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Orc. E'en as it was e'er I received my mission. Orc. Who brings she with her thus, as if comCordenius Maro is on public duty;

pell’a I have not seen him.-When he knows your offer By playful force ? His heart will bound with joy, like eaglet plumed Sul. 'Tis her Numidian page; a cunning imp, Whose out-stretch'd pinions wheeling round and Who must be wood to do the thing he's proud of.

round, Shape their first circles in the sunny air.

Enter Pontia, dragging Syphax after her, speaking as

she enters. Su. And with good cause. Orc, Methinks I see him now!

Por. Come in, deceitful thing !-I know thee A face with blushes mantling to the brow,


With all thy sly affected bashfulness,
Eyes with bright tears surcharged, and parted lips
Quivering to utter joy which hath no words.

Thou’rt hold enough to sing in Cesar's court,

With the whole senate present. Sul. His face, indeed, as I have heard thee say,

(To Orc.)

Prince of Parthia, Is like a wave which sun and shadow cross;

I knew not you were here ; but yet I guess
Each thought makes there its momentary mark.
Orc. And then his towering form, and vaulting

The song which this sly creature sings so well,

Will please you also. step, As tenderness gives way to exultation !

Orc. How can it fail, fair Portia, so commended ?

Sul. What is this boasted lay?
O it had been a feast to look upon him ;

Por. That tune, my father,
And still shall be.

Which you so oft have tried to recollect;
Art thou so well convinced-

But link'd with other words, of new device,
He loves my little damsel ? she is fair,

That please my fancy well.—Come, sing it, boy! But seems to me too simple, gay, and thoughtless, For noble Maro. Heiress as she is

Sul. Nay, sing it, Syphax, be not so abashid,

If thou art really so.—Begin, begin!
To all my wealth, had I suspected sooner,
That he had smother'd wishes in his breast

But speak thy words distinctly as thou sing'st,

That I may have their meaning perfectly.
As too presumptuous, or that she in secret
Preferr'd his silent homage to the praise

SONG. or any other man, I had most frankly

The storm is gathering far and wide, Removed all hinderance to so fair a suit.

Yon mortal hero must abide. For, in these changeling and degenerate days,

Power on earth, and power in air,

Falchion's gleam and lightning's glare; I scarcely know a man of nobler worth.

Arrows hurtling through the blast; Orc. Thou scarcely know'st! Say certainly thou

Stenes from flaming meteor cast : dost not.

Floods from burdend skies are pouring, He is, to honest right, as simply true

O’er mingled strife of battle roaring; As shepherd child on desert pasture bred,

Nature's rage and Denion's ire,

Belt him round with turmoil dire: Where falsehood and deceit have never been ;

Noble hero! earthly wight!
And to maintain them, ardent, skilful, potent,

Brace thee bravely for the fight.
As the shrewd leader of unruly tribes.
A simple heart and subtle spirit join'd,

And so, indeed, thou takest thy stand,

Shield on arm and glaive in hand; Make such an union as in Nero's court

Breast encased in burnish'd steel, May pass for curious and unnatural.

Helm on head, and pike on heel; Sul. But is the public duty very urgent,

And, more than meets the outward eye That so untowardly delays our happiness?

The soul's high-temper'd panoply, Orc. The punishment of those poor Nazarenes,

Which every limb for action lightens, Who, in defiance of imperial power,

The form dilates, the visage brightens :

Thus art thou, lofty, mortal wight To their forbidden faith and rites adhere

Full nobly harness'd for the fight.
With obstinacy most astonishing.

Sul. A stubborn contumacy unaccountable ! Orc. The picture of some very noble hero
Orc. There's sorcery in it, or some stronger These lines portray.

Sul. So it should seem ; one of the days of old. But be it what it may, or good or ill,

Por. And why of olden days? There liveth now They look on death in its most dreadful form, The very man-a man-I mean to say, As martial heroes on a wreath of triumph.

