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Along the Sacred Way Hither the triumph came, and, winding round With acclamation, and the martial clang Of instruments, and cars laden with spoil, Stopp'd at the sacred stair that then appear'd; Then thro' the darkness broke, ample, star-bright, As tho' it led to heaven. 'Twas night; but now A thousand torches, turning night to day', Blaz’d, and the victor, springing from his seat, Went up, and kneeling as in fervent prayer, Enter'd the Capitol. But what are they Who at the foot withdraw, a mournful train In fetters? And who, yet incredulous, Now gazing wildly round, now on his sons, On those so young, well pleas'd with all they see?, Staggers along, the last ? — They are the fallen, Those who were spar'd to grace the chariot-wheels; And there they parted, where the road divides, The victor and the vanquish'd - there withdrew; He to the festal board, and they to die.
Well might the great, the mighty of the world, They who were wont to fare deliciously, And war but for a kingdom more or less, Shrink back, nor from their thrones endure to look, To think that way! Well might they in their state Humble themselves, and kneel and supplicate To be deliver'd from a dream like this ! Here Cincinnatus pass’d, his plough the while Left in the furrow; and how many more, Whose laurels fade not, who still walk the earth, Consuls, Dictators, still in Curule pomp Sit and decide; and, as of old in Rome,
1 An allusion to Cæsar in his Gallic triumph.
* In the triumph of Æmilius, nothing affected the Roman people like the children of Perseus. Many wept; nor could any thing else attract notice, till they were gone by.Plutarch,
Name but their names, set every heart on fire!
And thy proud queen, Palmyra, thro' the sands 3
many a league
Now all is chang'd; and here, as in the wild,
· Jugurtha. 3 Zenobia. 4 Cleopatra.
5 Sophonisba. The story of the marriage and the poison is well known to every reader.
TO THE IVY.
Oh! how could fancy crown with thee
In ancient days, the god of wine, And bid thee at the banquet be
Companion of the vine? Thy home, wild plant, is where each sound
Of revelry hath long been o'er, Where song's full notes once peald around,
But now are heard no more.
The Roman, on his battle plains,
Where kings before his eagles bent,
Around the victor's tent;
Triumphantly thy boughs might wave, Better thou lov'st the silent scene,
Around the victor's grave.
Where sleep the sons of ages flown,
The bards and heroes of the past. Where, through the halls of glory gone,
Murmurs the wintry blast; Where years are hast’ning to efface
Each record of the grand and fair, Thou in thy solitary grace,
Wreath of the tomb ! art there.
Thou, o'er the shrines of fallen gods,
On classic plains dost mantling spread, And veil the desolate abodes
And cities of the dead; Deserted palaces of kings,
Arches of triumph, long o'erthrown, And all once glorious earthly things,
At length are thine alone.
Oh! many a temple, once sublime,
Beneath the blue, Italian sky, Hath nought of beauty left by time,
Save thy wild tapestry ; And, rear'd ʼmidst crags and clouds, tis thine
To wave where banners wav'd of yore; O'er mouldering towers, by lovely Rhine,
Cresting the rocky shore.
High from the fields of air look down
Those eyries of a vanish'd race
Hath pass'd, and left no trace.
Unchang'd the mountain-storm can brave, Thou that wilt climb the loftiest height,
And deck the humblest grave.
The breathing forms of Parian stone,
That rise round grandeur's marble halls,
Rich o'er the glowing walls ;
In sculptur'd beauty waving fair ;
Thou, thou alone, art there!
'Tis still the same-where'er we tread,
The wrecks of human power we see,
Left to decay and thee!
August in beauty, grace, and strength,
MRS. HEMANS. APOSTROPHE TO ENGLAND.
LAND of the Lord ! my own maternal isle !