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The eager crowd gape murmuring round.
Lo! Pythias bound the cross unto! -
When, crowd — guards — all — bursts Damon through ;
“ Me, doomsman!” shouts he, -"me, alone!
His life is rescued – lo! mine own!”
Amazement seized the circling ring.
Linked in each other's arms the pair
Stood, thrilled with joy yet anguish — there!
Moist every eye that gazed; they bring
The wondrous tidings to the king :
His breast man's heart at length has known,
And the friends stand before his throne.
Long silent he, –and wondering, long
Gazed on the pair, then said : “ Depart,
Victors; ye have subdued my
Truth is no dream! its power is strong!
Give grace to him who owns his wrong!
'T is mine your suppliant now to be,
Ah, let the bond of Love hold THREE!
THE BATTLE. — Translated from Schiller, by Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
See the smoke how the lightning is cleaving asunder!
Hark! the guns, peal on peal, how they boom in their thunder !
From host to host, with kindling sound,
The shouting signal circles round;
Ay, shout it forth to life or death,
Freer already breathes the breath!
The war is waging, slaughter raging,
And heavy through the reeking pall
The iron death-dice fall!
Nearer they close, foes
foes. Ready!” from square to square
goes. They kneel as one man, from flank to flank, And the fire comes sharp from the foremost rank. Many a soldier to earth is sent, Many a gap by the balls is rent; O’er the corse before springs the hinder man, That the line may not fail to the fearless van. To the right, to the left, and around and around, Death whirls in its dance on the bloody ground. God's sunlight is quenched in the fiery fight, Over the host falls a brooding night! Brothers, God grant, when this life is o'er, In the life to come that we meet once more! The dead men lie bathed in the weltering blood, And the living are blent in the slippery flood, And the feet, as they reeling and sliding go, Stumble still on the corses that sleep below. “What! Francis !” — “Give Charlotte my last farewell." As the dying man murmurs, the thunders swell. “I'll give - O God! are their guns so near ? Ho! comrades ! - yon volley ! - look sharp to the rear ! I'll give thy Charlotte thy last farewell ; Sleep soft! where death thickest descendeth in rain, The friend thou forsakest thy side may regain!” Hitherward, thitherward reels the fight; Dark and more darkly day glooms into night; Brothers, God grant, when this life is o'er, In the life to come that we meet once more!
Hark to the hoofs that galloping go!
The adjutants flying,
The horsemen press hard on the panting foe,
Their thunder booms, in dying
Terror has seized on the dastards all,
And their colors fall !
Closed is the brunt of the glorious fight;
And the day, like a conqueror, bursts on the night.
Trumpet and fife swelling choral along,
The triumph already sweeps marching in song.
Farewell, fallen brothers, though this life be o'er,
There's another, in which we shall meet you once more!
24. THE GLOVE. - Schiller. Born, 1759; died, 1805.
BEFORE his lion-garden gate,
The wild-beast combat to await,
King Francis sate :
Around him were his nobles placed,
The balcony above was graced
By ladies of the court, in gorgeous state :
And as with his finger a sign he made,
The iron grating was open laid,
And with stately step and mien
A lion to enter was seen.
With fearful look
His mane he shook,
And yawning wide,
Stared around him on every side ;
And stretched his giant limbs of strength,
And laid himself down at his fearful length
And the king a second signal made, -
And instant was opened wide
A second gate, on the other side,
From which, with fiery bound,
A tiger sprung:
Wildly the wild one yelled,
When the lion he beheld;
And, bristling at the look,
With his tail his sides he strook,
And rolled his rabid tongue.
And, with glittering eye,
Crept round the lion slow and shy
Then, horribly howling,
And grimly growling,
Down by his side himself he laid.
And the king another signal made :
The opened grating vomited then
Two leopards forth from their dreadful den,
They rush on the tiger, with signs of rage,
Eager the deadly fight to wage,
Who, fierce, with paws uplifted stood,
And the lion sprang up with an awful roar,
Then were still the fearful four :
And the monsters on the ground
Crouched in a circle round,
Greedy to taste of blood.
Now, from the balcony above,
A snowy hand let fall a glove:
Midway between the beasts of prey,
Lion and tiger, — there it lay,
The winsome lady's glove!
And the Lady Kunigund, in bantering mood,
Spoke to Knight Delorges, who by her stood :
“ If the flame which but now to me you swore
Burns as strong as it did before,
Go pick up my glove, Sir Knight."
And he, with action quick as sight,
In the horrible place did stand;
And with dauntless mien,
From the beasts between
up the glove, with fearless hand;
And as ladies and nobles the bold deed saw,
Their breath they held, through fear and awe.
The glove he brings back, composed and light.
His praise was announced by voice and look,
And Kunigund rose to receive the knight
With a smile that promised the deed to requite;
But straight in her face he flung the glove,
“I neither desire your thanks nor love ;"
And from that same hour the lady forsook.
25. THE FATE OF VIRGINIA.*
“Why is the Forum crowded? What means this stir in Rome?"
“Claimed as a slave, a free-born maid is dragged here from her home:
On fair Virginia, Claudius has cast his eye of blight;
The tyrant's creature, Marcus, asserts an owner's right.
O, shame on Roman manhood! Was ever plot more clear?
But, look! the maiden's father comes! Behold Virginius here!”
Straightway Virginius led the maid a little space aside,
To where the reeking shambles stood, piled up with horn and hide.
Hard by a butcher on a block had laid his whittle down,
Virginius caught the whittle up, and hid it in his gown.
* In order to render the commencement less abrupt, six lines of introduction bare been added to this extract from the fine ballad by Macaulay.
And then his eyes grew very dim, and his throat began to swell,
And in a hoarse, changed voice, he spake, “ Farewell, sweet child !
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. The tyrant points his eager hand this way!
See how his eyes gloat on thy grief, like a kite's upon
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 knowest not, · which thou shalt never
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 ;
Till, with white lips and bloodshot eyes, Virginius tottered nigh,
And stood before the judgment seat, and held the knife on high.
-0, dwellers in the nether gloom, avengers of the slain,
By this dear blood I cry to you, do right between us twain;
And e'en 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 ; then, where the body lay,
Pausing, he cast one haggard glance, and turned and went his way.
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.
26. HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE. — Adapted from Macaulay. Tue Consul's brow was sad, and the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall, and darkly at the foe. “ Their van will be upon us before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge, what hope to save the town ?"