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In ample territory, wealth and power,
The reader who has been instructed in history, knows that this splendour has in the course of years passed away, and that though travellers still resort to Rome for the gratification of curiosity, yet the monuments of its former greatness form the present attraction to it. Under the Emperors, such bloody civil wars raged at Rome, that it became an unsafe and unhappy residence; the arts of peace were neglected, and its population insensibly diminished. The Goths and other barbarians devastated the empire; and in A. D. 476 Rome was abandoned its by last Emperor. Then Genseric and Alaric, two barbarian generals, with their infatuated armies, took and ravaged the city of the Cæsars. But they did not entirely demolish it—it ever retained its name, and after its conquerors grew weary of destruction, civilization sprung up from its ashes.
In A. D. 800 Charlemagne, who included Italy in his dominions, yielded the city to the Pope, formerly the Bishop of Rome. From that time Rome became the capital of a new dominion—that of the Catholic religion; and the fine arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture, have attained to high perfection in modern Rome. Still Rome continually decays, and its present population little exceeds 100,000. Mr. Pope describes Rome thus : “ See the wild waste of all-devouring years!
How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears,
Huge theatres, that now unpeople'd woods,
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. These several causes contributed to the destruction of Rome. The Goths with undiscerning tury, burnt, battered down, and buried many beautiful works of ancient arts; and the Catholic Christians, finding among the buildings of Rome many heathen temples and many statues of ancient gods and heroes, thought it their duty to destroy those remains of Paganism.
Some buried marble half preserves a name. It has become desirable among the curious and the learned to recover and identify as much as possible of the buried sculpture of ancient Rome. Much of this has been disinterred, and many disputes among connoisseurs have originated in the doubtful character of these marbles.
The most animated and touching commemoration of ruined Rome is by Lord Byron. This great poet visited that city within a few years of this time, and his imagination, saddened in all its views by affliction, has formed a most striking picture of the desolation of that great Babylon.
"Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul!
The orphans of the heart must turn to thee,
The Niobe of nations! there she stands,
Old Tiber! through a marble wilderness?,
The Goth, the Christian, Time, War, Flood, and Fire,
O’er the dim fragments cast a lunar light,
The double night of ages, and of her,
Our hands, and cry • Eureka!' it is clear-
Alas! the lofty city! and alas!
Alas, for Earth, for never shall we see
The Niobe of nations.—This metaphor alludes to a wellknown classical fable. Niobe, a princess of Lydia, had twelve beautiful children, six sons and six daughters. Latona, the mother of Diana and Apollo, had only those two children, but Niobe boasted that herself and her beautiful children were more proper objects of worship than Latona and her children. To punish this insolence, Apollo and Diana destroyed Niobe's sons and daughters; and Niobe, overwhelmed by her misfortune, was changed to stone, and became the source of a rivulet. This account of Niobe is taken from Homer. Achilles, in the twenty-fourth book of the Iliad, says to Priam, who is mourning the death of his son Hector,
“But now the peaceful hours of sacred night
Steep'd in their blood, and in the dust outspread,
Mirage, an optical illusion which occurs in sandy deserts. The distant sands assume the appearance of water to the eye of the thirsty traveller, and he fancies that he shall be refreshed, but as he approaches the supposed waves he is cruelly undeceived. In the same manner, the poet supposes that a traveller who should seek in modern Rome for some object of which he has read in works of antiquity, would be as much deceived in imagining he had got sight of it as the traveller in the desert is deceived by the mirage.
The last stanza, from Lord Byron, laments the intellectual degeneracy of modern Rome, where no patriot like Brutus, no orator like Cicero, no poet like Virgil, no historian like Livy, now exists. Yet, the poet intimates that the spirit of these immortal minds yet lives, and may still revive the genius of liberty which has been stifled by the influences of despotism and superstition.
• In describing the glories of the world, to disregard a place where the human mind had attained the highest perfection, and where the arts had flourished for ages, would have been an oversight not at all characteristic of the pervading intelligence which comprehended the various genius of them all. Therefore, before he descends from the mount of observation, the tempter stops