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Max. Hope treads but shadowy ground, at best
Pritcus. It is Max. A guess.
Julian. And yet, Priscus is right, I think:
And Hope has in the soul obscure allies—
Remorse, for evil acts; the dread of death;
Anticipativejoy, (though that, indeed,
Is Hope, more certain;) and as, Priscus says,
That inward langnishment of mind, which dreams
Of some remote and high accomplishment,
And pictures to our fancies perfect sights,
Sounds and delights celestial;—and, above all,
That feeling of a limitary power,
Which strikes and circumscribes the soul, and speaks
Dimly, but with a voice potential, of
Wonders beyond the world, etherial,
Starry, and pure, and sweet, and never ending.
I cannot think that the great Mind of man,
With its accumulated wisdoms too,
Must perish; why, the words he utters live;
And is the Spirit which gives birth to things
Below its own creations? Who is there?
[An Officer enters.'}
Off My Lord, the commander Nevitta asks An audience.
Julian. Bid him come. I have not seen
Our friend (how is it ?) Anatolius here.
Your hand, my good Nevitta: Well! you see
We beat the Persian bravely to his camp;
You'll tell 'em yet, at home, how well they ride
In Syria, when we spur their horses on.
Indeed—but where is Anatolius ?—Gods 1
Come near Nevitta.
Nevit. He hath given to me—
Julian. Then he is dead. Great Minos 1 judge him kindly. He was the bravest soldier.
Nevit. He is gone
Before us, my dear Lord. He had a task,
Which I have sworn to do.
Julian. Friend I many thanks.
I'll look for thee hereafter, as for one
Who did me noble service. Maximus,
Julian. Anatolius—an old friend:
Our fellow soldier; nay, he was to me,
A tutor in the art of war. In youth,
I fought beneath him; after as his fellow;
And last his king. He had great courage, Sirs;
I saw him strike a bounding lion once,
When taller men fled trembling. He fought well
At Anatho, and Anbar, and in Gaul,
And Germany, and Maogamalcha, when
We wash'd ourselves in blood. Old Sapor now
May sun him boldly on his parched plains.
Yet pardon, good Nevitta: thou art brave,
As warrior may be—oh I and many others.
Let it be Anatolius' perfect praise
To say he well became his titles,—well;
And died like a Roman soldier.
Nevit. I rejoice
To see you better, noble Lord.
Julian. I am.
The pains are gone, Nevitta, and I pass
Pleasantly on: the road leads to the skies,
And mine's a summer's journey.—Who are they
That wait without ? methought I heard a sound
Like murmurs! I would fain depart at least
With my friends' smiles around. Oh! let me have
No wailing voices to disturb my sleep;
No ghosts of injured men to come and shriek
Perdition in my ears, and bar me from
Nevit. Your soldiers ask
To see once more their Emperor.
Max. They cannot.
Julian. Bid them come in—I thank you, Maxhnus,
For your kind care, but it will soothe my heart
To look upon my soldiers once again.
There's little time to spare, and I would fain
Say a few words at parting.
[nevitta calls the Soldiers in.'}
Max. They are here.
Julian. Welcome, my friends. Ah I raise me higher: thanks. Give me a moment for recovery. (J pause.)
And fellow soldiers, the good season of
My death is now at hand, and 1 discharge
(As doth a ready debtor) every claim
Great nature makes ; for I have long been taught
By lessons of divine philosophy
How much the soul is better than the clay
That holds it, and that man should more rejoice
Than grieve, when separates the noble part;And from religion I have learn'd, that death
Early is proof the Gods do love us welL
I have sought ever your happiness; firm peace
Was my first aim, but when my country's voice
Did summon me to arms, I bared my heart
To war and all its dangers, knowing (for
I could divine my fate) that 1 must die
* These are nearly the words of Julian.
In battle.—Now unto great Jove I offer
My thanks for that he hath saved me from disease,
False friends, and the darts of foul conspirators.
He gave me a career of glory, and now
An honourable end : thus much I've tried
To say: but my strength fails me, and I feel
Death is at hand. Choose for yourselves, my friends.
Another emperor now : the one who sheds
His blessing on ye, is about to pass
Unto the stars.
Sold. Alas, Alas!
Julian, Weep not.
Oh! my good Soldiers, weep not. You have been
All that your king has ever wish'd—till now.
Oh! you unman me; let us say farewell
Before we stain our cheeks with too much tears.
Yet—I've a few bequests. I love ye all
Alike; but there are some (a few) to whom
The chances of the war have made me debtor.
Sold. My Lord.
Julian. Come hither, my good Marcus.
