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of the chiefs was itself an encouragement ; for it told the
soldiers that the communication with Cisalpine Gaul was
not impracticable, and that the Gauk had undertaken so


long a journey for the purpose of obtaining the aid of the
Carthaginian army, against their old enemies, the Romans.
Besides, the interpreters explained to the soldiers that the
chiefs undertook to guide them into Italy by a short and
safe route, on which they would be able to find provisions ;
and spoke strongly of the great extent and richness of Italy,
when they did arrive there, and how zealously the Gauls
would aid them. Hannibal then came forward himself and
addressed his army : their work, he said, was more than half
accomplished by the passage of the Rhone ; their own eyes
and ears had witnessed the zeal of their Gaulish allies in
their cause ; for the rest, their business was to do their duty,
and obey his "orders implicitly, leaving everything else to
him. The cheers and shouts of the soldiers again satisfied
him how fully he might depend upon them; and he then
addressed his prayers and vows to the gods of Carthage,
imploring them to watch over the army, and to prosper its
work to the end, as they had prospered its beginning. The
soldiers were now dismissed, with orders to prepare for
their march on tlie morrow.

Scarcely was the assembly broken up, when some of the
Numidians who had been sent out in the morning were
seen riding for their lives to the camp, manifestly in flight
from a victorious enemy. Not half of the original party
returned ; for they had fallen in with Scipio's detachment of
Roman and Gaulish horse, and, after an obstinate conflict,
had been completely beaten. Presently after, the Roman
horsemen appeared in pursuit ; but when they observed the
Carthaginian camp, they wheeled about and rode off, to
carry back word to their general. Then at last Scipio put
his army in motion, and ascended the left bank of the river
to find and engage the enemy. But when he arrived at the
spot where his cavalry had seen the Carthaginian camp, he
found it deserted, and was told that Hannibal had been gone
three days, having marched northwards, ascending the left


bank of the river. To follow him seemed desperate : it was
plunging into a country wholly unknown to the Romans,
where they had neither allies nor guides, nor resources of
any kind ; and where the natives, over and above the com-
mon jealousy felt by all barbarians towards a foreign army,
were likely, as Gauls, to regard the Romans with peculiar
hostility. But if Hannibal could not be followed now, he
might easily be met on his first arrival in Italy; from the
mouth of the Rhone to Pisa was the chord of a circle, while
Hannibal was going to make a long circuit; and the Ro-
mans had an army already in Cisalpine Gaul; while the
enemy would reach the scene of action exhausted with the
fatigues and privations of his march across the Alps. Ac-
cordingly, Scipio descended the Rhone again, embarked his
army and sent it on to Spain under the command of his
brother, Cnseus Scipio, as his lieutenant ; while he himself
in his own ship, sailed for Pisa, and immediately crossed
the Apennines to take the command of the forces of the two
praetors, Manlius and Atilius, who, as we have seen, had an
army of about 25,000 men, over and above the colonists of
Placentia and Cremona, still disposable in Cisalpine Gaul.

This resolution of Scipio to send his own army on to
Spain, and to meet Hannibal with the army of the two prae-
tors, appears to show that he possessed the highest qualities
of a general, which involve the wisdom of a statesman no
less than of a soldier. As a mere military question, his
calculation, though baffled by the event, was sound ; but if
we view it in a higher light, the importance to the Romans
of retaining their hold on Spain would have justified a far
greater hazard ; for if the Carthaginians were suffered to
consolidate their dominion in Spain, and to avail themselves
of its immense resources, not in money only, but in men, the
hardiest and steadiest of barbarians, and, under the training
of such generals as Hannibal and his brother, equal to the
best soldiers in the world, the Romans would hardly have.


been able to maintain the contest. Had not P. Scipio then
despatched his army to Spain at this critical moment, instead
of carrying it home to Italy, his son in all probability would
never have won the battle of Zama.

