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Your obedient humble servant. Arr. Say master rather. Thou hast lured me on, Through scenes of blood and lust, till I am here.
Cæs. And where wouldst thou be?
Oh, at peace — in peace.
And when it prospers.
Will it prosper now?
Ces. Tis there, and shall be.
And those scarce mortal arches,
Cæs. The city, or the amphitheatre ?
To-morrow sounds the assault
Which, if it end with
Arn, The sun goes down as calmly, and perhaps
I saw him.
You forget I am or was
Arn. But what have these done, their far
Cæs. And what had they done, whom the old
They are soldiers singing
swans ? They are black ones, to be sure. Arn.
So, you are learn'd, I see, too?
Cas. In my grammar, certes. I
And wherefore do you not?
Cæs. Yes. I have heard the angels sing.
And man too. Let us listen : I love all music.
(Suetonius relates of Julius Cæsar, that his baldness gave him much uneasiness, having often found himself, upon that account, exposed to the ridicule of his enemies; and that, therefore, of all the honours conferred upon him by the
senate and people, there was none which he either accepted or used with so much pleasure as the right of wearing constantly a laurel crown.]
Phil. Doubt not our soldiers. Were the walls of Song of the Soldiers within.
adamant, The black bands came over
They'd crack them. Hunger is a sharp artillery. The Alps and their snow;
Bourb. That they will falter is my least of fears.
That they will be repulsed, with Bourbon for
Their chief, and all their kindled appetites
To marshal them on - were those hoary walls
Mountains, and those who guard them like the gods
of the old fables, I would trust my Titans; —
Phil. They are but men who war with mortals.
Bourb. True: but those walls have girded in great We'll have one more endeavour
ages, At yonder old wall.
And sent forth mighty spirits. The past earth
And present phantom of imperious Rome
Is peopled with those warriors; and methinks
They fit along the eternal city's rampart,
And stretch their glorious, gory, shadowy hands,
And beckon me away!
So let them! Wilt thou
Turn back from shadowy menaces of shadows ?
Bourb. They do not menace me. I could have
Methinks, a Sylla's menace; but they clasp, (faced, The walls of old Rome,
And raise, and wring their dim and deathlike hands
And with their thin aspen faces and fix'd eyes
Fascinate mine. Look there!
I look upon
A lofty battlement.
A guard in sight; they wisely keep below,
Shelter'd by the gray parapet from some
Stray bullet of our lansquenets, who might
Practise in the cool twilight.
You are blind.
Phil. If seeing nothing more than may be seen
Bourb. A thousand years have mann'd the walls
With all their heroes, the last Cato stands
And tears his bowels, rather than survive
The liberty of that I would enslave.
And the first Cæsar with his triumphs flits
From battlement to battlement.
Then conquer But our leader from France is,
The walls for which he conquerd, and be greater !
Bourb. True : so I will, or perish.
You can not.
In such an enterprise to die is rather
The dawn of an eternal day, than death.
(Count Arnold and Cesar advance. Cas. An indifferent song
Cæs. And the mere men-do they too sweat For those within the walls, methinks, to hear.
beneath Arn. Yes, if they keep to their chorus. But here The noon of this same ever-scorching glory?
Ah! The general with his chiefs and men of trust. Welcome the bitter hunchback ! and his master, A goodly rebel !
The beauty of our host, and brave as beauteous,
And generous as lovely. We shall find
You will find, You are not cheerful ?
So please your highness, no less for yourself.
Bourb. And if I do, there will not be a labourer
You may well say so, Bourb. If I were secure !
For you have seen that back — as general,
1 [Charles of Bourbon was consin to Francis I., and Coastahle of France. Being bitterly persecuted by the queenmother for having declined the honour of her hand, and
also by the king, he transferred his services to the Emperor Charles V.)
Placed in the rear in action — but your foes
Retain'd her sway o'er nations, and the Cæsars, Have never seen it.
