him, and called him tary arrangements." He was at first victoribarbarian; and at length hissed him off the ous; for his own talents were superior to stage as if he had been a bad actor. As the those of the captains who were opposed to grave Roman retired, a buffoon, who, from his him, and the Romans were not prepared for the constant drunkenness, was nicknamed the Pint- onset of the elephants of the East, which were pot, came up with gestures of the grossest in- then for the first time seen in Italy-moving decency, and bespattered the senatorial gown mountains, with long snakes for hands.* But with filth. Posthumius turned round to the the victories of the Epirotes were fiercely dis multitude and held up the gown, as if appeal-puted, dearly purchased, and altogether unpro ing to the universal law of nations. The sight fitable. At length Manius Curius Dentatus, only increased the insolence of the Tarentines. who had in his first consulship won two triThey clapped their hands, and set up a shout umphs, was again placed at the head of the of laughter which shook the theatre. "Men Roman Commonwealth, and sent to encounter of Tarentum," said Posthumius, "it will take the invaders. A great battle was fought near not a little blood to wash this gown." Beneventum. Pyrrhus was completely defeat. ed. He repassed the sea; and the world learned with amazement that a people had been dis

Rome, in consequence of this insult, declared war against the Tarentines. The Tarentines sought for allies beyond the Ionian sea. Pyr

Dion. Hal. De Legationibus.

*Anguimanus is the old Latin epithet for an elephan Lucretius, ii. 538, v. 1302.

Lovered who, in fair fighting, were superior to | first Punic war to a triumphant close. It is the best troops that had been drilled on the impossible to recapitulate the names of these system of Parmenio and Antigonus. eminent citizens without reflecting that they The conquerors had a good right to exult were all, without exception, Plebeians, and in their success, for their glory was all their would, but for the ever memorable struggle own. They had not learned from their enemy maintained by Caius Lucinius and Lucius how to conquer him. It was with their own Sextius, have been doomed to hide in obscunational arms, and in their own national battle-rity, or to waste in civil broils, the capacity array, that they had overcome weapons and and energy which prevailed against Pyrrhus actics long believed to be invincible. The and Hamilcar. pilum and the broadsword had vanquished the Macedonian spear. The legion had broken the Macedonian phalanx. Even the elephants, when the surprise produced by their first appearance was over, could cause no disorder in the steady yet flexible battalions of Rome.

It is said by Florus, and may easily be believed, that the triumph far surpassed in magnificence any that Rome had previously seen. The only spoils which Papirius Cursor and Fabius Maximus could exhibit were flocks and herds, wagons of rude structure, and heaps of spears and helmets. But now, for the first time, the riches of Asia and the arts of Greece The following lay belongs to the latest age adorned a Roman pageant. Plate, fine stuffs, of Latin ballad-poetry. Nævius and Livius costly furniture, rare animals, exquisite paint-Andronicus were probably among the children ings and sculptures, formed part of the pro- whose mothers held them up to see the chariot cession. At the banquet would be assembled of Curius go by. The minstrel who sang on a crowd of warriors and statesmen, among that day might possibly have lived to read the whom Manius Curius Dentatus would take the first hexameters of Ennius, and to see the first highest room. Caius Fabricius Luscinus, then, comedies of Plautus. His poem, as might be after two consulships and two triumphs, Cen- expected, shows a much wider acquaintance sor of the Commonwealth, would doubtless oc- with the geography, manners, and production cupy a place of honour at the board. In situa- of remote nations, than would have been for d tions less conspicuous probably lay some of in compositions of the age of Camillus. B those who were, a few years later, the terror he troubles himself little about dates; and of Carthage; Caius Duilius, the founder of the having heard travellers talk with admiration maritime greatness of his country; Marcus of the Colossus of Rhodes, and of the struc Atilius Regulus, who owed to defeat a renown tures and gardens with which the Macedonian far higher than that which he had derived from kings of Syria had embellished their residence his victories; and Caius Lutatius Catulus, who, on the banks of the Orontes, he has never while suffering from a grievous wound, fought thought of inquiring whether these things exthe great battle of the gates, and brought the 'isted in the age of Romulus.





On such a day we may suppose that the patriotic enthusiasm of a Latin poet would vent itself in reiterated shouts of lo triumphe, such as were uttered by Horace on a far less exciting occasion, and in boasts resembling those which Virgil, two hundred and fifty years later, put into the mouth of Anchises. The superiority of some foreign nations, and especially of the Greeks, in the lazy arts of peace, would be admitted with disdainful candour; but pre-eminence in all the qualities which fit a people to subdue and govern mankind would be claimed for the Romans.

Now slain is King Amulius,

Of the great Sylvian line, Who reigned in Alba Longa,

Op the throne of Aventine. Slan is the Pontiff Camers,

Who spake the words of doom: "The children to the Tiber

The mother to the tomb."


In Alba's lake no fisher

His net to-day is flinging:
On the dark rind of Alba's oaks
To-day no axe is ringing:
the yoke hangs o'er the manger:
The scythe lies in the hay:

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