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EXERCISE 86.

The Roman Soldier ;-Last days of Herculaneum.

ATHERSTONE.

Part I.

There was a man,
A Roman Soldier, for some daring deed
That trespassed on the laws, in dungeon low

Chained down. His was a noble spirit, rough, 5 But génerous, and bráve, and kind.

He had a son, it was a rosy boy,
A little faithful copy of his sire
In face and gesture. From infancy the child

Had been his father's solace and his care. *10

Every sport
The father shared and heightened. But at length
The rigorous law had grasped him, and condemned
To fetters and to darkness.

The captive's lot 15 He felt in all its bitterness:-the walls

Of his deep dungeon answered many a sigh
And heart-heaved groan. His tale was known, and

touched
His jailer with compassion;--and the boy,
20 Thenceforth a frequent visitor, beguiled

His father's lingering hours, and brought a balm
With his loved presence that in every wound
Dropt healing. But in this terriffic höūr

He was 'a poisoned arrow in the breast 25 Where he had been a cure.

With earliest morn,
Of that first day of darkness and amaze,
He came.

The iron door was closed,—for them
Never to open more! The day, the night,
30 Dragged slowly by; nor did they know the-fate

Impending o'er the city. Well they heard
The pent-up thunders in the earth beneath,
And felt its giddy rocking; and the air

Grew hòt at length, and thick; but in his straw 35 The boy was sleeping: and the father hoped

The earthquake might pass by; nor would he wake
From his sound rest the unfearing child, nor tell
The dangers of their state. (.). On his low couch

The fettered soldier sunk—and with deep awe
40 Listened the fearful sounds:—with upturned eye

To the great göds he breathed a prayer;-then strove
To calm himself, and lose in sleep awhile
His useless terrors. But he could not sleep:

His body bùrned with feverish heat;-his chains 45 Clanked lòud although he moved not: deep in earth

Groaned unimaginable thùnders:-sounds,
Fearful and ominous, aróse and died,
Like the sad moanings of November's wind,

In the blank midnight. (..) Deepest horror chilled 50 His blood that burned before;—cold clāmmy sweats

Came o'er him:-(=) then anon a fiery thrill
Shot through his veins. Now on his couch he shrunk,
And shivered as in fear:-now upright leaped,

As though he heard the battle trumpet sound, 55 And longed to cope with death.

He slept at last,
A troubled, dreamy sleep. Well, -had he slept
Never to waken more! His hours are few,
But terrible his agony.

PART II.

Soon the storm
Bùrst forth: the lightnings glànced:—the air
Shòok with the thunders. They awoke; they sprung

Amazed upon their feet. The dungeon glowed 5 A moment as in sunshine,-and was dark:

Again a flood of white flame fills the cell;
Dying away upon the dazzled eye
In darkening, quivering tints, as stunning sound

Dies throbbing, ringing in the ear. Silence, 10 And blackest darkness.-With intensest awe

The soldier's frame was filled; and many a thought
Of strange foreboding hurried through his mind,
As underneath he felt the fevered earth

Járring and lifting and the massive walls
15 Heard harshly grate and stràin :-yet knew he not,
While evils undefined and yet to come

Glanced through his thoughts, what deep and cureless

wound Fate had already given.- Where, man of wo! 20 Where wretched father! is thy boy? Thou callest

His name in vain:-he cannot answer thee.

Loudly the father called upon his child:-
No voice replied. Trembling and anxiously

He searched their couch of straw:-with headlong haste 25 Trod round his stinted limits, and, low bent,

Groped darkling on the earth :-no child was there.
Again he called:-again, at farthest stretch
Of his accursed fetters,—till the blood

Seemed bursting from his ears, and from his eyes 30 Fire flashed,-he strained with arm extended far,

And fingers widely spread, greedy to touch
Though but his idol's garment. Useless toil!
Yet still renewed:--still round and round he goes,

And strains, and snatches,—and with dreadful cries 35 Càlls on his boy. Mad frenzy fires him now:

He plants against the wall his feet;—his chain
Gràsps;-tugs with giant strength to force away
The deep-driven staple;-yells and shrieks with rage.

