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of Shakespere's, and one of the finest action in a youth of twenty, and how passages in the Æneid.
prone such a one usually is to risk his Such speculations, however, are use- own life when desirous to imperil that less. There was no such dagger ready, of his enemy. Who but Octavius, at and the three sat down calmly to the such an age as that, has sat in slow sework in hand. The partition of the cluded counsel and with studious foreempire, as Mr. Merivale observes, was thought arranged the slaughter of his an easy task. A province or two more enemies--and of his friends? or less, an outlying kingdom here or Romanorum Romanissimus! It is there, was a matter of small moment all that we can say of him. It was the to men, each of whom was determined nature of a Roman to be subtle, cruel, ultimately to have the whole. That ambitious, and unscrupulous--to bé matter caused small difference among wise in policy, cold of heart, fond of them ; but there was another which power, and anxious for blood; and sat closer to their hearts. How was education with Octavius had so imeach to obtain the privilege of slaughe proved upon nature, that at twenty tering the adherents of his rival ? he had nothing left to learn: he had We will let Mr. Merivale describe already beaten the greatest of his how they did so. We should find it
countrymen in their own peculiar difficult to improve the narrative : vices.
The world still reads with panting “The associates, thus prepared for the heart and hair on end the bloody refrork of slaughter, sate with a list of the cords of many a fearful tragedy. noblest citizens before them, and each in turn
Rome waded in blood when Sylla pricked the name of him whom he destined to perish. Each claimed to be ridded of his
avenged himself, and the amusements
of Nero and of Commodus were alpersonal enemies, and to save his own friends.
most as fatal to her. The Sicilian But when they found their wishes clash, they resorted without compunction to mutual con
vespers fill us with horror. The cessions. Octavius could easily permit An- slaughter of the Hussites and the Altonius to proscribe the detest d author of the bigenses seem to have demanded the Philippics. Antonius surrendered to him in intervention of an avenging God. The return his own uncle by the mother's side, massacre of St. Bartholomew and the Lucius Caesar. It is uncertain whether Le
cruelties of Alva fascinate us by their pidus claimed the slaughter of his brother, atrocity. The black hole of Calcutta Paulus Æmilius, or whether he only aban
still moves our tears, and the blooddoned him to the malice of his collegues, As they proceeded, their views expanded. They
clogged guillotine of Marat and Robessigned death-warrants to gratify their friends.
pierre leaves us with the idea that tho As the list slowly lengthened, new motives
cruelty of men could sin with no were discovered for appending to it additional
deeper guilt than theirs. names. The mere possession of riches was
But all the slaughterers of their fatal to many, for the masters of so many
fellow-men should hide their heads belegions were always poor: the occupation of
fore Octavius. All murderers should pleasant houses and eatates sealed the fate of pale at the superiority of his foreothers, for the triumvirs were voluptuous as thought, and the coldness of his well as cruel. Lastly, the mutual jealousy cruelty.
" the test o' the of the proscribers augmented the number of cut-throats"--for it cannot be said of their victims, each seeking the destruction of
Antony that he was as good. In all those who conspicuously favored his col- those historic instances to which we leagues, and each exacting a similar compensation in return.
have referred some strong passion had The whole number extended, we are told, to three hundred senators and
been excited, or else those rivers of (*o thousand knights; ainong them were
blood were shed by slow dribblets at brothers, uncles, and favorite officers of the first, till the apppetite, maddened by triumvirs themselves !"
its food, became brutalised and de
moniac. Men taught themselves to Nothing in history is more horrid think that they were playing God's than this. Let us remember the age enemies, not their own; and then of Octavius, and the fact, as here told found themselves unable to stop the to us, that he had no personal ene- torrent when they had raised the mies on whom to he avenged, no ex- flood-gate. Sylla slew his victims as citement of war or sense of danger to
ruthlessly, but Sylla had been rousel blunt his feelings : let us remember to vengeance by opposition. Nero and that are the customary springs of Commodus were made mad by power.
