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It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard ;
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word ;
THE TRUE SOLITUDE.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
This is not solitude; 't is but to ho
But ’midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men, To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued;
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
THE COLISEUM_PAST AND PRESENT.
HERE the buzz of
nations ran, In murmur'd pity, or loud-roar'd applause, As man was slaughter'd by his fellow-man. And wherefore slaughter'd? wherefore, but because
* This veritable Temple of Moloch, in which almost every species of living being, from man downwards—the most innocent equally with the most ferocious—was congregated in one indiscriminate mass by the Roman Emperors and Magistrates to amuse themselves and the starving and savage populace, must have often, literally, 'flowed with rivers of blood,' or would have done so but for the carefully prepared arena of porous soil. At the celebration of the Triumphs of Trajan more than 10,000 gladiators were doomed to mutual slaughter. On another occasion (in the reign of Carinus, A.D. 284) we are credibly informed that 1,000 ostriches, 1,000 stags, 1,000 fallow deer, besides numerous wild sheep and goats, were mingled together for indiscriminate slaughter by the wild beasts of the forest or the equally wild beasts of the city. Elephants, zebras, and giraffes were transported to Rome from the remotest parts of the known world for the same purpose. If the imperial city could boast of the superior scale on which these scenes were enacted, there was scarcely any city of importance within the wide limits of the Empire that had not its provincial Coliseum and • Circenses.' The most famous scene of these fashionable butcheries—the Flavian amphitheatre or Coliseum-was • a building of an elliptic figure, 564 feet in length and 467 in breadth, founded on four score arches, and rising, with four successive orders of architecture, to the height of 140 feet. The outside of the edifice was encrusted with marble and decorated with statues. The slopes of the vast concave, which formed the inside, were
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws, And the imperial pleasure.—Wherefore not? What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot? Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.
I see before me the Gladiator lie :
filled and surrounded with sixty or eighty rows of seats of marble likewise, covered with cushions, and capable of receiving with ease above four-score thousand spectators. Sixty-four vomitories (for by that name the doors were very aptly distinguished) poured forth the immense multitude; and the entrances, passages, and staircases were contrived with such exquisite skill, that each person, whether of the senatorial, the equestrian, or the plebeian order, arrived at his destined place without trouble or confusion. Nothing was omitted which in any respect could be subservient to the convenience and pleasure of the spectators. They were protected from the sun and rain by an ample canopy, occasionally drawn over their heads. The air was continually refreshed by the playing of fountains, and profusely impregnated by the grateful scent of aromatics. In the centre of the edifice, the arena, or stage, was strewed with the finest sand, and successively assumed the most different forms. At one moment it seemed to rise out of the earth like the garden of the Hesperides, and was afterwards broken into the rocks and caverns of Thrace. The subterraneous pipes conveyed an inexhaustible supply of water; and what had just before appeared a level plain might be suddenly converted into a wide lake covered with armed vessels, and replenished with the monsters of the deep. On the decoration of these scenes, the Roman emperors displayed their wealth and liberality; and we read on various occasions, that the whole furni. ture of the amphitheatre consisted either of silver, or of gold, or of amber.'-- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, xii.
The Circus Maximus, the largest of the many buildings of the kind at Rome, could contain 260,000 or even 385,000 spectators. The gladiatorial shows were continued for several years after the final triumph of Christianity; the other part of the entertainment was exhibited down to a much later period. Nor, indeed, is it altogether unknown, on a less magnificent scale, to modern Europe.
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
; The arena swims around him/he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
All this rush'd with his blood--Shall he expire,
But here, where murder breathed her bloody steam;
On the arena void-seats crush'd—walls bow'd And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud.
Id. THE MIRACLES OF ART.
THERE, too, the Goddess loves in stone, and fills
And to the fond idolaters of old
We gaze and turn away, and know not where,
Where Pedantry gulls Folly—we have eyes :
Appear’dst thou not to Paris in this guise ?
With lava kisses melting while they burn,