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the whole machine of government. No curule | truth, naturally from the constitution of the magistrates could be chosen; no military mus-Roman government and from the spirit of the ter could be held. We know too little of the Roman people; and, though it submitted to state of Rome in those days to be able to con- metrical rules derived from Greece, it retained jecture how, during that long anarchy, the to the last its essentially Roman character. Lupeace was kept, and ordinary justice adminis- cilius was the earliest satirist whose works tered between man and man. The animosity were held in esteem under the Caesars. But, of both parties rose to the greatest height. The many years before Lucilius was born, Nævius excitement, we may well suppose, would have had been flung into a dungeon, and guarded been peculiarly intense at the annual election there with circumstances of unusual rigour of Tribunes. On such occasions there can be till the Tribunes interfered in his behalf, on little doubt that the great families did all that account of the bitter lines in which he had atcould be done, by threats and caresses, to tacked the great Cæcilian family. The gebreak the union of the Plebeians. That union, nius and spirit of the Roman satirists survived however, proved indissoluble. At length the the liberties of their country, and were not exgood cause triumphed. The Licinian laws tinguished by the cruel despotism of the Julian were carried. Lucius Sextius was the first and Flavian emperors. The great poet who Plebeian Consul, Caius Licinius the third. told the story of Domitian's turbot was the The results of this great change were singu- legitimate successor of those forgotten minlarly happy and glorious. Two centuries of strels whose songs animated the factions of prosperity, harmony, and victory followed the the infant Republic. reconciliation of the orders. Men who remembered Rome engaged in waging petty wars almost within sight of the Capitol lived to see her the mistress of Italy. While the disabilities of the Plebeians continued, she was scarcely able to maintain her ground against the Volscians and Hernicans. When those disabilities were removed, she rapidly became more than a match for Carthage and Macedon.

During the great Licinian contest the Pie beian poets were, doubtless, not silent. Even in modern times songs have been by no means without influence on public affairs; and we may therefore infer, that, in a society where printing was unknown, and where books were rare, a pathetic or humorous party-ballad must have produced fects such as we can but faintly conceive. It is certain that satirical poems were common at Rome from a very early period. The rustics who lived at a distance from the seat of government, and took little part in the strife of factions, gave vent to their petty local animosities in coarse Fescennine verse. The lampoons of the city were doubtless of a higher order; and their sting was early felt by the nobility. For in the Twelve Tables, long before the time of the Licinian laws, a severe punishment was denounced against the citizen who should compose or recite verses reflecting on another.* Satire is, indeed, the only sort of composition in which the Latin poets, whose works have come down to us, were not mere imitators of foreign models; and it is therefore the only sort of composition in which they had never been rivalled. It was not, like their tragedy, their comedy, their epic and lyric poetry, a hot-house plant which, in return for assiduous and skilful culture, yielded only scanty and sickly fruits. It was hardy, and full of sap; and in all the various juices which it yielded might be distinguished the flavour of the Ausonian soil. "Satire," said Quintilian, with just pride, "is all our own." It sprang, in

Cicero justly infers from this law that there had

been early Latin poets whose works had been lost before his time. "Quamquam id quidem etiam xii tabulæ declarant; condi jam tum solitum esse carmen, quod ne liceret fleri ad alterius injuriam lege sanxerunt."--Tuse. iv. 2.

Those minstrels, as Niebuhr has remarked, appear to have generally taken the popular side. We can hardly be mistaken in suppos ing that, at the great crisis of the civil conflict, they employed themselves in versifying all the most powerful and virulent speeches of the Tribunes, and in heaping abuse on the chiefs of the aristocracy. Every personal defect, every domestic scandal, every tradition dishonourable to a noble house, would be sought out, brought into notice, and exaggerated. The illustrious head of the aristocratical party, Marcus Furius Camillus, might perhaps be, in some measure, protected by his venerable age and by the memory of his great services to the state. But Appius Claudius Crassus enjoyed no such immunity. He was descended from a long line of ancestors distinguished by their haughty demeanour, and by the inflexibility with which they had withstood all the demands of the Plebeian order. While the political conduct and the deportment of the Claudian nobles drew upon them the fiercest public hatred, they were wanting, if any credit is due to the early history of Rome, in a class of qualities which, in a military Commonwealth, is suff cient to cover a multitude of ffences. Several of them appear to have been eloquent, versed in civil business, and learned after the fashion of their age; but in war they were not distin. guished by skill or valour. Some of them, as if conscious where their weakness lay, had, when filling the highest magistracies, taken internal administration as their department of public business, and left the military com mand to their colleagues. One of them hau been intrusted with an army, and had failed ignominiously.‡ None of them had been honoured with a triumph. None of them had achieved any martial exploit, such as those by which Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Titus Quinctius Capitolinus, Aulus Cornelius Cossus, and, above all, the great Camillus, had extorted the reluctant esteem of the multitude. During the Licinian conflict, Appius Claudius Crassus signalized himself by the ability and severity with which he harangued against the two