At the Sicilian vespers deep wrongs Antony were now the inheritors of were avenged ; so deep that our sym- Cæsar's policy. Sylla had been the pathies are with the murderers, not avenger of the high aristocracy of with the murdered. The cruelty even Rome, of the senators and consuls, of of Robespierre was the growth of time, the great families who had so long and was matured by opportuity. He, contrived to divide among them the perhaps, is the most abhorrent to us wealth of the state, of the curule of all the world's famous hangmen; chairs, of the fasces, and of Roman and yet in his early years he em- dignity. His party was that of the ployed his energies
in advocating the oligarchy, who had habitually ruled repeal of all laws which would inflict Rome, and who considered themselves capital punishment.
in an especial manner to be the blood Antony was bad enough. The and marrow of the republic. As Cæsar iind recoils with half incredulous had taken up the mantle of Marius, so horror at the narration of such cruelty had Pompey worn that of Sylla ; and as his. But he was used and weil now its shreds and fragments were used to slaughter in all its forms. He divided between the men who had had seen the streets of Rome red with consented to the murder of Cæsar. Roman blood; he had seen many a Thus, at Philippi the side of the hard-fought field ; he had seen the republic was advocated by Brutus and wounds of Caesar; and he had, more- Cassius, but the people of Rome were over, enemies of his own. Antony with Octavius and Antony. was a man whose heart had been hard- And very unworthily did Brutus and ened, till it was hard as stone, by the Cassius play their part. They were bloody circumstances of an adventu- masters of an immense force, and also rous life ; but Octavius was a youth of the country in which that force was whose heart required no hardening. to be employed; they had, or might It was produced by nature without a have had, through their natural ally, spot in it softer than adamant. It had the son of Pompey, full command of been steeled in a triple furnace, and
Nevertheless, they allowed placed in his bosom ready for such their enemies to transport their huge work as he had to do.
army into Macedonia, and then force The field of Philippi has obtained a on an action, unprepared as the triumcelebrity in history to which the bat- viri were with any means of sustaintles fought on it hardly give it a ing their legions, had an action been just claim. It is true that on that declined. The two republican genefield there was made the last stand by rals then differed on the eve of battle, republican Rome against her masters; and finally fought without any thobut that stand was made so poorly, roughly concerted scheme. It appears that republican Rome need not boast that they might even then have conmnch of the matter.
quered, but for their own folly or misAnd here we cannot but qualify the takes. Gods and men were not against word republic as applied to any Ro- them, had they been able to befriend man faction or any Roman party then
themselves. One side of the army, existing. Toour ears the word republic that led by Brutus, was in the very savors of democracy,and toa Roman of act of victory, when the other side, the time of Coriolanus the word might led by Cassius, turned round and fled. probably convey some similaridea. But Cassius had been deceived as to what The power of any fraction of the peo- the legions of Brutus were about, and ple except the army had now been immediately that he had the smallegt dead sufficiently long to be forgotten. ground for doubt, he retired to his The popular and plebeian ottice of tent, and had his throat cut. So far tribune was still held and still coveted the contest had been nearly equal, as one of the most powerful in the and such was the first battle of Phistate ; but the Roman tribune had lippi. lately been no more than one among The second took place some three the many tyrants of Rome. The popu- weeks after it, on the same ground. lace of Rome, if they favored either Here also the legions of Brutus fought party, favored that of the Cæsars. well; but the Caesareans ultimately Caesar had been the successor of Ma- drove them back. Then the soldiers rius, and Marius had been the cham- of Rome began to fancy that no name pion of the people. Octavius and but that of Caesar could lead them to
victory, and wavered in their obe- It was not likely that their loves dience. Brutus was all but left alone. should be enduring. Whatever were So he also retired, and, more Ro- the merits of Octavia, she could manorum, died by his own sword, as hardly hope to compete with CleoCato, Cassius, and so many others had patra in the use of a woman's weadone before him. It was the only re- pons. She was of course neglected, source of a Roman in adversity. contemned, and insulted ; and hav
The field of Philippi lies at the foot ing in vain followed her husband as of the southern slope of the Balkan, far as Athens, returned to Rome to between the western extremity of that add her wrongs to all the others ridge and the spur which runs from it which enabled her brother to call Anto the southward, and which, we be- tony his enemy: lieve, is still called Mount Rhodope : Octavius in the meantime had been and here was terminated all idea of far differently employed. When the the republic of Rome. From thence Eastern provinces had been assigned to the next great battle, that of Ac- to Antony, Lepidus had been sent to tium, there is little
great interest Africa, and Italy and the Western to record. Antony soon took posses- provinces fell to the share of Octasion of the eastern provinces, and, with vius. The task undertaken by him the provinces, of the manners also of was not an easy one.
