STORIES FROM LIVY.*
Tux severe illness to which Mr. Church refers in his preface as his reason for omitting the criticism he had intended to offer or the difficulty of translating the ornate style of Livy into the simple English which he has hitherto adopted, will be the cause of something more than personal regret to the many friends whom his charming books must have secured to him, for it would have been most interesting to hear his own account. of the difficulties which he has so triumphantly surmounted. As these stories, however, stop at a very early point in Livy's rich and sonorous tale, we may well hope to have a second volume, embody- ing the more strictly historical episodes of that tale, and to such, a volume the preface which Mr. Church had planned would be- even more appropriate. In Livy's story of the Second Punic. War, for instance, Mr. Church would encounter some of Livy's grandest and most finished speeches, masterpieces of rhetorio that would task even Mr. Church's powers to render into the. crystal simplicity of his own style.
The only fault we have to find with this book is that. Mr. Church has hardly included the whole of Livy's first. decade in his tales. To conclude with the story of the defeat of the Romans in the Caudine Forks, and not to touch the issue of that great national humiliation,—the issue at which the story itself, as Mr. Church has so admirably given it, points, is, we think, inartistic. The wise and pithy advice given by the aged Sarunite chief, Herennius Pontius, and the reasons for it, are retained, but the subsequent justification for that advice in, the history is withheld. We cannot but regret this. One cons eluding story, though it might have given to the book an ending less sombre and grand, would have made a whole of the volume, which is now, to some extent, a fragment. As a specimen, too, of the history of ancient Rome, it would be fitter to conclude with Rome in the ascendant, than with Rome not only physis cally, but morally defeated by the Saninites, and harbouring s plans of ungenerous revenge. Not that these last can be said to be in any sense alien to the Roman genius, but then they- should be crowned with external success, in order to be entirely characteristic of the Roman character and destiny.
This is the only fault we have to find with Mr. Church's- delightful book: Of course, we cannot expect in Stories from Livy "the pure lines of an Ionian horizon, the liquid clearness. of an Ionian sky," such as were reproduced for us in Mr. Church's stories from the Greek poets. Neither can we expect the Virgilian accents of tenderness and pity which give so great a charm to Stories from Virgil. The historical genius of Rome was always a genius of action, not of imagination or emotion, and often of action by no means magnanimous. Indeed, the wolf has divided pretty equally with the eagle the right to syms bolise the career of Rome. In her early history, there is, perhaps,. more of the wolf than the eagle ; and that which alone tamed the wolf, and gained for Rome her glory,—the stern sense- of law by which greed, at least within the limits of the State, was curbed,—can hardly be adequately represented in mere heroic tales. Still, Livy had a keen sense for the morally picturesque, and Mr. Church has done wonders in the way of preserving the dignity, and yet getting rid of the artificiality and exuberance, of Livy's style. It would be hard, we think, to have rendered the story of the return of Horatius, after his victory over the Curiatii; of the murder which, in his pride of victory and his wrath at his sister's grief, he committed ; and. of his father's plea to the people on his behalf, in language of * Stories „from Livy. By tho Rev Alfred J. Church, M.A., Prof.:limy of Latin in Uftivorsity College, Loudon. With Illustrations from Desigui by Pencil', Loudon: Sou'oy, Jackson, and Co.
graver and simpler eloquence, than Mr. Church has found for his tale :—
"And now the men of Rome went back to the city, and Malthus went before them, carrying the spoils of the three whom he had slain. Bat at the Capene gate there met him his sister, who was betrothed to one of the champions of Alba; and when the maiden saw upon his shoulders the cloak of her betrothed (and indeed she had wrought it with her own hands) she tore her hair, and cried to the dead man by name with a lamentable voice. But Horatius was wroth to hear the words of mourning on the day when he had won so great a 'victory and the people rejoiced ; and he drew his sword and slew the maiden, crying, 'Depart hence to thy lover with the love that thou cherishost out of season; thou that forgettest thy brethren that are dead, and thy brother that is yet alive, and thine awn people also. So perish whosoever shall make lamentations for an enemy of Rome.' And when the Fathers and the Commons saw what was done, they thought it a wicked deed, but remembered what great service the man had newly rendered to Rome. Neverthe- less, they laid hands on him, and took him to the King that he should judge him. But the King being loath to judge such a matter, or to give sentence against the man, said, appoint two men as the law commands, who shall judge Horatius for murder.' Now the law was this :—' If a man do murder, two men shall judge him ; if he appeal against the two, let the appeal be tried ; if their sentence be con- firmed, ye shall cover his head and scourge him within