BOOK THE FIFTH
4. Chapter IV
THE AMPHITHEATRE ONCE MORE.
GLAUCUS and Olinthus had been placed together in that gloomy and narrow cell
in which the criminals of the arena awaited their last and fearful struggle.
Their eyes, of late accustomed to the darkness, scanned the faces of each
other in this awful hour, and by that dim light, the paleness, which chased
away the natural hues from either cheek, assumed a yet more ashy and ghastly
whiteness. Yet their brows were erect and dauntless--their limbs did not
tremble--their lips were compressed and rigid. The religion of the one, the
pride of the other, the conscious innocence of both, and, it may be, the
support derived from their mutual companionship, elevated the victim into
'Hark! hearest thou that shout They are growling over their human blood,'
'I hear; my heart grows sick; but the gods support me.'
'The gods! O rash young man! in this hour recognize only the One God.
Have I not taught thee in the dungeon, wept for thee, prayed for thee?--in
my zeal and in my agony, have I not thought more of thy salvation than my
'Brave friend!' answered Glaucus, solemnly, 'I have listened to thee with
awe, with wonder, and with a secret tendency towards conviction. Had our
lives been spared, I might gradually have weaned myself from the tenets of
my own faith, and inclined to thine; but, in this last hour it were a craven
thing, and a base, to yield to hasty terror what should only be the result
of lengthened meditation. Were I to embrace thy creed, and cast down my
father's gods, should I not be bribed by thy promise of heaven, or awed by
thy threats of hell? Olinthus, no! Think we of each other with equal
charity--I honoring thy sincerity--thou pitying my blindness or my obdurate
courage. As have been my deeds, such will be my reward; and the Power or
Powers above will not judge harshly of human error, when it is linked with
honesty of purpose and truth of heart. Speak we no more of this. Hush!
Dost thou hear them drag yon heavy body through the passage? Such as that
clay will be ours soon.'