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And how my darling loved me! How glad she was to hear
Then, for a little moment, all people held their breath; -
When Appius Claudius saw that deed, he shuddered and sank down.
Hut first he cast one haggard glance to where the body lay,
Then up sprang Appius Claudius: "Stop him; alive or dead!
He looked upon his lictors, but they trembled and stood still.
By this the flood of people was swollen from every side,
Like the moaning noise that goes before the whirlwind on the Jeep,
Or the growl of a fierce watch-dog but half-aroused from sleep.
Out when the lictors at that word, tall yeomen all and strong,
Each with his axe and sheaf of twigs, went down into the throng,
Those old men say, who saw that day of sorrow and of sin,
That in the Roman Forum was never such a din.
The wailing, hooting, cursing, the howls of grief and hate,
Were heard beyond the Pincian hill, beyond the Latin gate.
Dut close around the body, where stood the little train
Of them that were the nearest and dearest to the slain, .
No cries were there, but teeth set fast, low whispers, and black frowns.
And breaking up of benches, and girding up of gowns.
'Twas well the lictors might not pierce to where the maiden lay,
Else surely had they been all twelve torn limb from limb that day.
Right glad they were to struggle back, blood streaming from their heads.
With axes all in splinters, and raiment all in shreds.
Then Appius Claudius gnawed his lip, and the blood left his cheek;
And thrice he beckoned with his hand, and thrice he strove to speak;
And thrice the tossing Forum sent up a frightful yell—
"See, see, thou dog! what thou hast done; and hide thy shame in hell!
Thou that wouldst make our maidens slaves, must first make slaves of mer
Tribunes !—Hurrah for Tribunes! Down with the wicked Ten!"
And straightway, thick as hailstones, came whizzing through the air
Pebbles, and bricks, and potsherds, all round the curule chair:
And upon Appius Claudius great fear and trembling came;
For never was a Claudius yet brave against aught but shame.
Though the great houses love us not, we own, to do them right,
. That the great houses, all save one, have borne them well in fight.
^Twelve times the crowd made at him; five times they seized his gown;
*8mall chance was his to rise again, if once they got him down:
• • • • • • . •
THE PROPHECY OF CAPYS.
It can hardly be necessary to remind any reader that, according to the popular tradition, Romulus, after he had slain his grand-uncle Amulius, and restored his grandfather Numitor, determined to quit Alba, the hereditary domain of the Sylvian princes, and to found a new city. The gods, it was added, vouchsafed the clearest signs of the favour with which they regarded the enterprise, and of the high destinies reserved for the young colony.
This event was likely to be a favourite theme of the old Latin minstrels. They would naturally attribute the project of Romulus to some divine intimation of the power and prosperity which it was decreed that his city should attain. They would probably introduce seers foretelling the victories of unborn Consuls and Dictators, and the last great victory would generally occupy the most conspicuous place in (he prediction. There is nothing strange in the supposition that the poet who was employed to celebrate the first great triumph of the Romans over the Greeks might throw his song of exultation into this form.
The occasion was one likely to excite the strongest feelings of national pride. A great outrage had been followed by a great retribution. Seven years before this time, Lucius Posthumius Megellus, who sprang from one of the noblest houses of Rome, and had been thrice Consul, was sent ambassador to.Tarentum, with charge to demand reparation for grievous injuries. The Tarentines gave him audience in their theatre, where he addressed them in such Greek as he could command, which, we may well believe, was not exactly such as Cineas would have spoken. An exquisite sense of the ridiculous belonged to the Greek character; and closely connected with this faculty was a strong propensity to flippancy and impertinence. When Posthumius placed an accent wrong, his hearers burst into a laugh. When he remonstrated, they hooted him, and called him barbarian; and at length hissed him off the stage as if he had been a bad actor. As the grave Roman retired, a buffoon, who, from his constant drunkenness, was nicknamed the Pintpot, came up with gestures of the grossest indecency, and bespattered the senatorial gown with filth. Posthumius tamed round to the multitude and held up the gown, as if appealing to the universal law of nations. The sight only increased the insolence of the Tarentines. They clapped their hands, and set up a shout of laughter which shook the theatre. "Men ofTarentum," said Posthumius, "it will take not a little blood to wash .this gown."*
Rome, in consequence of this insult, declared war against the Tarentines. The Tarentines sought for allies beyond the Ionian sea. Pyr
• Dion. Hal. De Lejationlbua.
rlius, King of Epirus, came to their help witn a large army; and, for the first time, the two great nations of antiquity were fairly matched against each other.
The fame of Greece in arms, as well as in arts, was then at the height Half a century earlier, the career of Alexander had excited the admiration and terror of all nations from the Ganges to the Pillars of Hercules. Royal houses, founded by Macedonian captains, still reigned at Antioch and Alexandria. That ba:barian warriors, led by barbarian chiefs, should win a pitched battle against Greek valour guided by Greek science, seemed as incredible as it would now seem that the Burmese or the Siam-' ese should, in the open plain, put to flight an equal number of the best English troops. The Tarentines were convinced that their countrymen were irresistible in war; and this conviction had emboldened them to treat with the grossest indignity one whom they regarded as the representative of an inferior race. Of the Greek generals then living, Pyrrhus was indisputably the first. Among the troops who were trained in the Greek discipline, his Epirotes ranked high. His expedition to Italy was a turning-poirvj in the history of the world. He found there a people who, far inferior to the Athenians and Corinthians in the fine arts, in the speculative sciences, and in all the refinements of life, were the best soldiers on the face of the earth. Their arms, their gradations of rank, their order of battle, their method of intrenchment, were all of Latian origin, and had all been gradually brought near to perfection, not by the study of foreign'models, but by the genius and experience of many generations of great native commanders. The first words which broke from the king, when his practised eye had surveyed the Roman encampment, were full of meaning:—"These barbarians," he said, " have nothing barbarous in their mili tary arrangements." He was at first victorious; for his own talents were, superior to those of the captains who were opposed to him, and the Romans were not prepared for the onset of the elephants of the East, which were then for the first time seen in Italy—moving mountains, with long snakes for hands.* But the victories of the Epirotes were fiercely disputed, dearly purchased, and altogether unprofitable. At length Manius Curius Dentatus, who had in his first consulship won two triumphs, was again placed at the head of the Roman Commonwealth, and sent to encounter the invaders! A great battle was fought near Beneventum. Pyrrhus was completely defeated. He repassed the sea; and the world learned with amazement that a people had been dia
covered who, in fair fighting, were superior to ihe be«t troops that had been drilled on the system ot Parmenio and Antigonus.