the walls or without the walls, and hang him by a rope upon the gallows.' Then there were appointed two men according to the law, who affirmed that they could not let the man go free, whether his guilt was small or groat, seeing that he had manifestly done the deed. Therefore said one of them Publius Horatins, we adjudge thee to be guilty of murder. Go, lielor, bind his hands." But when the lictor came and was now ready to cast the rope about him, Horatius cried, I appeal to the people;' for the King himself, being mercifully disposed to Cm, bade him do so. Then was there a trial before the people, in whieh that which most wrought upon the hearts of men was that the father of Horatius constantly affirmed that his daughter had been rightly slain. ' Nay,' said he, 'verily, if the young man had not slain her, I had used against him my right as a father, and had condemned him to die.' Then again he besought them that they should not leave him desolate and bereaved of his children, he who but the day 'before had had so fair a stock. Afterwards, throwing his arms about the young man, he stretched out his hands to the spoils of the Curiatii, crying, Will ye endure, men of Rome, to see him bound under the gallows and beaten with stripes whom ye beheld but yesterday adorned with these spoils and rejoicing in his victory P Not so. Surely the men of Alba themselves had not borne to see such a sight. Go, lictor, bind his hands, though but yesterday they won so great a dominion over the people of Rome. Go, cover the head of him that made this people free ; hang him upon the accursed tree ; scourge him, whether within the walls' so that thou do it among the spoils of them that he slew, or without the walls, so that it be mar to the sepulchres of the champions of Alba. Whither can ye take this youth that the memorials of his valour shall not save him from so foul a punishment ?' And when the people saw the tears of the old man, and bethought them also what great courage the youth land shown in danger, they could not endure to condemn him ; but regarding his valour rather than the goodness of his cause, let him go free. Only, because the deed had been so manifest, a command was laid upon the father that he should make a trespass offering for his son at the public charge. Then the father, having made certain sacrifices of expiation—which are performed to this day in the house of Horatius—set up a beam across the way and covered his son's head, and led him beneath it. As for the maiden, they built her tomb of hewn stone in the place where she was slain."
'Compare this with Livy's gorgeous sentence, "Movet feroci juveni animum comploratio sororis in victoria sun, tantoque ga.udio public° : stricto itaque gladio, simul verbis increpans, transfigit puellam. Abi hinc, cum immaturo amore ad sponsum,' inquit, oblita fratrum mortuorum vivique, oblita patriae. Sic eat quae- .cunque Romanalugebit hostel:a " Mr. Church has here succeeded in simplifying the rich elaborateness of Livy, without losing the dignity and commanding tone of his style. We are not sure, however, that he has not lost something of the passion of Horatius, in not sticking to the feminine gender in the last sen- tence,—" So perish every woman who shall make lamentations for an enemy of her country I" It is just one of' the cases in which an imprecation on the half, is stronger than an imprecation 'on the whole. Again, take Mr. Church's translation of the old man's speech on behalf of his son. It is as grand as that put into his mouth by Livy, but far less grand. lose,—' I, lictor, colliga mantis quae paulo ante armatae im- perium populo Romano pepererunt," is too gorgeous, far too elaborate, for the style of these simple stories. The words 4‘ Go, lictor, bind his hands, though but yesterday they won sO great a dominion for the people of Rome," while a great deal less carefully eloquent, convey at least as terse and moving a reproach. In Livy 's rather artificial alliteration,
imperium pepererunt," and in the contrast between "colliga" and " paulo ante armatae," the reader feels the colouring of the artistic annalist, not the simple passion of the proud father.
Livy dresses up the pathos of the old man, till you hardly recog- nise it, beneath all that rich rhetorical brocade. Or take the speech of Camillus to the traitor of Falcrii, who had delivered
the sons of the chief citizens into the hands of the Roman com- mander, expecting to be rewarded for his treachery ; and who found himself denounced, and sent back, naked and. scourged, to the people whom he had desired to betray. Livy makes Camillus denounce the miserable Falerian schoolmaster in the most elaborate antithesis :—" Non ad similem, inquit, tui nee populum, nee imperatorem, scelestus ipso cum scolesto mu neve venisti. Nobis corn Faleriis quae pacto fit human°, societas non eat ; gum ingeneravit nature. utrisqne eat, eritque Eos ta quantum in te fuit, novo scelere vieisti; ego Romanis artibus, virtute, opere, anus, sicut Veios vincam." Mr. Church renders all this very simply, and yet most effectively :—
"To this Camillus made answer, Neither the general nor the people to whom thou comest bringing this wicked gift is like unto thyself. With the men of Falerii we have not indeed friendshipiesyhetewIe
have with them, as with all men, a natural fellowship.
shall conquer, even as I conquered Veii, in Roman fashion, even by valour, by labour, and by arms.'"