He had battle of the East. We cannot now stop to after battle to fight, not for new prodwell on his luxurious life in the arms vinces, not for fresh laurels, but for of Cleopatra, of the wonderful fasci- very existence in his Roman home. nation which she obtained over his War, we may say, can never have been stern Roman nature, or of the efforts in itself delightful to Augustus, as which he made from time to time to it was to Cæsar and to Antony-as rescue himself from the fatal effects it had been to Alexander, and was to of Eastern debauchery, and be again be to Napoleon. He had neither the loved imperatúr of his legions. taste for it, nor apparently much Nor is it necessary that we should. If talent. In his younger days his any portion of Roman history is well health was always feeble, and often known, it is that which tells us of so bad as to disable him from moving Antony's revels in Egypt. It must, unless in a litter. When he comhowever, be remembered that he had manded in person, he was generally cemented his friendship with Octa- beaten, and seems finally to have bevius by marrying his sister Octavia. come so aware of this, as to trust much Such domestic ties were as commonly more in military matters to Agrippa made among Roman citizens, with the than to himself. He was twice beaten political object of ensuring family al- and well beaten in naval engagements liances, as they since have beeri be- by Sextus Pompeius ; but the good tween crowned heads; but the in- fortune for which his whole life was tended object was rarely gained. The noted was as conspicious in his ad. lady was indeed frequently so married, versity as in his success. Though but she was almost as frequently di- his navy had been completely routed, vorced. So intricate in this manner though he himself had been barely Were the alliances in times of trouble able to escape with life, nevertheless between the leaders of the different his enemy had failed to profit by the factions, that it is quite impossible opportunity of victory, and after that an ordinary reader should follow each defeat Octavius was allowed to them. He will frequently meet the narrative of some auspicious wedding, Retrick his beams, and with new spangled ore that is to strengthen the friendship of Flame in the forehead of the morning sky. noble families, and yet before the bride had been delivered of her first- It were useless to follow the four born child, he will hear of her divorce. chieftains, for Sextus the son of PomShe will then be led to a second nuptial pey now made a fourth, through couch, and the heir of the first hus- their various quarrels and reconciliaband will be born beneath the roof- tions ; each of them disliked and was
personally jealous of the other ; Such a marriage as this had united each of them wished to be alone the dissolute Antony with the vir- supreme, for it seems that even Lepituous and perhaps prudish Octavia. dus made some such attempt. But
tree of his enemy.
it was not long before Antony and only for flight. The poison of Egypt Octavius remained the only masters had already quelled the courage of of a Roman force. Octavius, though the Romau warrior. he could not conquer Sextus hiniself, In truth, there was no battle at did so by the arms of Agrippa, and Actium, though so much merit has the son of the Pompey the Great soon been given to Augustus for his vanished from the scene, and was victory There was no battle, but heard of no more.
He it seems did only a complete rout. We all know not kill himself, but was privately that Cleopatra accompanied Antony butchered in some manner sufficiently when he went forth to meet Augusobscure to have escaped much atten- tus tion.
ultima secum Each of the two brothers-in-law Bactra velit, sequiturque nefas Egyptia conjux. desired a rupture with the other, and they did not find it difficult to assign This in the eyes of Romans was a cause. As is usual among poten- the great offence ; this was in their tates who become so circumstanced, mind the cause of his discomfiture. they began by angry charges, each ac- And they were probably right. The cusing the other of selfish ambition Egyptian consort maintained it and treachery.
They were both no seems a sort of control over her doubt correct in such accusations. own country's force through the Octavius harangued against Antony
whole campaign. It was but a di. in the senate, and Antony replied by
vided command which Antony held, sending to Rome a formal divorce of and a command divided with a wohis wife Octavia. This it seems was man. On the first opportunity which tantamount to a declaration of war. the wind allowed, Cleopatra fled. Antony proclaimed himself as about to contend against the tyranny of
She hoisted her purple sails on her gilded Octavius, but Octavius more pru
deck. (as Mr. Merivale tells us,) and threaded dently declared war, not against An
rapidly the maze of combatants, followed by tony, but against Egypt. And so
tlie Egyptian squadron of sixty barks. This the world was once more in arms.
