« AnteriorContinuar »
countrymen, who were resting on their arms, as it was said, in admiration of his virtues.
Even when proud Cæsar ’midst triumphant cars,
The spoils of nations, and the pomp of wars,
Ignobly vain, and impotently great,
Showed Rome her Cato's figure drawn in state,
As her dead father's reverend image past
The pomp was darkened, and the day o'ercast
The triumph ceased-tears gushed from every eye,
The world's great Master passed unheeded by ;
Her last good man dejected Rome adored,
And honoured Cæsar's less than Cato's sword, When I look at my young friend who sits beside me, my mind is led back to the times when I saw his great father scaring and blasting with his lightnings the ranks of venality and corruption : it is led back to those hours, when, disarmed of his lightnings, I beheld him in the bosom of his family, surrounded by innocence and domestic tenderness. My young friend beside me inherits those virtues ; his father's image walks before him, and when a mean idea could enter his breast, he must be possessed of a boldness in infamy, beyond the share of modern degeneracy. If, then, it be asked what security exists for his parliamentary conduct, I will answer, His NAME! The son of the man unequalled in the annals of history--the man who raised his country from the degradation of a province to the rank of a nation the man who has been honoured by the great, the good, the illustrious,—he who sleeps amidst
kings and patriots, and the most distinguished statesmen. The empire claims the honour of entombing him, and his very ashes confer a glory on Britain !
PLACIDUS AND TITUS.
Milman’s “ FALL OF JERUSALEM.”
Placidus. Son of Vespasian ! I have been a soldier,
Till the helm hath worn mine aged temples bare.
Battles have been familiar to mine eyes
As is the sun-light; and the angry
Wears not a terror to appal the souls
Of constant men, but I have fronted it.
I have seen the painted Briton sweep to battle
On his scythed car, and when he fell, he fell
As one that honoured death, by nobly dying.
And I have been, where flying Parthians showered
Their arrows, making the pursuer check
His fierce steed, with the sudden grasp of death.
But war like this, so frantic, and so desperate,
Man ne'er beheld. Our swords are blunt with slaying,
And yet, as though the earth cast up again
Souls discontented with a single death,
They groan beneath the slaughter. Neither battle,
Nor famine, nor the withering pestilence,
Subdues these prodigals of blood : by day
They cast their lives upon our swords ; by night
They turn their civil weapons on themselves,
Even till insatiate war shrinks to behold
The hideous consummation.
Titus. It must be
And yet it moves me, Romans ! it confounds
The counsel of my firm philosophy, ,
That Ruin's merciless ploughshare must pass o’er,
And barren salt be sown on yon proud city.
As on our olive-crowned hill we stand,
Where Kedron at our feet its scanty waters
Distils from stone to stone with gentle motion,
As through a valley sacred to sweet peace,
How boldly doth it front us! how majestically !
Like a luxuriant vineyard, the hill side
Is hung with marble fabrics, line o'er line,
Terrace o'er terrace, nearer still, and nearer
To the blue heavens. There bright and sumptuous palaces,
With cool and verdant gardens interspersed ;
There towers of war that frown in massy strength.
While over all hangs the rich purple eve,
As conscious of its being her last farewell
Of light and glory to that fated city.
And, as our clouds of battle, dust and smoke
Are melted into air, behold the Temple
In undisturbed and lone serenity
Finding itself a solemn sanctuary
In the profound of heaven! It stands before us
A mount of snow, fretted with golden pinnacles !
The very sun, as though he worshipped there,
Lingers upon the gilded cedar roofs ;
And down the long and branching porticoes,
On every flowery sculptured capital,
Glitters the homage of his parting beams.
By Hercules ! the sight might almost win
The offended majesty of Rome to mercy.
And yet it cannot be—it must fall!
Yon lofty city, and yon gorgeous Temple,
Are consecrate to Rome. Earth is weary
Of the wild factions of this jealous people,
And they must feel our wrath, the wrath of Rome,
Even so that the rapt stranger shall admire
Where that proud city stood which was Jerusalem.
Time — break of day- The last day the sun shone upon Jerusalem
Simon, solus. — Subject — His confident expectation of the final de
liverance of the city.
