Sivut kuvina

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.

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Creation's heir!-the first, the last,

That knew the world his own ;-
Yet stood he 'mid his kingdom vast,
A fugitive-o'erthrown!

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.

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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 ;-

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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.

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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.

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