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One word, but one, and thou may'st stay ;-
Firm spirit, wilt thou turn away?
A dull deep pause-that hush of breath
Which speaks anticipated death,
One still, stern look from him,—
A look, that tells of spotless fame,
Of strength for suffering, not for shame,
Resolve, no grief must dim;-
This-and the Roman all would save,
Departs, self-martyred, for the grave!
46. THE SPIDER AND THE BEE.-Anonymous.
With viscous thread, and finger fine,
The spider spun his filmy line;
The extremes with stronger cordage tied.
And wrought the web from side to side.
Beneath the casement's pendant roof,
He hung aloft the shadowy woof:-
There in the midst compressed he lies,
And patient waits the expected prize.
When, lo! on sounding pinion strong,
A bee, incautious, rushed along;
Nor of the gauzy net aware,
Till all entangled in the snare.
Enraged, he plies his buzzing wings,
His far-resounding war-song sings;
Tears all that would his course control,
And threatens ruin to the whole.
With dread, with gladness, with surprise,
The spider saw the dangerous prize;
Then rushed relentless on his foe,
Intent to give the deadly blow.
But as the spider came in view,
The bee his poisoned dagger drew;-
Back at the sight the spider ran,-
And now his crafty work began.
With lengthened arms the snares he plied,
He turned the bee from side to side;
His legs he tied, his wings he bound,
And whirled his victim round and round.
And now with cautious steps and slow,
He came to give the fatal blow;
When, frightened at the trenchant blade,
The bee one desperate effort made.
The fabric breaks-the cords give way;
His wings resume their wonted play;
Far off on gladsome plume he flies,
And drags the spider through the skies.
Shun vice's snares;-but if you're caught,
Boldly resist, and parley not:
Then, though your foe you cannot kill,
You'll lead him captive where you will.
47. THE FIRST WANDERER.-Jewsbury,
Creation's heir!-the first, the last,
That knew the world his own ;-
Yet stood he 'mid his kingdom vast,
Faded and frail his glorious form,
And changed his soul within,
Whilst fear, and sorrow, strife, and storm,
Told the dark secret-sin!
Unaided and alone on earth,
He bade the heavens give ear ;-
But every star that sang his birth,
Kept silence in its sphere;
He saw, round Eden's distant steep,
Angelic legions stray ;-
Alas! he knew them sent to keep
His guilty foot away.
Then, reckless, turned he to his own,
The world before him spread;—
But nature's was an altered tone,.
And breathed rebuke and dread:
Fierce thunder-peal, and rocking gale,
Answered the storm-swept sea,—
Whilst crashing forests joined the wail;
And all said "Cursed for thee."
This, spoke the lion's prowling roar,
And this, the victim's cry;
This, written in defenseless gore,
For ever met his eye:
And not alone each sterner power,
Proclaimed just heaven's decree,-
The faded leaf, the dying flower,
Alike said "Cursed for thee."
Though mortal, doomed to many a length
Of life's now narrow span,
Sons rose around in pride and strength;-
They too proclaimed the ban.
'Twas heard, amid their hostile spears,
Seen, in the murderer's doom;
Breathed, from the widow's silent tears,
Felt, in the infant's tomb.
Ask not the wanderer's after-fate,
His being, birth, or name,—
Enough that all have shared his state,
That Man is still the same.
Still, brier and thorn his life o'ergrow,
Still, strives his soul within;
Whilst care, and pain, and sorrow show
The same dark secret-sin.
Before proud Rome's imperial throne;
In mind's unconquered mood,
As if the triumph were his own,
The dauntless captive stood:
None, to have seen his freeborn air,
Had fancied him a prisoner there.
Though through the crowded streets of Rome,
With slow and stately tread,
Far from his own loved island-home
That day in triumph led,—
Unbowed his head, unbent his knee,
Undimmed his eye, his aspect free.
A free and fearless glance he cast
On temple, arch, and tower,
By which the long procession passed
Of Rome's victorious power;
And somewhat of a scornful smile
Upcurled his haughty lip the while.
And now he stood, with brow serene,
Where slaves might prostrate fall;
Bearing a Briton's manly mien
In Cæsar's palace-hall;
Claiming, with kindling brow and cheek,
The privilege even there to speak.
Nor could Rome's haughty lord withstand
The claim that look preferred;
But motioned, with uplifted hand,
The suppliant should be heard,-
If he, indeed, a suppliant were,
Whose glance demanded audience there.
Deep stillness fell on all the crowd,
From Claudius on his throne,
Down to the meanest slave that bowed
At his imperial tone;
Silent his fellow-captives' grief,
As fearless spoke the island chief :
"Think not, thou eagle lord of Rome,
And master of the world,
Though victory's banner o'er thy dome
In triumph now is furled,
I would address thee as thy slave,-
But as the bold should greet the brave.
"I might, perchance, could I have deigned
To hold a vassal's throne,
Even now in Britain's isle have reigned
A king, in name alone :-
Yet holding, as thy meek ally,
A monarch's mimic pageantry.
"Then through Rome's crowded streets this day,
I might have rode with thee;
Not in a captive's base array,
But fetterless and free ;
If freedom he could hope to find
Whose bondage is of heart and mind.
"But canst thou marvel that,-freeborn,
With heart and hope unquelled,
Throne, crown, and sceptre I should scorn,
By thy permission held?
Or that I should retain my right,
"Till wrested by a conqueror's might?
"Rome, with her palaces, and towers,
By us unwished, unreft,
Her homely huts, and woodland bowers,
To Britain might have left ;-
Worthless to you their wealth must be,
But dear to us-for they were free!
"I might have bowed before, but where
Had been thy triumph now?
To my resolve no yoke to bear
Thou owest thy laureled brow;
Inglorious victory had been thine,
And more inglorious bondage mine.
He ceased. From all around upsprung
A murmur of applause;
For well had truth and freedom's tongue
Maintained their holy cause:
The conqueror was their captive then;
-He bade the slave be free again.