« AnteriorContinuar »
And filled my swelling sails as they were wafted
To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth,
Which I have bled for; and thou foreign earth,
Which drank this willing blood from many a wound!
Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to Heaven! Ye skies, which will receive it!
Thou sun! which shinest on these things; and Thou,
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns! Attest!
I am not innocent, but, are these guiltless?
I perish, but not unavenged; far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,
And show these eyes, before they close, the doom
Of this proud city; and I leave my curse
On her and hers forever! - Yes, the hours
Are silently engendering of the day
When she, who built 'gainst Attila a bulwark,
Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield,
Unto a bastard Attila, without
Shedding so much blood in her last defence
As these old veins, oft drained in shielding her,
Shall pour in sacrifice. She shall be bought
And sold, and be an appanage to those
Who shall despise her! She shall stoop to be
A province for an empire; petty town
In lieu of capital, with slaves for Senates,
Beggars for Nobles, panders for a People!
Then, when the Hebrew 's in thy palaces,
The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his,
When thy Patricians beg their bitter bread
In narrow streets, and in their shameful need
Make their nobility a plea for pity,-
When all the ills of conquered States shall cling thee,
Vice without splendor, sin without relief,
When these, and more, are heavy on thee,
Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without pleasure,
Youth without honor, age without respect,
Meanness and weakness, and a sense of woe,
'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and dar'st not murmur,
Have made thee last and worst of peopled deserts,
Then, in the last gasp of thine agony,
Amidst thy many murders, think of mine!
Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes!
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!
Thus I devote thee to the infernal Gods!
Thee, and thy serpent seed!
Strike, as I struck the foe!
Have struck these tyrants!
Strike, and but once!
Strike, as I would
Strike deep as my curse!
10. CATILINE TO HIS FRIENDS, AFTER FAILING IN HIS ELECTION TO THE CONSULSHIP.- Rev. George Croly.
ARE there not times, Patricians, when great States
Rush to their ruin? Rome is no more like Rome,
Than a foul dungeon 's like the glorious sky.
What is she now? Degenerate, gross, defiled;
The tainted haunt, the gorged receptacle,
Of every slave and vagabond of earth:
A mighty grave that Luxury has dug,
To rid the other realms of pestilence!
Ye wait to hail me Consul?
Consul! Look on me, on this brow, these hands;
Look on this bosom, black with early wounds;
Have I not served the State from boyhood up,
Scattered my blood for her, labored for, loved her?
I had no chance; wherefore should I be Consul?
No. Cicero still is master of the crowd.
Why not? He's made for them, and they for him ;
They want a sycophant, and he wants slaves.
Well, let him have them!
Patricians! They have pushed me to the gulf;
I have worn down my heart, wasted my means,
Humbled my birth, bartered my ancient name,
For the rank favor of the senseless mass,
That frets and festers in your Commonwealth,
The very men with whom I walked through life,
Nay, till within this hour, in all the bonds
Of courtesy and high companionship,
This day, as if the Heavens had stamped me black,
Turned on their heel, just at the point of fate,
Left me a mockery in the rabble's midst,
And followed their Plebeian Consul, Cicero !
This was the day to which I looked through life,
And it has failed me.
Roman no more! The rabble of the streets
Have seen me humbled; slaves may gibe at me!
For all the ills
That chance or nature lays upon our heads,
In chance or nature there is found a cure!
But self-abasement is beyond all cure!
The brand is here, burned in the living flesh,
That bears its mark to the grave; that dagger 's plunged
Into the central pulses of the heart;
The act is the mind's suicide, for which
There is no after-health, no hope, no pardon!
11. CATILINE'S DEFIANCE.-Rev. George Croly.
The scene, in Croly's tragedy of "Catiline," from which the following is taken, represents the Roman Senate in session, Lictors present, a Consul in the chair, and Cicero on the floor as the prosecutor of Catiline and his fellow-conspirators. Catiline enters, and takes his seat on the Senatorial bench, whereupon the Senators go over to the other side. Cicero repeats his charges in Catiline's presence; and the latter rises and replies, "Conscript Fathers, I do not rise," &c. Cicero, in his rejoinder, produces proofs, and exclaims:
"Tried and convicted traitor! Go from Rome!"
Catiline haughtily tells the Senate to make the murder as they make the law. Cicero directs an officer to give up the record of Catiline's banishment. Catiline then utters those words: "Banished from Rome," &c.; but when he tells the Consul,
"He dares not touch a hair of Catiline,"
the Consul reads the decree of his banishment, and orders the Lictors to drive the "traitor" from the temple. Catiline, furious at being thus baffled, catches at the word "traitor," and terminates the scene with his audacious denunciation," Here I devote your Senate," &c. At the close, he rushes through the portal, as the Lictors and Senators crowd upon him.
