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on the wall were calculated to astonish Publius, what must have been his bewilderment when the wall itself seemed to move! He rubbed his eyes to make sure that he was not dreaming, and looked again. Again it moved! He was in a revolving chamber! Looking at the floor, which he feared would open beneath him, he saw at his feet a sarcophagus. It was half full of earth, and beside it was a basket of plants and two large braziers for burning in
'My hour is come,' said Virgil faintly. Place me in the sarcophagus, and cover me with the magic herbs. Light the braziers and stand them at my head and feet. Then leave me. Seal the door, as I commanded, and expect me on the Ides of March.' A sudden tremor ran through his frame, and he sank back in the arms of his friend.
He was placed in the sarcophagus and covered with the plants, and the braziers were lighted. Vale! Virgil, vale!' said Publius, and retreated from the chamber. In the laboratory he found a jar of wax, with which he sealed the door. He stamped the seal with his signet-ring, and retraced his steps, starting from his own shadow which the dying taper threw on the wall. At last he reached the library, and, to distract his mind from what he had heard and seen, he took the manuscript epic and began to read it. He fell asleep in the sixth book, leaving Æneas in the infernal regions, and wandered in a labyrinth of dreams. Now he was in the Chamber of the Zodiac, lying in state in the sarcophagus, drenched with the dew, and stifled with the smoke of the incense; anon he was a ghost in the awful world of the dead. He stood on the farther bank of the Styx beseeching Charon to carry him back to the earth, but the grim old ferryman was inexorable. He was awakened in the morning by the sparrows. The bird that was dead is singing,' he said; and the rose, I see, is living. There is hope for Virgil.'
On the third of the nones there came a message for Virgil from the Emperor. The messenger was admitted into the atrium, where Publius received him. The poet,' he said, 'cannot be seen.' He was followed by a second messenger, and then Augus
'How is this,' he demanded, that Virgil denies himself?.' 'Be not angry, Cæsar, it was I who dismissed thy messenger. I told the truth. Virgil cannot be seen till the Ides of March.' 'But where is he? and why do I find thee here in his stead?' Then Publius related to the Emperor all that had happened; Virgil's conversation in the Corinthian room; the marvels that he performed in the library; and his immolation of himself in the Chamber of the Zodiac.
'This is a strange tale,' said Augustus thoughtfully. 'Where is the room in which you say he lies?'
'I dare not show it, Cæsar, for I have sealed the door for nine
'Show me the room; I must see him.'
'Slaves!' shouted Augustus to the domestics of Virgil, who came hurrying at his call, lead me to the laboratory of your master. I am the Emperor.'
The terrified slaves obeyed him.
He tore the wax from the door, and not finding the spring which opened it, he bade them break it down. They battered it with beams until it gave way, and drew back for the Emperor to enter. He found the chamber as the knight had described it: there were the signs of the Zodiac on the wall, and there the braziers and the sarcophagus. The Zodiac, however, had ceased to revolve, and one of the braziers was overturned. The sarcophagus was empty! He is not here, after all,' he thought. It must be that Publius hath murdered him.'
But now one of the slaves drew his attention to a pile of withered plants on the farther side of the chamber. He ordered him to scatter it that he might see if there was any thing beneath; but before he could do so, he was suddenly confronted by the figure of a naked child. It stamped its feet, and tore its hair, and shrieking, 'Lost! Lost!' disappeared. At that moment the wall fell in. The Emperor sprang through the door and escaped, but the slave was crushed in the ruins.
When Augustus returned to the library of Virgil he found Publius burning a roll of parchment. I am obeying the last wishes of the dead,' he said sternly, 'as thou shouldst have done. Hadst thou but hearkened to me, the dead would soon have been living, and Rome would not now deplore her poet. But it is too late, and I have burned his manuscripts.'
'Madman! thou hast not destroyed them all?'
'No! I could not destroy this, it was so beautiful,' and he held out the cedar scrinum.
It contained the Æneid.
SOME bards collect and give the world their verse,
A second's called for and so, out it comes
Go buy the book, because they 're told they should:
The bard, elated, elevates his nose
At common persons, who converse in prose;
Looks wild, abstracted, wanders through the town,
And, à la BYRON, wears his collar down-
PLATO, the golden-minded, in his youth,
No age in literature was ever known
At least you'll think so, if you but believe
Not only authors, but our statesmen, too,
Another portrait, now my hand is in,
Ask where he is, you 're answered, 'On the go.'
First through Connecticut his way he took,
Or hydropathy, or some other cure,
All very different, but very sure.
At length comes out New Work by Dr. SNOOKS!'
A self-taught genius!' cries the weekly press;
On our last page: 'No HUMBUG!' at its head.'
Immortal Humbug! at thy call arise
Shapes without number, forms of every size:
The puff, the brag, the falsehood, and the hoax;
To scatter worse than evils through the land:
How dolts and dunces love transparent lies!
Reason, disgusted, flies where Humbug rules,
"T is grown too common; Truth were much more strange,
If it were only for the sake of change.
Few marvels now the busy mind engage
In this gold-seeking, gold-discovering age,
I used to wonder at the strife for wealth,
The reckless sacrifice of peace and health,
The tireless treading of the daily mill,
But that was when my years were young and green,
This truth I've learned -a truth of sternest stuff,