Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/552

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508
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

the Carthaginian is the only ancient name remembered on the banks of the Perugian lake. Flaminius is unknown; but the postilions on that road have been taught to show the very spot where Il Console Romano was slain. Of all who fought and fell in the battle of Thrasimene, the historian himself has, besides the generals and Maharbal, preserved indeed only a single name. You overtake the Carthaginian again on the same road to Rome. The antiquary, that is, the hostler of the posthouse at Spoleto, tells you that his town repulsed the victorious enemy, and shows you the gate still called Porta di Annibale. It is hardly worth while to remark that a French travel writer, well known by the name of the President Dupaty, saw Thrasimene in the lake of Bolsena, which lay conveniently on his way from Sienna to Rome.


24.

And thou, dread Statue! still existent in
The austerest form of naked majesty.

Stanza lxxxvii. lines 1 and 2.

The projected division of the Spada Pompey has already been recorded by the historian of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Mr. Gibbon found it in the memorials of Flaminius Vacca; and it may be added to his mention of it, that Pope Julius III. gave the contending owners five hundred crowns for the statue, and presented it to Cardinal Capo di Ferro, who had prevented the judgment of Solomon from being executed upon the image. In a more civilised age this statue was exposed to an actual operation: for the French, who acted the Brutus of Voltaire in the Coliseum, resolved that their Cæsar should fall at the base of that Pompey, which was supposed to have been sprinkled with the blood of the original dictator. The nine-foot hero was therefore removed to the arena of the amphitheatre, and, to facilitate its transport, suffered the temporary amputation of its right arm. The republican tragedians had to plead that the arm was a restoration: but their accusers do not believe that the integrity of the statue would have protected it. The love of finding every coincidence, has discovered the true Cæsarian ichor in a stain near the right knee; but colder criticism has rejected not only the blood, but the portrait, and assigned the globe of power rather to the first of the emperors than to the last of the republican masters