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Dropped to the earth, astonished at the sound !
• Roman Master" " on Grecian ground” was T. Quintius Flaminius, one of the ablest and noblest of the Roman generals, (230-174 B.c.) He was successful against Philip of Macedon, overran Thessaly in 198, and conquered the Macedonian army in 197, defeating Philip at Cynoscephalæ. He concluded a peace with the vanquished. “In the spring of 196, the Roman commission arrived in Greece to arrange, conjointly with Flaminius, the affairs of the country : they also brought with them the terms on which a definite peace was to be concluded with Philip. . . The Ætolians exerted themselves to excite suspicions among the Greeks as to the sincerity of the Romans in their dealings with them. Flaminius, however, insisted upon immediate compliance with the terms of the peace. In this summer, the Isthmian games were celebrated at Corinth, and thousands from all parts of Greece flocked thither. Flaminius, accompanied by the ten commissioners, entered the assembly, and, at his command, a herald, in name of the Roman Senate, proclaimed the freedom and independence of Greece. The joy and enthusiasm at this unexpected declaration was beyond all description : the throngs of people that crowded around Flaminius to catch a sight of their liberator or touch his garment were so enormous, that even his life was endangered.” (Smith's Dic. of Greek and Roman Biography: Art. Flaminius.)-ED.
UPON THE SAME EVENT.
Comp. (probably) 1810. Pub. 1815.
-A melancholy Echo of that voice
“ 'Tis known,” cried they, “that he who would adorn His envied temples with the Isthmian crown, Must either win, through effort of his own, The prize, or be content to see it worn By more deserving brows.—Yet so ye prop, Sons of the brave who fought at Marathon, Your feeble spirits! Greece her head hath bowed, As if the wreath of liberty thereon Would fix itself as smoothly as a cloud Which, at Jove's will, descends on Pelion's top." The Ætolians were the only Greeks that entertained suspicion of the Roman designs from the first. When Flaminius was wintering in Phocis in 196, and an insurrection broke out at Opus, some of the citizens had called in the aid of the Ætolians against the Macedonian garrison ; but the gates of the city were not opened to admit the Ætolian volunteers till Flaminius arrived. Then in the battle at the heights of Cynoscephalæ, where the Macedonian army was routed, the Ætolian contingent, which had helped Flaminius, claimed the sole credit of the victory; and wished no truce made with Philip, as they were bent on the destruction of the Macedonian power.
The Ætolians aimed subsequently at exciting suspicion against the sincerity of Flaminius. In the second sonnet, Wordsworth's sympathy seems to have been with the Ætolians, as much as it was with the Swiss and the Tyrolese in their attitude to Bonaparte. But Flaminius was not a Napoleon.—Ed.
THE OAK OF GUERNICA.
Pub. 1815. The ancient oak of Guernica, says Laborde in his account of Biscay, is
a most venerable natural monument. Ferdinand and Isabella, in the year 1476, after hearing mass in the church of Santa Maria de la Antigua, repaired to this tree, under which they swore to the Biscayans to maintain their fueros (privileges). What other interest belongs to it in the minds of this people will appear from the following
SUPPOSED ADDRESS TO THE SAME,
OAK of Guernica ! Tree of holier power
(So faith too fondly deemed) a voice divine
Guardians of Biscay's ancient liberty. Prophetic power was believed to reside within the grove which surrounded the temple of Jupiter near Dodona, in Epirus, and oracles were given forth from the boughs of the sacred oak.- ED.
INDIGNATION OF A HIGH-MINDED SPANIARD.
We can endure that He should waste our lands,
Compare the two sonnets “on a celebrated event in Ancient History” (p. 228). The following note to the last line of this sonnet occurs in Professor Reed's American Edition of the Poems :-" The student of English poetry will call to mind Cowley's impassioned expression of the indignation of a Briton under the depression of disasters somewhat similar.
“ Let rather Roman come again,
Or Saxon, Norman, or the Dane :
In all the bonds we ever bore,
Discourse on the Government of Oliver Cromwell.—ED.
AVANT all specious pliancy of mind
Pub. 1815. O'ERWEENING Statesmen have full long relied On fleets and armies, and external wealth :
Forests of such do at this day remain.
But from within proceeds a Nation's health ;
THE FRENCH AND THE SPANISH GUERILLAS.
Pub. 1815. HUNGER, and sultry heat, and nipping blast From bleak hill-top, and length of march by night Through heavy swamp, or over snow-clad heightThese hardships ill-stastained, these dangers past, The roving Spanish Bands are reached at last, Charged, and dispersed like foam : but as a flight Of scattered quails by signs do reunite, So these,—and, heard of once again, are chased With combinations of long-practised art And newly-kindled hope ; but they are fledGone are they, viewless as the buried dead : Where now?_Their sword is at the Foeman's heart!. And thus from year to year his walk they thwart, And hang like dreams around his guilty bed. See note + appended to the sonnet entitled Spanish Guerillas (p. 247). -ED.
* See Laborde's character of the Spanish people ; from him the sentiment of these two last lines is taken. 1815.