There may be found amongst our Roman youth, The fires are kindled in the place of death, One, who in form and feelings may compare And bells toll dismally. The life of Rome With him whose lofty virtues these few lines In one vast clustering mass hangs round the spot, So well describe. And no one to his neighbour utters word,

Orc. Thou mean'st the lofty Gorbus. But in an alter'd voice ; with breath restrain's, Por. Out on the noisy braggart ! Arms without Like those who speak at midnight near the dead. He hath, indeed, well burnish'd and well plumed, Cordenius heads the band that guards the pile ; But the poor soul, within, is pluck'd and bare, So station'd, who could speak to him of pleasure ? Like any homely thing. For it would seem as an ill-omen'd thing.

Orc, Sertorius Galba then ? Sul. Cease; here comes Portia, with a careless Por. O, stranger still ! face:

For if he hath no lack of courage, certes, She knows not yet the happiness that waits her. He hath much lack of grace. Sertorius Galba !

To say,

Orc. Perhaps thou mean’st Cordenius Maro, lady. Officers and Soldiers still remaining ; the Thy cheeks grow scarlet at the very name,

Officers on the front, and Cordenius apart from Indignant that I still should err so strangely.

them in a thoughtful posture.) Por. No, not indignant, for thou errest not; First Offi. Brave Varus marches boldly at the Nor do I blush, albeit thou think'st I do,

head there is not of our Romans one,

Of that deluded band. Whose martial form a truer image gives

Second Offi. Are these the men, who hateful Of firm, heroic courage.

orgies hold Sul.

Cease, sweet Portia ; In dens and deserts, courting, with enchantments, He only laughs at thy simplicity.

The intercourse of demons ? Orc. Simplicity seen through a harmless wile, Third Offi.

Ay, with rites Like to the infant urchin, half conceal'd

Cruel and wild. To crucify a babe ; Behind his smiling dam's transparent veil. And while it yet hangs shrieking on the rood The song is not a stranger to mine ear,

Fall down and worship it! device abominable Methinks I've heard it, passing through those wilds, First Offi. Dost thou believe it? Whose groves and caves, if rumour speak the truth, Third Offi. I can believe all this or any thing Are by the Nazarenes or Christians haunted. Of the possess'd and mad.

Sul. Let it no more be sung within my walls: First Offi. What demonry, thinkest thou, posA chant of theirs to bring on pestilence !

sesses Varus? Sing it no more. What sounds are those I hear ? Second Off. That is well urged. (To the other.) Orc. The dismal death-drum and the crowd

Is he a maniac? without.

Alas, that I should see so brave a soldier They are this instant leading past your door Thus, as a malefactor, led to death! Those wretched Christians to their dreadful doom. First Offi. Viewing his keen, enliven'd counSul. We'll go and see them pass.

tenance [Exeunt hastily Sulpicius, Orceres. And stately step, one should have rather guess'd Por. (Stopping her ears.) I cannot look on them, He led victorious soldiers to the charge : nor hear the sound.

And they, indeed, appear to follow him
I'll to my chamber.

With noble confidence.
May not I, I pray,

Third Offi.

'Tis all vain seeming. Look on them as they pass ?

He is a man, who makes a show of valour Por.

No; go not, child : To which his deeds have borne slight testimony. 'Twill frighten thee; it is a horrid sight.

Cor. (advancing indignantly.) Thou liest : Page. Yet, and it please you, lady, let me go.

better and a braver soldier Por. I say it is a horrid, piteous sight,

Ne'er fronted foe, or closed in bloody strife. Thou wilt be frighten'd at it.

(Turning away angrily to the back ground.) Page. Nay, be it e'er so piteous or so horrid, First Off. Our chief, methinks, is in a fretful I have a longing, strong desire to see it.

mood, Por. Go, then ; there is in this no affectation : Which is not usual with him. There's all the harden'd cruelty of man

Second Offi. He did not seem to listen to our Lodged in that tiny form, child as thou art.

words. [Exeunt, severally. But see he gives the signal to proceed ; SCENE II.-AN OPEN SQUARE WITH BUILDINGS.

