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Far off, a glory of day,
Still plays on the city spires :
And there in the dusk by the walls,
With the gray mist marking its course
Through the silent flowery land,

On, to the plains, to the sea,
Floats the Imperial Stream.

Well I know what they feel.
They gaze, and the evening wind


Plays on their faces : they gaze ;

Airs from the Eden of Youth

Awake and stir in their soul :

The Past returns ; they feel

What they are, alas ! what they were.

They, not Nature, are changed.
Well I know what they feel.

Hush ! for tears
Begin to steal to their eyes.
Hush ! for fruit
Grows from such sorrow as theirs.

And they remember
With piercing, untold anguish
The proud boasting of their youth.

And they feel how Nature was fair.
And the mists of delusion,
And the scales of habit,
Fall away from their eyes.
And they see, for a moment,
Stretching out, like the Desert
In its weary, unprofitable length,
Their faded, ignoble lives

While the locks are yet brown on thy uead,
While the soul still looks through thine eyes,
While the heart still pours
The mantling blood to thy cheek,

Sink, O Youth, in thy soul !
Yearn to the greatness of Nature !
Rally the good in the depths of thyself!



f B^WlCE in history has there been witnessed the strug-
i gle of tbe highest individual genius against the re-
sources and institutions of a great nation ; and in both
cases the nation has been victorious. For seventeen years
Hannibal strove against Rome ; for sixteen years Napo-
leon Bonaparte strove against England : the efforts of the
first ended in Zama, those of the second in Waterloo.

True it is, as Polybius has said, that Hannibal was sup-
ported by the zealous exertions of Carthage ; and the
strength of the opposition to his policy has been very pos-
sibly exaggerated by the Roman writers. But the zeal of
his country in the contest, as Polybius himself remarks in
another place, was itself the work of his family. Never
did great men more show themselves the living spirit of
a nation than Hamilcar, and Hasdrubal, and Hannibal,
during a period of nearly fifty years, approved themselves
to be to Carthage. It is not, then, merely through our
ignorance of the internal state of Carthage that Hannibal
stands so prominent in all our conceptions of the second
Punic war ; he was really its moving and directing power,
and the energy of his country was but a light reflected from
his own. History therefore gathers itself into his single
pereon : in that vast tempest which, from north and south,
from the west and the east, broke upon Italy, we see noth-
ing but Hannibal.


But if Hannibal's genius may be likened to the Homeric
god, who in his hatred of the Trojans rises from the deep
to rally the fainting Greeks, and to lead them against the
enemy, so the calm courage with which Hector met his
more than human adversary in his country's cause is no
unworthy image of the unyielding magnanimity displayed
by the aristocracy of Rome. As Hannibal utterly eclipses
Carthage, so on the contrary Fabius, Marcellus, Claudius,
Nero, even Scipio himself, are as nothing when compared
to the spirit and wisdom and power of Rome. The senate
which voted its thanks to its political enemy, Varro, after
his disastrous defeat, " because he had not despaired of the
Commonwealth," and which disdained either to solicit or to
reprove, or to threaten, or in any way to notice the twelve
colonies which had refused their accustomed supplies of
men for the army, is far more to be honored than the con-
queror of Zama. This we should the more carefully bear
in mind, because our tendency is to admire individual great-
ness far more than national ; and as no single Roman will
bear comparison with Hannibal, we are apt to murmur at
the event of the contest, and to think that the victory was
awarded to the least worthy of the combatants. On the
contrary, never was the wisdom of God's providence more
manifest than in the issue of the struggle between Rome
and Carthage. It was clearly for the good of mankind that
Hannibal should be conquered ; his triumph would have
stopped the progress of the world. For great men can
only ant permanently by forming great nations ; and no one
man, even though it were Hannibal himself, can in one gen-
eration effect such a work. But where the nation has been
merely enkindled for a while by a great man's spirit, the
light passes away with him who communicated it ; and the
nation, when he is gone, is like a dead body, to which magic
pow^r had for a moment given an unnatural life : when the
charm has ceased, the body is cold and stiff as before. He


who grieves over the battle of Zama should carry on his
thoughts to a period thirty years later, when Hannibal must,
in the course of nature, have been dead, and consider how
the isolated Phoenician city of Carthage was fitted to re-
ceive and to consolidate the civilization of Greece, or by its
laws and institutions to bind together baibarians of every
race and language into an organized empire, and prepare
them for becoming, when that empire Avas dissolved, the
free members of the commonwealth of Christian Europe.