The conquerors had a good right to exult in their success, for their glory was all their own. They had not learned from their enemy how to conquer him. It was with their own national arms, and in their own national battlearray, that they had overcome weapons and tactics long believed to be invincible. The pilum and the broadsword had vanquished the Macedonian spear. The legion had broken the Macedonian phalanx. Even the elephants, when the surprise produced by their first appearance was over, could cause no disorder in the steady yet flexible battalions of Rome.
It is said by Floras, and may easily be believed, that the triumph far surpassed in magnificeuce any that Rome had previously seen. The only spoils which Papirius Cursor and Fabius Maximus could exhibit were flocks and herds, wagons of rude structure, and heaps of spears and helmets. But now, for the first time, the riches of Asia and the arts of Greece adorned a Roman pageant. Plate, fine stuffs, costly furniture, rare animajs, exquisite paintings and sculptures, formed part of the procession. At the banquet would be assembled a crowd of warriors and statesmen, among whom Manius Curius Dentatus would take the highest room. Caius Fabricius Luscinus, then, after two consulships and two triumphs, Censor of the Commonwealth, would doubtless occupy a place of honour at the board. In situations less conspicuous probably lay some of those who were, a few years later, the terror of Carthage; Caius Duilius, the founder of the maritime greatness of his country; Marcus Atilius Regulus, who owed to defeat a renown far higher than that which he had derived from his victories'; and Caius Lutatius Catulus, who, while suffering from a grievous wound, fought (he great battle of the Agates, and brought the
first Punic war to a triumphant close. It is impossible to recapitulate the names of these eminent citizens without reflecting that they were all, without exception, Plebeians, and would, but for the ever memorable struggle maintained- by Caius Lucinius and Lucius Sextius, have been doomed to hide in obscurity, or to waste in civil broils, the capacity and energy which prevailed against Pyrrhus and Hamilcar.
On such a day we may suppose that the patriotic enthusiasm of a Latin poet would vent itself in reiterated'shouts-of Jo Iriumpkt, such as were uttered by Horace on a far less exciting occasion, and in boasts resembling those which Virgil, two hundred and fifty years later, put into the mouth of Anchises. The superiority of some foreign nations, and especially of the Greeks, in the lazy arts of peace, would be admitted with disdainful candour; but pre-eminence in all the qualities which fit a people to subdue and govern mankind would be claimed for the Romans.
The following lay belongs to the latest age of Latin ballad-poetry. Nasvius and Livios Andronicus were probably among the children whose mothers held them up to see the chariot of Curius go by. The minstrel who sang on that day might possibly have lived to read the first hexameters of Ennius, and to see the first comedies of Plaulus. His poem, as might be expected, shows a much wider acquaintance with the geography, manners, and production' of remote nations, than would have been fou .<l in compositions of the age of Camillus. Bur he .troubles himself little about dates; and having heard travellers talk with admiration of the Colossus of Rhodes, and of the structures and gardens with which the Macedonian kings of Syria had embellished their residence on the banks of the Orontes, he has never thought of inquiring whether these things existed in the age of Romulus.
THE PROPHECY OF CAPYS.
, uAY fcU«8 AT THE BANQUET IN THE CAPITOL, ON THE DAY WHEN MANIUS CURIUS DENTATUS, A SECOND TIME CONSUL, TRIUMPHED OVER KINO PYRRHUS AND THE TARENTINES, IN THE YEAH OF THE CITY CCCCLXX1X.
Now slain is King Amulius,
Who reigned in Alba Longa,
Sla'.n is the Pontiff Camers,
"The children to the Tiber
The mother to the tomb."
His net to-day is flinging:
To-day no axe is ringing:
The sevthe lies in the hay:
Through all the Alban villages No work is done to-day.
And every Alban burgher
Hath donned his whitest gown; And every head in Alba
Weareth a poplar crown; And every Alban ddor-post
With boughs and flowers is gaj; For to-day the dead are living;
The lost are found to-day.
They were doomed by a bloody king: They were doomed by a lying priest
They were cast on iho racing flood:
Raging beast and raging flood
And to-day the dead are living
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.
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.
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,
Fixed in a ghastly frown—
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 head— A wrinkled head and aged,
With silver beard and hair, And holy fillets round it,
Such as the pontiffs wear— The head of ancient Camcrs,
Who spake the words of doom: "The children to the Tiber,
The mother to the tomb."
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 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.
In the hall-gate sate Capys,
Capys, the sightless seer;
As Romulus drew near.
And his blind eyes flashed fire:
Hail! son of the wondrous sire!
The bison in the stall I
Our vines clasp many a tree;
"For thee no treasure ripens
In the Tartessian mine:
Across the Lybian brine: •
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,
Whom woman's milk hath fed.
For pleasure, nor for rest; [loins.
Thou that art sprung from the War-god'«
And hast tugged at the she-wolf's breast.
Like Vesta's sacred fire,