Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

nance.

with canvas. Upon these accounts, is the second Larentia so much honoured among the Romans.

In the mean time Faustulus, Amulius's herdsman, brought up the children entirely undiscovered; or rather, as others with more probability assert, Numitor knew it from the first", and privately supplied the necessaries for their mainte

It is also said that they were sent to Gabii', and there instructed in letters, and other branches of education suitable to their birth: and history informs us, that they had the names of Romulus and Remus, from the teat of the wild animal which they had been seen to suck. The beauty and dignity of their persons, even in their childhood, promised a generous disposition; and as they grew up, they both discovered great bravery, with an inclination to hazardous attempts, and a spirit which nothing could subdue. But Romulus seemed more to cultivate the powers of reason, and to excel in political knowledge; while, by his deportment among his neighbours in the employments of pasturage and hunting, he convinced them that he was born to command rather than to obey. To their equals and inferiors they behaved most courteously ; but they despised the king's bailiffs and chief herdsmen, as not loftier than themselves in courage, though they were higher in authority, disregarding at once their threats and their resentment. They ap

ز

15 Numitor might build upon this the hopes of his re-establishment; but his knowing the place where the children were educated, and supplying them with necessaries, is quite inconsistent with the manner of their discovery when grown up, which is the most interesting part of the story.

16 An Alban colony, twelve miles from Rome, where (according to Dion. Halic. i. 19.) they were instructed in Greek literature, the Belles Lettres, and the use of arms.

plied themselves to generous exercises and pursuits, considering not idleness and inactivity, but hunting, running, banishing or apprehending robbers, and delivering those who were oppressed, as liberal and praiseworthy. By these things they acquired considerable renown.

A dispute arising between the herdsmen of Numitor and Amulius, and the former having driven away some cattle belonging to the latter, Romulus and Remus fell upon them, put them to flight, and recovered the greatest part of the booty. At this conduct Numitor was highly offended; but they little regarded his resentment. The first steps which they took upon this occasion, were to collect and receive into their company persons of desperate fortunes, and a number of slaves; a measure which gave alarming proofs of their bold and seditious inclinations. It happened that when Romulus was employed in sacrificing, for to that and to divination he was much inclined, Numitor's herdsmen met with Remus, as he was walking with a small retinue, and attacked him. After some blows exchanged, and wounds given and received, Numitor's people prevailed and took Remus prisoner. He was carried before Numitor, and had several things laid to his charge; but Numitor did not choose to punish him himself, from apprehension of his brother's resentment. To him, therefore, he confidently applied for justice; since, though brother to the reigning prince, he had been injured by some of the royal servants. The people of Alba moreover expressing their uneasiness, and thinking that Numitor suffered great indignities, Amulius moved with their complaints delivered Remus to him, to be treated as he should think proper. When the youth was conducted to his house, Numitor was deeply struck with his appearance, as he was remarkable for size and strength: he observed likewise his presence of mind, and the steadiness of his looks, which had nothing servile in them, and remained unaltered under the sense of his present danger; and he was informed, that his actions and whole behaviour corresponded with these appearances. But, above all, some divine influence (as it seems) directing the beginnings of the extraordinary events that were to follow, Numitor, by his sagacity or by a fortunate conjecture suspecting the truth, questioned him concerning the circumstances of his birth ; speaking mildly at the same time, and regarding him with a gracious eye. Upon which, he boldly replied ; " I will hide nothing from you,

for

you behave in a more princely manner “ than Amulius, since you hear and examine be“ fore you punish "7: but he has delivered us up, “ without making any inquiry into the matter. " I have a twin-brother, and hitherto we have « believed ourselves the sons of Faustulus and “ Larentia; servants of the king. But since we have « been accused before you, and are so pursued " by slander as to be in danger of our lives, “ we hear nobler things concerning our birth. " Whether they are true or not, the present crisis

17 I subjoin a note from high authority upon this subject : “ The philosophical poet doth notably describe the damnable and damned proceedings of the judge of hell,

Gnosius hæc Rhadamanthus habet durissima regna,
Castigatque, auditque dolos, subigitque futeri.

(Virg. Æn. vi. 566.) First he punisheth, and then he heareth, and lastly compelleth to confess, and makes and mars laws at his pleasure; like as the Centurion, in the holy history did to St. Paul: for the text saith, “ Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and com-' manded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.” Acts xxi. 33. But good judges . abhor these courses.” (Coke, 2 Inst. 55.)*

“ will show 18. Our birth is said to have been “ secret, our support in our infancy miraculous. “ We were exposed to birds and wild beasts, and

by them nourished; suckled by a she-wolf, and “ fed by the attention of a wood-pecker, as we

lay in a trough by the great river. The trough " is still preserved, bound about with brass bands, “ and inscribed with letters partly effaced; which

may prove perhaps hereafter useless tokens to “ our parents, when we are destroyed.” Numitor hearing this, and comparing the time with the young man's looks, was confirmed in the pleasing hope which he had conceived, and considered how he might consult his daughter about this affair ; for she was still kept in close custody.

Meanwhile Faustulus, having heard that Remus was taken and delivered up to punishment, desired Romulus to assist his brother, informing him clearly at the same time of the particulars of his birth; for before he had only given dark hints about it, and signified just so much, as might divert the attention of his wards from every thing mean and discreditable. He himself took the trough, and in all the tumult of concern and fear carried it to Numitor. His disorder raised some suspicion in the king's guards at the gate, and that disorder increasing while they looked earnestly upon him and perplexed him with their questions, he was discovered to have a trough under his cloak. There happened to be among them one of those "', who had had it in charge to throw the

18 They had, undoubtedly, heard some vague story of their singular preservation in infancy; and hence Remus would naturally conclude that, if it were true, the god who had thus miraculously protected them in their infancy, would deliver him from his present peril.

19 This seems to contradict what Plutarch has above related viz. that only one servant (most probably Faustulus himself) had, been employed upon this unnatural commission : but Dion. Halic. expressly states, that there were several so engaged.

*

children into the river, and who was concerned in the exposing of them. This man seeing the trough, and knowing it again by it's make and inscription, rightly guessed the business;, and thinking it an affair not to be neglected, immediately acquainted the king with it, and induced him to examine the matter. Amidst these pressing difficulties, Faustulus did not entirely preserve his presence of mind, nor yet fully discover the matter. He acknowledged, that the children were indeed saved, but said that they kept cattle at a great distance from Alba; and that he was carrying the trough to Ilia, who had often desired to see it, to encourage herself in the hope that her sons were still alive.

All, that persons perplexed and actuated with fear or anger usually suffer, Amulius then endured; for in his hurry he sent an honest man, a friend of Numitor's, to inquire of him, whether he had any account that the children were living When the man was come, and saw Remus almost in the embraces of Numitor, he endeavoured to confirm him in the persuasion that the youth was really his grandson; entreating him, at the same time, to take instantly the best measures that could be devised, and give his zealous assistance to support their party. The occasion admitted no delay, if they had been inclined to it; for Romulus was now at hand, and a number of the citizens were gathered about him, either out of hatred or fear of Amulius. He brought also a considerable force along with him, divided into companies of a hundred men each, headed by an officer who bore a handful of

20 Nothing can well appear more incredible than the conduct, here assigned by Plutarch to Amulius; especially, if we compare with it the account of the same transaction, preserved by Dion. Halic. i. 19.*

VOL. I.

« AnteriorContinuar »