Hannibal was twenty-six years of age when he was ap-
pointed commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian armies in
Spain, upon the sudden death of Hasdrubal. Two years,
we have seen, Had been employed in expeditions against the
native Spaniards ; the third year was devoted to the siege
of Saguntum. Hannibal's 'pretext for attacking it was, that
the Saguntines had oppressed one of the Spanish tribes in
alliance with Carthage ; but no caution in the Saguntine
government could have avoided a quarrel, which their en-
emy was determined to provoke. Saguntum, although not a
city of native Spaniards, resisted as obstinately as if the
very air of Spain had breathed into foreign settlers on its
soil the spirit so often, in many different ages, displayed by
the Spanish people. Saguntum was defended like Numan-
tia and Gerona : the siege lasted eight months; and \\hen
all hope was gone, several of the chiefs kindled a fire in the
market-place, and after having thrown in their most pre-
cious effects, leapt into it themselves, and perished. Stil]
the spoil found in the place was very considerable ; there
was a large treasure of money, which Hannibal kept for his
war expenses ; there were numerous captives, whom he dis
tributed amongst his soldiers as their share of the plunder ;
and there was much costly furniture from the pubh'c and
private buildings, which he sent home to decorate the tem-
ples and palaces of Carthage.

It must have been towards the close of the year, but


apparently before the consuls were returned from Elyria,
that the news of the fall of Saguntum reached Rome. Im-
mediately ambassadors were sent to Carthage ; M. Fabius
Buteo, who had been consul seven-and-twenty years before,
C. Licinius Varus, and Q. Baebius Tamphilus. Their or-
ders were simply to demand that Hannibal and his principal
officers should be given up for their attack upon the allies
of Rome, in breach of the treaty, and, if this were refused,
to declare war. The Carthaginians tried to discuss the pre-
vious question, whether the attack on Saguntum was a
breach of the treaty ; but to this the Romans would not
listen. At length M. Fabius gathered up his toga, as if he
was wrapping up something in it, and holding it out thus
folded together, he said, " Behold, here are peace and war ;
take which you choose ! " The Carthaginian suffete, or
judge, answered, " Give whichever tliou wilt." Hereupon
Fabius shook out the folds of his toga, saying, " Then here
we give you war " ; to which several members of the coun-
cil shouted in answer, " With all our hearts we welcome
it." Thus the Roman ambassadors left Carthage, and re-
turned straight to Rome.

But before the result of this embassy could be known in
Spain, Hannibal had been making preparations for his
intended expedition, in a manner which showed, not only
that he was sure of the support of his government, but thai
he was able to dispose at his pleasure of all the military
resources of Carthage. At his suggestion fresh troops from
Africa were sent over to Spain to secure it during his
absence, and to be commanded by his own brother, Has-
drubal ; and their place was to be supplied by other troops
raised in Spain ; so that Africa was to be defended by
Spaniards, and Spain by Africans, the soldiers of each
nation, when quartered amongst foreigners, being cut off
from all temptation or opportunity to revolt. So com-
pletely was he allowed to direct every military measure,


that he is said to have sent Spanish and Numidian troops
to garrison Carthage itself; in other words, this was a part
of his general plan, and was adopted accordingly by the
government. Meanwhile he had sent ambassadors into
Gaul, and even across the Alps, to the Gauls who had
so lately been at war with the Romans, both to obtain
information as to the country through which his march
lay, and to secure the assistance and guidance of the Gauls
in his passage of the Alps, and their co-operation in arms
when he should arrive in Italy. His Spanish troops he had
dismissed to their several homes at the end of the last cam-
paign, that they might carry their spoils with them, and tell
of their exploits to their countrymen, and enjoy, during the
winter, that almost listless ease which is the barbarian's
relief from war and plunder. At length he received the
news of the Roman embassy to Carthage, and the actual
declaration of war ; his officers also had returned from Cis-
alpine Gaul. "The natural difficulties of the passage of
the Alps were great," they said, " but by no means insuper-
able ; while the disposition of the Gauls was most friendly,
and they were eagerly expecting his arrival." Then Han-
nibal called his soldiers together, and told them openly that
he was going to lead them into Italy. " The Romans," he
said, have demanded that I and my principal officers
should be delivered up to them as malefactors. Soldiers,
will you suffer such an indignity ? The Gauls are holding
out their arms to us, inviting us to come to them, and to
assist them in revenging their manifold injuries. And the
country which we shall invade, so rich in corn and wine
and oil, so full of flocks and herds, so covered with flourish-
ing cities, will be the richest prize that could be offered by
the gods to reward your valor." One common shout from
the soldiers assured him of their readiness to follow him.
He thanked them, fixed the day on which they were to b
ready to march, and then dismissed them.


