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And in the nights of winter,
When the cold north winds blow,
Is heard amidst the snow;
Roars loud the tempest's din,
Roar louder yet within ;
And the largest lamp is lit;
And the kid turns on the spit;
Around the firebrands close;
And the lads are shaping bows;
And trims his helmet's plume;
Goes flashing through the loom;
Still is the story told,
In the brave days of old.-MACAULAY.
THE BATTLE OF MARATHON AND ITS RESULTS. In the month of September, B.C. 490, an army of more than 100,000 Persians, and their subjects had landed on the plains of Marathon, near 'Athens, for the avowed purpose of burning the Grecian cities, and of taking the inhabitants back in chains. To oppose this great host, 10,000 Athenians and 1,000 Plateans only could be mustered at the time. What also made the contest stiil more unequal, was the prestige which the Medo-Persian armies had acquired : for'on account of their rapid and unchecked conquests, they were deemed invincible. Moreover, there was the fear of traitors in Athens itself, who intended to facilitate the Persian attack. On this sea-girt plain, then, where
“The mountains look on Marathon,
lay the great Persian host, gathered from the six-and-forty nations, which had come at the great king's command from the banks of the Indus to the roots of the Caucasus. Opposite this fearful array, on the green slope of their native hill, and nestling under the crags of Pentelicus, stood the scanty band of Grecians. But a common spirit of devotion pervaded the whole, and three master spirits were among their leaders. The first of these was Miltiades, who, at the time, was the head of the army. The others were Aristides and Themistocles, two young leaders of the rising generation, who communicated their enthusiasm to all around. Moreover, there was present another youth of splendid talent, who was afterwards distinguished as the great poet Eschylus, and he took part in a scene so eminently calculated to awaken all his loftiest powers and deepest feelings. The greater part of the day had passed before the Grecian sacritices allowed Miltiades to give the signal for the onset, and before the stillness was broken by the loud war-cry announcing to the Persian army that the battle had begun. In an instant they saw not the usual preliminary shower of darts and arrows, but the sight-hitherto unexampled in Grecian warfare,—of the Athenian forces running at full speed down the declivity on which they had been arrayed, and charging at once the two wings and centre of the enormous host. It was but a mile which parted them, and before the Persian ranks had recovered from their
amazement, their wings were completely routed by the onslaught. A complete victory, however, was not at first gained, for the greatest and most desperate struggle took place in the centre, which was composed of the flower of the Persian army. Here the Athenians were for the time-not only repulsed--but driven up the hill, until they were re-joined and ultimately delivered by their victorious comrades, who-with true Grecian self-control-had checked themselves in the full flush of their almost miraculous success.
"The flying Mede-his shaftless broken bow;
So ended what may be called the birth-day of Athenian greatness. It stood alone in their annals. Other glories, numerous and great, were won in after times, but none approaching that of Marathon in importance. There the Greeks first learnt the strength of freedom and national enthusiasm, and the inherent weakness of the most numerous hosts of despotism, destitute of a genuine national spirit. This victory paved the way for the triumphs of Thermopylæ and Salamis, of Platea, Mycale, and the Eurymedon, and even for the brilliant career of Alexander the Great. It not only enabled the Greeks--and especially the Athenians—to commence a brilliant and unparalleled career in art, science, literature and philosophy; but had an undoubted and most beneficial effect on modern European History.
“On the Egean sea a city rose,
Adapted from the Quarterly Review.
THE ANCIENT GREEKS.
There was a fountain of fresh and youthful energy in the ancient Greeks, who were the first to open to posterity a world entirely new, which was that of the human mind in the free development of its native powers. Their festivals, songs, and poetry, seemed to celebrate in a perpetual hymn, the liberation of man from thraldom. Their religion was a personification or deification of the human faculties and affections, as well as of the energies of nature. The brow of Olympus presented the animated spectacle of an assembly of superior beings, with human feelings, independent and presided over by the conqueror of the elder gods of nature. Moreover, under the form of gods, goddesses, or nymphs, the forces of nature were endowed with all the affections, and subject to all the weaknesses of common mortals. This belief had unquestionably a most important influence over the character and history of the Greeks.
The recognition of individual liberty produced such an impulse on this gifted race, that a comparatively short time sufficed them for the most brilliant and unequalled achievements of the human mind. Among them all the flowers of genius bloomed together; and their poets, architects, sculptors, historians, and philosophers, have been guides and models to all subsequent ages.
They were the most remarkable people that ever existed, and the interest of their history is unexhausted and inexhaustible. They were the beginners of nearly everything-except Christianity-of which the modern world makes its boast. So far as is known to us, they alone among nations, emerged from barbarism by their own efforts. If with them, as in all antiquity, slavery existed as an institution, they were not the less the originators of political freedom. If their discords, jealousies, and wars between city and city, caused the ruin of their national independence, yet the arts of war and government, which arose from these contests, made them the first who broke down those barriers of petty nationality which were so fatal to themselves; and-by making Greek ideas and language common to large regions of the earth-commenced that general fusion of races and nations, which (followed up by the Romans) prepared the way for the cosmopolitism of modern times.
Adapted from the Edinburgh Review.
Clime of the unforgotten brave !
Bear witness, Greece, thy living page,
THE ANCIENT ROMANS.
There is something solemn and evidently providential in the unbroken advance, and ultimately boundless dominion of Rome. _She held with an iron grasp the continents of Europe and the East; her military chain spread with unbroken links from Lebanon to Gaul, and from the Caspian to the Nile; her wealth and arts had called into being thousands of cities, no mean imitations of her own greatness; her institutions had diffused a universal repose, and the energy of government was exercised with a rapidity and precision never surpassed. The durability of her greatness was in proportion to the slowness of its growth and the solidity of its materials. Twelve centuries elapsed from the origin of Rome to its capture by the barbarians; and it required ten centuries more of corruption and decline to extinguish the brilliant empire of the East which had been regenerated by the genius of Constantine, in the matchless situation of Byzantium.
The predominant feeling left on the mind after reading the history of Rome, is that she was pre-eminently skilled in the arts of conquest; and in establishing durable political ties, among the diversified nations under her sway, so as to comprise them all in one grand social net-work, which prepared the way for the subsequent spread of Christianity. But the history of the Romans also shows that they were a stern, relentless, and unfeeling people. Whilst there was a grandeur about all their public works, temples, baths, roads, aqueducts, sewers, defensive walls, and public arenas, in their private and social qualities there was little to admire. One half the population was in bondage; and their public amusements, modes of punishment, and treatment of captives, were generally cruel and barbarous.
Adapted from Chambers's History of Rom
THE DYING GLADIATOR.
The arena swims around him-he is gone,
He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes
All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire,
Whose agonies are evils of a day!-
The Niobe of nations! there she stands,
The Goth, the Christian, time, war, flood, and fire,
“here was, or is,” where all is doubly night?