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He whom Rome's fairest courted for their own,
Whom Galatea, sporting in the shade,
Hit with the golden fruit, while Flavia bent
The haughty pride of her patrician lips
In becks and smiles, and Domitilla fair,
In wild unwisdom, went with prayers and gold
To swarth Chaldæan sage and Marsian witch
For spells and love-charms. Yet they all were vain,
The smiles, the spells, the power of ancient name:
He chose the maid of Britain. Whispers ran
Among his old companions, and they laughed
The evil laugh that speaks of evil heart;
They pelted him with epigram and jest ;
But even they were somewhat held in check,
In awe of that great purity which beamed
From Claudia's presence. Martial's licensed tongue
Found in her that which silenced scurril jest,
And woke faint pulses of the nobler heart,
The little life the canker had not killed :
And when the scourge of pleasant sins smote sore,
And he lay writhing in the grasp of pain
On fevered couch, he turned with piteous cry
To Pudens, as the one true friend of friends.
All jesting then was over; gibe and scoff,
Thrown back in answer to the kind reproof,
Were heard no more; but moans, and groans, and sighs,-
Come to me, friend; come, see me ere I die!'
And Pudens did not fail him ; cooled the brow
That burnt with fever's torment, and stood by
Till all was over, and his soul passed on

In twilight to the judgment.” This last particular belongs to the verisimilia only. The gibe and scoff thrown back in answer to the kind reproof” may well refer to vii. 11; but we know not of any hint in the Epigrams that their author thus sent for his former friend and critic at the last. Here, however, we speak with diffidence, for it is quite possible that the Professor's keenness may have found such an indication.

The story is happily put into the lips of Eubulus (see again 2 Tim. vi. 21), introduced as a Christian freedman of Pudens, and identified with the Encolpus (Mr. Plumtre writes Eucolpus) of Martial, i. 32, v. 48. We greatly admire the original and felicitous turn which the Professor has given to the fact of the servant's shaven crown. Let our readers who have the opportunity compare Martial's two epigrams, which Dean Alford somewhat unfairly describes as involving Pudens in the revolting moral license of the day.

“ And Martial, he made merry with it all,

Called me Eucolpus, bosom friend and true,
Instead of trusty slave; and once, when I
(Pudens being smitten with the fever's touch),

In new-born zeal of anxious faith and fear,
Took on my head the Nazarite's holiness,
He, with glib tongue and ready thought of ill,
Made sport of me, as though I still had lived
As others lived, and to Apollo made
My offering of the golden locks of youth."

The whole story, indeed, from theconversion of Pudens, supposed to have been through the agency of St. Paul, to the early death of Claudia and the long-subsequent martyrdom of her husband, is delicately conceived, and finely told.

Mrs. Prideaux's poem of “Claudia" is far longer and more elaborate; and, for vigour and descriptive beauty, claims a high place among the poetry of the day. The story of the British maiden is artistically connected with that of her fatherland ; her conversion being indirectly a means of its evangelization. No longer, however, do we hear of Cogidunus, and his protection by the Roman power. Mrs. Prideaux inclines to the older notion, that the British princess was of the house of Caractacus; not, however, his daughter, as some of the older English writers held, but his niece, child of his brother Owain. In the days when the power of Caractacus was still unbroken, Claudia, then a child, had been kidnapped in a sudden incursion of Roman soldiers into Western Britain, and carried to the imperial city, where we find her in ignorance of her parentage, the reputed daughter of Pomponia. The name " Claudia,” bespeaks no relationship to the great Roman gens, but is simply (as we understand the poem to intimate) the corruption of “Gladys,” the name which Owain, the Silurian prince, and his consort, Guendolen, had given to their child.

Between the capture of Gladys and the opening of the story, the final unsuccessful stand of the Silures against the power of Rome has been made. Caractacus, i.e., Caradoc, and his family, including his father Brân, are prisoners in Rome. Through the intervention of Julius, an aged Christian Hebrew, Claudia's instructor in the faith, Brân is introduced to his unknown grandchild, in an interview sought by the latter to apprise Julius of an intention, accidentally brought to her knowledge at the table of Plautius, to massacre all the Jews in Rome. This determines Julius to flight; he apprises his brethren of the intended slaughter; and, for a time, is sheltered in the house of Aristobulus, a descendant of the Maccabees. Here he is joined by Brân, who, with Aristobulus, embraces the Christian faith.

But, in parting from Julius, Claudia, who had become aware of her British descent, had addressed to him an earnest entreaty;-

Grant it as thou would'st grant it, were it made
By dying lips, sealed by beseeching looks
In dying eyes. Thou knowest I was born
In Britain : doubtless of the British race.
I treasure many a dim remembrance still
Of fair green meadows, russet forest-paths,
And cooler skies than these ; and looks of love
That hung above my cradle, ere I dwelt
With Plautius and Pomponia in the camp.
Voices and visions haunt me in the nigbt,
Re-echoed from some far-off place and time.
My heart is bound so close to that dear land,
That all her woes are mine, and make me feel
As if my mother wept and cried to me,
Calling across the melancholy seas.
But I–I cannot answer or return.
Wilt thou not go, my father ? When thou camest
From Lydia's shore, thy course was like the sun
From east to west; and now, that thou art driven
From hence, be like the gracious sun once more.
Still further westward bear the blessed light,
Even to the islands of the utmost sea,-
To Britain."

