Page images


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 Antioch and Alexandria.' That 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 Siamtain. 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 country. nerally 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 indignity 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 Epi. strongest 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 ridiculons 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 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 lergth 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 defeatRome, 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. De Legationibus.

Anguimanus is the old Latin epithet for an elepham Lucretius, ii. 338, 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 actics 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 lo triumphe, when the surprise produced by their first ap- such as were uttered by Horace on a far lesz 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 fit 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- cxpected, 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 fouzd tions less conspicuous probably lay some of in compositions of the age of Camillus. Bu 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 strucAulius 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.




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 the throne of Aventine. Sla:a is the Pontiff Camers,

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

in Alba's Jake 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:

And every Alban burgher

Hath donned his whitest gown;
And every head in Alba

Weareth a poplar crown;
And every Alban door-post

With boughs and flowers is gay ;
For to-day the dead are living;

The lost are found to-day.

They were doomed by a bloody king:

They were donmed by a lying priest.

And maids who shriek to see the heads,
Yet, shrieking, press more nigh.

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 Capys,

Capys, the sightless seer;
From head to foot he trembled

As Romulus drew near.
And up stood stiff his thin white hair,

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 ?
What doth the eagle in the coop,

The bison in the stall ?
Our corn fills many a garner;

Our vines clasp many a tree;
Our flocks are white on many a hill;
But these are not for thee.

“For thee no treasure ripens

In the Tartessian mine:
For thee no ship brings precious bales

Across the Lybian brine :
Thou shalt not drink from amber;

Thou shalt not rest on down;
Arabia shall not steep thy locks,
Nor Sidon tinge thy gown. .

“Leave gold and myrrh and jewels,

Rich table and soft bed,
To them who of man's seed are born,

Whom woman's milk hath fed.
Thou wast not made for lucre,

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: A glorious city thou shalt build,

And name it by thy name :
And there, unquenched

through ages,
Like Vesta's sacred fire,
Shall live the spirit of thy nurse,
The spirit of thy sire

“The ox toils through the furrow,

Obedient to the goad;
The patient ass, up flinty paths,

Plods with his weary load:
With whine and bound the spaniel

His master's whistle hears,
And the sheep yields her patiently
To the loud clashing shears.

“ But thy nurse will hear no master,
Thy nurse will bear no load.

3 B

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,
And gently rocked the cradle

That bore the fate of Rome.
The ravening she-wolf knew them,

And licked them o'er and o'er,
And gave them of her own fierce milk,

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.

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 headA 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 wearThe head of ancient Camers,

Who spake the words of doom: *The children to the Tiber, The mother to the tomb."

9. Two and two behind the twins

Their trusty comrades go, Four-and-twenty valiant men,

With club, and axe, 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,

The beast on whom the castle And wo to them that goad!

With all its guards doth stand, When all the pack, loud baying,

The beast who hath between his eyes Her bloody lair surrounds,

The serpent for a hand. She dies in silence biting hard,

First march the bold Epirotes, Amidst the dying hounds.

Wedged close with shield and spear;

And the ranks of false Tarentum 18.

Are glittering in the rear. “ Pomona loves the orchard; And Liber loves the vine;

25. And Pales loves the straw-built shed «The ranks of false Tarentum Warm with the breath of kine;

Like hunted sheep shall fly: And Venus loves the whispers

In vain the bold Epirotes of plighted youth and maid,

Shall round their standards die: In April's ivory moonlight

And Apennine's gray vultures Beneath the chestnut shade.

Shall have a noble feast 19.

On the fat and on the eyes

of the huge earth-shaking beast. “But thy father loves the clashing Of broadsword and of shield :

26. He loves to drink the stream that reeks

“Hurrah! for the good weapons From the fresh battle-field:

That keep the War-god's land.
He smiles a smile more dreadful
Than his own dreadful frown,

Hurrah! for Rome's stout pilum.

In a stout Roman hand. When he sees the thick black cloud of

Hurrah! for Rome's short broadsword, Go up from the conquered town.

That through the thick array 20.

of levelled spears and serried shields " And such as is the War-god,

Hews deep its gory way. The author of thy line,

27. And such as she who suckled thee, Even such be thou and thine.

“Hurrah ! for the great triumph Leave to the soft Campanian

That stretches many a mile. His baths and his perfumes ;

Hurrah ! for the wan captives Leave to the sordid race of Tyre

That pass in endless file. Their dyeing-vats and looms;

Ho! bold Epirotes, whither Leave to the sons of Carthage

Hath the Red King ta'en flight ! The rudder and the oar:

Ho! dogs of false Tarentum, Leave to the Greek his marble Nymphs Is not the gown washed white ? And scrolls of wordy lore.

28. 21.

“Hurrah ! for the great triumph Thine, Roman, is the pilum:

That stretches many a mile. Roman, the sword is thine,

Hurrah ! for the rich dye of Tyre, The even trench, the bristling mound,

And the fine web of Nile, The legion's ordered line;

The helmets gay with plumage And thine the wheels of triumph,

Torn from the pheasant's wings, Which with their laurelled train

The belts set thick with starry gems Move slowly up the shouting streets

That shone on Indian kings, To Jove's eternal fane.

The urns of massy silver, 22.

The goblets rough with gold, Beneath thy yoke the Volscian

The many-coloured tablets bright Shall yeil his lofty brow:

With loves and wars of old, Soft Capua's curled revellers

The stone that breathes and struggles, Before thy chair shall bow:

The brass that seems to speak; The Lucumoes of Arnus

Such cunning they who dwell on high Shall quake thy rods to see :

Have given unto the Greek. And the proud Samnite's heart of steel

29. Shall yield to only thec.

“Hurrah! for Manius Curias, 23.

The bravest son of Rome, “The Gaul shall come against thee

Thrice in utmost need sent forth, From the land of snow and night;

Thrice drawn in triumph home. Thou shalt give his fair-haired armies Weave, weave, for Manius Curius To the raven and the kite.

The third embroidered gown:

Make ready the third lofty car, 24.

And twine the third green crown The Greek shall come against thee,

And yoke the steeds of Rosea The conqueror of the East.

With necks like a bended bow; Beside him stalks to battle

And deck the bull, Mevania's bull, The huge earth-shaking beast,

The bull as white as snow.

30. Blest and thrice blest the Roman

Who sees Rome's brightest day, Who sees that long victorious pomp

Wind down the Sacred Way, And through the bellowing Forum,

And round the suppliant's Grove, 1'p to the everlasting gates

or Capitolian Jove.

Where soft Orontes murmurs

Beneath the laurel shades; Where Nile reflects the end!ess Iraşıb

or dark-red colonnades; Where in the still deep water,

Sheltered from waves and blasts, Bristles the dusky forest

Or Byrsa's thousand masts; Where fur-clad hunters wander

Amidst the Northern ice; Where through the sand of morning

The camel bears the spice;
Where Atlas fings his shadow

Far o'er the Western foam,
Shall be great fear on all who hear

The mighty name of Rome."

31. "Then where, o'er two bright havens,

The lowers of Corinth frown; Where the gigantic King of day

On his own Rhodes looks down;

« PreviousContinue »