« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Straightway Virginius led the maid a
To where the reeking shambles stood,
Of all the wicked ten still the names are held accursed,
And of all the wicked ten Appius With outstretched chin and crouching pace, the client Marcus steals,
Claudius was the worst.
He stalked along the forum like King His loins girt up to run with speed, be the errand what it may,
Tarquin in his pride; Twelve axes waited on him, six And the smile flickering on his cheek inarching on a side; for aught his lord may say. The townsmen shrank to right and Where'er ye shed the honey the buzzleft, and eyed askance with fear ing flies will crowd, His lowering brow, his curling mouth,
which always seemed to sneer. That brow of hate, that mouth of scorn marks all the kindred still,
Where'er ye fling the carrion the
For never was there Claudius yet but And wheresoe'er such lord is found
Nor lacks he fit attendance; for close behind his heels,
5. Macaulay then describes the seizing of Virginia by Marcus as she was passing through the market-place, the commotion among the people, and the spirited but vain appeal which young Icilius, the lover of Virginia, made to the people to rise and free themselves from the power of their oppressors. After a mock investigation, held by Appius in the Roman forum a few days later, the tyrant was on the point of taking possession of the maiden, when her father, who had in the mean time come from the army to protect his child, begged permission to take leave of her and speak a few words to her in private:
And then his eyes grew very dim and his throat began to swell,
And in a hoarse, changed voice he spake, "Farewell, sweet child, farewell!
Oh how I loved my darling! Though stern I sometimes be,
Leaps down to the great sewer the gurgling stream of blood.
Hard by a flesher on a block had laid his whittle down; Virginius caught the whittle up and My footstep on the threshold, when I
And how my darling loved me! How glad she was to hear
hid it in his gown;
came back last year!
To thee, thou know'st, I was not so.
And how she danced with pleasure to see my civic crown,
And took my sword and hung it up, and brought me forth my gown! Now all those things are over-yes,
all thy pretty ways, Thy needlework, thy prattle, thy snatches of old lays
And none will grieve when I go forth or smile when I return,
Or watch beside the old man's bed or weep upon his urn.
"The house that was the happiest within the Roman walls,
The house that envied not the wealth
Till, with white lips and bloodshot
eyes, Virginius tottered nigh, And stood before the judgment-seat and held the knife on high.
"O dwellers in the nether gloom, avengers of the slain,
By this dear blood I cry to you, do right between us twain;
of Capua's marble halls,
And even as Appius Claudius hath dealt by me and mine,
Now, for the brightness of thy smile, Deal you by Appius Claudius and all
must have eternal gloom,
the Claudian line!"
And for the music of thy voice the
silence of the tomb.
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,
Then clasp me round the neck once more and give me one more kiss; And now, my own dear little girl,
So spake the slayer of his child, and turned and went his way;
But first he cast one haggard glance
The time is come. See how he points his eager hand this way!
See how his eyes gloat on thy grief,
like a kite's upon the prey! 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 Then up sprang Appius Claudius:
clutch what still can save
And writhed and groaned a fearful to where the body lay,
groan, and then, with steadfast feet, Strode right across the market-place unto the Sacred Street.
'Stop him, alive or dead! Ten thousand pounds of copper to the man who brings his head!"
Thy gentle youth from taunts and blows, the portion of the slave; Yea, and from nameless evil, that passeth taunt and blowFoul outrage which thou knowest not, He looked upon his lictors, but they which thou shalt never know. trembled and stood still.
He looked upon his clients, but none would work his will;
And as Virginius, through the press,
there is no way but this."
With that he lifted high the steel and And he hath passed in safety unto his woful home,
smote her in the side,
And in her blood she sank to earth, And there ta'en horse to tell the camp and with one sob she died. what deeds are done in Rome.
10. The people gathered around the dead body, and when laudius attempted to disperse them a furious onset was made upon the lictors, who were driven back severely wounded and with garments torn in shreds. A rush was then made at Appius himself; but when the people could not reach him, owing to the crowd of his dependents who gathered around him, they resorted to other means of assault:
When stones began to fly, He shook and crouched and wrung his hands, and smote upon his thigh: "Kind clients, honest lictors, stand by me in this fray!
Must I be torn to pieces? Homehome the nearest way!"
"Tribunes! we will have tribunes!"
rose with a louder swell;
And the chair tossed as tosses a bark with tattered sail,
When raves the Adriatic beneath an eastern gale;
When the Calabrian sea-marks are lost in clouds of spume,
While yet he spake and looked around
with a bewildered air,
Four sturdy lictors put their necks beneath the curule chair,
And fourscore clients on the left, and One stone hit Appius on the mouth
fourscore on the right, Arrayed themselves with swords and staves, and loins girt up for fight. But though without or staff or sword, so furious was the throng, That scarce the train with might and main could bring their lord along.
and one beneath the ear, And ere he reached Mount Palatine he swooned with pain and fear. His cursed head, that he was wont to hold so high with pride, Now, like a drunken man's, hung
down and swayed from side to side. And when his stout retainers had brought him to his door,
His face and neck were all one cake of filth and clotted gore!
And the great Thunder-Cape has donned his veil of inky gloom.
Twelve times the crowd made at him; five times they seized his gown; Small chance was his to rise again if once they got him down; And sharper came the pelting, and God send Rome one such other sight, evermore the yelland send me there to see.
As Appius Claudius was that day, so may his grandson be!
SELECT ETYMOLOGIES.-Adhere: L. ad and hæ'reo, hæ'sum, to stick: v. HESITATE.... Betray: A. S. be and L. tra'do (=trans-do), trad'itum, to give up or over; F. trahir; fr. trans and do, I give; h., tradition, traitor, etc.: v. DATE. Darling : A. S. deorling, dim. of deor, dear. Decemvir: L. de'cem, ten, vir, a man.... Disperse : L. disper'go, disper'sum, to scatter about; fr. dis and spar'go, spar'sum, to strew; h., a-sperse (a=ad), inter-sperse, sparse, etc. ... Forum: a market-place in Rome; fr. L. for'is, out of doors. Impeach: F. empêcher (ang-pa'shā), to hinder; supposed to be fr. the L. imped'ico, I entangle. . . . Infamous: in
not, and famous; fr. L. fa'ma the talk of the many; h., de-fame, etc. . . . Investigate : L. inves'tigo, I track; fr. in, upon, vesti'gium, a footstep; h., vestige.. ... Moment: L. momentum, a balancing motion; a very small portion of anything; fr. mov'eo, I move: v. MOVE. . . . Oppress: L. op'primo, I press against; fr. op=ob and prem'o, pres'sum, to press; h., compress, de-press, ex-press im-press, imprima'tur (let it be printed), im-print, press, print, re-press, re-primand, sup-press. Plebeian: L. ple-be'ius; fr. plebs, plebis, the common people.... Presence: L. præsen'tia, a being before or in view; fr. præ and ens, en'tis, p. pr. of es'se, to be. . . . Refuge : L. refù'gium; fr. re, back, and fù'gio, fu'gitum, to flee; h., centri-fugal (flying from the centre), fugitive, subter-fuge, etc. . . . Tribunal : L. tribu'nus, the chief of a tribe; fr. trib'us, a tribe. . . . Whittle: A. S. hwittl, a little
THE LAPSE OF TIME.
THE bell strikes one. We take no note of time
I feel the solemn sound. If heard aright,
Oh the dark days of vanity! while here
And smiles an angel, or a Fury frowns.
Nor death nor life delights us. If time past
At once he draws the sting of life and death;