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Described the motions and explained the use
Of the deep column and the lengthened line,
The square, the crescent, and the phalanx firm :
For all that Saracen or Christian knew
Of war's vast art was to this hermit known.
Returning homewards by Messina's port,
Loaded with wealth and honours bravely won,
A rude and boisterous captain of the sea
Fastened a quarrel on him. Fierce they fought :
The stranger fell; and with his dying breath
Declared his name and lineage. Mighty God!
The soldier cried, my brother! Oh! my brother!
-They exchanged forgiveness,
And happy, in my mind, was he that died;
For many deaths has the survivor suffered.
In the wild desert on a rock he sits,
Or on some nameless stream's untrodden banks,
And ruminates all day his dreadful fate.
At times, alas! not in his perfect mind,
Holds dialogues with his loved brother's ghost;
And oft, each night, forsakes his sullen couch
To make sad orisons for him he slew.
Most potent, grave, and reverend Signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters;
That I have ta’en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her;
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent; no more. Rude am I in speech,
And little blessed with the set phrase of peace;
For, since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now, some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battles;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your patience,
I will a round unvarnished tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration, and what mighty magic,
(For such proceedings I am charged withal) I won his daughter with.
Her father loved me, oft invited me,
Still questioned me the story of my life,
From year to year; the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have past.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances;
Of moving accidents by flood and field;
Of hair-breadth 'scapes i' the imminent deadly breach;
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery; of my redemption thence,
And with it all my travel's history;
Wherein of antres vast, and deserts wild,
Rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It was my hint to speak.-All these to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence,
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate;
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not distinctively. I did consent,
And often did beguile ner of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffered. My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She said, 'twas strange, indeed, 'twas passing strange;
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful-
She wished she had not heard it-yet she wished
That Heaven had made her such a man: she thanked me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake :
She loved me for the dangers I had past;
And I loved her, that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.
CASSIUS AGAINST CÆSAR.
I CANNOT tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Cæsar; so were you:
We both have fed as well; and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he.
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Cæsar said to me, Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?-Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in,
And bade him follow: so indeed he did.
The torrent roared, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews; throwing it aside,
And stemming it with hearts of controversy.
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Cæsar cried, Help me, Cassius, or I sink.
I, as Æneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tibe
Did I the tired Cæsar: and this man
Is now become a god; and Cassius is
A wretched creature, and must bend his body
If Cæsar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And, when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly;
And that same eye, whose bend does awe the worlu
Did lose its lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his, that bade the Romans
Mark him, and write his speeches in their books,
Alas! it cried, Give me some drink, Titinius,
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me,
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world,
And bear the palm alone.
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, a
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Cæsar: What should be in that Cæsar?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name ;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure them,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Cæsar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat does this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say, till now, that talked of Rome,
That her wide walls encompassed but one man?
O! you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once, that would have brooked
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome,
As easily as a king.
11. ALFRED'S ADDRESS TO THE SAXON TROOPS. My subjects! I have long
Endured a weighty burden; I have lived
Goaded with cares, that filled my mind by day,
And when night came, assumed a character
Tenfold more fearful. What have I sustained
These ills for? to support a crazy crown?
For what have I defied the elements,
And bared my head, and 'mid the hottest strife
Mixed evermore? to guard the name of king?
Thou knowest, oh heart! that now art beating high,
Thou knowest it was not! No; these feet have toiled,
This mind hath pondered, and this head endured
Life's crushing cares for nobler purposes !—
Whom have you dared the fight for? for your king?
To save yourselves? or hurl destruction's brand
Fierce on the Danes? No; nobler minds were yours!
You fought for liberty! you fought to save
All that is dear in life!—your peaceful homes,
Your helpless sires, your wives, your innocents!
And not for these alone, but distant heirs-
For generations yet unborn, the race
Of future Saxons, down to farthest time!
Who, oft as they shall hear what we endured
To guard their rights, the precious blood we shed
To make their lives secure, and bid the form
Of holy freedom rise, engirt with flowers
That dare the breath of time, shall look to heaven,
And with no common fervour bless the names
Of us their great forefathers, who for them
Endured, but triumphed-suffered, but obtained.-
Now boldly I advance to meet the foe!
And you, whose hearts shrink with the coward's fear,
Turn not to me! haste to your safe retreat,
And joy, if joy you can,
when far away,
To think of those who suffered from your flight,
To think for what your brethren fought and died.*
12.-LEONIDAS, KING OF SPARTA, ON OFFERING HIMSELF
TO DEFEND THE PASS OF THERMOPYLE AGAINST THE PERSIANS.
WHY this astonishment on every face,
Ye men of Sparta? Does the name of death
Create this fear and wonder? O my friends,
Why do we labour through the arduous paths
Which lead to virtue? Fruitless were the toil,
Above the reach of human feet were placed
The distant summit, if the fear of death
Could intercept our passage. But a frown
Of unavailing terror he assumes,
To shake the firmness of a mind, which knows,
That, wanting virtue, life is pain and wo;
That, wanting liberty, even virtue mourns,
And looks around for happiness in vain.-
Then speak, O Sparta, and demand my life!
My heart, exulting, answers to thy call,
And smiles on glorious fate. To live with fame
The gods allow to many; but to die
With equal lustre is a blessing Jove
Among the choicest of his boons reserves,
Which but on few his sparing hand bestows.
13.-LEONIDAS'S SPEECH TO HIS QUEen.
OH! thou dear mourner! wherefore swells so high
That tide of wo? Leonidas must fall.
Alas! far heavier misery impends
Alfred, his sword unsheathed, the scabbard cast
Far into the air, and singly marched along.-
All followed, shouting "Death or victory!"