Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

-Where'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship.—They boast, they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error!- Yes-they-they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride!-They offer us their protection—yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs-covering and devouring them!-They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise.-Be our plain answer this: The throne we honour is the people's choice -the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy — the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this, and tell them too, we seek no change; and, least of all, such change as they would bring us.

RIENZI'S ADDRESS TO THE MEN OF ROME.

FRIENDS,

Rienzi, BY MISS MITFORD.

I come not here to talk. Ye know too well
The story of our thraldom :-we are slaves!
The bright sun rises to his course, and lights
A race of slaves! He sets, and his last beam
Falls on a slave:-not such as, swept along
By the full tide of power, the conqueror leads
To crimson glory and undying fame ;
But base, ignoble slaves—slaves to a horde
Of petty tyrants, feudal despots, lords,
Rich in some dozen paltry villages—

Strong in some hundred spearmen-only great

In that strange spell, a name. Each hour, dark fraud, Or open rapine, or protected murder,

Cries out against them. But this very day,

An honest man, my neighbour-there he stands-
Was struck-struck like a dog, by one who wore
The badge of Ursini; because, forsooth,
He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts,
At sight of that great ruffian. Be we men,
And suffer such dishonour? men, and wash not
The stain away in blood? Such shames are common.
I have known deeper wrongs. I, that speak to you,—
I had a brother once, a gracious boy,

Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope,

Of sweet and quiet joy; there was the look
Of heaven upon his face, which limners give
To the beloved disciple. How I loved
That gracious boy! Younger by fifteen years,
Brother at once and son! He left my side,
A summer bloom on his fair cheeks, a smile
Parting his innocent lips. In one short hour,
The pretty, harmless boy was slain! I saw
The corse, the mangled corse, and then cried
For vengeance! Rouse, ye Romans: rouse, ye slaves !
Have
ye brave sons? Look, in the next fierce brawl,
To see them die. Have ye daughters fair? Look
To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Dishonoured; and, if ye dare call for justice,
Be answered by the lash. Yet this is Rome,
That sat on her seven hills, and, from her throne
Of beauty, ruled the world! Yet we are Romans!
Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman

Was greater than a king! And once, again,-
Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread
Of either Brutus !-once again, I swear,
The eternal city shall be free! her sons
Shall walk with princes!

CATILINE TO THE ROMAN SENATE.

Catiline, BY DR. CROLY.

"BANISHED from Rome!"-what's banished, but set free From daily contact of the things I loathe ? "Tried and convicted traitor!"- Who says this? Who'll prove it, at his peril, on my head ? “Banished?”—I thank you for 't. It breaks my chain ! I held some slack allegiance till this hourBut 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 sinew strong as steel.

This day's the birth of sorrows!-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.

LUCIUS JUNIUS BRUTUS'S ORATION OVER
THE BODY OF LUCRETIA.

Brutus, BY J. H. PAYNE.

WOULD you know why I summoned you together?
Ask ye what brings me here? Behold this dagger,
Clotted with gore! Behold that frozen corse!
See where the lost Lucretia sleeps in death!

She was the mark and model of the time,

The mould in which each female face was formed,
The very shrine and sacristy of virtue!

Fairer than ever was a form created

By youthful fancy when the blood strays wild,
And never resting thought is all on fire!
The worthiest of the worthy! Not the nymph
Who met old Numa in his hallowed walks,
And whispered in his ear her strains divine,
Can I conceive beyond her ;-the young choir
Of vestal virgins bent to her. "Tis wonderful
Amid the darnel, hemlock, and base weeds,
Which now spring rife from the luxurious compost
Spread o'er the realm, how this sweet lily rose,—
How from the shade of those ill-neighbouring plants
Her father sheltered her, that not a leaf

Was blighted, but, arrayed in purest grace,

She bloomed unsullied beauty. Such perfections
Might have called back the torpid breast of age
To long-forgotten rapture; such a mind
Might have abashed the boldest libertine
And turned desire to reverential love,

And holiest affection! Oh, my countrymen !
You all can witness when that she went forth
It was a holiday in Rome; old age
Forgot its crutch, labour its task,—all ran,

And mothers, turning to their daughters, cried,

“There, there's Lucretia!" Now, look ye, where she lies! That beauteous flower, that innocent sweet rose,

Torn up by ruthless violence-gone! gone! gone!
Say, would
you seek instruction? would ye ask
should do? Ask ye yon conscious walls,
Which saw his poisoned brother,—

What ye

Ask

yon deserted street, where Tullia drove
O'er her dead father's corse, 'twill cry, Revenge!
Ask yonder senate-house, whose stones are purple
With human blood, and it will cry, Revenge!
Go to the tomb where lies his murdered wife,
And the poor queen, who loved him as her son,
Their unappeased ghosts will shriek, Revenge!
The temples of the gods, the all-viewing heavens,
The gods themselves, shall justify the
And swell the general sound, Revenge! Revenge!
And we will be revenged, my countrymen !
Brutus shall lead you on; Brutus, a name

cry,

Which will, when you're revenged, be dearer to him
Than all the noblest titles earth can boast.

Brutus your king!-No, fellow-citizens !
If mad ambition in this guilty frame
Had strung one kingly fibre,—yea, but one—
By all the gods, this dagger which I hold
Should rip it out, though it entwined my heart.
Now take the body up. Bear it before us

To Tarquin's palace; there we'll light our torches,
And, in the blazing conflagration, rear

A pile for these chaste relics, that shall send

Her soul amongst the stars. On! Brutus leads you!

« PředchozíPokračovat »