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executions are rare, the peasantry at- that spot of dimness, melancholy, and tend in seriousness, and perhaps in pain, if the patient was dying of a dishorror, but also in the feeling of no- ease which was certainly to break down velty, and the novelty is spread over a liis own frame. The result seems to wider space of the mind, and presses it be, not that all men have a love for with a more penetrating feeling than sights of pain and peril,-because all the horror. At a London execution, men know that they must die,- but the habits of the populace are merely that individual circumstances can overcarried from the hovel to the street'; power general horror. With Valerius, and robbery, ribaldry, and blasphemy, the anxiety to see death is the rule, ply at the foot of the scaffold." Vale- the horror the exception ; with us it is rius seems to think the desire to see
the contrary. of what Death is made, the superior The interest felt in the sorrows of and universal impulse. In our concep- tragedy is another branch of this extion, the horror is the universal im- citing question. But if the accomplishpulse, overpowered only in peculiar ed and delicate are content to feel, it instances arising from the state of the must be without the presence of hora individual. The educated and humane ror; all objects of direct repulsiveness turn away from public executions, be- must be expelled from the temple cause their sensibility is alive to the where imagination is to offer its sahorror, and their education places them crifice of tears. The deaths of the above the brute curiosity. But if any theatre are involved in every circumman, of whatever advantages of edu- stance of gorgeous and lofty interest, cated humanity, were to be certain which can hide the actual desperate that he must die the death of a cul- pangs of dissolution. If the villain prit, it is probable that no restraint of dies, our eyes are fixed upon the inhorror at the struggle of his dying pre- creased glory of justice, and the condecessor, would withhold him from firmed perpétual security of the helpseeing how death was to be undergone. less, whom he would have undone. If In this case, the personal sympathy the hero falls, his bier is surrounded would vanquish the horror.
and made illustrious by the spirits of The Roman looked on the gladia- honour, and courage, and patriotism ; tor's blood, urged by no lofty moral of the pain of the moment is overpaid by the lot of human nature. He drank the gratitude of nations, and men are and gamed at it; it was one of a course taught to cover his death for his imof amusements; and if he preferred its mortality. We follow the perils of desperate and fatal cruelty to them all, kings and chieftains on the stage, where it was from the greater variety of the we can have no personal sympathy. combat, its longer suspense, its display But it is, because for the time we are of noble forms, and daring vigour, and unquestionably under the partial illueven from its effusion of blood, for man sion that they are true characters. We is by nature a savage. But with how feel for their distresses, not from our different an interest must this combat love to see distress, but from the comhave been witnessed by the gladiators passion which is a part of our nature; looking through the bars of the arena, we trace their casualties with an anand waiting for the next summons. xious eye,
because we are naturally The crowds and splendour of the Co- anxious to know that they have escaped liseum must have been as air and emp- at last. This hope, that they will estiness before the eyes that watched the cape, and triumph, is so universal, that champions on the sand. With what the death of the innocent or the magsurpassing, anxiety must they have nanimous always offends the imaginawatched the gestures, the sleights of tion. No glorious cloud of poetry copractice, the ways of evading giving the vering their untimely graves, can make mortal blow, and when it was given, us forget that they and we have been the boldest posture in which a glalia
wronged. tor could fall, and triumph as he fell. Next day, Valerius is led by the
Medical books are repulsive study opulent widow through some of the to the generality, but there is no man “sights" of Rome. She finally introwho does not read the history of his duces him to the temple of Apollo. own disease.