I do not rise to waste the night in words;
Let that Plebeian talk; 't is not my trade;
But here I stand for right, let him show proofs,·
For Roman right; though none, it seems, dare stand
To take their share with me. Ay, cluster there!
Cling to your master, judges, Romans, slaves!
His charge is false; - I dare him to his proofs.
You have my answer. Let my actions speak!
But this I will avow, that I have scorned,
And still do scorn, to hide my sense of wrong!
Who brands me on the forehead, breaks my sword,
Or lays the bloody scourge upon my back,
Wrongs me not half so much as he who shuts
The gates of honor on me, turning out
The Roman from his birthright; and, for what?
To fling your offices to every slave!
Vipers, that creep where man disdains to climb,
And, having wound their loathsome track to the top,
Of this huge, mouldering monument of Rome,
Hang hissing at the nobler man below!
Come, consecrated Lictors, from your thrones;
Fling down your sceptres; take the rod and axe,
And make the murder as you make the law!
Banished from Rome! What 's banished, but set free
From daily contact of the things I loathe?
Who says this?
It breaks my chain !
"Tried and convicted traitor! ""
Who 'll prove it, at his peril, on
Banished! I thank you for 't.
I held some slack allegiance till
But now my sword's my own, Smile on, my Lords!
I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes,
Strong provocations, bitter, burning wrongs,
I have within my heart's hot cells shut up,
To leave you in your lazy dignities.
But here I stand and scoff you! here, I fling
Hatred and full defiance in your face!
Your Consul 's merciful. For this, all thanks.
He dares not touch a hair of Catiline!
"Traitor!" I go; but, I return. This trial!
Here I devote your Senate! I've had wrongs
To stir a fever in the blood of age,
Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel.
This day's the birth of sorrow! This hour's work
Will breed proscriptions! Look to your hearths, my Lords!
For there, henceforth, shall sit, for household gods,
Shapes hot from Tartarus! all shames and crimes!
Wan Treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn ;
Suspicion, poisoning his brother's cup;
Naked Rebellion, with the torch and axe,
Making his wild sport of your blazing Thrones;
Till Anarchy comes down on you like Night,
And Massacre seals Rome's eternal grave.
I go; but not to leap the gulf alone.
I go; but, when I come, 't will be the burst
Of ocean in the earthquake, — rolling back
In swift and mountainous ruin. Fare you
You build my funeral-pile; but your best blood
Shall quench its flame! Back, slaves! [To the Lictors.] 1
12. PRIDE OF ANCESTRY.-Adaptation from Rev. George Croly.
My lack of noble blood! Then that's the bar
Disqualifies my suit! makes perjury
Of slight account against me! I'm untitled!
Parchments and money-bags have precedence
In Cupid's Court, as elsewhere! Sir, your daughter-
But I'll not stoop my free, recovered heart,
To play the mendicant! Farewell to love:
Henceforth, let venerable oaths of men,
And women's vows, though all the stars of Heaven
Were listening, be forgotten, light as dust!
True, true, I should have learnt humility:
True, I am nothing: nothing have - but hope!
I have no ancient birth, - no heraldry;
No motley coat is daubed upon my shield;
I cheat no rabble, like your charlatans,
By flinging dead men's dust in idiots' eyes;
I work no miracles with buried bones;
I belt no broken and distempered shape
With shrivelled parchments plucked from mouldy shelves;
Yet, if I stooped to talk of ancestry,
I had an ancestor, as old and noble
As all their quarterings reckon,
The man who gave me being, though no Lord
Was nature's nobleman, - an honest man!
And prouder am I, at this hour, to stand,
Unpedestalled, but on his lowly grave,
Than if I towered upon a monument
High as the clouds with rotten infamy!
13. LOCHIEL'S WARNING.-Thomas Campbell
Locatel, a Highland chieftain, while on his march to join the Pretender, is met by one of the Highland seers, or prophets, who warns him to return, and not incur the certain ruin which awaits the unfortunate prince and his followers, on the field of Culloden.
Seer. Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day
When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array!
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scattered in fight:
They rally, they bleed, for their country and Crown.
Woe, woe, to the riders that trample them down!
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain.
But hark! through the fast-flashing lightning of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
'Tis thine, O Glenullin! whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning: no rider is there;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair!
Weep, Albin! to death and captivity led!
O! weep! but thy tears cannot number the dead;
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave
Culloden, that reeks with the blood of the brave !
Lochiel. Go preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer! Or, if gory Culloden so dreadful appear,
Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight,
This mantle, to cover the phantoms of fright!
Seer. Ha! laugh'st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn?
Proud bird of the mountain, thy plume shall be torn !
Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth