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moment topple, an ensanguined corpse, on the earth.
When the intelligence of this event sped, rumour-winged, through the battle, the army of Gyges seemed to have acquired a new courage, and advancing with a mighty shout, they began to drive the Armenian hosts before them and into the sea; but at this moment a storm of trumpets sounded in the rear, and glancing in that direction, they beheld the army of Babylon, battalion on battalion, horse and foot, advancing innumerable from the plain, which they covered with their glittering lines, even to the remote horizon. The sun was beginning to descend, like a globe of blood, into the wild sea, as sudden consternation seized them at finding themselves -a fiery, but forlorn column of warclosed in by the outnumbering enemy. In swift and furious never-ending masses the Babylonians advanced, impregnably multitudinous, annihilating resistance; like a forest uprooted and overwhelmed by a tempest, the army of Gyges, now collecting for a moment in despairing companies, now flying from one raging wall of spears to another, fell swift and hopelessly death swallowed phalanx after phalanx; and as the sun, reddening the shadowing waters, cast its last ray on the blood-deluged battle-plain, a cry of victory echoing from the conquering hosts across the plain, and mingling with that which rung triumphing through the mountain ravines, already dark with night, proclaimed that the power of the Lydians was no more.
It was already midnight, as the moon, rounding toward the south, cast its beam into the mouth of a mountain cavern, some miles from the plain of battle; while the light, peering into its gloomy penetralia, fell on a heap of leaves, amid which something like a brand glittered--a stony stillness pervaded the place.
Suddenly, a figure, like a shadow, appeared at the entrance, looming indistinctly against the low, round moon-one hand was pointed to its heart; on its awful brow rested something like the phantom of a diadem; and a voice, low and awful as the wind that breathes from hades, murmured, Arise, Gyges, and listen to thy doom!"
As these accents swooned away, the leaves rustled with a sound as
though some one had moved them, turning in dreamful slumber. Then, though no figure appeared, a Voice, imperious-toned, exclaimed, Candules! why troublest thou my rest? What infernal god has sent thee, phantom, to mock at my overthrow -to reproach me with thy death?" Then, as though its invisible figure advancing confronted the spectre, the same voice cried in louder accents, "Away, shadow! mortal though I be, I fear thee not; while I live on earth the destinies have gifted me with superhuman power; and should death, which I doubt, be my lot, the spirit to which, when here, thou hast succumbed shall fear nor thee nor any phantom presence in hades!"
There was a pause, during which the dead silence of the cavern was broken by a faint, sullen sound, as of that of drops of blood falling on the stone.
Then the voice of the immovable shadow resumed, in tones so deep and awful that the dark air trembled
"Thy power, audacious mortal, shall depart from thee. Where love has reigned, hatred shall hold dominion. Already thy armies are overthrown-already thy people are in revolt; hopeless, and grown weaker than a child, despair shall swiftly claim thee, and hurry thee, amid the flames of Sardis, to thy doom!"
After an interval, the voice of Gyges murmured--"It is gone; this phantom of Candules--yet am I awake? And may not what seemed a moment since have been but a dream-a vision shaped by this disaster-stricken mind? Yes, it must be so. The land is silent; the night is clear; already dawn streaks the east. Í will again to sleep, for with the day I must journey to Lydia. Avaunt, phantasms of the darkness! Why should I fear the voice of a dream, prophesying horror--of a dream-the wandering thought of a battleshook brain? No more! Courage, Gyges! thou shalt live and reign.
THE rumour of the overthrow and extinction of the army of Gyges had passed rapid as the wind across the countries between Armenia and Lydia; and, as on his way thither, entering unseen the palaces of the
different powers, he found that his defeat had not only broken the alliances which they heretofore maintained with his kingdom, but that, influenced by Babylonian emissaries, they were already assuming an attitude of menace toward his throne. He hastened, fast as the fleetest steeds could bear him, to Sardis.
