The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.
of an Attila and a Genghis Khan; because he gave the reins to an imagination directly contrary to the spirit of his age; with which, nevertheless, his reason was perfectly acquainted; because he would not pause on the day when he felt conscious of his inability to succeed.  Nature has fixed a boundary, beyond which extravagant enterprises cannot be carried with prudence.  This boundary the Emperor reached in Spain, and overleaped in Russia.  Had he then escaped destruction, his inflexible presumption would have caused him to find elsewhere a Bayleu and a Moscow.

GENERAL FOY.

* * * * *

ROME.

[Illustration]

    I am in Rome!  Oft as the morning ray
    Visits these eyes, waking at once, I cry,
    Whence this excess of joy?  What has befallen me? 
    And from within a thrilling voice replies—­
    Thou art in Rome!  A thousand busy thoughts
    Rush on my mind—­a thousand images;
    And I spring up as girt to run a race!

    Thou art in Rome! the city that so long
    Reign’d absolute—­the mistress of the world! 
    The mighty vision that the Prophet saw
    And trembled; that from nothing, from the least,
    The lowliest village (what, but here and there
    A reed-roof’d cabin by a river side?)
    Grew into everything; and, year by year,
    Patiently, fearlessly working her way
    O’er brook and field, o’er continent and sea;
    Not like the merchant with his merchandise,
    Or traveller with staff and scrip exploring;
    But hand to hand and foot to foot, through hosts,
    Through nations numberless in battle array,
    Each behind each; each, when the other fell,
    Up, and in arms—­at length subdued them all.

    Thou art in Rome! the city where the Gauls,
    Entering at sun-rise through her open gates,
    And through her streets silent and desolate
    Marching to slay, thought they saw gods, not men;
    The city, that by temperance, fortitude,
    And love of glory tower’d above the clouds,
    Then fell—­but, falling, kept the highest seat,
    And in her loveliness, her pomp of woe,
    Where now she dwells, withdrawn into the wild,
    Still o’er the mind maintains, from age to age,
    Its empire undiminish’d.  There, as though
    Grandeur attracted grandeur, are beheld
    All things that strike, ennoble; from the depths
    Of Egypt, from the classic fields of Greece—­
    Her groves, her temples—­all things that inspire
    Wonder, delight!  Who would not say the forms. 
    Most perfect most divine, had by consent
    Flock’d thither to abide eternally
    Within those silent chambers where they dwell
    In happy intercourse?

    ROGERS.

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The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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