But yielded to the Alarics, the Alarics
Unto the pontiffs. Roman, Goth, or priest,
Or saintly, still the walls of Romulus In danger's face as yours, were you the devil.
Have been the circus of an empire. Well ! Cas. And if I were, I might have saved myself 'Twas their turn-now 't is ours; and let us hope The toil of coming here.
That we will fight as well, and rule much better. Phil. Why so ?
Cæs. No doubt, the camp's the school of civic Cæs.
rights. of your brave bands of their own bold accord What would you make of Rome ? Will go to him, the other half be sent,
That which it was. More swiftly, not less surely.
Cæs. In Alaric's time?
No, slave! in the first Cæsar's, Slight crooked friend's as snake-like in his words Whose name you bear like other curs As his deeds.
And kings! Ces. Your highness much mistakes me. 'Tis a great name for blood-hounds. The first snake was a flatterer-I am none;
There's a demon And for my deeds, I only sting when stung.
In that fierce rattle-snake thy tongue. Wilt never Bourb. You are brave, and that's enough for me; Be serious ? and quick
Cæs. On the eve of battle, no;In speech as sharp in action — and that's more. That were not soldier-like. 'Tis for the general I am not alone a soldier, but the soldiers'
To be more pensive : we adventurers Comrade.
Must be more cheerful. Wherefore should we think ? Cæs. They are but bad company, your highness : Our tutelar deity, in a leader's shape, And worse even for their friends than foes, as being Takes care of us. Keep thought aloof from hosts ! More permanent acquaintance.
If the knaves take to thinking, you will have Phil.
How now, fellow! To crack those walls alone. Thou waxest insolent, beyond the privilege
You may sneer, since Of a buffoon.
'Tis lucky for you that you fight no worse for't. Cæs. You mean I speak the truth.
Cæs. I thank you for the freedom ; 't is the only I'll lie - it is as easy : then you 'll praise me Pay I have taken in your highness' service. For calling you a hero.
Bourb. Well, sir, to-morrow you shall pay yourself. Bourb. Philibert !
Look on those towers ; they hold my treasury : Let him alone ; he's brave, and ever has (der, But, Philibert, we 'll in to council. Arnold, Been first, with that swart face and mountain shoul- We would request your presence. In field or storm, and patient in starvation ;
Prince ! my service And for his tongue, the camp is full of licence, Is yours, as in the field. And the sharp stinging of a lively rogue
In both we prize it, Is, to my mind, far preferable to
And yours will be a post of trust at daybreak. The gross, dull, heavy, gloomy execration
Cas. And mine? Of a mere famish'd, sullen, grumbling slave,
Bourb. To follow glory with the Bourbon. Whom nothing can convince save a full meal, Good night! And wine, and sleep, and a few maravedis,
Arn. (to CÆSAR). Prepare our armour for the With which he deems him rich.
It would be well And wait within my tent. If the earth's princes ask'd no more.
(Exeunt BOURBON, Arnold, PHILIBERT, &c. Bourb. Be silent ! Cæs. (solus).
Within thy tent ! Cæs. Ay, but not idle. Work yourself with words! Think'st thou that I pass from thee with my presence ? You have few to speak.
Or that this crooked coffer, which contain'd Phil.
What means the audacious prater? | Thy principle of life, is aught to me Cæs. To prate, like other prophets.
Except a mask? And these are men, forsooth! Bourb.
Philibert ! Heroes and chiefs, the flower of Adam's bastards !
And thinks chaotically, as it acts,
Well! I must play with these poor puppets : 't is Ar.
Since I must not lead. The spirit's pastime in his idler hours. Bourb. 'Tis necessary for the further daring When I grow weary of it, I have business Of our too needy army, that their chief
Amongst the stars, which these poor creatures deem Plant the first foot upon the foremost ladder's
Were made for them to look at. 'T were a jest now First step.
To bring one down amongst them, and set fire Cæs. Upon its topmost, let us hope :
Unto their anthill : how the pismires then So shall he have his full deserts.
Would scamper o'er the scalding soil, and, ceasing Bourb.
