« AnteriorContinua »
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve The fated rounds of time. Thence far effus'il, She darts her swiftness up the long career Of devious comets; thro’ its burning signs Exulting measures the perennial wheel Of nature, and looks back on all the stars, Whose blended light, as with a milky zone, Invests the orient. Now amaz'd she views Th’empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold, Beyond this concave heav'n, their calm abode; And fields of radiance, whose unfading light Has travell’d the profound six thousand years, Not yet arrives in sight of mortal things. Ev'n on the barriers of the world untir'd She medidates th' eternal gulph below; Till, half-recoiling, down the headlong steep She plunges; soon o'erwhelm’d and swallowd up In that immense of being. There her hopes Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth Of mortal man, the sor'reign maker said, That notrin humble nor in brief delight, Not in the fading echoes of renown, Power's purple robes, nor pleasure's flow'ry láp, The soul should find enjoyment; but from these Turning disdainful to an equal good, Thro' all th’ascent of things enlarge her view, Till ev'ry bound at length should disappear, And infinite perfection close the scene.
XX. Cæsar and a madman compared
Within this lonely lodge in solemn port, An awful monarch keeps his shiv’ring court, And far and wide as boundless thought can stray, Extends a vast imaginary sway. Utopian princes bow before his throne, Lands unexisting his dominion own, And airy realms, and regions in the moon, The pride of dignity, the pomp of state, The darling glories of the cuvied great,
Rise to his view, and in his fancy swell,
XXI. The Character of a lowly Hero illustrated.
The meanest mechanic who employs his best affections. -his love and gratitude, on god, the best of beings; who retains a particular regard and esteem for the virtuous few, compassion for the distressed, and a firm expansive good-will to all; who, instead of triumphing over his enemies, strives to subdue the greatest eneiny of all, his unruly passions; who promotes a good understanding between neighbours, appeases disputes and adjusts differences; exercises candour to injured character, and charity to distressed worth; who, whilst he cherishes his friends, forgives, and even serves in any pressing exigen
cy, his enemies; who abhors vice, but pities the vicious: --such a man, however low his station, has juster pretentions to the character of heroism,-(that heroism. which implies nobleness and elevation of soul, bursting forth into correspondent actions,) than he who conquers armies, or makes the most glaring figure in the eyes of an injudicious world. He is like one of those fixed stars, which, through the remoteness of its situation, may be thought extremely little, inconsiderable, and obscure, by unskilful beholders, but yet is as truly great and glorious in itself, as those heavenly lights which, by being placed more obviously to our view, appear io shine with more distinguished lustre.
XXII. Junius Brutus's Invective on Tarquin's Rape
Yes, noble lady, I swear by this blood' which was once 40 pure, and which nothing but royal villainy could have polluted, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius the proud, his wicked wife, and their children, with fire and sword: nor will I suffer any of that family, or of any other whatsoever to be king in Rome.-Ye gods, I call you to wit. ness this my oath!
There, Romans, turn your eyes to that sad spectacle ! --the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus's wife--she died by her own hand! See there a noble lady, whom the lust of a Tarquin redaced to the necessity of being her own exccutioner, to attest her innocence. Hospitably entertained by her as a kinsman of her husband, Sextus, the perfidious guest, became her brutal ravisher. The chaste, the generous
Lucretia could not survive the in. sult. Glorious woman! but once only treated as a slave, she thought life no longer to be endured. Lucretia, a woman, disdained a life that depended on a tyrant's will; and shall we, shall men, with such an example before our eyes, and after five-and-twenty years of ignominious servitude, shall we, through a fear of dying, defer one single instant to assert our liberty? No, Romans ; now is the time; the favourable moment we have so long waited for is come. Tarquin is not at Rome: the patricians are at
the head of the enterprize: the city is abundantly provided with men, arms, and all things necessary: there is nothing wanting to secure success, if our own courage does not fail us.
And shall those warriors, who have ever been so brave when foreign enemies were to be subdued, or when conquests were to be made to gratify the ambition and avarice of Tarquin, be then only cowards, when they are to deliver themselves from slavery?
Some of you are perhaps intimidated by the army which Tarquin now commands: the soldiers, you imagine, will take the part of their general. Banish such a groundless fear: the love of liberty is natural.to all men. Your fellow citizens in the camp feel the weight of oppression with as quick a sense as you that are in Rome; they will as eagerly seize the occasion of throwing off the yoke. But let us grant there may be some among them who, through baseness of spirit, or a bad education, will be disposed to favour the tyrant; the number of these can be but small, and we
means sufficient in our bands to reduce them to reason. They have left us hostages more dear to them than life; their wives, their children, their fathers, their mothers, are in our city. Courage, Romans, the gods are for us; those gods, whose temples and altars the impious Tarquin has profaned by sacrifices and libations made with polluted hands,-polluted with blood, and with numberless una expiated crimes committed against his subjects.
Ye gods, who protected our forefather's! ye genii, who watch for the preservation and glory of Rome! do you inspire us with courage and unanimity in this glo.
and we will to our last breath defend your. Worship from all profanation..
XXIII. Brutus's Oration on the Death of Cæsar.
Romans, countrymen, and friends! hear me for my sause; and be silent that you may hear. Believe me for my honour, and have respect to my honour, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there bez any in-this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him to say, that Brntus's love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand, why Brutus rose against Caesar!--this is my answer :
:-Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves; than that Cæsar were dead, and live all freemen?
As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him. There are tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his ambition. Who. is here so base, that would be a bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. -I pause for a reply :
None?---then none have I offended. I have done no more to Cæsar than you should do to Brutus.
The question of his death is erfrolled in the capitol; his glory not extenuated wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth, as which of you shall not? With this I depart; that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
XXIV. dir. Sheridan's Eulogium on Mr. Fox.
Upon the one great subject, which, at this moment, I am confident, has possession of the whole feel. ings of every man, whom I address--the loss, the irreparable loss, of the great, the illustrious character, whom we all deploreI shall, I can, say but little.
A long interval must take place between the heary blow which has been struck, and the consideration of its effect, be. fore any one (and how many are there !) of those who have revered and loved Me Fox, as I have done, can