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The theatre is capable of containing from twelve to fourteen thousand spectators. Its position is most eligible. From the seats, and particularly the upper platform, a noble view is obtained of the sea, harbour, city, and adjacent country. When Syracuse was in its glory, the prospect must have been inexpressibly magnificent.
It is not owing to any modern attention that this theatre continues in any kind of preservation. It appears to be sadly neglected and even abused. Not far from the Theatre there is another very interesting remnant of antiquity, a Roman amphitheatre. They are both monuments of the taste and genius of two distinct
people; the one of the polished and civilized founders, the other of the brave but rude conquerors of the country. The first was the scene of action of the regular drama; the second was designed for the show of brutal and sanguinary sports. In the theatre, the thrilling tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides, the pungent satires of Aristophanes, and the graceful comedies of Menander were intended to be exhibited. In the Amphitheatre, gladitorial combats, fights of men with men, of men with beasts, and beasts with one another, were waged for the barbarous gratification of the Roman--the half civilized Roman: for the same ferocious amusements, which were cultivated in the untutored times of the commonwealth, were sought with avidity, by the people, in the best days of the empire. The darkness of some of the dens of the Amphitheatre is absolutely fearful. It seems as though the glare of the lion's eyeballs might still illumine the horrid gloom, or his growl be heard muttering vengeance on the unbidden intruder. But the lion has resigned his den, and the other shaggy monsters of the wood their several prisons, to a swarm of harmless lizards. The Arena which formerly was stained with human gore, when the fated victims fought with beasts “after the manner of men at Ephesus," is now applied to the purposes of husbandry, and peacefully waves with a crop of flax. And the Corridor, along which the multitudes have rushed with thundering tread in their eagerness to fill the seats of the mighty amphitheatre, is at present made use of by the neighbouring herdsmen, as a place of shelter for their flocks during the inclemencies of the weather.
" When fortune smiles, and life is prosperous and fair, then it is that the nominal and true friend may seem alike sincere.” Then it is that small and great. rich and poor, bond and free, bow at your shrine, and prostrate themselves as it were at your feet. But when unfortunately the dark clouds of sorrow and disappointment gather thick around you, and you find yourself beset with troubles, losses, crosses, and disappointments on every side ; then you are ready to exclaim, fortune can create friends, but adversity alone can try them. Your friends of fortune will then desert you. They will laugh at your misfortunes, and heap upon you shame and disgrace. They will sink you, if possible, lower and lower in point of honour and reputation, and in all your attempts to rise, cross and blight you at every turn. But not so with the true friend. Though all your earthly prospects are cut off, he will not desert you, but if possible administer to your relief. Let us therefore, cultivate and cherish that friendship, and that alone, which will not diminish, though sorrows oppress and afflictions invade us; that too which will cheer and animate us amid our darkest hours, and shine brightest in affliction's night.
Truth and reason never cause revolutions on the earth; they are the fruit of experience, which can only be exercised when the passions are at rest; they excite not in the heart those furious emotions which shake empires to their base. Truth can only be discovered by peaceful minds: it is only adopted by kindred spirits. If it change the opinions of men, it is only by insensible gradations—a gentle and easy descent conducting them to reason. The revolutions caused by the progress of truth are always beneficial to society, and are only burdensome to those who deceive and oppress it. Marsais.
WHO IS ALONE?
How heavily the path of life
Is trod by him who walks alone; Who hears not, on his dreary way,
Affection's sweet and cheering tone. Alone, although his heart should bound
With love to all things great and fair, They love not him: there is not one
His sorrow or his joy to share. The ancient stars look coldly down
On man the creature of a day; They lived before him, and live on
Till his remembrance pass away. The mountain lifts its hoary head,
Nor to his homage deigns reply; The stormy billows bear him forth,
Regardless which-to live or die.
The flow'ret blooms unseen by him,
Unmindful of his warmest praise; And if it fades, seeks not his hand
Its drooping loveliness to raise. The brute creation own his power,
And grateful serve him, though in fear; Yet cannot sympathise with man,
For if he weeps, they shed no tear.
Alone, though in the busy town,
Where hundreds hurry to and fro, If there is none who for his sake
A selfish pleasure would forego; And oh! how lonely, among those
Who have not skill to read his heart, When first he learns how summer friends
At sight of wintry storms depart. My Saviour ! and didst thou too feel
How sad it is to be alone, Deserted in the adverse hour
By those who most thy love had known ?
Was ever present to thy view;
For us that painful course pursue.