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that universal plunderer. His nod has decided all causes in Sicily for three years; and his decisions have broken all law, all precedent, all right. The sums he has, by arbitrary taxes, and unheard-of impositions, extorted from the industrious poor, are not to be computed. The most faithful allies the commonwealth have been treated as enemies. Roman citizens have, like slaves, been put to death with tortures. The most atrocious criminals, for money, have been exempted from their deserved punishments, and men of the most unexceptionable characters condemned and banished unheard. The harbours, though sufficiently fortified, and the gates of strong towns, opened to pirates and ravagers. The soldiery and sailors, belonging to a province under the protection of the commonwealth, starved to death. Whole fleets, to the great detriment of the province, suffered to perish. The ancient monuments of either Sicilian or Roman greatness, the statues of heroes and princes, carried off ; and the temples stripped of their images. The infamy of his lewdness has been such as decency forbids to describe. Nor will I by mentioning particulars, put those unfortnnate persons to fresh pain, who have not been able to save their wives and daughters from his impurity. And these, his atrocious crimes, have been committed in so public a manner, that there is no one who has heard of his name, but could reckon up his actions.
Now, Verres, I ask what you have to advance against this charge? Will you pretend to deny it? Will you pretend, that any thing false, that even any thing aggravated, is alleged against you? Had any prince, or any state, committed the same outrage against the privilege of Roman citizens, should we not think we had sufficient ground for declaring immediate war against them? What punishment ought then to be inflicted upon a tym rannical and wicked prætor, who dared, at no greater distance than Sicily, within sight of the Italian coast, to put to the infamous death of crucifixion that unfortunate and innocent citizen, Publius Gavius Cosanus, only for his having asserted his privilege of citizenship, and declared his intention of appealing to the jus. tice of his country against a cruel oppressor, who had unjustly confined him in prison at Syracuse, from whence he had just made his escape? The unhappy man, arrested as he was going to embark for his native country, is brought before the wicked prætor. With eyes darting fury, and a countenance distorted with cruelty, he orders the helpless victim of his rage to be stripped, and rods to be brought ; accusing hin, but without the least shadow of evidence, or even of suspicion, of having come to Sicily as a spy. It was in vain that the unhappy man cried out, “ I am a Roman citizen, I have served under Lucius Pretius, who is now at Panormus, and will attest my innocence.” The blood-thirsty prætor, deaf to all he could urge in his own defence, ordered the infamous punishment to be inflicted. Thus fathers, was an innocent Roman citizen publicly mangled with scourging ; whilst the only words he uttered amidst his cruel sufferings were, “ I am a Roman citizen.” With these he hoped to defend himself from violence and infamy. But of so little service was this privilege to him, that while he was thus asserting his citizenship, the order was given for his execution—for his execution upon the cross !
O liberty !-0 sound once delightful to every Roman ear ! O sacred privilege of Roman citizenship !-once sacred, now trampled upon !—But what then? Is it come to this ? Shall an inferior magistrate, a governor who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province within sight of Italy, bind, scourge, torture with fire and red-hot plates of iron, and at the last put to the infamous death of the cross a Roman citizen? Shall neither the cries of innocence expiring in agony, nor the tears of pitying spectators, nor the majesty of the Roman commonwealth, nor the fear of the justice of his country, restrain the licentious and wanton cruelty of a monster, who, in confidence of his riches, strikes at the root of liberty, and sets mankind at defiance ?
I conclude with expressing my hopes that your wisdom and justice, fathers, will not, by suffering the atrocious and unexampled insolence of Caius Verres to escape the due punishment, leave room to apprehend the danger of a total subversion of authority and introduction of general anarchy and confusion,
No eye beheld when William plunged
Young Edmund in the stream,
Young Edmund's drowning scream.
Submissive all the vassals own'd
The murderer for their Lord ;
The house of Erlingford.
The ancient house of Erlingford
Stood 'midst a fair domain,
Roll'd through the fertile plain.
And often the way-faring man
Would love to linger there, Forgetful of his onward road,
To gaze on scenes so fair.
But never could Lord William dare
To gaze on Severn's stream; In every wind that swept its waves
He heard young Edmund scream.
In vain at midnight's silent hour,
Sleep closed the murderer's eyes, In every dream the murderer saw
Young Edmund's form arise.
In vain by restless conscience driven,
Lord William left his home, Far from the scenes that saw his guilt,
In pilgrimage to roam.
To other climes the pilgrim fled,
But could not fly despair,
Was still a stranger there.
Each hour was tedious long, yet swift
The months appeared to roll; And now the day return'd that shook
With terror William's soul.
A day that William never felt
Return without dismay,
Young Edmund's dying day.
A fearful day was that! the rains
Fell fast, with tempest roar, And the swoln tide of Severn spread
Far on the level shore.
In vain Lord William sought the feast,
In vain he quaff’d the bowl,
The anguish of his soul.
The tempest, as its sudden swell
In gusty howlings came, With cold and death-like feelings seem'd
To thrill his shuddering frame.
Reluctant now, as night came on,
His lonely couch he prest,
To sleep, but not to rest.
Beside that couch his brother's form,
Lord Edmund, seem'd to stand, Such and so pale as when in death
He grasp'd his brother's hand.
Such and so pale his face as when
With faint and faltering tongue, To William's care, a dying charge
He left his orphan son.
“I bade thee with a father's love
My orphan Edmund guardWell, William, hast thou kept thy charge !
Now take thy due reward !"
He started up, each limb convulsed
With agonizing fear,
'Twas music to his ear.
When lo ! the voice of loud alarm
His inmost soul appals, “ What ho ! Lord William, rise in haste !
The water saps thy walls !"
He rose in haste, beneath the walls
He saw the flood appear, It hemm'd him round, 'twas midnight now,
No human aid was near.
He heard the shout of joy, for now
A boat approach'd the wall, And eager to the welcome aid
They crowd for safety all.
“My boat is small," the boatman cried,
“This dangerous haste forbear! Wait other aid, this little bark
But one from hence can bear."
Lord William leap'd into the boat,
“ Haste-haste to yonder shore ! And ample wealth shall well reward,
Ply swift and strong the oar."
The boatman plied the oar, the boat
Went light along the stream: Sudden Lord William heard a cry
Like Edmund's drowning scream.
The boatman paused, “Methought I heard
A child's distressful cry!" “ 'Twas but the howling wind of night,"
Lord William made reply.
“Haste, haste-ply swift and strong the oar!
Haste, haste across the stream !" Again Lord William heard a cry
Like Edmund's drowning scream.
"I heard a child's distressful scream,"
The boatman cried again, “ Nay, hasten on-the night is dark
And we should search in vain."
“Oh God! Lord William, dost thou know
How dreadful 'tis to die?
A child's expiring cry?
How horrible it is to sink
Beneath the chilly stream,
In vain for help to scream ?".
The shriek again was heard. It came
More deep, more piercing loud, That instant o'er the flood the moon
Shone through a broken cloud.
And near them they beheld a child,
Upon a crag he stood,
Was spread the rising flood.
The boatman plied the oar, the boat
Approach'd his resting place,
And show'd how pale his face.
“Now reach thine hand !" the boatman cried,
“Lord William, reach and save !" The child stretch'd forth his little hands,
To grasp the hand he gave.