Meanwhile Hannibal, on the day after the skirmish with
Scipio's horse, had sent forward his infantry, keeping the
cavalry to cover his operations, as he still expected the Ro-
mans to pursue him; while he himself waited to super-
intend the passage of the elephants. These were thirty-
seven in number ; and their dread of the water made their
transport a very difficult operation. It was effected by
fastening to the bank large rafts of 200 feet in length, cov-
ered carefully % with earth : to the end of these smaller rafts
were attached, covered with earth in the same manner, and
with towing lines extended to a numbeuof the largest barks,
which were to tow them over the stream. The elephants,
two females leading the way, were brought upon the rafts
by their drivers without difficulty; and as soon as they
came upon the smaller rafts, these were cut loose at once
from the larger, and towed out into the middle of the river.
Some of the elephants, in their terror, leaped overboard,
and drowned their drivers ; but they themselves, it is said,
held their huge trunks above water, and struggled to the
shore ; so that the whole thirty-seven were landed in safety.
Then Hannibal called in his cavalry, and covering his
march with them and with the elephants, set forward up
the left bank of the Rhone to overtake the infantry.

In four days they reached the spot where the Isere, com-
ing down from the main Alps, brings to the Rhone a stream
hardly less full or mighty than his own. In the plains
above the confluence two Gaulish brothers were contending
which should be chief of their tribe ; and the elder called
in the stranger general to support his cause. Hannibal
readily complied, established him firmly on the throne, and
received important aid from him in return. He supplied


the Carthaginian army plentifully with provisions, furnished
them with new arms, gave them new clothing, especially
shoes, which were found very useful in the subsequent
march, and accompanied them to the first entrance on the
mountain country, to secure them from attacks on the part
of his countrymen.

The attentive reader, who is acquainted with the geogra-
phy of the Alps and their neighborhood, will perceive that
this account of Hannibal's march is vague. It does not
appear whether the Carthaginians ascended the left bank of
the Isere or the right bank ; or whether they continued to
ascend the Rhone for a time, and, leaving it only so far as to
avoid the great angle which it makes at Lyons, rejoined it
again just before they entered the mountain country, a little
to the left of the present road from Lyons to Chamberri.
But these uncertainties cannot now be removed, because
.Polybius neither possessed a sufficient knowledge of the
bearings of the country, nor sufficient liveliness as a painter,
to describe the line of the march so as to be clearly recog-
nized. I believe, however, that Hannibal crossed the Isere,
and continued to ascend the Rhone; and that afterwards,
striking off to the right across the plains of Dauphine, he
reached what Polybius calls the first ascent of the Alps, at
the northern extremity of that ridge of limestone moun-
tains, which, rising abruptly from the plain to the height of
4,000 or 5,000 feet, and filling up the whole space between
the Rhone at Belley and the Isere below Grenoble, first
introduces the traveller coming from Lyons to the remark-
able features of Alpine scenery.

At the end of the lowland country, the Gaulish chief, who
had accompanied Hannibal thus far, took leave of him : his
influence probably did not extend to the Alpine valleys;
and the mountaineers, far from respecting his safe-conduct,
might be in the habit of making plundering inroads on his
own territory. Here then Hannibal was left to himself;


and he found that the natives were prepared to beset hia
passage. They occupied all such points as commanded the
road ; which, as usual, was a sort of terrace cut in the
mountain-side, overhanging the valley whereby it pene-
trated to the central ridge. But as the mountain line is of
no great breadth here, the natives guarded the defile only
by day, and withdrew when night came on to their own
homes, in a town or village among the mountains, and lying
in 'the valley behind them. .Hannibal, having learnt 'this
from some of his Gaulish guides whom he sent among them,
encamped in their sight just below the entrance of the de-
file ; and as soon as it was dusk, he set out with a detach-
ment of light *troops, made his way through the pass, and
occupied the positions which the barbarians, after their usual
practice, had abandoned at the approach of night.

