Imágenes de páginas

like an endless tide.-The billows burst up the sides of the hills, which they turned into instant volcanoes, exploding volumes of smoke and fire; then plunged into the depths in a hundred glowing cataracts, then climb5 ed and consumed again. The distant sound of the city in her convulsion went to the soul. The air was filled with the steady roar of the advancing flame, the crash of falling houses, and the hideous outcry of the myriads flying through the streets, or surrounded and perishing 10 in the conflagration.******** All was clamor, violent struggle, and helpless death. Men and women of the highest rank were on foot, trampled by the rabble that had then lost all respect of conditions. One dense mass of miserable life, irresistible from its weight, crushed 15 by the narrow streets, and scorched by the flames over their heads, rolled through the gates like an endless stream of black lava. *





"The_fire had originally broken out upon the Palatine, and hot smokes that wrapped and half blinded us, 20 hung thick as night upon the wrecks of pavilions and palaces; but the dexterity and knowledge of my inexplicable guide carried us on. It was in vain that I insisted upon knowing the purpose of this terrible traverse. He pressed his hand on his heart in reassurance of his 25 fidelity, and still spurred on. We now passed under the

shade of an immense range of lofty buildings, whose gloomy and solid strength seemed to bid defiance to chance and time. A sudden yell appalled me. A ring of fire swept round its summit; burning cordage, sheets 30 of canvass, and a shower of all things combustible, flew into the air above our heads. An uproar followed, unlike all that I had ever heard, a hideous mixture of howls, shrieks and groans. The flames rolled down the narrow street before us, and made the passage next to 35 impossible. While we hesitated, a huge fragment of the building heaved, as if in an earthquake, and fortunately for us fell inwards. The whole scene of terror was then open. The great amphitheatre of Statilius Taurus had caught fire: the stage, with its inflammable furni40 ture, was intensely blazing below. The flames were wheeling up, circle above circle, through the seventythousand seats that rose from the ground to the roof. I stood in unspeakable awe and wonder on the side of this

colossal cavern, this mighty temple of the city of fire. At length a descending blast cleared away the smoke that covered the arena.-The cause of those horrid cries was now visible. The wild beasts kept for the games 45 had broken from their dens.-Maddened by affright

and pain, lions, tigers, panthers, wolves, whole herds of the monsters of India and Africa, were enclosed in an impassible barrier of fire. They bounded, they fought, they screamed, they tore; they ran howling round and 50 round the circle; they made desperate leaps upwards through the blaze; they were flung back, and fell only to fasten their fangs in each other, and, with their parching jaws bathed in blood, die raging. I looked anxiously to see whether any human being was involved 55 in this fearful catastrophe. To my great relief, I could see none. The keepers and attendants had obviously escaped. As I expressed my gladness, I was startled by a loud cry from my guide, the first sound that I had heard him utter. He pointed to the opposite side of the 60 amphitheatre. There indeed sat an object of melancho

ly interest; a man who had been either unable to escape, or had determined to die. Escape was now impossible. He sat in desperate calmness on his funeral pile. He was a gigantic Ethiopian slave, entirely naked. He 65 had chosen his place, as if in mockery, on the imperial throne; the fire was above him and around him; and under this tremendous canopy he gazed, without the movement of a muscle, on the combat of the wild beasts below; a solitary sovereign, with the whole tremendous 70 game played for himself, and inaccessible to the power of man.

[ocr errors]


The African Chief.-BRYANT.

1 Chained in the market place he stood,
A man of giant frame,

Amid the gathering multitude

That shrunk to hear his name,—
All stern of look and strong of limb,
His dark eye on the ground

And silently they gazed on him,
As on a lion bound.

2 Vainly, but well, that chief had fought He was a captive now;

Yet pride, that fortune humbles not,
Was written on his brow.

The scars his dark broad bosom wore
Showed warrior true and brave;
A prince among his tribe before,
He could not be a slave.

3 Then to his conqueror he spake-
(:) "My brother is a king;
Undo this necklace from my neck,
And take this bracelet ring.
And send me where my brother reigns,
And I will fill thy hands

With store of ivory from the plains,
And gold dust from the sands."

