Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

of informers. This, gentlemen, is another small fact that you are to deny at the hazard of your souls, and upon the solemnity of your oaths. You are, upon your oaths, to say to the sister country, that the government of Ireland uses no such abominable instruments of destruction as informers. Let me ask

you,

honestly, what do you feel when, in my hearing, when, in the face of this audience, you are called upon to give a verdict that every man of us, ay, and every man of you, know, by the testimony of your own eyes, to be utterly and absolutely false ?

I speak not now of the public proclamation for informers, with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward ; I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory; I speak of what your own eyes have seen, day after day, during the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting; the number of horrid miscreants who acknowledged, upon their oaths, that they had come from the seat of government, — from the very chambers of the Castle, where they had been worked upon, by the fear of death and the hope of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows ; that the mild, the wholesome, and merciful councils of this government are holden over these catacombs of living death, where the wretch, that is buried a man, lies till his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up- - a witness !

Is this a picture created by a hag-ridden fancy, or is it fact? Have you

not seen him, after his resurrection from that region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both ? Have you not marked, when he entered, how the stormy wave of the multitude retired at his approach ? Have you not seen how the human heart bowed to the

supremacy

of his

power, in the undissembled homage of deferential horror ? - how his glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the accused, and mark it for the grave, while his voice warned the devoted wretch of woe and death, - a death which no innocence can escape, no art elude, no force resist, no antidote prevent. There was an antidote – a juror's oath! but even that adamantine chain, that bound the integrity of man to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and molten in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth ; conscience swings from her inoorings, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim.

CURRAN.

Traverser, a term in law for one who traverses or opposes a plea or indictment.

PART THIRD. — THE CAMP.

I. —CATILINE TO HIS TROOPS.

scorn,

On many and great occasions, O soldiers ! I have known you brave and faithful; and now the greatest and noblest undertaking of all invites us. You are at last aware of my designs. Rome's rulers must be changed. The enterprise is bold, —ay, some may call it rash, and denounce me as Catiline the conspirator.

But my confidence in our venture increases daily, the more I reflect what our fate is likely to be if we do not vindicate our freedom by our own right hands.

What is the condition of the republic ? Under the dominion of a haughty few, to whom kings yield their tributes and principalities their profits, all the rest of the people, whether noble or ignoble, are regarded as the mere vulgar by these stern, uncompromising masters. Without influence, without authority, we, , who, under the commonwealth, should be to them a terror, are a

All honor, favor, power, wealth, are centered in them, and in those whom they approve; to us are left dangers, repulses, lawsuits, poverty !

How long will ye endure, O bravest of men, this ignominy? How long will ye submit to despots like these ? Were it not better to die bravely, than drag out a miserable and dishonored life, the sport of pride, the victims of disgrace? But, by the faith of gods and men, victory is now in our own grasp!

Our strength is unimpaired, our minds energetic; theirs, enfeebled by age, emasculated by riches. All that is needed is a bold beginning; the rest will follow of course.

What man of any spirit can sit tamely down and see these lordly proprietors reveling in superfluous wealth ; wealth which they squander in ransacking the sea, in leveling mountains, while to us the common necessaries of life are wanting? Behold them, each with two or more superb palaces, while we hardly know where to lay our heads. Why, fellow-soldiers, when they buy pictures, statues, basso-relievos, they destroy the old to make way for the new. In every possible way do they lavish the gold wrung from the hard hand of toil; and still their desires are unable to exhaust their

At home, we have only poverty; abroad, debts; present adversity — worse prospects. Is there indeed aught left us but our woe-stricken souls ?

What, then, fellow-soldiers, shall we do? What but that

means.

But we

which

you

have ever most desired! Liberty is before your eyes ; and liberty will soon bring riches, glory, renown. These are the rewards that Fortune holds out to the victors. The time, the place, our dangers, our wants, the splendid spoils of war, exhort you more than my words can do. As for myself, whether as a commander or a private soldier, make what use of me you will. Neither in soul nor in body will I be absent from your side; and you - you, I am persuaded, will prefer to command as rulers, rather than to obey as slaves. SALLUST (paraphrase from).

II. – ALEXANDER THE GREAT TO HIS MEN.

At length, fellow-soldiers, we enter on the last of our battles. How many regions have we traversed, looking forward to the victory which we must this day achieve! We have crossed the Gran'i-cus, we have climbed the ridges of Cilicia, we have passed through Syria and Egypt; our very entrance into a country has been the signal of victory; what more irresistible incitements could we have to confidence and glory? The Persian fugitives, overtaken, rally and attempt to make head against us, simply because they can not fly. This is the third day that they have stood under their loads of armor, fixed in one position, scarcely surviving their terrors.

What stronger proof of their desperate condition could they give than in burning their cities, and laying waste their fields ; thus acknowledging, in act, that whatever they cannot destroy must fall into our hands! We hear of unknown tribes that have joined them, — tribes with barbarous names. soldiers, their names are the most formidable part of them. But when were brave men scared by names? And how does it affect the fate of this contest to know who are Scythians, or who Cadusians ? Obscurity is the lot of the ignoble. Heroes do not dwell in oblivion. These unwarlike hordes, dragged from their dens and caves, bring into the field — their alarming names! Well, even in names we can beat them; for to such eminence in manly virtue have you arrived, that there is not a spot in the whole earth where the name of the Macedonians is not known and respected.

Observe the wretched appointments of these barbarians. Some have no weapon but a dart; others poise stones in a sling; few have proper

and efficient arms. There stands the larger mob here stands the stronger army!

Soldiers ! Intrepid sons of Macedonia! Your courage has

Be sure, CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.

107

been tried in many a well-fought field; nor do I ask you now to show once more that bravery which could defy all odds, unless you see me, Alexander, your general, fighting to the last gasp, in front of the banners! My scars I shall count as ornaments. What spoils we seize shall be bestowed in honoring and enriching yourselves. Did Alexander ever stint you of

your

share? Thus much to the brave. Should there be others here, - very few, if any, they must be, - let them consider, that, having advanced thus far, it is impossible for us to retreat. We must conquer— or we must perish. There is no alternative. Such is the extent of country to be retraced, so multiplied and difficult are the rivers and mountains obstructing return, so hostile the tribes in our way, that we can cut a passage to our native land and our household gods no otherwise than by the sword. Forward, then, Macedonians — forward to the field, and victory shall secure at once your glory and your safety!

QUINTUS CURTIUS (paraphrase from).

III. - CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

AT BALAKLAVA.

[ocr errors]

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward, all in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred. Charge !” was the captain's cry: theirs not to reason why; theirs not to make reply; theirs but to do and die ! Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them, volleyed and thundered. Stormed at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well; into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of Hell, rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabers bare, flashed all at once in air, sabering the gunners there, charging an army, while all the world wondered. Plunged in the battery smoke, fiercely the line they broke; strong was the saber-stroke, making an army reel, shaken and sundered. Then they rode back; but not — not the six hundred !

Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon behind them, volleyed and thundered; stormed at with shot and shell, they that had struck so well rode through the jaws of Death, half a league back again, up from the mouth of Hell, all that was left of them — ļeft of six hundred! When can their glory fade? O, the wild charge they made! - all the world wondered. Honor the charge they made — honor the Light Brigade! Noble șix hundred !

ALFRED TENNYSON.

IV.- ALASCO TO HIS COUNTRYMEN.

SOLDIERS, the chief, Malinski, has betrayed
His post, and fled. I would that every knave
He has left behind might strip the patriot cloak
And follow him. Such ruffian spirits taint
The cause of freedom. They repel its friends,
And so disfigure it by blood and violence,
That good men start, and tremble to embrace ite
But now, my friends, a sterner trial waits us :
Within yon castle's walls we sleep to-night,
Or die to-day before them. Let each man
Preserve the order of advance, and charge
As if he thought his individual sword
Could turn the scale of fate. String every heart
To valor's highest pitch ; — fight, and be free!
This is no common conflict, set on foot
For hireling hosts to ply the trade of war.
Ours is a noble quarrel. We contend
For what's most dear to man, wherever found -
Free or enslaved

- a savage, or a sage ;
The very life and being of our country.
'Tis ours to rescue from the oblivious grave,
Where tyrants have combined to bury them,
A gallant race, a nation, and her fame;
To gather up the fragments of our State,
And in its cold, dismembered body breathe
The living soul of empire. Such a cause
Might warm the torpid earth, put hearts in stones,
And stir the ashes of our ancestors,
Till from their tombs our warrior sires come forth,
Range on our side, and cheer us on to battle.
Strike, then, ye patriot spirits, for your country!
Fight, and be free !—for liberty and Poland.

SHEE,

V. - A BATTLE-SONG FOR FREEDOM.
MEN of action! men of might !
Stern defenders of the right!
Are you girded for the fight?
Have you marked and trenched the ground,
Where the din of arms must sound,
Ere the victor can be crowned ?

« ПредишнаНапред »