The air is still and cool. It comes not yet :
I thought that I had felt it in my sleep
Weighing upon my choked and labouring breast,
That did rejoice beneath the stern oppression;
I thought I saw its lurid gloom o'erspreading
The starless waning night. But yet it comes not,
The broad and sultry thunder-cloud, wherein
The God of Israel evermore pavilions
The chariot of his vengeance. I look out,
And still, as I have seen, morn after morn,
The hills of Judah, flash upon my sight
The accursed radiance of the Gentile arms.
But oh! ye sky-descending ministers,
That on invisible and soundless wing
Stoop to your earthly purposes, as swift
As rushing fire, and terrible as the wind
That sweeps the tentless desert.—Ye that move
Shrouded in secrecy as in a robe,
And gloom of deepest midnight, the vaunt-courier
dread presence ! Will
not reveal ? Will ye not one compassionate glimpse vouchsafe, By what dark instruments ’tis now your charge
To save the holy city ?—Lord of Israel !
Thee too I ask, with bold yet holy awe,
Which now of thy obsequious elements
Choosest thou for thy champion and thy combatant ?
For well they know,—the wide and deluging Waters,
The ravenous Fire, and the plague-breathing Air,
Yea, and the yawning and wide-chasmed Earth,
They know thy bidding, by fixed habit bound
To the usage of obedience. Or the rather,
Look we in weary yet undaunted hope
For Him that is to come, the mighty arm,
The wearer of the purple robe of vengeance,
The crowned with dominion ? Let him haste;
The wine-press waits the trampling of his wrath,
And Judah yearns to unfurl the Lion banner
Before the terrible radiance of his coming.
Simon's reply to Titus, who had requested the Jews to lay down their arms.
I speak to thee,
Titus, as warrior should accost a warrior.
The world thou boastest, is Rome's slave; the sun
Rises and sets upon no realm but yours ;
Ye plant your giant foot in either ocean
And vaunt that all which ye o'erstride is Rome's.
that because the common earth
Surfeits your pride with homage, that our land,
Our separate, peculiar, sacred land,
Portioned and sealed unto us by the God
Who made the round world and the crystal heavens,—
A wondrous land, where Nature's common course
Is strange and out of use, so oft the Lord
Invades it with miraculous interventions,
this land shall be an heathen heritage,
An high place for your Moloch! Haughty Gentile !
Even now ye walk on ruin and on prodigy.
hreathe is heavy and o'ercharged With
your dark gathering doom; and if our earth Do yet in its disdain endure the footing
your armed legions, 'tis because it labours
With silent throes of expectation, waiting
The signal of your scattering. Lol the mountains
Bend o'er you with their huge and lowering shadows,
Ready to rush and overwhelm : the winds
Do listen panting for the tardy presence
Of Him that shall avenge. And there is scorn,
Yea, there is laughter in our fathers' tombs,
To think that Heathen conqueror doth aspire
To lord it over God's Jerusalem !
Yea, in hell's deep and desolate abode,
Where dwell the perished kings, the chief of earth;
They whose idolatrous warfare erst assailed
The Holy City, and the chosen people ;
They wait for thee, the associate of their hopes
And fatal fall, to join their ruined conclave.
He whom the Red Sea 'whelmed with all his hosts,
Pharaoh, the Egyptian ; and the kings of Canaan ;
The Philistine, the Dagon worshipper ;
Moab, and Edom, and fierce Amalek ;
And he of Babylon, whose multitudes,
Even on the hills where gleam your myriad spears,
In one brief night the invisible Angel swept
With the dark, noiseless shadow of his wing,
And morn beheld the fierce and riotous camp
One cold, and mute, and tombless cemetery.
Sennacherib : all, all are risen, are moved ;
Yea, they take up the taunting song of welcome
To him who, like themselves, hath madly warred
'Gainst Zion's walls, and miserably fallen
Before the avenging God of Israel !
FOURTH SELECTION. Josèphus the Historian's address to his countrymen, imploring them to discontinue their resistance to the Roman arms.
YE see me rise,
Oh, men of Israel, brethren, countrymen !
Even from the earth ye see me rise, where lone,
And sorrowful, and fasting I have sat
These three long days; and sackcloth on the limbs