We must advance, and with our closing ranks

The fatal pile encircle. Enter CORDENIUS Maro, at the head of his SOLDIERS, who draw up on either side: then enters along proces

[Exeunt in order, whilst a chorus of Martyrs is sion of public Functionaries, &c. conducting MARTYRS

heard at a distance.) to the place of execution, who, as they pass on, sing together in unison: one more noble than the others, SCENE III.-AN APARTMENT IN A PRIVATE HOUSE. walking first. SONG.

Enter two CHRISTIAN WOMEN, by opposite sides.
A long farewell to sin and sorrow,

First Wom. Hast thou heard any thing?
To beam of day and evening shade!
High in glory breaks our morrow,

Second Wom. Naught, save the murmur of the
With light that cannot sade.


Sinking at times to deep and awful silence,
While mortal flesh in flame is bleeding,

From which again a sudden burst will rise
For humble penitence and love,
Our brother and our Lord is pleading

Like mingled exclamations, as of horror
Al mercy's throne above.

Or admiration. In these neighbouring streets

I have not met a single citizen,
We leave the hated and the hating:
Existence sad in toil and strife;

The town appearing uninhabited.
The great, the good, the brave are waiting

But wherefore art thou here? Thou should'st have
To hail our opening lise.

Earth's fated sounds our ears forsaking,

With the unhappy mother of poor Cælus.
A moment's silence death shall be ;

First Wom. She sent me hither in her agony
Then, to heaven's jubilee awaking,

Of fear and fearful hope.
Faith ends in victory.

Second Wom. Ha! does she hope deliverance EXEUNT Martyrs, &c. &c. Cordenius with his

from death?

First Wom. O no! thou wrong'st her, friend ; it disperse and leave him alone. He walks a few paces is not that:

slowly, then stops and continues for a short time in a Deliverance is her fear, and death her hope.

thoughtful posture. A second time she bears a mother's throes

Cor. There is some power in this, or good or ill,
For her young stripling, whose exalted birth Surpassing nature. When the soul is roused
To endless life is at this fearful crisis,

To desperate sacrifice, 'tis ardent passion,
Or earn'd or lost. May heaven forefend the last ! Or high exalted virtue that excites it.
He is a timid youth, and soft of nature :

Can loathsome demonry in dauntless bearing,
God grant him strength to bear that fearful proof! Outdo the motives of the lofty brave ?
Second Wom, Here comes our reverend father. It cannot be ! There is some power in this

Mocking all thought-incomprehensible.
What tidings dost thou bring ? are they in bliss ?

(Remains for a moment silent and thoughtful,

while Sylvius enters behind him unperceived. Fath. Yes, daughter, as I trust, they are ere this Delusion! ay, 'tis said the cheated sight In high immortal bliss. Cælus alone

Will see unreal things ; the cheated ear First IV om. He bath apostatized ! O wo is me!

List to sweet sounds that are not; even the reason O wo is me for his most wretched mother!

Maintain conclusions wild and inconsistent. Fath. Apostatized ! No; stripling as he is,

We hear of this :—the weak may be deluded ; His fortitude, where all were braced and brave,

But is the learn'd, th' enlighten’d, noble Varus Shone paramount.

The victim of delusion ?-Can it be? For his soft downy cheek and slender form

I'll not believe it. Made them conceive they might subdue his firm

Syl. (advancing to him.) No, believe it not. ness,

Cor. (starting.) Ha! one so near me ! Therefore he was reserved till noble Varus

I have seen thy face before ; but where ?-who art And his compeers had in the flames expired.

thou ? Then did they court and tempt him with fair pro

Syl. E'en that centurion of the seventh legion, mise

Who, with Cordenius Maro, at the siege Of all that earthly pleasure or ambition

Of Fort Volundum, mounted first the breach ; Can offer, to deny his holy faith.