The world's From tearing down each other's nests, pipe forth Great capital perchance is ours to-morrow.
One universal orison! Ha! ha! Through every change the seven-hill'd city hath
Will you sleep when nations quarrels
SCENE I. Before the Walls of Rome.
The assault : the army in motion, with ladders to scale the walls ; BOURBON, with a white scarf over his armour, foremost. Chorus of Spirits in the air.
5. Onward sweep the varied nations ! Famine long hath dealt their rations. To the wall, with hate and hunger, Numerous as wolves, and stronger, On they sweep. Oh! glorious city, Must thou be a theme for pity? Fight, like your first sire, each Roman! Alaric was a gentle foeman, Match'd with Bourbon's black banditti! Rouse thee, thou eternal city; Rouse thee! Rather give the torch With thy own hand to thy porch, Than behold such hosts pollute Your worst dwelling with their foot.
2. Hearken to the steady stamp! Mars is in their every tramp! Not a step is out of tune, As the tides obey the moon ! On they march, though to self-slaughter, Regular as rolling water, Whose high waves o'ersweep the border Of huge moles, but keep their order, Breaking only rank by rank. Hearken to the armour's clank ! Look down o'er each frowning warrior, How he glares upon the barrier : Look on each step of each ladder, As the stripes that streak an adder.
6. Ah ! behold yon bleeding spectre ! Ilion's children find no Hector; Priam's offspring loved their brother ; Rome's great sire forgot his mother, When he slew his gallant twin, With inexpiable sin. See the giant shadow stride O'er the ramparts high and wide ! When the first o'erleapt thy wall, Its foundation mourn'd thy fall. Now, though towering like a Babel, Who to stop his steps are able ? Stalking o'er thy highest dome, Remus claims his vengeance, Rome !
3. Look upon the bristling wall, Mann'd without an interval ! Round and round, and tier on tier, Cannon's black mouth, shining spear, Lit match, bell-mouth'd musquetoon, Gaping to be murderous soon ; All the warlike gear of old, Mix'd with what we now behold, In this strife 'twixt old and new, Gather like a locusts' crew, Shade of Remus ! 't is a time Awful as thy brother's crime ! Christians war against Christ's shrine :Must its lot be like to thine ?
7. Now they reach thee in their anger : Fire and smoke and hellish clangour Are around thee, thou world's wonder ! Death is in thy walls and under. Now the meeting steel first clashes, Downward then the ladder crashes, With its iron load all gleaming, Lying at its foot blaspheming! Up again ! for every warrior Slain, another climbs the barrier. Thicker grows the strife: thy ditches Europe's mingling gore enriches. Rome ! although thy wall may perish, Such manure thy fields will cherish, Making gay the harvest-home; But thy hearths, alas! oh, Rome!Yet be Rome amidst thine anguish, Fight as thou wast wont to vanquish!
Near- and near- and nearer still,
8. Yet once more, ye old Penates ! Let not your quench'd hearths be Até's! Yet again, ye shadowy heroes, Yield not to these stranger Neros ! Though the son who slew his mother Shed Rome's blood, he was your brother :
| Scipio, the second Africanus, is said to have repeated a verse of Homer, and wept over the burning of Cartbayt. He had better have granted it a capitulation.
'T was the Roman curb'd the Roman;
For but an hour, a minute more of life Brennus was a baffled foeman.
To die within the wall! Hence, Arnold, hence ! Yet again, ye saints and martyrs,
You lose time— they will conquer Rome without Rise! for yours are holier charters!
thee. Mighty gods of temples falling,
Arn. And without thee ! Yet in ruin still appalling!
Not so; I 'll lead them still Mightier founders of those altars,
In spirit. Cover up my dust, and breathe not True and Christian, --strike the assaulters! That I have ceased to breathe. Away! and be Tiber! Tiber! let thy torrent
Victorious ! Show even nature's self abhorrent.
Arn. But I must not leave thee thus. Let each breathing heart dilated
Bourb. You must - farewell — Up! up! the world Turn, as doth the lion baited !