It was noon when he approached the city; and, quitting his horse in an adjacent wood, entered the gates invisibly, and hurried to the palace. Then it was, as he passed from street to street, that, for the first time, his daring soul, hitherto inaccessible to fear, became a prey to gloomy apprehensions; and that, recalling the doomful announcement of Candule's murdered ghost, his haughty reliance in his power and destiny began to waver, for it was evident that the entire population had grown disaffected to his authority: clamour filled the streets; the faces of each group that he passed were dashed with discontent and darkened by hatred; and on all sides angered voices were heard raging against the usurper and tyrant, and demanding some his banishment, many his death. As he approached the Queen's apartments, a Persian satrap, whose fierce face was illuminated with an expression of triumph, passed him, and was presently heard giving orders to a body of soldiers drawn up in a courtyard beneath, to guard the gates of the city, and seize Gyges, should he attempt to enter. It was clear that treason was already busy in the heart of the palace. Forthwith rendering himself visible, Gyges advanced into the chamber of the Queen, who no sooner beheld him, than in a burst of well-simulated sorrow, she flung herself into his arms, and alternately rejoiced at his arrival and bedewed the ground with tears, while she lamented the disaster which had befallen his army, and the spirit of revolt which the people had exhibited in his absence. Penetrating her thoughts, and finding treachery at work, Gyges, while affecting to soothe her, presently inquired by what right an emissary of Persia assumed authority in his palace. Nyssea replied that her father, the King, had sent his minister to the court with offers of warlike assistance, should such be needed. Undeceived, however, Gyges
calling a council, summoned the satrap to attend, and despite the assurances of the Persian, was at no loss, from what he had already heard, to perceive that the father of the Queen was conspiring his dethronement. Preserving his usual gracious demeanour however, Gyges adopted rapid measures for overcoming the crisis in which he found himself. Collecting his still numerous adherents, he issued secret orders to his ministers and army; all foreign emissaries were forthwith seized and imprisoned, and while his troops, animated by his presence, occupied the city and repressed the revolt, the people to whom he had ever been an object of terror, stunned at his mysterious return, quickly assumed their usual pacific attitude. In short, in a few hours after his arrival, Gyges had restored tranquillity in the city, and paralysed the intrigues of his enemies, and already resuming his confidence and daring, forgot the defeat of his army, laughed to scorn the efforts of hostility, and began once more to expand his soul with dreams of power and conquest.
That night a great banquet was given by the King to his ministers and confidants. For hours the revel lasted; the wines flowed, and music and song resounded through the gilded domes of the festal chambers. The midnight star already shone through the casement, near which stood the purple couch of the King and Queen, when Nyssea, scattering a cup of wine with rose-leaves, and touching it with her lips, presented it to Gyges, whose watchful eyes, penetrating every heart, had contrasted with the gaiety of his speech, and who that night had hardly tasted of the cup in which his company so lavishly indulged. The King drained it laughingly, and the revel for a while proceeded, when a slow sensation of weariness stealing over hima result, as he supposed, of his having passed several nights with but little rest, and his exertions throughout the past day-he finally gave the signal for his guests to retire, and presently sank into a deep sleep.
For a space all was silence in the chamber in which the lights were becoming gradually extinguished, when the Queen who, motionless and awake, had reclined beside Gyges,
arose, and gently removing the mysterious ring from his finger, hurried softly out of the chamber, and disappeared in the already hushed palace.
When, at early dawn, Gyges awoke, and instinctively searching, as was his wont, for his magic ring, found that it was gone, struck with despair, he hurried to the chamber of the Queen. Nyssea, however, was nowhere to be seen.
Summoning his attendants, he inquired whether the Queen had been seen leaving the palace. They answered they had not beheld her since the previous night, and that the doors were still locked as then. Upon this he immediately ordered the keys to be brought him.
"Spectre of Candules, thou hast spoken true," he cried, as alone, his mind filled with tempestuous emotions, he paced hither and thither throughout the chamber. The entire consequence of his loss rushing upon his soul filled him with despair; he reflected that he was wholly in the power of the Queen, who, having the means of becoming invisible, could at any moment destroy him and escape his vengeance. While thus deprived of his charm, he found himself wholly abandoned to the mercy of his numerous enemies. Dismissing his attendants, who seemed to have become instinctively conscious that his reign was drawing to a close, and whose countenances indicated indifference and hatred, Gyges remained for many hours throughout the day, occupied but unseen, in the central chamber of the palace; and evening had already fallen, when a breathless scout, hurrying from his horse, knocked at the portal of the suite of apartments within which the King was secreted. Presently unlocking the door,
"What is thy message?" he cried. "What intelligence bringest thou so hastily?"
"The army of the Babylonians, sire, has entered Lydia, and even now is approaching Sardis."
