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By heaven, I had rather coin my heart,
And drop my blood for drachmas, than to wring
From the hard hands of peasants their vile trash
By any indirection : I did send
To you for gold to pay my legions,
Which

you

denied me : was that done like Cassius ?
Should I have answer'd Caius Cassius so ?
When Marcus Brutus grows so covetous,
To lock such rascal counters from his friends,
Be ready, gods, with all your thunderbolts,
Dash him to pieces !
Cas.

I denied you not.
BRU. You did.
Cas.

I did not : he was but a fool
That brought my answer back. Brutus hath rived

my heart : A friend should bear his friend's infirmities, But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.

Bru. I do not, till you practise them on me.
Cas. You love me not.

I do not like

your

faults. Cas. A friendly eye could never see such faults.

BRU. A flatterer's would not, though they do appear As huge as high Olympus.

Cas. Come, Antony, and young Octavius, come,
Revenge yourselves alone on Cassius,
For Cassius is aweary of the world ;
Hated by one he loves ; braved by his brother ;
Check'd like a bondman; all his faults observed,
Set in a note-book, learn'd, and conn’d by rote,
To cast into my teeth. O, I could weep
My spirit from mine eyes! There is my dagger,
And here

my naked breast; within, a heart Dearer than Plutus' mine, richer than gold : If that thou be'st a Roman, take it forth; indirection] crooked courses.

to lock) as to lock.

BRU.

I, that denied thee gold, will give my heart :
Strike, as thou didst at Cæsar ; for I know,
When thou didst hate him worst, thou lovedst him

better
Than ever thou lovedst Cassius.
BRU.

Sheathe your dagger : Be angry

when you will, it shall have scope; Do what

you

will, dishonour shall be humour.
O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb
That carries anger as the flint bears fire,
Who, much enforced, shows a hasty spark
And straight is cold again.
Cas.

Hath Cassius lived
To be but mirth and laughter to his Brutus,
When grief and blood ill-temper'd vexeth him?

BRU. When I spoke that, I was ill-temper'd too.
Cas. Do

you
confess so much ? Give me your

hand. BRU. And

my

heart too. Cas.

O Brutus ! BRU.

What's the matter ? Cas. Have not you love enough to bear with me, When that rash humour which

my

mother Makes me forgetful ? BRU.

Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth, When you are over-earnest with your Brutus, He 'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.

Shakespeare.

gave me

137

The Dying Gladiator

I see before me the Gladiator lie;
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his droop'd head sinks gradually low-
humour] the natural temper that a man is born with,

And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now

The arena swims around him—he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch

who won.

He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away ;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother—he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday !

All this rush'd with his blood—Shall he expire And unavenged ?-Arise ! ye Goths, and glut your ire! ...

Byron.*

138
On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble ;

His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves ;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,

And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger

When Uricon the city stood :
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,

But then it thresh'd another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman

At yonder heaving hill would stare :
The blood that warms an English yeoman,

The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,

Through him the gale of life blew high ;
The tree of man was never quiet :

Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.
The gale, it plies the saplings double,

It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone :
To-day the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.

A. E. Housman.

139

A Prophecy

From Locksley Hall

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that

would be ; Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic

sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly

bales; Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd

a ghastly dew From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central

blue; Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind

rushing warm, With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the

thunderstorm; Till the war-drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle

flags were furld In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. ...

Tennyson, 1842.

140* On first looking into Chapman's

Homer

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ;

Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne ;

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He stared at the Pacific—and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmiseSilent, upon a peak in Darien.

Keats.

[blocks in formation]

QUINQUEREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,

With a cargo of ivory

And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus, Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores

With a cargo of diamonds,

Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Quinquereme) a ship with five banks of oarş.

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