In this interval, and now on the very eve of commencing
his appointed work, to which for eighteen years he had
been solemnly devoted^ and to which he had so long been
looking forward with almost sickening hope, he left the
head-quarters of his army to visit Gades, and there, in the
temple of the supreme god of Tyre, and all the colonies of
Tyre, to olfer his prayers and vows for the success of hi 3
enterprise. He was attended only by those immediately
attached to his person; and amongst these was a Sicilian
Greek, Silenus, who followed him throughout his Italian
expedition, and lived at his table. When the sacrifice was
over, Hannibal returned to his army at New Carthage ;
and, everything being ready, and the season sufficiently
advanced, for it was now late in May, he set out on his
march for the Iberus.

And here the fulness of his mind, and his strong sense of
being the devoted instrument of his country's gods to de-
stroy their enemies, haunted him by night as they possessed
him by day. In his sleep, so he told Silenus, he fancied
that the supreme god of his fathers had called him into the
presence of all the gods of Carthage, who were sitting on
their thrones in council. There he received a solemn
charge to invade Italy; and one of the heavenly council
went with him and with his army, to guide him on his way.
He went on, and his divine guide commanded him, " See
that thou look not behind thee." But after a while, im-
patient of the restraint, he turned to look back ; and there
he beheld a huge and monstrous form, thick-set all over
with serpents ; wherever it moved orchards and woods and
houses fell crushing before it. He asked his guide in won-
der what that monster form was? The god answered,
" Thou seest the desolation of Italy ; go on thy way,
straight forward, and cast no look behind." Thus, with
no divided heart, and with an entire resignation of all
personal and domestic enjoyments forever, Hannibal went


forth, at the age of twenty-seven, to do the work of his
country's god, and to redeem his early vow.

The consuls at Rome came into office at this period on
the fifteenth of March; it was possible, therefore, for a con-
sular army to arrive on the scene of action in time to
dispute with Hannibal, not only the passage of the Rhone,
but that of the Pyrenees. But the Romans exaggerated
the difficulties of his march, and seem to have expected that
the resistance of the Spanish tribes between the Ibems and
the Pyrenees, and of the Gauls between the Pyrenees and
the Rhone, would so delay him that he would not reach the
Rhone till the end of the season. They therefore made
their preparations leisurely.

Of the consuls for this year, the year of Rome 536,
and 218 before the Christian era, one was P. Cornelius
Scipio, the son of L. Scipio, who had been consul in the
sixth 3 ear of the first Punic war, and the grandson of L.
Scipio Barbatus, whose services in the third Samnite war
are recorded in his famous epitaph. The other was Ti.
Sempronius Longus, probably, but not certainly, the son
of that C. Sempronius Blaesus who had been consul in*
the year 501. The consul's provinces were to be Spain
and Sicily; Scipio, with two Roman legions, and 15,600
of the Italian allies, and with a fleet of sixty quinqueremes,
was to command in Spain ; Sempronius, with a somewhat
larger army, and a fleet of 160 quinqueremes, was to cross
over to LilybaBum, and from thence, if circumstances fa-
vored, to make a descent on Africa, A third army, con-
sisting also of two Roman legions, and 11,000 of the allies,
was stationed in Cisalpine Gaul, under the praetor, L. Man-
lius Vulso. The Romans suspected that the Gauls would
rise in arms erelong; and they hastened to send out the
colonists of two colonies, which had been resolved on before,
but not actually founded, to occupy the important stations of
Placcntia and Cremona on the opposite bank* of the Po.

,196 DR. ARNOLD.

The colonists sent to each of these places were no fewer
than six thousand ; and they received notice to be at their
colonies in thirty days. Three commissioners, one of them
C. Lutatius Catulus, being of consular rank, were sent out
as usual, to superintend the allotment of lands to the set-
tlers; and these 12,000 men, together with the praetor's
army, were supposed to be capable of keeping the Gauls

It is a curious fact, that the danger on the side of Spain
was considered to be so much the less urgent, that Scipio's
army was raised the last, after those of his colleague and of
the praetor, L. Manlius. Indeed, Scipio was still at Rome,
when tidings came that the Boians and Insubrians had
revolted, had dispersed the new settlers at Placentia and
Cremona, and driven them to take refuge at Mutina, had
treacherously seized the three commissioners at a confer-
ence, and had defeated the praetor, L. Manlius, and obliged
him also to take shelter in one of the towns of Cisalpine
Gaul, where they were blockading him. One of Scipio's
legions, with five thousand of the allies, was immediately
sent off into Gaul under another prastor, C. Atilius Ser-
ranus ; and Scipio waited till his own army should again be
completed by new levies. Thus, he cannot have left Rome
till late in the summer ; and when he arrived with his fleet
and army at the mouth of the eastern branch of the Rhone,
he found that Hannibal had crossed the Pyrenees ; but he
still hoped to impede his passage of the river.

Hannibal, meanwhile, having set out from New Carthage
with an army of 90,000 foot and 12,000 horse, crossed the
Iberus ; and from thenceforward the hostile operations of
Ids march began. He might, probably, have marched
through the country between the Iberus and the Pyrenees,
had that been his sole object, as easily as he made his way
from the Pyrenees to the Rhone ; a few presents and civili-
ties would easily have induced the Spanish chiefs to allow


him a free passage. But some of the tribes northward of
the Iberus were friendly to Rome : on the coast were the
Greek cities of Rhoda and Emporiae, Massalif* colonies,
and thus attached to the Romans as the old allies of their
mother city : if this part of Spain were left unconquered,
the Romans would immediately make use of it as the base
of their operations, and proceed from thence to attack the
whole Carthaginian dominion. Accordingly, Hannibal em-
ployed his army in subduing the whole country, which ho
effected with no great loss of time, but at a heavy expense
of men, as he was obliged to carry the enemy's strongholds
by assault, ralher than incur the delay of besieging them.
He left Hanno with eleven thousand men to retain posses-
sion of the newly-conquered country ; and he further dimin-
ished his army by sending home as many more of his
Spanish soldiers, probably those who had most distinguished
themselves, as an earnest to the rest, that they too, if they
did their duty well, might expect a similar release, and
might look forward to return erelong to their homes full of
spoil and of glory. These detachments, together with the
heavy loss sustained in the field, reduced the force with
which Hannibal entered Gaul to no more than 50,000 foot
and 9,000 horse.

From the Pyrenees to the Rhone his progress was easy.
Here he had no wish to make regular conquests ; and pres-
ents to the chiefs mostly succeeded in conciliating their
friendship, so that he was allowed to pass freely. But on
the left bank of the Rhone the influence of the Massaliots
with the Gaulish tribes had disposed them to resist the in-
vader ; and 'the passage of the Rhone was not to be effected
without a contest.

Scipio, by this time, had landed his army near the east-
ern mouth of the Rhone ; and his information of Hannibal's
movements was vague and imperfect. His men had suf-
fered from sea-sickness on their voyage from Pisa to the


Rhone ; and he wished to give them a short time to recover
their strength and spirits, before he led them against the
enemy. He still felt confident that Hannibal's advance
from the Pyrenees must be slow, supposing that he would
be obliged to fight his way ; so that he never doubted that
he should have ample time to oppose his passage of the
Rhone. Meanwhile he sent out 300 horse, with some
Gauls, who were in the service of the Massaliots, ordering
them to ascend the left bank of the Rhone, and discover, if
possible, the situation of the enemy. Pie seems to have
been unwilling to place the river on his rear, and therefore
never to have thought of conducting his opA-ations on the
right bank, or even of sending out reconnoitring parties
in this direction.