"At what distance, slave, may they now be from the city?"
"Some ten leagues," replied the envoy. Then the King dismissing him, closed the palace doors.
Night was already advanced, and a
great wind which had risen at sunset, and which rapidly increased in violence, made the walls of the strongest structures tremble to the foundations, when a sudden cry of "The palace is on fire" burst from the citizens, who, in consternating groups, had suddenly rushed into the streets. So sudden and fierce, indeed, had the flames already become, fed and fanned by this mighty tempest, that none among any of the townsfolk could be found sufficiently intrepid or desperate to approach the blazing pile, through whose casements, doors, and roofs the flames burst and sprang, and around whose towers and pinnacles they already careered in fierce wreaths, until the great structure glowed from base to summit, one vast volume of raging fire.
At first a few faces appeared despairing on the walls and battlements in the tyrannous light of ruin, and a few despairing shrieks thrilled through the reddened dome of the night heaven; but they quickly disappeared, and then nothing was heard but the crackling of the fire, the falling of great columns, walls, and roofs, and the ever increasing roar of the conflagration.
Hours passed; the inner walls of the palace, already glowed like red hot iron, when as the affrighted population gazed upward through the sky, then bright as day, at the great central tower, which had hitherto resisted the ruining fury of the consuming element-lo! a Figure appeared, mounted on its summit-his face like a flame, pale with eastern frankincense solitary, and calmly surveying the magnificent scene of ruin and desolation.
In an instant a thousand voices cried, "It is Gyges!" Then hardly had the echoes died away through the air when the mighty structure shook, toppled, sunk, with a sound like loudest thunder, scattering fiery fragments of danger on all sides; and as the wild raging flames which succeeded mounted to heaven-aloft, upon a burning cloud, a shadowy phantom, with fixed and calm smile, appeared, surveying the final scene of destruction.
"It is the spectre of Candules !" cried the people, and the multitude fell prostrate to the earth.
AMERICAN SCENES AND PORTRAITS.
THE American war and the American question, whatever else may come of them,have given authors, printers, publishers-and, may we not add critics? much active employment. The books, of considerable pretension, that have appeared on this momentous subject, are already legion. So rapid, too, has been their production that, ere these lines see the light, some half-dozen more may, perhaps, be found interspersed among the gilt gift-books for the new year, on the booksellers' counters, soliciting in vain the attention of a public tired of the topic, and only anxious that a desolating and iniquitous war should be terminated somehow. There is this peculiarity about those American books, moreoverthat they have mostly dealt with the political controversies antecedent to the war, which are abstruse to the English reader, and devoid, besides, of practical interest. It is really of small concern now whether the American Constitution, which exists no longer, was, as Lord Brougham interpreted it, a mere treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, leaving the States which were parties to the league sovereign and independent; or a bond indissoluble, except, perhaps, by the vote of a great national convention. The time when that controversy had an actual, operative interest, is long past, and those who recur to it waste time and strength to little profit. We do not know, either, that a conclusion on the point is attainable. It is as difficult a task to interpret the principles and limits of the American compact, as it would seem to be to get at the true meaning of our own Foreign Enlistment Act. To say the truth, however, American writers, both Northern and Southern, are passing away at last from the foolish wrangle over
the moral right or wrong of Secession; and the only author who has, during the last few weeks-(for the volumes placed at the head of this article, upon which our observations are to be based, have issued from the press within the past month) addressed the European world on the old "Union for ever" side of the discussion, is an Englishman; and his book is a mere rechauffée of the arguments employed by the Federal press above two years ago, and reiterated at that time usque ad nauseam. Baptist Noel has no rival as a compiler. His "Rebellion in America" is as closely printed, and as tame and unsatisfactory a book as ever scissors and paste put together. The basis of all his conclusions is, of course, the sinfulness of the Rebellion. With such a foundation the reader can fancy how the author addresses himself to the slavery question
with what a light and easy step he trips over the other great problems involved in a gigantic revolution, and where, finally, he lands himself, under the complacent idea that he has vanquished all "sympathizers with_the South," and justified Abraham Lincoln's claim to be considered almost an angel for virtue, and more than a Solomon for wisdom. The work has a certain value from containing a number of documents of historical interest, in connexion with the political struggle which culminated with the election of the Republican President, but as a commentator upon these Mr. Noel has no claim to regard. He is a partizan of the most self-satisfied order. chapter on Emancipation" is Mrs. Kemble's "Residence on a Georgian Plantation" without the pathos much of it being doubtless harrowing to the feelings, but having little, practically, to do with the relations of the
By James Williams, late American
"The Rise and Fall of The Model Republic.' Minister to Turkey. London: Richard Bentley. 1863. "The Cotton Trade: its Bearing upon the Prosperity of Great Britain and Commerce of the American Republics, considered in Connexion with the System of Negro Slavery in the Confederate States." By George M'Henry. London: Saunders, Otley, and Co. 1863. "The Rebellion in America." By Baptist Wriothesley Noel, M.A. London: James Nisbet and Co. 1863.