*Plautus, Miles Gloriosus. Aulus Gellius iil 3.
In the years of the city 260, 304, and 330
In the year of the city 282.

great agitators. He would naturally, there- | Tribuneship was re-established; and Appíus fore, be the favourite mark of the Plebeian escaped the hands of the executioner only by satirists; nor would they have been at a loss a voluntary death. to find a point on which he was open to attack.

It can hardly be doubted that a story so admirably adapted to the purposes both of the poet and of the demagogue would be eagerly seized upon by minstrels burning with hatred against the Patrician order, against the Clau dian house, and especially against the grandson and namesake of the infamous Decemvir.

His grandfather, named like himself, Appius Claudius, had left a name as much detested as that of Sextus Tarquinius. He had been Consul more than seventy years before the introduction of the Licinian laws. By availing himself of a singular crisis in public feeling, he had obtained the consent of the Commons to the abolition of the Tribuneship, and had been the chief of that Council of Ten to which the whole direction of the State had been committed. In a few months his administration had become universally odious. It was swept away by an irresistible outbreak of popular fury; and its memory was still held in abhorrence by the whole city. The immediate cause of the downfall of this execrable government was said to have been an attempt made by Appius Claudius on the chastity of a beautiful young girl of humble birth. The story ran, that the Decemvir, unable to succeed by bribes and solicitations, resorted to an outrageous act of tyranny. A vile dependant of the Claudian house laid claim to the damsel as his slave. The cause was brought before the tribunal of Appius. The wicked magistrate, in defiance of the clearest proofs, gave judgment for the claimant; but the girl's father, a brave soldier, saved her from servitude and dishonour by stabbing her to the heart in the sight of the whole Forum. That blow was the sig-where, according to tradition, Virginia, more nal for a general explosion. Camp and city than seventy years ago, was seized by the rose at once; the Ten were pulled down; the pander of Appius, and he begins his story.

In order that the reader may judge fairly of these fragments of the lay of Virginia, he must imagine himself a Plebeian who has just voted for the re-election of Sextius and Licinius. All the power of the Patricians has been exerted to throw out the two great champions of the Commons. Every Posthumius, Æmilius, and Cornelius has used his influence to the utmost. Debtors have been let out of the workhouses on condition of voting against the men of the people; clients have been posted to hiss and interrupt the favourite candidates; Appins Claudius Crassus has spoken with more than his usual eloquence and asperity; all has been in vain; Licinius and Sextus have a fifth time carried all the tribes; work is suspended; the booths are closed; the Plebeians bear on their shoulders the two champions of liberty through the Forum. Just at this moment it is announced that a popular poet, a zealous adherent of the Tribunes, has made a new song which will cut the Claudian family to the heart. The crowd gathers round him, and calls on him to recite it. He takes his stand on the spot



YE good men of the Commons, with loving hearts and true,
Who stand by the bold Tribunes that still have stood by you,
Come, make a circle round me, and mark my tale with care,

A tale of what Rome once hath borne; of what Rome yet may bear.
This is no Grecian fable, of fountains running wine,

Of maids with snaky tresses, or sailors turned to swine.
Here, in this very Forum, under the noonday sun,

In sight of all the people, the bloody deed was done.

Old men still creep among us who saw that fearful day,

Just seventy years and seven ago, when the wicked Ten bare sway.