Day dawned ; the main army broke up from its camp,
and began to enter the defile ; while the natives, finding
their positions occupied by the enemy, at first looked on qui-
etly, and offered no disturbance to the march. But when
they saw the long narrow line of the Carthaginian army
winding along the steep mountain-side, and the cavalry and
baggage-cattle struggling at every step with the difficulties
of the road, the temptation to plunder was too strong to be
resisted ; and from many points of the mountain above the
road they rushed down upon the Carthaginians. The con-
fusion was terrible : for the road or track was so narrow,
that the least crowd or disorder pushed the heavily loaded
baggage-cattle down the steep below ; and the horses,
wounded by the barbarians' missiles, and plunging about
wildly in their pain and terror, increased the mischief. At
last Hannibal was obliged to charge down from his position,
which commanded the whole scene of confusion, and to
drive the barbarians off. This he effected ; yet the conflict
)f so many men on the narrow road made the disorder
worse for a time ; and he unavoidably occasioned the de-


struct ion of many of his own men. At last, the barbarians
being quite beaten off, the army wound its way out of the
defile in safety, and rested in the wide and rich valley which
extends from the lake of Bourget, with scarcely a percep-
tible change of level, to the Isere at Montmeillan. Hanni
bal meanwhile attacked and stormed the town, which was
the barbarians' principal stronghold; and here he not only
recovered a great many of his own men, horses, and bag-
gage-cattle, but also found a large supply of corn and cattle
belonging to the barbarians, which he immediately made
use of for the consumption of his soldiers.

In the plain which he had now reached, he halted for a
whole day, and then, resuming his march, proceeded for
three days up the valley of the Isere on the right bank,
without encountering any difficulty. Then the natives met
him with branches of trees in their hands, and wreaths on
their heads, in token of peace : they spoke fairly, offered
hostages, and wished, they said, neither to do the Cartha-
ginians any injury, nor to receive any from them. Hanni-
bal mistrusted them, yet did not wish to offend them ; he
accepted their terms, received their hostages, and obtained
large supplies of cattle ; and their whole behavior seemed
so trustworthy, that at last he accepted their guidance, it is
said, through a difficult part of the country, which he was
now approaching. For all the Alpine valleys become nar-
rower, as they draw nearer to the central chain ; and the
mountains often come so close to the stream, that the roads
in old times were often obliged to leave the valley and
ascend the hills by any accessible point, to descend again
when the gorge became wider, and follow the stream as
before. If this is not done, and the track is carried nearer
the river, it passes often through defiles of the most formi-
dable character, being no more than a narrow ledge above a
furious torrent, with cliffs rising above it absolutely precip-
itous, and coming down on the other sidt of the torrent


abruptly to the water, leaving no passage by which man or
even goat could make its way.

It appears that the barbarians persuaded Hannibal to
pass through one of these defiles, instead of going round it ;
and while his army was involved in it, they suddenly, and
without provocation, as we are told, attacked him. Making
their way along the mountain-sides above the defile, they
rolled down masses of rock on the Carthaginians below, or
even threw stones upon them from their hands, stones and
rocks being equally fatal against an enemy so entangled.
It was well for Hannibal, that, still doubting the barbarians'
faith, he had, sent forward his cavalry and baggage, and cov-
ered the march with his infantry, who thus had to sustain
the brunt of the attack. Foot-soldiers on such ground were
able to move where horses would be quite helpless ; and
thus at last Hannibal, with his infantry, forced his way to
the summit of one of the bare cliffs overhanging the defile,
and remained there during the night, whilst the cavalry and
baggage slowly struggled out of the defile. Thus again
baffled, the barbarians made no more general attacks on the '
army ; some partial annoyance was occasioned at intervals,
and some baggage was carried off ; but it was observed that
wherever the elephants were the line of march was secure ;
for the barbarians beheld those huge creatures with terror,
having never had the slightest knowledge of them, and not
daring to approach when they saw them.

Without any further recorded difficulty, the army on the
ninth day after they had left the plains of Dauphine arrived
at the summit of the central ridge of the Alps. Here there
is always a plain of some extent, immediately overhung by
the snowy summits of the high mountains, but itself in
summer presenting in many parts a carpet of the freshest
grass, with the chalets of the shepherds scattered over it,
and gay with a thousand flowers. But far different is its
aspect through the greatest part of the year : then it is one


unvaried waste of snow ; and the little lakes, which on
many of the passes enliven the summer landscape, are now
frozen over and covered with snow, so as to be no longer
distinguishable. Hannibal was on the summit of the Alps
about the end of October : the first winter snows had
already fallen ; but two hundred years before the Cliristian
era, when all Germany was one vast forest, the climate of
the Alps was far colder than at present, and the snow lay
on the passes all through the year. Thus the soldiers were
in dreary quarters ; they remained two days on the summit,
resting from their fatigues, and giving opportunity to many
of the stragglers, and of the horses and cattle, to rejoin
them by following their track; but they were cold, and
worn, and disheartened ; and mountains still rose before
them, through wKich, as they knew too well, even their
descent might be perilous and painful.

