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Consuls, Dictators, still in Curule state
Sit and decide; and, as of old in Rome,
Name but their names, set every heart on fire !
Here, in his bonds, he whom the phalanx saved not,*
The last on Philip's throne; and the Numidian t,
So soon to say, stript of his cumbrous robe,
Stript to the skin, and in his nakedness
Thrust under-ground, 'How cold this bath of yours !
And thy proud queen, PALMYRA, thro' the sands I
Pursued, o'ertaken on her dromedary;
Whose temples, palaces, a wondrous dream
That passes not away, for
many a league
Illumine yet the desert. Some invoked
Death and escaped ; the Egyptian, when her asp
Came from his covert under the
And HANNIBAL himself; and she who said,
Taking the fatal cup between her hands,||
• Tell him I would it had come yesterday;
For then it had not been his nuptial gift."
Now all is changed; and here, as in the wild,
The day is silent, dreary as the night;
None stirring, save the herdsman and his herd,
Savage alike; or they that would explore,
Discuss and learnedly; or they that come,
(And there are many who have crossed the earth)
That they may give the hours to meditation,
And wander, often saying to themselves,
This was the Roman Forum!'
WHENCE this delay ?'—' Along the crowded street A Funeral comes, and with unusual pomp.' So I withdrew a little and stood still, While it went by. • She died as she deserved,' Said an Abatè, gathering up his cloak, And with a shrug retreating as the tide Flowed more and more.—But she was beautiful ! Replied a soldier of the Pontiff's guard. * And innocent as beautiful !' exclaimed A Matron sitting in her stall, hung round With garlands, holy pictures, and what not ? Her Alban grapes and Tusculan figs displayed In rich profusion. From her heart she spoke; And I accosted her to hear her story. • The stab,' she cried, was given in jealousy ; But never fled a purer spirit to heaven, As thou wilt say, or much my mind misleads, When thou hast seen her face. Last night at dusk,
None save her serving-boy who knelt and wept,
But what could tears avail him, when she fell-
Last night at dusk, the clock then striking nine,
Just by the fountain—that before the church,
The church she always used, St. Isidore's-
Alas, I knew her from her earliest youth,
That excellent lady. Ever would she say,
Good even, as she passed, and with a voice
Gentle as theirs in heaven !'-But now by fits
A dull and dismal noise assailed the ear,
A wail, a chant, louder and louder yet;
And now a strange fantastic troop appeared !
Thronging, they came—as from the shades below;
All of a ghostly white ! O say,' I cried,
Do not the living here bury the dead ?
Do Spirits come and fetch them? What are these,
That seem not of this world, and mock the Day;
Each with a burning taper in his hand ?'—
• It is an ancient Brotherhood thou seest.
Such their apparel. Through the long, long line,
Look where thou wilt, no likeness of a man;
The living masked, the dead alone uncovered.
But mark'-And, lying on her funeral-couch,
Like one asleep, her eyelids closed, her hands
Folded together on her modest breast,
As 'twere her nightly posture, through the crowd
She came at last—and richly, gaily clad,
As for a birth-day feast! But breathes she not?
A glow is on her cheek—and her lips move !
And now a smile is there—how heavenly sweet!
Oh no!' replied the Dame, wiping her tears,
But with an accent less of grief than anger,
. No, she will never, never wake again!'
Death, when we meet the Spectre in our walks,
As we did yesterday and shall to-morrow,
Soon grows familiar-like most other things,
Seen, not observed; but in a foreign clime,
Changing his shape to something new and strange,
(And through the world he changes as in sport,
Affect he greatness or humility)
Knocks at the heart. His form and fashion here
To I do confess, reflect a gloom,
A sadness round; yet one I would not lose;
Being in unison with all things else
In this, this land of shadows, where we live
More in past time than present, where the ground,
League beyond league, like one great cemetery,