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gently into the sea. While Acerronia, who lost her presence of mind, was calling out that she was Agrippina, and imploring help for the emperor's mother, she was despatched with boat-poles and oars and other naval implements which chanced to be in the way. Agrippina kept silent, and was consequently not so well recognised, but yet she received one wound on her shoulder. She swam till she fell in with some boats, by which she was conveyed into the Lucrine Lake, and thence to her own villa. There turning over in her mind the various circumstances,—that it was expressly for this purpose that she had been invited by treacherous letters and treated with particular distinction; that it was near the shore, without being driven by the winds or dashed against rocks, that the upper part of the vessel had fallen in, just as any construction on land might have done; considering too the death of Acerronia, and casting her eyes on her own wound; reflecting that the only protection against treachery was to affect not to see it,she sent her freedman, Agerinus, to tell her son that, by the blessing of the gods and her own good fortune, she had escaped a grievous accident; she entreated him, however alarmed he might be at his mother's danger, to defer the trouble of paying her a visit. In the meantime, assuming an appearance of being perfectly at ease, she dressed her wound, and used warm applications to her body. She ordered the testament of Acerronia to be sought for, and her goods to be sealed: in this alone there was no simulation.
Nero, who was waiting for the news of the completion of his crime, received intelligence that Agrippina had escaped with no farther injury than a slight blow: she had just been in danger enough to leave no doubt in her mind who had planned it.
Half-dead with terror, and crying out that his mother might be ex pected every moment, eager for revenge; that she would either arm the slaves or inflame the soldiers, or make her way to the senate and people, and urge against him the wreck of the vessel, her wound, and the death of her friends; what protection had he against her, if Seneca and Burrus could not devise something? and he immediately sent for them. It is doubtful whether they were already acquainted with his designs. Both were silent for some time, either because they thought it useless to attempt to dissuade Nero, or they believed that things had come to that pass, that Nero must perish if Agrippina was not removed out of the way. Seneca at last so far took the lead as to look to Burrus, and ask whether the soldiers should receive orders to kill Agrippina. Burrus replied that the Prætorians were devoted to all the family of the Cæsars ; that they cherished the memory of Germanicus, and they would not venture on any extreme measures against his children; Anicetus, he said, should perform his promise. Without any hesitation Anicetus asked to be allowed to complete his crime. Upon hearing these words, Nero declared that on that day the empire was really conferred on him, and to a freedman he owed the gift : he bade him go quick, and take with him the readiest men to execute his commands. Nero himself, hearing that Agerinus had come to him with a message from Agrippina, adopted a theatrical contrivance to make him look like a criminal: while Agerinus was delivering his message, he threw down a dagger at his feet. He then commanded him to be put in chains, as if he had been detected in an attempt at assassination, in order that he might invent a false story of his mother having plotted the destruction of the emperor, and then, through shame at her crime being detected, having committed suicide.
In the meantime, the danger of Agrippina was noised abroad, but only as an accident; and the people, as they heard of it, hurried to the shore. Some got upon the mole, others into the nearest boats ; some waded into the sea as far as they could; and some stretched out their hands; the whole coast was filled with the cries, the prayers, the shouts of people asking various questions or giving uncertain answers. A great multitude crowded thither with lights; and, when it was gene rally known that Agrippina was safe, they were preparing to give her their congratulations, when they were dispersed by the threats of a body of armed men,
Anicetus posted men about Agrippina's villa, and, bursting open the door, he seized the slaves, whom he met before he reached the door of the chamber. A few slaves were standing there: the rest had been frightened away by the soldiers breaking in. In the chamber there was a feeble light and a single female slave. Agrippina was growing more and more uneasy that no messenger came from her son; that even Agerinus did not return. The face of the shore was now changed; there were solitude and sudden noises, and the indications of some extreme calamity. As her slave was going away, Agrippina cried out, “Do you too leave me?" and seeing Anicetus, accompanied by Herculeus, a captain of a trireme, and Oloaritus, a centurion in the fleet, she said, “if he had come to see her, he must tell Nero that she was recovered ; if he had come to commit a crime, she would not believe that her son was privy to it; he would not command the murder of his mother." The assassins surrounded the bed, and the commander of the trireme was the first to strike her on the head with a club. As the centurion was drawing his sword to kill her, she presented her womb, and said “Strike here ;” and she was despatched with many wounds. So far all agree. As to Nero coming to see the body of his mother, and praising the beauty of her person, there are some authorities that have so stated, and there are some that deny it. She was burnt the same night, on a banqueting couch, and with the meanest ceremonial; nor, so long as Nero was in possession of power, was the earth piled up, or covered over.
By the care of her domestics a slight tumulus was afterwards raised on the place, near the road to Misenum and the villa of the Dictator Cæsar, which stands on the highest spot of ground and commands a prospect of the bay below. When the funeral pile was lighted, a freedman of Agrippina, named Mnester, stabbed himself; it is doubtful whether through affection to his mistress, or through fear of being put to death. Many years before Agrippina had believed that this would be her end, and she had braved it. For, when she was consulting the Chaldæans about Nero, they told her that Nero would be emperor, and would kill his mother : she replied, “ Let him be my murderer, only let him reign.”
280.-ADDRESS TO THE MUMMY IN BELZONI'S
HORACE SMITH. (HORACE Smith, one of the authors of the famous · Rejected Addresses,' is also known as the writer of several novels, and of a few miscellaneous Poems. His brother James, who died in 1839, enjoyed, perhaps, a higher reputation for wit; but the two will be ever associated in the literary history of our time, not only for their success as writers, but for that inestimable quality without which even wit is worthless, kindliness of nature and genuine benevolence.]
And thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Thou hast a tongue; come, let us hear its tune; Thou 'rt standing on thy legs above ground, mummy!
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon. Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features. Tell us—for doubtless thou canst recollect
To whom should we assign the Sphynx's fame?
Of either pyramid that bears his name?
By oath to tell the secrets of thy trade-
In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise play'd ? Perhaps thou wert a priest—if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles. Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass,
Or doff"d thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Has any Roman soldier maulid and knuckled,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world look'd when it was fresh and young,
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Art sworn to secrecy ? then keep thy vows;
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house ; Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumber'd, What hast thou seen? what strange adventures number'd ? Since first thy form was in this box extended,
We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations; The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled. Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
The nature of thy private life unfold :
And tears adown that dusky cheek have rolld :
Imperishable type of evanescence! Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecay'd within our presence, Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning, When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning. Why should this worthless ligament endure,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?