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• 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 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 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
"That very night the Romans landed on our shore, and 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 broke his helmet clasps, behold! he 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 the pretor he was my friend, noble and brave, and I 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, deeming 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 pretor 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, 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! Ay, thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherdlad, 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 in the marrow of his foe! to gaze into the glaring eyeballs of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a smoothcheeked 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 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 blood! Hark! Hear ye yon lion roaring in his den ? 'Tis three days since he tasted meat; but tomorrow 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 do bloody work as did your sires at old Thermopylæ! 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 must die, let us die under the open sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle.”
CI. - LOCHIEL'S WARNING.
In 1745, Charles Edward, grandson of James II., landed in Scotland, and soon gathered around him an army with which he marched into England, in order to regain possession of the throne from which his ancestors had been driven. He was brilliantly successful at first, and penetrated into England as far as Derby ; but he was then obliged to retreat, and, after many disasters, his army was entirely defeated by the English, under command of the Duke of Cumberland, at Culloden.
Lochiel, the head of the warlike clan of the Camerons, was one of the most powerful of the Highland chieftains, and a zealous supporter of the claims of Charles Edward. Among the Highlanders are certain persons supposed to have the gift of second sight; that is, the power of foreseeing future events. Lochiel, on his way to join Charles Edward, is represented as meeting one of these seers, who endeavors in vain to dissuade him from his purpose.
Y EER. Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day
When the Lowlands shall meet thee in battle array !
Weep, Albin ! * to death and captivity led !
LOCHIEL. Go, preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer;
SEER. Ha ! laugh’st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn?
LOCHIEL. False wizard, avaunt! I have marshaled my clan;
* The poetical name of Scotland.
When her bonneted chieftains to victory crowd,
SEER. Lochiel, Lochiel, beware of the day!
LOCHIEL. Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale. Though my perishing ranks should be strewed in their gore, Like ocean-weeds heaped on the surf-beaten shore, Lochiel, rutainted by flight or by chains,
* Alluding to the perilous adventures and final escape of Charles, after the battle of Culloden.