As another fine specimen of Mr. Church's style, take the speech. of Titus Manlius to his son, when that young man, having dis- regarded the orders of his father, the Consul, had engaged in a duel with one of the Latin army, and brought back the spoils to his father's tent :— "Being wine to the camp, he went to the general's tent, knowing not what fate awaited him, or whether he had earned praise or punishment. Then he said to his father, I desired that all men should know that I am truly thy son ; and therefore, having been challenged to combat, I fought, and now bring back these spoils from the enemy whom I slew.' But the Consul, so soon as he heard these words, turning his face from his son, commanded that the bugle should be sounded and the soldiers called to an assembly. And when the men had come together in great numbers, he said, Titus, Manlius, thou haat had no respect to the authority of the Consuls or to the dignity, of thy father, and, disobeying our decree, hest fought with the enemy elsewhere than in thy place, loosening thereby, so far as in thee lay, that military discipline by which up to this time the commonwealth of Rome had stood and been established. And me thou has brought into these straits, that I must forget either the commonwealth or myself and my own kindred. Rather, therefore, will we suffer ourselves for our own fault than suffer the common- wealth to suffer for us at so great a loss to itself. Truly we two shall be a warning, sad indeed yet wholesome, to our youth in time to come. As for myself, I ant truly troubled, not only by that love for my children which is natural to all men, but also by the valour which, led astray by a false appearance of glory, thou bast shown this day. Nevertheless, seeing that the Consuls' power must either be established for ever by thy death or abolished for over by thy escape, I judge that thou thyself also, if there is aught of my blood in thee, wilt not refuse to die, and so establish again that military discipline, which thou haul weakened by thy misdoing. Go, lictor, bind him to the stake.'"
That is strong, eloquent English, stripped of the august manner of Livy, and adapted to the style which Mr. Church has wisely determined to preserve in these simple stories.
We cannot conclude without extracting the fine passage in which Mr. Church paraphrases the advice of the old Samnite chief, to which we have already referred, when asked by his son what they should do with the Roman army, caught in the trap of the Caudine defile :— " The Samnites also doubted much what they should best do now that their counsels bad so greatly prospered. With one consent therefore, they wrote letters to Herennius Pontius, father to Pontius, their general, seeking for his advice. Now, Pontius was a very old man, and had long since withdrawn himself not from war only, but also from all affairs of state. Nevertheless, though his body was weak, the power of his mind was not abated. When he heard that the Roman army had been glut in between the Passes of Caudium, and that his son would fain have his counsel, he said, Let the men go, and harm them not.' And when, despising this counsel, they sent the messenger again, asking the same question, he answered, Slay them all ;'spare not one.' When they heard these two answers, being so different the one from the other, it seemed to Pontius that his father's mind had failed him, even as his body had failed him. Never- theless, when all would have it that the old man himself should be sent for, he yielded to their desire. And Pontius the elder agreeing, was carried to the camp, they say, in a waggon ; and when he was come they brought him into the council. There he spoke, changing indeed nothing of that which he had said, but adding his reasons. My first counsel I yet judge to be the best, for thus by a groat bene- fit ye will make peace and friendship for ever with a very powerful nation. jf ye follow my second counsel, ye will put off war with Reins for many generations ; since, losing two great armies, they will not readily recover their strength. But csunsel other than these two there is none.' And when his son nod others of the captains asked him whether there were not some middle way, so that the prisoners should be sent away unhurt but with conditions according to the right of war, "That,' said he 'is a counsel which will neither get friends for you nor rid you of enemies. For think who they are that ye will provoke by such disgrace. The Romans cannot endure to it quiet under defeat, nor will they rest till they have got mani- fold vengeance for that which present necessity shall have compelled them to suffer.' Then, the Samnitea not approving either counsel, Pontius departed to his home Then, going on their way, the Romans came near to Caput), but for shame and for fear lest their allies should desert them, entered not the city, but cast themselves down upon the road. But the men of Capna bad compassion on them, and sent to them all that they needed, and entertained them both publicly and privately with all hospitality. But the Romans answered not a word, nor so much as lifted up their eyes, so overwhelmed were they with shame and grief. The next day certain young noblemen of Capua, going with them to the borders of their country, made this answer to some that questioned them in the Senate concerning the behaviour of the Romans : These men are wholly sunk in grief and despair, and have lost not their arms only, but also their courage. Verily they seem to have yet on their necks the yoke under which they were made to pass; and as for the Sam. nites, they have won a victory to which there will be no end. The Gauls took the city of home, but these men have taken the very courage of the Roman people.' Then said a certain Calavius, a man of renown and venerable for his age, This silence, this shame, this refusing of all comfort are signs of a wrath that is both great and deep. If I know aught of the Roman people, from this silence will come loud lamentation to the Samnites.' " That would give no idea, of course, of Livy's elaborately balanced and illuminated rhetoric. But for his purpose,—which is not to copy Livy, but to render Livy's most characteristic stories of the Roman people,—Mr. Church's style is better than Livy's. In this last passage, for instance, Mr. Church paints the self-accusing wrath of the Romans, in much more homely lines than Livy ; but he leaves the historic significance of that great calamity at the Caudine Forks impressed more boldly on the reader's mind. Livy is as eloquent and picturesque in his retrospect as Macaulay, and consequently his language resembles as little as Macaulay's the living criticism of vigilant observation :—" Sileutium illud obstins.tum, fixosque in tessera oculos, et surdas ad =ilia solatia aures, et pudorem intuendae lucis, ingentem motem irarum ex alto animo cientis indicia esse ; aut Romana se iguorare ingenia, ant silentium illud Samnitibus &biles brevi clamores gemitusque excitaturum." Nothing could be more elaborately splendid, or less like an old man's terse augury of revenge. We find more of original work in the Stories from, Liuy than in, perhaps, any of Mr. Church's series ; and that work is admirably done.