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In like manner we should learn to be just to individuals. Who can say, "In such circumstances I should have done otherwise?" Who, did he but reflect by what slow gradations, often by how many strange concurrences, we are led astray; with how much reluctance, how much agony, how many efforts to escape, how many self-accusations, how many sighs, how many tears, who, did he but reflect for a moment, would have the heart to cast a stone? Happily these things are known to Him from whom no secrets are hidden; and let us rest in the assurance that His judgments
are not as ours are.
THE CAMPAGNA OF ROME.
HAVE none appeared as tillers of the ground,
None since they went as though it still were theirs,
And they might come and claim their own again?
Was the last plough a Roman's?
From this seat,"
Sacred for ages, whence, as VIRGIL sings,
The Queen of Heaven, alighting from the sky,
Looked down and saw the armies in array,"
Let us contemplate; and, where dreams from Jove
Descended on the sleeper, where, perhaps,
Some inspirations may be lingering still,
Some glimmerings of the future or the past,
Let us await their influence; silently
Revolving, as we rest on the green turf,
The changes from that hour when he from TROY
Came up the TIBER; when refulgent shields,
No strangers to the iron-hail of war,
Streamed far and wide, and dashing oars were heard
Among those woods where Silvia's stag was lying,
His antlers gay with flowers; among those woods
Where by the moon, that saw and yet withdrew not,
Two were so soon to wander and be slain,250
Two lovely in their lives, nor in their death
Then, and hence to be discerned,
How many realms, pastoral and warlike, lay
Along this plain, each with its schemes of power,
Its little rivalships! 251 What various turns
Of fortune there; what moving accidents
From ambuscade and open violence!
Mingling, the sounds came up; and hence how oft
We might have caught among the trees below,
Glittering with helm and shield, the men of TIBER;23
Or in Greek vesture, Greek their origin,
Some embassy, ascending to PRÆNESTE;
How oft descried, without thy gates, ARICIA,254
Entering the solemn grove for sacrifice,
Senate and people! - each a busy hive,
Glowing with life !
But all ere long are lost In one. We look, and where the river rolls Southward its shining labyrinth, in her strength A city, girt with battlements and towers, On seven small hills is rising. At rural work, the citizens are seen, None unemployed; the noblest of them all Binding their sheaves or on their threshing-floors, As though they had not conquered. Everywhere Some trace of valor or heroic toil !
Here is the sacred field of the HORATII.255
There are the QUINTIAN meadows. 256 Here the hill
How holy, where a generous people, twice,
Twice going forth, in terrible anger sate
Armed; and, their wrongs redressed, at once gave way,
Helmet and shield, and sword and spear thrown down,
And every hand uplifted, every heart
Poured out in thanks to Heaven.
Once again We look; and, lo! the sea is white with sails Innumerable, wafting to the shore Treasures untold; the vale, the promontories, A dream of glory; temples, palaces, Called up as by enchantment; aqueducts Among the groves and glades rolling along Rivers, on many an arch high overhead; And in the centre, like a burning sun, The Imperial City! They have now subdued All nations. But where they who led them forth; Who, when at length released by victory (Buckler and spear hung up-but not to rust), Held poverty no evil, no reproach,
Living on little with a cheerful mind,
The DECII, the FABRICII? Where the spade,
And reaping-hook, among their household-things
Duly transmitted? In the hands of men
Made captive; while the master and his guests,
Reclining, quaff in gold, and roses swim,
Summer and winter, through the circling year,
On their Falernian - in the hands of men
Dragged into slavery with how many more
Spared but to die, a public spectacle,
In combat with each other, and required
To fall with grace, with dignity—to sink
While life is gushing, and the plaudits ring
Faint and yet fainter on their failing ear,
As models for the sculptor.
But their days,
Their hours are numbered. Hark! a yell, a shriek, A barbarous outcry, loud and louder yet,
That echoes from the mountains to the sea!
And mark, beneath us, like a bursting cloud,
The battle moving onward! Had they slain
All, that the earth should from her womb bring forth
New nations to destroy them? From the depth
Of forests, from what none had dared explore,
Regions of thrilling ice, as though in ice
Engendered, multiplied, they pour along,
Shaggy and huge! Host after host, they come;
The Goth, the Vandal; and again the Goth!
Once more we look, and all is still as night,
All desolate! Groves, temples, palaces,
Swept from the sight; and nothing visible,
Amid the sulphurous vapors that exhale
As from a land accurst, save here and there
An empty tomb, a fragment like the limb.
Of some dismembered giant. In the midst
A city stands, her domes and turrets crowned
With many a cross; but they, that issue forth,
Wander like strangers 258 who had built among
The mighty ruins, silent, spiritless;
And on the road, where once we might have met
CESAR and CATO and men more than kings,
We meet, none else, the pilgrim and the beggar.
THOSE ancient men, what were they, who achieved
A sway beyond the greatest conquerors;
Setting their feet upon the necks of kings,
And, through the world, subduing, chaining down
The free, immortal spirit? Were they not
Mighty magicians? Theirs a wondrous spell,
Where true and false were with infernal art
Close-interwoven; where together met
Blessings and curses, threats and promises;
And with the terrors of Futurity
Mingled whate'er enchants and fascinates,
Music and painting, sculpture, rhetoric,259
And dazzling light and darkness visible, 20
And architectural pomp, such as none else!
What in his day the SYRACUSAN sought,
Another world to plant his engines on,
They had; and, having it, like gods, not men,
Moved this world at their pleasure. Ere they came
Their shadows, stretching far and wide were known;
And two, that looked beyond the visible sphere,
Gave notice of their coming- he who saw
The Apocalypse; and he of elder time,
Who in an awful vision of the night
Saw the Four Kingdoms. Distant as they were,
Those holy men, well might they faint with fear!