“So saying, she pointed to the solemn Mankind fly from death-beds, but Doric columns which sustain the portico there is no man who would not hangover of the famous Temple of Apollo Palatinus, whose shade lay far out upon the marble “ So saying, she herself led the way court before us, and passing between those thither, Rubellia walking immediately bene brazen horsemen of which we had been hind her, and the rest of us in her train. speaking, we soon began to ascend the Through several folding-doors did we pass, steps that lead up to the shrine. Nor can and along many narrow passages all inlaid, I tell you how delightful was the fragrant on roof, wall, and floor, with snow-white coolness, which reigned beneath the influ- alabaster and rich mosaic work, until at ence of that massive canopy of marble, to length we came to a little airy chamber, us whose eyes had been so long tasked with where three young maidens were sitting supporting the meridian blaze of the Ita- with their embroidering cushions, while one, lian sun, reflected from so many shining taller than the rest, whose back was placed towers and glowing edifices. We entered towards us, so that we saw not her countewith slow steps within the vestibule of the nance, was kneeling on the floor, and touchTemple, and stood there for some space, ing, with slow and mournful fingers, the enjoying in silence the soft breath of air strings of a Dorian lyre. Hearing the sound that played around the flowing fountains of her music as we entered, we stood still of the God. Then passing on, the airy hall in the door-way, and the priestess, willing of the interior itself received us ; and I saw apparently that our approach should remain the statue of Phoebus presidling, like a pil- unknown, advancing a step or two before lar of tender light, over the surrounding us, said, “Sing on, my love I have trimdarkness of the vaulted place ; for, to the med the flamesing on-1 shall now be lofty shrine of the God of day, no light of able to listen to all your song; but rememday had access, and there lay only a small ber, I pray you, that the precincts of Phecreeping flame burning thin upon his altar; bus are not those of Pluto, and let not your but a dim and sweet radiance, like that of chaunt be of such funeral solemnity. Sing the stars in autumn, was diffused all upon some gay thing—we solitaries have no need the statue, and the altar, and the warlike of depressing numbers.' trophies suspended on the inner recesses, " • Dear aunt,'replied she that had been from the sacred tree of silver that stands in thus addressed, without, however, changing the centre,--amidst the trembling enamel. her attitude, “you must even bear with my led leaves and drooping boughs of which numbers such as they are ; for if you bid hung many lamps, after the shape and fa- me sing only merry strains, I am afraid shion of pomegranates-and out of every neither voice nor fingers may be able well pomegranate there flowed a separate gleam to obey you." of that soft light, supplied mysteriously “ These words were spoken in a low and through the tall stem of the silver tree, from melancholy voice ; but guess with what beneath the hollow floor of the Temple. interest I heard them, when I perceived
** Now, there was no one there when we that they proceeded from no other lips than first came into the place, but I had not half those of Athanasia herself. Sextus also, on satisfied myself with contemplating its hearing them, knew well enough who she beauties, when there advanced from be- was that spoke; but when he looked at me hind the statue of Apollo, a very majestic to signify this, I motioned to the youth woman, arrayed in long white garments, that he should say nothing to disturb her and having a fillet of laurel leaves twined in her singing. above her veil, where, parting on her fore- “ . Then please yourself,' said the priest. head, its folds began to fall downwards to. ess, laying her hand on Athanasia's shoul. wards her girdle. Venerable and stately was ders ; but do sing, for I should fain have her mien, but haughty, rather than serene, my maidens to hear something truly of your the aspect of her countenance. Without music.' once looking towards us, or the place where “ With that Athanasia again applied her we stood, she went up immediately to the fingers to the chords of the lyre, and stoopaltar, and began to busy herself in trim- ing over them, began to play some notes of ming the sacred fire, which, as I have said, prelude, less sorrowful than what we had exhibited only a lambent and fleeting flame at first heard. upon its surface. But when, with many “Ay, my dear girl,' says the priestess, kneelings and other ceremonies, she had ac- there now you have the very secret of that complished this solitary service, the priest- old Delian ehaunt. Heavens! how many ess of Apollo at length turned herself again, lordly choirs have I heard singing to it in as if to depart into the secret place from unison! There are a hundred hymns that whence she had come forth; and it was may be sung to it-give us whichsoever of then that first, as it seemed, observing the them pleases your fancy the best.' presence of strangers, she stood still before 66. I will try,' replied the maiden, - to the altar, and regarding us attentively, sing the words you have heard from me began to recognize the Lady Rubellia, before. If I remember me aright, you liked whom, forthwith advancing, she saluted them.'. courteously, and invited to come with the ““ Then boldly at once, yet gently, did rest of us into her privacy, behind the her voice rush into the current of that old shrine of the God.
strain that you have heard so often ; but it
was then that I myself for the first time head, her countenance was calm, and, but heard it.
for the paleness of her lips, and a certain “ The moon, the moon is thine, O night, eyes, I should have said that her gravity
something that was just visible in her Not altogether dark art thou ;
scarcely partook of sadness. When, how. Her trembling crescent sheds its light, Trembling and pale, upon thine ancient ever, we had exchanged our salutations, it
was evident that some effort had been nebrow.