And kept the clustering enemy in check, But be, who seem'd before so meek and timid,

Till our encouraged Romans follow'd us. Now suddenly imbued with holy grace,

Cor. My old companion then, the valiant SylLike the transition of some watery cloud

vius. In passing o'er the moon's refulgent disc,

Thou'st done hard service since I saw thee last: Glow'd with new life ; and from his fervid tongue Thy countenance is mark'd with graver lines Words of most firm, indignant constancy

Than in those greener days: I knew thee not. Pour'd eloquently forth; then to the pile

Where goest thou now? I'll bear thee company. Sprung lightly up, like an undaunted warrior

Syl. I thank thee: yet thou may'st not go with Scaling the breach of honour; or, alas ! As I have seen him midst his boyish mates,

The way that I am wending suits not thee, Vaulting aloft for every love of motion.

Though suiting well the noble and the brave.
First Wom. High heaven be praised for this

It were not well, in fiery times like these,
Thine eyes beheld it?

To tempt thy generous mind.
Fath. I saw it not: the friend who witness'd it,

Cor. What dost thou mean? Left him yet living midst devouring flame ;

Syl. (after looking cautiously round to see that Therefore I spoke of Cælus doubtfully,

nobody is near.) Did I not hear thee comIf he as yet belong'd to earth or heaven.

mune with thyself
(They cover their faces, and remain silent.) of that most blessed martyr gone to rest,

Varus Dobella?
Broth. Lift up your heads, my sisters ! let your

Cor. How blessed? My unsettled thoughts were voices

busy In grateful thanks be raised ! Those ye lament, With things mysterious ; with those magic powers Have earthly pangs for heavenly joy exchanged.

That work the mind to darkness and destruction ; The manly Varus and the youthful Cælus,

With the sad end of the deluded Varus. The lion and the dove, yoke-fellows link'd,

Syl. Not so, not so ! The wisest prince on earth, Have equal bliss and equal honour gain'd.

With treasured wealth and armies at command, First Wom. And praised be God, who makes the Ne'er earn'd withal such lofty exaltation weakest strong!

As Varus now enjoys. I'll to his mother with the blessed tidings. (Exit. Cor. Thy words amaze me, friend ; what is their Fath. Let us retire and pray. How soon our

meaning? lives

Syl. They cannot be explain' with hasty speecb May have like ending, God alone doth know ! In such a place. If thou would'st really know0! may like grace support us in our need! And may such light

[EXEUNT. Cor. Why dost thou check thy words, SCENE IV.-AN OPEN SPACE IN FRONT OF A TEMPLE. And look so much disturb’d, like one in doubt ? Enter CORDENIUS, as returning from the execution

Syl. What am I doing! Zeal, perhaps, betrays with his SOLDIERS, who, upon a signal from him,



Yet, wherefore hide salvation from a man |(Granting again that such a one might be,)
Who is so worthy of it?

Who hath but seen the element of fire Cor. Why art thou agitated thus ? What moves on household earth or woodman's smoky pile, thee?

And looks at once, midst 'stounding thunder-peals, Syl. And would'st thou really know it? On Jove's magnificence of lightning.---Pardon, Cor. Dost thou doubt me ?

I pray you pardon me! I mean his lightning, I have an earnest, most intense desire.

Who is the Jove of Jove, the great Jehovah. Syl. Sent to thy heart, brave Roman, by a power Fath. (smiling.) Be not disturbid, my son : the Which I may not resist. (Bowing his head.)

lips will utter, But go not with me now in open day.

From lengthen'd habit, what the mind rejects. At fall of eve, I'll meet thee in the suburb,

Cor. These blessed hours which I have pass'd Close to the pleasure garden of Sulpicius ;

with you Where in a bushy crevice of the rock

Have to my intellectual being given There is an entry to the catacombs,

New feelings and expansion, like to that Known but to few

Which once I felt, on viewing by degrees Cor.