But their great general, who felt that he now stood victo-
rious on the ramparts of Italy, and that the torrent which
rolled before him was carrying its waters to the rich plains
of Cisalpine Gaul, endeavored to kindle his soldiers with
his own spirit of hope. He called them together ; he
pointed out the valley beneath, to which the descent seemed
the work of a moment. " That valley," he said, " is Italy ; it
leads us to the country of our friends the Gauls ; and yon-
der is our way to Rome." His eyes were eagerly fixed on
that point of the horizon ; and as he gazed, the distance
between seemed to vanish, till he could almost fancy that
lie was crossing the Tiber, and assailing the capitol.

After the two days' rest the descent began. Hannibal
experienced no more open hostility from, the barbarians,
only some petty attempts here and there to plunder ; a fart
strange in itself, but doubly so, if he was really descending
the valley of the Doria Baltea, through the country of the
Salassians, the most untamable robbers of all the Alpine
barbarians. It is possible that the influence of the Insu-


briand may partly have restrained the mountaineers ; and
partly also may they have been deterred by the ill success
of all former attacks, and may by this time have regarded
the strange army and its monstrous beasts with something
of superstitious terror. But the natural difficulties of the
ground on the descent were greater than ever. The snow-
covered the track so that the men often lost it, and fell down
the steep below: at last they came to a place where au
avalanche had carried it away altogether for about three
hundred yards, leaving the mountain-side a mere wreck of
scattered rocks and snow. To go round was impossible ; for
the depth of the snow on the heights above rendered it
hopeless to scale them; nothing therefore was left but to
repair the road. A summit of some extent was found, and
cleared of the snow; and here the army was obliged to
encamp, whilst the work went on. There was no want of
hands ; and every man was laboring for his life ; the road
therefore was restored, and supported with solid substruc-
tions below ; and in a single day it was made practicable for
the cavalry and baggage-cattle, which were immediately
sent forward, and reached the lower valley in safety, where
they were turned out to pasture. A harder labo** was
required to make a passage for the elephants : the way for
them must be wide and solid ; and the work could not be
accomplished in less than three days. The poor animals
suffered severely in the interval from hunger ; for no forage
was to be found in that wilderness of snow, nor any trees
whose leaves might supply the place of other herbage. At
last they too were able to proceed with safety; Hannibal
overtook his cavalry and baggage ; and in three days more
the whole army had got clear of the Alpine valleys, and
entered the country of their friends, the Insubrians, on the
wide plain of Northern Italy.

Hannibal was arrived in Italy, but with a force so weak-
ened by its losses in men and horses, and by the exhausted


state of the survivors, that he might seem to Lave accom-
plished his great march in vain. According to his own
statement, which there is no reason to doubt, he brought out
of the Alpine valleys no more than 12,000 African and
8,000 Spanish infantry, with 6,000 cavalry ; so that his
march from the Pyrenees to the plains of Northern Italy
must have cost him 33,000 men ; an enormous loss, which
proves how severely the army must have suffered from the
privations of the march and the severity of the Alpine cli-
mate ; for not half of these 33,000 men can have fallen in
battle. With his army in this condition, some period of
repose was absolutely necessary; accordingly, Hannibal
remained in the country of the Insubrians till rest, and a
more temperate climate, and wholesome food, with which
the Gauls plentifully supplied him, restored the bodies and
spirits of his soldiers, and made them again ready for action.
His first movement was against the Taurinians, a Ligurian
people, who were constant enemies of the Insubrians, and
therefore would not listen to Hannibal, when he invited
them to join his cause. He therefore attacked and stormed
their principal town, put the garrison to the sword, and
struck such terror into the neighboring tribes, that they sub-
mitted immediately, and became his allies. This was his
first accession of strength in Italy, the first-fruits, as he
hoped, of a long succession of defections among the allies
of Rome, so that the swords of the Italians might effect for
him the conquest of Italy.



