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“ As for you, the survivors !--from this very mo“ ment, emulating their virtues, place your sole
happiness in liberty—and be prepared to follow its “ call through every danger.” Then, addressing himself, with exquisite tenderness, to the relicts and children of the deceased, he suggests to them that the commonwealth was their husband, their father and brother
“ From this day forward to the age of maturity, “ shall the orphans be educated at the public expense " of the state. For this benevolent meed have the “ laws appointed to all future relicts of those who may fall in the public contests.”
Nor were the ROMANS less careful in this matter. Considering men in general as brave, more by art than nature; and that honour is a more powerful incentive than fear; they made frugality, temperance, patience of labour, manly exercise, and love of their country, the main principles of education. Cowardice and neglect of duty in the field, were seldom punished with death or corporal inflictions; but by what was accountedworse, a life decreed to ignominious expulsion and degradation from Roman privileges.
On the contrary, deeds of public virtue were rewarded, according to their magnitude, with statues, triumphs of various kinds, peculiar badges of dress at public solemnities, and* songs of praise to the living as well as the dead.
• They are called “ Carmina," as wrought up in the high poetic style ; but were not, therefore, always in verse or measure.
Next to the hymns composed in honour of the Gods, Poetry derived its origin from the songs of triumph to heroes,* who tamed the rude manners of mankind, founded cities, repelled the incursions of enemies, and gave peace to their countryf. And this custom began when Rome contained only a few shepherds, gathering strength by an alluvies of the outcasts of neighbouring nations.
Those first efforts of poetic eulogy, whether in prose or verse (like those of a similar origin, which nature, always the same, teaches our savage neighbours) although often sublime in substance, were yet so rude in structure, thats Livy forbears quoting them as having become intolerable to the more refined taste of his age, however suitable they might have been to the æra of their production.
What a multitude of compositions of this kind must have existed between the barbarous songs of the military upon the triumph of || Cossius, and the celebrated panegyric of Pliny upon Trajan! They are said to have been swelled into two thousand volumes, even in the time of Augustus. In short, the praise of public virtue was wrought into the whole
Soliti sunt, in epulis, canere convivas ad tibicinem, de clarorum hominum virtute.
Gic . + Qui terras hominumque colunt genus, aspera bella Componunt, agros assignant, oppida condunt,
Hur. 1 Carmen canentes ibant, illa tempestate forsitan laudabile rudibus ingeniis, nunc abhorrens & inconditum, si referater. Longe maximum triumphi, spectaculum fuit Cossius
in eura milites carmina incondita, æquantes eum Romulo, canere.
texture of Roman polity; and Virgil, calling religion to his aid, gave it the highest finish*.
He divides his Hades, or place of ghosts, into different regions; and, to the gulf of deepest perditiont, consigns those monsters of iniquity who delighted in the destruction of mankind, betrayed f their country, or violated its religion and laws. There he excruciates them, in company
with “ Gorgons and Hydras, and Chimeras dire" Vultures prey upon their vitals, or they are whirled eternally round with Ixion upon his wheel, or bound down with Tantalus,** whose burning lip hangs quivering over the elusive waters it cannot touch; or the fury Tisyphone, her hair entwined with serpents, her garments red with human gore, urges on their tortures with unrelenting hand !
The Poet having thus exhausted imagination as well as mythology, in the description of punishments
See more on the use and good Policy of Funeral Panegyrics, on the public virtue of great men deceased, from page 42, to 47, of Sermon III.
† “ Full twice as deep the dungeon of the fiends,
I “ This wretch his country to a tyrant sold,
“ For these same laws a bribe repeal'd again."
' fammisque armata Chimæra;
“ Gorgores, Harpiæque.”-&c. See Virgil, B. VI, from line 289, to line 627 ; or Pitt's excellent translation.
** Tantalus a labris, sitiens, fugientia captat Flumina.
for the disturbers of mankind, and foesto their country,
« Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
Nor has Virgil strayed any farther through the fields of fancy or fable in this place, than to borrow strength of colouring for the garb of truth; and, I suspect, that he drank from a purer fountain than that of Helicon, when he peopled his Tatarus with the ancient scourges of the human race. An authority, sacred among Christians, had, indeed, long before given an awful sanction to the truth of his doctrine.
A Prophet and Poet, indeed, whose inspiration was truly from heaven, the incomparably sublime Isaiah, foretelling the fall of Babylon, has an ode of triumph, wherein he exults over its haughty monarch in strains of wonderful irony and reproach. He reprobates him as a destroyer of mankind; who had “ made the world a wilderness.” He represents the whole earth as delivered from a curse by his fall! The trees of the forest rejoice, because he is laid low! The very grave refuses a covering to his exe. crable corse! He is consign'd to the depths of misery;
• Milton has taken the same method of raising his description, by leaving something to be conceived beyond the power of words to express
“ Abominable, unutterable, and worse
“ Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceir'd.VOL. I.
while the infernal mansions themselves are moved at his approach, and the ghosts of departed tyrants rise up, in horrid array and mockery of triumph, to bid him welcome to his final abode!
The astonishing grandeur and spirit of this passage, and indeed of the whole ode, are unrivalled by any* poet of Greek or Roman name.
“ How hath the oppressor ceased! The Lord " hath broken the staff of the wicked! He that smote " the people in wrath-that ruled the nations in
anger-is persecuted and none hindereth! The “ whole earth is at rest and is quiet—they break “ forth into singing; yea the fir-trees rejoice at thee, " and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, since thou art “ laid down, no feller is come up against us.
“ Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet “ thee at thy coming. It stirreth up the dead for thee
-even all the chief ones of the earth! They shall say unto thee, art thou also become weak as we? “ Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is “ brought down to the grave-How art thou fallen “ from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how
Alcæus himself (saith Bishop Newton) so highly renowned for his hatred of tyranny, and whose odes are alike animated by the spirit of Liberty and Poetry, has nothing that can be compared with the prophet in this place.
The excellent Prelate, above quoted, hath a further remark on this passage, which it would be unpardonable to omit.
“ What a pleasure must it afford all readers of an exalted taste and “ generous sentiments, all true lovers of liberty, to hear the prophets thus“ exulting over tyrants and oppressors? The scriptures, although often per“ verted to the purposes of tyranny, are yet in their own nature calculated " to promote the civil and religious liberties of mankind. True religion, “ virtue and liberty, are more intimately connected than men commonly « consider."