Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 568 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12).

It came to pass that the AEquians brake the treaty of peace which they had made with Rome, and, taking one Gacchus Cloelius for their leader, marched into the land of Tusculum; and when they had plundered the country there-abouts, and had gathered together much booty, they pitched their camp on Mount AEgidus.  To them the Romans sent three ambassadors, who should complain of the wrong done and seek redress.  But when they would have fulfilled their errand, Gracchus the AEquin spake, saying, “If ye have any message from the Senate of Rome, tell it to this oak, for I have other business to do;” for it chanced that there was a great oak that stood hard by, and made a shadow over the general’s tent.  Then one of the ambassadors, as he turned to depart, made reply, “Yes, let this sacred oak and all the gods that are in heaven hear how ye have wrongfully broken the treaty of peace; and let them that hear help us also in the day of battle, when we shall avenge on you the laws both of gods and of men that ye set at nought.”

When the ambassadors had returned to Rome the Senate commanded that there should be levied two armies; and that Minucius the Consul should march with the one against the AEquians on Mount AEgidus, and that the other should hinder the enemy from their plundering.  This levying the tribunes of the Commons sought to hinder; and perchance had done so, but there also came well-nigh to the walls of the city a great host of the Sabines plundering all the country.  Thereupon the people willingly offered themselves and there were levied forthwith two great armies.  Nevertheless when the Consul Minucius had marched to Mount AEgidus, and had pitched his camp not far from the AEquians, he did nought for fear of the enemy, but kept himself within his entrenchments.  And when the enemy perceived that he was afraid, growing the bolder for his lack of courage, they drew lines about him, keeping him in on every side.  Yet before that he was altogether shut up there escaped from his camp five horsemen, that bare tidings to Rome how that the Consul, together with his army, was besieged.  The people were sorely dismayed to hear such tidings; nor, when they cast about for help, saw they any man that might be sufficient for such peril, save only Cincinnatus.  By common consent, therefore, he was made Dictator for six months, a thing that may well be noted by those who hold that nothing is to be accounted of in comparison of riches, and that no man may win great honor or show forth singular virtue unless he be well furnished with wealth.  For here in this great peril of the Roman people there was no hope of safety but in one who was cultivating with his own hand a little plot of scarcely three acres of ground.  For when the messengers of the people came to him they found him plowing, or, as some say, digging a ditch.  When they had greeted each other, the messengers said, “May the Gods prosper this thing to the Roman people and to thee.  Put on thy robe and

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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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