Ha ! to the catacombs! The wide development of nature's amplitude. Syl. A dismal place, I own, but heed not that ; Fath. And how was that, my son ? For there thou'lt learn what, to thy ardent mind, Cor. I well remember it; even at this moment Will make this world but as a thorny pass Imagination sees it all again. . To regions of delight; man's natural life | 'Twas on a lofty mountain of Armenia, With all its varied turmoil of ambition,

O'er which I led by night my martial cohort, But as the training of a wayward child

To shun the fierce heat of a summer's day. To manly excellence ; yea, death itself

Close round us hung, the vapours of the night But as a painful birth to life unending.

Had form'd a woofy curtain, dim and pale, The word eternal has not to thine ears,

Through which the waning moon did faintly mark As yet, its awful, ample sense convey'd.

Its slender crescent. Cor. Something possesses thee.

Fath. Ay, the waned moon through midnight Syl.

Yes, noble Maro;

vapours seen, But it is something which can ne'er possess

Fit emblem is of that retrenching light, A mind that is not virtuous.—Let us part;

Dubious and dim, which to the earliest patriarchs It is expedient now.-All good be with thee ! Was at the first vouchsafed; a moral guide,

Cor. And good be with thee, also, valia soldier ! Soon clouded and obscured to their descendants,
Syl. (returning as he is about to go out.) At Who peopled far and wide, in scatter'd tribes,

close of day, and near the pleasure gar- The fertile earth.—But this is interruption.

Proceed, my son.
The garden of Sulpicius.


Well, on the lofty summit Cor. I know the spot, and will not fail to meet We halted, and the day's returning light thee.

[EXEUNT. On this exalted station found us. Then

Our brighten'd curtain, wearing into shreds
And rifted masses, through its opening gave

Glimpse after glimpse of slow revealed beauty,

Which held th' arrested senses magic bound,
SCENE I.—THE CATACOMBS, SHOWING LONG, LOW- In the intensity of charm’d attention.


Fath. From such an eminence, the opening SUPPORTED BY THICK PILLARS OF THE ROUGH

mist UNHEWN ROCK, WITH RUDE TOMBS AND HEAPS Would to the eye reveal most beauteous visions. OF HUMAN BONES, AND THE WALLS IN MANY

Cor. First, far beneath us, woody peaks appear'd,

And knolls with cedars crested; then, beyond, Enter CORDENIUS Maro, speaking to a CHRISTIAN And lower still, the herdsmen's cluster'd dwellings,

Father, on whose arm he leans, and followed by With pasture slopes, and Aocks just visible;

Then, further still, soft wavy wastes of forest, Cor. One day and two bless'd nights, spent in In all the varied tints of sylvan verdure, acquiring

Descending to the plain; then wide and boundless Your heavenly lore, so powerful and sublime The plain itself, with towns and cultured tracks, 0! what an alter'd creature they have made me ! And its fair river gleaming in the light, Fath. Yes, gentle son, I trust that thou art with all its sweepy windings, seen and lost, alter'd.

And seen again, till through the pale gray tint Cor. I am, methinks, like one, who, with bent of distant space, it seem'd a loosen'd cestus back

From virgin's tunic blown ; and still beyond, And downward gaze-if such a one might be The earth's extended vastness from the sight, Hath only known the boundless azure sky

Wore like the boundless ocean. By the strait circle of reflected beauty,

My heart beat rapidly at the fair sightSeen in the watery gleam of some deep pit, This ample earth, man's natural habitation. Till of a sudden roused, he stands erect,

But now, when to my mental eye reveald, And wondering looks aloft and all around

His moral destiny, so grand and noble, On the bright sunny firmament :-like one Lies stretching on e’en to immensity,




It overwhelms me with a flood of thoughts, I struck my hand against my soldier's mail,
Of happy thoughts.

And cried, “ This faith is worthy of a man!"
Fath. Thanks be to God that thou dost feel it Cor. Our best philosophers have raised their

thoughts Cor. I am most thankful for the words of power To one great universal Lord of all, Which from thy gifted lips and sacred Scripture Lord e'en of Jove himself and all the gods; I have received. What feelings they have raised ! But who dost feel for that high, distant Essence O what a range of thought given to the mind! A warmer sentiment than deep submission? And to the soul what loftiness of hope !

