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Didst thou not hear the clamour o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis ;
We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations ;
New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations,
Adapted from HORACE SMITH.
But constant still in mind;
And the broad flood behind.
With a smile on his pale face,
Now yield thee to our grace.”
Those craven ranks to see ;
To Sextus nought spake he;
The white porch of his home;
That rolls by the towers of Rome :-
To whom the Romans pray,
Take thou in charge this day.”
The good sword by his side,
Piunged headlong in the tide.
Was heard from either bank;
Stood gazing where he sank;
* Horatius Cocles, with two other Romans, is said to have kept a whole army from Rome, by defending the entrance of a wooden bridge until the citizens could cut it down.
And when above the surges
They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain; And fast his blood was flowing,
And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armour,
And spent with changing blows; And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose.
Never, I ween, did swimmer
In such an evil case, Struggle through such a raging flood
Safe to the landing place: But his limbs were borne up bravely
By the brave heart within, And our good Father Tiber
Bare bravely up his chin.
And now he feels the bottom;
Now on dry earth he stands; Now round him throng the Fathers
To press his gory hands;
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave bim of the corn-land,
That was of public right, As much as two strong oxen
Could plough from morn till night; And they made a molten image,
And set it up on high;
To witness if I lie.
It stands in the Comitium,
Plain for all folks to seeHoratius in his harness,
Halting upon one knee:
In letters all of gold,
In the brave days of old.
And in the nights of winter,
When the cold north winds blow,
Is heard amidst the snow;
Roars loud the tempest's din,
Roar louder yet within ;
And the largest lamp is lit;
And the kid turns on the spit;
Around the firebrands close;
And the lads are shaping bows;
And trims his helmet's plume;
Goes flashing through the loom;
Still is the story told,
In the brave days of old.—MACAULAY.
THE BATTLE OF MARATHON AND ITS RESULTS. In the month of September, B.C. 490, an army of more than 100,000 Persians, and their subjects had landed on the plains of Marathon, near Athens, for the avowed purpose burning the Grecian cities, and of taking the inhabitants back in chains. To oppose this great host, 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plateans only could be mustered at the time. What also made the contest stiil more unequal, was the prestige which the Medo-Persian armies had acquired : for on account of their rapid and unchecked conquests, they were deemed invincible. Moreover, there was the fear of traitors in Athens itself, who intended to facilitate the Persian attack. On this sea-girt plain, then, where
“The mountains look on Marathon,
lay the great Persian host, gathered from the six-and-forty nations, which had come at the great king's command from the banks of the Indus to the roots of the Caucasus. Opposite this fearful array, on the green slope of their native hill, and nestling under the crags of Pentelicus, stood the scanty band of Grecians. But a common spirit of devotion pervaded the whole, and three master spirits were among their leaders. The first of these was Miltiades, who, at the time, was the head of the army. The others were Aristides and Themistocles, two young leaders of the rising generation, who communicated their enthusiasm to all around. Moreover, there was present another youth of splendid talent, who was afterwards distinguished as the great poet Eschylus, and he took part in a scene so eminently calculated to awaken all his loftiest powers and deepest feelings. The greater part of the day had passed before the Grecian sacrifices allowed Miltiades to give the signal for the onset, and before the stillness was broken by the loud war-cry announcing to the Persian army that the battle had begun. In an instant they saw not the usual preliminary shower of darts and arrows, but the sight-hitherto unexampled in Grecian warfare,—of the Athenian forces running at full speed down the declivity on which they had been arrayed, and charging at once the two wings and centre of the enormous host. It was but a mile which parted them, and before the Persian ranks had recovered from their amazement, their wings were completely routed by the onslaught. A complete victory, however, was not at first gained, for the greatest and most desperate struggle took place in the centre, which was composed of the flower of the Persian army. Here the Athenians were for the time-not only repulsed—but driven up the hill, until they were re-joined and ultimately delivered by their victorious comrades, who—with true Grecian self-control-had checked themselves in the full flush of their almost miraculous success.
"The flying Mede—his shaftless broken bow;
So ended what may be called the birth-day of Athenian greatness. It stood alone in their annals. Other glories, numerous and great, were won in after times, but none approaching that of Marathon in importance. There the Greeks first learnt the strength of freedom and national enthusiasm, and the inherent weakness of the most numerous hosts of despotism, destitute of a genuine national spirit. This victory paved the way for the triumphs of Thermopylæ and Salamis, of Platea, Mycale, and the Eurymedon, and even for the brilliant career of Alexander the Great. It not only enabled the Greeks and especially the Athenians—to commence a brilliant and unparalleled career in art, science, literature and philosophy; but had an undoubted and most beneficial effect on modern European History.
“On the Egean sea a city rose,
Adapted from the Quarterly Review,
THE ANCIENT GREEKS. There was a fountain of fresh and youthful energy in the ancient Greeks, who were the first to open to posterity a world entirely new, which was that of the human mind in the free development of its native powers. Their festivals, songs, and poetry, seemed to celebrate in a perpetual hymn, the liberation of man from thraldom. Their religion was a personification or deification of the human faculties and affections, as well as of the energies of nature. The brow of Olympus presented the animated spectacle of an assembly of superior beings, with human feelings, independent and presided over by the conqueror of the elder gods of nature. Moreover, under the form of gods, goddesses, or nymphs, the forces of nature were endowed with all the affections, and subject to all the weaknesses of common mortals. This belief had unquestionably a most important influence over the character and history of the Greeks.
The recognition of individual liberty produced such an impulse on this gifted race, that a comparatively short time sufficed them for the most brilliant and unequalled achievements of the human mind. Among them all the flowers of genius bloomed together; and their poets, architects, sculptors, historians, and philosophers, have been guides and models to all subsequent ages.
They were the most remarkable people that ever existed, and the interest of their history is unexhausted and inexhaustible. They were the beginners of nearly everything_except Christianity-of which the modern world makes its boast. So far as is known to us, they alone among nations, emerged from barbarism by their own efforts. If with them, as in all antiquity, slavery existed as an institution, they were not the less the originators of political freedom. If their discords, jealousies, and wars between city and city, caused the ruin of their national independence, yet the arts of war and government, which arose from these contests, made them the first who broke down those barriers of petty nationality which were so fatal to themselves; and-by making Greek ideas and language common to large regions of the earth—commenced that general fusion of races and nations, which (followed up by the Romans) prepared the way for the cosmopolitism of modern times.
Adapted from the Edinburgh Review.
Clime of the unforgotten brave !