(BOURBON dies. 2 Rome be crush'd to one wide tomb,
Cæs. (to ARNOLD). Come, count, to business. But be still the Roman's Rome!
True. I'll weep hereafter.
[ARNOLD covers BOURBON’s body with a mantle, BOURBON, ARNOLD, CÆSAR, and others, arrive at the
and mounts the ladder, crying foot of the wall. Arnold is about to plant his The Bourbon ! Bourbon ! On, boys ! Rome is ours ! ladder.
Cæs. Good night, lord constable ! thou wert a man. Bourb. Hold, Arnold! I am first.
[Cæsar follows ARNOLD; they reach the batArn.
Not so, my lord.
tlement; ARNOLD and CÆSAR are struck Bourb. Hold, sir, I charge you ! Follow ! I am
Cæs. A precious somerset ! Is your countship Of such a follower, but will brook no leader.
injured ? (BOURBON plants his ladder, and begins to mount.
[Remounts the ladder. Now, boys! On! on!
Cæs. A rare blood-hound, when his own is heated ! [A shot strikes him, and BOURBON falls. And 't is no boy's play. Now he strikes them down ! Cæs. And off! His hand is on the battlement
:- he grasps it Arr.
Eternal powers !
As though it were an altar ; now his foot The host will be appallid, - but vengeance ! ven
Is on it, and What have we here ? — a Roman? geance !
[A man falls. Bourb. 'T is nothing - lend me your hand.
The first bird of the covey! he has fallen (BOURBON takes ARNOLD by the hand, and rises ; on the outside of the nest. Why, how now, fellow ? but as he puts his foot on the step, falls again.
Wounded Man. A drop of water !
Blood 's the only liquid
Wounded Man, I have died for Rome. [Dies. Let not the soldiers see it.
Cæs. And so did Bourbon, in another sense.
Oh these immortal men ! and their great motives ! Removed; the aid of
But I must after my young charge. He is
By this time i' the forum. Charge ! charge !
(CÆSAR mounts the ladder; the scene closes. The Bourbon's spirit shall command them still. Keep them yet ignorant that I am but clay,
The City. - Combats between the Besiegers and cross ?
Besieged in the streets. Inhabitants flying in con. We have no priest here, but the hilt of sword
fusion. May serve instead :- it did the same for Bayard. I
(time! Cæs. I cannot find my hero; he is mix'd Arn. (to Cæsar). Villain, hold your peace !
With the heroic crowd that now pursue Cæs. What, when a Christian dies ? Shall I not | The fugitives, or battle with the desperate. offer
What have we here ? A cardinal or two A Christian “ Vade in pace ?"
That do not seem in love with martyrdom. Arn.
Silence ! Oh!
How the old red-shanks scamper! Could they doff Those eyes are glazing wbich o'erlook'd the world, Their hose as they have doff'd their hats, 't would be And saw no equal.
A blessing, as a inark the less for plunder. Bourb.
Arnold, should'st thou see But let them fly; the crimson kennels now France - But hark! hark! the assault grows will not much stain their stockings, since the mire warmer - Oh!
Is of the self-same purple hue.
(* Finding himself mortally wounded, Bayard ordered one of his attendants to place him under a tree with his face towards the enemy: then, fixing his eyes on the guard of his word, which he held up instead of a cross, he addressed his prayers to God, and in this posture he calmly waited the approach of death." ROBERTSON, Charles V.)
(* On the 1st of May, 1527, the Constable and his army came in sight of Rome, and the next morning commenced
the attack. Bourbon wore a white vest over his armour, in order, he said, to be more conspicuous both to his friends and foes. He led on to the walls, and commenced a furious assault, which was repelled with equal violence. Seeing that his army began to waver, he seized a scaling ladder from a soldier standing, and was in the act of ascending, when he was pierced by a musket-ball, and fell. Feeling that his wound was mortal, he desired that his body might be concealed from his soldiers, and instantly expired." ROBERTSON.]