—Now by the God of battle, I shall weep,
And shame my death at once, if thus you play
The girl before me. Will you then betray
Your emperor, now so many eyes look on?
Sold. Oh! my dear Master.
Julian. Marcus, you have laid A weight of gratitude upon my soul, Which it can ne'er shake off: yet be content Old Marcus, that I now, in this great hour, Proclaim thee my good servant—Look! this chain Hath hung about me like an amulet, For many seasons. Wear it near thy heart, As the last gift of Julian. So, farewell. Fabricius you have done your part to-day, (And through the Persian war,) like a true soldier. Live henceforth a centurion. Here is gold For thee, and never in the after times Forget to interpose thy shield between A hot barbarian and thy living King: So hast thou done t',-day. Before ye all I speak this of Fabricius: love him for it. Farewell, centurion. Now, come hither, youth. What is your name?Sold. 'Tis Julian, my great Lord. Julian. So then; my namesake. I am proud of you. Soldiers and friends, be sure, when I am gone, You shelter this young blossom of the war. Although he looks like Hylas, he can lift A spear like Mars. To-day I saw him strike A Persian to the ground, of twice his years;
A giant fellow, who perhaps had else
Trampled me down (for I was bleeding'fast,)
And sav'd me so much talking—Ah!—
Prisons. You're pale.
Come, bid the men farewell. Nay—
Julian. I believe
It must indeed be so. Farewell, my friends,
(Allfriends and noble soldiers,) fare ye well.
May the Gods smile on ye, and victory
Sit on your swords for ever. So, farewell. (Soldiers go out.)
Prisons and Maximus, is it not strange
That I who but last evening ,"nay, by Mars,
This very morn) was checked for my sad.talk
By Anatolius, in a few short hours
Should, in my turn, stifle the words of grief
Max. So it is. The mind is full
Of curious changes that perplex itself;
Just like the visible world; and the heart ebbs
Like the great sea; first flows, and then retires,
And on the passions doth the spirit ride,
Thro' sunshine and in rain, from good to ill,
Then to deep vice, and so on back to virtue;
Till in the grave, that universal calm,
We sleep the sleep eternal.
Julian. You have not
The wish to live hereafter, Maximus;
Or you would feel how poor to the Soul's eye
Are these our earthly joys. If Death were sleep,
Why should we dread to sleep, who often court
A noon-day's slumber, and who bless the power
That gently on our eyelids lays his touch,
In times of fever, tumult, grief, or pain?
Oh 1 is it thus that ye would bid me think,
Now I am going from ye?—Mighty Jove!
I do beseech thee; and thee, valiant Mars,
My guardian God; look from your burning thrones
Upon the fainting soul of Julian.
Have I not loved and worshipped ye, and turned
From other altars to bow down to yours,
And will ye now desert me? I do ask,
Now as I die, a word (I ask but one
For all that I have done) to tell the world
My faith was good. I ask ye—shall the grave
Clasp us for ever in its chilling arms—
And are the stories of hereafter, fables?
Are there not pleasures and consuming pains,
Endless or limited, for good and ill—
And dreams—enchantments for the eye and ear
Of all who earn the rare Elysium?
And haunted Styx, where disembodied shapes
Wander; and Tartarus, that profounder gloom,
Filled up with wretches who were their own slaves,—
And Fate, and dark Alecto and her train,
And Death, and Rhadamanthus, mighty judge, And the most drear dominion of the dead
O! speak a word, a glance, a gleam to show me
The world to come.— They sleep, or answer not.
And yet will they move from their mighty rest, To hearken to my frail petitioning?
I cannot hope it Priscus, Maximus— Farewell; I faint: My tongue is withered up. It clings against my mouth. Some air—air. Ah!This is death, Priscus. Oh! How like a child A Soldier sinks before him. Jove I (Dies.)
Max. He faints.
Priscus. He does indeed, for ever: his last breath la mingled with the winds.
Rivea! River! little River!
Bright you sparkle on your way,
OVr the yellow peehles dancing,
Through the flowers and foliage glancing,
Like a child at play.
River! River! swelling River!
On you rush o'er rough and smooth—
Louder, faster, brawling, leaping
Over rocks, by rose-banks sweeping,
Like impetuous youth.
River! River! brimming River!
Broad and deep and still as Time,
Seeming still—yet still in motion,
Tending onward to the ocean, Just like mortal prime.
River! River! rapid River!
Swifter now you slip away;
Swift and silent as an arrow,
Through a channel dark and narrow.
Like life's closing day.
River! River! headlong River!
Down you dash into the sea;
Sea, that line hath never sounded,
Sea, that voyage hath never rounded,