Imágenes de páginas

shedding all their light, and ready to kindle the slightest circumstance into a blaze of discovery.

9. Meantime the guilty soul can not keep its own secret. It is false to itself-or, rather, it feels an irresistible impulse of conscience to be true to itself—it labors under its guilty possession, and knows not what to do with it. The human heart was not made for the residence of such an inhabitant; it finds itself preyed on by a torment which it dares not acknowledge to God or man. A vulture is devouring it, and it asks no sympathy or assistance either from heaven or earth.

10. The secret which the murderer possesses soon comes to possess him ; and like the evil spirits of which we read, it overcomes him, and leads him whithersoever it will. He feels it beating at his heart, rising to his throat, and demanding disclosure. He thinks the whole world sees it in his face, reads it in his eyes, and almost hears its workings in the věry silence of his thoughts. It has become his master; it betrays his discretion; it breaks down his courage ; it conquers his prudence.

11. When suspicions from without begin to embarrass him, and the net of circumstances to entangle him, the fatal secret struggles with still greater violence to burst forth. It must be confessed; it will be confessed; there is no refuge from confession but in suicide, and suicide is confession.





T had been a day of triumph in Căpuä. Len'tulus, return

ing with victorious eagles, had amused the populace, with the sports of the amphitheater, to an extent hitherto unknown even in that luxurious city. The shouts of revelry had died away; the roar of the lion had ceased ; the last loiterer had retired from the banquet; and the lights in the palace of the victor were extinguished.


Căp'u a, a fortified city of Na- and portions of a very large amphi. ples. It was built out of the ruins theater. of ancient Capua, the city here re- · Luxurious, (lug zu' re ús), de ferred to, the remains of which, lighting in the pleasures of the table; about two miles E., include a gate, devoted to pleasure



2. The moon, piercing the tissue of fleecy clouds, silvered the dew-drops on the corslet of the Roman sentinel, and tipped the dark waters of the Vulturnus' with a wavy, tremulous light. No sound was heard, save the last sob of some retiring wave, telling its story to the smooth pebbles of the beach ; and then all was still as the breast when the spirit has departed.

3. In the deep recesses of the amphitheater, a band of glădiators' were assembled,—their muscles still knotted with the agony of conflict, the foam upon their lips, the scowl of battle yět lingering on their brows,—when Spar'tacus, starting forth from amid the throng, thus addressed them :

4. “Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arēna every shape of man or beast the broad empire of Rome could furnish, and who never yět lowered his arm. If there be one among you who can say that ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him stand forth, and say it. If there be three in all your company dare face me on the bloody sands, let them come on.

5. “And yět, I was not always thus,-a hired butcher, a savage chief of still more savage men! My ancestors camc from old Sparta, and settled among the vine-clad rocks and citron groves of Syrasella. My early life ran quiet as the brooks by which I sported; and when, at noon, I găthered the sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd's flute, there was a friend, the son of a neighbor, to join me in the pastime. We led our flocks to the same pasture, and partook together our rustic meal.

6. “One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were all seated beneath the myrtle which shaded our cottage, my

i Vul tur' nus, now Volturno,(vol. desperate men. After having de. torno), a river of Naples.

feated four of the consular armies ? Glăd'i ā tor, a suārd-player; a of Rome, he was met and completeprize-fighter.

ly routed by the pretor Crassus, 3 Sparta cus, a celebrated glad. having lost not less than forty thou. iator, a Thracian by birth, who hav. sand of his followers. Spartacus ing escaped from Capuä along with behaved with great valor; and when some of his companions, was soon he fell, B. C. 71, it was upon a heap followed by other gladiators, and by of Romans whom he had sacrificed slaves, robbers, pirates, and other to his fury.

I saw

grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon' and Leuctra," and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, had withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war was ; but my cheeks burned, I knew not why, and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, till my mother, parting the hair from off my forehead, kissed my throbbing temples, and både me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.