morning, all alone,
Out of his convent of gray stone,
Into the forest, older, darker, grayer,
His lips moving as if in prayer,
His head sunken upon his breast
As in a dream of rest,
Walked the Monk Felix. All about
The broad, sweet sunshine lay without,
Filling the summer air ;
And within the woodlands as he trod
The twilight was like the Truce of God
With worldly woe and care ;
Under him lay the golden moss ;
And above him the boughs of hemlock-trees
Waved, and made the sign of the cross,
And whispered their Benedicites ;
And from the ground
Rose an odor sweet and fragrant
Of the wild-flowers and the vagrant
Vines that wandered,
Seeking the sunshine, round and round.

These he heeded not, but pondered
On the volume in his hand,


A volume of Saint Augustine,

Wherein he read of the unseen

Splendors of God's great town

In the unknown land,

And, with his eyes cast down

In humility, he said :

" I believe, O God ;

What herein I have read,

But alas ! I do not understand ! *

And lo ! he heard
The sudden singing of a bird,
A snow-white bird, that from a cloud
1 Dropped down,
And among the branches brown
Sat singing

So sweet, and clear, and loud,
It seemed a thousand harp-strings ringing.
And the Monk Felix closed his book,
And long, long,
With rapturous look,
He listened to the song,
And hardly breathed or stirred,
Until he saw, as in a vision,
The land Elysian,
And in the heavenly city heard
Angelic feet

Fall on the golden flagging of the street.
And he would fain
Have caught the wondrous bird,
But strove in vain ;
For it flew away, away,
Far over hill and dell,
And instead of its sweet singing
He heard the convent bell
Suddenly in the silence ringing


For the service of noonday.

And he retraced

His pathway homeward sadly and in haste.

In the convent was a change !

He looked for each well-known face,

But the faces were new and strange ;

New figures sat in the oaken stalls,

New voices chanted in the choir ;

Yet the place was the same place,

The same dusky walls

Of cold, gray stone,

The some cloisters and belfry and spire.

A stranger and alone

Among that brotherhood

The Monk Felix stood.

" Forty years," said a Friar,

" Have I been Prior

Of this convent in the wood,

But for that space

Never have I beheld thy face ! "

The heart of the Monk Felix fell :

And he answered, with submissive tone,

" This morning, after the hour of Prime

I left my cell,

And wandered forth alone,

Listening all the time

To the melodious singing

Of a beautiful white bird,

Until I heard

The bells of the convent ringing

Noon from their noisy towers.

It was as if I dreamed ;


For what to me had seemed
Moments only, had been hours ! "

" Years ! " said a voice close by.

It was an aged monk who spoke,

From a bench of oak

Fastened against the wall ;

He was the oldest monk of all.

For a whole century

Had he been there,

Serving God in prayer,

The meekest and humblest of his creatures.

He remembered well the features

Of Felix, and he said,

Speaking distinct and slow :

" One hundred years ago,

When I was a novice in this place,

There was here a monk, full of God's grace,

Who bore the name

Of Felix, and this man must be the same."

And straightway

They brought forth to the light of day

A volume old and brown,

A huge tome, bound

In brass and wild-boar's hide,

Wherein were written down

The names of all who had died

In the convent, since it was edified.

And there they found,

Just as the old monk said,

That on a certain day and date,

One hundred years before,

Had gone forth from the convent gate

The Monk Felix, and never more

Had entered that sacred door.


He had been counted among the dead !

And they knew, at last,

That, such had been the power

Of that celestial and immortal song,

A hundred years had passed,

And had not seemed so long

As a single hour !



THE little valley of Easedale is one of the most impres-
sive solitudes among the mountains of the lake district ;
and I must pause to describe it. Easedale is impressive,
first, as a solitude ; for the depth of the seclusion is brought
out and forced more pointedly upon the feelings by the thin
scattering of houses over its sides, and the surface of what

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