The resolution which Scipio formed a few days after-
wards, of sending his army to Spain, when he himself re-
turned to Italy, was deserving of such high praise, that we
must hesitate to accuse him of over caution or needless
delay at this critical moment. Yet he was sitting idle at
the mouth of the Rhone, while the Gauls were vainly
endeavoring to oppose Hannibal's passage of the river
We must understand that Hannibal kept his army as far
away from the sea as possible, in order to conceal his move-
ments from the Romans ; therefore he came upon the
Rhone, not on the line of the later Roman road from Spain
to Italy, which crossed the river at Tarasco, between Avig-
non and Aries, but at a point much higher up, above its
confluence with the Durance, and nearly half-way, if we
can trust Polybius's reckoning, from the sea to its confluence
with the Isere. Here he obtained from the natives on the
right bank, by paying a fixed price, all their boats and ves-
sels of every description with which they were accustomed
to traffic down the river : they allowed him also to cut tim-
ber for the construction of others ; and thus in two days he
was provided with the means of transporting his army.


But finding that the Gauls were assembled on the eastern
bank to oppose his passage, he sent off a detachment of his
army by night with native guides, to ascend the right bank,
for about two-and-twenty miles, and there to cross as they
could, where there was no enemy to stop them. The woods.
which then lined the river, supplied this detachment with
the means of constructing barks and rafts enough for the
passage ; they took advantage of one of the many islands in
this part of the Rhone, to cross where the stream was
divided ; and thus they all reached the left bank in safety.
There they took up a strong position, probably one of those
strange masses of rock which rise here and there with steep
cliffy sides like islands out of the vast plain, and rested for
four-and-twenty hours after their exertions in the march
and the passage of the river.

Hannibal allowed eight-and-forty hours to pass from the
time when the detachment left his camp ; and then, on the
morning of the fifth day after his arrival on the Rhone, he
made his preparations for the passage of his main army.
The mighty stream of the river, fed by the snows of the
high Alps, is swelled rather than diminished by the heats of
summer ; so that, although the season was that when the
southern rivers are generally at their lowest, it was rolling
the vast mass of its waters along with a startling fulness and
rapidity. The heaviest vessels were therefore placed on the
left highest up the stream, to form something of a break-
water for the smaller craft crossing below ; the small boats
held the flower of the light-armed foot, while the cavalry
were in the larger vessels ; most of the horses being towed
astern swimming, and a single soldier holding three or four
together by their bridles. Everything was ready, and the
Gauls on the opposite side had poured out of their camp,
and lined the bank in scattered groups at the most accessible
points, thinking that their task of stopping the enemy's land-
ing would be easily accomplished. At length Hannibal's


eye observed a column of smoke rising on the farther shore,
above or on the right of the barbarians. This was the con-
certed signal which assured him of the arrival of his detach-
ment ; and he instantly ordered his men to embark, and
to push across with all possible speed. They pulled vigor-
ously against the rapid stream, cheering each other to the
work ; while behind them were their friends, cheering them
also from the bank ; and before them were the Gauls sing-
ing their war-songs, and calling them to come on with tones
and gestures of defiance. But on a sudden a mass of fire
was seen on the rear* of the barbarians; the Gauls on the
bank looked behind, and began to turn away from the river ;
and presently the bright arms and white linen coats of the
African and Spanish soldiers appeared above the bank,
breaking in upon the disorderly line of the Gauls. Hanni-
lal himself, who was with the party crossing the river,
leaped on shore amongst the first, and forming his men as
fast as they landed, led them instantly to the charge. But
the Gauls, confused and bewildered, made little resistance ;
they fled in utter rout ; whilst Hannibal, not losing a mo-
ment, sent back his vessels and boats for a fresh detachment
of his army ; and before night his whole force, with the
exception of his elephants, was safely established on the
eastern side of the Rhone.

As the river was no longer between him and the enemy,
Hannibal early on the next morning sent out a party of
Numidian cavalry to discover the position and number of
Scipio's forces, and then called his army together, to see and
hear the communications of some chiefs of the Cisalpine
Gauls, who were just arrived from the other side of the
Alps. Their words were explained to the Africans and
Spaniards in the army by interpreters ; but the very sight

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 14 of 66)