In fulfilment of this entreaty, Julius and Aristobulus, the Christian sage and the fervent Maccabee, take their departure for Britain, and so become its earliest, or among its earliest, evangelists. The thought is at least a happy one. It is, of course, suggested by the old Wesh tradition that the Gospel was brought to our shores by Ilid and Arwystli, which may well have been Cymric renderings of the two Latin names.

The landing of the voyagers is well described

" As Julius gazed, he grew
Silent with many thoughts amidst the hum
Of eager voices. For as one by one
The features of the land revealed themselves,
He travelled back a thousand storied years,
And saw the splendid king, king Solomon,
On Israel's throne. He saw the ships of Tyre
Cross the Great Sea, and thread the pillared straits,
And plunging thence athwart the unknown deeps
That wash the utmost border of the world,
Turn their bold prows to face the stormy North,
Seeking the metals of these distant isles
Wherewith to deck the Temple. There his thought
Dwelt for a moment, ere with swift recoil,
Like a spent wave, it swallowed up itself
In musings on the miserable change
Since those proud times. And then, as a white cliff
Gleamed from a sombre headland, swathed in mist,
A thrill ran through him, and a passing flush
Kindled the worn lines of his thoughtful face :
For in that snow-white cliff his fancy found

Claudia, all clad in pureness; in its feet
Fast rooted in the waves, her lonely faith
Standing in no calm waters like to these,
But in an ever-seething, stormy sea
Of fierce temptation; yet still building up
A rampart of inviolable prayers
Around her fellows and the land she loved."

One leading object of the poem seems to be, to present the different aspects of primitive evangelism, as modified by the various characters and mental habitudes both of the teachers and the taught. Thus, in Julius, we have the far-seeing, philosophic, tolerant expounder of the truth; in Aristobulus the fervent convert, zealous, perhaps a little narrow.

“And ever as they taught would Julius hang

His teaching on the teachings of the bards ;
Would note the solid beams that still upheld
Their tottering temple, and essay to drive
The nail of doctrine in the surest place.
While, true as Julius to the differing type,
The Maccabee tore down the old beliefs,
And built the shining palace of the King
Sheer from the earth on unencumbered ground,
With no misgivings of the depths below.
Yet not in craft, but by a natural choice
Thus did the pilgrims. Even as the pine,
Shooting abruptly to the gracious sun,
Fringes his spiry height with russet cones;
While, standing in close brotherhood, the oak,
Slow-rising on his broadened base of roots,
Thoughtfully bends his knotted arms, and moulds
A polished acorn finely here and there.

So each was faithful to his proper trust;
So each was fruitful in his proper kind.
And as they passed about the Cymric wilds

They sowed immortal seed." Did space permit, we would quote from a death-bed scene (pp. 206, 7), where the characters of the two teachers are finely discriminated. But a yet richer variety arises from the difference in mental and moral condition of those to whom the truth is sent. The Gospel, indeed, is one; and it would be difficult to find its leading truths more tersely and vividly expressed in the same compass, than in several paragraphs of this poem. Yet its various application,—to the speculative and the sorrowful—to the bewilderment of intellect, to baffled ambition, to mourning patriotism, and to the broken heart-is at least as strikingly discriminated. In such a spirit, we feel as we read, must the glad tidings have been commended to minds of the first century, though the form is supplied by the culture of the nineteenth. The background of scenery is evidently sketched from nature. At least the following is no imaginary picture :

" Forthwith arise :
Beyond Trefrân, beyond Dunraven's hill
Pursue the sunset, till a river bars
Your farther steps. Thence turning inland, track
The river's course along a winding vale
For nigh three leagues. Then will the valley's head
Branch out in antlers to the right and left.
Adown the open vale upon the right
A still stream glides below a rock-crowned hill ;
Adown the narrow glen upon the left
A torrent roars among huge tumbled rocks.
Follow the torrent till its calming voice
Yields to the murmur of a waterfall.
Cross at the ford below the fall and search;
The wooded heights above, and you shall find
A rustic dwelling. There await in peace

Our coming." It is here, in fact, as well as in other passages, that we should like to have had an explanatory note. For farther on, we read how, when long centuries had passed away, this waterfall was to be called by the name of Gladys, or Claudia. Has then the name of this British princess been actually traced among the glens and streams of South Wales ? Where, too, is “the Church of Ilid,” marking the place of the first temple of Christian worship "that ever rose in Britain ?

We have anticipated the issue of the story. Claudia herself finds, in the end, her way to Britain, with Caradoc, her uncle, who has himself embraced Christianity, and the other British captives. Her life in Rome has, meanwhile, been one of mental struggle. The Emperor Claudius is dead; the days of Nero have come; Pudens is assiduous in his addresses ; Martial has already framed a flattering epigram, " touching the gold locks and the violet eyes; and how the Roman and the British dames disputed for the honour of” Claudia's birth.† The throbs of a dangerous ambition begin to be felt; her affections too deeply set upon the still heathen Pudens, distress her greatly : hence her sudden resolve to return with

* Since the above was in type, we have been reminded of the waterfall of Gwladys, in the western branch of the Vale of Neath, Llanilid (or " the Church of Ilid ") is a short distance to the S. E. of the Pencoed station of the South Wales railway. Traditions of the neighbourhood, we learn, closely associate the place with the “ Man of Asia," and the "Man of Italy,” sent over from Rome to preach the Gospel in Britain.

† An evident anticipation, in Claudia's younger days, of the well-known Epigram which celebrates her maturer beauties, when three sons were at her side.


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