cessary for all this appearance of serenity; The moon is thine, and round her orb for her voice trembled when she spoke to A thousand sweet stars minister,
me,yes, her voice trembled in every tone, Whose twinkling rays dark wells absorb, and, as she stooped to caress my young And all the wide seas drink them far and guide, who had sate down by her feet up
on the ground, I saw the tear that had • They kiss the wide sea, and swift smiles among the bright clusters of the little dam
been gathering drop heavily, and lose itself Of gladness o'er the waters creep ;
sel's hair. Old hoary rocks rejoice, and isles,
“ The girl, in the meantime, perceiving And there is glory on the slumbering deep. nothing of Athanasia's trouble, continued " Afar—Along the black hill's side, to play with a linnet which sate upon her Right blithe of heart the wanderers go. finger, and to imitate, after her childish faWhile that soft radiance, far and wide,
shion, the notes of the bird. From time to Gleams on the winding streams and woods time she turned round, as if to attract the below.
lady's notice to the beauty of her favourite,
and lifted upwards her smiling eyes, the “ And gaily for the fragile bark,
pure azure of which reflected the careless Through the green waves its path is shorn, glee of innocence. But, at length, another When all the murmurs of the dark
and another drop fell full upon the cheeck Cold sea lie calm'd beneath that gliding of the damsel, and then she looked upwards horn.
more steadily, and, seeing that, in truth, “ Yet hail, ye glittering streaks, that lie Athanasia wept, her own eyes began ima The eastern mountain tops upon !
mediately to overflow with the ready tears Hail, ye deep blushes of the sky,
of childhood. Athanasia pressed the girl to That speak the coming of the bridegroom her bosom, and made
one struggle more sun!
but it would not don for her heart was run
ning to the brim, and, at last, with one pas“ Hail to the healing beam of day, sionate sob, all the sluices gave way, and That rouses every living thing !
she was dissolved at once in a flood of weepThe forest gulphs confess thy sway, ing. I took her unresisting hand, and imiAnd upon freshening branches glad birds tated, as best I could, the language of that sing.
consolation, which, alas ! I had not to give. “ And loathsome forms, that crepe unseen
But it seemed as if my poor whispers only Beneath the star-light faint and wan,
served to increase the misery they were Cower in their brakes the thorns between, her face with her hands, and sobs and tears
meant to still. She stooped, and covered Dreading that fervid eye, and its sure scan.
were mingled together, and the blood glow“ Triumphant_Welcome life and light; ed red in her neck, in the deep agony of Sing rocks and mountains, plain and sea! her lamentation. Fearful, though lovely, was the night, “ I looked round, and saw that the old Hail to more perfect beauty–hail to priest was moved at first scarcely less than THEE!”
myself by all this sorrowful sight. Yet
the calmness of age deserted him not long, We have hitherto abstained from and after a moment there remained nothing quoting the
in which the im- on his countenance, but the gravity and pression of Christianity is made on the the tenderness of compassion. He arose lover's mind. The subject is too so- from his seat, and without saying a single lemn for criticism ; but the interview word either to Athanasia or to myself, with Athanasia, then under the ex- walked quietly towards the end of the pectation of martyrdom, is full of fer- apartment, from which when he returned, vid and hallowed dignity.
after a brief space, there was an ancient vo
lume held open in his hand. Still, without “ The child led me, therefore, into the addressing us, the old man resumed his seat, adjoining chamber, and tapped gently at a which was right over against the disconsodoor on the other side of it. The voice of late maiden, and immediately, in a voice the old priest bade us come in, and Atha- touched-and but touched — with tremour, nasia, who had been sitting by his side, he began to read aloud, in the Greek tongue, arose with him to receive me. She was words which were then new, and which dressed in a simple white tunic, her hair have ever since been in a peculiar manner was braided in dark folds upon her fore- dear to me. You, my friends; know thern well; and surely none are to be found in the learned and the powerful of the earth all the Scriptures more beautiful than those have combined in this league against the sacred words of the royal poet of the He. truth which they know not, of which brews.
they fear or despise the knowledge. The “God," said the old man, and his voice old man paused for a moment, and then gained strength from every word as he ut- laying his hand upon the volume that was tered it._"God is our refuge and strength: open before him, and casting his eyes up. a very present help in trouble.