Of all the wicked Ten still the names are held accursed,
And of all the wicked Ten, Appius Claudius was the worst.
He stalked along the Forum like King Tarquin in his pride:
Twelve axes waited on him, six marching on a side;

The townsmen shrank to right and left, and eyed askance with fear
His lowering brow, his curling mouth which alway seemed to sneer:
That brow of hate, that mouth of scorn, marks all the kindred still;
For never was there Claudius yet but wished the Commons ill:
Nor lacks he fit attendance; for close behind his heels,

With outstretched chin and crouching pace, the client Marcus steals,

His loins girt up to run with speed, be the errand what it may,
And he smile flickering on his cheek, for aught his lord may sav.
Such varlets pimp and jest for hire among the lying Greeks:
Such varlets still are paid to hoot when brave Licinius speaks.
Where'er ye shed the honcy, the buzzing flies will crowd;
Where'er ye fling the carrion, the raven's croak is loud;
Where'er down Tiber garbage floats, the greedy pike ye see;
And wheresoe'er such lord is found, such client still will be.

Just then, as through one cloudless chink in a black stormy sky
Shines out the dewy morning-star, a fair young girl came by.
With her small tablets in her hand, and her satchel on her arm,

Home she went bounding from the school, nor dreamed of shame or harm
And past those dreaded axes she innocently ran,

With bright, frank brow that had not learned to blush at gaze of man;
And up the Sacred Street she turned, and, as she danced along,

She warbled gayly to herself lines of the good old song,
How for a sport the princes came spurring from the camp,
And found Lucrece, combing the fleece, under the midnight lamp.
The maiden sang as sings the lark, when up he darts his flight,
From his nest in the green April corn, to meet the morning light;

And Appius heard her sweet young voice, and saw her sweet young face,
And loved her with the accursed love of his accursed race,

And all along the Forum, and up the Sacred Street,

His vulture eye pursued the trip of those small glancing feet.

Over the Alban mountains the light of morning broke;

From all the roofs of the Seven Hills curled the thin wreaths of smoke: The city gates were opened; the Forum, all alive,

With buyers and with sellers was humming like a hive.

Blithely on brass and timber the craftsman's stroke was ringing,

And blithely o'er her panniers the market-girl was singing,

And blithely young Virginia came smiling from her home:

Ah! wo for young Virginia, the sweetest maid in Rome!

With her small tablets in her hand, and her satchel on her arm,
Forth she went bounding to the school, nor dreamed of shame or harm.
She crossed the Forum shining with stalls in alleys gay,
And just had reached the very spot whereon I stand this day,
When up the varlet Marcus came; not such as when erewhile
He crouched behind his patron's heels with the true client smile:
He came with lowering forehead, swollen features, and clenched fist,
And strode across Virginia's path, and caught her by the wrist.
Hard strove the frighted maiden, and screamed with look aghast;
And at her scream from right and left the folk came running fast;
The money-changer Crispus, with his thin silver hairs,
And Hanno from the stately booth glittering with Punic wares,
And the strong smith Muræna, grasping a half-forged brand,
And Volero the flesher, his cleaver in his hand.

All came in wrath and wonder; for all knew that fair child;
And, as she passed them twice a day, all kissed their hands and smiled;
And the strong smith Muræna gave Marcus such a blow,

The caitiff reeled three paces back, and let the maiden go.

Yet glared he fiercely round him, and growled in harsh, fell tone,
"She's mine, and I will have her. I seek but for mine own:

She is my slave, born in my house, and stolen away and sold,
The year of the sore sickness, ere she was twelve hours old.
"Twas in the sad September, the month of wail and fright,
Two augurs were borne forth that morn; the Consul died ere night.
I wait on Appius Cladius; I waited on his sire:

Let him who works the client wrong, beware the patron's ire !"

So spake the varlet Marcus; and dread and silence came

On all the people at the sound of the great Claudian name.
For then there was no Tribune to speak the word of might,

Which makes the rich man tremble, and guards the poor man's right
There was no brave Licinius, no honest Sextius then;
But all the city, in great fear, obeyed the wicked Ten.
Yet ere the valet Marcus again might seize the maid,

Who clung tight to Muræna's skirt, and sobbed, and shrieked for aid,

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 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 walls,
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

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