moveinent, unexpected to the last by either
party, was ascribed to woinan's cowardice; We will not attempt to describe
but from what bad already passed in the the battle of Actium, but will refer
council, there can be no doubt that it was our readers to Virgil and Mr. Meri
previously concerted. When Antonius liinvale, giving a preference to the poet. self, observing the appointed signal, leaped From his authority, it would appear into a five-oared galley, and followed swiftly that the victory of Augustus (we may in her wake, the rage and shame of his presume so to call him now, as he is adherents tilled thein with desperation. so called by Virgil) was entirely owing to the interference of the AC- Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dotian Apollo. The god who had been mentat. There is no other explanaduly worshipped in his temple on the tion to be given of Antony's conduct, cliff bent his bow, and the Eastern for it seems that he had no ulterior tribes, terror-stricken, fied at the design. The great army which he hurtling of his arrow. The historian had left on shore, and to which he attributes as little as the poet to the should have trusted his safety, abanprowess or skill of the victor. An- doned its general when it was found tony was a beaten man before the that the general had abandoned his battle began. His mind was gone ;
army. Nor did Antony expect that his high courage sapped ; his self- it would be otherwise. He as his confidence was at an end. Looking sole resource returned to Egypt with at the number of his forces, the his queen, and here, in alternate peweight of his vessels, the means at riods of gloomy solitude and loud his disposal, and his own experience, revelling orgies, wasted the few one is inclined to say that he should wretched remaining days of his mohave beaten his enemy, either by mentous life. For an instant he is land or water. But he fought with- seen combating against the foe that out an idea of conquering, and none had followed close upon his heels, who ever so fought have
conquered. with all the energy and promptness No god was necessary to make him of his youth, and then he is found fly, for he went into battle prepared begging abjectly for favour, as no Ro.
and 29 years
man should have begged. His mis- has made us familiar. We are not tress too was treacherous to him, and forbidden to believe in those little strove hard to save herself by the sale asps hidden beneath the fig-leaves, of her lover's life and her own with which we have so long been eccharms. Augustus, however, knew quainted. Augustus was balked of
, that both were at his command, and his living victim, and constrained to would purchase neither. The two satisfy his triumphal pomp with a fugitives were abandoned by every poor image of the dying lady. He friend, by every hope, by every was not, however, debarred from chance of succour. Cleopatra, fearing
blood. The boy Casarion she knew not what, retired to the the child of Cleopatra, and she had costly tomb which she had prepared claimed Cæsar as the father of her for her sepulture, and gave out that son. Caesarion therefore died. There she had destroyed herself. Her lover, was still surviving one of the conspinot to be outdone, and flattering him- rators against Caesar : he also died. self that in spite of her well-known Others also there were whom it was perfidy, the pearl of Egypt had at thought well to sacrifice, some for last died for love of him, determined one cause, some for another. And to perish as became a Roman. He then, we are told, Octavius, triumphgave himself a mortal wound, and ant in victory and secure in power, when wounded and sinking was car- wiped his blood-stained sword. Mr. ried to the arms of his mistress. And Merivale seems almost to think that thus he died.
he would better have sustained his Augustus was a libertine as regards character, had he had resource to women, but he never became the slave another proscription. of a woman. It was in vain that Having arranged his affairs in the Cleopatra tried her well-accustomed East, Augustus returned to Rome, wiles upon the iron heart of a third and enjoyed his triumph. This is Roman Imperator. Augustus, we are the moment at which the Empire of told, looked coldly from her face, up- the West commenced; 725 years from braided her for her policy as a queen,
the building of the and demanded an inventory of her
before the birth of Christ.
It is a wealth. For him she could now an- memorable epoch in the world's hisswer but two purposes--to fill his tory. In profane history there is coffers, and adorn his triumph. Cleo- none more memorable. From this patra begged abjectly for her life, commenced the system of qualified and the conqueror felt assured that despotism which has prevailed so geshe would consent to live to be drag- nerally in Europe. All the emperors, ged as a show through the streets of czars, and autocratic kings who have Rome. We remember how the gal- since ruled in Germany, Russia, lant Vercingetorix had fared; how he, Spain, France, England, and Italy, after six years of captivity, had been have owed their power to the policy strangled in Rome by way of gracing of Augustus, and have not the less the triumph of the great Cæsar, of owed to him the necessity of labourthe Cæsar who was famous for his ing in their great offices for the weal mercy. Cleopatra may have fairly of their subjects. surmised that neither her sex, nor her It is in this that European tyrants more than matured charms, would have differed so widely from Eastern save her from some fate equally to be kings. The thrones of the latter dreaded at the hands of a Cæsar who have been soft and idle couches, their was not often merciful.
subjects attendant slaves, mere miniShe deceived Augustus by her sters to the pleasures of their lord, prayers and her humility. She again their kingdom a domain for the protaught herself to believe that she had duction of such luxuries as might truly loved her Antony, and having gratify his tastes. But no seat can sent to the conqueror an appeal, in have been less soft than those on which she begged to be buried with which the autocratic sovereigns of Euher lover, she succeeded in putting an rope have been forced to sit, no laend to her life. The historian is able bour more oppressive both to the to give us no more authenticated nar- body and the mind than that they rative of the manner of her death have been called upon to endure. It than that with which Shakespere is true that many hare failed to ac