« 上一頁繼續 »
Fashioned so slenderly,
12 Ere her limbs frigidly
13 Dreadfully staring
14 Perishing gloomily,
15 Owning her weakness,
And leaving, with meekness,
CXIII. — SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS.
("elijah Kellogg was bora in Portland, Maine, and was graduated at Bowdoin College in 1840. In 1844 he was ordained over the Congregational Society of Harpswell. In 1856 he removed to Boston, and became pastor of the Mariners' Church, under the patronage of the Boston Seamen's Friend Society. He has since continued to reside there.
The following is a supposed speech of Spartacus, who was a real personage. He was a Thracian by birth, and a gladiator, who headed a rebellion of gladiators and slaves against the Romans, which was not suppressed until after a long struggle, in which he showed great energy and ability. A praetor was a Roman magistrate. The vestal virgins were priestesses of Vesta. They had a conspicuous place at the gladiatorial shows. The ancients attached great importance to the rites of sepulture, and believed that if the body were not buried, the soul could not cross the Styx, and reach the Elysian fields, the abode of the departed spirits of the good.]
It had been a day of triumph in Capua. Lentulus, returning with victorious eagles, had amused the populace with the sports of the amphitheatre, to an extent hitherto unknown even in that luxurious city. The shouts of rev5 elry had died away; the roar of the lion had ceased; the last loiterer had retired from the banquet, and the lights in the palace of the victor were extinguished. The moon, piercing the tissue of fleecy clouds, silvered the dew-drop on the corselet of the Roman sentinel, and tipped the dark
10 waters of Volturnus with wavy, tremulous light. It was a night of holy calm, when the zephyr sways the young spring leaves, and whispers among the hollow reeds its dreamy music. No sound was heard but the last sob of some weary wave, telling its story to the smooth pebbles
15 of the beach, and then all was still as the breast when the spirit has departed.
In the deep recesses of the amphitheatre, a band of gladiators were crowded together, — their muscles still knotted with the agony of conflict, the foam upon their lips, and
20 the scowl of battle yet lingering upon their brows, —when Spartacus, rising in the midst of that grim assemblage, thus addressed them:
"Ye call me chief, and ye do well to call him chief, who, for twelve long years, has met upon the arena every
25 shape of man or beast that the broad empire of Rome could furnish, and yet never has lowered his arm. And if there be one among you who can say that, ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him step forth and say it. If there be three in all yom throng dare face me on the bloody sand, let them come on!"Yet, I was not always thus, a hired butcher, a savage chief of savage men. My father was a reverent man, who 5 feared great Jupiter, and brought to the rural deities his offerings of fruits and flowers. He dwelt among the vineclad rocks and olive groves at the foot of Helicon. My early life ran quiet as the brook by which I sported. I was taught to prune the vine, to tend the flock; and then,
10 at noon, I gathered my sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd's flute. I had a friend, the son of our neighbor; we led our flocks to the same pasture, and shared together our rustic meal.
"One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were
15 all seated beneath the myrtle that shaded our cottage, my grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon and Leuctra, and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war meant; but my cheeks burned, I
20 knew not why; and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, till my mother, parting the hair from off my brow, kissed my throbbing temples, and bade me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.
"That very night the Romans landed on our shore, and
25 the clash of steel was heard within our quiet vale. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the iron hoof of the war-horse; the bleeding body of my father flung amid the blazing rafters of our dwelling. To-day I killed a man in the arena, and when I brokehis helmet
SO clasps, behold! it was my friend! He knew me, — smiled faintly, — gasped, — and died. The same sweet smile that I had marked upon his face, when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled some lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph. I told
35 the Praetor he was my friend, noble and brave, and 1 begged his body, that I might burn it upon the funeralpile, and mourn over him. Ay, on my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that boon, while all the Roman maids and matrons, and those holy virgins they call vestal, and the rabble, shouted in mockery, deem5 ing it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercest gladiator turn pale, and tremble like a very child, before that piece of bleeding clay; but the Praetor drew back as if I were pollution, and sternly said, 'Let the carrion rot! There are no noble men but Romans!' And he, deprived of funeral rites, 10 must wander, a hapless ghost, beside the waters of that sluggish river, and look — and look — and look in vain to the bright Elysian fields where dwell his ancestors and noble kindred. And so must you, and so must I, die like dogs! "O Rome! Rome! thou hast been a tender nurse to me!15 Ay, thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher sound than a flute-note, muscles of iron, and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through rugged brass and plaited mail, and warm it in the marrow of his foe! to gaze into the glaring 20 eyeballs of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a smooth cheeked boy upon a laughing girl. And he shall pay thee back till thy yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled!
"Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! the strength 25 of brass is in your toughened sinews; but to-morrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet odors from his curly locks, shall come, and with his lily fingers pat your brawny shoulders, and bet his sesterces upon your blooa! Hark! Hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'T is three days since he
iO tasted meat; but to-morrow he shall break his fast upon your flesh; and ye shall be a dainty meal for him.
"If ye are brutes, then stand here like fat oxen waiting for the butcher's knife; if ye are men, follow me! strike down yon sentinel, and gain the mountain passes, and there 35 do bloody work as did your sires at old Thermopylae! Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that ye do crouch and cower like base-born slaves, beneath your master's lash? O! comrades! warriors! Thracians! if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves; if we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors; if we 5 must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle."
CXIV. —THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE BERLIN LANDSTURM.
[karl Tm.onor Korner was born September 23,1791, at Dresden, Saxony, and was killed in battle against the French, August 26, 1813. He wrote dramas and lyrical poems, — of which latter, many are full of patriotic feeling and warlike spirit. In Germany, when the whole people are called upon to take arms in defence of their country, the name of Landsturm is given to the military force thus raised.]
1 Father of earth and heaven! I call thy name!
Round me the smoke and shout of battle roll;
Father, sustain an untried soldier's soul.
Or life, or death, whatever be the goal
Thou knowest, if ever from my spirit stole
2 God! thou art merciful. — The wintry storm,
The cloud that pours the thunder from its womb,
The lightnings, glancing through the midnight gloom,
To Faith's raised eye, as calm, as lovely come,
As roses shaken by the breeze's plume, When like cool incense comes the dewy air, And on the golden wave, the sunset burns afar.