wards, said, in a deep and earnest whisper, “ Therefore wisl not we fear though the "Surely the truth is mighty, and the gates earth be removed ; though the mountains of hell shall not prevail against her.' be carried into the midst of the sea ; 6. But, alas ! my dear father,' said'Atha
“Though the waters thereof roar and nasia, “I fear me this is not the place, nor be troubled ;
the situation, in which Valerius might be " Though the mountains shake with the most likely to listen to your words. It swelling thereof."
may be that his own narrow escape, to say “ Athanasia took her hands from herface, nothing of our present danger, has renderand gradually composing herself, looked ed him even more cautious than he was bethrough her tears upon the old man as he fore.' proceeded."
66 And who, my dear child,' he replied " There is a river, the streams whereof hastily, and who is he that shall dare to shall make glad the city of God;
blame caution, or to preach, above all in “ The holy place of the tabernacles of such things as these, the rashness that is of the Most High ;
folly? No, no; Valerius will not believe « God is in the midst of her.
that we, like the miserable creatures whose “ She shall not be moved ;
impious songs we heard last night together, “God shall help her, and that right are studious only of working upon the fears early.
of the ignorant, and harassing, with dark " The heathen raged; the kingdoms and lying dreams, the imaginations of the were moved ;
simple. Here, (he laid his hand once more “ He uttered his voice ; the earth melted. upon the sacred volume,)-Here are no “ The Lord of Hosts is with us; wild stories of blood-thirsty deities, and “ The God of Jacob is our refuge." self-sacrificing maniacs. Here all is plain
“The blood had mounted high in the clear-perspicuous. Here is that which countenance of Aurelius, and his voice had Socrates vainly sought by all the ingenuity become strong and full, ere he reached these of reason. Here is that of which some last words of triumphant confidence. The faint and mysterious anticipations would tears also had been all dried up on the appear to have been shadowed forth in the pale cheek of Athanasia ; and although her sublime obscurity of the visions of Plavoice was not heard, I saw that her lips to. Here is that which, as that Mighty moved fervently along with those of the Martyr that died in this very city hath fervent priest. Even in me, who knew said, innumerable prophets and kings of not well from whence they proceeded, the the old time desired to see, and yet saw words of the royal prophet produced I not. Do nothing rashly, young man ; but know not what of buoyance and of emo- it is possible, as you yourself well know, tion, and perhaps my lips, too, had involun- that this may be the last opportunity I tarily essayed to follow them; for when he shall ever have of speaking with you ; and paused from his reading, the old man turned therefore, before we part, I must needs to me with a face full of benignity, and said, charge you solemnly, that henceforth you * Yes, Valerius, it is even so ; Homer, Pin- are not one of those who are altogether igdar, Æschylus-these, indeed, can stir the norant; and that if your knowledge inblood; but it is such poetry as this that crease not, the sin shall be upon your head. alone can sooth in sorrow, and strengthen I charge you, Valerius, (he rose from his in the hour of tribulation. Your vain-glo- seat as he spake,) I charge you, that when rious Greeks called all men barbarians but you return once more to your native island, themselves ; and yet these words, and thou. you blot not out from your memory the sands not less precious than these, consoled things that you have seen and heard in this the afflictions, and ennobled the triumphs great city of light and of darkness. Exaof the chosen people of the race of Israel mine-judge_ask aid, and aid shall not be long, long years, ere ever the boasted me- refused you—but I charge you, as your soul lody of Ionian or Doric verses had been is precious, I charge you once more, young heard of. From this alone, young man, man, neither to overlook in carelessness, nor you may judge what measure of candour to reject in rashness. I take Athanasia to inhabits along with the disdain of our proud witness for me, that I have given you the enemies,-how fairly, without question, or warning that is needful.'" opportunity of defence, the charge of barharity is heaped upon what they are plea
The concealments and sufferings of sed to call our superstition,-how wisely the early Christians, make a considere able portion of this work. The subject, her dreaming lips. The light streamed redinteresting as it is, has, we believe, der and more red—All in an instant became never been touched before in novels, as quiet without as within. I approached the and the author deserves the praise of open window, and saw Cotilius standing having brought forward this solemn far below in the midst of the prison-court;