7. “That věry night, the Romans landed on our coast. the breast that had noŭrished me trampled by the hoof of the war-horse ; the bleeding body of my father flung amidst the blazing rafters of our dwelling! To-day I killed a man in the arēna ; and when I broke his helmet-clasps, behold! he was my friend. He knew me,-smiled faintly,-gasped,--and died ;the same sweet smile upon his lips that I had marked, when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled some lõfty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph.

8. “I told the pretor that the dead man had been my friend, generous and brave ; and I begged that I might bear away the body, to burn it on a funeral pile, and mourn over its ashes. Ay! upon my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arēna, I begged that poor boon, while all the assembled maids and matrons, and the holy virgins they call Vestals, and the rabble, shouted in derision, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercèst glădiator turn pale and tremble at the sight of that piece of bleeding clay! And the pretor drew back as I were pollution, and sternly said,— Let the cărrion rot; there are no noble men but Romans! And so, fellow-gladiators, must you, and so must I, die like dogs.

9. “O Rome! Rome! thou hast been a tender nurse to me! Ay, thou hast given, to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher tone than a flute-note, muscles of iron and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through plaited mail and links of ruggèd brass, and warm it in the mărrow of his foe!-to gaze into the glaring eye-balls of the fierce Numidiän lion, even as a boy upon a laughing girl! And he

1 Măr a thon, a plain of Greece, 2 Leuctra, (luk' tra), a maritime not many miles from Athens, re- village, now called Leftro, in Morea nowned for the victory of Miltiades, a peninsula, the S. portion of the over the army of Xerxes, B. C. 490. kingdom of Greece.

[blocks in formation]

shall pay thee back, till the yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdles!

10. “Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! The strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but to-morrow some Roman Adonis,' breathing sweet per'fume from his curly locks, shall with his lily fingers pat your red brawn, and bet his sěsterces » upon your blood! Hark! hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'Tis three days since he tasted flesh ; but to-morrow he shall break his fast upon yours,—and a dainty meal for him ye will be!

11. “If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen, waiting for the butcher's knife : if ye are men,-follow me! strike down yon guard, gain the mountain passes, and there do bloody work, as did your sires at Old Thermopylæ!: Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like a belabored hound beneath his master's lash? O comrādes! warriors! Thracians !--if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves ; if we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors; if we must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle!” ELIJAH KELLOGG.




HAT stars have faded from our sky!

What unfolded but to die !
What dreams so fondly pondered o’er,
Forever lost the hues they wore !
How like a death knell sad and slow,

Tolls through the soul, “one year ago." 1 A dõ' nis, in mythology, a youth in width. It is hemmed in on one famed for his beauty, the son of side by precipitous rocks of from Cinyras.

four hundred to six hundred feet in • Sěs' terce, a Roman coin, about height, and on the other side by the four cents.

sea and an impassable morass. Here Ther mop' y læ, a famous pass Leonidas and his three hundred of Greece, about five miles long, and Spartans died in defending Greece originally from fifty to sixty yards against the invasion of Xerxes.


2. Where is the face we loved to greet,

The form that graced the fireside seat,
The gentle smile, the winning way,
That blessed our life-path day by day?
Where fled those accents, soft and low,
That thrilled our hearts“

year ago !"
3. Ah! vacant is the fireside chair,

The smile that won, no longer there ;
Froin door and hall, from porch and lawn,
The echo of the voice is gone ;
And we who linger only know,

How much was lost “ one year ago!"
4. Beside her grave the marble white,

Keeps silent guard by day and night;
Serene she sleeps, nor heeds the tread
Of footsteps o'er her lowly bed ;
Her pulseless breast no more may know

The pangs of life one year ago!
5. But why repine ? a few more years,

A few more broken sighs and tears,
And we, enlisted with the dead,
Shall follow where her steps have led ;
To that far world rejoicing go
To which she passed “ONE YEAR AGO !"


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


HE was dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from

trace of pain, so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life: not one who had lived and suffered death. Her couch was dressed with here and there some winter-berries and green leaves, gathered in a spot she had been used to favor. “When I die, put near me something that has loved the light, and had the sky above it always.” These were her words.

2. She was dead. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell was dead. Her little bird—a poor, slight thing the pressure of a finger

« AnteriorContinuar »