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Like the moaning noise that goes before the whirlwind on the deep,
THE PROPHECY OF CAPYS.
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 do The fame of Greece in arms, as well as in main of the Sylvian princes, and to found a arts, was then at the height. Half a century new city. The gods, it was added, vouchsafed earlier, the career of Alexander had excited the clearest signs of the favour with which the admiration and terror of all nations from they regarded the enterprise, and of the high the Ganges to the Pillars of Hercules. Royal destinies reserved for the young colony. houses, founded by Macedonian captains, still
This event was likely to be a favourite theme reigned at Anticch and Alexandria. Thal ba:of the old Latin minstrels. They would natu- barian warriors, led by barbarian chiefs, should rally attribute the project of Romulus to some win a pitched battle against Greek valour guiddivine intimation of the power and prosperity ed by Greek science, seemed as incredible as it which it was decreed that his city should at- would now seem that the Burmese or the Siamlain. They would probably introduce seers ese should, in the open plain, put to flight an foretelling the victories of unborn Consuls and equal number of the best English troops. The Dictators, and the last great victory would ge- Tarentines were convinced that their countrynerally occupy the most conspicuous place in men were irresistible in war; and this convicthe prediction. There is nothing strange in the tion had emboldened them to treat with the supposition that the poet who was employed to grossest indigniy one whom they regarded as celebrate the first great triumph of the Romans the representative of an inferior race. Of the over the Greeks might throw his song of exulta- Greek generals then living, Pyrrhus was intion into this form.
disputably 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 poblest 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 ihe 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 irenchment, 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 exquis sense of the genius and perience of many generations ridiculous belonged to the Greek character; of great native cominanders. 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 iv stage as if he had been a bad actor. As the those of the captains who were opposed 10 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 dismultitude and held up the gown, as if appeal- puted, dearly purchased, and altogether unproing to the universal law of nations. The sight fitable. At ler.gth 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 'vas completely defeat
Rome, in consequence of this insult, declared ed. He repassed the sea; and the world learned war against the Tarentines. The Tarentines with amazement that a people had been dis sought for allies beyond the Ionian sea. Pyr
• Dion. Hal initionibus.
* Anguimanux is the old Latin epithet fo: an elupiam Lucretius, ii. 538, v. 1302.
covered 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 tactics long believed to be invincible. The and Hamilcar. pilum and the broadsword had vanquished the On such a day we may suppose that the Macedonian spear. The legion had broken the patriotic enthusiasm of a Latin poet would Macedonian phalanx. Even the elephants, vent itself in reiterated shouts of Io triumphe, when the surprise produced by their first ap- such as were uttered by Horace on a far less pearance was over, could cause no disorder in exciting occasion, and in boasts resembling the steady yet flexible battalions of Rome. those which Virgil, two hundred and fifty years
It is said by Florus, and may easily be be- later, put into the mouth of Anchises. The lieved, that the triumph far surpassed in mag- superiority of some foreign nations, and espenificence any that Rome had previously seen. cially of the Greeks, in the lazy arts of peace, The only spoils which Papirius Cursor and would be admitted with disdainful candour; Fabius Maximus could exhibit were flocks and but pre-eminence in all the qualities which fil herds, wagons of rude structure, and heaps of a people to subdue and govern mankind would spears and helmets. But now, for the first be claimed for the Romans. 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 productions cupy a place of honour at the board. In situa- of remote nations, than would have been found tions less conspicuous probably lay some of in compositions of the age of Camillus. But 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 strucAtilius 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 Ægates, and brought the 'isted in the age of Romulus.
THE PROPHECY OF CAPYS.
A WAY SUNG AT THE BANQUET IN THE CAPITOL, ON THE DAY WHEN MANIUS CURIUS DENTATUS, A
SECOND TIME CONSUL, TRIUMPHED OVER KING PYRRHUS AND THE TARENTINES, IN THE YEAR OF THE CITY CCCCLXXIX.
Through all the Alban villages
No work is done to-day.
1. Now slain is King Amulius,
Of the great Sylvian line, Who reigned in Alba Longa,
Op he throne of Aventine. Sla:n is the Pontiff Camers,
Who spake the words of doom : “The children to the Tiber, The mother to the tomb."
His net to-day is iinging:
To-day no axe is ringing:
'The scythe lies in the hay:
Hath donned his whitest gown;
Weareth a poplar crown;
With boughs and flowers is gay;
The lost are found to-day.
They were donmed by a lying priest.
And maids who shriek to see the heads,
Yet, shrieking, press more nigh.
They were cast on the raging flood:
They were tracked by the raging beast. Raging beast and raging flood
Alike have spared the prey; And to-day the dead are living
The lost are found to-day.
5. The troubled river knew them,
And smoothed his yellow foam,
That bore the fate of Rome.
And licked them o'er and o'er,
Rich with raw flesh and gore. Twenty winters, twenty springs,
Since then have rolled away; And to-day the dead are living,
The lost are found to-day.
So they marched along the lake;
They marched by fold and stall, By corn-field and by vineyard, Unto the old man's hall.