But now, adoring love and grateful confidence
That future dreamy state of faint existence Cling to the infinity of power and goodness,
Which poets have described and sages taught, As the repentant child turns to his sire
In which the brave and virtuous pined and droopa With yearning looks that say, “ Am I not thine ?"
In useless indolence, changed for a state

I am too bold: I should be humbled first
Of social love, and joy, and active bliss, In penitence and sorrow, for the stains
A state of brotherhood,-a state of virtue, Of many a hateful vice and secret passion.
So grand, so purified ;-0, it is excellent !

Fath. Check not the generous tenor of thy My soul is roused within me at the sound,

thoughts : Like some poor slave, who from a dungeon issues o check it not ! Love leads to penitence, To range with free-born men his native land. And is the noblest, surest path ; whilst fear Fath. Thou may'st, indeed, my son, redeem'd Is dark and devious. To thy home return, from thraldom,

And let thy mind well weigh what thou hast heard. Become the high compeer of blessed spirits. If then thou feel'st within thee, faith assured Cor. The high compeer of such —These gushing That faith, which may, even through devouring tears,

flames, Nature's mysterious tears, will have their way. Its passage hold to heaven, baptismal rites Fath. To give thy heart relief.

Shall give thee entrance to a purer life; Cor. And yet mysterious. Why do we weep Receive thee, as thy Saviour's valiant soldier, At contemplation of exalted virtue ?

For his high warfare arm’d. Perhaps in token of the fallen state

Cor. I am resolved, and feel that in my heart In which we are, as thrilling sympathy

There lives that faith; baptize me ere we part. Strangely acknowledges some sight and sound, Fath. So be it then. But yet that holy rite Connected with a dear and distant home,

Must be preferrd; for lo! our brethren come, Albeit the memory hath that link forgotten : Bearing the ashes of our honour'd saints, A kind of latent sense of what we were

Which must, with hymns of honour be received. Or might have been ; a deep, mysterious token. Fath. Perhaps thou’rt right, my son ; for e'en Enter Christians, seen advancing slowly along one of the wicked

the aisles, and bearing a large veiled urn; which they

set down near the front. They then lift off the veil Will sometimes weep at lofty, generous deeds.

and range themselves round it, while one sings and Some broken traces of our noble nature

the rest join in the chorus at the end of each short Were yet preserved ; therefore our great Creator Still loved his work, and thought it worth redemp

SONG tion.

Departed brothers, generous, brave, And therefore his bless'd Son, our generous master,

Who for the faith have died, Did, as the elder brother of that race,

Nor its pure source denied,

Your bodies from devouring flames to save. Whose form he took, lay down his life to save us.

Chorus. But I have read thee, in our sacred Book,

Honour on earth, and bliss in heaven, His gentle words of love.

Be to your saintly valour given! Cor. Thou hast ! thou hast ! they're stirring in

And we, who, left behind, pursue my heart :

A pilgrim's weary way Each fibre of my body thrills in answer

To realms of glorious day, To the high call.

Shall rouse our fainting souls with thoughts of you. Fath. The spirit of power, my son, dealing

Honour on earth, &c. with thee.

Your ashes mingled with the dust,
Cor. (after a pause.) One thing amazes me, yet Shall yet be forms more fair
it is excellent.

Than e'er breathed vital air,
Fath. And what amazes thee? Unbosom freely When earth again gives up her precious trust.
What passes in thy mind.

Honour on earth, &c.
Cor. That this religion which dilates our The trump of angels shall proclaim,

With tones far sent and sweet, Of God supreme to an infinity

Which countless hosts repeat, Of awful greatness, yet connects us with him,

The generous martyr's never-fading name. As children, loved and cherish'd ;

Honour on earth, and bliss in heaven,

Be to your saintly valour given! Adoring awe with tenderness united. Syl. (eagerly.) Ay, brave Cordenius, that same Cor. (to Father.) And ye believe those, who a thought more moved

few hours since My rude, unletter'd mind than all the rest. Were clothed in flesh and blood, and here, before us,


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