And, like a desert lion in the snare
40 Raging to break his toils,—to and fro bounds.

But sèe! the ground is opening :-a blue light
Mounts, gently waving, -noiseless:—thin and cold
It seems, and like a rainbow tint, not Aăme;

But by its lustré, on the earth outstretched,
45 Behold the lifeless child!-his dress is singed,

And o'er his face serene a darken'd line
Points out the lightning's track.

The father saw,
And all his fury fled:-

:-a dead calm fell
50 That instant on him:-speechless, fixed he stood,

And with a look that never wandered, gazed
Intensely on the corse.

Those laughing eyes
Were not yet closed, -and round those ruby lips
The wonted smile returned.

55

Silent and pale
The father stands:-no tear is in his eye:
The thunders below but he hears them nót:-

The ground lifts like a sea: he knows it nót:

The strong walls grind and gāpe:-the vaulted roof 60 Takes shapes like bubble tossing in the wind:

See! he looks up and smiles ;-for death to him
Is happiness. Yet could one last embrace
Be given, 'twere still a sweeter thing to die.

It will be given. Look! how the rolling ground, 65 At every swell, nearer and still more near

Moves towards the father's outstretched arm his boy :-
Once he has touched his garment;-how his eye
Lightens with love—and hope-and anxious fears!

Ha! see! he has him now!-he clasps him round70 Kisses his face;-puts back the curling locks, That shaded his fine brow:-looks in his

eyesGrasps in his own those little dimpled handsThen folds him to his breast, as he was wont

To lie when sleeping-and resigned awaits 75 Undreaded death.

And death came soon, and swift, And pangless.

The huge pile sunk down at once Into the opening earth. (..) Walls—arches-roof, 80 And deep foundation stones—all.. mingling .. fell!

EXERCISE 87.

The Orphan Boy.Mrs. OPIE.
1 Stay, lady-stay, for mercy's sake,

And hear a helpless orphan's tale:
Ah, sure my looks must pity wake

'Tis want that makes my cheek so pale!
Yet I was once a mother's pride,

And my brave father's hope and joy:
But in the Nile's proud fight he died

And I am now an orphan boy!
2 Poor, foolish child! how pleased was I

When news of Nelson's victory care,
Along the crowded streets to fly,

To see the lighted windows flame!
To force me home my mother sought-

She could not bear to see my joy!
For with my father's life 'twas bought-

And made me a poor orphan boy!
3 The people's shouts were long and loud!

My mother, shuddering, closed her ears;
Rejoice! rejoice!” still cried the crowd

My mother answered with her tears!
“Oh! why do tears steal down your cheeks,'

Cried I, “ while others shout for joy!"
She kissed me, and in accents weak,

She called me her poor orphan boy!
4. “What is an orphan boy?” I said;

When suddenly she gasped for breath,
And her eyes closed; I shrieked for aid:-

But, ah! her eyes were closed in death!
My hardships since I will not tell:

But now no more a parent's joy;
Ah! lady, I have learned too well

What 'tis to be an orphan boy.

EXERCISE 88.

Christian Consolation.—ANONYMOUS [The annexed

feeling, and beautiful lines are said to have been written by a young English lady, who had experienced much affliction.] 1 Jesus—I my cross have taken,

All to leave, and follow thee,
Naked, poor, despised, forsaken-

Thou, from hence, my all shalt be!
Perished every fond ambition

All I've sought, or hoped, or known,
Yet how rich is my condition-
God and heaven are all my

own!
2 Go, then, earthly fame and treasure-

Come disaster, scorn, and pain;
In thy service, pain is pleasure,

With thy favor, loss is gain;
I have called thee Abba Father

I have set my heart on thee;

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