11. In the hall-gate sate Carys,
Capys, the sightless seer;
As Romulus drew near.
And his blind eyes flashed fire: “Hail! foster child of the wondrous nurse! Hail! son of the wondrous sire!
12. “But thou-what dost thou here
In the old man's peaceful hall ?
The bison in the stall ?
Our vines clasp many a tree;
But these are not for thee.
6. Blithe it was to see the twins,
Right goodly youths and tall, Marching from Alba Longa
To their old grandsire's hall. Along their path fresh garlands
Are hung from tree to tree: Before them stride the pipers,
Piping a note of glee.
7. On the right goes Romulus,
With arms to the elbows red, And in his hand a broadsword,
And on the blade a head A head in an iron helmet,
With horse hair hanging down, A shaggy head, a swarthy head,
Fixed in a ghastly frownThe head of King Amulius
Of the great Sylvian line, Who reigned in Alba Longa,
On the throne of Aventine.
8. On the left side goes Remus,
With wrists and fingers red, And in his hand a boar-spear,
And on the point a headA wrinkled head and aged,
With silver beard and hair, And holy fillets round it,
Such as the pontiffs wear The head of ancient Camers,
Who spake the words of doom: "The children to the Tiber,
The mother to the tomb."
In the Tartessian mine:
Across the Lybian brine:
Thou shalt not rest on down;
Rich table and soft bed,
Whom woman's milk hath fed.
For pleasure, nor for rest; [loins, Thou that art sprung from the War-goil's And hast tugged at the she-wolf's breast
15. “From sunrise until sunset
All earth shall hear thy fame:
And name it by thy name:
Like Vesta's sacred fire,
Obedient to the goad;
Plods with his weary load :
His master's whistle hears,
9. Two and two hehind the twins
Their trusty comrades go, Four-and-twenty valiant men,
With club, and are, and bow. On each side every hamlet
Pours forth its joyous crowd, Shouting lads, and baying dogs,
And children laughing loud, And old men weeping fondly
As Rhea's boys go by,
And wo to them that shear her,
And wo to them that goad! When all the pack, loud baying,
Her bloody lair surrounds, She dies in silence biting hard, Amidst the dying hounds.
18. « Pomona loves the orchard;
And Liber loves the vine; And Pales loves the straw-built shed
Warm with the breath of kine; And Venus loves the whispers
Of plighted youth and maid, In April's ivory moonlight
Beneath the chestnut shade.
The beast on whom the castle
With all its guards doth stand, The beast who hath between his eyes
The serpent for a hand. First march the bold Epirotes,
Wedged close with shield and spear; And the ranks of false Tarentum Are glittering in the rear.
25. “The ranks of false Tarentum
Like hunted sheep shall fly: In vain the bold Epiroles
Shall round their standards die: And Apennine's gray vultures
Shall have a noble feast On the fat and on the eyes of the huge earth-shaking beast.
26. “ Hurrah! for the good weapons
That keep the War-god's land. Hurrah! for Rome's stout pilum
In a stout Roman hand. Hurrah! for Rome's short broadsword,
That through the thick array Of levelled spears and serried shields Hews deep its gory way.
27. “Hurrah! for the great triumph
That stretches many a mile. Hurrah! for the wan captives
That pass in endless file. Ho! bold Epirotes, whither
Hath the Red King ta'en flight? Ho! dogs of false Tarentum,
Is not the gown washed white ?
Of broadsword and of shield:
From the fresh battle-field :
Than his own dreadful frown, (smoke When he sees the thick black cloud of Go up from the conquered town.
The author of thy line,
Even such be thou and thine.
His baths and his perfumes; Leave to the sordid race of Tyre
Their dyeing-vats and looms;
The rudder and the oar:
Roman, the sword is thine,
The legion's ordered line;
Which with their laurelled train
22. Beneath thy yoke the Volscian
Shall veil his lofty brow: Soft Capua's curled revellers
Before thy chair shall bow:
Shall quake thy rods to see :
From the land oí snow and night; Thou shalt give his fair-haired armies To the raven and the kite.
24. The Greek shall come against thee,
The conqueror of the East. Beside him stalks to battle
The huge earth-shaking beast,
28. “Hurrah ! for the great triumph
That stretches many a mile. Hurrah! for the rich dye of Iyre,
And the fine web of Nile, The helmets gay with plumage
Torn from the pheasant's wings, The belts set thick with starry gems
That shone on Indian kings, The urns of massy silver,
The goblets rough with gold, The many-coloured tablets bright
With loves and wars of old, The stone that breathes and struggles,
The brass that seems to speak;Such cunning they who dwell on high Have given unto the Greek.
29. “Hurrah! for Manius Curius,
The bravest son of Rome, Thrice in utmost need set forth,
Thrice drawn in triumph home. Weave, weave, for Manius Curius
The third embroidered gown: Make ready the third lofty car,
And twine the third green crown; And yoke the steeds of Rosea
With necks like a bended bow; And deck the bull, Mevania's bull,
The bull as white as snow.