"Three Months in the Southern States; April-June, 1863." By Lieut-Colonel Fremantle, Coldstream Guards. London and Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons. 1863. "My Imprisonment, and the First Year of Abolition Rule at Washington." By Mrs. Greenhow. London: Richard Bentley. 1863.
two races inhabiting the country above and below the once famous border. Of the horrors of slavery no one needs to be informed. Those who have the hardihood to defend the "institution" are a miserably small section of any community; but no evidence has yet been given that the Northern parties are agreed on the policy of Emancipation, or that the dominant section is able to act in the matter against the opposition of the other, or even that the extreme Republicans are honest emancipators; and certainly they have propounded no feasible or just plan for accomplishing the slave's release, without producinga. disorganization of society, which would cause horrors worse tenfold than the worst resulting from slavery itself. Mr. Noel, and the small and busy party of Federalists in England; have, indeed, found a stimulus in the recent successes of the Northern arms; but, according to their own professions, the conquest of the South would be nothing without the complete destruction of slavery; and the victorious Northerners seem less demonstrative about that grand, moral exploit, as their triumphs multiply, and the difficulty of carrying out Mr. Lincoln's proclamation presses. It has been stated, that the President has spoken of that document as the great blunder of his career; and without taking for true every assertion in the public press respecting one in his position, it is impossible not to see that, should Mr. Lincoln overrun the South, his pledge to confiscate the property of the Southern people in their negro slaves, and to set those slaves at liberty, will involve him in serious troubles.
When the Constitution of the Confederate States is quoted, in order to create a sympathy for the North, on the ground of the former being an avowed Slave Power, the practical position of the Northern parties towards slavery is forgotten, as well as the enmity of the Northern population towards the negro. There is at least one great section of the Northern community still in favour of upholding Southern slavery, and it is by no means clear that they will not be found in the ascendant at the next presidential election, although, at present, certain casual successes of the Federal arms have given their opponents a popular advantage. The
VOL. LXIII.-NO. CCCLXXIII.
powerful state of New York is unchangeably Democratic; and the free black man is more hardly treated there than the slave black man in Richmond or Charleston. The Northern partisans cannot drive from the public remembrance the dreadful scenes enacted in the Empire City, when it was thought necessary by the Democrats of New York State to intimidate the Government from pursuing the emancipation theory beyond the point necessary to effect the hypocritical purpose of creating a feeling in favour of the Union in foreign countries. The writer of these observations fell into conversation, a short time since, with an intelligent American, who had travelled all over the continent, from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Florida, and who, moreover, was as little of a party-man as can be supposed possible in an American. He professed himself to be neither a Republican nor a Democrat, though he yielded to no man in abhorrence of slavery; and it was his opinion that the war would end in a compromise with the South (including guarantees to the Confederates against molestation in the matter of slavery) as soon as Mr. Lincoln's term was completed. This result, he supposed, would occur whether the next President was as an avowed Democrat or the reverse; and, whatever may be thought of his statement as a prophecy, it shows that the Americans are not inclined to choose Separation in preference to Union, with Slavery, should the alternative be put to them in that shape. And if slavery is to be re-established with fresh guarantees, to which the whole power of the North will be pledged, the last state of the slave will be worse than the first. Far better for his prospects of immediate fair treatment, and of ultimate emancipation, that the Southern States were wholly independent, in which event the unanimous public opinion of the North would exert an influence upon the Slave Power to produce modifications; the very proportion of the numbers of blacks and whites in the South, which must increasingly incline to the advantage of the former, would press for a permanent solution of the slave question. Looking forward in this way to what, apparently, must happen, and that soon,