4 (=) "Not for thy ivory nor thy gold
Will I unbind thy chain;
That bloody hand shall never hold
The battle spear again.

A price thy nation never gave
Shall yet be paid for thee;
For thou shalt be the Christian's slave,
In lands beyond the sea."

5 (..) Then wept the warrior chief, and baae To shred his locks away;

And, one by one, each heavy braid

Before the victor lay.

Thick were the plaited locks, and long,
And deftly hidden there

Shone many a wedge of gold, among
The dark and crisped hair.

6 (<) "Look, feast thy greedy eye with gold Long kept for sorest need;

Take it (thou askest sums untold—)

And say that I am freed.

Take it--) my wife, the long, long day

Weeps by the cocoa tree,

And my young children leave their play,
And ask in vain for me.'


"I take thy gold-but I have made
Thy fetters fast and strong,
And mean that by the cocoa shade

Thy wife shall wait thee long."
Strong was the agony that shook

The captive's frame to hear,
And the proud meaning of his look
Was changed to mortal fear.

8 His heart was broken-crazed his brain,—
At once his eye grew wild,.
He struggled fiercely with his chain,
Whispered, and wept, and smiled;
Yet wore not long those fatal bands,
For once, at shut of day,
They drew him forth upon the sands,
The foul hyena's prey.


Riches of a Poor Barber.-EDINBurgh Paper.

Conscientious regard to the Sabbath, providentially rewarded.

In the city of Bath, during the last century, lived a barber, who made a practice of following his ordinary occupation on the Lord's day. As he was pursuing his morning's employment, he happened to look into some 5 place of worship, just as the minister was giving out his text, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." He listened long enough to be convinced that he was constantly breaking the laws of God and man, by shaving and dressing his customers on the Lord's day. He 10 became uneasy, and went with a heavy heart to his sabbath task. At length he took courage, and opened his mind to the minister, who advised him to give up sabbath dressing, and worship God. He replied, beggary would be the consequence. He had a flour15 ishing trade, but it would almost all be lost At length,

after many a sleepless night spent in weeping and praying, he was determined to cast all his care upon God, as the more he reflected the more his duty became apparent. He discontinued sabbath dressing, went constantly and 20 early to the public services of religion, and soon enjoyed that satisfaction of mind which is one of the rewards of doing our duty, and that peace of God which the world can neither give nor take away. The consequences he foresaw actually followed. His genteel customers left 25 him, and he was nicknamed a Puritan or Methodist. He was obliged to give up his fashionable shop, and in the course of years became so reduced, as to take a cellar under the old market-house, and shave the common people.


One Saturday evening, between light and dark, a stranger from one of the coaches, asking for a barber, was directed by the ostler, to the cellar opposite. Coming in hastily, he requested to be shaved quickly, while they changed horses, as he did not like to violate the Sabbath. 35 This was touching the barber on a tender chord.-He burst into tears-asked the stranger to lend him a halfpenny to buy a candle, as it was not light enough to shave him with safety. He did so, revolving in his mind the extreme poverty to which the poor man must 40 be reduced. When shaved, he said, "There must be something extraordinary in your history, which I have not now time to hear. Here is half a crown for you. When I return, I will call and investigate your case. What is your name?" "William Reed," said the as45 tonished barber. "William Reed!" echoed the stranger: "William Reed; by your dialect you are from the west?" Yes, sir! from Kingston, near__Taunton!" "William Reed, from Kingston, near Taunton! What was

your father's name?" "Thomas." "Had he any


50 brother?" "Yes, sir; one after whom I was named; but he went to the Indies, and as we never heard from him we supposed him to be dead.” "Come along, follow me," said the stranger, "I am going to see a person who says his name is William Reed, of Kingston, near Taun55 ton. Come and confront him. If you prove to be indeed he who you say you are, I have glorious news for you. Your uncle is dead, and has left an immense fortune, which I will put you in possession of, when all legal debts are removed."

« AnteriorContinuar »