the torches all around the horsemen drawn portion of our history in its appropri- up in silence on either side—and a single ate spirit-deep, reverent, and scriptu- soldier close behind him, resting upon an ral. On one of those meetings-sublime unsheathed glittering sword, as in expectaand melancholy meetings !--that ga- tion of the signal. thered the persecuted people of God at “ Sabinus, meantime, who sate on horsemidnight in caves, and tombs, and fo- back immediately over against the prisonrests, to pray and read the Bible, Va- er, was stooping down and speaking with lerius has been an unintentional in- Silo ; but ere I had looked for another truder, and he becomes an almost un- moment, he dismissed the jailor, and I saw conscious convert. But the Christian him nod to the trumpeter, who immediassemblies have been from time to ately lifted his trumpet to his mouth. Cotime mingled with individuals who he understood the meaning of the nod, and
tilius shewed, by one rapid gesture, that looked to them for the materials of fu- seemed to plant himself with more firmture public convulsion. Cotilius, a
ness upon his feet, his eye all the while traitor, under the disguise of a prose- being fixed stedfastly upon the Centurion. lyte, is seized, and the Christians in- The glare of the torches was so strong, that volved with him. His execution is a I saw every thing as clearly as if the scene powerful picture of the fierce resolu- had passed at noon-day. "I saw Cotilius' tion, that « dies and makes no sign.” keen blue eye as fierce as ever—I saw his The contrast between the sleeping and lips pressed together steadily upon his teeth innocent beauty in the chamber, and I saw that the blood was still fervid in the daring villain girding up his his cheeks, for the complexion of this man strength for death in the square be
was of the same bold and florid brightness low, is admirable,
so uncommon in Italy, which you have
seen represented in the pictures of Sylla, “ No lamp was burning within the and even the blaze of the torches seemed to chamber, but through one of its two win. strive in vain to heighten its natural scarlet. dows, both of which stood open to receive The trumpet was, as I have said, at the the mild air of the evening, there entered man's lips, and the soldier had lifted his a wavering glare of deep saffron.coloured sword from the ground, and my eye was light, which shewed me Athanasia extend- fixed, as if by fascination, upon the bare ed on her couch, her head pillowed upon throat of the prisoner, when suddenly a her left arm, and her right hand buried in deep voice was heard amidst the deadly the mazes of her dark hair, which lay loose silence, calling several times, Cotilius ! and dishevelled upon her placid bosom. I Cotilius !_look up, Cotilius !' say placid, for, fierce and unnatural as was “ The eye of Cotilius obeyed the sumthe inconstant gleam that passed and re- mons more slowly than that of any other passed over her features, its ominous and person who was present there—but at last it troubled hue had no power to mar the image did obey it; and he, and I, and all the rest, of her sleeping tranquillity. There lay she, beheld Aurelius Felix, the Christian priest, her large serene eye-lids closed in their standing at an open window, not far discalmness upon orbs that were so soon to be tant from that at which I myself was plaawakened upon all the fierceness of peril— ced ; and it was evident to all, that it was all the gloom of terror. A smile-a sweet from the old man's lips the voice had procomposed smile sate on her virgin lips, and ceeded. Cotilius regarded him stedfastly her tunic scarce betrayed the modest hea- for a moment, and then resumed his former ving of her bosom. I hung over her for a posture; but the old man called again more moment, and was about-Oh! how unwill. loudly than before- Cotilius, Cotilius !' ingly—to disturb that slumber—perhaps said he, and he stretched forth his fettered that last slumber of peace and innocence hand as he spake, and the sound of his voice when the chamber-walls were visited with was alike clear, earnest, and solemn— Coa broader and a yet deeper glare, and my tilius! I charge thee, look upon the hand footsteps, I know not by what instinct, from which the blessed water of baptism were drawn half unconsciously to the win. was cast upon thy head. I charge thee, dow by which the light had access. look upon me, and say truly, ere yet the
“Caius, Caius, she whispered, as I blow be given, upon what hope thy thoughts stepped from beside the couch ; why do are fixed ?- Is this sword bared against the you leave me, Valerius ; stay, stay, my rebel of Cæsar, or a martyr of Jesus ?-I Valerius.'
charge thee, speak ere thy blood flows ;" I looked back, but her eye-lids were and for thy soul's sake, speak truly.' still elosed; the same calm smile was upon “ Cotilius kept his eye upon the old man,