Vergilius eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 158 pages of information about Vergilius.

“Hail, victor!” he whispered, looking into the dead face.  “Blessed be they who conquer death.”


The day was near its end.  Soldiers of the cohort, bearers of the dead, harpers and singers filed through the gate of Herod’s palace.  Hard by, in Temple Street, were many people.  An old man stood among them, his white beard falling low upon a purple robe, his face turned to the sky.  He sang as if unconscious of all around him.  Often he raised his hand, which trembled like a leaf in the wind.  Horses, maidens, and men halted to hear the words: 

  “Now is the day foretold of them who dwell in
      the dust of the vineyard. 
  Bow and be silent, ye children of God and ye of
      far countries. 
  Consider how many lie low in the old, immemorial vineyard. 
  Deep—­fathom deep—­is the dust of the dead
      ’neath the feet of the living.

  “Gone are they and the work of their hands—­all
      save their hope and desire have perished. 
  Only the flowers of the heart have endured—­
      only they in the waste of the ages,
  Ay—­they have grown, but the hewn rock has
      crumbled away and the temples have fallen. 
  Bow, haughty people; ye live in the day of
      fulfilment—­the day everlasting. 
  Soon the plough of oppression shall cease and
      the ox shall abandon the furrow. 
  Ready the field, and I sing of the sower whose
      grain has been gathered in heaven.

  “Now is he come, with my voice and my soul I declare him. 
  Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting
      Father, the Prince of Peace.”

The flood of inspiration had passed.  The singer turned away.  “It is Simeon,” said a voice in the crowd.  “He shall not die until his eyes have beheld the king of promise.”

Those departing from the games of Herod resumed their march.  At the gate of the castle of Antonia, Vergilius, with David and two armed equites, one bearing colors, left the squadron.  They rode slowly towards the setting sun.  Now there was not in all the world a city so wonderful as Jerusalem.  Golden dome and tower were gleaming above white walls on the turquoise blue of the heavens.

“Good friend, I grieve for her who is dead,” said Vergilius to David.

“She died for love,” the other answered as one who would have done the same.

Vergilius looked not to right nor left.  His dark, quivering plume was an apt symbol of thought and passion beneath it.  His blood was hot from the rush and wrath of battle, from hatred of them who had sought his life.  He could hear the cry of Cyran; “Rise, rise, my beloved!” Again, he was like as he had been there on the field of battle.  He could not rise above his longing for revenge.  He hated the emperor whose cruel message had wrung his heart; he hated Manius, who had sought to destroy him; he despised the vile and stealthy son of Herod, who had plotted to rob him of love and life; he had begun to doubt the goodness of the great Lawgiver.

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Vergilius from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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